Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Beverly Hillbilly Bikers: The Sting

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4never.html
Day 5

Beverly Hillbilly Bikers: The Sting

Day Six

We all had a good night’s sleep. A much needed sleep. I slept like the dead. Day 5 was that damned exhausting. Still, after five days of getting up at 7 AM, it was hard to sleep past nine, especially when life outside the motel was getting started and the blackout curtains didn’t keep out the noise.

I woke up and laid on the bed with my arm over my eyes, pushing my head back into the pillows. Why couldn’t I sleep a little longer?

I got up and went to take a shower, a luxury I hadn’t allowed myself the night before being so damned tired. I put on my bathing suit, a t-shirt and some overalls. I knew we were planning to go to the beach.

I woke up my bro and his wife. By then it was getting on to 10 AM and check out time was 11. We were planning to stay another night and leave the next day, but we’d only paid for one night so we needed to get up to the front office and pay for one more night. I was kind of dreading it after all the commotion we’d caused the night before. Also, we were going to need more towels if we were going to the beach and coming back to take showers before dinner that night.

Bro and I walked out into the court just as our cousin Mikey came out of his room on his way to pay the man as well. Since I’d paid for the other nights in the motels and camping, Bro was paying for the hotel rooms. It was sunny, but overcast and everyone was wearing sunglasses. I felt like I needed to squint against the gloom. It was too bright, even with sunglasses.

When we got to the front office, the little Asian man was checking out another customer, so we stood back and waited. Bro and Mikey were picking through the brochures for all the local “fun” that could be had. Here we discovered that the big building with neon lights that we’d seen on our numerous travels up and down the main road, down to Biloxi and back, was a casino. The two boys were still talking about it when the little Asian man was done with the other customer so I stepped up to the counter, partially dreading a confrontation where the man would ask us to leave.

Frankly, after the night before, I wouldn’t blame him.

I smiled, “Good morning,” cheerful as if the night before hadn’t happened, “I’m in room 109 and need to pay for another night.” I handed him my credit card and continued to smile.

“Okay,” he said back cheerfully, “did you have a nice rest? Everything, okay?”

“Yes, thank you. Is it possible I could get a few more towels?” I was being ultra polite and the guy must not have associated me with the craziness the night before.

“Oh, yes. Just a moment.” He swiped my credit card and put it on the counter, then turned back to a linen closet behind the counter, pulling out three towels and setting them carefully on the counter before pushing them my way. Then the credit card finished processing and he handed me the slip and pen, “Just sign here, please.”

I signed the slip and pushed it back, putting the credit card back in my wallet when he didn’t check the signatures (kind of odd since I was out of state, but wasn’t going to argue since I knew who I was), then picking up the towels, “Thank you very much,” I smiled again.

“No, thank you,” he said with a big smile.

I walked towards the door and waited for the other two to get done so we could talk about getting some breakfast. My bro was next and he walked up to the counter, “’Morning,” he said a little gruffly pulling out his credit card.

The manager looked over the counter with narrowed eyes and a thinned mouth. Bro was not going to be as lucky as I was. The man definitely was going to remember the “crazy round eyes” who’d been causing problems in the parking lot.

“I need to pay for one more night in room 110,” Bro went on when the man didn’t answer him back. Mikey was standing by the counter now, too, and the man was eying them both like he’d just been presented with three day old fish.

The man picked up Bro’s credit card, “Driver’s license please,” he said in a crisp tone. My Bro was a little slow on the uptake, “I need driver’s license,” the man said again, holding Bro’s credit card. Bro finally pulled out his wallet and handed the man his driver’s license. The man looked at the driver’s license, looked at the credit card, looked at Bro with narrowed eyes, looked back at the driver’s license and then the credit card. Finally, he threw the driver’s license on the counter and I watched it skitter across the counter towards Bro who grabbed it before it flew off the other side. Bro had an irritated look on his face, but, really, what did he expect? So, I cleared my throat loudly as if to say, “dude, don’t go there,” and he quietly put his license back in his wallet.

The man swiped his credit card and then threw it on the counter, too, this time to land with a little “click” in the middle. Bro picked it up and stuck it in his wallet, too. The temperature in the room had dropped about 10 degrees and the tension was radiating like electrical currents. The man pushed the slip across the counter with barely concealed reluctance. I guess money was going to win out over general distrust. The great equalizer. As bro was signing the slip, he asked for some more towels as well. The man went to the closet again, pulled the towels out with a jerk and tossed them up on the counter. Bro finished up, took the towels and walked over to where I was.

