Alternative title: Thinking is overrated
If you missed the two previous posts, you might want to start here.
Episode recap: In our previous installment, G-man avoided the amorous advances of Phoebe by setting off on a panic-induced search for Rachel. Rachel was kind enough to stay put during this game of adult hide-and-go-seek, but that's only because she was passed out on the floor of a bar bathroom. In our final scene, G-man had two blondes, in differing states of inebriation, loaded into the cab of Rachel's truck and was ready to make the big escape.
I pull the pickup out of the driveway of the bar parking lot and head east toward Indio, because that's where Rachel lived and we were in her truck. And if I didn't get her their relatively soon, the odds seemed pretty much even that she would redecorate the upholstery of the truck, and perhaps our wardrobes, with whatever remained of her stomach contents.
The next problem was that I didn't know where Rachel lived. And while most people may only know the Coachella Valley for the name Palm Springs, the fact is, Indio is the valley's biggest city, so driving around randomly looking for a house probably wasn't a viable option. Indio also happens to be the city that is nearly the farthest away from Palm Springs, which is where I live. The was another problem too, and that was that I also wasn't quite sure how I would be getting home if I did somehow manage to get Rachel and Phoebe home.
I like to have a plan. I like to think things through. I like to know if I'm getting into a situation how I might get back out again.
This was not one of those time. Sometimes it is best not too think too much.
So I just drove.
Fortunately, Rachel seemed to be staying on the verge of something resembling consciousness. Phoebe was just freaking out.
"Oh, my God. Your husband is going to hate me," Phoebe said. I assumed she was talking to Rachel, because I don't have a husband. "Rach, he's going to just kill me," she said. "Is your husband going to hate me?" The words were followed by a long groan, and then the mantra started over again.
"Shut up." Rachel slurred. "Shutthefuckup God DAMNit!"
Phoebe piped down for a while, but it was a mantra that would be repeated every few miles on the journey east.
Meanwhile, Rachel is still curled up in the passenger seat, complaining about being cold. Suddenly one of her bare feet, then the other, springs up onto the instrument panel in the middle of the dashboard. She attempts to use her feet and toes to manipulate the dials and controls of the truck's heater. It was an amazing display of drunken dexterity. Those toes could do some serious damage if they were sober. I mean she has feet and she knows how to push buttons to heat things up.
I decide to take advantage of the situation.
Yea, you KNOW where this is going.
"How do I get to your house Rachel?" I asked. She mumbles a couple of street names that I know well, and they lead to Indio, so I figure that's a start. I also figure that if Rachel can't stay awake we'll never make it, because Phoebe is still prophesying her own death at the hands of Rachel's angry husband. I'm a little concerned that could be my fate as well, but I try not to think about it. If I let that eat at me, I might turn around, and I'm thinking taking these two drunk women back to my place would definitely be a bad idea.
Sometimes it is best not too think too much.
So I just drove.
About that time the cell phone in the purse on the floorboard starts ringing. Neither of my passengers makes a move to answer it. I don't either. If they don't want to talk to whomever is calling in the middle of the night, I sure as fuck don't either.
The phone rings a couple more time on the trip. The women act like they don't hear it.
As we get to La Quinta and draw near to the city limits of Indio I start calling out street names to Rachel and ask her where I need to go. My drunken navigator fortunately answers back.
"We're coming up on Washington."
This continues at every major intersection and Rachel tells me "keep going", "left" or "right" at each intersection.
Despite the fact that the streets have been virtually deserted the entire drive, the trip seems to take forever. But finally, we arrive and a house and I ease the truck into the driveway and park.
"Do you want me to help you to the door Rachel?" I ask.
And she doesn't move.
"Do you want to wait here while I go get your husband?"
I look at my watch. It's 3 a.m.
"Is he going to shoot me when I knock on his door at 3 o'clock in the morning?"
Thanks. I'm not convinced.
I'm not entirely convinced I'm at the right house either, because I'm not sure Rachel's eyes have even been open since Rancho Mirage. The only think I can think of potentially more dangerous than knocking on the right door at 3 a.m. is knocking on the wrong one.
Sometimes it is best not too think too much.
I screw up my courage and walk to the front door. It has one of these security screen doors on it, so I opt to use the doorbell rather than knocking.
And I wait. For some sign of stirring in the house. For an angry shout from inside to confirm that there's a shotgun pointed at me through the door.
Sometimes it is best not too think at all.
Slowly the door opens.
"Hi. My name is G-man. You don't know me, but I know your wife. And she had a little too much to drink. She needed a ride home so I drove her and Phoebe here. They're sitting out in the truck in the driveway."
I realize I'm talking way too fast. Not wanting to pause too long until I can explain to this man, whom I've never met, that I just brought is wife and their vehicle home in one piece.
This man, in his pajama bottoms, T-shirt and fuzzy slippers, just stands there staring at me. For what seems like a week.
I start pointing toward the driveway.
Finally he speaks. He asks me something. I don't know what it was, but I know it was not "did you fuck my wife" or "do you want to die now" or some other question foretelling imminent doom.
He walks with me out to the truck. Along the way I tell him more details like what bar we were at and that I found Rachel passed out on the floor of the bathroom.
He opens the passenger door to the truck.
"Come on, let's go." He tells Rachel. "Get up, let's go."
Rachel replies back in Spanish. I have no idea what she says. Ten years in California and my Spanish still sucks. But I know whining when I hear it. And there was some whining going on.
But eventually he gets his wife out of the truck and helps her inside the house, making her do most of the work, staggering though she was. Once inside the house, Rachel finds a reserve gear and sprints at full stagger down the hallway and disappears into the bowels of the house. I know that sprint. That's the run that says I'm about to spew.
Neither of us follow.
Fortunately the man of the house, whom I will call Ross, asks me if I need a ride somewhere.
I feel bad for asking but my car is in Rancho Mirage, and I did just save his wife from spending the night on a fucking floor in a bar bathroom, so can now spend it on the floor of her own bathroom. And I really just want to get home, and the fuck out of this situation!
Phoebe makes it into the house as well, and Ross asks her if she wants a ride home of if she wants to stay at their house.
Phoebe starts talking about where her car is parked.
"I'm not taking you to your car. Do you want a right home or do you want to stay here?" Ross asks.
Phoebe's eyes are glazed over and her mouth hangs open. She turns to look at me.
I've got your back Ross, you are offering to drive me home, I'll back you up buddy.
"Phoebe, Ross is offering you a ride home or a place to stay. Those are your only choices. You aren't driving anywhere tonight," I say.
Phoebe can't decide.
"Why don't you just stay here tonight," Ross says. It's not a question, it's a statement. And Phoebe relents.
Ross, still in his fuzzy slippers, says let's go, and I follow, saying a hasty goodbye to Phoebe and not looking back.
Perhaps this goes without saying, but it was a long, somewhat awkward drive back to Rancho Mirage. We make small talk along the way. I was just glad Ross didn't decide to dump my ass out in the middle of the desert somewhere.
I got back to my truck and drove the rest of the way home.
By then it was 4 a.m.
It's a good thing I don't quit jobs too often these days. I can't handle this much drama in one 24-hour period. And it's probably a good thing I'm leaving town. I can think of two husbands that probably wouldn't want me hanging out with their wives.