Catch yourself up before you read this:
Part 1: the saga of getting around
Part 2: I never should have sat down
Part 3: the devil hits me because he hates me
Part 4: remind me to call my parole officer
We were, finally, cruising East on I-80. About 2 or 3 hours after leaving Reno (around midnight–7.5+ hours after leaving Tahoe), Steve decided he was too tired to drive. He wouldn’t let me drive, though, until he physically held my license. I showed it to him, we pulled over somewhere to get gas, and I continued the drive. I paid him the other $20 of the $40 I was giving him for the trip.
Before I started my stretch, though, Steve was sure to get into a completely off-topic (well, as far as I’m concerned) rant about the virtues and (stronger) vices of pre-marital sex (the first of many times he’d bring this up). He squeezed it in somewhere between a harshly inaccurate critique of Darwin’s famous theory, telling me when to shift in order to keep his truck under 55mph, and beating his dog mercilessly. At one point, he reached over, grabbed my head with his open hand, pulled it towards his side of the car, shoved an earbud headphone into it, released my head, and threw an iPhone onto my lap. Granted, he’d insisted that I do his text messaging for him all night (typing very strange things that he told me to enter) but he hadn’t forced a headphone into my ear until now.
With a headphone shoddily placed in my ear and an iPhone on my lap, he cranked the volume to 10 and had me watch this video. (I don’t recommend you actually sit and watch the video. It’s absolutely horrible.)
When he was looking at the road, I found the courage to conspicuously press the touch screen and reveal the video controls. I quickly fast-forwarded through a large chunk of the video. But he looked over as the controls–which only stay visible about 5 seconds after the screen is touched–were still on the screen.
“IS SOMETHING WRONG!?”
“no, um, I was just turning the volume up…”
“IT IS ALREADY ALL THE WAY UP.”
“ok, um, yeah, I see that now.”
Thanks to my ill-witted comebacks and less-than-sly technologic operations, I was able to finish the 10 minute video in under 3 minutes, without ever having actually watched more than 5 seconds.
“HAHAHAHAHHAH WHAT DID YA THINK!? WASN’T THAT GREAT!?” Steve asked as I removed the earbud from its
title track namesake location.
“um, were those guys your friends?” I inquired, unsure of what to ask about the weird movie.
“Oh! Here, here, here,” Steve said, excitedly, as he took the phone from my hands and proceeded to do some more sketchy typing-while-driving. “Here’s another one.”
“Steve, actually, watching that video makes me kind of car sick,” I claimed, finally having realized my passivity was getting me no where…fast.
“Oh, I see, HAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAH,” and out came Steve’s inappropriately hysterical laughter. “I’m such a smartass. I’m SUCH A SMARTASS! HAHAHAHAHAHA,” and with that, the headphones went back in Steve’s ears (although he was, I’m positive, listening to nothing).
Victory was mine! With a sore ear and a slightly-more-tainted soul, I had effectively eluded the forceful preachings of Steve-the-creep, driving the Windowless Van.
Between blabberings about god-knows-what (literally), Steve was sure to insert, “Well, since yuh says yuh ain’t no mormon, yuh know what their beliefs is?” I have no time to reply. “WORK HARD AND ROT IN HELL! THAT’S WHAT THE MORMONS BELIEVE!!!”
Okay, Steve, whatever you say.
I enjoyed silence for a few minutes as we pass middle-of-nowhere Nevada under the silence and protection (for Steve) of night. I was driving now, and he interrupted the beautiful, beautiful silence with a public service announcement: “I’m gonna have ta pull over and nap sometime soon. And I think I’ll have me a shower in Wendover. They’re free, if you know da right places to go, with my CDL. You can wait in the car.”
Are you SERIOUS!? This was getting so ridiculous. A SHOWER!? The drive is only NINE HOURS!?
Granted, we pulled into Wendover, Nevada in the middle of the night (we’re talking, like, 5am) and he told me to park the car in some sketchy parking lot across from one of Wendover’s famous spots, the Rainbow. He got out and eventually I fell asleep to the blinding casino lights and questionable truckers walking around the car (hey, at least it’s not THAT GUY, Truckee, from earlier). Steve returned about an hour later looking the exact same, but with the renewed and unearned confidence of a 12-year-old with a new haircut from Great Clips. “Saddle up, partner! I’ve gotta git to court in 2 short days!”
