Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Out of Gas

After the long, narrow escape from Camp Verde, my buddy and I made it back to Flagstaff that Sunday night.  We'd left Phoenix after sunset.  After the trip to Mexico.  After the hotel party.  After the street fight.  After my dad nearly killed the repo man for parking in front of our house with sights set on a neighbor's pickup.  Honestly, I wouldn't have cared if we had gotten abducted in the middle of the desert where we ran out of gas.  I'd had a rough weekend.  Fucking crazy, really.

It all started when my sociology class went to Nogales on a Friday night.  The professor who organized the trip wrote his doctoral thesis on drug addiction.  On the first day of class, he told us that he'd tried every drug he could get his hands on at least once.  Some he liked; others he didn't.  Mostly, he felt that we all needed the same exposure.  Thus, Mexico.  (This was also the instructor who once told our class that he liked cursing during his lectures, and if anyone was offended, she should just get the fuck out.  I thought he was pretty bad ass.  Not enough to try drugs, mind you.  But enough to go along for the ride.)  He abandoned us shortly after we crossed the border.  He hooked up with some dope dealers on a busy street corner, told us to partake of their good shit, and then disappeared.  We didn't see him until the next morning when we loaded up the van for the drive home.  Most of us got lost hopping through dingy Nogales bars.  Those places didn't charge Americans cover (or check ID's), so we might as well have been given an open keg line from place to place.  Fortunately, we all wandered the streets on foot and even walked back to America before sunrise.

On Saturday, we stopped in Phoenix at a dumpy motel near the interstate.  The instructor told us not to throw any parties.  Of course, we threw a huge one.  While he spent the night toking up in his room, naturally.  Once the police kicked us out (we left one fallen comrade puking on himself in the bathtub), we walked to a nearby Jack-in-the-Box for ridiculously thick burgers until we caught a ride to a local party.  Some old friends of mine were getting together.  Mostly a sausage-fest.  A few cute girls, though.  Nobody I would bother chasing.  We had a good time until a couple of football players started pushing one another in the kitchen.  Fists started flying, and the next thing I knew, my very best friend from high school was sprawled out unconscious in the street, having hit head on the pavement after he lost his balance throwing a drunken punch.  We rushed him to the emergency room.  His parents weren't thrilled.  Not about the beating he took or the blood or the bruises.  Or his broken eye socket.

I ended up calling my parents for a ride back to their house (I sent word to the professor that I'd find an alternate ride back to school).  Needless to say, my dad was fucking pissed.  (Hence his nearly killing the repo man.  Dude had been given plenty of warnings, too.  I just remember hearing my dad yell, "The cops won't get rid of you, I'll fucking kill you!" and then seeing him jump through the driver's window and start choking the guy until my big brother pulled him off.  My dad was territorial that way.  Still is, I imagine, but I think he picks and chooses who he'll choke now that he's almost 70.  Back then, he had zero tolerance and no fear.  Kind of admirable, really.)

Afterwards, I called another buddy to hitch a ride back to Flagstaff on Sunday.  We ran out of gas about an hour out and carried an empty plastic jug a couple of miles in Stygian darkness until we found a filling station.  Somewhere along that stretch, my friend said, "Wouldn't it be hilarious if someone abducted us right now?  Right now while we're in the middle of nowhere?  Nobody would know where the fuck we are or what happened to us."

I just shrugged my shoulders.  "Yes, that would be hilarious.  Pretty fucking hilarious at that."


  1. I totally understand the frustration running out of gas while driving can give. That is really a disturbing and alarming part of every road trip. In any way, it’s good that you found a filling station in Stygian, unscathed. Hahaha! Thanks for sharing such an amusing read, Thomas! All the best to you!

    Abraham Yates @ Apache Oil Company