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On The Road: Danny Decay's Unwarranted Atrocity Campaign Vol. 1
From Hinton to Baltimore
Pen and book. One of the few things a man can control in a moderate wind. Tomorrow I’m on the road. First, I’m heading to Hinton, WV to pick up Cox H.C. then on to Fort Meade, Maryland to toss Tito Ortiz in the van.
I haven’t seen Cox since art school in Fairmont. I gave him a copy of “Dharma Bums” (that Will Oliver had given to me in the 9th grade) just before I graduated art school and ditched out to go join the Marines. Speaking of Ortiz, that lecherous Beast Master just returned my phone call. Now the roadwork is settled, all but the last stop at Drew’s place in Glen Burnie, where we are going to unveil a debaucherous carnival of shameful fear, art, and strong drink.
Danny Decay’s Unwarranted Atrocity Campaign is ready to showcase its roadworthy debut on a waiting world. I’m making compact disks and small pamphlets off of my new material and making rounds with Cox and Ortiz to spread the new word.
It’s almost noon. I packed up my rucksack and cooler last night and loaded it in The Van. I still don’t have a cell phone at this point, but due to the fact I just got a tune-up and have plenty of money, a little misadventure isn’t the end of the world. As I head off the mountain of my secret headquarters, I make my way to Hinton, home to few undergraduates of the open road. I was warned about my breaks on Sandstone Hill, especially since the rear-right one grabs a little hard, but no worries, I just won’t use them.
Thanks to the viral sprawls of retail outlets nation wide, I was able to pull into a Wal-Mart and obtain a cell phone. Of course, having no means to activate it doesn’t help my cause, but I guess sometimes the illusion of safety is a comforting pill to swallow. Onward to Hinton! where my estranged Brother of Dharma awaits his final excruciating hours in his jail-like office, ready to unleash himself on this bastard’s joyride of pure American revolt.
In the unusually warm late-Fall air on this liberating 13th day of a Friday, I carefully grease my way into the gutter of the uncrowded town street with disciplined precision, right on time to engage in the smiles and masculine hugs of brothers separated by oceans of time as a hulking, brute of a man, of obvious Scandinavian extraction careens down the sidewalk on his final smoke break of the week.
By the time we make it to Cox Manner (a rustic castle of a house that graces the upper plateaus of southern West Virginia, on a lonely stretch of secluded property well hidden by coiling, forked roads) the Sun is steeping unforgivingly behind the mountains as an old man does to brace himself for a full night’s sleep. After grabbing great duffel bags and rucksacks and tossing them into the cavernous rear of The Van, we briskly sweep off to scrounge up a collection of groceries that only seasoned trek junkies could appreciate.
The weather forecast for the next five days was to mirror the graciously warm, sunny days that we had been awarded the last few days, perfect road weather. The weather forecast was obviously void once leaving the state line, for as we crossed into the flat, desolate stretches of southwestern Virginia to engage in our exclusive road crusade of aggravation and independence, a cold gale of rainy wind began spatting on The Van like a jealous infant.
We pushed on through the streaming jets of precipitation like roman legionnaires under a hale of searing arrows. As we neared the barricades and steel gates of Fort Meade’s refuge hours later, we were deterred, once, twice, three times, and denied access not by weary guardsmen in uniform, but by the onslaught of “GATE CLOSED” signs that littered every possible breach leading to our Mexirican brethren that celebrated merrily on domestic beer in a warm barracks far beyond our reach.
Just as persistent as the showering rain, we made phone contact with our high-spirited friend as we were guided to an alternate meeting place just outside the impregnable confine we had been so happy to reach. The parking lot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken at 1 a.m. in Maryland resembles something out of an urban horror story. The thin chain link fence was the only obstacle safeguarding our duo of adventurers from the chaos that was producing sounds of rattling bass, breaking glass, and shrieks of joyous fury in tongues we could not come to recognize. Just when it seemed as though the teaming mass of drunken 7-11 patrons were taking quite a notice to the ancient road vessel housing the Viking king and lonesome southern gentleman, a crimson explosion of break lights and skidding tires consumed the interior of The Van, and the staggering, stone-cold form of a younger man, of obvious Hispanic heritage, erupted like the glory of a divine savior.
As though satisfied with something “just as advertised”, the Viking king and Hispanic troublemaker sized each other up to accounts made by yours truly, greeted, and the barreling ship of a vehicle splashed down on the pavement of the city street, leaving the visage of “The Colonel” and his ill-met company to toil in their nightly deeds.
Fortunately for Cox and Ortiz, the cooler was filled to the brim with ice-cold beers, and I had two $5 bottles of wine stashed under the only remaining bench in the van. With the salty crew back on track, and the open night (that had finally cleared up) ahead of us, Glen Burnie was a surprisingly short ten minute drive away.
While creeping through the maze of suburban streets, the boys were out-doing each other with empty cans of beer and stories of lust as we patrolled along the rows of sleeping, gray homes until the destination was reached. We weren’t supposed to show up until the next day, but just as we began to follow through on the evening with our destination establish, Ortiz leaped from the vehicle and shouted “I’m going to go see if he’s there!”. Of course Drew was home, Drew was rounding out the tail end of a production meeting, but not a moment too soon, the motley gang of adventures burst through the door of the wu shu monk’s pleasant fort to litter the air with “hellos”, drunken tirades, and forlorn squabbles of rape, degeneration, and promises of future gatherings.
