Monday, October 24, 2011

Road Babe Dispatch From Lake Ponderay

I woke to knocking on the bedroom door.  Covered my face with a pillow while my travel bud Eddie talked to Schuck (the jerk from the last Road Babe Dispatch).  Time to pack the Ford for a couple days on the lake.  We were asked if we could hurry. Seven a.m. light sharpened my hung-over, dark-ringed gaze. “Here we go again,” I said.

We tried to rally friends for the trip, but they were soundly sleeping.  Schuck banged on their bedroom doors as we played with Shakespeare and their two chocolate Labradors.  Schuck paced in circles around the patio.  He crossed his arms, huffed, then plopped in a lawn chair. A bee landed on his leg and inserted its stinger. As Karma would have it, Schuck was deathly allergic and carried no epinephrine.

Matt and his fianc√© Charis were both EMTs. They administered some shots. These left him staggering, but demanding we continue. We dashed to the woods, looking again for my lost passport. The search party turned up mosquito bites and an antique lantern. 

Outside the marina quick-stop, Schuck broke out in hives. More shots were administered while he sat on the tailgate. His throat was tightening. Despite pleas to take him to a hospital, he refused. Instead, he passed out for a few minutes in the sun.

We stocked up on beer and loaded a virgin $200,000 boat with camping gear before launching it. The swanky white vessel belonged to a customer from Schuck's old job. I didn't consider that much of an explanation, but rolled with it. Cottonwood pollen floated on the water.

In his hurry to relax, the hospital was not an option, even though Matt was running low on shots in his kit. We spent the day sunbathing, reading and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Every few hours, Shuck consumed more Benadryl, washed it down with beer, passed out, and erupted in more hives. At six, it was time to dock at the island, set up camp, then haul ass across Lake Ponderay for dinner. Needless to say, I hit the wine hard.

Back on Cottage Island (which is owned, yes owned, by some aristocratic types), we slept on a green bluff overlooking a flat stone beach. In the morning, we found Schuck and Sara on the boat, which was surrounded by bees. Matt was out of epinephrine shots.

Since Schuck was in charge, we hurried to and through breakfast. I ate huckleberry pancakes. Schuck looked bad, his arms, legs, stomach and back glistening with red welts, but ingested more Benadryl with booze. “Now hurry,” he said, “back to the boat.”

We fled to the vessel, to the island, through breaking down camp, while loading the yacht, to the middle of the lake, so we could do absolutely nothing for six hours. Now, don't get me wrong, I like to relax. I'm pretty damn good at it (unless someone in my party is about to die).  Everyone sunburned except Sara and me. We split a bottle of Washington red (good sun-block). Schuck kept taking meds every few hours and passing out in the sun. We stepped back and forth over his curled-up body on the deck.  Occasionally, he awoke and chugged a Rainer or an Olympia.

Back on shore, we cleaned the certified yacht, shined the leather and wood grain, then polished the windows to perfection. We said goodbyes and went to a Mexican place, where Schuck drank fishbowl margaritas and ordered dinner with two desserts. “Hey, bring those out at the same time.”

New hives began forming on his forearms and lips. Close to the mouth is close to the throat, so Sara finally demanded he see a doctor.  The medics at the hospital reprimanded Schuck for not coming sooner. He didn't hesitate to say, "I was busy."

Mittie Babette Roger is from Louisiana but lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University and authored the book It's Better to Visit the Shaman Without Questions to Ask. She travels the world volunteering to help disadvantaged children and promoting Blue Iguana Tequila to empower serious drinkers.

1 comment:

  1. I'll just say it. Maybe Schuck should have been tossed overboard.