So it’s been a month or so since I rattled anything off. There’s a lot to tell and believe it or not I do intend to write about all of it–specifically some Batty stuff and Halloween stuff that I’ve been hanging on to (yeah, that’s right)–but there’s an epic tale that I’ve got to get off my chest now before I forget all the details. The other day Dan mentioned his recent aquisition of a Slurpee. This was, I’m assuming, a result of a conversation that he had with me the other day that I will try to relay to you to the best of my memory in just a sec. While he lives in the magical land of Colo-RAD-o, where Slurpees rain from the sky, it’s always 70 degrees outside, and the streets are paved with gold, some of us just aren’t that lucky. He can just pop on down to his local 7-11, but for some of us, trying to get our grubby little hands on a Slurpee is an epic quest, rivaling anything that Tolkien himself ever dreamed up. What am I rambling on about? Well, let me explain…
First, let me preface by saying that I recently got a new job waiting tables…just something to tide me over till I get some real income coming in. Anyway, I’m at work the other day and I overhear the following conversation at one of the tables. A brother and sister that looked to be in their 20’s were sitting there and said that they had made their dad watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy and was asking him to explain it to someone else at the table. You have to imagine the following said in the deepest of southern accents:
“You talkin’ about that movie with them hippies that was hiking across country looking for that jewelry? It was crazy. One of ’em was that boy that played Rudy in that football movie. He was kind of sweet on that other one. They was both midgets or something and didn’t wear no shoes. Then, you know that big-lipped sumbitch from Aerosmith? Well, his little girl showed up and she took up with one of them other hippies. She was makin’ horses come up out of this water or something…Then these 2 old men got in this fight. They was slingin’ each other around till one of ’em ended up on the roof and this big bird came and got him. It beat all I ever seen. I couldn’t make heads ner tails of it. All I know was one of ’em was half naked and he was hanging around Rudy and that other little one that Rudy was sweet on and he just kept talkin’ to himself the whole time. They’s all these monsters and midgets and hippies. All they’d do is walk and fight…walk and fight. Beat all I ever seen…”
It went about that like that. Anyway, after work I gave Dan the Man a call as I was driving home and we were talking about this and that and he somehow mentioned Slurpees. Well, my plan was to grab a late dinner as soon as I headed home and got changed out of my work clothes, but all I could think about was Slurpees now (Thanks a lot, btw). The thought of having a nice cherry-red Slurpee crept into my mind like a whispering cancer. Yessss….how nice that would be. I could feel myself get the itch. I was Frodo, twisting that ring around my finger. It was calling me…
What would follow would be an epic quest that would make Frodo and Rudy’s journey look like a hike in the park. I started out stopping off at a couple of gas stations right up the street from work. They were on my way anyway. The first 2 were right across the street from each other. The first one was a bust…so was the second one. Then I went down the street a bit. Found two more somewhat near each other. First one–nothing. Second one…maaaaybe something. I drove a few circles in the parking lot till I looked in the window and saw what appeared to be Slurpees inside, but they were very dark in color. I was preferring a red one–cherry or something, cause that’s the Slurpee flavor of choice–but I was willing to keep an open mind. None of this Pina Colada jazz though. So, I went inside and took a look. They had some crazy flavor that was dark that I don’t remember, and next to it was something called Polar Bear Purple, or some such shit. But you know what, by this point, I’ve put some real time into doing this, and it’s starting to get personal. I’m getting my damn cherry Slurpee, and I’m not settling for less.
Now I should take a second to mention that this is the first Slurpee of any kind that I’ve had in probably close to 10 years. I’ve never gone out looking for them, but I’m pretty sure any other time if I wasn’t looking for one, that you wouldn’t be able to sling a dead cat without hitting a Slurpee machine. Now that I’m on the hunt for one, I got nothing. So far though, I’ve counted something close to 47,000 dispensers of coffee, coming in about 48,000 different flavors. You can get jacked up on caffeine in this town, but if you’re looking for a middle-eastern man to sell you Slurpees and Slim-Jims, well, that must just be the stuff of cartoon fantasies. Also keep in mind that during this whole thing, Dan is still on the phone with me, giving me moral support–as well as the occasional chime-in from the peanut gallery in the back. And by peanut gallery, I mean his wife Michelle.
Anyway, back to the journey. By this point, there’s only one place left to go that exists on the main street that I’m on (Two Notch Road–or as we in town call it, Two Crotch Road–because of all the hookers) before I’ll be forced to hit the highway on the way home. Otherwise, I’m just going out of my way. So, a quick stop later, and I’ve still got jack squat.
Now, we’re on the highway. It was about this time that Dan decided to give me some help as well as a healthy dose of ribbing, reminding me of aaaaaaallllllll the 7-11’s in his neck of the woods and how he can just step outside, and a bikini-clad model will just step out of one and proceed to pass out Slurpees to all those who ask for one. So, he hops online to the 7-11 website to see if there’s one near me because apparently that’s Slurpee-Central. Well, there’s one stinkin’ location. And it’s way on the other side of town, totally out of my way. I haven’t completely ruled out the possibility of heading out there, but at this point it is getting a little bit late and I’ve got to get home so I hold fast to my rule that I’m only going to stop by stores that I would normally pass anyway on my way home.
Well, that rule lasted about 5 more minutes.
Fast forward to me getting off the highway. This is the final stretch. It’s now or never. I hit 2 more places. It’s a bust all around. Then, I start thinking about this place where I THOUGHT I saw one years ago. It’s a little out of my way, but it’s worth a shot. It’s an Exxon station, about 2 miles up the street. At this point, Dan and Michelle are really enjoying themselves, taking turns telling me how incredibly easy it is to get a Slurpee in their neck of the woods, and basically either intentionally or unintentionally reminding me of why CO is the shit, and SC just smells like it. That’s ok. I don’t need them yankees and their high falootin’ city words and ways. Hell, they call soda “pop”, these people. They probably even….WHERE’S MY DAMN SLURPEE ALREADY!!???
