Location: Montreal

Thursday, April 20, 2006

craptastic voyage

i was the first person to arrive at the Shuttle Bus pick-up location (aside from the Driver of course). when i asked him how many more passengers he was expecting he said "just one", which was excellent news. this meant i could stretch out in the back row, listen to some tunes, nurse my tolerable but still kind of annoying hangover and remain generally undisturbed. this would be a rare occurence in the world of travelling by shuttle, and i welcomed it.

a few moments later a car pulled and dropped off the other passenger; an attractive but severe looking brunette (who i would later discover just turned twenty and was leaving home for the first time). she looked painfully upset as she said goodbye to her parents, almost disgusted. none of my business really, so i leaned back, closed my eyes and tried to get comfortable for the five hour journey ahead.

about ten minutes down the road i had to sit up to adjust my jeans, as they were bunching up in an uncomfortable way around my nether regions. when i sat up i glanced at the Girl, who was now sitting in front of me complaining into her cellphone. on her lap was a bizarre looking purse, all curly white fur with leggy little appendages sewn on. then her purse stood up, jumped over the seat, put it's leggy little appendages on my shoulder and tried to lick my face. turns out her purse was an adorable Paris Hilton-style lap dog. i looked scornfully into Dog's cold, dead (or so i wished) eyes and then into the back of Girl's head, as she whined into her bejewelled, nuclear pink cellphone (which matched her nails).
i should have hitchiked.

over the next hour she made four (4) more teary phonecalls to her parents or minions or cauldron of witches or whoever, and made the driver stop twice because she was "going to be sick". which she didn't. both times she just got out, stood to face the highway and made a dreadfully sour face. i was tiring of these delays. "puke in a fucking bag! throw it out when we get there!" i felt like yelling. but i didn't. why make her more upset? i just wanted to get home before i ended up punching a small dog.

we were just shy of the halfway home mark when the shuttle started to break down. stalling, making unhealthy noises, not moving faster than 30km/h. i wanted to explode but said nothing, just turned up myPod and hoped the situation would repair itself.
no chance.
we stopped at a garage, Driver did something under the hood, continued to drive only to break down again moments later. Driver was becoming frantic, calling his boss, calling garages (most of which were closed for the holiday weekend), calling other Driver's for sage advice. all of a sudden, Girl sat up and said "i want to go to McDonald's. right now."
woah. time and a place sister. no need to get nasty with Driver, he's got enough to deal with right now.
suprisingly, he thought it was a good idea. so he dropped Girl and i off in front of the nearest WalMart while he scoured the area for an open mechanic. since Dog was not allowed in WalMart she had to stay in the van with Driver. "DO NOT lose her...." said Girl.
what a sweetheart.

the next thing i know i'm sitting in a WalMart McDonald's with a girl i don't know, wondering where my luggage is and if i'm secrety being punished for taking my shirt off in that crowded bar the night before. as we ate we chatted about where we were travelling. it turns out Girl was heading all the way out west for some job that involved horses. i was suprised to find she was actually a pretty nice person, even a little funny, and felt bad for judging her before i actually got to speak with her. i should also note that during the first ten minutes in McDonald's she called Driver twice for status reports on her dog. personally, i would have asked for status reports on the VAN, but i'm weird like that. she excused herself and headed for the washroom as i stared at a half eaten Big Mac. i then finished off her McNuggets.

after five minutes in the washroom she strode up to the table and said "c'mon...i wanna get stoned before buddy gets back with the van."
sure. why not.
we went outside and sat on an old picnic table only a few metres from the busy entrance of what was probably the only WalMart in town. she lit up, not caring she was in full view of parents, children and seniors alike. this kid had moxy! naturally, she was chatting on her phone the entire time she was smoking (looking back...i wonder what the hell kind of cell plan she had. she was heavy into the daytime minutes), leaving me to survey the rampant vandalism that was spread across the surface of the table.
"WAL-MART SUX" said one inscription.
i agreed.
"MEGADETH!!!" said another.
again, i agreed.
just then Driver and Dog pulled up. "get in!", he said. "we're good to go."

i really didn't appreciate Driver lying to me like that.
we weren't forty minutes away from the WalMart parking lot when the van began to fill with noxious fumes. no problem! we'll just drive with all the windows down. all that cold, wet wind will be invigorating. Girl and i were just laughing at him now. (stoned Girl was a great deal more pleasant than stop i'm gonna be sick Girl.)
and then, the whole van just died completly.
just like that.
right on the side of the TransCanada Highway.
i spent the next two hours playing cards with Girl, waiting for a towtruck. her deck of cards were the exact same Chernobyl pink as her cellphone and her fingernails.
i would've danced naked for Hitler's ghost for a fresh cup of coffee.

