If you have never heard of Johnstown Pennsylvania I don’t blame you, it isn’t the biggest of cities or even the nicest. Though the welcome signs say “Friendly Safe and Clean” it isn’t really any of those either. Johnstown is the type of city that once was or perhaps could have been but isn’t now and probably never will be. A couple of years ago Paul Newman came through and filmed a movie based kind of on our hockey team called “Slap Shot” and it was only last year that Tom Cruise came in and did “All The Right Moves”, but I tell you honestly they didn’t pick this location for how glamorous it is.
Now I don’t want to paint you a picture too dark either, it isn’t like Johnstown is the inner city or a war-zone, it is just a shit hole plain and simple. We had a big claim to fame when Carnegie’s “South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club” had a big damn that busted and the ensuing flood killed a bunch of people but that’s about it. Actually that is the kind of garbage people around here cling too calling it “The Flood City”. That’s bull shit. Sure we have some seasonal floods but nothing that big. There was one that went through in 77 that put the town in its current state by helping to drive out the last of the industry that was here.
For the last few generations this place was supposedly booming, though you could never tell now. All that is left of what once was are the big empty buildings, the stink of the sulfur crick on a hot day and the eternally gray sky. Well, that and the depression that hangs so thick in the air you could fucking choke on it if you aren’t paying attention. It is a hell of a place to grow up I can tell you that first hand. I was born in this shitty town, I live in this shitty town and I pray to God I don’t have to die in this shitty town, but I probably will.
There is one other thing you should know about this place before we go any further with this tale. No one new ever moves in here, not on purpose anyway. The families that are here have been here forever and even though there are probably close to 30,000 people here its a good chance two random people will know each other or at least know each other’s cousins, that’s just how it is. Because of that everybody from here is always from here no matter where they go, and as much as they are dying to get out they will always look back with some kind of fondness on it. And though we may talk a little trash about our town doesn’t mean that you can. It may very well be the shit hole of the world but God damn it this is our shit hole.
That being said, my name is Max Parker and I grew up here.
Like I said before, I was born in Johnstown and lived here my entire life. I graduated high school and went to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. After college I couldn’t really decide what I wanted to do with my life so I took a year off. I got a job at a Sheetz convenience store and gas station and moved into my grandmother’s basement. That year turned into to 2 years which turned into six and now here I am 27 years old and still living in my grandma’s basement, working at a gas station. It is a charmed life I lead indeed.
In all reality aside from the fact that most people would probably call me a loser it really isn’t that bad. My best friend still lives here too, his name is Mark but we all call him Marky. Marky was going to be the one that was going to go places. I mean you should have seen this kid play football, he could do it all. You would swear to God the kid had a damned rocket launcher for an arm and he could run faster than a raped date. He didn’t so much kick a ball as he just moved his foot toward it and the hand of the Almighty put it between the goal posts.
After high school he got a full scholarship to Penn State and we all thought for sure he was gonna go pro but then in his senior year he was in a car accident and fucked his legs all to hell. I mean what the hell good is a ball player who can’t run and can’t kick any way? He can still through but he doesn’t like too. He never really talks about it and it really isn’t my place to ask. After he got out of the hospital he never felt like finishing school so he just stopped. I got him a job down at the store with me and that’s just what we do.
The other ugly mug I have to look at every day is a cat named Larry. Now he isn’t really a cat, I was just trying to come off a little cooler than I am. Larry moved here from Jersey back in the 70’s. He is a real cool guy but just a little nutty. He is about five years older than me and Marky and as about Italian as you can get. If you ever asked him why in the hell he moved to this place he will always give you a different answer.Marky and I figure he is probably hiding out from the mob or some shit but who really knows for sure. The guy is funny as hell though, I mean he is always crackin jokes. He’s a real good guy too, the kinda guy you know will always have your back.
What’s really funny is to see him get pissed off. He starts stompin around like he is gonna stamp a hole right into the world and his nostrils start flairin. He gets that little vain poppin on his forehead and just goes nuts. I swear to god it’ll remind you of Joe Pesci in “Raging Bull”. “Your mother sucks giant elephant dicks!”, that still makes me laugh.
