Sunday, November 2, 2008


Went to a bonfire last night with Starbuck. Having been to a few bonfires when I lived in upstate New York, all was as I suspected. A large fire, hotdogs, marshmallows, jello shots. Starbuck had expected a Texas A&M Log-o'-Death-Fest, and so was mildly disappointed.

Started out as tame as could be; quite a panoply of characters to get to know and observe. Let's be clear however: this was coordinated by a "Meetup Group" ~ adults who are in general unconnected looking to connect. To find "the one". To have a good time. To maybe meet Mr. or Ms. Right. To form a relationship. To get laid.

Or to get tanked. Whichever came first. In a manner of speaking.

I'll call character #1 Jack Daniels. Friendly fella, making nice with all the ladies; had brought a tent, as did several others, to camp out for the night and not risk a DWI on the way home. Full of the milk of human kindness, he invited all to doze in his tabernacle of friendship should they find themselves spent and in need of a place to rest their weary heads, a peaceful abode of slumber - all above board, no monkey business, we're all friends here. A grand fellow; a true advocate of the drinking man.

It didn't take long for our champion of bonhomie to size up the herd, lope to his tent and whip out a bottle of Jack Daniels to dangle in front of his prey, one woman, well juiced.

"I don't know. I just don't get it. I find a guy, I like him, and then he leaves me. I just don't understand. What am I doing wrong?"

A friendly rub of the arm, a few sympathetic noises. A soothing bottle of Jack Daniels shimmering delicately in the light of the fire.

"No. Seriously. What am I doing wrong? I just don't understand."

"You just need to talk it out don't you? Come over here where it's quiet," our Lothario, ooozing understanding, willing to open the Secrets of Man playbook to a woman whose tank was 3/4 full smoothed the path to his tent, "You know, guys are just dicks sometimes..."

This was all Starbuck and I heard before the tent was zipped open and our friends were cocooned in it's dark embrace.

Meanwhile, Starbuck was employing her considerable charm on several of the menfolk. In her element, she boldly proclaimed herself a Girl Scout Leader who could make an oven out of nothing but a box and tinfoil, bake muffins, start fires and cook spider dogs after bringing home the bacon, frying it up in a pan and never get it. Character #2, who we'll call Ted Kaczinsky, was intrigued. He moved in behind her and whispered;

"I'm the king of bullshit and can smell it where it sits. I'm smelling some right here. That was pretty smooth." He moved away smiling with his pole of hot dogs at full mast. It was apparently the remark about being a Girl Scout Leader that captivated Ted. He quietly boasted to Starbuck that he had been an Eagle Scout. In a manly show of dexterity, Kaczinsky deftly balanced the shaft that held his two hot dogs over glowing coals.

I had been chatting with a technical writing enthusiast and so was not privvy to all of Kaczinsky's love talk, but I had a hard time trying to hide my horror as he offered one ash-covered dog to Technical Writer. "Oh," murmured Starbuck, "You got a little dirt on that." Perhaps it was the way of the Eagle Scout to eat his hot dogs with chunks of burning wood embedded, I can't be sure. Always quick thinking and kind, Starbuck cleansed the offering with some of her beer.

Technical Writer ate it. We continued chatting.

Kaczinsky opened up to Starbuck, lamenting that his fondest dream was to retire and learn to fish from his kayak, but when duty called one must answer. Apparently when he was in fourth grade he was chosen for his genius among his classmates to participate in a special program for the particularly gifted (apparently part of the curriculum was his training and eventual soaring to the rank of Eagle Scout) and was eventually culled out of that crowd as well and trained by the CIA, Special Operatives.

Now Starbuck is either a terrific sport, or naively credulous, "Oh! Really? Were you in something like the Navy Seals?"

"Navy Seals wish they were us. They're too busy glad handing and being political. We're the guys who really got the job done. We were before the Navy Seals. My best friend just came back from a mission last week, a mission that had world wide ramifications. He came back to see our country in the shape it's in and has to face the fact that no one...NO ONE will EVER KNOW that he just saved this sorry world."

I guess I could appreciate that sometimes, a guy just wanted to eat coal covered dogs and fish off his kayak. Starbuck and I sat by the fire.

Just then, a married couple joined us our side of the flames. We all immediately launched into a vivisection of Jack Daniels and the poor slob of a woman he corralled in his tent. Married guy was horrified at this bitchy show of bitchiness, "They're just going to talk. Give him break."

What a guy. Defending a brother. We made appropriate snorts of derision and continued with our dissection.

"Yeah, he tried coming on to me earlier," stated Married Chick, "but I told him I was married. He THEN went on to tell me that he had a wonderful girlfriend at home, blonde, lovely, brilliant and they had sex 4 times this week." None of us believed this but it didn't stop us from analyzing him to death.

