Chapter One: On The Road
Good intentions they say pave the road to Hell. I never really argued about it one way or the other, but today I can make a case for it being true. My kid brother got paralyzed from the chest down in a work accident a little while back, and I drove to Tampa Bay to see him, make sure his head was straight, he was in the game, focused, and to be a big brother. Big brothers always come to the rescue, that’s what we’re trained to do from the moment the little shits that arrived after you are born. You take care of them. No Smot, don’t shake your little brother like that, just so many rules you gotta live by. I see I’m getting off track here, in my defense I’m three bowls into the morning as I type this, so, yeah…..
I spend money (go into more debt) to make sure my car is ready to roll. I even splurged on a new windshield so as to not draw attention to the cracked windshield on my vehicle by cops looking to add revenues to their budgets. I bought some new tires, and my dad, and I checked over the list of shit I’d already replaced on the steaming pile of shit Ford Taurus that I drive, and concluded that “everything that could break had already been replaced”. I put those words into quotation because they were uttered by my dad whom I blame for everything that transpired since, but also praise for rescuing me with his credit card. You don’t fucking test fate with shit like that dad, you KNOW this. Fucker. So there we stood, arms crossed like real men, heads nodding in agreement. Two giant twats confirming amongst themselves that everything was good, and there couldn’t possibly be any misfortune happen on this trip outside of an accident. I was ready to go.
I leave early Sunday morning, filled up the tank the previous night, so I wouldn’t have to stop for gas until well after I had left my state of Michigan. I make great time through Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Man I was flying, passing cars like they were standing still, then Georgia happened. Fucking Georgia. Fuck Georgia. General Sherman left too much of it standing if you ask me. They shouldn’t have been able to rebuild for another 100 years. Fucking Georgia. Goddammit.
I’m tooling along, and something bounces from the road, and knocks my exhaust off from the catalytic converter, and my car suddenly sounds like a race car. It’s loud enough that the deaf can hear it. I consider this a problem. Cops don’t like loud noises. It scares them, and it makes them want to write tickets to the offenders. I don’t like tickets. I need to fix this problem, but I also want to get to Tampa Bay. I stop in a sleepy little town that wouldn’t exist if not for the freeway exit, and grab a room at a common $29/$39 fleabag hotel owned, and run by foreigners. Nothing against foreigners, and fuck, if they own a hotel, they’re doing better than I am so who am I to judge? It’s just difficult for me to understand them since I went deaf. In some cases very difficult. On this trip it was in every fucking case. It’s like we were literally speaking different languages. The rooms are just this side of not being sketchy ones that rent by the hour. In what I found to be a weird twist, none of of the bathtubs had stoppers so you could run a bath. Weird. They get a lot of tub suicides, and decided to thwart it by removing the stoppers? Is there a ring of bathtub stopper thieves that support a massive black market of bathtub stoppers? This remains an unsolved mystery.
I notice a repair shop directly across from the hotel, and my heart skips a beat. Shit, this will be easy I think, I’ll be out of here in no time tomorrow, and I’m halfway there. All is right in my world. This is just a speed bump. Nothing to worry about, I got this. Looking back on this, it pains me to admit this, but I’m starting to think I’m not as smart as I think I am. I’m a stupid, stupid, little man that never learns. Just stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Confident in my good fortune, I go to my room, kill a bug, roll a joint, and go take a walk to “celebrate” my success. I leave the room to discover that the outside area is filled with, let’s be kind, and call them less fortunate people, very less fortunate even, milling around drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, and tending to a grill. I give a friendly nod, and walk in a direction away from their festivities. They got half naked kids running around, while their 275lb moms try to keep up with them while smoking an off brand cigarette, and swilling off brand beer. I want nothing to do with that scene. Call me a snob if you will, but no, just no, besides, I got my reward sitting cupped in my hand just waiting to be put to flame. I got shit to do man. I take a walk to the main drag, and smoke my joint. On the way back I grab a couple of YooHoo’s. I used to love those as a kid. Nothing like an ice cold YooHoo to cure some cotton mouth, and give those munchies a little a treat. I drink them both over the course of a few hours, call it a night around 10pm.
