“I couldn't live a week without a private library
- indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor
before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.” ― H.P. Lovecraft

Whistling In The Graveyard

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Well, I’ve begun packing.

At about 10 AM tomorrow we leave for the beach, and apart from probably checking my mail every so often I won’t be online for a full week.

I’ll only be checking my mail because Brian’s taking his laptop with him and he has Earthlink. See, he’s got a fantasy football team and a nasty Star Wars: Galaxies habit to support.

He is simultaneously a bigger internet addict and geek than I am.

Anyways, I thought I’d leave you guys with the story about the last time Brian and I went to the beach.

Enjoy.

It was 1997. Four years before my medical ‘incident’. I had just finished my second year at WVU and was working for my cousin Eric for the summer at his auto painting shop. We were just wrapping things up for the day when I got a call from my uncle, Eric’s father, asking me if I wanted to fly down to Florida, pick up a truckload of stuff (presumably for his sheet metal company) and drive it back.

Given that I worked for his son I was sure I could get the time off, so I said hell yeah.

So Brian comes by the shop. He’d just finished a day of substitute teaching and probably needed to relax. It’s kinda hard to tell really, as he ALLWAYS needs to relax. I really expected him to have had a heart attack well before now.

My uncle calls back and asks if I’d rather take one of their trucks and drive both ways. That way I could take someone with me.

So Brian said hell yeah.

The very next morning we head out with my uncle’s full size Ford Excursion van, one of his cellphones, two gas cards and $600 cash. We were to get as close to Tampa as we could, stay the night somewhere, then make contact with someone and pick up the stuff. Afterward we could spend a few days on the beach and head back home.

With no map, no directions and no idea what we were going to pick up, we turned south.

There’s nothing quite like an extended road trip. The open road, changing states every hour or so, changing radio stations every fifteen or twenty minutes, it’s just good for the soul dammit.

And thank God there were plenty of decent rock stations along the way, otherwise we’d have been left at the mercy of Brian’s cassette collection which consisted primarily of shitty 80’s hair metal. Not that I don’t like 80’s metal, but Brian likes crap. He had every Nitro album (just because of their involvement in the movie Shock ‘Em Dead which sucked balls in it’s own right) AND every Frehley’s Comet album. I don’t know where the hell to find ANY Frehley’s Comet album, let alone ALL of them. Hell, I’m willing to bet that fucking Ace Frehley doesn’t even have every Frehley’s Comet album.

But the van had no CD player and I’d switched to CD’s years before, so it was radio all the way.

We noticed that every time we switched stations one song kept playing. It was either some message from the gods or a strange quirk in the satellite that controls all the station playlists anymore, but everywhere we went we kept hearing “Magic Bus” by the Who. Seemed fitting since we were driving what was essentially a small bus (insert tard jokes here).

Another thing we noticed was a column of black smoke off in the distance. We didn’t think too much of it at first, but we drove towards it for hours before we found out what it was. We got video, (which Brian lost immediately upon our return) of where the wildfires had crossed the highway. I wish I knew where that tape was too, because while it’s easy to imagine a full half a mile stretch of trees and grass burned to nothing with 4 lanes of highway running through the middle untouched, it’s quite another thing to actually see it, let alone drive through it.

We would have made it all the way there in one day if not for having trouble with the first truck they tried to send us in. As it was we still did pretty good having made it clear to Savannah Georgia.

We checked into a motel and hit the sack (yes Rich, in SEPARATE beds, you sick bastard). Plan was to wake up at 8 and drive the rest of the way to Tampa. About midnight we get a call on the cell. It’s my aunt, she tells me we don’t need to pick the stuff up after all and we should go to the beach for a few days on them.

A couple things occurred to me. First thing was that we probably weren’t going to get paid. Second thing was that a few days at the beach was worth more to me than what we were going to get paid anyway.

So we disregard Tampa altogether (good thing we got delayed and didn’t drive all the way there the first day) and headed instead to Daytona. More specifically, we hit the Shores, this island filled with nothing but hotels, convenience stores and pawn-shops, and one other item of interest; a drive-in church.

That’s right, a drive-in church.

For those of you too young to remember drive-in movies, (basically everyone reading this) You had a screen in front of a parking lot. You pull up, hang a speaker in the window and watch the show. Well this place was the same thing, but with a little chapel where the movie screen would be. It was one of the most deliciously fucked-up things I’d ever seen.

Once again, if Brian hadn’t lost the tape and the pics…

So we spend a few days on the beach doing our best Jimmy Buffet impressions. It was pretty cool as it was right after the peak season so it was still nice but not too crowded (which is why we planned this year’s trip for the time we did). We’d have stayed a whole week but we had friends in from England staying in Morgantown, so we drove all the way back just to drive from Parkersburg to Morgantown the very next day.

Some time later we found out that we were sent to gather the possessions of two of my aunt's friends.

These posessions were being held by a landlord that might have been armed and angry.

The possessions were being held by the catholic church.

They were being held because they wanted my aunt's friends to return to Florida.

They didn't want to go.

Did I mention they were Nuns?

So we were sent to bust a couple of God's women out of the fold, and we might possibly have met with some resistance.

Instead, we got a free trip to the beach.


Anyways, I think that’s everything.

I’ll have a detailed report about this trip up as soon as I get back.

Sniff you jerks later.

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