Myrtle Beach Part 1

<p>Myrtle Beach Part 1</p><p>    The inaugural post, my first, this is the big one, the moment that I have been hyping all week long and if I don’t deliver most of you probably won’t come back to see what else I have. Unless you're my grandma, Thank you, Nana, I know you are proud of me, now you should probably stop reading. <br />    The Wanderer’s Path was conceptualized by a friend of mine, great musician and member of the band Devil’s Creek Special, Nick Carr. The concept was simple, I apparently have an excess of absolutely ridiculous stories, drunken, sober, Marine Corps, dating, just about anything. He felt that I should find a way to share them to the masses in all their gory, messy, and most likely awkwardly embarrassing detail. Essentially, what you are looking at is stories by a storyteller. There won’t be any heady theoretical talk or philosophical musings. I won’t be worrying about following some narrative arc or utilizing metaphor or plot devices, I will be trying to communicate these stories as if you were here with me sitting in the bar stool beside me. I’ll try to keep this real, relatable, and in the moment. Enjoy. <br />    A few months back, I headed down to Myrtle Beach for my daughter’s cheer competition. Not a bad drive, right about seven and a half hours. I figured I could work all day Friday and leave right after work at five or so o’clock and be fine to drive. A few people said I was being crazy, they said I would get tired driving, I should just take the day off. Of course, in truly belligerent Marine fashion, I refused all advice. I made a plan, and as the week progressed, I kept planning to do some laundry and pack so I could leave straight from work and not have to have to drive all night….Yeah, you see where this is going, huh? I failed miserably at the very first part of my plan, turns out that would be the story of the weekend. <br />    I got off work on Friday and headed home to pack and load the car. I had spectacularly managed to get absolutely nothing done throughout the week, save for getting my moneys worth from my Netflix membership. I was sure I could get this done in like, half an hour. In reality, my ADHD conquered me when I got home. I swapped the clothes from the washer to the dryer. But wait you might ask if you didn’t do anything all week how did the clothes get in the washer? Turns out I had managed to get something done throughout the week. I had put my clothes in the washer and consistently restarted it all week long as I walked past it. To prevent my clothes mildewing. I gathered up my shower bag grabbing my Old Spice body wash, and Herbal Essence shampoo and conditioner (Don’t judge, it makes my hair silky and smooth and smells incredible). My phone dinged that annoying default tone text tone. My ex, already down there and in her hotel with the kids, wanted to know how close I was. I sat down on the bed to respond. Its over-soft padding pulled me down and wrapped around me. I figured I was waiting on the dryer I would lay down and wait. I replied, lying. I told her I was in Beckley about two hours from where I really was. I told her that I was making “great time.” She responded simply, “liar.” Tit for tat, we went back and forth, I said how rude it was that she would accuse me of lying. Not even fighting just bickering. <br />    I rested my head on the pillow as I hung up and opened the Facebook app. I started scrolling, eventually finding a video to watch. I swear to god whatever algorithm they use, once they get me started on one I always end up on a rabbit hole watching clips of Brooklyn 9-9, or some guy in the woods building a swimming pool out of mud, clay, and bamboo. It’s like being trapped in a time warp. <br />Two hours later, I left the house around 7:30. My seabag, my laptop rested in the back of the Jeep. An eighteen pack of Michelob Ultra (read: beer flavored water) rested comfortably in the floorboard of the backseat well within reach, their white cans clanged against each other at every bump.<br />    Anyone that has ever ridden with me at night can attest to the fact that when driving at night, I suffer from some rare form of night narcolepsy, Not literally but that is what it seems like. I am not sure what exactly it is but something about headlights in my mirrors and sitting stationary for long periods, Instantly causes me to start dozing off. Now this terrible drive has become an exercise in wakefulness as I try not to die. It gets dark, and it begins. I notice myself drift my head bobbing. I try to turn up the volume on my audible book, no effect. I roll the windows down to let the spring air in, yep you guessed it, no effect. I look at the GPS, I mean surely I’m close enough that I can just pull over and sleep and it won’t be too bad of a drive into Myrtle in the morning. It is 9:30 I have been driving for two of my seven and a half hours. Yeah, this shit isn’t going to work. <br />I make the choice of a desperate man, I grab my an Ultra form the back and pop the tab. As I take my first sip, I am immediately re-energized. (i don’t condone drinking and driving and under no circumstances will I pretend that I’m known for making good decisions). So I start to drink, one beer falls, then a second, then a fifth.