I wake at 3am with a screaming migraine demanding my attention be directed to the nearest toilet, as I’m about to hurl up some YooHoo, and a BK Classic Chicken Sandwich without lettuce. My vision is painful. My hair hurts. The pounding, pulsing, unrelenting, impossible pain in my right temple area is overwhelming. It demands my full attention no matter how much I try to ignore it. It will not be ignored. I take some Imitrex to quell the migraine, and lay back down to sleep. 45 minutes later I need to take another Imitrex. These are small doses, so no worries. An hour later, and it’s time for another. I get up a little before 7 with the migraine still there, but having receded about 85% which I’ll call a victory for Team SmotPoker. You know what triggers migraines in a lot of people, and I’m included in that number? Chocolate. You know what a YooHoo is? Stupid, stupid, stupid, little man that never learns. I’m telling you, I’m really starting to buy into the whole not as smart as I think I am thing. I really am.
I go to the shop across the street when they open at 7:30 only to be told that they don’t do that kind of work, and directed me to a different place that could surely take care of my needs. They don’t open until 8, I get there, and they can do the job, but I gotta get in line. They were kind enough for a ride back to the fleabag hotel, and a pickup when my car was ready, at 11am. I’m good at that time. My migraine is gone. My car is ready to go. I’m checked out of the room, I got this.
End Chapter One
Up Next: Atlanta
The Road To Hell Or Fuck Me Running
Chapter Two: Atlanta
So there I was tooling along at sweet 70 miles an hour as I hit just north of downtown Atlanta. I was quite animated as I was winning an argument (at least in my head, as they couldn’t hear me, and they wouldn’t listen, or understand even if they could, and remain belligerently ignorant, and proud of it) with the hairless scrotums on the local conservative talk radio. What a bunch of degenerate scumbags, even the female that was cackling along with the chief mouth breathers. I bet their moms are proud of them. I’ll never understand a life consumed by hate for the other simply because they are the other. Morons. When my piece of shit Ford Taurus lost power forcing me to get over to the side of the road. Son of a bitch! I’ve only been on the road just shy of a couple of hours. I try to restart it a few times on the side of the road to no avail. It cranked over big time, but it wouldn’t start. The first thing that enters my mind is that the engine isn’t getting fuel which is odd since I had a new fuel pump installed in 2014. Curious.
I get out my iPad, and Skype my dad that I’ve broke down in downtown Atlanta, exit 145D if I recall correctly. I ask him to call my insurance, and get me a tow truck to get me to a mechanic shop. As I’m doing that a big service truck came up behind me, and parked. It has the logo of my insurance company on the front of the truck. Hooray! The driver comes over, and asks me what the problem is, and I tell him that it just lost power going down the road. He gets over to the front of the car, and has me turn it over, and it cranks like a bitch, but it don’t turn over. He states that he doesn’t think it’s getting fuel. Smart man. I tell him that it’s lucky he’s here for me as my insurance is the same as the truck. He tells me that it’s just a sponsor logo, the truck is the DOT service they do in the Atlanta area. Goddammit. The good news is though he can hook me up with a local company, get me off the highway. We work it out with insurance, they tell us to just pay it, then they’ll reimburse. I’m not too fond of that policy. What the hell man, it’s insurance against fuck ups, and not having money available to get your fucking car off the road, and in a shop is an emergency when things fuck up. Bastards. Everybody, and their goddamn cat has their hands in my pockets. Fucking Atlanta. You bitch.
The tow truck driver arrives, and we hit it off great. He hears the story of the car, has me try to start it, it cranks like there is no tomorrow. He says it sounds like maybe it ain’t getting fuel. My circle of friends in Atlanta are pure fucking geniuses. Things are looking good. Dad get backs to me on Skype, tells me our mechanic back home says it sounds like it ain’t getting fuel. Folks, my life may suck bags of dicks at a time, but I’m just drowning in genius. I’m a lucky, lucky, stupid little man. Driver puts my car up on the truck, we bullshit about whats going on with police shooting unarmed brothers, people shooting cops, he feels my pain when I tell him why I’m going down to Florida. We get in the truck to go to a Firestone Service Center, and the talk turns to cannabis which is one of my favorite subjects, which I initiate as often as I can get away it. His eyes brighten when I bring it up, we bump fists. We are brothers. I’d brought a few nuggets with me because, duh, look who you’re asking. He also had some, he was eager to show. As he reached back into his bag, I quietly cracked the top on the Tupperware container I stored my stash in, and within 2 seconds he let out a big “Whoooooooeeeeeee Brother, I can smell that shit from here!” as I silently smiled from within, happy with pleasing my new friend. He was almost ashamed to even have me smell the stuff he had in his sack. I put it close to my nose, but it didn’t have much of a smell, and the smell of mine that I had only opened for a few seconds was still stinking up the truck. I told him it looked good, which it did as it was some tight nuggets. We got to Firestone, and before he unloaded my car, I asked him if he had something to put some weed in. He nearly jumped in his seat in shock then he took the cellophane off his smokes, and handed it to me. I basically gave him 1/3 of my stash. No big deal. I’ll be fine. I’m such a cool fucking dude, I mean come on, who does that? He gives me his number, wants me to call him, and let him know how it goes.
