My brother and I woke early, and his father-in-law helped us get ready to go. His mother-in-law packed us a huge bag of snacks, including a giant box of Bazooka Joe bubblegum. Yes, they still make it, yes, it's still awesome, and yes, CSPAN during an election year is still funnier than the comics that come with it. I hoarded a bunch of it and am fiercely chewing some now as I dictate this post to my secretary mmm, nmmmm, mmmmm, nmeenmeenm. She says she can't understand what I am saying, but I'll just keep chewing. Yes, type this. What I am saying right now. Type this. Good job, dear.
Anyway, the three of us (Me, my brother, and his father-in-law. Not the secretary, she wasn't there, she's just here next to me typing this, as I lean back in my recliner and have a mint julep. Don't forget the parenthesis, honey. Good job.) had a big cry, not because we were leaving, but because we would not have time to visit CJ's Butcher Boy Burgers, home of the Pork Burger, and oh, man, I want one of those right now. Consequently, I had a burger every day for the rest of the trip to chase my sorrows.
We picked up another dog for the next leg, the Corgi known as Punkin, who joined her male companion, Goofus, or as my sister-in-law calls him, Roofie. Because a hyper 120-pound dog doesn't mesh well with a cramped Penske truck interior, we gave Roofie the vet-recommended Benadryl dose to calm him for the drive, which was...surprisingly a whole lot of Benadryls. Hope we didn't miss a decimal there. He stayed on the floor, while Punkin rode between us on the seat.
We got back on the road and sped into the Ozarks, which our Penske truck just loved. If you've ever stomped as hard as you can on a completely unyielding surface, you can imagine what trying to hit the accelerator was like every time we had to drive up a rise. Also, when I glanced down at Roofie, he looked like this:
And then we
Ruff...scratch, scratch...so disoriented...I feel as though I drift through clouds of menace. What have they given me?...those pills...they weaken me...destroy my will...I try...to...stand...but nothing...MOVE LEGS!!!...nothing...I look up in confusion, hope for some sign of concern from my human companions, but they just drive...continue to ignore me and drive...and my sister, my fellow species...might as well be on a mountaintop high above me...so high...so, so high...if only I could take her position...consume her...take all that is hers, and remove my hanches from this petty floor, this dirty surface the humans tread upon...destroy Punkin, take her powers, ascend...higher...higher...ruff...scratch, scratch...
noticed rather disconcertedly that there were absolutely no exits anywhere. Down in the Ozark valleys were homesteads, cow pastures, but as to how people reach them, I have no idea. I believe they have their own secret culture down there, and they never leave the places they were born, and then we drove through a tunnel and
What is it, this darkness? The humans drive on, oblivious, as if the entire world hasn't moved, shifted from light to despair, good to total depravity and confusion. Even as I see a light in the distance, I hear the cavernous echoes of Punkin's movement above, shifting her weight on my master in her repose, basking luxuriously in the depths of utter abyssal terror from which I cannot escape.
you can clearly see that we must have hit a million bugs on the way to St. Paul. Do bugs have a sense of self and community? If so, in their own bug way, do they somehow broadcast news reports as we do, using their stealthy, microscopic bug technology just as we use our own digital creations? If so, can you imagine the murder spree they would have to report, just based on the amount of their dead brethen plastered across our windshield? I mean, can you imagine, conversely, if instead of bugs, we hit that many HUMANS with our truck? Our windshied would be opaquely red. After they catch us, the police wouldn't even read us our rights, they would be too busy beating us to death with the butts of their guns while they choked loudly and violently on tears shed at the shocking amorality of our actions. I mean
Despite the return of sunshine, there is no light to be found in my heart. Ruff, bark, scratch, scratch. It is as if I am a flower, battered by an endless tempest, my heart, OH! my heart, stripped bare by the infinite torment, the madness of the chemicals they have given, forced down my throat, my will raped, destroyed, bent against all hope. Still above me she lies, Punkin, Destroyer of Worlds, Bane of the Righteous, Devourer of all Goodness and Joy, Conqueror of Gondor
that is really a lot of bugs. Anyway, we finally made it out of the Hillbilly Alps, and crossed the Arkansas border into a bitter, desertous region known as Missouri. Immediately the terrain changed from tree-lined mountain tops to dry, dirty gulches. The boredom of the terrain definitely carried over into the outlook of the citizens because when my brother and I stopped at a Pizza Hut buffet at some unnamed-town, we were greated with the guffaws and reactions usually afforded movie stars, or the fancy people in England who just got married a few months ago on the television. "Heat wave!" one of the waitresses whispered loudly to her co-worker as she passed our table. Awesome.