the towtruck ride was pretty cozy.
four people and a dog.
and i should mention here that Driver was pushin' 250lbs.
i was between Girl and Driver.
Girl's hair smelled very nice.
Driver's fat sweaty arm did not.

the truck pulled us up to yet another garage, which was also closed. i stepped out and saw a service station just up on the horizon. i told Driver "i need coffee. i'm going up there. when you figure shit out, pick me up. i'll be out front."
"wait," said Girl, grabbing my arm, "i'm going with you."
alrighty, i thought. she wants to makeout behind that gas station.
nope. she just wanted to get stoned again.
whatever. i needed coffee.

she finished smoking just as we reached the edge of the station's parking lot. we were about to enter when we noticed a large red sticker of the Ghostbuster's symbol was pasted on the door, but instead of that silly fucking ghost, it was a picture of a little white dog, (looking eerily similar to Girl's dog, who i affectionately called Dog.)
"i have to pee sooooo bad, will you stay here and watch her for me?"
of course! i've been waiting to get Dog alone all day!
what a cute little poocher!
*annoyed sigh* " quick."

it was then, while standing in front of a sketchy service station in some sketchy sub-town community nestled behind some random off-ramp from some old underused highway i've never been on before in my life holding a goddamned poodle in my arms like some hairy newborn bastard that i thought to myself, "how the fuck did my day turn into this?"
and i laughed out loud.
maybe a little too loud, because i noticed a few heads in the parking lot turn in my direction. heads that were adorned with John Deere/Ford/embroidered eagle mesh-back baseball caps. they did not look at me with welcoming eyes.
who's this here city boy? holdin' that there poodle?
i decided that if one of them approaced me, i would use Dog as a weapon. try to deliver some blunt-force dog trauma to their temple, stunning them just long enough for me to make a break for the highway. Girl returned before that could happen, so i rushed inside and got two large (they didn't have extra large) coffees. when i exited, Girl, Dog and Driver were waiting in a brand new minivan.
let's fucking roll.

Girl stole the backseat but i didn't care. we were on our way and that was good enough for me. and looky looky here, this new van has a DVD player installed. Girl handed Driver a disc but it just skipped. she handed him another one, same thing. Girl was getting annoyed. "this is fucking ridiculous."
i strapped on my headphones, cranked some Preist and drowned them out.
my worries were fucking over.
twenty minutes later i opened my eyes and glanced up at the screen.
is that fucking Spaceballs?
that is fucking Spaceballs!
i turned back to tell Girl "good flick!" but she was laying down with her face buried into the seat cushions.
whatever. more Spaceballs for me.
"keep firing, Assholes!"

we pulled into the city limits just as Lone Star and Dark Helmet were squaring off in their climactic final battle.
finally, i thought. this is over.
(not Spaceballs, the journey. i could have watched Spaceballs all day.)
nope, not yet.
"pull over...i'm gonna be sick...."
again! god!! we're like two minutes away!!
she gets out, stands there, makes sour face, gets back in.
when we pull into the parking lot i've already got my luggage on my back, ready to sprint out the door leaving all this behind me.
we stop. we laugh for a second. ok, i'm done.
i slide the door open, say goodbye to Girl without looking back and get one foot out onto the pavement when she excitedly says "omigod, look at this...."
i turned around slowly, hoping she'd finish her sentence with "my bra fell off" but no luck. she was holding a small plastic bag in her hand. it looked like a bag of soup. "i totally threw up in this while we were driving!"
i stared right in her eyes for a full two seconds, not smiling.
"good luck," was all i could think to say.
i left the parking lot as quickly as i could.
about half a block later i ran into a friend of mine.
"hey man, what are you up to?"
i gave him the short version.
"dude! that sucks! did you get your money back?"
i turned from him to face the street.
walked right up to the curb.
i knew what had to be done.
where's a fucking steamroller when you need one?


Blogger nic said...

has it really been almost an entire winter? where have you been hiding?
man this is a nice read. please sell me your book. i guess i technically only knew you for a about a week.. you dont owe me anything.
just a nice conversation about the adventures of mike. its all i want.

8:19 PM  
Blogger mike said...

i owe everybody everything.
i have to start giving back to a world from which i've taken so so much.

8:34 PM  
Blogger nic said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you owe me:

my mini-recorder, bastard.

my brain before i ate mushrooms in a dark, empty courthouse and everything became teeth.

my cereal-aisle dignity.


7:42 AM  
Blogger mike said...

i'm sorry.
cereal-aisle dignity is the kind of thing you can never get back, like virginity or the laughter of a dying child.

4:10 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home