Firestone fucks around a bit, finally puts my car in the garage around 4pm. They had inspected it outside, heard the story of what happened when it stopped running, had me try to start it, the thing once again cranked hard as hell, but wouldn’t start. Mechanic had been pushing on pressure release valve when I cranked it, no gasoline came out. The mechanic says it looks like it’s not getting fuel. I slowly walk away to the nearest wall out of sight, and start pounding my stupid, stupid, stupid head against it. I smoke a cigarette, and contact my dad on Skype to let him know what is going on with everything. I spend the next couple of hours watching cartoons on Netflix, going nowhere. It gets to be about 7:30, and I’m well past being pissed off as I’ve seen my gas tank laying on the ground next to the removed fuel pump, and all the mechanics walking right by it as if it didn’t exist for those hours I was watching cartoons on Netflix. The manager tells me that they called the number I gave them around 5 or so, talked to a man, and told him that it needed a new fuel tank, and it wouldn’t arrive until tomorrow. I smile at the man a smile that might have looked just a little off, thanked him for taking the time to share this with me. He said he was awfully sorry, he wasn’t aware that I was waiting there all day, and asked me if I wanted him to call me a cab. I let out a weak laugh, and told him he could call me anything he wanted, but late for dinner, and then told him that yes, it would be appreciated if he could get me a cab. I grabbed my shit, went outside to the wall, and repeated my head slamming, perhaps adding a little more power to the blows hoping to trigger an aneurysm or something, anything really to end the nightmare. Fuck me running. I contact dad on Skype, and asked him about the fuel tank, and why for fucks sake he didn’t tell me what the plan was since you know, I was the one sitting in fucking Firestone for 7 hrs. He thought they would tell me. I don’t know what I did in a previous life, but I’m fucking sorry OK? I’m really, really sorry. I was a right bastard, and I deserve no pity, of that I have no doubt, but for all that’s dear give me a fucking break universe. Please? I’ll suck your dick…..
The taxi arrives, and the game is on. Problem number one, an accent so thick you’d need a chainsaw to cut through it. As I’ve stated before, accents through a hearing aid are a bitch kitty to understand. Thick accents, and we might as well be speaking a different language. I tell him I’d like to go to the nearest cheap hotel that wasn’t a part time brothel, and that I would need a return ride at 11am the next day. Problem number two, I fear I gave him too much information to process at one time. He asked if I wanted to be near the airport. I said no, I wanted to be near the Firestone Service Center he picked me up from as I had to return in the morning. Problem number three, he’s stupid. One of the worst problems to have. No problem he says, then takes me to a place that only lets by the week. Really? Where else would I like to try? What? Excuse me? He repeats himself asking me where else I would like to go. Dude, I’m not from here. That’s why you picked me up in a taxi to take to a hotel while my car is being repaired. You’re the taxi driver, don’t you know where the hotels are at in this town? I get three or four quick “yeahs” thrown at me, and he brightens up, and knows just the place, and takes me back in the direction we just fucking came from on the freeway. I get to the place, they have a room, I bid him farewell with a reminder to be there tomorrow at 11am. He assures me it will be no problem. I expect problems. I gotta be honest here.