<br />    I'm clearing some distance now. My audible book is doing nothing for my wakefulness, “ya know what will help?” I think to myself. Watching Game of Thrones. I switch my phone over to HBOGO, and the episodes start. I had been trying to rewatch the whole series before the season was released (Don’t judge, I’m just utilizing the time given to me effectively). <br />    As my phone drew closer to the iconic Battle of the Bastards, I drew closer to my destination. About an hour outside of Myrtle, I started to drift again. On several occasions, I fell asleep. I am talking full on fucking passed out, coasting to a stop in the middle of the four-lane, only to wake up and hit the gas desperate not to get run over by whatever semi blew past me in the dead of night. It was closing in on three a.m. (So for those of you keeping track at home I am now a half hour behind my target ETA, and my GPS still says I’m an hour away.)<br />    I find a truck stop; it’s located on a lonely stretch of asphalt near Sellers SC. I pulled into that lonesome piece of trucker heaven, driving my car around back I parked near one of the big trucks as if I belonged in my four-door Jeep Patriot. I took my trusty air mattress out of the back, the pump plugs directly into my vehicle. (Yeah, I keep an air mattress in my Jeep. Came in pretty handy, didn’t it?) As I insert the plug, the pump roars to life and quickly begins filling the navy blue air mattress. Sweat starts to roll down my back as I slip the sheet over the mattress; it is three a.m. and still this humid. <br />    To my left, I notice a woman walking towards a nearby truck, great, I should have known this place was infested. Lot lizards. The infestation that runs across America, truck stop prostitutes known for three things, their ability to screw in tight spaces (like the cab of a truck), their complete lack of self-respect, and of course being carriers of almost every disease imaginable. She knocks on the door of the nearby truck, hating off the mirror the heel of her pumps hanging over the edge of the step that would typically lead into the cab, she knocks again. Still no response. I chuckled to myself as she stepped down. Her tiny body showed visible signs of being a user of something, my assumption, probably meth. The skirt she wore would have been revealing if she had a single ounce of meat on her bones. Honestly, I would say she was around 5’4 and ninety-eight pounds. Seeing the light on inside my Jeep, she started my way. I couldn’t help but wonder where she actually sleeps, there isn’t another building for at least a mile. Does she just crawl back into her lot lizard nest and cuddle up with her disease-ridden sister? I finish slipping the sheet on, throw my pillow to the top of the bed and my blanket. I slip my boots off and pull my shirt over my head. As it comes off, I hear her.<br /><br />    “Long Drive?” She asks. Her voice sounds like cigarettes and desperation. <br /><br />    “Not really,” I say making a point not to give her anything to go on to continue her attempted sale. At the end of the day, that’s all a prostitute is, a salesman. They just happen to have a product that never goes out of style, and in most cases, is illegal. <br /><br />    “Oh, so I bet you have plenty of energy to stay up.” She says, forcing as much innocent innuendo as she can into the statement. <br /><br />    “Not really,” I respond. Turning back to my bed and ignoring her, I slide my now visible 1911 off of my hip and place it up towards the head of my bed. In my experience a hooker seeing a gun usually makes them disappear, most of them fear the possibility of the days gone, hooker murder sprees. This one isn’t that bright. <br /><br />    “Aww come on.”<br /><br />    “What.”<br /><br />    “You know.”<br /><br />    “Nope.”<br /><br />    She sighs giggling a little now. Clearly, she believes this to be some kind of game. She slides a little closer and reaches her hand out. It traces its way around my knuckles, sandpaper with enough grit to exfoliate the skin around my hand. I smell her. <br />    Everyone wants to say the smell of America is gunpowder and fourth of July fireworks, or freshly baked apple pie. Please allow me to correct this misconception. America smells like the streets, like this forty-eight-year-old rail thin prostitute. She reeks of sweat and body odor, evident signs of a hard-working professional. It is the smell of the hard-working steel mill worker that didn’t have a chance to shower before he left the plant. <br />I’m yanked back to middle school as I inhale the hastily deployed Love Spell body spray, she utilized to cover the smell of her earlier exploits. I turn to finally look at her, bold blue eye shadow rests on her worn face, clearly hastily reapplied lipstick reaches nearly an inch past her lips. She smiles, thinking she has finally got my attention, at least three teeth are missing. I glance to her arms, looking for the tell-tale signs of needle usage. No track marks. She is obviously a professional, she knows to put the needle between her fingers or toes. Maybe she just smokes the pipe and avoids the needles. I don’t know and honestly couldn’t care less. Her problem, not mine. <br /><br />     “There, that’s a good boy.” She says thinking she has one some victory that I am now of the same mind as her. Deep down, I just know that with there embrue beers I would consider it. <br />    The beers were thankfully underneath the passenger seat, and with the seats folded down, it would take at least ten minutes to get to them.