Anyway the three of us work the night shift together over at Sheetz and if we aren’t there you can find us all down at Lech’s down in the west end, at least until they close up at midnight. Don’t ask me why but they got some real strange hours there, I think it has to do with the way the shifts used to run at the mills. Any how after that we can be found at any number of bars. We love to drink, play darts, shoot pool and chase tail. I’m not saying its right it is just all there is to do.
There is a fourth in our little crew, his name is Justin. He is a bartender down at Lech’s and a real good guy but a little odd. Marky and I went to high school with him and if you didn’t see the way he chased women you would swear he was gay. I still think he is, my guess is that he is so over the top about chasing poon because he is embarrassed about the fact that he likes dudes and doesn’t want to deal with it. I mean me Marky and Larry wouldn’t care, he’s still a good guy but that ain’t exactly looked upon kindly here.
Anyhow that’s who we are, what we do and where we live, it ain’t much but it is what it is. Kinda sounds like a Springsteen song huh? I always said that The Boss wrote that song “The River” about Johnstown, hell I mean he mentions “The Johnstown Company” right in the third verse. I dunno if that’s true or not but that’s what I tell people.
Well a few weeks back my mom’s boyfriend asks her to marry him, I’m still not sure how I feel about it but I guess its gonna happen no matter what and the guy makes her happy so what the fuck should I really care any way? Well this dude has money, I mean he wears a suit made of money to his job printing money and he drives a car fueled by money that he parks near his big house built out of stacks of $100 bills money, that kind of money. Well after he put that big rock on her finger he surprises her by saying he is taking her on a two month cruise and they left two days later.
My mom being the kind hearted person she is and realizing that my car is so old and shitty that the first name on the title was Moses decides to leave her car keys with me. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the gesture, but I know my shitty luck so I took the keys and tossed them into the old glass punch bowel I keep next to my bed for change and didn’t think any more of it.
I went to work that night same as any other. If there was one cool thing about my job it was that Sheetz is a 24 hour joint and I got to work overnight. I would stroll in there at ten till eleven, put on my little red visor and be ready to go. Marky and I would normally sit around and drink coffee all night while Larry would usually be bitching about something in a hugely comical way.
I got to work punched in and poured a cup of coffee, I decided to go out back and have a smoke before my shift actually started so that’s what I did. I was leaning on the back of the building when I saw Larry come flying into the parking lot, jump out of his car and run up to the payphone. He dialed away and a second later screamed “Carlos Colon” into the receiver. He let out a big “Woohoo” and came running over to me.
“What the hell was that about buddy?” I asked.
“I just won us four tickets to go see wrestling down in Pittsburgh this Saturday!”
“On the radio, they asked, ‘Who did Abdullah the Butcher defeat at Starcade last year’. The answer is Carlos Colon. I won the tickets buddy.”
“Hell yeah it is. I can’t wait to go down to the ‘Burgh, see a couple of guys beat the high holy hell out of each other and then we can all go get shit faced!”
Larry went inside and I flicked my cigarette out across the parking lot. It was a nice night but I wasn’t going to get any work down out there and besides my coffee was getting cold inside. By the time I got in the door, Larry had the radio on so we could here him answer the question. I heard Marky yelling about how ‘awesome’ it was going to be.
I walked back in and set about doing my nightly tasks, it was always the same stupid bullshit, but I mean you get into a routine and that is just “what you do” ya know? Any how my first job of the night every night was to count the cigarette packs we had on premises, next I had to go dip the gas tanks to make sure we had enough and then finally I had to check and restock the coolers.
As the night went on we all talked about how cool it was going to be to go down to see wrestling the following weekend. Marky and Larry spent the night attempting to do over the top wrestling holds to each other any time there weren’t customers in the store. The plan was going to be that next Saturday night we would all meet here at the store and pile in my car, we would go over and pick up Justin and then drive down to the show.
