Part 1: The Wingman Preliminary
“You know what my dad calls this place?”
I look above and around the chinch hanging on the walls and between tables, leveling my eyes at the sight of wooden peg games on each table top. A myriad of names pop in my mind.
She laughs as she says it, “Honkey Bucket.”
I’m careful not to laugh too loud. “I will never UNknow that! Let your dad know I’m gonna use it.”
We’re both being sensible; eating as much meat product as possible. While she does the ham-bacon-sausage trifecta, I go for grilled catfish ‘n’ eggs. We discuss the benefits of packing food vs. stopping to eat where we go. “My plan is to save every dollar towards gas.” “Me too.” I tell her about hurricane sandwiches, where you take the whole loaf of bread out of the bag, dress with nonperishable, processed foods, then return all of it back into the bag, the idea being, you can survive a hurricane landfall with this bag ‘o’ food. Yes, the butts are their own sandwich, or you can give them to the dog.
I reach for my phone. “Let’s talk route.” As Google Maps activates, I watch her watch our server pour water into her glass. Just as I think, ‘ooh, there’s a side spigot on that pitcher,” she says, “Umm. That was Sprite.” I want to laugh, but the server’s expression indicates she’s kicking herself internally. “It’s okay,” we both say, and the server explains, “I just got here. Haven’t had my coffee. I’ll get you another cup.” She says, “I totally understand,” as the server whisks off.
I felt compelled to admit I’ve never been a server. Either I was the manager or I was in the kitchen. “Hard to hit the floor when you’re not ready,” I assume. She’s the opposite; she prefers service positions. “Yeah, but sometimes once you’re talking to people it wakes you up.” I nod. That’s why I was never on the floor. I hated dealing with people, but I loved telling them to go fuck themselves. That’s when I realize, this person is good for me. I need someone who is naturally friendly and compassionate who I have no sexual attraction to. We can compliment each other without complicating each other.
I swipe the screen to enter an address somewhere in the American Midwest. The blue ball indicating our current location shrinks as the image expands upward, displaying the green penis of Florida and the expanse of North America above it.
In an act of complete abandon, a huge leap of faith on my protective part, I position the screen towards her. “Pick our route.”
She tightens her face to scrutinize the options. “We’re taking our time?”
I’m amused as she rubs her chin, clearly putting much study to the North America map.
“Either 20 or 40 but west for sure.” I have done the Florida to New York drive too many times, sorry Atlantic seaboard. I want to see some new shit. I hope she wants to see the Grand Canyon.
She points to Louisiana, a certain city I’ve never hung out in, just driven through. “I can talk to her about staying the night.”
“That’s cool. Definitely save on getting a hotel. But we need that confirmed before we leave.”
She nods assuredly, “Oh that’s fine.”
“She needs to be cool with us showing up at 3 in the morning with a dog.”
“Oh that’s fine.”
The paranoid part of me is screaming, but I let her rock out. I have to do this; I have to resolve my crisis of faith, and it starts with trusting this person.
Neither one of us has the will to clean our plates. Maybe if we had smoked prior to brunch, but, oh well.
I lift our ticket from the center of the table. “Honkey Bucket’s on me.”