The woods we had veered off into so that we could find a suitable resting place on the outskirts of town were completely blacked out under the cloudy early morning sky. Once we had pulled in between two rows of trees that seemed to have been planted to specifically accommodate and welcome The Van, great orgies of conversation and fits of wild drinking began. Late into the twilight hours, we imbibed alcohol in quantities of wine and beer, until finally the sleeping bags were rolled out like red carpets, leading to the tomb of rest that was the back of The Van.
It wasn’t the alarm that was set for 8:30 a.m. that had awoke us, but the boney knuckles of an elderly gentleman gracing the deck of a golf cart at 8:15 a.m. that had. Once I jumped out of the rear of the van, rushing circles around, lead by the confused old man, he explained to us that we needed to come register our vehicle at the guest center. Instantly suspecting that this filthy old codger may want us to PAY for sleeping in the chilly wooded area, I politely agreed and told him we would be right up.
The sleeping bags were rolled up faster than I could start the van and haul ass out of the camp grounds, and rightfully so. Would you pay a woman for sex after the fact? On to an IHop we go! After many failed attempts to spot this rather evasive pancake house, we abysmally settled for a speedy consumption of McGriddles and hashbrowns from our close friend, Ronald McDonald. After drinking many cups of coffee in the parking lot while gleefully arguing with lesser-Baltimore locals and swooning married women, we lurched excitedly to Drew’s house only after stopping to stock up on plastic whistles, cheap disguises, and expanding animal pills from the dollar store to better suit this disgraceful display of unshaven, slightly hung-over derelicts.
The pajama-clad residents of this quiet Maryland settlement welcomed us in an almost unspoken state of forgiveness for the prior evening’s display of dissolute and insensitive psychosis.
You cannot bring two unacquainted, potential fans to a film director’s house without going to his home theater to view one of his short films and receive a free copy of one of his DVDs. After the screening, we all spoke and chattered about art, politics, and future endeavors, as we scrutinized the failed marketing campaigns of my band, The Maladjustments, and traded wonderful secrets and networked amongst each other as if we were a secretive society of artists that knew great things that the general populace was unaware of.
It was in the kitchen that I noticed, in the fashion of a holy relic, the famous beer growler from “Du Claw’s” restaurant. It only being around 4:30 p.m., we decided a few beers and some dinner was in order. After edging our way out the door, volleying back and forth great condolences of gratitude for the buffet of new strategy to catapult our artistic creations, we made our way to Du Claw’s, and the pandemonium began…
In V.I.P. style conditions, we blasted through the line of lingering regulars, and slide deservingly into 3 bar stools, demanded that we be fed, and tried a sample of 11 different types of house brew. After choosing our poison of choice, commissioning many toasts, and gazing at every woman in the bar with the type of misogynistic trance only a unadulterated pervert could muster, we made our way back to The Van to indulge in the treasure chest of canned beer we had left over from the night before.
Since I had to drive, I stuck to water, and as the grinding gears of alcoholism came to a slow turn, Ortiz made his way back to base via taxi after a slue of forget-me-nots were hurled through the window of the vanishing vehicle. After eight hours of driving, a rude and unwarranted wake-up call, and many beers, it was time to retire. Unless of course you are the weekend warrior of a drinker that Cox is, and make great promises of going to see a movie when in reality you are actually making your way back to Du Claw’s to swill 4 or 5 Jack and Cokes with plenty of time in between to smash a beer mug, get thrown out, and fabricate a lie all before stumbling back to The Van to wake up Danny Decay to tell him about it. Not just once, but four times, and each time the story must be told twice as loud as the last time, punctuating the tales with the child-like question “ARE YOU AWAKE?!”.
After three or four hours of sleep in the pilot’s chair of The Van, I decided an empty mall parking lot was not the best choice of “rest stops”, and picked up on the road during those critical hours of the virgin morn. But it was the disastrously-thick white fog and army of “Deer Crossing” signs that caused me to, at some point, pull off the side of the road behind an “attractions” sign, shut everything down, and nap on the firm but welcoming cushion of the bench seat as Cox drunkenly slobbered himself through 40 winks.
At day break, leaning hard on another hangover and in desperate need of caffeine, I managed to finally, after five or six sets of locked convenience store doors, get a few energy drinks, a warm cup of coffee, and a sleepy-eyed moan from Cox. We had somehow managed to get under the two-hundred mile mark of our triumphant return to Hinton, where Cox could prepare himself for another week of drudgery at work, and I could get hot on the reorganization of The Maladjustments marketing campaign and get more shows booked.
As we have a habit of doing, while on the “meat and potatoes” of any daytime movement, Cox and myself discussed world politics, philosophies, and future operations of drunken romance with abandoned bar flies and single mothers. Our reemergence into the perfect weather that graced the majestic mountains of southern West Virginia was an event that put enormous smiles on our faces, but long frowns on our hearts, because even though we had made plans to reunite in the near future, it was like pouring salt on the wound of our previous separation of over five and a half years.
After stretching my legs atop the plateau and carrying on comedic dialogue with the men of the house, it was time for me to sink deep into the mountain valleys as the sun had begun to do, and make my way back to my secret mountain refuge.
It was an eager yet lonely trip back down The River, crossing massive suspension bridges and highway intersections. It was an arrival fit for a prince as I was greeted by friendly faces and like stories of trips and visits, none comparable to the spiritual jamboree I had just endured with great friends I wish to keep for decades.