I opened the office door and stepped out, holding it for Bro to come out and not stand there giving the guy the evil eye. When the door closed, my bro was showing his agitation, “What the hell was that about?” as if he didn’t know.

“Well, dude, what’d ya’ expect?” I said laughingly.

“Well, he didn’t ask you for your driver’s license,” bro said grumpily, adjusting the towels in his arms.

“Well, dude, I don’t have a three day growth of beard that makes me look like a renegade and I didn’t act like some psychopath that just escaped from maximum lock down for the violent, criminally insane.” I couldn’t help laughing, “Besides, it wouldn’t have hurt if you actually smiled,” I teased him, “then again, he would have just taken you for totally schizoid.”

Mikey came out and joined us, but bro was still prickly about the episode, “Did he ask for your driver’s license?”

“No.” Mikey said, trying not to laugh.

“That’s bullshit!” He exclaimed, looking back through the glass doors. I glanced back, too, and noticed the little man was giving us all the evil eye.

Mikey and I started laughing and I grabbed bro by the arm, dragging him back towards the rooms, “Come on! Let’s go get something to eat.”

We met some of the others coming out of their rooms, too. A few of the patrons were standing out on the balcony above and I could hear them talking low about the “crazy white boy.” At least we’d livened up their vacations. Gave them something to talk about.

Everyone decided we’d go down to the IHOP in town and get breakfast before going to the beach. We loaded up in the pickup truck, the younger ones in the back and me driving. When we got there, we had to wait almost a half hour because they didn’t have a seating arrangement for nine people. It was the old IHOP that was the long narrow building with mostly booths and a long counter for people to set at.

We finally got seated, ordered coffee and perused the menu. We were teasing the boys about which one was going to order the “Rooty tooty, fresh and fruity” breakfast. They were insistent that they were too manly for such a breakfast and who the hell came up with that name anyway?

After breakfast, we drove back to the beach area not far from the motel where we’d stopped the night before waiting for everyone. The whole crew bailed out of the back and ran down to the beach like they were kids finally let out of school. When I got down to the beach, I carefully took of my t-shirt, overalls and keds, laying them on a towel so they wouldn’t get too much sand in them, then I turned at really took a good look at the water.

The sky was getting more overcast and it made the water look even more green and murky than it should have. Down by the edge of the water, you could see the black smudgy streaks of oil that was obviously from the off shore rigs. The pier to the right of us went out about a mile into the water in a gentle arch that ended with it being at least twenty feet above the water. Uncle Lou was busy regaling the others about the shark he once caught off the end of the pier.

I was reluctant to go into the water because it didn’t look all that clean. I’d been swimming in the Atlantic and in the Pacific. I’d swam in the gulf off of Corpus Christi as a child, but this didn’t look the same. There were barely any waves coming in. It was almost like a lake. Uncle Lou mentioned that this area was protected by a very long break about fifteen miles out that kept the water pretty calm. Still, it looked gritty and dirty. Plus, the smell of sulphur, salt and oil was kind of tangy in the air. The same smell that I’d smelled the night before that seemed to stick in the back of my throat. This didn’t seem like the “ocean” that I was familiar with.

Everyone else went down to the water and ran in laughing. Then they went further and further and the water continued to only be about knee high. The tide was out. They yelled for me to come on and get in the water while they all splashed around. Except aunt Jeanie who was walking along the beach looking for sea shells. I walked down into the water and kept walking about fifteen feet from the shore where the others were. The water was warm and calm, the sand underneath almost solid.

Everyone started shoving each other and splashing each other, laughing and trying to see who was going to go down first. Not that there was any danger of getting really wet. Finally, I just sat down in the water and it only came up to my chest. I turned over and crawled out about another ten feet and it still didn’t go up any further. Swimming was out of the question. Right about then, it started raining. Not hard, just steady drops. My cousin Candy wanted to go back to the hotel.

“Why?” Uncle Lou asked. “It’s just water and you’re already wet.”

“What if it starts lightening?” She asked with trepidation looking up at the sky.

“Well, then we might want to get out of the water, but it’s not lightening, so just enjoy it.” He leaned back in the water and his pot belly stuck up a bit above the water line.

Mikey and bro decided they were going to walk out as far as they could and see how far they could go before the water began to rise. Mikey’s wife Sandra was setting on the beach. She didn’t want to get in the gritty water. About thirty minutes later the rain had stopped and Mikey and Bro came back, “We walked almost to the end of the pier and the water didn’t get above our knees.” Mikey was a little disgusted. I think that we were all imagining swimming in the “ocean” not piddling in two feet of water.

