Road Journals: Excerpt I- The Toilet Pages

May 13, 2014

Straight from the Ant’s Rants travel log comes the sordid tale of a man on a quest. He seeks no gold, no fame, no worldly wisdom. The only treasure sought along this road is the mighty Porcelain Throne. Enjoy the ride…

Road Journals: Excerpt I- The Toilet Pages

Hundreds of miles lay in my wake. The hours of cross country trekking were finally catching up with me. My gut was grumbling and my bodily functions were screaming for action. By the time I hit the backwoods of Georgia, my Hanes were in danger and my fountain was on the spritz. As much as I hated to push a nugget in the porcelain jungle of a public piss pen, it seemed a far better choice than inside my $30 American Eagles. Problem was, it was about three o’clock in the morning. Any clean and respectable establishment was closed until the AM. Technically, of course it WAS morning but not the time generally suited for bacon and eggs. This hour was ripe for hookers, cocaine and curious clergyman… possibly all as part of the same transaction.

I’d been fighting my inner needs for the better part of two hours and I knew I’d never make it until the cock cried. If my eyes weren’t already brown they sure would have been after the level of urgency rose as high it did. Let’s just say things can really back up on a guy driving for hours on end with nothing but Slim Jims for sustenance. Waiting any longer was just out of the question. I’d simply have to settle for less than ideal conditions. Sure, in a perfect world I would calmly place myself on a heated velvet toilette and gracefully let nature take its course but that seemed like a rather tall order that time of night. I mean, a scantily-clad French maid to mop my crack with a silken cloth would have been stellar but equally as difficult to obtain on such short notice. Especially, with the wages I was offering. Besides that, I hadn’t seen any kind of man-made structure in fifty miles. Anybody actually living in the woods I was driving through was bound to be a white-tail deer rapist. All I knew was that if I didn’t take care of business within the next few minutes, I’d have to renege on my personal oath to never again poop in the woods. Decades earlier, the Scouts taught me to wipe my ass with leaves, but not how to identify poison ivy when I see it. Needless to say, several youthful days were spent dripping ice cubes down nature’s valley for relief. A debilitating addiction to Calamine Lotion ensued. Eventually, I was weaned off the sauce with bacitracin and cold cream. Since then though, I’d held my vow to never drop my drawers in a non-tiled room. Miraculously, that promise would remain intact as the opportunity soon arose for me to complete the most fetid of bodily functions. Salvation stood alone in the middle of an otherwise uninhabited roadway and came in the form of a rundown gas and food-mart. I would later find that the gas came about an hour after eating the food.

My eyes saw the Gates of Heaven and its sign said Fuel. That building contained everything I needed to feel complete again; sugar, caffeine and most importantly Porcelain. Of course, the dirty deed was top priority and not to be delayed. I careened into the parking lot driving at highway speed with my foot dragging outside the door in anticipation like Fred Friggin’ Flintstone. I hobbled as fast as I could over to the store, swung the door open with full force tearing out the bottom hinge and knocking over a newspaper rack. Standing in the doorway amidst the broken glass, not a soul could I see. As if no other words or action were necessary, I barked out the lone word “Bathroom!” to the open air in the center of the store. Pause. Nothing. As I prepared to paint the place brown, a head slowly popped up over the counter from underneath a wrinkled newspaper. Without ever actually looking at me, the head’s owner mumbled, “outside” while holding out a key tied to a 2×4. I grabbed the pebble from his hand and left the temple posthaste. Outside again, my head spun around like Linda Blair on a coke binge, but I failed to see the bathroom anywhere. In fact, I found no doors at all other than the store entrance. I felt panic setting in as my underwear feared the worst. After circling the perimeter twice, I scratched my head and pondered aloud, “Where the fuck is the damned crapper?!”

Minutes later, something caught my eye at the far end of the rear parking lot. It was a tiny shed-sized building standing alone in the darkness. Surely, this must be the place for which I seek. Indeed it was. It was a cold, dark, and damp little shithole in the middle of nowhere. A thing of beauty, indeed. My chapel. My church. My saving grace. Tears of joy welled in my eyes as I waddled across the lot with my legs squeezed tight and my arms stretched before me like Herman Munster on his way to the parlor.

At first, the door seemed locked, stuck or rusted shut but with a few sharp kicks and a pulverizing head-butt it scraped open to reveal my soiled savior. Moments later, I remembered the key in my hand and decided to keep it as a souvenir. The only light inside came from the moonlight shining in through the vents in the roof. That luxury skylight was probably the only reason the smell in there wasn’t worse than it was. The sensation was gag-inducing. I cringed in Poe-ish horror as I imagined being entombed alive like Fortunato. That stony crypt could easily have become my final place of residence if I hadn’t used my emergency pocket shoe horn to prop the rusty door open. If it came to pass that I got trapped in there though, I’d be forced to live on toilet water and excrement until someone found my decaying remains still trying to claw their way out of that Walnut Grove hell-hut. All my mail could be forwarded to the rooftop air vent and dropped below. The thought was almost enough to initiate retreat, but at that point there was no way I could turn back without shitting to regret it. I’d come too far to walk away with funky undies.

