Bone broth with a double side of mustard or the tall tales of the 2022 P200 Gashouse Coconut Horses Van 2 TEAM TASSEL:
Need a ride?
The crack of dawn
Four perfect strangers skulked around the backside of Pocket’s garage like a bunch of henchmen from a low-budget straight-to video B movie waiting for our getaway car and driver. Rusted out vehicles were strewn around in various stages of being chop-shopped while rats, snakes and assorted lowlifes struggled for supremacy in the detritus of shattered glass, twisted metal, flat tires, weeds, and broken dreams. Is this our ride we wondered as a too sweet Mercedes Benz SUV made its way down the driveway to the back of the hideout. It parked and the door opened. A sunglass wearing, perfect haired, toothpick chewing, styling and profiling dude hopped out. You the big boss? Nope. You the driver? Nope. Chop shop guy. Need a VIN changed? Body lengthened? Sound system? Custom sauna with bar? Mirrored ceiling? Pink champagne on ice?
This is a bad idea.
Shortly after sunrise
YHC watched the sky lighten and internally fumed as every minute wasted imperiled my well-crafted plan. “Who put this gang together? The Joker? Riddler? Catwoman?” I knew that I should have declined this job. Unfortunately, I got mouths to feed and bills to pay.
Eventually our driver with the getaway vehicle shows up late. At least he picked an ubiquitous black Amazon van to keep us incognito. We tossed our crap in the back, put our asses in the seats and got going down the road.
YHC begins sizing up the gang with all the others doing the exact same thing. “Look at this goofball”. “Yikes.” “What rock did this guy climb out from under?” “That guy is older than Methuselah.”
We realize we got to make the best team possible from this collection from the isle of misfit toys: A number crunching grumpy old geezer; computer geek toting punchcards and a broken Commodore 64; washed up race car driver with a shade tree mechanic side hustle; crooked judge; Duke Nukem who makes Homer frigging Simpson look like Einstein; Vietnam flashback Colonel Mustard; and that chop shop dude. With the exception of the rookie driver all of us had experienced these mishmash ups before.
Need a second opinion on that?
Somewhereville Souf Cackalacky
Only contact information we had to go on from the big boss was: cross the stateline, drive to this address, look for character from a Star Wars movie for a valuable bracelet he would pass to Gavel. Oh, wonderful. A Star Wars character? There’s only like a whole universe to pick from. Droids? Jawas? Ewoks? Snoke? Wookies? Stormtroopers? JarJar Binks? When the rest of the van found that out you would’ve thought they were going to comic-con. Luckily we had a resident expert Star Wars nerd in the bunch. Only thing he was good for this trip. They had fantasies of Princess Leia chained to Jabba the Hut. I knew better. If it sounds too good to be true…
The ghosts of P200s past?
Dang near lunchtime
We arrived at the double secret probation exchange zone for the drop. It was at a church with graveyard. To secure the area YHC sent Gavel up on the road as a lookout.
Is the big Nantan in the sky trying to tell me something? The ghost of Allen Tate looking for his exchange zone? YHC recognized other shady characters Boudin, DDC, Vuvuzela that he had previously done dirty deeds with, to or for. Memories quickly flooded in, some good, some bad, Nomads, CSAUPs, Bourbon Chases, P200s, McA-Ville to C-ville, Hickory, somehow we had survived to meet here. YHC rubbed his hands together and evilly laughed, nobody’ll ever think to look for the bracelet here!
All rise for hizzoner Judge Boner
The plan was to turn this into a relay. We could then make good use of the van as a decoy. Everyone ran and ran and ran until they had to stop and transferred the bracelet to the next runner. Like a gift that keeps on giving. Just like the Pony Express. Minus the horses. Maybe the local tribes decide to not look for scalps today.
My thoughts were interrupted when Gavel alerts us from his lookout position, he sighted a Sarlacc making its way over to his position. WTH is a Sarlacc?
Gavel accepted the valuable bracelet from the Sarlacc and started hoofing it down the road grasping the valuable bracelet for dear life.
It was hot. It was sunny. It was overcast. It was awful. It was uphill. It was downhill. It was glorious.
First legs Gavel 8.57, Slaw 5.58, Oompa Loompa 9.03, Pockets 3.21, Def Leppard 3.96, and Freight 7.89 miles.
Mistake by the Lake
Prior to getting to the exchange zone, we got word the big boss was there waiting to greet us. We arrived to see The Penguin listening to a tale of how Bedpan beat a dog off with a stick. Is that a double entendre? To each his own I guess.
Later we found out that Roundup, Wichita, Bedpan, and Gear Wrench went “swimming with the gators” in the lake.
Dang, that Penguin dude don’t mess around.
When a park ranger showed up looking for the bodies, it was time for us to mosey on down the road.
Sensing our displeasure from his being quite tardy to Pocket’s Garage, our driver combined the absolute worst mix of bad women drivers, Death Race 2000 and The Fast and Furious to make the time lost. Squinting through the space between the steering wheel and the dash, he stomped the gas, and with brakes untouched we made our way to destination miles away in record time. Passengers, luggage, curbs, rumple strips, and roadkill had a very bad day. Who knew road signs were merely suggestions?
The previous segment of our production was brought to you by Lone Star Barbecue.
The grub was well received.
Sounds and rotten smells weren’t.
And now back to you, Sandy Vee.
Rural convenience store in the middle of SC.
Pulled up to the diesel pump and overheard the following conversation:
At Pump #1
“That thing is too big for this hole.”
At Pump #2
“Turn around the other way.”
The 24 hours of our adventure turned into an endless sea of gloom, despair, and agony on me. YHC staggered from van to van in search of the yellow elixir to reduce his case of menstrual cramps.
Somehow, someway, through hook or crook we made it to the end to consign the valuable bracelet to its final resting place.
In exchange for risking friendship, sleep, sanity, life, limb, and the pursuit of happiness, all we got was a tee shirt, medal, beers or sweet tea and two tacos. The lucky ones found grilled bratwurst and mustard.
At dinner we got a lengthy sermon on “Repent from your sin of carbohydrate lust” as given by the Most High Acolyte, Keeper of the Flame, Red Meat Eating, Proselytizing Prophet between dip spits of Devil’s leaf.
Second legs Gavel 3.77, Slaw 9.73, Oompa Loompa 5.63, Pockets 3.67, Def Leppard 3.86, and Freight 7.72 miles.
Final totals Gavel 15.23, Slaw 20.94, Oompa Loompa 16.62, Pockets 10.85 (ran extra credit 1.96 with Oompa), Def Leppard 15.44 and Freight 21.29 miles.
As always, YHC had a great time with his F3 brothers. Slaw for keeping this old jarhead on his toes at each exchange zone; Freight for his encouraging word; Def Leppard for being the grownup in the group; Gavel for his youthful zeal; Pockets for directions; and finally to Ozark who had the worse job of all us, driving a bunch of preteen acting adults on the back roads of south Carolina.
What happens in the van, stays in the van. Anybody got any mustard?