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  • Writer's picturekerrieonward

And the winner is... (Part 3)

If you haven't read my posts "And the winner is...(Part 1)" and "(Part 2)," you should probably start there. Well, it might be better if you go back to my post "The Clown Conundrum" and then move on to Parts 1 and 2. My storytelling is difficult enough to follow when I'm telling it to you all at once, let alone in chunks.


It's possible that you could be asking yourself, "Can't she just tell us which freakin' creepy clown she picked, already?" No. I can't. I've got to tell the story of it. I can't just SAY it. But, I've been suffering from a severe lack of focus for several weeks, so the clown unveiling has really been dragged out. My apologies.

 

In my post "And the winner is...(Part 1)," I asked if you'd ever trick-fucked a cookie box. So, let me explain.


When my brother was in college, he lived with several like-minded males in a house near campus, a house its inhabitants had named the Butt House. Think of any reason at all you would name a structure you live in the Butt House, and yes, that's the reason for the name. And, then imagine the types of college-aged males who would live in a place called the Butt House. Gross.


If you don't believe me, listen to this small example. Part of the living room furnishings included a dark grey, almost black, velour couch with splashes of turquoise and fuchsia (it was the '90s), that my brother had purchased on credit. I'm sure the $250 couch ended up costing him at least $10k, and the running joke about the couch was, it wasn't safe to sit on it if you were female, because you might get pregnant. See? Told you. Disgusting.


About 10 years ago, I was going through a bunch of my old paperwork, and I came across this strange "document," which comprised several pages of handwritten text, photocopied and stapled together. The text at the top of the first page read "Butt House Application," and what followed was a long list of questions that apparently could be used to screen potential new Butt House residents. All of the questions were based on inside jokes among the at-the-time current Butt House members, questions mostly related to disgusting personal habitats, sketchy financial transactions, the who's who of officiating sports games, and the consumption of food that didn't belong to the consumer. It was not difficult for me to guess that most of the questions were inspired by my brother...


The question that was a real head scratcher among questions that were as itchy as head lice was:


#72. Have you ever trick-fucked a cookie box?


When I read this, it was about 11 pm in Idaho, putting the time at 1 am in North Carolina, where my brother lived, and I had to know: A. How does one trick-fuck a cookie box, and B. Had he done this?


A sound-asleep Daniel answered the phone after several rings.


Daniel <groggy>: Hello.


Me: Have you ever trick-fucked a cookie box?


Daniel: What?


Me: Have you ever trick-fucked a cookie box?


Daniel: What the hell are you talking about, Kerrie?


Me: I was going through some of my old paperwork tonight and I came across the Butt House Application. Question #72 is "Have you ever trick-fucked a cookie box?"


Daniel: JC, Kerrie. You woke me up in the middle of the night while I'm sleeping to ask me about some bullshit that two extremely drunk guys came up with on a day when their game got rained out? I'm going back to sleep.


He hung up.


But, he called me the next day. Turns out the authors of the application were one of Daniel’s fellow Butt House residents and another mutual friend, who were supposed to be officiating a baseball game on a particular but inclement weather canceled it, and they instead drank lots of beer and penned five pages of ridiculousness.


Indeed, question #72 was based on true events, the time my brother encountered a box of cookies in the kitchen cupboard of the Butt House that belonged to someone else. The box was mostly full, cookies lined up in two rows on a plastic tray. He ate all but two of the cookies, and those he left at the beginning of each row of the plastic tray. He slid the plastic tray back into the box, cookies side facing out, so that when someone cracked the box flap open, they wouldn’t immediately know that essentially all of the cookies were gone. For (one-one thousand two-one thousand), the owner of the cookies would experience the sheer joy of a box full of cookies, followed by confusion about the lack of heft in the box (three one-thousand) and the easy resistance when sliding out the plastic tray (four one-thousand), ending with anger when it's confirmed that the cookie box has been trick-fucked (five one-thousand six one-thousand...).


Side-street note: Don't ask me the logic behind this practice. I'm guessing the purpose was to delay the cookie owner from knowing he no longer had cookies for all intents and purposes, but I'm not sure that the two seconds of initial anticipation combined with the two seconds of confusion add up to much of a delay. And, what does the cookie thief get for this four-second delay? Anonymity? The cookie owner knew immediately who had trick-fucked the cookie box.


I had to explain all of this you, because it has (slight) relevance to the clown selection story, and I mentioned it to you in my post "And the winner is...(Part 1)," and I didn't want to leave you trick-fucked.

