Crossing the country with a leggy, captivating 26-year-old basically invites lascivious attention, particularly when she’s sporting eight inches of new art on her upper thigh, necessitating a travel uniform of short-shorts. As we crossed over the Rockies, we passed out of liberal-feminist-equality-land and into the heartland of “gentlemen” who tipped their hats and called me “ma’am” while they dislocated their jaws trying to contain their drool and complimented her “sick ink, brah.”
We pulled into our no-tell motel in nowheresville, Missouri around 11:45, following 8.5 hours of monotonous Kansas highway. After parking our truck/trailer as minimally illegally as possible, we hauled a few bags and a bottle of excellent Irish whiskey into what seemed like the Waldorf-Astoria after the previous night’s RV park.
Passing a community patio area, we’re immediately hailed by its only inhabitants, two middle-aged suburbanite dad-types, offering us beer. Feeling a little like a tenth-grader who has just been offered Schlitz by a friend’s creepy uncle, and reluctant to share my whiskey, I somewhat snarkily defer.
After the endless cornfields and Kansas City traffic snarls, we’re aiming for a mainline of liquor with a relaxing beer chaser, but despite the six boxes of craft beer we have in the van, we’re looking at one single soldier in our cooler. We decide to accept the Stepford Dads’ offer of cold brew and make for the patio.
We see immediately that they are well past three sheets to the wind – somewhere around “opening a prison laundry” status. Regrettably, they’re drinking Michelob Ultra and Mike’s Hard Purple Drank, but it’s too late now – we’ve been spotted. The chattier of the pair asks our names twice before abandoning the pretense of memory and naming us “Hottie 1” and “Hottie 2.” I hear this as “Heidi one-and-two” and subsequently can’t shake the image of a little Swiss girl with pigtail braids twirling in the field of all the fucks she doesn’t give. Motormouth doesn’t seem to notice that I’m giggling like a psychiatric patient – he’s lost in the legs.
He introduces himself as “Kurt. Cobain.” …or maybe Jeff. He’s too drunk to remember his name anyway, and his friend helps him out. It’s not really going to matter if we get it wrong, he can’t hear above the rushing of blood away from his brain as he ogles Legs’ thigh. In an attempt to compliment her “ink” he opines that it is “hot as shit,” observing that he doesn’t have any “tats,” himself, because clearly he is a “mangina.” He’s always wanted some Arabic script, though, ever since he was in the Middle East, and man, he should just “pull out his tampon” and get some ink. As somewhat of an afterthought, he inquires whether I have any, and seems blessedly relieved when I display a chaste arm rather than any part of my much less gamine lower limbs (which are, in fact, quite decorated). Legs attempts to point out that not having tattoos is hardly indicative of being womanly, as the two of us are the only ones around the table who have any, but Zombie Kurt drowns out the pesky talking vagina by asking intrusively personal questions: What does she do? Where is she traveling? Most importantly, does she have a man?
He’s definitely intoxicated…and not just on Midwest-special malt swill. He asks Legs the same questions about seventeen times, either not understanding or not caring about the answers, which essentially boil down to: no man, no job, no kids, free as the day she was born…accessorized and improved by a healthy appetite for adventure, craft beer, and basically everything else. I worry that he might actually have an aneurysm if he doesn’t blink; he hasn’t taken his eyes off her thigh in 23 minutes.
His quiet companion, who turns out to be the coach of his 9-year-old daughter’s soccer team (they’re in town for a regional competition), stands unsteadily and sways off towards sleep, while Zombie Kurt turns on the charm by telling us all about his Wonder-bread 3-kids suburban-hell family and why it’s sooooo much better than the free-spirit life he used to live. He was cool, once upon a time, he claims. He was wild. He had Point Break hair. He traveled. He loves Korea, it’s so spiritual, all the Buddhist monks. Blah blah.
He swivels towards me for the first time – I think he just spun a little too hard after turning to stub out his Marlboro Gold and overshot his target, but stayed committed and took me to task, although I’ve volunteered nothing in this tiresome conversation so far, enjoying onlooker status to this dumpster fire. “Someday you’ll meet the man for you and settle down,” he proclaims, somewhat accusatorily. “It happens to everyone.” “Is that what happened to you?” I ask drily. “Did you find the man for you and settle down?” He’s super confused and looks back to Legs for help. “Or woman,” she adds helpfully, for some unfathomable reason trying to guide him back to his “how he met the miracle worker wife” story.
With the amount of liquor in his bloodstream my sarcastic linguistic tricks are too much for him to follow, so he jumps off the love boat and heads to gay island as the abused neurons start exploding like July 4th. The “woman” comment has somehow confused him into joyfully believing that we are lesbians, and his eyes widen to the size of dinner plates. “Do you both – together …?!“ You can just see the lights and cameras start up as this scene starts recording to the fap folio, so he goes ahead and commits: “You girls gonna go back to your room and dyke out?”
We exchange amused glances. “We’re planning a pillow fight,” I say.
And with that, he’s done. He admits defeat, unable to figure out how to make more words come out in a coherent manner. We may have actually shut down life-sustaining parts of his brain. He tries again to push purple drank on us before disappearing into the gangway, hopefully towards the correct fungible suburban female.
“You realize,” I tell Legs, “we are going to be the highlight of his Pole Vault for basically as long as he can work the pommel horse?” She snorts. “And because he was absolutely annihilated, he’s not going to know what’s real and what he imagined, anyway, so over the years, this is going to rival Debbie Does Dallas in classic rub reel quality?”
“We can’t help that, can we?” She responds, with wisdom beyond her years: “Let him have his fun. God knows he needs something to make up for how much an 8 a.m. soccer tournament is going to drill in the regret he feels for his poor alcoholic choices.” I can’t disagree.
We call it a night and retire to watch Bob’s Burgers in bed, because that’s what Hotties do in hotel room king beds, right? Because there are like 1000 pillows……totally perfect for watching cartoons.