Married guy said again that they were just talking; that he could hear them in the tent. Indeed, Starbuck thought she heard someone say, "Kinda." This hardly convinced us that all was chaste within. We suggested possible alternatives; "This turn you on baby?" "Kinda." "Was it as good for you as it was for me?" "Kinda".

Women. Are. Evil.

Jack Daniels and Boozy Woman exited not long after. To be fair, they were fully clothed and didn't look like they had spent their time locked in sweet embraces.

The Jello Shots came out some time after Starbuck gave neck rubs to some party attendees but before Jason Bourne offered to show her his "toy". Some guests had never indulged in Jello shots before and required some instruction...which Starbuck gladly provided.

"See? You stick your finger in like this," the crowd of spectators grew as she showed her audience by demonstrating, " And then you stick your tongue in like this and woooops! There you go!" The throng eagerly stuck their fingers in their little cups of Jello in unison, seeking validation of their technique. "Like this? Like this?"

It was during this time that Kaczinsky, suspicious that the other wolves were circling to gorge on his kill, sat in the chair next to Starbuck and placed a territorial hand on her chair, staking his claim. Respecting his alpha status, Technical Writer, Jack Daniels, et al, wordlessly backed off.

A wasted woman next to me fluffed out a blanket and plopped down. "I can't lie down, I might fall asleep. I can't lie back. I can't." Jack Daniels moved in.

"I got a tent right back there - you can go on and lie down - it's cool. All above board, no monkey business." Jack culled another one from the herd.

"I gotta," slurred the latest victim, "I gotta...I gotta...get my shit together."

Jack placed a gentle hand on her back, nudging her toward his nylon haven, "Your shit will be here in the morning," he assured.

"Your dignity?" whispered Married Chick to me, "Maybe not. But your shit? Your shit will still be here."

My other ear heard Ted Kaczinsky speak Russian to Starbuck. "Blabbity blah blah blahski."

I turned and smiled, "Nyet."

His eyebrows raised, perhaps he had been working on the wrong woman. "Ahhhh, bwah bwah bwalosnikov?"

"Da," I said. "It's all I know. Da and nyet."

"Then maybe you should know what the questions are first before you answer," he guffawed. The answer was almost always going to be no, I thought, but I didn't say it. He turned back toward Starbuck. "Can I show you my toy?"

Starbuck announced to me, Married Guy and Married Chick that she would be right back; she was going to go look at Bourne's toy.

Just as I was starting to ponder whether or not I should have taken her keys, we were distracted by a nearby conversation about spray on condoms. Any concern I had about Starbuck and Boris Badinov's toy was forgotten. Starbuck came back moments later - apparently Bourne had shown her his kayak and his van.

"Did you go in the van?" I asked, trying to hide my worry.

"Ew, no. There are nice vans and there are vans and ew. Then there is his van."

"It wasn't a rape van was it?"

"A rape van?" she looked around, "What's a rape van?"

"What color was the van?"


Married Couple and I looked at each other and gasped, "Rape van!" and proceeded to explain that very often, van descriptions from eye witnesses at the scene of a crime are of non-descript white vans with no windows in the back. Rape vans.

A poor little toad was spied leaping toward the bonfire. Maybe he was lost. Maybe he just wanted to die. I couldn't just watch it happen, so I grabbed the little fellow and took him to the edge of the wood. If he was intent on ending his life, he could do it while I wasn't there to watch. Walking back, I heard the sounds of someone wanting to die ~ Jack's little tent amore was vomiting, I'm pretty sure, inside the tent.

A little while later, I noted a well toasted Jack Daniels was making a move on Starbuck. After a few minutes, she stepped away and told me she needed to use the bathroom and then she'd be ready to leave. Jack Daniels came up to me and asked where my "sister" went.

"Cousin. And she's using the bathroom." I watched him.

He thought. And carefully he thought some more. "I have to go pee."


Jack apparently did make a move on Starbuck as she exited the facilities. It may have included still another invite to the tent (neither knew about the vomiting girl yet) but Starbuck resisted. It was time to go.

We talked all the way back and agreed that we had had a very good time. I berated Starbuck for telling Ted Kaczinsky her full name and where she worked. She agreed that it had been a lapse in judgment but we were thankful she had escaped the rape van.

Not long after she dropped me off and I was snuggled in bed with a book, did I receive a call. Starbuck had gone to pick up her son from a party. She noticed a vehicle behind hers as she pulled away from the curb.

It was a white van.

(Cue Psycho music).


Anonymous said...


E said...

Knock it off, Starbuck, you aren't very anonymous!!!

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining. Joke is on Jack though, he had to sleep in puke - hee hee hee.

Anonymous said...

Instead of looking for Mr. and Mrs. "Right"... I belive jack was looking for "Mrs. right now"

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