----------


In fear of another hand-holding prayer request by another strange man (refer to my post "Let Us Pray"), I left Tennessee and directed myself toward Raleigh, NC, arriving on a Sunday. I was so excited to Rhoda Jane, who I hadn't seen in many, many years and to meet Waverly, her husband. I think they were excited to see me too, because when I drove up to their house, there they were, sitting in chairs in the driveway, with beers in their hands, witnesses to the moment of my arrival. This made me so happy.


We hugged and did the "OMG! I can't believe I'm/you're actually here!" thing. It really was a little unbelievable. We all make promises to keep in touch and to travel to see our friends on paths that had diverged from the ones we once shared, but sometimes these promises are difficult to fulfill. For my adventure, I just decided I was going to drive to Rhoda's house, without allowing all the excuses for not doing it get in the way. I made it, and it was great.


The plan was for me to park Stevie in their driveway, which turned out to be a little tricky due to the slope and curve of the driveway. A constant on this adventure is where and how am I going to park the trailer. I just never know what I'm facing until I get there. While I was backing the trailer over the hump of the driveway slope, one of the stabilizer jacks dragged on the concrete, contorting itself into disabled. So, once I got Stevie settled into a comfortable spot, Waverly and I extracted the stabilizer jack from the undercarriage. Waverly had his guys at work try to rehabilitate it back into working order, but I ended up buying a new set.


You know, it's always something with an RV. In addition to jacking the jack, the toilet had increasingly become stinkier and stinkier. The inside of the trailer was collecting the most pungent, eye-watering vapor of concentrated urine (ammonia). SOB! I'd have to call someone the next day to see if the toilet could be replaced.


Up to this point in the adventure, the times along my adventure where I camped at a friend's house, Henry and I stayed in Stevie, even though my friends generously offered to allow Henry and me to stay in their homes, because I'm notorious for leaving my crap everywhere (ask Jason), I felt it was better to keep me and all my shit contained within Stevie.


This changed at Rhoda's. During the first night in the driveway with the wretched toilet vapors, I thought my eyes would explode and ooze out of their sockets. To sleep in an air-conditioned house in a cozy bed in a room that was fresh and clean, this was an easy decision. I'd just have to do my best to keep track of myself within the house. So, Henry and I moved in and made ourselves at home. This included moving my desk and office supplies from Stevie into the dining room, some of my dishes and cookware into the kitchen, food items into the refrigerator, clothes and other sleeping items into the spare room, and toiletries into the bathroom. Right off the bat, my shit was everywhere.


Rhoda and Waverly's home is very comfy, with a large kitchen and dining room, a tv room and a front parlor, four bedrooms upstairs. And, these people cook dinner every night! Like real-food dinners. I had stopped cooking regular meals years ago, since Jason prefers organical puffy food from a bag and eating while standing in the kitchen, and Luna first only ate sugar and now only eats lettuce. There was beer-can chicken cooked on the grill with all sorts of Southern fixins one night, chicken enchiladas another night, and bbq on the 4th of July. I considered asking if I could stay long term. Maybe I'd throw myself down the stairs and break a leg. They couldn't kick me out to live in a stinky RV in that condition, right?



Side-street story: One night, we ordered dinner from a local restaurant. A tuna melt was on the menu. (I love a good tuna melt.) I read the description to make sure it didn't come on rye bread, because I'd switch out that bread if it did. The description said the tuna melt was made with "white bread." (Say "white bread" to yourself in a Southern accent, and make sure to blow out on the "wh" in "white." White bread.) I absolutely could not remember the last time I'd encountered a restaurant that served sandwiches on "white bread." The novelty of this just cracked me up. When I called to place our dinner order, I said to the restaurant employee, "I see that the tuna melt comes on white bread. Is this white bread, sourdough bread? Or, do you happen to have sourdough?" She said she wasn't sure, and she muffled the phone to ask someone standing near her. "Is the white bread for the tuna melt, sourdough, or do we have sourdough?" I heard the person she had asked say, "[muffle muffle muffle] white bread." The first restaurant employee came back onto the phone and said, "It's just white bread."<Southern accent>


Henry loved being back in a house. The dog loves a comfy house, but what he doesn't like is highly polished hardwood floors. It's very unpleasant for His Majesty to have his tootsies slide around on a slick floor. He refused to walk on Rhoda and Waverly's floors. If he wanted in or out of the house, he had to be carried (had to be). So, Rhoda brought out from storage a series of red runner rugs and strung them together across the floor for Sir Henry's walking comfort. The red carpet was literally rolled out for Henry.