I got back home at about 7:30 that morning, my grandma was up and making a pot of coffee the way she had every day for the last half century or so and wondered around the kitchen making breakfast.
“You want some dippy eggs Max?”
“Sure grandma, how did you sleep?”
“Oh as well as I can I suppose, I had a nip of Mr. Daniels’ finest before I went up to bed last night.”
“Way to go grandma, got any big plans today?”
“Ethel and I are going down to the Slovak club to help out the ladies in the kitchen for the benefit there and then I might go up toStager’s to do some shopping. What about you?”
“I will probably go to sleep after breakfast and then when I get up I will see what Marky’s up to. We might head out to the mall a little bit before work.”
“You gonna go looking for women?”
“I dunno grandma most of the girls around here are all tricksters I don’t want anything to do with.”
“Well if you find one, make sure you wear a rain coat. You don’t want to go gettin the drip. Your uncle Marty used to chase the whores while he was over seas in the army and he got the drip. He couldn’t piss straight for a couple of months till he got it all cured up, Jesus love him.”
My grandma was one of the most colorful old women you could ever hope to meet. She spoke her mind and had a great sense of humor. While I was in college my grand father passed on and when I got out I came to live with her to help out around the house a while until I got back on my feet. I have been “on my feet” for a while now but every time I talk about moving out grandma goes on and on about which nursing home she’ll have to move herself into, so I just stay in the basement and she stays happy.
The weekend came and we were all ready for the road trip, it was almost 2:00, I was going to have to get moving to get down to the store on time to meet everyone. I went out to my car, put the keys in the ignition and “click”. Nothing.”Shit!” I thought to my self. I tried a few more times and the engine just wouldn’t turn. Now what the hell was I going to do? My car was completely dead and I had the only vehicle big enough to fit all four of us into. That was when I remembered I had the keys to my mom’s car.
Now I am not some stupid jack off, I knew piling up my mom’s car and driving down to Pittsburgh probably wasn’t the smartest idea I had ever had but I really didn’t have a lot of options. I ran down to my room and got my keys then hoofed it the two blocks over to my mom’s house. I went in, opened the garage door and took a moment to think about what I was going to do. This was mom’s car, a 1984 Dodge Omni that she bought just a couple of months before. Could I really do this? Yes, yes I could. I got in, backed the car into the driveway and shut the garage door.
I drove over to the shop to pick up Larry and Marky and then we headed across town to get Justin.
“So why are you driving your mom’s car?” Marky asked.
“Because my god awful piece of shit wouldn’t start.” I replied.
“Anything is better than going down there in that rusted out shit box you drive.” Larry said.
“I called Justin like twenty minutes ago, he better be ready to go I hate waiting for his prissy ass.” Marky said as he looked at his watch.
“That’s not all you want to do to his prissy ass.” Larry said as he laughed.
We got over to Justin’s house and he came down the steps and got into the car. His house was up on a hillside and looked like at one time it was probably a nice residence of a very wealthy person, but now it was dilapidated and had about a thousand crumbling concrete steps leading up to the front door. Once he shut the door I put the car in drive and started down the road toward Pittsburgh.
“Man this is gonna be awesome!” Justin said.
“Well I know how much you would love to see oiled up men shoved into tiny tights grouping each other so I just had to invite you.” Larry said.
“Man, shut the fuck up. After work last night I was getting head from the 18 year old chick that lives down the road from me.” Justin punched Larry in the shoulder as he laughed.
“Yeah by chick you really mean dude!” I said.
“Whatever, you’ve seen me put it to a chick before.” Justin smiled.
Let me take a moment to clarify here so you don’t think we are a bunch of pervs who throw wild orgies or some shit. The event Justin was talking about took place on my birthday last year, we went out to this little run down strip club truck stop on the edge of town. There was this chick that was spending a little extra time with us and sitting at our table between dances. Now I have spent a considerable amount of time in titty bars so I know the games the dancers play, anything for an extra buck but Justin thought this chick was in love with him. He was convinced that she was Asian and since he claims he has been with almost every ethnicity except Asian he was working extra hard to get into her pants and striking out the entire time. He got up to take a piss and asked me to work a little of my magic.
