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    Monday, May 05, 2008

    Wizard Part X



    Part X

    Back at the storage facility I took time to think about what I needed and what I didn't. I wouldn't be back down for a while and if I miscalculated it could spell trouble. So, as Mr. Toots wandered around familiarizing himself with the new interior, I took time to go over what I had.

    I also took a minute to plug in my laptop and go online. I'd never really used my wireless modem account, but now I was glad I had it. I made sure I'd paid all of my bills and checked my e-mail for the first time in a week. Nothing earth shattering. I rolled some funds from one account to another and made sure nothing would bounce. I e-mailed the storage company and switched whatever payment scheme there had been to my credit card. It'd do for now.

    I'd put everything I thought I'd need in a black duffle back I'd found in the storage room. I hoisted it over one shoulder. I felt bad waking Mr. Toots. He'd found a warm spot on the desk under the lamp. My hands were full when I approached the door. It went up without me doing a thing. I'm sure my Uncle had rigged the motion sensors for just an occasion such as this. Not the cat, but being laden down with things.

    I had to put the bag and the cat down outside to rework the runes, but Mr. Toots knew where we were going. He sauntered over to the van and waited for me to open the passenger door. Somehow he jumped up into the seat. He was curled and purring before I even shut the door. I threw the duffle in the back and got behind the wheel.

    I shot up 231 heading for Dothan, Alabama. I racked my brain trying to remember where the best boiled peanuts would be on the way north. It was the right time of the year for peaches too.

    The trip would take about ten hours. Mr. Toots was asleep so there was no one to talk to. I turned on the radio and finally found an AM station with news of the Apocalypse. I could never really say why I loved listening to AM radio evangelists, but it was a road trip habit. It had something to do with their delivery. They spoke with passion and conviction about something so muddled and convoluted it had a truth of its own. My favorite part was how they would shift gears every ten to fifteen minutes and ask for donations. What the hell did they need donations for? The world was coming to an end.

    I finally found some good boiled peanuts two hours into the drive. Something had changed in the last twenty years or so. It was almost impossible to find plain ones anymore. All of the signs now said CAJUN or RED HOT. The only spice I wanted on mine was salt. Nothing like sucking a boiled peanut out of its shell with a couple of drops of its briny embryonic boil.

    Mr. Toots didn't seem to care for them, so I pulled into a grocery store and bought a couple of cans of cat food and a couple cans of solid white albacore tuna in water just in case he turned out to be snobbish. He'd probably grown old on left over gumbo and Creole butter shrimp. It turned out I was right. He turned his nose at the cat food but got damn near apoplectic when I cracked the tuna. I plopped it into a bowl and grabbed the jug. I added my best approximation of a quarter teaspoon of his special tonic from the jug. He'd lived this long, who was I to take his tonic away.

    An hour later I realized I'd thought of everything but one thing. The smell of Mr. Toots taking a toot drifted into my nostril and started burning my hairs.

    Dammit 'Ol Man, the least you could have done was warn me. Whew, you sure you ain't dead?

    Mr. Toots hissed and lay his head down. I found his little gift at our next stop and promptly pulled into the next pet store I could find. I bought a hid-a-way number with charcoal filters and placed it in the back of the van as far as I could.

    We made it Knoxville just after 11:00 PM. I pulled up my driveway about ten minutes later. Getting out of the van I took a minute to breathe the air. It was fresh and smelled of home.

    If I hadn't had my eyes closed I probably would have seen the bastard that'd hit me in the back of the head with a black jack. Everything went dark. The last thing I smelled was Sassafras and wormwood.

    1 comment:

    Matt Stafford said...

    Mmmmmm...boiled peanuts!