Bill had been in the military (Special Forces, he claimed) and had a great deal of outdoorsy know-how and equipment. He offered solid advice about how to deal with the blister, suggesting I use foot powder and thinner socks even offering me some of his along with a t-shirt and a few MRE's.
While he too was well-off, his energy was anti-André. There was a distinct, omniscient bitterness oozing from Bill. His mother came into about $2 million when his father was killed in a car accident. Through some family drama, his mother and brother burned through it and were now requesting money from him-- after he'd seen none of his father’s insurance money! This obvious gnawed at his core. Beyond that, he would freely, almost constantly, point out how he “hated people” and would seriously like to kill some! While he was exaggerating on the second point--mostly--I suspect there were elements of truth in both.
Most tellingly, Bill's hostility carried over to his girlfriend. Liz was much younger than he and they had been dating for 12 or 13 years. She was for the most part a simple, gentle soul. Mousy, quiet, submissive, introspective, and appeared to be at least slightly impaired in some way. When it came to Liz, Bill had an ugly side. One recurring throughout the day. He would constantly remind Liz that he had somehow “rescued”her, was taking care of her and could and would get rid of her anytime he chose. From his perspective, she was the one who needed him and he clearly enjoyed the control. I gained no real background or perspective on their past or private relationship, but from my standpoint it seemed vicious. I felt sorry for her. And, I knew it was not in my interesest to make it my concern.
**Quick sidenote to the self-righteous couch-bound blowhards screaming about what they "would have" done: Perhaps put your shit talking to the test. I can help you gear-up and everything! I'd just LOVE to see how that sort of arrogant domestic interference works out for you! To quote Rush, "Show me. Don't tell me", fuckos!**
As the day went on, the sun shined, my shoulders scalded, and the beer and conversation flowed. Bill introduced me to the young woman who worked security at the campground overnights and explained how she was utterly useless as a supposed authority figure, which Gus (who had appeared periodically during the day while he worked) emphatically confirmed. Some of Bill's young friends repeated it later, recounting with heavy disdain as to how she had called the cops on an unsuspecting camper for simply gathering dead wood -- without confronting him first! She was also a morbidly obese redhead. All of this combined to earned her the affectionate behind-the-back title: "Fat Ginger Bitch". She just reminded me of Cartman.
As the sun fell into the St. Lawrence, Gus vanished into town for the party while Bill and I, despite his domestic tension, continued forging a friendship. In fact, I was certain that this weekend would go down as a classic. I was right -- but not how I thought.
Long after another beer run, midnight approached and after drinking all day the conversation turned to, of all fucking things, radio! I had shared some of my experiences in the business with him a few times through the day and (at his repeated insistence...you don't say "no" to Bill) played him my demo reel from my phone. With that, he shared that his family business was -- wait for it -- radio. His family owns a small group of radio stations in upstate New York, and his brother runs it.
After a day full of PBR, neither of us were particularly effective communicators. Yet, I had no problem telling him what I now thought of his family business! Despite that, Bill was sure that I should run, or at least work for, his family's rock station! In fact, he tried to call his brother, well after midnight. to tell him all about me! While flattered, I really wanted no part of this. But, again, Bill is not used to being told “no”. The more I did-- the more he insisted. The enlightened, faithful reader will naturally see how such a conversation could get a little "louder" than normal. Not that we were yelling, we were just -- loud.
By early Saturday morning, Ginger Bitch had put on her mental uniform and was "on duty." Somewhere along the way, she'd gone from slurping and gulping Apple Pucker and talking about her supposed daylong "booty call" in Watertown to demanding that we "respect her authoritah" and quiet down. To be fair, we were a bit loud and honored her request. But the image of this ridiculous creature suddenly demanding respect and authority still makes me laugh. It was as though she’d been furloughed from a Jerry Springer Bootcamp and bellyflopped into this cake-gig ranking somewhere between mall cop and Walmart greeter. (No offense meant to either!) Yet, Ginger fancied herself as essential to securing The Homeland™. And protecting innocent, vulnerable dead wood from those who would do it harm.
Now comes my moment of infamy. Perhaps these next few paragraphs are best read with the old Monty Python theme playing in your mind's ear.
