Axion Brigade

by Pete Thompson

Kerry Getz won the Tampa Street Contest. I saw him right after the contest at the hotel just before we packed up the van to go to Ft. Myers, Florida. It was almost 11:00 p.m.

It always seems like there’s plenty of space in the van when it’s empty, but if you’ve ever been on a road trip, you know that halfway through the packing process, all that extra space disappears pretty quickly and “cramped” is the word. Kareem Campbell, Neal Mims, Matt Milligan, Mike Maldonado, Kevin Taylor, Caine Gayle, Phil (the designated van driver), and I piled up in the van.

We stayed in Milligan’s hometown, Ft. Myers, Florida, where we ran into Elissa Steamer. She skated the park with us, and you could tell she’s from Ft. Myers, too.

Only a day and a half into the tour, and already the vanwas beginning to get that tour scent¿soiled T-shirts fermenting overnight on the floor of the van gave this fifteen-passenger vessel a distinct aroma. At the next demo in West Palm Beach, Neal ripped and Milligan gave his sweat-soaked tee to some girl who wanted it so badly. She agreed to take off her own shirt and put Matt’s soiled T-shirt on …. hmmm … Florida.

Brian Anderson arrived and we rented electric buggies. Two hours later I was trippin’ ’cause we made it back to the rental spot without any damage¿at least not to the buggies. Caine was talking kickboxing, Neal was drinking O’Douls, and we were on our way to Bennigans for the third time, because it was too late and everything else was closed (not a bad joint to be stuck in by the way).

The next demo was in an indoor park that looked like it used to be a grocery store. Kareem ollied the pyramid to noseblunt slide first try. Someone from the shop decided to have everyone at the grocery store say a prayer before we skated. I don’t think that had any effecton Kareem’s noseblunt slide. Nevertheless, nobody got hurt.

South Beach was our last spot¿Spring Break to be precise. Our van-driver Phil bought leather cargo pants. B.A. bought a 60,000- dollar ice watch, so his wrist would stay cold. We tried to street skate, but the effects of contests, heat, demos, and van pollution caught up with us. So Kareem and Neil rented scooters. We chilled on the hotel porch, while every car that drove by was playing “Like Whoa.”

Flights left that evening. By the way, South Beach is much nicer than Tampa any day, even if it’s snowing.