The “magic” was my salesmanship. Don’t ask me why or how but I can convince people to do just about anything I want with minimal effort on my part. My mom always said I should be a used car salesman but those guys work way to any fucking hours. Any how, I talked to the chick and she agreed to come back to Justin’s house to do some more drinking after she was done dancing. I drunkenly told her the house was only a few blocks away and we could all walk together. In truth the place was about 3 miles away.
So this Asian chick (who is actually Hispanic and uglier than a dog’s dick) gets off work and we start walking to Justin’s. She realizes that I am drunk as fuck and that I have no idea where I am and she offers to call us a cab. The cab shows up and we all ride back to his place when I had a horrible moment of clarity. I thought to myself that the only reason this chick was offering to pay for a cab back to Justin’s place is because she is actually a prostitute that wants to fuck us both for cash. I am trying to mouth my plan to Justin with out her noticing and before I get the whole plan out we are at his place.
She follows us in and a few of his neighbors come down to drink with us for my birthday. It ends up turning into a full blown party and this Asian, Hispanic, whatever chick is in the kitchen, topless and drinking 151. She takes a paper match stick, licks the non-sulfur end and presses it on to her nipple then lights it and blows a stream of 151 down over it. The bitch ends up passing out on my couch and all the other people except for Justin leave so I went in to bed. I come out of my bed room a few hours later to take a piss and there is Justin with his cock, balls deep in this bitch’s mouth and she is still passed out.
I just rolled my eyes and went back to bed. The next morning when I got up the stripper was gone and Justin was passed out on the living room floor. I started calling him “The Mouth Rapist of Morton Street” after that.
So we get down to Pittsburgh, get a place to park and go into to watch the show. It was pretty decent, I mean wrestling is wrestling right and we all had a pretty good time. We left the arena and drove down to the strip district to get a few drinks and I parked the car on the street. We go into this place and I mean it is a fucking meat shop. There were titties bouncin as far as the eye could see and any man with enough money in his pocket to buy a couple of rounds was virtually guaranteed some tang. In other words it was our kind of place.
I ended up hookin up with this hot little Indian chick, the dot not the feather, and we danced most of the night, The drunker she got the more grabby she got and it wasn’t long until I was making out with her in the chick’s bathroom.Marky had found his way with this blond little honey who was going to Pitt for communications or some shit and Larry found a girl too.
You gotta understand, Larry is a fuckin chubby chaser, but not cause he is actually into fat bitches. Larry just has this theory that if he picks up the ugliest chick in the room he is guaranteed to score. This girl he was with was no exception to that rule, I mean I have seen rain soaked dog shit prettier than her. At some point Justin walked out side to get something outta the car and came running back in and straight back to the ladies room where I was just about to slide my happy handle into this Indian broad. He was banging on the stall door,
“Dude the fucking car is gone!”
I tried to block him out, she felt so good and I was sliding right on into home, but I stupidly shouted, “What?”.
“Dude, the fucking car is fucking gone, I was just out there and it is fucking nowhere man.”
I tried not to break my glide cause the girl was really getting into it now, biting and my neck and making a sound like when a dollar bill gets stuck in a vacuumed hose. “What the fuck are you talking about Justin?”
“Dude, I went out to the car to see if I left my lighter in it and the fucking car was gone. I looked around and sure enough about three spots down was a sign that should have been hanging where you parked that said no parking, tow away zone. They towed your fucking car man.”
“GOD DAMN IT” I screamed as I let myself loose in this chick. “I guess I gotta go fucking deal with that.”
I pulled out, wiped my self off and zipped my jeans back up and walked back out through the bar and back to where I parked.
“See man, I told ya, fucking gone.”
“Son of a bitch man. Now what the fuck should I do?”
“It is probably at an impound lot somewhere, the bar tender will probably know who does the towing.”
I walked back into the bar and the little Indian girl I was just screwing in the bath room was already up on another guy, “Probably should have worn a rubber but I will deal with that later” I thought. I found out from the bartender where the towing company was that took my car. I rounded up the guys and we called a cab to take us over there.
