Three Skunks And A “Shut The Fuck Up!” Don’t Equal A Goodnight Sleep. (My Night With Four Strangers: Sacramento to Portland pt 3)
Three skunks and a multitude of shadowy figures later (one of which I thought was going to practice meat fabrication on my body), I decided I did not want to get mugged/murdered in the park. Shakespeare in the park is one thing, but there are some scenes in Hamlet I don’t wish to experience in real life.
Who wants the banana now?
Even though the view was beautiful at the lake, there was no way I could fall asleep. Every little twig crack would sound like my impending doom, and let me tell you something. There are few things harder to sleep through than impending doom. It beats out screaming babies nine times out of ten.
I left the park quickly and made my way back to the main part of this commercial enclave. I walked through business areas, but the only spot that looked reasonable had a sign that was far too distracting to sleep by. It’s not that it was too bright, but when something says Sacramento Police Department, you get the feeling they might be a bit more stiff with midnight lawn campers.
“That mother fucker’s on my prized tulips. Shit just got real!”
I walked on and soon came upon two closed restaurants. As I stood there in the darkness, Autum leaves kept falling around me, being blown back and forth by the wind. Perhaps it was the caffinene from earlier making me jittery or perhaps it was the silent stalker in the park whose silluoette strangely reminded me of Jack the Ripper, but as I stood there, it felt eerie like I was in an episode of Nightmare on Elm Street. They had dark rafters that hung over shadowy nooks that would be ideal for someone to hide. Problem was, everywhere I looked in that area, my mind immedietly suspected a serial killer had already put a down payment on it.
Needing to calm my nerves I decided to go sit beneath a lamp and read Born To Run. After about an hour had passed, four strangers walked by me on the opposite side of the street. They looked slightly disheveld, but were carrying suit cases. I assumed they were staying at one of the motels. One of them looked at me, waived and said hi. I responded in kind. They disappeared and that was the end of that. Or so I thought.
Shortly following, the one who waved came walking up to me from out of the shadows.
“Hey man! You traveling?”
I looked him over. He seemed friendly. He had a black hoodie and a scraggly beard. Looked and smelled like he hadn’t showered for awhile.
“Yeah, I’ve been hitching around the US.”
“That’s cool man. Say, you want to come join us?. We’re hanging out, drinking and smoking weed.” Well that’s a lot better than smoking meth and disecting travelers in the park. Though apprehensive, I decided to go check it out. Once we got up and started walking, I began to regret my decision and see it as possibly foolish.
Cause only Family Feud can decide what my decisions really were
He walked me through a dense collection of dark trees and bushes towards an abandoned restaurant. It was dark and I couldn’t see very much around me. As he talked, my mind kept saying, “you are so getting jumped! He’s brought you into a dark place and him and his three friends are going to pound you, rob you, and leave you for skunk food.”
Nom nom nom traveler: Now comes in brown!!!
My rusty third grade karate training reluctantly put down it’s Pop Tart and Pacifist novel and picked up its least favorite manuel, “So…You’re About To Be Gang Rapped: The How To Guide For Avoiding Certain Unpleasantries.” Senses pricked and hyper alert, I scanned every inch of my surroundings looking for someone with a wrench and a name tag that said Professor Plumb to pop out and bludgeon me.
For a good fifteen seconds while we walked through those dark trees and bushes, I felt certain I was going to be mugged. The terror of this evening was simply unrelenting. However, when we got through the thick of it, I saw the awning of the restaurant. On it were the figures I had seen before. They were laying down with sleeping bags. My heart immediately eased, my butt hole relaxed and the images of Freddy Krueger slowly gave way to Care Bears and Bennie Babies.
Tell me this place doesn’t make you think of Beenie Babies and Care Bears. Of course they probably get shot, skinned and sold on the black market here.
Turns out they were all fellow travelrs in town for the Occupy of Sacramento. We sat around smoking Weed and chatting as they told me stories of where the had been and where they’d come from. Though some of them had rather unappealing smells they were friendly and very generous offering me drinks, food and plant growth. I found myself feeling much more comfortable and said a silent thank you to the Universe. After the lake incident I knew it would be hard for me to find a comfortable place to sleep. With the four of them, I felt skunks and uncertified surgeons would keep their distance.
The crew minus the one hiding under the blanket
I laid back around midnight, hoping to catch some sleep. One thing you learn about camping though is what you gain in strength of numbers, you can lose in quality of sleep. First, it was the Mexican they called Taco. He was part man, part industrial tree saw. Listening to him cut through his zzz’s was like listening to an F-14 target practice on an aluminum shed. I secretly hoped he’d be loud enough to shatter the glass and have one of the shards get him in the jugular. All for the greater good right?
If that wasn’t enough, the one couple there, Mike and Megan, kept arguing through the night about him putting his hand down somoe girl’s pants, and how she had told him they had 6 rolling papers when there were really only four. Things like these usually go hot and strong for fifteen minutes tops, and then people quit. Not these two. Like a fucking night watchman, every hour on the hour I’d wake up to Megan yelling “Mike! Mike! Mike! Mike!” as their arguing picked up once again.
“There were only four rolling papers! Four! FOOOOOOOUUUUUUR!!!!!”
When they weren’t arguing, Mike seemed to have mini seizures. Megan would start screaming, freaking out that something was wrong with him, while Taco the tree saw drowned her out with his snoring, and I fought the urge not to grab my large knife and become the psychopath I had been fearing all night. I did what I could to help and in the end he turned out to be fine. My REM sleep however was feeling grossly neglected.
It was a long night to say the least, and I think I collected a total of two hours of sleep. Oh well. That morning they asked me to hang around, but I had had enough of all the noise. Though I was very appreciative of them it was time for me to get the hell out of Dodge. I collected my stuff, made my way to the onramp and began once again thumbing for my ride. I was now in a time crunch. Emerald City Blues Festival in Seattle, WA was right around the corner and I only had a few days to make it up almost half the country.
Tune in next time as I make my way North, get to a dance event, and meet an angel who became my muse.
- wacsonwacsoff posted this