We now resume our story:
The van is on its side, being sprayed by the firemen. We are directed to the fire truck. I have as possessions now three salukis and a camera battery (which for some reason somebody handed to me after they found it on the Interstate). They ask if I will need anything else, and I'm thinking, yes.
I make a quick mental list of what I need to survive for a day and come up with purse, dog food, glasses, cell phone. After the van is righted somebody fishes through it and hands me a small canister of dog treats and my dog grooming bag. This is not what I would have
chosen. But now I own three salukis, a camera battery, dog treats, and dog grooming essentials. Thank God the dogs will look good. I do finally locate my glasses (broken) and cell phone (dead) myself. Now I am set.
I bundle them together and we ride in the fire truck until they hand us over to the wrecking truck guy with the van on a flatbed. I see the new hot pink show lead I'd just bought hanging from the van's outside mirror. I snatch it and add it to my loot. Definitely set now.
The tow truck driver takes us to a motel---no vacancy---and another---no vacancy---and we discover every motel in town is full because of the recent hurricane. The driver makes a deal to get an abandoned truck towed from a motel lot in exchange for letting me stay at a condemned motel in an "adventurous" part of town. Only when they discover I have dogs the motel operators are not so wild about letting me stay in their palace, even when I metion I will be staying an entire night, not just by the hourly rates. They demand a big deposit, which they state they will keep if the dogs get on the bed.
I offer the tow truck driver $20 to take us to Wal-Mart and park with the dogs for 15 minutes while I get stuff. The dog grooming bag turns out to be a life saver. In it is the sweepstakes money we just won, so I have cash to pay him. Also my credit card, because I had done some shopping at the vendor booths before I left the shows.
I run through the Wal-Mart snatching things from shelves: dog beds (I figure this will at least look like
I'm not letting the dogs on the bed), a sheet for the bed once dogs get on it, cans of pop-top dog food, paper bowls, milk bones and a phone charger. Food for
me: Somehow a good diet seemed like it would be Crunch n Munch, peanut brittle, bananas, apple and Pringles. This may have been the first sign I may have had a concussion.
The second, and most definitive sign I was concussed, however, was in my choice of clothes to replace the bloody ones I was wearing. I somehow thought a lime green shirt with purple shorts would be particularly fetching, not realizing that I would look like a Barney clone once I put it on. I would wear the Barney outfit night and day for the next four days.
Back at the motel room, I discover it is aimed at people who must be very concerned of their appearance, as there are low mirrors on three sides of the bed plus one above it on the ceiling. Omen is fascinated by the
I discover my appearance is frightening, as my hair is stiff with a solid mat of dried blood, and the back of my shirt is much bloodier than the front. Yet nobody let me cut in line at Wal Mart?
The other motel inhabitants are roofers who are busy dropping anvils on the roof above us all day. And are those gunshots once the sun goes down? Of course the dogs wait until 2 AM and 4 AM to just really HAVE to go out. There is more foot traffic out and about at this
time than there was when it was light. I discover my dogs are actually protective as we are approached by shadowy figures lurching down the roadway. Until they get close, then they just want to be petted by muggers.
Did I mention my door did not seem to have a lock? I try the chair-against-the-door-knob as seen on TV.
We're all going to die.
Yet we survive. The next morning begins the HUNT FOR A RENTAL CAR. After being led on by Enterprise (repeat
after me: Enterprise SUCKS) they finally say they don't rent to people with dogs. They take three hours to reveal
this, and I am being evicted from my motel room at 11 AM. The motel reluctantly agrees to let me stay another hour for $10 (below their normal hourly rate, they assure me).
Hour's up. Still no car. And the motel is banging on my door. I am homeless. I am wondering how I will look standing by the road with my salukis and Wal-Mart baggies and dog beds. Eventually they agree I can stay another night.
Finally I find a car in the next town (Hertz = good). Fellow salukite Cindy Najera, AKA the best person in the world, is on her way from Houston area to help, and she
takes us to get the car. We hide the dogs in her van, just in case they've been talking to Enterprise. We score! A rental car is mine! But now it is dark.
Cindy says I am not allowed to stay in the room by
myself. She spends the night at the scary motel with me! She is obviously impressed by the mirrors, which is probably why she wanted to stay. We get to eat my first non-peanut-brittle meal in almost two days: Taco Bell, nectar of the gods! Life is good. The next morning, Omen tries to bury Cindy's face in her pillow, his way of saying thanks.
Next morning we find my van's graveyard. I recall the propane is still own---something it would have been nice to remember before sitting in the shadow of the wrecked van on the interstate (there was no other shade and it was Texas in October) or letting the firemen and wrecking guys near it, but oh well, it didn't blow up, and all's well that end's well. I turn off the propane--and geez, the tow truck guy didn't have to look so stricken when I pointed it out. Like I said, it's not like it blew up or anything), go through it and salvage lots of stuff, Cindy takes pictures, we say goodbye, and I'm on my way home.
Note: New minivans have a door behind the driver that can open mysteriously, like when you are in the Taco Bell (nectar of the gods---yes, I know I said that but it bears repeating) parking lot for lunch, and people start yelling and pointing and that's when you happen to see your puppy sauntering toward the highway because the back door has taken it upon itself to pen. Apparently hitting random buttons on the key thing does this. But to continue...
Fall out of car yelling, try to get door closed so other dogs don't follow, run toward the six lane highway where Luna is now trotting between cars stopped at the light, peering in windows (a "friend" would later claim she was looking for a better driver. Yeah, haha, that's funny.) I'm running, I'm freaking, I'm calling, the light turns green...and every car stays stopped. They wait for the crazy person in the Barney outfit to catch the skinny dog before going--- a few drivers even wave (hey, it IS cheap entertainment). I make it back to the minivan and try to prevent myself from retching. Order comfort food (which is pretty much anything from Taco Bell).
Put leashes on dogs and hold them tight as I drive because who knows, maybe these doors can open when you're driving down the Interstate. Talk to somebody and find out no, that won't happen unless you hit the key thing when it's stopped. Make a note to self that I need a more modern car.
Stop again at Taco Bell for dinner. I deserve it. Keep fingers away from key thing.
That night at the motel half-way home, I trip over a parking lot thing, fall flat on my face and people think I am drunk. I would have to be, after all, to be dressed like Barney. This accident hurts more than the car
wreck. But the motel has only one mirror, and the door locks, so things are looking up.
The next morning I am freezing in my Barney outfit. I
try to stand next to a pine tree for cover from the wind, and of course ended up standing in a fire ant bed. I dance around a lot. I am pretty sure the same people from the might before were the ones staring.
I make it home. Can't wait for the shows this weekend!