When we arrived at the lot the place was closed, there was a number on the door witch I wrote down, but that kind of screwed us for the time being, I mean how the fuck were we going to get back home, it was an hour and a half drive and we had no fucking car. I found a payphone and called the number hoping it would ring to a live person. I was out of luck because it was just a damn answering machine. We sat there on a bus bench trying to figure out what we were going to do at one o’clock in the morning in Pittsburgh with no way home.
That was about the time Marky suggested we get a hotel room, which even though none of us really wanted to is exactly what we did. We all put in and the four of us rented a shitty hotel room and tried to sleep.
The next morning I got up and called the tow lot again. The guy told me that to get my car out I would have to pay a $75 fine to the city and get a receipt, then take it to him and for another $50 handling and storage fee I could have the car back. There would be an additional $10 charge for everyday he had the car. So as of right then and there it was going to take $125 to get my mom’s car back and I didn’t have that kind of cash. I would have to get home and think of a plan.
Mraky eventually called his cousin Tully and he agreed to come pick us up and take us home. The whole way back to town all I could think about is where I was going to get the money to get the fucking car out.
“What’s the matter man?” Larry asked.
“Where the fuck am I gonna get $125 at?” I said.
“It’ll probably be more like $150 until you can actually get it.” Justin added.
“Well fuck why not make it $1500, its the same shit, I can’t get that kind of money.” I said.
That was when Marky piped up, now Marky is my best friend and I love him to death, but he gets these ideas. They are really more like hair brained fucking schemes than they are plans. I feel the need to preface what I am about to relate to you with the fact that sometimesMarky’s ideas are so out there that you desperately want to believe them while at the same time wondering what the hell kind of drugs he is on.
“I think I know where you can get the money.” Marky said.
“Oh yeah, where?” I said.
“The Amish man, the Amish.” he replied.
“What? Why in the hell are the Amish going to give me money?”
“Because man, its like this, the Amish only marry other Amish. So therefore they only have sex with other Amish which means that’s how they make the new Amish. Well now they are starting to get to the point where they are all related and they are fucking inbreeding. “Marky said.
“What in the hell?” I asked, “That doesn’t have anything to do with anything, why in the hell does it matter, just because they are inbred doesn’t mean they will give me any money.”
“No dude, my uncle Tim told me that the Amish are payin non-Amish dudes to come in and knock up their women so they don’t give birth to retarded kids with like two heads and shit.”
“Marky, you are such a fucking moron.” I said coolly.
“Look man, my uncle Tim told me that his buddy Joey from Creslow went out there and railed some Amish chick and they paid him $50. So I figure, $50 for a shot of man sauce, the four of us go out there and throw it in four Amish chicks, that’s $200 and more than enough to get your mom’s car back.”Marky was getting really pumped up about the idea.
“I just want to get home. ”
As it turns out, none of us were able to come up with a better idea then boning Amish girls for money to try and get my mom’s car out of the impound before she got back from her cruise. It was kind of decided by the time we got back to my place that we were going to get a battery for my car and drive down to Lancaster and see about getting paid for our “services”.
We ended up making the drive down in a relatively short amount of time which is good since we were all still bushed from the night before. No one had planned on staying the night in a shitty hotel room, no one had planed on driving in a cramped car this morning and no one planned on taking my shit box to the other end of the state.
Lancaster is a dump. Everyone says it is green and gorgeous and “such a nice place”, but that’s a line of horse shit. Lancaster has two main exports, boredom and drugs. Its a pretty good damn racket when you think about it, you get bored out of your fucking mind and you want to get high as a kite.
We pulled into a gas station to try and get a heads up on the quickest way to the Amish community and to give a little more juice to my hungry tank. I pumped eight bucks worth in and walked into the little shop to pay for it, grab a pack of smokes and maybe a snack. The old man behind the counter eyed me coming in and I actually felt a little violated. The dude was putting his eyeball to me the way a sailor looks at a whore after six months at sea. I walked to the back of the shop and got a bottle of soda out of the cooler and grabbed a gob on my way up to the counter.