Robert pointed up to the lone shack on the beach, “Hey, that guy is renting some floats. Anybody want to go in with me and rent one? It’s about twenty bucks for an hour.”

“I’m in,” Mikey said and they waded to the shore. I stood up, “I think I’m going to lay on the beach now that the rain has stopped.” I waded to shore, too and picked through the towels until I found a relatively dry one to lay out. I spread my clothes out, too so they would dry. It might have rained, but it was still 90 in the shade so I figured they’d dry out pretty quick.

Mikey and Robert rented this giant float thing that looked like a giant tri-cycle with four foot high and two feet wide plastic tires that had “paddles” on them. They took turns tooling around with their wives. Uncle Lou and Aunt Jeanie said they were going to walk across the road to the little souvenir shop to look for some better sea shells.

I got back in the water right before the hour for the float rental was up. Candy and Sandra had taken it out and were almost thirty feet from the shore. Both were paddling hard, but were obviously tired. They started yelling, “Hey! Come help us get this thing back in!”

Mikey and I, bro and Mer waded out to where the float was and started pushing them back into the shore. I don’t know why, but we all started pushing it as fast as we could, running and splashing behind the float, laughing as Sandra and Candy complained about it being uneven and almost tipping them out when we hit one of the tiny waves present. Just then I felt a stinging sensation on my right leg like I’d just brushed up against some stinging nettle plants. At the same time, Bro started comically wind-milling his arms and legs and went down with a big splash, mouth wide open in laughter and sucking in some of the nasty sea water.

I was laughing hard, but had stopped pushing the tri-cycle, looking down at my leg and over at bro who was wallowing like beached whale in the two feet of water, “Dude,” I gasped between laughter, “are you okay?” He was laughing and gagging on the water at the same time, “Don’t drown ‘cause I don’t think anyone here is going to volunteer for CPR duty, ‘cept your wife and she might not even do it.”

Right then I saw Mikey stop, his legs straight together like he’d been lassoed from behind. He started going over face first, “Son of a bitch! Ouch! Shit!”

“Dude, what the…” just as I saw a big ass jelly fish swimming as hard as it could away from us.

“Crap!” Mikey said again, looking down at his legs.

Robert had kept going with the trike and turned back to see what was going on. “Hey! Are you alright?” He waded back to us.

“I think we just got stung by a jelly fish!” I was grabbing bro by the arm and lifting him up, “Did you get stung?”

“No,” he coughed out.

I let go of him and waded to Mikey. “How bad is it?”

He was still cursing under his breath, “Hurts like a mother!”

“Come on! Let’s get out of the water. Salt water can’t be good for it.” I took his arm and Robert took the other helping him limp back to shore.

Sandra ran over to him, “Mikey, what’s wrong?” She took the arm I was holding and helped him to go sit on a towel on the beach.

“He got stung by jelly fish. Me, too.” I was wondering how many times I was going to have to say that.

Robert was standing over Mikey with his hands on his hips, “Dude, you know what’s good for a jelly fish sting?”

Mikey jerked his head up, “Oh, hell no, you are not pissing on my leg! If anyone’s pissing on my leg it’ll be me and I’m not planning on pissing on anything!”

We all started laughing, “Dude, let me see.” I squatted down by his legs and noticed that big red welts like rope burns were encircling both of his legs, at least three on each, “That doesn’t look good. You ever been stung by a jelly fish before?”

“No,” he said irritably.

“Okay, then, Robert and Bill, go take that stupid trike back to the guy. Let’s get packed up and get back to the motel. We’ll need to put something on that. Where’s Uncle Lou and Aunt Jeanie?” I asked, picking up my own stuff.

“They’re across the street still,” Candy replied.

“Okay, let’s get rounded up and headed out.” I grabbed the remaining towels and started walking towards the truck. Crap! We were all wet and my seats were cloth. This poor truck was only two weeks old and it was already getting a work over.

Bro and Robert helped Mikey in the back of the truck, Sandra jumped in the back with Mikey and Candy and Mer in the front with me, trying to keep our wet butts on the towels. I did a quick U turn and drove over to the souvenir shop where Candy jumped out to get her Mom and Dad. It took them about ten minutes to get out there. I kept looking in the rearview mirror and I could see Mikey looking more and more pale as the minutes went by, “Criminently! How damn long does this take?”

Right about then they came out and we had to explain all over again what happened at the shore. We drove back to the motel. My leg was still stinging but didn’t have any welts like Mikey so I figured he must be really hurting about now. We piled out of the truck, Robert helping Mikey to his room, the rest of us crowding around the door.

“Dude, you wanna go to the hospital?” I asked. As pale as he was I was thinking he either got a mega dose or was having an allergic reaction.

