K and I returned Monday night from our Ohio Double Wedding Experience ™, details of which will be coming very shortly. Right now, I’d like to relate to you the extraordinary events which occurred during our return to Kansas City. I’d tell you about the trip to Ohio, but I was pretty f*ckin’ drunk for all 13 hours of it so as to be prepared for the Rock n’ Roll wedding we’d be attending, so I’m not sure what was real or not. So without further ado, behold the chronicles of the greatest journey of all time! The on-ramp for the 80-90 turnpike marked the first leg in our arduous 875 mile long return to Kansas City. Our first landmark of note was the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, where we stopped to witness faithful re-enactments of the Great Muttonchops Revolt of 1879 and to enjoy some Rutherford Shooters, a smoky delight consisting of a dark, murky liquid which smelled faintly of cabinet oil and Murray Brand pomade. I was really pining for a good ol’ bathtub Mint Julep, but any port in a storm, I say. I’m pretty certain that I pissed off the waitress when I asked how much Lemon Pledge went into the shooter, but any ill will was soon forgot after 10 or so of the little shiny devils. Soon enough we staggered back to Smurfette, our trusty teal chariot, and continued our journey. K, having elected to skip the shooters, was coerced into taking the wheel.
K spent the next 30 minutes telling me the various folklore of Rural Ohio, but I was preoccupied by the nefarious glare I’d received from the waitress back at the Hayes place. There’s no telling what will set off a professional re-enactor and I thought perhaps I’d gone to far by accusing her of carpetbaggery. I mentioned my concern to K, but she said not to worry as the waitress had been smiling and waving at us as we departed. I was not comforted by this notion.
Sure enough, I soon began to experience a buzzing in my ears and a tight ball of nausea in my ample belly. I started to complain with great gusto, but suddenly my mind was furiously assaulted by all manner of terrible visions. Had my tongue been working properly, I might have been able to explain to K the horrible prophecy which appeared in my mind’s eye wherein Karl Rove was walking a desolate highway clad in a Brooks Brothers suit and a long, purple cape. I wasn’t sure, but I think he was wandering the earth plugging the rectums of Hollywood’s elite so as to harvest their glittering hearts once they’d exploded from constipation. The socio-political ramifications would be stunning, to say the least. Gripped in the icy fist of foretelling, I was unable to request the stern eye-poke necessary to break my reverie.
After some consideration, I began to suspect that I had been drugged. Once I regained control of my mouth, I told K of my suspicion of mescaline doping by the Hayes waitress. K insisted that I’d imbibed nothing more potent than Pledge spiked apple juice, but her assured tone failed to convince either myself or the gnome who was using his glistening, sweaty ass to write limericks on the dusty hood of Smurfette.
I was unwavering in my belief that all manner of supernatural horrors would befall us due to my heightened awareness, so to placate my drug-addled nerves, K pulled into a rest stop. There I found our salvation: a mystical Tiki fetish that would use his fierce countenance to ward off demons and other such creatures. K wondered aloud how anything that could be frightened by a Tiki could possibly pose any harm to us, so I was forced to point out that our new friend also emitted a powerful aroma of coconut, granting us even more protection from supernatural forces. That settled, we were once again underway.
The turnpike portion of our journey was uneventful after that. Somewhat calmer now, I was able to focus on my conversation with the gnome. We were in a heated debate concerning the contents of the seemingly endless train of tanker trucks that dotted the highway like so many gleaming giant robot suppositories. The gnome maintained that they were filled with the jelly for use in dark doughnut related rituals while I was convinced they were laden with saline water to be used to ease the ocular pain of Bat Boy, who was known to reside in these parts. The Tiki was strangely silent on the matter.
It seemed a conversational stalemate was inevitable until K wisely opined that the tankers were chock full of sausage gravy which had been drawn from the great underground gravy rivers which run beneath our heartland like so many chunky veins. Surely workers must toil night and day to supply our nation’s Bob Evans, IHOPS, and Perkins in a vain attempt to sate our unquenchable thirst for sweet, sweet gravy.
Neither myself nor the gnome could find any fault in her logic and we were forced to admit that we had overlooked such a glaringly obvious explanation. Even the silent Tiki seemed impressed by her intellectual derring-do.
After a few minutes, however, I began to strongly suspect that K was just fucking with us.