<br /><br />    “Twenty dollars is all you need. I can make your dreams come true. No matter how nasty” she whispers running her tongue through one of the missing tooth slots like a fat slug gliding around a rock.”<br /><br />    “I think you are confused.” I try to say as she steps closer to me. Her breath smells like what I assume cancer smells like. <br />Her near decaying hands wrap around me. I have a new found respect for horror movies that involve re-animated corpses. Maybe she is an extra on the walking dead? That’s somewhere in the south right? No. Damn, that’s in GA perhaps she got lost. She runs her nails up my back, their uneven points grind across my skin, and I try to step back. <br /><br />    “Yeah, the answer’s no.”<br /><br />    “That’s what all the young ones say until they get to know Mama Cherry.”<br /><br />    I swear I couldn’t even make this crap up, I found myself debating whether it could be her real name or not. Mama Cherry. I manage to disentangle myself from the parasitic lizard. This has gone on far enough. <br /><br />    “No, Mama Cherry. You’re not my type. If you get what I’m saying.” Her head tilts to the side as I say it looking me up and down. <br />    “What does that mean. I can be any type you want.” She whispers in what she thinks is a seductive tone. My mind goes into overdrive as she tries to lean in and kiss me. <br /><br />    “I’m gay.”<br /><br />    “That’s ok. I’m sure I can do something you will enjoy, just close your eyes.” At this point if she were selling a product that wouldn’t make my wiener fall off I would have bought it just to get her to leave, she is more persistent than a door-to-door vacuum salesman. <br /><br />    “I’m a ummm… I’m a cop.” I say quickly playing my last card. She pauses<br /><br />   “Yeah, I’m an a-a gay cop. I’m here on duty, setting up a sting, for a truck we believe to be moving illegal narcotics from the Keys.” <br />She backs away. Eyes darting around furiously then narrowing on me. <br /><br />    “You wouldn’t lie to Mama Cherry, would you?” Her shrewdness does her credit.<br /><br />    “Listen, ma’am. This can go one of two ways; one you leave now. Or two I arrest you.”<br /><br />    “I ain’t done nothing,” she says confidently.<br /><br />     “I can bring you in on several charges, and I’m sure even if they don’t stick you will have a warrant or two once we run the name Mama Cherry.” I continue gaining confidence in my new character. “Based on West Virginia law section one dash zero four six point two, I can charge you with solicitation, attempted prostitution, I’m sure I can get possession if I check ur bag. Interfering with a law enforcement investigation.”<br /><br />    “We ain’t in West Virginia,” she says standing up just a little straighter. “You don’t have jurdiction” My head shakes at my own screw up as she steps closer.<br /><br />    “Listen, bitch, this is a federal investigation it goes beyond state lines and jurisdiction.” I grab my phone, “Taskforce six-three. This is Lannister.” I pin my phone to my shoulder against my ear and take a step toward Mama Cherry. “Khaleesi, bring an undercover car around I need a pick up on a detainee. No, not related to the sting, just some grandma turning tricks. No, I didn’t screw her. Jesus. Woman, is it gonna be like this all day?” The middle eastern phone operator is trying to respond to my statement.<br /><br />    “Sir. I am sorry. That is not a service we offer at At&t. Can I have your name and passcode to access your account.”<br /><br />    “Damnit, get a car up here, now!” I shout as I watch her run, clearing the shrubs on the other side of the parking lot. I shrug I guess she didn’t appreciate my joke. <br />I woke up to my ex-wife calling me asking if I had made it. It was 6:15. I groggily informed her what had happened as climbed out of bed, popping the back hatch I scrambled out into the fresh South Carolina morning air. The gravel jabbed into my bare feet like a pile of freaking legos. And the brisk air, well, let’s just say I was in a pair of boxer-briefs and the cold air wasn’t doing me any favors. I Stumbled a few feet away from the Jeep and proceeded to relieve myself into natures latrine. Walking back, I reached into my Jeep for something to rinse the foul taste of morning out of my mouth. I looked around for Mama Cherry; she probably didn’t stop running until she hit Charlotte.<br />     My hand wrapped around a can, and I took a big swig before I even realized what it was. Warm beer water, I spit it all over the place as I start cussing. Here I am, trying to hop from one foot to the other and spewing beer and profanities, in my underwear. I catch a few looks from families pumping gas, clearly on their way down to Myrtle for their family vacation. <br /><br />    “Yeah, good fucking morning,” I mumble as I lift my hand to the car nearest me. The man at the pump looks down, refusing to make eye contact. The kid in the back window waves back giggling at my antics. Good for him at least he isn’t taking life to serious this morning. <br /><br />     I slip my jeans and a t-shirt on and slide into my boots. I grabbed my shower bag and headed into the truck stop, determined to scrub the remnants of Mama Cherry from my body and hit the road. I had to be at the venue by eight. So far, everything has gone exactly to plan. That is, of course, Murphy’s plan. This trip is off to a stellar start. I shake my head anticipating the inevitable clusterfuck that will occur later</p>

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