“No, I’ll be fine. I just wanna lay down and then maybe get a shower,” he said with his teeth gritted.

“Are you sure? You don’t look so good.” The men in my family had a tendency to be too manly for their own good.

“No, I’ll be fine.” He was laid out on top of the newly made beds. The maid had been in while we were out.

“Okay, let me check the first aid kit and see if we have anything to use,” which I highly doubted. Most of it was for cuts and burns. I don’t think they were expecting jelly fish stings when they put it together.

I walked back to my room with Mer and Bro close behind, “Mer, find the yellow pages. Let’s look for a pharmacy around here. I’m sure there must be some over the counter stuff we could buy. We can’t be the first people to get stung by a jelly fish down here.”

We got the yellow pages and I made a quick call to the closest pharmacy, asking for a pharmacist who then told me there was definitely some over the counter stuff we could buy. Also, people tended to use a homegrown remedy of meat tenderizer mixed with water until it created a paste. The locals swore that it would take the sting away. The pharmacist indicated that they had some of that available as well.

Mer and I jumped in the truck and drove down to the pharmacy, looking like mermaid rejects after a three day binge. Bad hair, smelled like concentrated ocean water and our skin was oily from the crap floating on the water. I went through the pharmacy quickly, grabbing some benedryl, the anti-sting spray and some meat tenderizer, just in case. We paid and were out the door in about ten minutes on our way back to the motel.

When I drove up, Mikey’s door was open and the rest of the family was milling around outside. I jumped out of the truck and Aunt Jeanie came over, very agitated, “Where have you been? We need the truck. Mikey needs to go to the hospital.”

“What? Okay, just a second, let me get in there,” I pushed my way past the rest of them to go into the room.

Sandra was standing near the door, “He’s dying! He’s dying! We gotta go to the hospital!”

“Okay, okay, calm down. Let me get in there,” I went into the dim room. The only light was coming from the open door since the black out curtains were still pulled tight. Mikey was laying on the bed with his head on the pillow, his hands clutched across his stomach and his legs straight out, pale and sweaty looking like one of those statues you see on top of medieval sarcophagi. His freckles stood out against his face, “Dude? You alright? You’re wife says you’re dying.”

He opened his eyes and squinted at me, “I’m not dying, for God’s sake!”

Sandra was now weeping quietly like she was on a deathwatch, “He needs to go to the hospital!”

Mikey just groaned, “I don’t need a hospital!”

“What happened?” I asked. I was pulling stuff out of the bag from the pharmacy.

“I threw up,” he said, swallowing like even the words might make him do it again.

“Then he passed out in the shower,” Sandra said, blowing her nose on some tissue.

I looked back at Mikey, “I didn’t pass out,” he said irritably, “I just felt dizzy for a minute.”

“He needs to go to the hospital!” Sandra was insistent and a few other voices behind me were insisting the same. Funny now they were all about going to the damned hospital after that other freaking incident a few days ago.

“I’m not going to the hospital! Besides, I don’t have any insurance,” That’s right, Mikey was a private contractor and didn’t carry any health insurance. Go figure.

I looked down at his legs as I finished getting things out of the bag, “Dude, are you sure? Be kind of a shame after all this to get down to Mississippi and die from anaphylactic shock, don’t you think?”

“No, I’m feeling better already. Just my legs are stinging,” he said with a grimace.

“Okay, your call since you’re still conscience, but we reserve the right to change your mind if you pass out.” I laughed. I told Sandra to get him some water and gave him a couple of benedryl, then sprayed his legs with the anti-sting stuff which stung at first because it had an alcohol base. Who comes up with these brilliant formulas anyway?

I sprayed my leg, too, “Okay. I think everyone needs a little rest now and then we’ll see what happens. Sandra, just knock on the door if he doesn’t feel any better and we’ll find the local hospital.” Mikey looked like he was about to argue, “Dude, don’t even. Insurance or not, we’re not going to let you die in BFE.”

I shooed everyone out of the room and we all went back to our own. I felt like lying down for a little bit, too. We all took a nap (who knew our day off the road was going to be so exhausting?). When we got up and got around to take showers and look for food, the sun was going down. Bro said that Robert and Candy, Lou and Jeanie were going to stay in and just grab sandwiches.

“Well, we’re down by the shore and I want some seafood. Anybody else?” I looked around and you’d think I’d just suggested eating uncooked bugs. Mer was scrunching up her face and wrinkling her nose.

“What? I’m the only one that eats seafood?” Apparently.