At this point, I took over truck-driving duties, and unleashed my fury on the state of Missouri by flooring it until I reached the Iowa border. I'm actually not exaggerating. Flooring the Penske just made it go. The speedometer was broke, but only went to 85 anyway, so we always assumed we probably weren't speeding. Since we only saw about 11 other cars all the way to Kansas City, this wasn't really a problem. Also, I sneezed and missed Harry Truman's hometown, but I was inspired and also slightly weirded out that someone who would be forced with the decision to unleash the first atomic weapon in battle could be born in a town that only seems to now exist because he was born there. Also, can you please explain the above sentence to me? It's kind of confusing. Yes, dear, type all of this. Good.
I burnt an entire tank of gas getting us to Iowa, and the sun began to set. You would think that a bunch of cornfields interspersed with wind farms would be sleep-inducing, but after the tortuous roadways of The Show-Me State (in your defense, Missouri, I have been through your Eastern exterior and found my experience far more stimulating, though not quite as awkward as this sentence implies), the sun-setting on the tree dotted paths between the crops of Iowa felt like a scuba dive through The Great Barrier Reef.
Either that, or I just ate too many cookies and chocolate-vanilla whoopies (yes, Ashleigh, I ate three of them). As the sun began to
What is this strange hell? I die, and yet I live, and again, the same stalk of corn, only the top visible from my truck-floor prison, the same stalk of corn, the same stalk of corn, THE SAME STALK OF CORN. I beg with my mind for them to stop STOP STOP STOP DRIVING!!! STOP DRIVING!!! Can't you see what's happening to me?! I'm sinking through the bottom of the truck to the street! I can feel myself slipping away, all while Punkin, Princess of Darkness, lears down upon me, her obsidian powers palpable, thick waves of blackness forever lapping at the shores of my sanity! I must destroy her! I must take her powers to stop this truck...I must...I CAN MOVE MY NECK!!!! I CAN MOVE MY NECK!!! LIFT, LIFT, LIFT...THERE!!! I CAN LIFT MY HEAD! PUNKIN, with my last breath, I will vanquish you, all your evil, your labyrinthian schemes of villiany, over, forever, the darkness light! Finally, with my jaws, I crush your skull and beseech goodness return to these black skies...goodness...NO! I CAN'T OPEN MY MOUTH! I CAN'T OPEN MY MOUTH!...must...steal...powers...must...osmosis...use...osmosis
There...that's it...I can feel the powers flowing through me...master...it's nice to smell you again...where am I? What is this strange place? Why do I feel as if I can never go home again?
We finally crossed the Minnesota border with heavy appetites. I think we went 300 miles without seeing an exit. I really, really wanted Steak 'n Shake, but no dice, not even snake eyes, cuz that would mean there were two Steak 'n Shakes, and I already told you, there were no Steak 'n Shakes. Finally, we saw a sign for Taco John's. Would you eat at Taco John's? No you wouldn't, jerk! It was a rhetorical question--you're not supposed to answer! We decided to keep going and finally settled on a Hardee's in a town that looked like a Norman Rockwell painting. Thickburger's made us sleepy, so we turned on the Slick Shoes punk-o-rama again, and finally made it to St. Paul at...I can't remember, I tore into the rest of my crack at some point and was in a bit of a sugar frenzy. But we were there, with days of adventure left to come. As we got out of the truck, I looked down at Goofus, who had sat still for most of the ride.
"Dude, are you okay? You look a little frazzled."
He didn't answer, just slinked out of the truck with his tail between his legs and disappeared into the Minnesota night. No, dear, don't put "I said" after the above quotation. They can tell I'm the speaker. Yes, type this, too. Okay, that's enough. Go take your break.