Sunday, October 23, 2011

Three Girls, One Hatchet, the Goldengate, Applegate, and an Angel named Byron

We recently discovered at book club that finding funny books is hard.  I decided I should try to write some funny stuff.  Not to set myself up or anything, I don't mean I will be the next Tina Fey, just some non-serious fun stories.  So this is going to be a sort of serial of something a wrote a long time ago re-written and changed up.  Feel free to let me know what you think, it's a work in progress.  All names have been changed and any resemblance to real people is strictly coincidental:) I think I can stick with it more if I know its out there and someone might actually read it, where as I might just let it languish on my desktop.

It was fall break weekend, October 1996, and the snowflakes were falling in soggy white masses designed to put the brakes on the planned camping trip.  Katie stood at the window of the college apartments holding an illegal tuxedo cat named Shortie.  "We could still go," she said, for what was quite possibly the 200th time in the last half hour. 

Mandie rolled her eye, "I am not camping in a  blizzard, Kate."

Jessica sneezed loudly, and with much drama, from the back of the long rectangular living room.  She had noticed Shortie.  Apparently her cat allergy required visual confirmation.

Katie rolled her own eyes at Mandie, hoping she saw the look and read it correctly.  They were not staying here.  Shortie jumped down and sauntered towards Jessica, unconcerned.  Just then the phone rang, kicking Jess off the AOL era internet and instigating a new round of sneezes.  Really?  Kate shook her head, curly chestnut tangles bristling.

"No"  Mandie was saying, "we thought so too....Where?" she looked up from the papason chair, phone in hand, "Kate, have you been to San Francisco?"

Kate looked up from the cookie batter bowl she had been skimming.  Yum.  Mandie's lemon cookies. "No."

"It's not that far,"  Mandie smiled.  It was 11 PM on Thursday night in Flagstaff, Arizona.  The only transport they posessed had broken down three times in the past three months.  The little white truck had a new clutch a new transmission a new battery.  It..Charlie... had been Katie's big sisters before her, and was only 10 years old.  "Lori wants to go."  Mandie wiggled her light brown eyebrows beneath her corkscrew perm.

Katie grinned, "Well, there's nothing left to break on Charlie, I mean statistically speaking, we should be fine. .."  She licked her finger... "We have to spend no money though.  Like not even on food.  We can take it with us."

Mandie nodded thriftily, "Popcorn cakes, honey, peanutbutter..."

"Ramen"  Katie giggled, "We can take the camp stove...OK lets go!"

"We'll pick up in half an hour! " Mandie told the phone, "Get ready and bring food!"

"And gas money!"  Katie wasn't in debt yet.

The girls popped a laundry basket full of random groceries, two school-type backpacks and two sleeping bags into the comfy cushiony back of the truck.  Charlie had a camper shell that opened into the cab, making him more like an early version SUV sans seat belts.  

After a quick stop at the gas station near Crystal Creek sandwiches, the one that sold gas, liquor and your friendly neighborhood firearms in one handy location, they swung up to North Morton dorm and got Lori.  She contributed a bottle of absolute vodka and a bulk bag of jolly ranchers to the laundry basket.  One more stop at the Maverick station for a map and a quart of oil, which Katie more or less added for luck. 

They were on their way, with the ever present Pulp Fiction Soundtrack jangling through the soggy flakes.  It had been stuck in the tape player for about a year.  

The talk wove in and out of Jungle Boogies, and preachers sons, and the snow faded to rain and then to a cloudless starlit sky high above the desert as their ears popped.  Big plans were made to reform the social service system and start an orphanage, and the three girls bounced and jounced along with road trip adventure following after them like swirls from a cartoonist's sharpie.

Somewhere before the sun found them in Barstow with bagels (they bought the bagels in a deli, guiltily eying the Ramen in the laundry basket) there was an eerie orange dust storm, and Charlie started making some very odd dusty, coughy sounds. 

Everyone got nervous.

Kate decided to pretend she was not.

Lori began to question the wisdom of traveling anywhere with someone who could not get Pulp Fiction out of the tape player. 

Mandie remembered with some relief that she had her mom's triple A card in her backpack.

They stopped at a 24 hour Autozone, because, after all that dust, wouldn't a new airfilter make sense?  All three agreed that yes, in the professional opinions of three college juniors, a women's study major, a psychology major, and a photography major, it was quite clear that an airfilter would solve the problem.   Katie new how to replace this filter, which was another point in favor of the plan, and off they went.  Charlie sounded much better, and his turburcule caughing was all but forgotten as they munched the bagels and chugged drinking fountain water from their be-stickered Nalgenes.  If they had been English lit majors they might have spotted the rather heavy foreshadowing at this juncture.  But they were not. 

They were sitting on the tailgate when Lori asked the obvious question, "Umm, guys, why do we have a hatchet?"

"In case we camp!  I got it for Christmas,"  Kate replied, undetereed by the treeless expanses of desert on all sides.  and the obvious civilization.

Mandie giggled.  She was used to Kate's somewhat unusual logic.

Lori nodded. She was not.  Used to Katie.  She knew Mandie from ASWI- the Associated Students for Women's Issues - Kate usually didn't go there because the word "woman" really made her squeamish.  She was with Lucile Ball and the girl/boy classification system all the way.

It may be appropriate to mention at this juncture that Katie had never before driven anywhere outside of northern Arizona, and the trip down I10 and 17 to Sierra Vista., Arizona.  A 6 hour drive.  She had very little experience, and the supreme confidence in her ability to accomplish things that she knew nothing of.   College kid incarnate in her cutoff jeans, NAU T-shirt, and Birkenstocks, Katie snapped some pictures happily and jumped up and down a bit to get going again.  Mandie curled up like a kitten beside the laundry basket, humming a little to herself.  Lori ran to the bathroom.  Only a few more cycles of counting flowers on the wall, and they would be at the Golden Gate.

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