It was a nice night and we decided we would ride our bikes to look for a restaurant. I convinced bro and Mer that we could probably find a place that served seafood and burgers down here so we could do both. Bro knocked on Mikey’s door and he was feeling much better. He insisted that he and Sandra were up for a short ride to get some food.

We all got dressed and I stuck my riding boots on. They went half way up my calf and I could feel the front rubbing against my sting a little. It wasn’t painful, just annoying. I imagined Mikey would feel like hell. Still, no one wanted to sit around the hotel rooms for the last night. We drove down the road until I saw a little shack by the docks that said something like “Molly’s Seafood” with an advertisement for “surf and turf”. I figured they’d have something for the rest of the heathens to eat along with my seafood.

We went inside and it was like every other cheap seafood place I’d ever been to decorated with fake models of ships, pieces of old two inch diameter rope, some pulleys, nets and dried up star fish. Just the kind of place to serve “real” seafood.

We sat down and got the menus. The other four were looking at hamburgers and chicken fried steak, though Mikey decided on catfish. I ordered a half dozen raw oysters on a half shell with some steamed “u peel’em” shrimp as the main order. Everybody was making gagging noises and poking fun.

The oysters came out first and I doctored up three of them with cocktail sauce and lemon juice before sliding them down my throat while Bro made disgusting noises and comments about raw meet and boogers. Brothers can be disgusting that way.

The main dishes came out and I sat the oysters to the side. The steamed shrimp was in a basket covered by another basket. When I lifted the lid off, we all got a surprise as I found “u peel’em” shrimp Mississippi style meant they were cooked whole, including the heads and their little eyes were staring up at me from the basket. Immediately, the whole table was saying, “Eewww! How can you eat that!” “That looks like a bunch of bugs or something.” Accompanied by appropriate shudders.

I just laughed and decided to play it up, “It’s nothing,” I grabbed a shrimp out of the basket, “You just pop their little heads off,” which I did and tossed it into the other basket, “Pop the tail off,” again, following suit, “Peel off the legs,” the shell crunched sufficiently to send shudders through the heathens, “And, voila!” I tossed it into my mouth. “Uuuhhhmmm…that is good!”

I thought one or two of them were going to gag.

We laughed and talked about the trip and the day. Mikey said his legs hurt a little but he’d sprayed them again and they didn’t feel too bad. When we were about done eating, Mikey was spying the three oysters left on the plate with melting ice, “Why do people eat those things?”

“Besides they taste good?” Everyone let out a big, “Ugghh and Eeeww!” I knew Mikey and Sandra hadn’t been married but five years so I decided to tease him, “Well, some people say they’re an aphrodisiac.”

“For real?” He looked skeptical.

“Yeah, for real. You wanna try one? I’ll fix it up for you.” I felt the devil inside me coming out to play. Raw oysters weren’t for everyone, but I figured a little broadening of the horizons wouldn’t hurt.

“Dude, don’t do it!” My brother exclaimed, “that’s like eating a raw slice of cow liver or something!”

I laughed, “Come on! Their good for your sex life!” Like they needed any help, but I knew the “double dog dare you” thing would work on “Mr. Super Manly”. Kind of like that “Back to the Future” movie, “What’s the matter? Are you…chicken?”

“Okay. I’ll try one.” Mikey said without much more thought. The other three were grossing out still, “What? Doesn’t hurt to try one.”

“That’s the ticket. Let me fix this up for you and show you how it’s done,” I fixed two oysters, one for him and one for me, with cocktail sauce on his and just lemon juice on mine. I made sure the oyster was free from the shell and handed him his. “Now, what you do is, don’t chew it. Just slide it in your mouth, tip your head back and swallow, like this.” And I proceeded to do as I instructed.

Mikey put the oyster up by his mouth and made a little “O” with his lips. I’m almost spit the oyster back out, but quickly swallowed it, “Dude, you’re gonna have to open your mouth further than that. Come on! We all know you can!”

Everybody was staring at him at the table and bro continued to make rude noises, “Mooooooo!” followed by a hacking sound. I was sitting next to him so I reached over and punched him in the shoulder, “Knock it off!”

Mikey was laughing and he almost couldn’t put it in his mouth, “Come on! Just tip it in and swallow! It tastes better when it’s cold.” I egged him on.

After about three times putting it up by his mouth, he finally opened wide enough to get it in. Then, he just held it there.

Even I wouldn’t do that, “Dude, just swallow it, don’t hold it in there!”

“Mooooo! Hack, hack,” bro was still at it and Mer was making gagging noises (although, I think hers were for real). Mikey had his cheeks all pushed out like he was ready to spew.

I tipped my head back, “Come on! Like this. Tip your head back and swallow.”