Ok, settle down. Here we are. We’re at the Exxon. I pull up, and face my first tangible foe of the night. A dodgy looking guy is standing right in front of the door. I get out of the car, and he says (I swear on my life), “Hello. Welcome to Exxon. Hey man, you got a nickle?” It was like Gandalf facing down the Balrog, except the other way around. Well, not this time, old timer. I buck and weave, and dodge past him. Keep in mind, I’m still on the phone with Dan and Ms. Dan, so I pretend I didn’t hear him. Now I’m sensitive to the plight of the homeless as much as the next guy but this is serious business. Guess what…no dice. Shit! So, I bound out the door, starting to loose all hope. On my way to the car, I hear him call to me again, “Hey man, you got a nickle!?” Yeah, well, “you shall not pass”, my ass…I got a jonesin’ old man. I need a hit!
So, it’s back in the car. This is it. I’ve kind of run out of options. At this point, I’m doubling back to my house. If I take the right turn onto Rosewood Drive which leads to my house, there will be only 2 more gas stations before I turn into my driveway. It has now been a full hour since I left the Shire, and like a wound in my side from a dagger, I feel the throbbing pain of hunger and the pull of the Slurpee. Then I remember something. There’s one more place I could try. It’s a fairly big BP Station, and it wouldn’t take me too far out of my way, just past the turn onto Rosewood. I go there all the time because they have the cheapest gas in town.
So, I start heading that direction. Dan and the missus are rooting for me. And laughing.
I pull up into the parking lot. It’s brightly lit. There’s neon everywhere. I pull up close to the glass doors. I look inside and what do I see?…What appears to be 3 neon Slurpees on the wall…blinking on-and-off, as if to call to me specifically. Directly above them, in giant neon is the word “Froster.” I go into this place all the time but I’ve never noticed any of this. I have no idea what the hell a Froster is, but it’s worth a look…Dare I get my hopes up?
I step out of the car. I walk through the glass doors…I approach the back wall…
SWEET LORD, IT’S SLURPEE HEAVEN! A full wall display, with dancing neon Slurpees and 8 DIFFERENT FLAVORS! I can’t remember them all, but it was something like Coke, Mountain Dew, Orange, Ballistic Berry, Wild Cherry, and a few others. I didn’t want to make a scene, so the whole time I’m excitedly whispering into the phone that after what seems like an epic quest to Mordor and back, I’ve hit the motherload. I select the medium size (something I find I will later have trouble even finishing) and fill ‘er up with Wild Cherry. I approach the counter–the phone still held to my ear. Suddenly the girl at the counter says, “The way you were driving circles in the parking lot, I thought you were going to come in here and rob us.” I tell her I’ve been driving all over town looking for one of these damn things. She just gives me a weird look. At the counter they were selling Cadbury Eggs. So, feeling fortunate, I reward myself by getting one of those too. My first official one of the Easter season. Still feeling fortunate, I also decide to get a lottery ticket. I never buy those, but what the hell. Maybe Wild Cherry will give me some luck. I select one that has a picture of Pac-Man on it. You have 6 chances to scratch off a row. If in the row, it’s nothing but pictures of Pac-Man, you win something. If you see he’s chasing ghosts, you get jack. Well, Pac-Man’s a son of a bitch, let’s put it that way.
But, I had my Slurpee. I headed out to the car and waited till I got in to take my first sip…It was soooo worth it. Memories of walking down to this place called The Pantry near where I grew up all flooded back. It was a convenience store we used to go to to get Slurpees and Coke’s in a bottle when I was a kid. But, that’s neither here nor there.
Then I start thinking. Yeah this makes for a good story and blog post, but I gotta have some kind of photo evidence. I tell Dan I want to go back inside and take a picture of the Slurpee display. But there’s a problem. There are now a couple of girls in there getting some Slurpees of their own. Not only have I totally weirded out the people who work there, but if I go in snapping pictures now, I’m going to look like some kind of Slurpee-perv. Like this is going to go up on some website called Collegegirlscoveredinballisticberry.com or something. So I wait for them to leave. With Dan cheering me on, I hang up with him (I’m using my phone to take the pic), and bravely head back inside. We’ve made it to Mordor, now I just gotta throw the ring in.
I slyly stroll past the counter and walk up to the thing. I hold out my camera, and quickly snap off this:
No sooner than it saves to my phone, then I hear “Sir!…Sir!…” Shit! It’s coming from the counter. The jig is up! I don’t know why, but for some reason I feel like I’m in serious trouble. I’ve spent the last hour in a Slurpee-delerium…a Slurperium if you will…and I just get real paranoid. I don’t know why they’re calling me, or what kind of trouble I’m in, but I bolt. I walk briskly to the two sliding glass doors, all the while hearing, “Sir! Sir!” from behind me. I don’t turn back. I’m in the home stretch. I get to the doors, hoping they’ll open and “WHACK!” I walk right into them!
Oh God! Howawkwardhowawkwardhowaward….
Justopen…justopen…justopen…..”Sir! Sir! Stop!”
They open and I bolt like a bat out of hell. I run to my car, jump in, and peel outta there. I call Dan right back, laughing like a madman. Sauron is defeated. I win.
If you don’t believe any of this, you can ask Dan the Man himself.
So that’s that. Oh, but how could I finish the story without showing you…this! My Precioussssssss!
Next up…we review the new Friday the 13th…