On Monday, Rhoda and Waverly left for work, leaving Henry and me at the house. As I mentioned, I'd set up my office in the dining room, and here I got back to my regular work routine. During a break, I called a few RV-service businesses to see if I could get the shitter replaced, and I was lucky to find a guy who operates a mobile service. He said he'd come out the next day to replace the toilet. I was to call him back to set up a time. Score.


I made some tea and strolled around the house, just kinda checking it out. I had noticed an interesting clown painting hanging in the garage when I'd first arrived, so I went and looked at that a little harder. Strange. Came back in and inspected all the island-beach-themed artwork hanging on the walls that Rhoda and Waverly had collected from their extensive island travels. Pretty. Tranquil. While I was looking around, I began to notice little collections of clown figurines, here and there. I texted Rhoda.


Me: What's up with all the clown chotchkies?


Rhoda: Didn't I tell you? Waverly loves clowns. He collects them.


Me: Oh...? [I wasn't sure how else to respond.]








Of course, when Rhoda and Waverly returned from work that night, we discussed the clowns during dinner (refer to the picture of the salt and pepper setup, above), and it was also revealed to me here that Rhoda had been given a ventriloquist dummy as a gift when she was a child, because she had wanted one (!!!), and this dummy was in fact at that moment tucked away in the attic of the house! Now, what are the odds of not being murdered by evil spirits, when you're sleeping in a house filled with clowns and a tucked-away ventriloquist dummy?


Aside from the clowns and the haunting going on in the attic, spending time with Rhoda and Waverly was so great. They are both extremely kind, generous, hilarious people. We told stories. Rhoda and I reminisced about the "good ol' days" during the time she and my brother were in a relationship together. We all laughed and laughed. I laughed so hard at times, I almost peed myself. It was so great.

 

Tuesday morning I was surprised to discover an array of clown figurines that Waverly had set out on the table behind my desk in the dining room before he left for work. As discussed in my post "The Clown Conundrum," Waverly insisted that as a guest in his home, I select one of these clowns to keep, as a gift from him to me.


Trust me. I tried to get out of this.


Oh, Waverly. How kind of you! But, I just couldn't. You've put yourself out too far already by letting me and Henry stay in your lovely home, and you're feeding us. I just couldn't take advantage of your generosity like that. I'd feel like a grifter. Plus, I don't think you should break up the collection.


Didn't matter what I said. He insisted. As a gift from him to me. And, so started the clown conundrum. Which clown would I pick as my own?

 

On Tuesday night, I made dinner. Chicken piccata, broccoli, and 10 pounds of mashed potatoes. I'm not kidding when I say that I made 10 pounds of mashed potatoes. When I make mashed potatoes, I make them with a 10-pound bag of potatoes, which usually equates to about 18 potatoes. It takes 18 potatoes to make mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes made with 17 potatoes, those are dietetic mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes made with 16 potatoes, those are starving Ethiopian mashed potatoes. You'll get kwashiorkor if you eat such measly-made mashed potatoes. Sure, 10 pounds of mashed potatoes is a lot, but it's great to have leftovers.


I love leftovers, but as it turns out, Rhoda and Waverly do not. I think they would like to be leftovers eaters, and their refrigerator and freezer were occupied by several containers of meals of yore, but they just aren't really big on leftovers. I offered to put the leftover chicken enchiladas Rhoda had made a couple nights ago into the freezer, but when I opened the freezer, there was already a batch of leftover chicken enchiladas from the last time she made them for dinner.


No judgement from me. I wedged my large container of leftover mashed potatoes into the refrigerator. Henry and I looked forward to several days worth of mashed-potato-themed meals.

 

On Wednesday, I finally got a hold of the mobile RV repair guy, who informed me that Stevie's shitter was the piece-of-shit model, and he'd come over to swap 'er out. He apologized for being difficult to get ahold of, but he'd been in court all day, unreachable.


Oh no! Not this excuse again. The last time someone told me they were running behind, because they'd been in court all day, it was an Uber driver I had in LA, who'd spent the day being arraigned for a crime he'd committed, and he was in a shitty mood as a result. Now, I appreciate a fast, aggressive driver, especially in LA, but this guy's driving was maniacal. Not an exaggeration! He was on a kamikaze mission to get me to City Hall - dead or alive. Driving in between cars center of the line that delineates the lanes. Between the cars! This freeway to that freeway, back onto the other freeway. Onto a city street, back onto the freeway. He was driving on average around 100 mph, in LA's notorious bumper-to-bumper traffic. From the back seat, I wrapped my right arm around the front passenger seat for my life, while I fished my phone out of my bag to dial 911 with my left hand.