I could see his throat working like he was going to swallow it, but it just wouldn’t go down. Finally, he swallowed with a big gulp and the rest of the table went into paroxysms of gagging, choking and laughing. The rest of the restaurant was staring at us, “Knock it off you morons!” I looked over at Mikey, “How’d that taste?” After five minutes of holding it in his mouth, I was thinking it might even turn me off the taste.

“Not bad. Kind of salty and fishy,” I think Mikey was trying to be all manly and act like it didn’t bother him.

“Dude, you should have swallowed faster. Most people don’t hold it in their mouths that long,” I laughed and set back in the chair.

“Are you gonna eat that one?” Mikey pointed to the last oyster on the plate.

Actually, I wasn’t because the damn thing was twice as big as the other oysters and even I didn’t think I could swallow it without choking a little. Still, I figured if he wanted it, he could have it, “Nope. You want it?”

“Yeah,” he said, pulling the plate towards him, “I’ll fix it up this time.”

“Are you sure? It’s kind of big. You wanna cut it in half?”

The way he acted, you’d think I’d asked him if he was really a man, “No way! I’ll eat it just like this.” He proceeded to fix it up like I had then we went through the whole debacle again with Mikey having to make himself open his mouth far enough to get it in and then trying to swallow it while bro made gagging and cow noises and Mer slapped Bro in the back of the head.

“Ow! What’d ya’ do that for?” He asked rubbing his head.

Mikey looked a little green around the gills at that point, “Dude, hurry up and swallow it!”

His cheeks were all puffy again like he was going to spew, “Rar rant” he said around the oyster in his mouth. Bro made another covert “moo” sound and Mikey started laughing, then he started gagging, loudly. The,n all of a sudden, he hacked the damned oyster up in his napkin.

The whole table erupted into “Ewwws” and gagging noises. I noticed then that the other restaurant patriots were staring at our table. “Check please!” I raised my hand as the waitress went by while grabbing my wallet out with the other. I think we’d entertained everyone enough for the evening. With the whole damned restaurant staring at us, it felt like it took an eternity for the waitress to get back with my card.

We stumbled out of the restaurant laughing, Bro still harassing Mikey about the oyster when all of sudden, Mikey made a run for the dock, hanging over the side of the railing and throwing up the rest of his dinner. Oysters after jellyfish sting was probably not a good idea.

After a few minutes of sitting on the dock, I asked Mikey if he wanted to go back to the motel. “No way! It’s nice out, let’s ride.”

I was hesitant to do so, but I figured what the hell. It was Wednesday night in Podunkville and no one was really out. If he got all woozie we could pull over. So we started cruising down the road at a nice even speed, enjoying the summer breeze. The wind was blowing back out to the ocean so the overweening smell of stagnant gulf water wasn’t as prevalent as the night before. As we turned back from the edge of Biloxi again, Bro’s bike started choking and cutting out.

We stopped at a light, “Dude, what’s up?” Mikey asked him over the coughing and spitting of Intruder.

“Damned spark plug again and I don’t have one on me. I think there’s an Advanced Auto or something up the road.” He yelled back, turning on his blinker and pointing.

We rode up to the shop and it was open until 10pm. Bro said he needed a deep socket, specified size and specified spark plug. I ran inside and asked the guy behind the counter where I could get both of these items. The guy was about 20 if he was a day with just enough scruffy stuff on his face to indicate he’d passed puberty, “What kind of bike is it?”

“Suzuki Intruder. I need the deep socket to get down inside the head.” I explained as he pulled out a book and started flipping through it.

“According to the book you need this other spark plug.” He flipped it on the counter and pointed it out to me.

“Usually, yeah, but we’re running rich in the carbs with no baffles in the pipes and need a hotter plug, so, if you wouldn’t mind getting me this size,” I gave him the size again.

He just kept looking at me like I was crazy or maybe I was a woman and wouldn’t know any better, “You should still run the size they recommend.”

“What? Are you a motorcycle mechanic? I just need this spark plug if you don’t mind, I’d appreciate it.” I was laughing a little. I mean, did this guy think he was Jesse Freaking James?

He turned away a little disgusted and put the book down, calling for his supervisor to come over. He explained what he told me to his supervisor expecting him to tell me the same thing. At this point I was getting annoyed. The supervisor came over with the book, but I cut him off before he could go into his spiel to the “little lady” and explained to him what I told the other guy.

“You know you could burn things up if you run it too hot,” he said standing there with his thumb in his belt loop. Any second I was expecting him to spit out a wad of chaw.

