Them’s birds a-roost’n

My muse, James Calabrese, once wrote “These 48 hours will require a separate and detailed blog post in order to fully mention the bisque. It will undoubtedly come in an untimely manner.” How about over 3 months later? Untimely enough for you? Well estimated former James.

Looking back on those 48 hours through the rose colored lenses of nostalgia make me feel that those 2 days were in fact…. still really fucking miserable. Nothing changes. I’d like to elaborate on one portion of those 48 hours. A one hour span that wasn’t so much miserable as it was way to reminiscent to the opening scenes of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

It’s about 10pm, I’m camping somewhere outside of ___ Texas (overlap #1 of many with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and I’m driving away from camp with two bikini clad blond ladies (high five! Who saw that coming after my last bro-blog post. A brog post? also, overlap #2). We are heading out to purchase some firewood to bring back to camp. After a spell, we happen upon what looks like it could be a back-country general store of some sort. Blond #1 and I walk in, and immediately regret that decision (#3).

It was not a creepy general store, but was in fact a creepy trailer park bar. Blondie and I are greeted by a who’s who of trailer park trash (#4). A transgender going through a low budget male to female gender transformation. Or perhaps just a really big ugly women (think Briene of Tarth from GoT). Two guys who I think were brothers, or father & son, or father & brother, sporting a trailer-classic look. An IT specialist down on his luck. And a few more rounding out a crowd of about 7. All were well lubricated and staring at the bikini clad blond, and the tank top clad “fresh meat”.

Blondie somehow breaks through the silence and starts chatting with the bartender about where we can drive to buy wood. I stand there feeling useless and rapeable.

“Need wood for cook’n or for heat’n?” is posed to me unexpectedly from one of the particularly well seasoned alcoholics at the bar (although through the magic of alcohol and chain smoking he may not be 73, but could be 31 for all I know).

Not knowing there was a difference in wood types, I shakily answer “heating.”

“Would cedar do the trick?” he asked. Who is this guy? Some sort of arbor savant?

“Yeah Cedar would do just fine.” I answer trying to act like I actually put rational thought into it.

“Alright hold on.” He says as he pulls out his phone and begins dialing. He quickly gets someone else on the other end of the line and begins coordinating what I assume to be my kidnap and murder. God I hope it is only kidnap and murder.

“Sir, that’s okay. We are just gona go to a store and buy the wood”

“Nonsense, my brother Skipper lives right around the corner. He’ll sort you out”

At this the bartender considers his advice superseded and stops instructing Blondie on how to get to a real, presumably torture-free, store. We awkwardly listen to the directions to Skipper’s trailer and then shuffle outside. Back in the car we all agree/question that we guess we are going to Skipper’s. It was like a Ouija board at a middle school sleep over – nobody knew who was moving it, but we all held on as something terrifying was spelled out before our eyes. (just try to imagine how far off I was from correctly spelling the word ‘ouija’)

The directions were surprisingly good, and we arrive at Skipper’s trailer in no time. Skipper greats us in the headlights of our car with the beat red face of a life long alcoholic, and a 2 pack a day voice to boot.

“You need wood for heat’n or cook’n”. Damn these guys knew their wood.

“Heating”

“Would cedar do?”

“Cedar’s perfect” I answer with the confidence of repetition.

Skipper leads us around to the back of his trailer where what can best be described as a drug deal went down. “How much you got?” “How much do you need?” “How much does it cost?” “Is it dry?” “I’m not paying that for some damp ass Cedar!” “I’ll throw in some kindling”, etc etc etc. It even concludes with Skipper pulling out the largest wad of cash I’ve ever seen. He either is a drug dealer, or mistrusts banks. I’d believe either.

By the time we’re done we’re actually all quite chummy and I’m enjoying Skipper’s company. Skipper worked in a coal mine for many years, and all the noise isn’t from cicadas as I thought but in fact “them’s birds a-roost’n”. Skipper offers to help us out with any other camping needs that may crop up tonight or in the years ahead. During this offer he goes on one of my favorite monologues of all time:
“Now if yous come on back here, and that there truck is gone. Now that’s my wife’s truck. That means she’s gone… probalby at the bar. If that there golf cart’s a-gone. That’s my cart. That means I’m gone… probably at the bar.”

What a guy. God I want to party with him.

We return to the camp site in high spirits having completed our primary task of wood acquisition and our secondary task of not getting Texas Chain Saw Massacred, Delivered, Sling Bled (especially the Dwight Yoakum parts… mmhh), Roadhoused, Earnest Scared Stupdided, Southern Comforted, Motel Helled, or Taken (not a scary southern themed movie at all, but still that would suck to get your ass kicked by Qui-Gon Jinn or taken and sold into sex slavery).

Sadly I didn’t stay to enjoy the fire because if you recall I hated those 48 hours. So I promptly went into my tent alone and listened to Game of Thrones on tape (suck it reading!). Oh Daenerys, fetch me a dream.

-James

Bonus Q&A:

“James, you hit the obscure movie links extra hard this post, but somehow failed to add one Star Wars link. All we got was a lazy Liam Neeson Qui-Gon Jinn reference. What gives?”

“Great observation friend.  The lack of Star Wars was no accident.  I want you begging for Star Wars so I can shamelessly promote my upcoming performance at Speakeasy DC on Tuesday October 8th.  I’m telling a story all about Star Wars! I know, finally.  You’re welcome. Check out the details here if you want to come watch and be terrified by the role Star Wars has played in my life.”

Spooky Camping #1

Spooky Camping #1

Spooky Camping #2

Spooky Camping #2

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