The old guy licked his lips and the little white hairs glistened for a moment,
“Anything else t’day?”
“Yeah, I had eight bucks on gas and I need a pack of Luckies.”
“Sure thing, be ten oh seven all together.”
“You know the quickest way to get to the Amish community?”
“Closest one’s probably in Intercourse. Its about five miles straight ahead on 340. You boys goin to buy some quilts or something?”
“No, we all decided we want to wear shirts without buttons and funny hats.”
I walked out of the store and got in my car. Larry and Marky were trying to draw on Justin’s face with a marker because he fell asleep on the trip down. They got him pretty good too, drew a little Hitler mustache under his nose and a penis on his cheek. We started seeing signs for Intercourse and a few minutes after started seeing the Amish buggies on the road.
“So how do we go about arranging one of these deals?” Larry asked.
“That’s a good fucking question.” I said as I tried to fish a cigarette out of the new pack.
“How should I know. Stop and ask the next one you see.” Marky said from the back seat.
“Oh that’ll go real well. ‘Sir I hear there’s a reward for planting my seed in your daughters loin, is she ready now or should I wait a few minutes?’ I swear to God you’re retarded.” I took a deep drag off of my cigarette.
“No you ass, you just ask him…well…you just ask him…”
Justin stirred in the back seat and sat upright. He smacked his lips together a few times before he opened his eyes,
“What the hell are you guys talking about?”
“We are trying to figure out how to go about boning Amish chicks for money.” Marky answered.
“That’s easy, you slam it in there, make her ride it, beat that pussy like it owes you money, let your little swimmers go and then collect the fee. Shit man its just fucking, you should know how to do that, and you guys call me gay.”
We decided to stop in at the next place we came to and get something to eat and try to formulate a plan. We pulled into this little greasy spoon and went in and got a table. It was exactly what you’d expect out of a run down diner in the middle of nowhere. We all ordered some food and chatted about shit that didn’t really matter anyway. The waitress came back with our order and Marky got a look on his face like someone just put his winkie in their mouth, apparently he had an idea.
“Excuse me miss?” he said.
“Yeah, what else you need?”
“Well my friends and I are here from out of town because we heard that the Amish were paying guys to impregnate their women, I was just wondering where we would find some of these people that need our services.”
“What? Are you serious? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
I took a drink of my ice tea,
“See shit for brains I told you so.”
The waitress walked away shaking her head then a few minutes later I heard the cook laughing in the back. We ate our meals and tried to form some kind of a plan. What we came up with was to just drive up to one of the houses and ask. I mean what was the worst that could happen? They’re Amish, it isn’t like they are going to hurt us or anything.
We all piled back in my car and started driving around trying to find some Amish people. The sun was setting and the sky was a mixture of purple and orange, if I didn’t think it was because of some kind of pollution I might have thought it was pretty. Eventually we found something that looked promising, a long dirt road off the paved road, this had to be it.
We turned on to the dirt road and started to drive down, kicking up a small cloud of dust behind us, the sky was almost black now. Down at the end of the road was an old looking house and a barn. The little homestead gave me a creepy feeling I just couldn’t shake. This was the type of place you would imagine being greeted by a man wearing another man’s skin if you know what I mean. The fact that there weren’t any lights on didn’t help anything either, then again I guess they were known for not using electricity.
Marky walked up onto the porch and banged on the door. After two more tries with no answer he walked back down the yard to us.
“Well, there’s no answer. Should we try another place?”
I scratched the back of my head, “I guess. Fuck it, I say we just head home and try and come up with something else. I don’t think this is going to work out for us.”
Just then we heard a noise coming from the barn. We all agreed to walk up there and see if the owner of the house was there and if he was interested in buying what we were selling. We get up to the barn and walked into a big open door. We were in the upper part of the barn and there was hay stacked up on both sides of us. The sound we were hearing was coming from below us so we all climbed down the old wooden ladder one by one.
