Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Boonies Aren't For Me (Part Deux)


Okay, so back in my college days, I decided to head home for the weekend with my roommate. He lived in Booneville which is right outside of Tupelo in NE Mississippi. We hop in his yellow, raggedy, '81 Ford Escort and make the three hour drive from Valley State. We arrive late Friday night and he wants to roll to his older sister's house as I described in my last post. If you don't read it, you may be lost on this post.

Well, now it's Saturday afternoon and things went from bad to worse...

Tim calls up an old flame and she has a friend who want to hang out with us. The ol' Escort is up and going again (cranked on the first try the following morning), so we roll out to pick up the ladies.

Tim's ex is named Teresa. She's skinny, light-skinned, with funny-shaped eyes. Not in a bad way, but in a stare-a-few-extra-seconds type of way. My date is named Tiffani. A dark-skinned, full-lipped doll who was "thick in the waist and cute in the face." Immediately, Tiffani notices that I'm too short for her taste. "I only date men who are 6'2" and up."

"Oh, is that why you are available on a Saturday night?" I replied without missing a beat. "Because the Bulls are playing in Portland tonight?"

I was cynical long before I started blogging. I blame "Golden Girls" reruns. :)

Tiffani smiled at the humor and got in the cramped, back seat of the car with me. After riding around for an hour and listening to the radio, we grabbed something to eat at Pizza Inn. Tim decides that it would be a good idea to ride out to a lake near his sister's place. I didn't take the time to consider how bad of an idea it was because I was too busy trying to make moves on Tiffani the Giant Lover.



We roll out to a a body of a water that was closer to a pond rather than a lake, but it was still a decent, clear area. After about 30 minutes, I notice that it's roughly 6:15 PM and dusk is settling in. "Tim, do you think we need to head back? Maybe go catch a movie?"

"Nah, Q, we're good. Besides, I have some wine coolers in a cooler in the trunk."

"Wine coolers?"

Tim gets out and grabs some coolers from the trunk and Teresa and Tiffani appear very excited. Go figure.

Two hours, 11 coolers, and many conversations later, it's dark and the only light is coming from the extremely bright digital clock on Tim's dashboard and a full moon trying to peek from behind the clouds. I sit up and realize that I've fallen asleep. A quick survey of the car indicates that I'm not the only one. Despite not having one cooler myself, everyone else had three or four, got talked out, and fell asleep listening to the radio. Before I can get my focus back, I hear Tim whispering, "Q, don't move or say anything."

I'm very good at following instructions when fear kicks in, so I sit still and then cut my eyes towards the window to my left only to see a pair of eyes looking into the vehicle at me. They appeared to be the eyes of a wolf.



I felt more uncomfortable than Snooki at a convent as I slowly slid back in my seat only to see the eyes following me. "Tim," I whispered. "They don't have wolves in Mississippi, man!"

At this point, I'm thanking my lucky stars that it was a cool night, so we had the windows cracked only a bit. I then realize that Tim is not looking out of the same window as I am. His back is to the driver's side window and he's looking out of the passenger's side window. I cut my eyes to the right and see another set of eyes, a bit further off, but close enough. I then notice up to two or three more shadowy figures circling around the front of the car.

"Tim, crank the car and get us out of here."

Teresa wakes up and starts screaming. Tiffani is startled by the screaming and wakes up panicking herself. Once she sees the pack of animals roaming around, she screams, too. As the ladies do their best "Friday the 13th" victim impersonations, you can now smell the distinct odor of "passed gas" filling the car. At that point, I realize how thankful I am that we had pizza and not Taco Bell for dinner!

The screams spook the pack and they back off from the car. For once in its miserable life, Tim's Escort cranks up on the first try when we needed it! He stepped on the accelerator so hard that the tire starts to spin and for a split-second, we think we're stuck. As my jaw starts to drop, we finally get traction and the Escort scurries back up to the dirt road that brought us in.

As we drive off, I turn around and look out the back window as the moon peaks through. I must have counted six or seven lean figures scattered across the open area. The ladies most definitely want to be taken home at this point!

We journey back towards Booneville and drop both of the ladies off at Teresa's place. As I walk Tiffani to the door, I felt the need to apologize. "I'm sorry about tonight."

"Don't worry about it. Just be taller next time."

I crack a smile and reply, "Well, I am drinking milk now. So, we'll see."

She gives me a brief kiss and turns to walk inside before I asked one last question to her: "Hey, did you want that leftover pizza that's in the car? I think there are three or four slices left."

"Oh, no. I dumped that out back at the lake."

(record scratch) Gears start winding in my head. "Dumped them out when, Tiffani?"

"Right before we fell asleep -- oh, (bleep)!"



Now, to this day, I honestly don't know what we saw out there. The only wolves ever spotted in Mississippi, to my knowledge, are red wolves, but they're endangered and almost never seen. It could have easily been a red fox standing on his hind legs against the car, but my focus wasn't sharp at the time and it was dark. Mix fear with recent thoughts of panther attacks and I may have told you that I saw Bigfoot if you asked me that very moment.

What I do know, is that there were quite a few of whatever they were roaming out there and they obviously loved the smell of fresh pizza on the ground (thanks a lot for trying to get us eaten, Tiff)!

Now that I think about it, that was the last time I visited the Booneville area.

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