Shunning the darkness and all its horrors, I unfastened the butt-flap in the back of my Michael Landon long-johns and mounted the porcelain pony for that joyous ride to Relief Town. Sure enough, pulling open the chute doors allowed ten years of life to return to my broken body replacing the buckets of junk food that just departed through the Southernmost exit. I unleashed weapons of ass-destruction never before thought possible. I slumped forward in post-orgasmic satisfaction unfazed by the fact that I hadn’t even covered the seat with anything protective. If I hadn’t been so pressed for time, I probably could have fashioned some type of sanitary wreath out of mud and twigs. Surely that would have blocked at least a few germs from getting in through the out door. Nevertheless, as I sat on that toilet in the Georgia outhouse at 3:00 A.M., I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I’m sitting on a toilet in a Georgia outhouse at 3:00 A.M.” As comfortable as that sticky ass-ring felt on my tired backside, I knew it was best not to rest there for too long. As dark as it was, there was just no telling what kind of matter might me festering beneath me. Besides, I would only get more tired if I rested there longer. Worse than that even, I would procure an unattractive oblong indentation around my posterior. Nope, not for me. It was best to buckle up and clean up… although not necessarily in that order.

As I stepped up to the basin, I encountered yet another unpleasantry. Not at all to my surprise, there wasn’t a single drop of water running in the little prison style sink with which I could wash my hands. Nothing but rust stains from the corroded faucet covered its chipped porcelain skin. The shadowed moonlight revealed what might have been a roll of paper towels lying in a rain puddle on the floor, but I couldn’t be sure. It could just as easily have been the slumped cadaver of some poor animal that got trapped inside while seeking shelter. Or perhaps, some drunk the night before stumbled in and missed the commode after bingeing on Captain Morgan and Cool Ranch. Too chancy. Just as my Aunt Jemima always told me, “Never touch unidentifiable objects in dark Southern outhouses without rubber gloves, tongs and a friend that works in the germ ward.” For lack of a better idea, I washed up by way of the ole’ Denim Dry Rinse Method. Thanks to dark jeans, nobody would ever know my dirty little secret, sans the smell. It was just me and the open road, anyway. With my intestines contracting back to normal, I split that concrete hellhole as quick as my rubber legs could carry me. Problem was I was still exhausted and now famished. I hadn’t eaten anything of consequence all day. Let’s just say the quality of snacks that went into me was similar to the way the snacks came out. I needed food. I was starting to feel as hungry as the Olsen twins look. In the middle of nowhere, I had no choice. Fuel.

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View From The Windshield

August 6, 2010

sign

Pedestrians would be well-advised not to tap-dance on a busy expressway.

Since the time I learned to drive, I was led to believe that pedestrians have the right of way. My question, however, is Do Pedestrians HaveThe Right To Be Really Fucking Stupid?

Disclaimer: I am an unassuming driver with reasonable consideration for my surroundings. Only on occasion do I jump the curb or leave tire ruts on the neighbor’s lawn. For the most part, I accept that it is a crowded globe we live on, so I spin my wheels accordingly. Granted, this has less to do with a love for humanity than the repercussions of vehicular homicide. Nonetheless, there is an entire cast of characters that does not respect the weight of the Steel to Flesh ratio.

Witness the supermarket parking lot- Browsing the lot for a spot to plop, I encounter my first brush with idiocy. A middle-aged man on foot oblivious to his whereabouts floats through the lot with the sure-mindedness of shredded wheat soaking in milk on a breezy day. With no apparent neural connection between his brain and feet, the man seems more fascinated with the ground he is walking on than the 4000 lbs. of Japanese steel closing the gap between them. Suddenly startled that such a gargantuan vehicle could creep up on him so stealthily, the man snaps out of his snooze with cat-like reflexes and… stares… just stares… at me. He is alert but confused. The hamster wheel is turning; I can see it in his saucers. Somehow though, the equation remains unsolved. Any survival instinct once possessed has been trumped by dangerously slow processing time. By this point, a less thoughtful driver would be picking idiot-chunks out of his grill.

As I turn down a parking aisle, my truck encounters yet another challenger. A testosterone drenched youngster struts his invincible attitude not only across the lot but directly towards my oncoming vehicle. Mr. Young-Stud knows his rights and is not afraid to assert them, even at the cost of a Firestone fingerprint being embossed upon his back. He is a gunslinger walking towards a showdown. He is David to my Nissan’s Goliath. He cares not about the mangled mess I could turn him into with one press of the accelerator. Life in traction is a small price to pay for an insurance company payout. He has seen the commercials. He knows that Lizards and Cavemen have deep pockets; he will not back down.

Upon leaving the premises, I approach the stop sign that protects the walkway to the store’s entrance. Two elderly women stand poised to cross in front of my halted truck. I patiently wait for them to do so as they gaze out into the great beyond. They both wear sunglasses so dark that that I could only assume they are arc welders taking a lunch break. The women yammer back and forth. They take turns pointing in different directions as I wait for them to cross. I wave my hand frantically for them to get stepping, but they do not see me or my vehicle which sits idle a mere 10 feet from their side. Chalking it up to a problem with their peripheral vision, I politely rev the engine ’til it redlines before resorting to the horn-mashing which ultimately forces them to acknowledge my presence. Yet, instead of crossing over, they relinquish their right-of-way and wave for me to continue forth in front of them. Seeing this as an insurance claim waiting to happen, I once again wave for them to pass. What ensues can only be described as a power struggle of hand gestures.  This ridiculous display is followed by a series of stop-starts and double takes that could have easily resulted in bodily impact. Had I not been so caring, I’d have splattered anti-freeze and Ben-Gay all over the walkway. My advice to these two is simple. If you’re not ready to cross, step the fuck away from the intersection. When you’re ready to proceed, stick to the pecking order as prescribed by law and live to die another day. Save the gazing and grazing for the corn field and stay the fuck out of my way, please.