We got down to the first floor and we can see the outline of a guy over in the corner with his back to us next to a kerosene lamp.Marky turned to us and said,
“Look, we don’t want to scare him and if the four of us just walk over there out of no where he will probably get jumpy, so let me handle it.”
Marky made his way over to the guy and about half way he called out to him.
The guy turned around and we all just froze. He wasn’t Pennsylvania Dutch, or Amish or even a Mennonite, he was a god damned crazy hill billy beating off in his barn.
“God Damnit!” he yelled out with his junk still in his hand. “What in the hell you boys doin on my land?”
He put his member away and started walking toward Marky who was slowly backing up toward us.
“You boys are in a whole world a shit now! You’s fuckin trespassin and unlike Jesus I don’t forgive those who trespass ag’gin me, specially when I am pullin my pud!”
Marky and I charged at the guy and knocked him down while Larry and Justin made it up the ladder. Marky kicked him in the balls and went up the ladder next, finally I kicked the guy in the ribs and went up. We ran to the car just as fast as we could weezing and coughing the entire time, the tar in our lungs was trying to catch up with us. We got in and locked the doors, I turned the key. Click.
“FUCK!!!” I screamed out and slammed the steering wheel with both hands.
“What the fuck is going on?” Marky yelled.
“The god damned car won’t start again.” I tried again and again but nothing it just sat there.
The crazy hillbilly was running down to the car with something in his hands, when he got up to the windshield we got an up close look at it. He had a pitch fork that he was using to beat on my car. He was smashing the hood and broke out one of the head lights.
“Oh mother of shit! What in the hell are we gonna do?” Justin asked.
“There’s four of us and one of him, lets fight him!” Larry suggested.
“Oh yeah, four unidentified males were found rapped, murdered and skinned along the side of the road, I can see it now!” Justin yelled.
Just before the hillbilly was able to smash out one of my windows the car started and we flew out of there and back down the dirt road, back past the diner which was closed now and back to the gas station.
“There is a pay phone up there, I am going to stop in and call the cops.”
I ran up to the door but it was locked. There was a sign on the door saying they closed at 8PM but I guess the old man inside decided to close early. I was walking back toward the car when I saw a set of headlights coming down the road. It was a beat up, rusty old pick up and I worried for a moment it was going to be the old hill billy. I felt my heart stop and my ass hole pucker until I saw it was just some guy. He got out of his truck and asked if the station was still open.
“I don’t think so man, I came in to use the phone to call the cops.”
“The cops, what for, you boys havin some car troubles?”
“Not other than the fact that my whole car is a problem. No, we got some bad directions, stopped in at this little farm, caught some weird dude yankin his crank in the barn and he tried to kill us with a pitchfork.”
“Sounds like you ran into Oscar. Just down the road a pirece and up a dirt drive way?”
“Yeah, that’s the spot.”
“Oscar’s a, well, he’s a special boy. Always has his hands around his beef steak. He ain’t exactly smart and I guess idle hands are the devil’s plaything and all. That boy’s always giving himself a hand. Oh well, there’s no reason to call the cops, he’s harmless. What were you boyslookin for?”
“Well you said you got some bad directions, what were you looking for?”
“Oh, one of my dumb friends thought we could get the Amish to pay us $50 a pop to get some Amish girls pregnant.”
“Ha ha ha”, the man’s eyes squinted as he laughed, “that rumor’s still goin around is it?”
“I guess it sounds pretty fucking stupid when you say it out loud.”
“Look sonny, you and your friends aren’t the first kids to come down here for that. Truth is, there’s no truth to it. Those people just want to be left alone to live their lives in their own way away from “The English”, and outsiders don’t exactly seem to understand that.”
“Yeah, I knew it was a stupid idea.”
The man got back in his truck and drove on down the road. I got back in the car and lit a smoke.
“So did you call the cops?” Marky asked.
“Nah, I couldn’t get in.” I said.
“Did that guy tell you where we could find some Amish chicks?” Larry asked.
“No, he said that whole thing was just a rumor and that they don’t do that.”
