Road trip to Jacksonville Part II
I left this story at the point in my narrative where Benny and I had just figured out that his car keys were missing and we didn’t have a clue where the Motel room we occupied was located and that Freddy was missing. Even before we ran outside to see if his car was parked in the lot we both knew we would not find it. “Where the Hell is that Mother- F**ker Freddy and what the F**k is he doing with my F**king car?” [Author’s note: Sorry to employ such foul language but we kind of talked that way all the time in college, especially those of us in ROTC. In fact I got so used to it that at my first sit down dinner back home with my family on spring break I blurted out, “Could someone please pass me the F**king potatoes?” By some miracle of God, I am still alive to relate this saga to you, so I will, without further adieu, get back on message.] Anyway, we walked to the diner next door to eat brunch noticing on the menu that we were in Jacksonville, Florida. I did not know anyone (at that time) who lived in Jacksonville and neither did Benny. We wracked our brains over the reason for being in Jacksonville but for the life of us, we came up empty. After we finished eating, Benny remembered we had enough booze for one small drink apiece left, so we returned to our motel room, stopping to buy a newspaper on the way. We poured our meager beverages (this time with some ice) and slowly sipped them while checking the paper for something we could do that night in Jacksonville since we did not, as Benny so eloquently put it, “We don’t have enough F**king time to get the F**k to Tampa and still return to F**king Tallahassee in time not to miss more F**king classes than usual.” Hell, without Benny’s car or any information concerning Freddy’s whereabouts or schedule or anything, we had no idea when we could even leave “F**king” Jacksonville.
It was some time after 1:00 PM when we noticed that the message light was on the phone…it had been Freddy. He said he would meet us at the Motel around 3:00 PM. That was it…no phone number…no explanation…no F**king nothing. Benny was furious and frantically started leafing through the phone book looking for bars in our area but could find nothing within walking distance. Oh, we could have taken a bus but not being familiar with the schedules or routes we didn’t want to take the chance of returning late and missing Freddy, although I would not have minded…at least I would have been spared the sight of Freddy’s blood spattering everywhere. Taking a cab was out of the question; we didn’t have a lot of money and Benny insisted that, since he owned a car, he’d be [expletive deleted; I am tired of writing various derivatives of that stupid word F**k] if we would spend a dime on cab fare. I did not want to state the obvious, such as “Are you sure that you still have a car Benny?” but there’s no need to smack the hornet’s nest after it’s been knocked to the ground, so I didn’t. We passed the time watching TV because although Jacksonville is a fairly large city, it seems that if you are not familiar with the good, secret spots, about all there was to do even on a Saturday (unless you owned a boat), was to go out to eat, visit a Redneck bar or watch the Submarine races down by the St John’s river which at that time made Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River (remember the one that caught fire?) seem like a clear mountain stream of pure running water. Neither of us were really in the mood for a hillbilly bar and since we were not the right kind of couple to be viewing submarine races (besides who knew what lurked beneath the brown, muddy river, awaiting its chance to arise to life from the water like some horrible Roger Corman monster B-movie “Attack of the [fill in the blank] Monster!!”. We had found and noted the seemingly best Italian restaurant that was on the road back to the relative raucous life of our rowdy Campus. We figured we could stop there on the way home, providing of course that we could clean Freddy’s blood out of Benny’s car in time to make it there before closing time; 10:00 PM, so we settled into the Motel room and watched TV (Gator City Tractor Pull on all three stations); killing time until 3:00 PM.
At 10 minutes past 3:00 (Benny was fit to be tied and stalking the parking lot like some large, demented Grizzly bear) we spotted his car driving along the road and then into the motel parking lot. As it pulled into the parking space in front of our room, Benny ran to it like the father greeting his prodigal son and started running his fingers over the entire car checking for any new dings or dents. Finding none (…and boy was I glad) he finally turned his attention to Freddy and the rather attractive, buxom blond in the skimpy, shape revealing attire who had driven a cute, red Ford Mustang convertible into the slot beside Benny’s car. Freddy smiled; Benny Scowled; the Blond froze like a deer transfixed in a set of headlights and I cringed awaiting the explosion I knew would erupt in the very near future. And then Freddy put his arm around the Blond, pulling her stiffening torso close as he announced, “Benny, Paul this is my girlfriend [you pick the name I honestly don’t remember] and Blondie [why not?] these are my friends Benny and Paul”. Benny’s visage softened a tad; almost smiling at the terrified sex object as he gruffly hissed, “Pleased to meet ya” and then, ignoring my own, meek “hi”, turned to confront Freddy only to be stopped in his tracks by the words, “Sorry guys, but I can’t go back to FSU with you. I promised Blondie that I would transfer to Jacksonville University since she is going to pay for it, so here’s your keys Benny; drop in and see us if you ever come back to Jacksonville again” after flipping the car keys to Benny the two of them jumped into the Mustang and burned rubber out of the parking lot. I’ll never forget the sight of that squealing car with the smoking tires rapidly disappearing into the horizon as Benny growled, “Mustang my ass; that lucky SOB gets the use of a Ford Cobra GT!”
I’ll close this tome by mentioning the fact that we did stop at the map-marked Italian Restaurant and the meal was excellent. We had wanted to order Chianti to go with dinner but didn’t think we’d pass the acid test here…you know about being 21, but we did order Spumoni with wine sauce for desert and it was delicious…so we ordered a second round. We discovered our waitress had a sister who also worked there and they lived together...alone. Both were getting off work about the time we ran out of money and asked if we wanted to…uh…um visit with them. Good timing because we had ordered another five helpings of the Spumoni with wine sauce except “forget the Spumoni” and were in need of a place to rest for the night. Needless to say, we still did not get back to FSU in time for Monday classes…or Tuesday’s… or…
Next week's 09-27-2010 (#160) title: TBD