I had just cracked a PBR when Ahab stepped in front of me and bent over irresistibly revealing what historians shall surely refer to as The Asscrack of Doom. First, I just chuckled. Then, without really thinking, poured a few small drips from my PBR into this perfectly presented asscrack. Despite my proud look of mischievous pride, Ahab and Ginger were not entertained. Particularly Ahab. In fact, he was irate! Obnoxiously so. To be fair, perhaps Ginger had gifted him a new g-string prior to her harpooning? Maybe he had an asscrack infection of some sort? It could have been that assplay of any sort was traumatic and something for which he required a safety word? I have no idea. All I know is that his reaction was dramatic and bizarre!
As is often the case, the more buttons I can push the more I amuse myself. Especially with people who take themselves too seriosly. In fact, when I think about it to this day I still laugh. It was a minuscule amount of beer and no harm was done -- except to Ahab's pride in the presence of his precious Ginger. I had defiled his honor with PBR! And, he had to talk a world of redneck shit to get it back. It was middle school-cute, even by the juvenile standard I myself had just set! While he threw his tantrum and threatened to “kick ass” (without taking a step toward me), I apologized between hysterical laughs and the fact I obviously wasn't taking him seriously enraged him even more. Again, from a safe distance. Soon enough, he was screaming, emotionally convulsing really, and other campers were being disturbed. Ginger could not have that on her watch. Something had to be done, and since Ahab was her man, she informed me that I "had to go". And that she was calling the rangers.
At 3 a.m.? Really?
Two Park Rangers arrived promptly and, chests thrusted forth, aggressively asked me if I was a registered camper. I told them no, and that I had been invited by Bill to stay with him. After running my ID (of course), I asked them in a terse, “don’t fuck with me, rent-a-cop” tone if I was going to jail. They conceded that I had broken no law. But, since I was unregistered. and security (Ginger) had reported me as a disturbance, I had to go.
Packing in amused amazement, I watched Bill's demeanor change out of pure, yet understandable, self-interest. He saddled up to Ginger and Ahab while throwing some of the hostility he had earlier directed toward his girlfriend my way! I don’t blame him. He had a sweet, extended hookup at the campground and, though Ginger was a preposterous excuse for “security”, she was in a position to ruin it for him. Why not throw the drifter under the bus?
I finished packing, minus the gifts Bill gave me earlier, and asked the rangers to drive me out of town because of the obscenely ridiculous time-of-eviction. As I loaded into the cruiser, I heard Bill barking my name as though he had parting words. I ignored him, choosing instead to reply with an obnoxiously cheerful “Buhbye!”
The rangers chose to drop me off at a public fishing pond a few miles east of Alex Bay. To their credit, after the initial intimidation tactic, they were professional, courteous, and even helpful. I was half-drunk and exhausted, so simply found a semi-suitable spot and crashed. Even then, legitimate title or not, being bounced by Erica Cartman seemed both ridiculous & hilarious! I reminded myself of the “Rule of Agreement” and wasn't the least bit upset as I drifted off to sleep.
Amazingly, after drinking all day and getting to bed at 4, I was awake, and motivated, by 7. However, I was not nearly as philosophically zen as just a few short hours before. A persistent and intense Ginger-based anxiety triggered acute stomach discomfort exacerbated by my over-consumption of PBR and growing fatigue. Clinical diagnosis: the beer shits.
I admit that what follows is likely too much information, and quite unflattering. Normally I would seek out a secluded spot to bury nature's wrath. But, this morning all I could see was Ginger, Ahab, and Bill. All I could feel was a hangover and heel blister. And I knew that I had to walk. I was particularly vindictive; some have rightfully said immature. I chose to leave a little something special behind to show my appreciation. There was a well-used trailhead connecting the parking lot to the fishing pond. By the time I slid into my Crocs and hoisted the backpack, there was a large steaming piece of interpretive intestinal artwork adorning their trail-head.
Of course, my morning affliction was immediately cured. Treatment: effective! As your doctor if the Toddzilla Method is right for you!
No. I did not take a picture. You're all sick bastards.