“Well now what the fuck are we going to do?” Marky asked.
“Shit Marky, I don’t know. I guess I will just have to ask Leo for an advance on my pay check and go down and get mom’s car tomorrow.”
“Well fuck it. Let’s head back home, I’ll talk Butch into letting us stay in the bar after he closes and have a few drinks. We’ll get shitty drunk, my treat.” Justin said.
So we pulled out of the gas station and took off down the road. I hoped to God the whole time that my boss would advance my pay, otherwise I didn’t know what the hell I was going to do. We had to stop for gas one more time along the way and we got into town about 11:00PM and headed over to Lech’s.
I was still worried about how I would get the money for the car, but at this point I just didn’t want to think about it any more. The old bar felt like a warm hug. The place was dimly lit by a collection of recessed lights covered in grease that looked like they hadn’t been changed since the 60’s and neon signs that buzzed against the wall. Butch, the owner of the place and the bar tender when Justin wasn’t working was about 10,000 years old and looked like his face was made from ball skin but he was also about the nicest man you would ever meet. He always wore a leisure suit that was some god awful brown, or orange, or rust, or mustard color that people thought was acceptable about ten years ago and enough Hai Karate to choke an elephant but in spite of all that all the women would go on and on about what a cute old man he was.
When we walked in the door “Private Eyes” was playing on the juke box and Butch was dancing behind the bar. The usual line up of bar flies and drunkards were bellied up all with their piles of singles in front of them so Butch could easily refill their glasses and take the payment. We walked over to the end of the bar and climbed up on the old red, cracked stools and ordered a round of drinks.
I drank Iron City and Old German until Butch closed down and tossed Justin the keys, then we started into the blueberry schnapps and rot gut whiskey. By 12:30 I was slipping into that happy place where ever thing rolls slightly to the left and every drink makes you profess more loudly about how sober you are and how drunk your not. I barely remember going home but apparently I did since I woke up in my own bed down in my grandma’s basement.
My alarm started ringing and I knocked it across the room and it shattered on the floor. I sat up in my bed with my head pounding like two hammers slamming together. I reached down on the floor and felt around until I had my jeans from the night before and I pulled out my cigarettes. I lit one up and walked across the basement to the little shower that was down there. The concrete was cold on my bare feet and the shower spat and sputtered until the water was coming out at full pressure. I finished my smoke, got a shower and went upstairs to see what grandma was up to.
“How was your night boy-o?”
“Oh, not to bad grandma. We were down at Lech’s for a while. What did you get up to?”
“After Stager’s Ethel and I came back here and had a few Irish coffee’s then we went down to the church hall to play bingo.”
“Well, that sounds nice. You win anything?”
“I’ll be damned, I won $400. Ethel and I left there and went down to Wines and Spirits, got a bottle of Kahlua and a few cigars then we came back here and played rummy until the Statler Brothers re-run at 10:30.”
“Good for you grandma.”
“I got a phone call this morning from a place called “Ray’s Towing” down in Pittsburgh.”
My heart sank in to my stomach, “Yeah, Grandma, mom’s car got towed down in Pittsburgh the other night. I have to go down and get it today. I am gonna talk to Leo about advancing me my pay.”
“You’ll do no such thing, take what you need out of my bingo winnings jar and go get the car before your mom gets back to town.”
“I can’t do that grandma, that’s your money.”
“I’ll only buy more booze with it anyway. You take it and go get that car, then when you get back you promise me you’ll call up Ethel’s grand daughter and take her out tonight. You’re a nice boy but I’m worried if you don’t meet a nice girl soon you’re never going to get out of my basement. Lord knows those mooks you call friends aren’t going to help you meet any nice women.”
She smiled and sat down for her breakfast and I poured myself a cup of coffee. I called Marky to ride down to Pittsburgh with me and drive my car back and we were back into town by noon. Marky and I had to work that night, so I never did call up Ethel’s grand daughter, not that it would have worked out any way, she was a little, ‘out of my league’, and besides that wasn’t really my scene anyway.