“Yeah, I know, that’s why we’re only running one size up and not two. So, do you have the size I need or not?” Can you believe I’m arguing with some clowns behind a counter in BFE Mississippi at 9:30 at night about the right size of a spark plug? Just sell it to me already! Geesh!

The supervisor turned to get the spark plugs off the shelf behind him and the young, cocky know it all came over to the cash register, “You know, if you’d been riding a Harley this wouldn’t have happened.”

This dude was getting more and more hysterical by the moment. Actually, I could feel myself getting a little pissed off. Who the hell were these guys anyway, the Pep Boys? “Dude, if we’d been riding Harleys we probably wouldn’t have made it this far.” Mer was standing behind me and let out a little guffaw.

Not that I had anything against Harleys and wouldn’t mind owning one, one day. But the nerve of this little punk giving me shit when I was trying to buy something from them was really irritating me. That and I’d had just about enough crap out of the “newly minted” Harley owners who routinely gave us shit about riding Jap bikes as if they’d just joined an exclusive club of “real riders”. Me, I always just pointed to the oil leaks underneath the bikes and walked off. People.

“Well, I own a Harley and I don’t have those problems.” He was still being cocky, “You should junk those bikes and buy one.”

“Really?” Now he was really irritating me. I looked around the shop and then looked at him, “So, how’d you afford this bike anyway? You live with your mom?” Mer snickered again and the guy’s face got redder.

“No, I don’t live with my mom,” he rang up the spark plugs and the socket, “That’ll be 12.99. I just don’t have those problems with a Harley.”

I gave him my credit card and smiled, “Well, son,” and yes, I meant that just as condescending as it sounded, “when you ride your Harley 1200 miles non stop instead of up and down the boulevard here, you call me and tell me all about how your bike is doing.” I winked at him and signed the slip, taking the card and merchandise out to my bro where Mikey was waiting with him. Mer and I were laughing as we went out the door. Can you believe the nerve of some people?

“What took you so long?” He asked with a look of agitation. That just set Mer and I off on another peel of laughter. We explained, laughing still and everyone looked inside, seeing the boy behind the counter staring at us between the bars on the window with his arms crossed. See, we weren’t the only “ignorant ass bikers” on the planet.

Bro changed the plug and we drove back to the motel. His bike was still backfiring once in awhile. It was still getting too much gas in the carbs. It took us twice as long to get back to the motel as it did to drive down to Biloxi. This was definitely not looking good.

We said good night and went to our rooms. Tomorrow morning it was back to the road.

I for one was ready to go. This stopping off point had not been exactly as I thought it would be. Everyone had talked up Gulf Port like it was a cool place to hang at the beach. The only thing worth seeing in town had been the ante-bellum summer homes on the shore. Other than that, I didn’t see much to recommend the place and I certainly hadn’t experienced any fantastic southern hospitality. As a matter of fact, I kept thinking that I should have sided with Bro and Mikey and insisted on going on over to Pensacola or stopping down in New Orleans. At least I’d had something to talk about besides getting stung by a jelly fish, pissing off a motel manager, throwing up oysters and getting talked down to by some jackass at an auto parts store in BFE Mississippi.

What a vacation.

Six days. Five more to go.

Give me strength, O’ Lord, to make it through these travails and not be thrown into prison for murder with malice afore thought.


At least I could claim temporary insanity when I did it.


Scott from Oregon said...

I see how it is...

When you are bedazzled by brilliance.....

Change the subject....

Kat said...

Don't worry Scott, by the end of this week, I'll have a new post up about a study on "traditional values" and different societies.

In particular, you will probably freak when I show you the study that indicates 91% people believe in God (taken from 65 cultures and hundreds of thousands of respondents). I'm afraid you won't get your wish any time soon although, the study does show some cultures that would be more rational for your liking.

Norways and Sweden top the list.

However, you will understand the problem when I put out the data. mainly, the study shows that, shockingly, (not really), cultures with deep rooted faith and traditions have more children than "rational" societies which means that faith/traditions are going to remain prevalent for a long, long time.

Data and graphs to follow.

Scott from Oregon said...

I think 'believing in 'God'' is a rational response to THE MYSTERY. Even you, dearest Kat, are led there by the extraordinary complexities of life on Earth. I also think believing in a Book, written by man way before man had much of a clue, is irrational, silly, uneducated, and dangerous to the future of humanity.

It is high time 'religion' caught up to man's own consciousness. As opposed to forcing one's own consciousness into enormous contortions of logic such as you have done, to have it/them make any sense.....

Kat said...

