Days 8 and 9
I wish you could’ve seen the looks on everyone’s faces when Heather and I got out of the cop car tonight. Their jaws pretty much unhinged and dropped straight through the floor but Heather and I agreed on the ride home that we wouldn’t tell any of them what had happened so they are going CRAZY, but I can tell you Diary because you are my most trusted confidante. You are a vault, Diary, and I’d like to deposit a real stemwinder of a story into your impenetrable pages right now if that’s alright with you.
So last night I was pushing a bunch of leaves and stuff around my plate because NO ONE IS LISTENING TO MY GROCERY ORDERS no matter how many stars or exclamation points I put next to MEAT, so I was real hungry and grumpy, that’s an emotional state I call grungry, Diary, because I like to mash words together the way Shakespeare did and humpy would be misleading because I am not a camel or a female member of the insufferable pop group Black Eyed Peas. So ANYWAY I was pushing a bunch of peas around real grungry-like and I guess Heather could tell I was peaved (this is another word mash-up, it’s when you’re peeved about having to eat peas) or maybe she just had a real good time riding home and touching legs with me the night before because she leaned over and asked if I wanted to hike with her the next day. Well Diary if you think I said anything but Heck yes I do!, you don’t know me anywhere near as well as you should. (Not using quotes is another postmodern writing move, pretty neat huh? Better pay attention when you read yourself, Diary, or you might not be able to tell the difference between inner thoughts and out loud ones.) I knew that Heather hiked and we bumped into each other on the trail that one day but this invitation was a genuine shocker and I took it to be a pretty good signal that maybe she doesn’t think I’m as creepy and weird as most girls do, because most girls wouldn’t be caught dead in the woods with me even though I am pretty much the most harmless male on the planet, ask anybody I don’t have an aggressive bone in my body except when it comes to writing, when I’m writing I am a voracious animal, chewing on ideas and rolling them around in my mouth and then spitting out stories.
So today I got up even earlier than usual at like ten-thirty and wrote even more fast and furious than usual so that I could finish in time to hike with Heather at three. I pulled my socks over my jeans even though it made me look like a total square and I didn’t show off the guns even though she would have appreciated them because these ticks are a real problem and I don’t think getting bit by one and freaking out like last time is exactly a turn-on. Heather walked over from the barn and she looked real nice with her yellow hair and glasses and brown flannel shirt and everything and I told her I liked all that stuff and then we headed out for Mt. Harvey. Normally I walk VERY fast because I’m VERY tall but this time I took it nice and easy, I was thinking I should probably walk half as fast as usual since Heather’s legs are about half as long as mine and that seemed to be some pretty good math I did there in my head because I didn’t walk ahead of her hardly at all. Heather had her socks over her jeans too so I felt less embarrassed and as we walked I asked her how she liked living in Vermont. She said she likes it pretty good, she lives in a town called Burlington which she said is real green and progressive whatever that means. I feel like there are trees everywhere and progress is inevitable no matter where you are but I guess some places have more trees and people not afraid of the future than others. Anyway we talked about Vermont a little which sounds nice but cold and remote, it is real far from everything especially Virginia, and then Heather asked me how I liked living at home, well that conversation probably didn’t go as smooth or sexy as it could have, Diary:
ME: I like Virginia but living with my parents and not having a job is a real drag.
HEATHER: How come?
ME: It’s embarrassing and I feel like I can’t grow as a person when I’m there and they’re always fiddling with the thermostat which drives me NUTS.
HEATHER: (laughs) You can grow anywhere, Evan. You’re in a constant state of flux, like the rest of us. But what do you think is holding you back at home?
ME: Every time I’m there I feel like I’ve slipped into this old pair of shoes and I just want to take them off and try on some new shoes, like Serious Writer shoes or World Traveler shoes or Better Exerciser shoes but I can’t, I am stuck in these ratty old New Balances that just make me wanna sit around and eat all day or hang out with my pals from high school and tell the same old jokes and stories and things, not that I have a ton of pals but I’ve got a couple and I really love those guys but I feel like they expect me to be the same as I was in high school and I dunno if I wanna be the same as I was in high school—
HEATHER: You have the capacity for change!
ME: I dunno Heather, sometimes I just feel like a little kid trapped in this big gangly body.
HEATHER: A little kid wouldn’t have been accepted to the Millay Colony for the past four years running.
