I was somewhere near Cherokee, North Carolina on the edge of the Smokies when the full bladder discomfort began to take hold.
I had always longed for road trips that would take on the surreal, hallucinogenic characteristics of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But I was always too square for drugs or maybe just lacked the right combination of inner demons and adventurousness that made them an optimal or appealing solution.
Nevertheless, here I was, always, it seemed, on the verge of getting lost in a whirlwind of fresh pork cracklings and banjo music, punishing myself with road food and diet soda on my way to a weekend of what I expected to involve plenty of drinking and copacetic, symbiotic hate-fucking.
Maybe Hunter had it right after all.
* * *
I would be spending a long weekend in the mountains with a lady friend who had moved away but who had stayed in touch and was, presumably, at the end of a very long separation and divorce begun years ago. We didn’t know each other well, but well enough. I was driving five hours; she, two and a half. She wasn’t exactly my type but I was freshly divorced and taking advantage of every situations. Besides, she was fun with a decent sense of humor, had a good body, great smile, and was highly submissive. What’s not to love? Besides, this was my first real getaway post-divorce and the first time I would be spending a long weekend with anyone in that time besides family or friends. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have driven this far, but she was cool. I needed a break from work and home for a few days, and I’d been wanting to get to the mountains anyway. Besides, I had thought, it’s not like there was potential for any clingyness with us being over 8 hours apart.
Needless to say, I was looking forward to a weekend of some hot man-woman shit.
The drive up through Atlanta had been wretched. A midsummer storm had apparently moved up from the Gulf of Mexico and was drenching the whole area with a long, slow rain. It had been raining when I’d hit the road that morning; kept raining as I made my way north; helped more people wreck their cars than I’d ever seen in one day’s travel of any distance; and was turning my 5 hour drive into an 8 hour drive.
The clouds dissipated north of Atlanta and the sun appeared in a clear, blue sky as the roads got steeper and I began climbing into the Appalachian foothills of north Georgia and southwestern North Carolina. This is some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen in this great land of ours. Green pastures and farmland stretching to where the Smokies rose up ahead.
I stopped for gas and got out of the truck to pump it, soaking up the humidity and sunshine and the quiet. The sparse, desolate nature of the truly rural south rivals the desert and uncharted islands in the South Pacific for its sense of isolation, if not distance. There is very little to see apart from landscape for miles. The road even narrowed at this point and while I’m sure traffic up into the mountains picked up over weekends and holidays, right now there wasn’t much.
A lot of people don’t care for this kind of environment for a lot of reasons, some founded, some unfounded. As for myself…I was born in a large midwestern city but grew up in the South and, even as a very young boy fishing with relatives on the shoreline of a very polluted Lake Erie, something always stirred within me when I got near the woods or water, and I knew that was the place for me. So when we moved down south in the mid 70s, I ended up feeling more at home than I did in the city of my birth. I’ve spent a good deal of time over the years fishing, camping, and hunting and will take the isolation and aloneness over big city life every time.
I paid for the gas and some bottled water and beef jerky, and with my mind sufficiently acclimated to the world of perfect quiet and solitude I had re-entered, continued on my way, happy to be making good time, finally.
A few miles, and, you guessed it: traffic stopped yet again and the highway became another makeshift parking lot. A herd of elk were crossing the road and had stopped, blocking traffic. I was somewhat annoyed but always enjoyed seeing elk. I fantasized about elk steaks and tenderloin on the grill to pass the time. After nearly thirty minutes, I was rolling.
Passing through Cherokee, I discovered there was a Harrah’s casino there, and I briefly considered calling an audible and telling her to forget the cabin and just make the drive to the casino if she wanted to see me. Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy blackjack almost as much as sex. On some days, I probably enjoy it more at this point.
But I also like money, and we had already paid for the cabin with no refund possible at this point. With my mind re-calibrated towards hanging out with a cool chick and fucking her all weekend, I left the casino in my rear-view and pressed on.
After a long drive up into the mountains, the road snaking back and forth with hairpin turns, through cuts and dips and long steep runs up the side, I crested and pulled over at an overlook to take in the view. Looking across impossibly green valleys to the next peak, and the next peak, fading into lighter green, then blue, then gray cones in the distance, I was hoping that if some kind of apocalyptic event were due to occur in my lifetime, that it would occur right fucking now, and I would stay here, build a cabin, take a few wives in their late teens and early 20s…
I arrived at the cabin just this side of dusk. As I pulled in, my partner-in-crime–let’s call her, Hannah–was just arriving as well. She was wearing some kind of jumper made of seriously thin material and no bra, hard nipples pushing the thin fabric and the hem of her shorts riding high on her thighs. Not bad for 40. We said hello with a quick makeout session. Squeezing her ass I briefly considered dragging her straight to the bedroom, but I had a cooler full of steaks that needed attention.
It ended up being a good weekend, but not a great one. For we had a houseguest I hadn’t counted on: one Corporal Murphy, recently promoted to Sergeant, bent on enforcing his eponymous law.
And enforce it he did.
First order of business after unpacking was to switch on the hot tub on the deck just outside the loft bedroom, and fuck like wildcats on the bed until the hot tub heated up.
Mission accomplished. So far, so good. Single life was–for lack of a better word–the shit.
As it was getting late and already dark, we were both hungry so I delayed hot tub time and went downstairs to grill the steaks, a little miffed at myself that I was now going to have to tend steaks sizzling and popping delicious fat on the grill outside after dark, at night, in bear country. I wasn’t happy that the grill was one of those kinds you see at state parks, and was fixed in concrete a good distance from the house.
