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by T. Mike

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

just a line

Part 2
Getting There is Half the Fun. And Most of the Tedium.

Prologue: The folks at Monks' Night Out had been cleverly fooled into accepting the Van Gogh-Gogh trojan sketch comedy horse into their walled improv fest camp, using a simple trick called "they don't care." And like the ancient Greeks, we could hardly to wait to spring out and slaughter the unsuspecting populace. With laughter, of course. Yes, knock them dead with our comedy. That's it. Heh.

A Giddy Trip: The amazing journey of Al, Rob, Galen, T. Mike, Charles, Jason, Milo and Otis began! Galen had been conned into, er, assigned the task of paying for the van rental and so he vindictively decided that we needed to leave early in the morning. Very early. So early it was still the night before. My personal journey begins when Charles wakes me up at 3 am, knowing full well the van will not arrive for another hour, at least. I harangue him in a sleepy stupor and then calm my nerves with ham. Charles will later have his revenge by pummeling me in the "name game."

      Galen arrives with the van we will call home for the next 12 hours. After that we get a hotel room and call the room "home" and start calling the van "Big Blue" due to its blue color (actually an optical illusion, the colorless van simply reflects the color of the sky). Our gear (including our special chairs that cost $750!) is stowed, packed and crammed into the back. Our journey is dedicated to the great American writer O. Henry, because he was born in Greensboro, NC where four of the VGGs lived and all have driven through. The first stop of our homage is the downtown Greensboro lifesize statue of O. Henry and a small, unexplained dog. After some predawn cavorting around the statues for Galen's camcorder we dash back to the van, giddy in the knowledge that if a cop had been there, he would have probably been very irritated by our illegal-looking antics.

      Our destination now: New Orleans! Where, in an unnamed bar, William Sydney Porter got his nom d' plume, O. Henry, overhearing a patron order a candy bar from the bartender. A statuette of Frank Soobner is installed on the dashboard to guide us to Texas safely. We burn a cheese doodle in offering. The "name game" rages on through South Carolina. But even the mighty Charles is no match for Al, master of this simple, time wasting game for morons. The game serves its purpose well.

      We are all in a good humor as we stop at The Waffle House for our first breakfast on the road. Our amusing attempt to order the no.7 with eggrolls is met with angry silence. We threaten to put $12.25 into the jukebox and play the "Waffle House Song" over and over and over. Breakfast is served. It does taste a little saliva-y though.

      Back in the van and on the road, we snack like kings and party like rock stars on Continental Cola, a three pound bag of Skittles and a paperback of O. Henry stories. Not to mention chips galore and a bag of animal crackers bigger than two Van Gogh-Goghs' heads combined! (not including Al's head) Charles has stocked well for the trip. A little too well, perhaps. First seatbelts, and then pillows are worn as hats as we slowly lose all sanity in a junk food haze. The first in a pointless series of photographs of the Van Gogh-Goghs at state border rest stops is taken. Maps are gathered and the most absurd tourist attraction pamphlets are collected and carefully stuffed under the seats so they can be saved to be thrown away later. Soon we learn other states have let gambling become legal! Our hillbilly North Carolina sensibilities are shocked, naturally. North Carolina only legalized usury in 1972 (after a teachers' strike) and masturbation, we are pleased to note, is still against the law. We cautiously lose a few dollars in various truck stop video poker machines merely to satisfy our suspicion that gambling is wrong because it is immoral, addictive and too hard to win.

      But New Orleans beckons! We drive onward, following her boozy, red-lit siren call.

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