ME: Yeah… (coughs, looks around nervously)
Honestly Diary sometimes our talk felt more like a therapy session than a date and I should know, I’ve been, and I don’t think that’s what the ladies are into really but maybe Heather is different ‘cause she seems different in just about every other way and she’s real sympathetic and stuff. After a while I figured things had gone pretty pear-shaped but Heather was real understanding and nice about everything as if they were still banana-shaped like me. She’s pretty much the nicest girl I ever met, even though she’s really a woman since she’s 33 WHOOOOOA I just realized I might have gone on a date/therapy session with a 33-year-old!!!! Maybe I am growing up after all, Diary.
Speaking of growing up I wish some of these little critters I see on my hikes would mutate into big memorable ones because I am pretty much stone cold bored of chipmunks at this point, I mean they’re cute and all but I’ve seen a thousand of them and they just look like miniature squirrels to me now, or maybe squipmunks which is a squirrel-chipmunk hybrid that probably doesn’t even exist yet. I want to see a deer or a moose or a BEAR for crying out loud, but so far it’s been all rodents and spiders and parasites which is just so weak. But one thing that is NOT weak is that Heather and I made it to the top of Mt. Harvey, and then she got kind of high on the summit and I said no thanks but asked if she wanted to keep walking because I always hike this mountain but the trail ends and I never know where it goes because usually I’m by myself and it seems irresponsible to keep going, especially if it’s about to get dark. But we had a couple hours of daylight left and Heather seemed pretty amenable to just about anything at that point because of the drugs she smoked so we decided to keep going deep into the mysterious wood which would turn out to be a real live adventure, Diary, like something out of a book.
The thing about hiking when there’s no more trail is that you’re probably not supposed to be hiking there, which proved to be the case with us because we kept going and going and going down the other side of the mountain and it squirted us out into some residential development area or something, and it was starting to get dark (that two hours flew by—must have been having fun!!!! Also it was mostly downhill so it wasn’t much of a hike) so we couldn’t really go back the way we came. Well Diary you’re not going to believe this but it turns out we had come down the mountain in West Stockbridge, MASSACHUSETTS of all places. We were in a totally different state with no cell phone service, we never would’ve known where we were except this nice chubby guy on a bicycle stopped and tried to help us out, but he had no service either because we were in flipping West Stockbridge. I asked how long it would take us to walk back to Auschwitz and he looked at me kinda funny and then said, Oh! Yeah you’re not walkin’ there. Then he said Welp, waved, and rode off and we were like thanks a lot, Mr. COULDN’T-CARE-LESS-ITAN. That’s a term I came up with for phony Good Samaritans, Diary, feel free to use that and also keep in mind that it’s COULDN’T care less not COULD care less, which makes no sense at all and makes me really steamed every time I hear it, think about the words that fall out of your face for gosh sakes.
Well Heather and I were in one dill of a pickle Diary because how the heck were we supposed to get home? We were about to try and walk anyway when we saw a cop car and flagged it down. The cop was even chubbier than the guy on the bicycle but with a stronger phone, a sweet walkie talkie actually. He seemed a little peeved at first (just regular peeved, he hadn’t had to eat any peas as far as I know but then again maybe his wife makes him eat them to set a good example for their kids or something, what a dinosaur of a drag, remind me never to have kids until I’ve acquired peas, Diary) but he agreed to take us to the state border at least which was a few miles away, and by the time we got there Heather and I had charmed him so good that he decided to break protocol (!!!!) and drive us all the way to Auschwitz. Well it might go without saying since we were in the back of a squad car but you know what happened on the ride back, Diary? That’s right, our legs touched. AGAIN. I can’t believe I’ve made it to second base with a girl I mean a WOMAN twice in just a few days. What are the odds of that happening, Heather must really be something special, either that or she’s totally easy in which case I am not interested, Diary, I’m an old-fashioned kinda guy and I’d like an old-fashioned kinda gal.
The cop drove us right up to the main building where everyone was eating dinner, and he had to let us out of the back of the car and I’m pretty sure everyone dropped their forks and the peas fell right out of their mouths because they were staring slack-jawed out the window right at us, what a sight we must have been!!! They are all still dying for answers and I’m sure I’ll tell Laurel what happened eventually but for now this little adventure is mine and Heather’s secret, Diary, we are getting a real kick out of it and I have to say it feels real swell to be keeping something like that with her.
Thanks for listening, goodnight Diary.
Evan Allgood's work has appeared in McSweeney's, The Millions, LA Review of Books, The Toast, and The Billfold. He lives in Brooklyn and contributes regularly to Paste. Follow and maybe later unfollow him on Twitter @evoooooooooooo.