So with Dunn at least temporarily behind us, Paul and I once again continued our pursuit of the Sunshine State.
It was now Thursday. Our plan now was to get to Sarasota, unpack the car, and get me registered for classes on Friday. We would then turn right back around Saturday morning and drive back up to Dunn, sleep there for the night, and then drive it back down on Sunday. We would then have a week before classes started, to look for jobs and find a reliable pot dealer.
We briefly considered asking Paul The Stepfather to hop on a Greyhound to Dunn and joyfully revisit the original plan of driving it down to us. Besides the fact that he was delusional and unhappy, he probably had much more important things to do, like making armpit stains in his shirt or grunting. Nothing like an extra 2000 miles that we didn’t have time for and couldn’t afford.
With a little attitude adjustment and a few hits off of a bowl, we were able to put it behind us. We began to focus on brighter days ahead.
We blazed the trail down through North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia…and then, finally, there it was.
“Welcome To Florida, The Sunshine State!”
If you have ever driven to Florida, you are fully aware how exciting it is when you get there, like “Wow! We finally made it! We’re here!” But then you realize that you are a ra-tard, because Florida is longer and more painfully agonizing than watching a State of the Union address that has just interrupted the Real Housewives Finale.
Another slight wrinkle in our plan was emerging. This particular wrinkle happened to be named money. One unplanned night in a motel and 2 extra meals had really set us back. I don’t know what the fuck we were thinking, but we were like MC Hammer broke. I was going to receive a monthly stipend from my Father once I actually started school, but in the meantime we thought that thirty-seven dollars should be sufficient.
And that is when I had Brilliant Idea #1…The Shell Gas Card. My Dad had given me the Gas Card to use for school. Obviously this implied that it was to be used for gas, but this was never actually verbalized, and as I like to say, it’s easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
This was also way before the movie “Reality Bites” came out, so we must have been the Urban Legend upon which they based their story idea.
Finding a Shell station proved to be a challenge. After combing through a phone book, we were able to locate one in the middle of bumfuck Ocala Florida. Brilliant Idea #1 entailed attempting to buy someone’s gas on the card in exchange for his or her cash. We would simply play the sympathy card, explain our broken down truck situation and how we were struggling to make it down to Sarasota and hadn’t eaten in days, etc.
With our plan in place, we sat there, baking in the sun for 2 hours and not a car came by. Not a single solitary one. Another example of our stellar planning was that I had smoked all of my weed.
Just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, a rusted out Camaro with a dog in the back pulled up. Out walked a longhaired shirtless man with skin that boasted a lifetime of sun and most likely hard labor. We were on this guy like gays on Prop 8.
We gave him the whole song and dance, and asked if after he filled up his tank if we could pay for the gas on my card and if he would be kind enough to do us a solid and give us the cash. He looked apprehensive and we assured him this was not a scam, we would pay for the gas first! He could trust us!
He agreed and we fell over ourselves thanking him again and again.
He proceeded to fill his tank to the brim, and Paul and I went in to pay for his gas.
After we paid for the gas, we walked back outside to collect the cash from Chief Long Hair Brown Chest, when we noticed his very large German Shepherd sitting in the front seat of our car.
“OK, we’re all set, it was $25 even. Dude, why’s your dog in our car?”
He started chuckling like a serial killer.
I walked over to my car and the dog barred his teeth and snarled a deep and terrifying growl at me.
“Dude, we had a deal, where’s our money?”
He got in his car and started the engine, still mocking us with his psychotic chuckle. With a loud whistle, his dog jumped through the drivers’ window of my car and ran over and jumped into his backseat. He never spoke an actual word, and just like that, they were gone.
I took a seat on the curb, head in my hands with a terrible stress headache, rocking back and forth bordering on a nervous breakdown. “Paullie, I just can’t take it anymore, I’m gonna fucking snap…” rocking, fetal ball, rocking, fetal ball, rocking.
Paul was providing the same emotional support as if I was in labor and we were waiting for the ambulance to show up.
We had no other option but to wait and try it again. And wait we did. I was a real joy to be around.
Eventually a cop pulled in. We didn’t even care, we asked to buy his gas and told him the whole story. After looking at the stressed out lunatic in front of him, he must have taken pity on Paul and gave us $10. We thanked him a million times and wrote down his address on a piece of paper and swore we would pay him back once we got settled and had some money. But of course we never did. Losers.
We made the last leg of our trip miraculously unscathed, and around 10pm we pulled under the carport of our little ridiculously pink house and began unloading our flea market.