Steve got behind the wheel after we topped off the gas tank, and into the glow of the impending sun we drove, listening to him talk about how god’s surely going to give him full custody of his kids–this time. I uncomfortably fell asleep, but woke up to a blanket tossed on my lap. “There’s yer pilluh,” Steve–the kindest of god’s creation–saved himself by offering me a pilluh. I bunched the blanket up, shoved it between my head and the window, and fell asleep. Finally.
I was proud to finally have mustered the courage to sleep beside this screwball. But that pride didn’t last for long.
40 minutes later, I awake to the overworked and over-mileage truck shocks taking a beating. I open my eyes, and traffic is nowhere to be seen. The highway had turned to gravel, road markers and signs had disappeared, and I was being driven down a gravel side road (going East, I felt). This was NOT the way to Salt Lake. We were further off the highway than, literally, ANYthing could necessitate.
Steve was aware my restless moving, and didn’t say anything.
Was THIS the end? Was I within an hour of Salt Lake, but being taken to the middle of the desert to be butchered?
The car came to a stop, and Steve got out. Uh-oh.
I decided to get out, too. Be strong, I told myself. (Okay, that’s a lie. It was more like Be awake.)
I walked behind the car to find Steve, facing away from me, with something in his hand.
Nervously, I began to pace myself clockwise around Steve’s shoulder-width stance. I stopped when I heard a noise.
A stream of liquid.
Oooohhhhhh. He’s either peeing, or peeing before killing me.
“I need a nap,” he tells me, as he gets back in the truck.
“Can I just drive? We’re almost there.”
“Well, I sleep better on this side, so I’d prefer a nap.”
The sun was rising. It was ridiculously late. Luckily, this was the first time I was returning to SLC from Wendover at this time. Asleep I went, on a gravel road, miles form the highway, in the MIDDLE-OF-NOWHERE dessert of Utah, with a sketchy psycho who loves to–and this is a quote–“witness [his term for his in-car preachings] when I’m depressed.” Okay, so, he was depressed, too. Awesome.
An hour later, the sun is shining, and I finally shuffled my body around enough to wake him up. He looked over at me, and I asked, “Can I finish the drive up?” Hesitantly, he obliged. Once back at the highway, I drove with the rush hour traffic into the Salt Lake Valley. Unfortunately, he insisted that we get off the interstate and take some side road into Salt Lake. Upon further reflection, I realize he did this because it was a) how he used to take his semi truck, and b) where the Del Taco he wanted his breakfast from–which he’d been talking about since Lake Tahoe, 18 hours ago–was located. 10 minutes later, although we were only 10 minutes from my destination–Steve absolutely ORDERED me to take him to the horrible fast food Mexican place. I parked, he went in, I recorded of myself talking about the experience that I’ll soon post here, and I waited for him to come out with his monstrosity of a burrito and bucket of coffee. Of course, hands-full and fully occupied with his iPhone, Steve took over the rush hour driving duty.
I directed him to my street. But, as you’re thinking right about now, I wasn’t exactly about to have him pull in my driveway and reveal my libelous base. Instead, we parked across the street, 2 houses down. (Remember, I had a couple huge bags that I didn’t want to take around my sketchy neighborhood at EIGHT AM. Yeah, that’s right, it was something like 8:30am.)
“Is that yer house?” Steve asked, pointing at a house across the street from mine.
“Ah, yeah, that’s it.”
I just…got out. He got out, too. Oh boy–I was ALMOST home free.
We removed my bags from the truck bed without talking. I wished him good-bye and he shook my hand for the first time (before, when we met, he was too afraid to shake it). As he walked back towards his door and I gathered my bags, out from my real house comes my roommate who, dressed in nothing but the pajama pants he’d slept in, yells “Hey Brody!”
“Oh, is THAT your house?”
“Um, yeah, a friend lives there, too…have a safe drive to Indiana…”
Shoot, I’d been caught red-handed.
“hey,” I say to my housemate, barely audibly.
I stand behind his truck, waiting for him to pull away, but he isn’t budging. He’s either eating his breakfast or waiting to see where I was going to walk. Eventually, I couldn’t wait any longer. I submitted to my inevitable murder that was to take place in the next 2 days, shouldered my backpack, and walked towards the door…of my real house.
So-long, Windowless Van. I seriously hope to never, ever even come close to seeing you, your driver, or even Princess again.