“Why don’t you just cook them on the stove.” Hannah suggested. “I don’t mind.”
“Nah fuck that shit,” I said. “Fuck bears.”
When I went to light the coals, I found no lighter in my pocket. Must’ve left it on the table at home, I thought. No matter, must be some in the cabin. But there were none in the cabin. I checked the stove hoping for gas, but it was electric. And Hannah didn’t have a lighter or matches.
This wasn’t going well.
Priding myself on keeping prepared, I always kept a lighter and matches in the truck. Walking to the truck I remembered that I had thoroughly cleaned out the truck and had not yet replaced everything. Including the lighter and matches.
Still priding myself on being always prepared, though with less conviction, I pulled my “get out of dodge” backpack out of the truck. No lighter, or matches. I did have a Spark Lite fire starter in there, though, and happily carried it back to the grill and got the fire going just as it started raining.
“Improvise,” I thought. Adapt. Overcome. I found some metal skewers for the grill and used some of the heavy duty aluminum foil I brought with me to make a little standing cover for the grill. We sat on the covered porch, watching the grill and listening to the light rain click against the carpet of oak and hickory leaves on the ground.
I had Hannah blow me while while the coals rendered and I listened for bears, occasionally sweeping the area with my billion lumens cop flashlight while trying to remain alert despite the pleasure and exaggerated slurping sounds.
I shot my load and she swallowed like a lady, if a somewhat mischievous one. Then I threw the ribeyes on the grill. They cooked to a fine medium rare quickly, and without incident involving wildlife or otherwise.
We spent the evening in the hot tub and the bed. The rest of the weekend was more of the same, though as it wore on she became increasingly maudlin and depressed.
“When are we going to see each other again?” she asked. “I could get my parents to watch my kids, drive down to see you.”
“Let’s play it by ear,” I said. “This has been fun, but we live too far apart to have any expectations.”
The rest of that day, the last day, involved her mostly pouting. That was when I learned my lesson about traveling for pussy. I was 5 hours from home but it sure seemed longer.
She became affectionate, then withdrew, and continued this soy ops, alternating hot and cold for the rest of the day. She got in bed early, clinging to her side of the bed with her back to me. I said, Fuck it, went downstairs to watch sports.
She eventually came downstairs with a sheet wrapped around her naked body. She was warm again. We fucked on the couch with baseball on tv and a hard rain pounding the metal roof on the other side of the vaulted ceiling.
My spidey sense was tingling now, though, and I wasn’t very into it. Pretty sure we had next level true colors coming out and they were cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Or maybe she was just “going through a tough time.”
At one point I started imagining bears watching us through the windows and jerking themselves off at these hairless creatures with their exaggerated rutting. I turned my head, and snickered. She mistook it for passion.
But that, my friends, is the history of the world, and all good things end with come. I shot my load on her big, beautiful tits, and we went upstairs to bed.
* * *
The final hours the next morning were the apocalypse I’d prayed for on top of the mountain. It was not the apocalypse I needed, but the one I deserved having gone on this weekend long excursion into the heart of female darkness with someone I barely knew.
Whether she was BPD or going through caffeine withdrawal, I have no clue, but if anything was going to motivate me to get my ass in gear and hit that long, painful drive home that I was dreading, this was it. Providence, of a sort.
After a perfunctory hug and an insincere, “Yeah, don’t worry about it”, I jumped in the truck and got the fuck out of there.
Stopping to fill up the tank and resupply with shitty road food at a very large interstate truck stop that also caters to us four wheelers, I contemplated that picturesque route back down the mountain through the sparsely populated rural landscape I loved so much. I thought, Fuck that, and decided to take the slightly longer way back, the one involving an interstate which would allow me to counter the extra distance with speed.
After taking a leak and buying pork skins, jerky, water, a donut, and diet mountain dew, I dropped my jerky and water, and heavily processed poison into the cooler on my passenger seat and walked around to the driver’s side. Across the way I saw a woman being helped up into the cab of an eighteen wheeler by the driver, the door shutting behind them.
Yeah I know. Could’ve been his wife or girlfriend…or daughter for all I care. But my mind drifted back twenty years to my first ‘real’ job in my late 20s, working in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. I had befriended an older, retired cop, not much older at that time than I am now. He had retired a detective and liked to talk occasionally about the crazy shit he’d seen over the years. He knew I was heavily into competitive shooting and was an all-around gun nerd–which he was also–so we got on alright, and as a much younger married man he liked to give me advice.
He’d talk a lot about prostitutes and while he never admitting to any exchanges, such were implied, and he’d talk about how hot and friendly some of them were. “But not the ones down around Arkadelphia,” he would say. It was a road at the northwest edge of the city where there was a truck stop notorious for its hookers.
“I wouldn’t fuck one of them with your dick,” he’d say. “But I guess they’re doing God’s work.”
As I got back into my truck, I remembered those conversations and how he was the first one to ever tell me the joke about how you don’t pay hookers for sex; you pay ’em to leave.
I pulled onto the interstate, heading south, setting up my old school iPod to supply the truck’s sound system with Zeppelin and Jimi. Heavy on the gas pedal, I set the cruise control on 85, anxious to get the fuck out of here and back home, where the women were just as crazy but just a few gallons away.
That was 5 years ago, and I learned that lesson.