This article is part of the The Tiger King and I series.
Read the previous part here.
Disclaimer: Names have been changed mostly because I forgot them and partially because they might sue me for putting them on blast.
I'll dispel the mystery right now and tell you about TimTim the Fucking Thief. I thought TimTim was a pet name for Joe's boyfriend on tour. I don't even remember his name, but it wasn't TimTim. I finally met TimTim after a night in St. Louis where we had set up in a pet store parking lot. We returned to the hotel and this many months into the tour, no one was speaking to anyone else. Everything was a slight. No one was sleeping enough, no one was eating enough, we still had not been paid. "The money is coming" says Joe Exotic. "The money is coming". Why did we believe him?
He paid for food and lodging, always a meager meal and a single hotel room for every male employee. He treated us like the animals at the park. One particularly bad night, I was sitting on the floor of the hotel room, reading a book, when Joe opened the door and threw a plastic bag full of Taco Bell bean burritos in, and then slammed the door shut. The bag of burritos hit me in the head. I was fucking livid. I stomped out of the room as the other guys rushed to grab as much food as they could. I stomped down to the tour bus and let myself in.
I stomped (lot of stomping) to the master suite and slung the door open. I lost all my anger immediately. Joe was in bed, his boyfriend next to them, and in between them, was TimTim. TimTim was a monkey. A chimp I guess? I don't know monkeys very well. They were watching TV. Joe hopped up from the bed and pushed back backwards, shutting the door behind him. I told him he was treating us like fucking animals to which he replied, "you are all fucking animals, go back to your room". Defeated, and still processing the TimTim revelation I returned to the room.
I wanted a bed. I wanted a bed so goddamn bad it hurt. Physically and mentally. My back hurt from sleeping on the floor all the time. My head hurt from sleeping on the floor. Let me preface this by saying I am not proud of what happened at this point. I take no pride in my behavior during this difficult time. I had just seen two men watching TV with a monkey and things in my life seemed kind of grim. Joseph had gone to get free coffee in the hotel lobby. I pushed all of his things on the floor and took the bed. He had been king shit of bed mountain the whole tour. Threatening and at times fighting with the other guys to get the bed.
When he came back to the room he was pissed. We met in the middle of the room and when he opened his mouth I hit him. I hit him so hard I broke 2 of my fingers and wore a splint until the end of my time with the tour. It made a sound like the contents of a gore bag hitting the ground and Joseph's legs gave up and he folded like laundry. I went back to the bed and ate a bean burrito while another guy put him in the recovery position. I remember he snored. I later learned that when someone is knocked unconscious and snores its not like snoring while sleeping, its like snoring because your soul was separated from your body momentarily by a very angry 18 year old who hadn't slept more than 6 hours in 4 days.
Joseph told on me. He marched down to Joe and told him that I hit him. Joe came up to the room and pulled me into the hallway. He told me I would be left in this town with no way home. He said he'd take my cell phone. I could have killed him. I wanted to. I was young, sleep-deprived, and high on the adrenaline of just stone cold knocking out an adult man. I apologized and returned to the room. It was November now, and it was cold in Michigan.
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