"Oh no! I hope everything is ok," I said to the RV guy. He responded, "My daughter was murdered last year, and I was at court today to hear how the 4 people responsible for her murder want their bail lowered, because sitting in jail just isn't fun for them."


My heart!


Turns out that this man's daughter was 17 yo, just graduated from high school, on her way to college and a fruitful life. She had stopped by a restaurant where she used to work to pick up something to eat and encountered a classmate from high school in the parking lot, who shot and killed her as part of a gang initiation. He fled the scene in a vehicle with 3 accomplices, all of whom were eventually apprehended. The shooter was just days away from turning 18 yo. The other 3 POSs were in their 20s, already with long rap sheets.


Hearing this story made me so furious that I started to cry histrionic style. I asked the guy, "Don't you want to murder those assholes?" He told me that while these people were trying to get their bail reduced, so they could get out of jail, jail was actually the safest place for them, because if they got out, he would kill them.


Amen, sir.


The RV guy sent an employee over to replace the shitter instead of doing it himself, probably because he has his own emotions to control and given my reaction over the phone, didn't want to deal with the in-person emotions of a stranger (but potential co-conspirator).

 

Thursday night, I went to dinner at my uncle Ben (mom's younger brother) and aunt Rebecca's home in Durham, NC. Rebecca had made a mushroom, leek, and gruyere galette, baked fries, and an arugula salad. Super delicious! I'm still thinking about that arugula salad. Their home is stylish and cozy and populated with two cats. I was thrilled to pet the cats. I've been without cats since April, and I'm dying because of it. Ben and Rebecca are extremely intelligent, gifted, talented people. They are educated, open-minded, musical, well-read, well-traveled. They live envy-worthy, full lives. I admire them.


I could talk with Ben for days without stopping. As much as he is self-reflective, he's equally interested in understanding the emotions, motivations, and mental processes of others, and I especially appreciate his perspective on his parents (my grandparents, obviously) who were extremely complicated people, in my opinion, more complicated than your run-of-the-mill complicated.


In the midst of post-dinner bliss and focused conversation with Ben and Rebecca, my phone dinged, indicating the arrival of a new text. I mindlessly lifted my phone from the coffee table to see this sentence across the screen:


You trick-fucked the mashed potatoes!!! - Rhoda

 

Once I said goodnight to Ben and Rebecca and headed back to Rhoda and Waverly's, I was anxious but eager to face this accusation.


When I got home, Rhoda explained that she and Waverly had made pork chops for dinner. She said, "I thought to myself. You know what would go good with pork chops? Mashed potatoes. I'm going to pull out those leftover mashed potatoes Kerrie made and have 'em with dinner."


Memories of mashed potatoes for breakfast, mashed potatoes with lunch, mashed potatoes as a snack for both me and Henry over the past two days came to mind. I smiled with a cringe.


"You had placed the container of mashed potatoes in the refrigerator in such a way that it looked like the container was full, but when I opened it, most of the mashed potatoes were gone. You trick-fucked the mashed potatoes!"


For the record, I did not purposely trick-fuck the mashed potatoes.


We laughed.


"But, you and Waverly don't eat leftovers! I wasn't about to let the precious mashed potatoes go to waste. Henry and I love mashed potatoes. We've been living on them for 2 days now." I had to make myself understood. "And, of course the mashed potatoes only occupied one side of the container. I methodically scoop from one side to the other - right to left. I don't just scoop leftover mashed potatoes out of a container willy nilly like a lunatic."


BTW, Rhoda, if you're reading this. You know what goes great with pork chops? Leftover chicken enchiladas.


My last few days with Rhoda and Waverly were lovely, although my question to Waverly (NASCAR. Why?) was never satisfactorily answered. I have no doubt that by the time they come to visit me in Idaho, he'll explain that the meaning of life can be found around every left turn.


And, just when I thought that maybe I could convince Rhoda and Waverly their lives would be better if I just went ahead and moved in, I had a visitor whose presence warned that the dummy in the attic was getting lonely, and my fantasy of never leaving might come true.



 

Off to Cape Hatteras in the Outer Banks we go!

 

And the winner is...




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