80-90 soon ended, as did my feverish state of drug-induced hysteria. We bid farewell to fair Ohio and proceeded into Indiana, $4.20 poorer and infinitely wiser. We soon realized that Indiana was like an embarrassingly shoddy neighbor with it’s ceaseless discount firework stores and dull, uninteresting landscapes. People often remark about the blandness of Kansas and Missouri, but at least those two states have a topography to speak of. Indiana is as plain as dry, white toast. Except that toast is probably less flat.
While highway travel does offer more attractions than turnpike routes, very often sites of interest would not make themselves known to us until we had passed their corresponding exits, which is why I have no anecdote to share from what I’m sure would have been our great adventure at the Butt-Hut, Discount Liquor and Tobacco Store. Oh well, c’est la vie.
We were, however, able to amuse ourselves with the bizarreness of the innumerable billboards that dot the Indianan landscape. My personal favorite was an anti-abortion sign that read: If you’re pregnant…it’s a baby! This was accompanied by a photo of a somewhat lumpy faced infant meant to tug on your heart strings. Let’s think about that: If you’re pregnant…it’s a baby! Well, of course it’s a baby! What else would it be, a nest of hornets? Come to think of it, a womb full of hornets is a pretty good argument for abortion, but I’m far too terrified of the flying bastards to make a rational decision in that case.
Furthermore, I must admit I was a bit baffled by the sheer number of “God Bless America”, “United We Stand”, and “America: Land of the Free” billboards. Patriotism is cool and all, but it seemed as if the erectors of said billboards thought that travellers might somehow be lured into godless communism by the ceaseless fields of feed corn and alfalfa. Maybe rural denizens require constant reminders of America’s greatness? I can’t say that I blame our country brethren for falling from the lap of patriotism. George Bush tells me that our freedom is a precious gift which the terrorists resent, but after a couple of hours of A.M. talk radio, I kinda hate America too. There’s no telling what an uninterupted stream of that shit would do to a man.
Though we were given a good warning of the dangers of rural living during a refilling stop at Boomer’s Gas Station and Fireworks Store (of course). During the ringing of our salty treats and refreshing beverages, we were approached by a unique sort of man. You the know type: big goofy grin, loud voice, and an unwavering belief that all the citizens of the world were just as fascinated by stupid crap as he is. He’s that guy that you always see in whatever establishment who knows way too much about the private lives of the employees. Yup, it’s that guy whose entire day consists of hanging out at the Gas n’ Sip, or where ever. (Boomer’s, in this paticular case.) Well, he wandered over to us to show us the world’s most incredible invention: a pencil holder in the shape of a naked man on all fours. Guess where the pencil goes? (His butt, silly!) As an added attraction, when a pencil is inserted into the offered receptacle, the figure raises his head and emits one of twelve hilarious moans, screams, or phrases. Thankfully our paint-huffing new friend was willing to repeatedly shove the pencil into the figure’s ass enough times for us to experience each and every sound clip, each time saying ‘Isn’t that heelarious!?’ Against all better judgement, we were forced to agree that yes, simulated anal rape via a pencil is indeed comedy gold. K ushered me out the door before I could offer the suggestion of moans of pleasure or whispered bon mots like ‘give it all to me, daddy’ or ‘hot damn that’s good!’
The road as always, stretched on before us, and it certainly wasn’t going to drive itself now was it??
To be honest, most of the trip was as exciting as a slow-motion replay of glaciers fucking. Needless to say, I was rock hard from Sandusky to St. Louis. Upon reflection, that may have been due to the misguided application of ‘climax control creme’ which I had purchased for 75 cents from a truckstop restroom, so let’s not count that as a glowing endorsement. As much as I’d like to pump up our tedious journey, I will admit that more than anything it was long, boring, and soul-numbingly dull.
But I will take a moment to give glorious thanks and many kudos to the fine staff of the I.H.o.P. off of I-70 in St. Louis. Truly, your pumpkin pancakes and never-ending chicken friend steak gave us the strength to finish up our journey. As to the rest of the Heartland we travelled across I say this:
Shine on you Perkins rest room in which someone delicately shat on the floor a good 4 feet from the toilet! Shine on you Dwight D. Eisenhower rest stop outside of Indianapolis where the flowers bloom and ice cream sits waiting to flow from your Vending Machine heart. Shine on you truck stop French Tickler vending machines! Shine on Valomilk, Red Hot Tiajuana Mamas (300% Hotter!), and Charleston Chews! Shine on Red Pop Faygo and Chocolate Moose Vanilla Energy Shake! Shine on roadside Adult Bookstores! Shine on, shine on, shine on.