So...which part do you object to? Suffer the children unto me? Love Thy neighbor? Turn the other cheek? Rebel against corruption (ie, why the pharisees hated him in the first place) throw the money lenders out of the temple? Fight against wickedness and evil?
Feed the hungry? Have humility, compassion and mercy?

Surely you don't believe that man would have come to this concept without other men creating the idea and writing it down for generations to know and learn?

Or maybe the part where the guy was scourged and hung on a cross for his beliefs? Or just the part where we arose from the grave?

Or, just the old testament where ancient man tried to understand the workings of the universe, of the stars and the planet that they could see and had a vague understanding of through ancient astrology?

Maybe that ancient man attributed his luck or misfortune to a God who gave neither, yet they prayed to Him for strength and courage in their darker moments and had comfort and the ability to go on, believing in something greater?

Do I think that God's hand came down and knocked down the walls of Jericho? No. But I believe Joshua prayed for guidance and with good military strategy was able to bring it down.

Maybe I shouldn't believe in the ten commandments? Maybe "thou shalt not commit murder" isn't appropriate anymore?

Or maybe the historically proven exodus of the jews from out of Egypt? I should disregard that?

Maybe I should disregard the tenets of honor?

Psalm 37:16
A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

Or proverbs or other Psalms on which the founding father's created their tenets on freedom from oppression?

Which part should I throw out and which part should I keep? Have you actually read the bible or the Koran or anyother "book"? Or do you just assume because it talks about miracles you've never seen that anything else written in them must not be worth anything either?

Jim said...

Scott, WTF are you talking about? This is number six in a series about "ignorant-ass bikers" as the truckers in an earlier episode dubbed them.

Kat, this sounds like the most fun vacation ever. I'm trying to scheme up a way to get you to adopt me or something so I can go along next time. ;-) How about if I volunteer to drive the support truck? Would it help if I volunteered my own truck?

Scott from Oregon said...

Funny how even you, dearest Kat, fall head first into either/or, when, as your motorcyle journey has aptly demonstrated, there are so many unseen possibilities out there awaiting us....

To throw out the notion of not killing your fellow human being simply because you are being asked to throw out the notion that any of these Books is the 'word of God' is absurd.

Have i read the Bible? The Koran?

Yes, twenty years ago in my early twenties. I also managed to get through Ulysses to the very last yes (hitch hiking the globe has its time to fill)

There are great stories in the Bible, and many great ideas and good guidance. But there are ridiculous stories in the Bible, and bad ideas as well. (Eternal Damnation comes to mind, but I have no interest in picking it apart.)

From one outside all of this religiousity, all I can tell you is what I see. People giving up their critical minds in en era when serious critical thought is essential to deal with a rapidly shrinking planet....

Go Giants!

Scott from Oregon said...

Jim--I can read....

Jim said...

Scott, OK, but how do your comments relate to the biker posts?

Gadfly said...

Kat: Great post. Loved it.

Scott = pretentious egocentric looser FOAD

Jeffro said...

Gawd, Kat - yet more proof why vacations with family aren't the best idea. I've only been on one major family adventure and it cured me.

To do it on bikes, whew! Talk about pushing the envelope. Looking forward to the next installment!

Sgt. B. said...


Ya'll oughta come up to the Pacific Northwest... Beee-ooo-tiful ride!

Cap as many libs as you want!

Yeah, God's up here too... But He doesn't have to say much, He just show's ya the scenery...


riceburner147 said...

Scott, Scott, it is hard for you to kick against the goads.

NOW, lighten up and enjoy some of the best travel writing ever !

Kat, your writing enthralls me (how many guys use THAT word :>)

Scott from Oregon said...

What is kicking against the goads?

Gadfly is mean.

NW is great if you don't fly over large, clear cut sections of it.

Fun writing Kat. Motorcycle journeys almost always wreak havoc and are hard on the lower back....

Scott from Oregon said...

Sgt. B. said...

Hmmm, kinda difficult to fly over clear cut sections of my neck of the woods... It's mostly farmland...

What is your deal?

I dunno, Kat, I think you've got a live one here...

Scott from Oregon said...

Kat said...

I am infinitely amused.

Scott likes to poke his finger into the hornets nest.

Nice on the chick tracks. Do you think that everyone reads those things or what? You think that everyone who is a Christian or a Muslim or a jew is a crazy person waiting to tie you to a stake and set it on fire?

LOL At least you're amusing.

riceburner147 said...

Acts 9
Saul's Conversion
1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Other translations "Why do you kick against the goads (or pricks ie: used to spur a recalcitrant animal)

5"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.

"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

Scott, your dislike of certain ministries or denominations is understandable, but that isnt the Lord.