I get into my room, roll a joint, and talk a walk outside to smoke it. It’s a beautiful night I must admit. Not too hot, just the right temperature. The cannabis winds me down from a stressful day as I feel the stress slip right off my shoulders, and out of my body. This stuff my friends is truly the herb of the gods. i will never give it up. I go back into the room. A day like this deserves a nice long soak in a hot tub rather than a shower. I enter the bathroom to draw a bath, and mysteriously, the stopper has been removed. There isn’t a stopper in sight. Strange. I’ve really got to look into this odd phenomenon. Is it suicide prevention, or a massive underground tub stopper black market? I’m considering getting a local news channel investigation team involved in the case. This could be big. Fuck it, I take a shower, and I’m ready to eat. I ask the young lady at the front desk, and she shakes her head, and ambiguously waves her hand in all directions, and no direction at once. I see no lights advertising anything but a strip joint across the street. I go to the liquor store next door where I had scored some smokes earlier, and asked them where a place I could get some hot food could be found. A mile that way, or a mile that way and to the left. Fuck me. Stupid, stupid, little man is going to go to bed hungry tonight. I eye the strip joint. It’s got neon towers outside that are part of it’s brand. It’s large, has security out front. I walk across the street to ask if they sell food inside. I’m asked what kind of food, and I tell them hamburger will do, and they tell me sure, and by the way it’s a $10 cover. I start to walk forward, and a big security dude steps up to pat me down, and gave my nuts an extra pat. They sure are friendly down here. I go inside, pay my cover, and go to the bar and order a burger to go. Let me say a word about my thoughts on strip joints. I think they are the saddest places on earth. I do not enjoy being inside them, I really don’t. It makes me extremely uncomfortable, as I know these young ladies have made a poor start to their lives, and they must have someone that loves them that wishes with all their hearts that they would find another way to make a living. These young girls are exploited whether they want to admit it or not. You’ll hear them say they aren’t, but they just don’t understand that they are being exploited. It breaks my heart as I picture my own daughter in such a place, and it would crush me as a father, absolutely crush me. My burger arrives, it has fries, I mention I didn’t order them, she tells me don’t worry about it. I pay her for the burger, and give her a $4 tip. Total cost of meal is $25. Hotel, and taxi cost is $100. Fucking Atlanta.
End Part One Chapter Two Atlanta
Excerpt for Chapter Two Part Two
The Road To Hell Or Fuck Me Running
Chapter Two Part Two: Atlanta
I awaken in the morning with a throbbing piss boner that is demanding to be released. I find my way out of bed, and stumble towards the bathroom in the dark, my penis in hand ready to let it go as soon as possible. I was wearing socks so when my fee find the linoleum floor I almost fall backwards as I slip, lose control of my bladder, and a strong stream of piss starts shooting in the air past my eyes as I splatter the mirror, wall and sink with it. I get it under control, and finish the job correctly by relieving myself in the toilet. I consider myself lucky because I didn’t fall for two reasons, the first being it would have fucked up my already fucked up back even more, and secondly, even perhaps just a tad bit more important at the time was that I didn’t end up pissing all over my own face, and chest had I fallen. Looks like my luck is starting to turn kids, maybe I’ll buy a lotto ticket. I briefly consider just leaving the piss on the mirror, sink, and walls, then decided against it, as I’m not an asshole, also, I didn’t want to jinx my turn of luck so I took a wet towel, and gave it a good wipe down. I roll a joint, and head outside to smoke it as I drink some coffee. The edge, craziness of being a human in America starts to roll off me. I relax a bit, and plan for the long day ahead. I check out of the hotel a bit before 11am to await my cab that I was expecting as per my agreement with the cabbie that brought me to the hotel. He was due to pick me up at 11am sharp, “no problem”. Remember when I said I expected problems with Mr. No Problem, and this whole plan? Well friends, get Houston on the line, as we got problems. I start to think I missed my calling, and should open up a phone psychic line or become the next Nostradamus, more like Nostradumbass, or Captain Obvious, but still, I’m getting good at seeing shit coming is all I’m saying. At 11:30am a different cab arrives to take me back to Firestone. Luckily I can understand this cabbie just fine. On the down side, he doesn’t know where the fuck he is, and asks me for directions to where we needed to go. It’s going to be like that is it? Fuck you Universe, I hate you right fucking back. You hear me? Prick. I give him the address, he punched it into his Garmin or whatever the fuck he’s using, and he takes me to Firestone, as we leave the hotel we pass a chicken/pizza joint tucked back a little bit off the road not 200yd from the hotel. I shake my head, and silently curse the stupid woman at the hotel front desk, calling her a word that is considered the most impolite of them all. The ride back to Firestone somehow cost $5 more than the ride from Firestone in which we made an unnecessary stop. Amazing. Fucking Atlanta. Keep your fucking hands out of my pockets.
I go talk to the manager at the Firestone to see what’s up with my car. They’re having some problems with the grounding I’m told. We walk back into the garage to talk to the mechanics working on it. They confirm that they are having issues with grounding, and getting a consistent voltage to the pump. As we confer, a third mechanic comes up holding a power regulator that mounts on the firewall. He asks me to smell it. I do, and it’s obviously something was fried in it. It stands to reason that if that’s bad, it could account for the inconsistent power issues to the pump. A new one is ordered, and it’ll be delivered to the shop “soon”. Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.