Behind “The Boneyard” (a tax evading semi-cult, named after the unearthing of animal bones from below their back lawn), there is a massive hole in the ground.
Levi and I sat at the edge of this ditch, kicking loose dirt from its edge, earth and rock tumbling down to the pit’s bottom. The sun was hot and blinding, searing our backs through tee-shirts and thin jackets, drying the mud beneath our worn shoes.
“This is gonna be an underground greenhouse,” Levi told me, sipping from the brim of a black coffee, his long hair dangling over his face. “I’ve been doing all the fucking work though. Ripped a hole right down the ass of my favorite striped pants.”
“It looks like a mass grave,” I told him.
Rotating to look at me, Levi squinted through the blaring sunlight and shrugged, then nodded thoughtfully. “Huh. Fini should be here soon.”
As though waiting on a cue, the infamous Fini emerged from the cluttered house behind us, jarringly slender with the stature of a retarded hunchback. His smelly jacket blew in the late springtime breeze, eyes sunken to the back of his rotten brain and peering through inflamed rings of sleepless drug abuse. Slight winds carried trash and dust across the inconceivably filthy property, blowing against the legs of his undersized jeans, tight and childlike on his sickening chicken legs. Taking a long drag of a hand-rolled cigarette, he blew smoke into his own face and grunted, “Alright kids, let’s hit the road. Just a couple hours, right? I’ll get you the camping gear and we’ll all be set.”
Complying without question, my companion and I signed ourselves onto the most nightmarish trek that would ever grace our shitty lives.
“Garrett keeps asking about camping gear,” Levi informed me as we approached a small car. “He gave me a list and shit. Like, a color-coded document that’s all bulleted and fancy and shit. I don’t know, this guy says he’ll hook us up for free. He seems good for it, long as we come along and help him bring stuff back.”
Opening the hind-passenger door, Fini reached in for a small cooler, then shut the vehicle before we could enter it.
“Oh, not this car,” he told us. “We’re taking that one.” Pointing a scummy fingernail down the driveway, he drew our sight to a white, nearly windowless van, screws and nails jutting from its chipping sides. “You dudes can sit in the back on the way out. I rigged up some seats and shelves and all that, so you’ll have an alright time.” Laughing lightly under his breath, he wiped his nose with the side of a greasy fist.
Upon entering this automobile, the unfamiliar fellow slammed his cooler down and removed the plastic lid, hunger brewing in his beady little pupils. With shaking hands, he dipped his palms into the small box and produced a single bottle of milk, covered in frost and chilled water. With but one fluid motion, he wrenched the cap from its container and latched his mouth over the brim, sucking with famished aggression. “God damn,” he hooted as the flagon unlatched from his nasty lips. “There’s nothing better than ice-cold milk!”
Tossing it at Levi, he juddered with uncontrollable passion. “Ice-cold milk,” he announced again. “Really, you have to try it.”
Shrugging with absolute apathy, Levi lifted the frothy beverage and sipped a bit down. “Yeah, it’s pretty good,” he said.
“Pretty good?” Fini retrieved it, passing the drink to me. “Ice-cold milk,” he said.
“It’s lactose,” the words slipped almost nervously through my teeth. “I can’t drink milk, man.”
Deeply offended, Fini pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows, taking another hard swig before returning it to the cooler. “Whatever, dude.”
[Editor’s Addition: Mood Music for the ensuing smut-fest.]
Then, without warning, the world caved in on itself and we were cast into the proverbial fires of a very real Hell. It all happened so unbelievably fast – one moment, we were standing at the side of a crumbling-home-turned-cult-residence; the next moment, we were huddled down in the back of a strange junkie’s hazardous van, nail-riddled shelves lurching with every slight turn, tobacco smoke filling the airless space as we pressed a foam slate across the hind window to “prevent being seen.”
Emily (Fini’s girl) sat in the withered passenger seat, every inch and orifice of her body (visibly) perforated by some form of steel rod or ball, arguing with her partner over every line that oozed across his mindlessly flapping tongue. When we reached the toll-bridge into Washington, she had to take the wheel in his place, the crusty felon hiding in back with us because the entire state wanted him on charges of “avoiding a parking ticket” (widespread and repeated possession, production, and distribution of Class 1 Narcotics). Immediately after reaching our first destination (one of many, as we were soon to discover), we were forced to endure five hours in waiting while Fini dealt methamphetamines to a disabled woman and downloaded an unfathomably shitty phone application (“Asphalt 8” he boyishly chortled at us as he reentered the van, chucking his sticky smartphone into our laps). Emily had thrown us twenty bucks to spend on food, but not even delicious and pricey sandwiches could ease the discomfort of her boyfriend’s vile antics.
And as the North-Western rain came pouring down, my thoughts could only shift back to those frail few words, muttered so simply by Fini before we departed from The Boneyard. “A couple hours,” the putrid lie echoed like an ominous premonition through my aching head.
A couple hours. A couple hours. A couple hours.
A couple hours turned into five, which turned into eight, which turned into twelve-and-a-half. That’s right, over twelve fucking hours were we made to endure this travesty of a “road trip.”
And it only spiraled down from here.
Posing with one of Fini’s hand-rolled cigarettes. Approximately two hours on the road.
Next up: Seven Sinks And The Bridge Of Despair (My Accidental Life As A Full-Time Meth Peddler: Part Three)