a loner, Dotty. A rebel.
things about me you wouldn't understand.
you couldn't understand.
you shouldn't understand."
-Pee Wee Herman (Pee Wee's Big Adventure)
another Spring Break story. This one is like a Twilight Zone episode.
break I drove to Florida (again) with two of my fraternity brothers,
Reg and Antonio. Reg is your typical stocky Italian/Irish mutt, and
Antonio is Azorian and loaded. He was 28 at the time and still in college.
He had been working on his dissertation in Marine Biology for the last
two years, but still hadn't come up with a topic. He speaks with an
accent and looks like a heavier Armande Assante. This boy punched a
hole in the corners of all his credit cards and wears them on a chain
around his neck. Whenever he needs to pay for something, he pulls them
out of his shirt, fans them out and says, "Pick a card, any card."
knew this was going to be my last college spring break road trip and
was determined to make it the best one yet. I didn't know it at the
time, but my input wasn't needed. Fate was already planning my vacation.
we left, another brother of ours, Tim, canceled out at the last minute.
He decided to drive down with his ex girlfriend, Tina, instead. We,
on the other hand, were driving the girl he was currently seeing, Kristen.
She lived in Florida, so she split the cost and got a fun (and cheap)
ride home. Needless to say, she wasn't in the greatest of moods having
Tim driving around with his ex. But what could she do?
told us that his mother had consulted a Psychic for us, and we should
be careful in South Carolina and Georgia. We said, yeah, whatever, and
the way down, we bumped into Tim and Tina in a gas station in Virginia
and he never once came near my car. Even though Kristen was sitting
in it. She fumed the rest of the way. (I have another story about Kristen,
but I'll write that one another time.)
left them in our dust and continued to the Sunshine State. As we passed
South Of The Border, and were officially in South Carolina, I noticed
that I could no longer see the temperature needle on my dashboard. I
thought it was a little odd, but maybe the cold air was cooling the
engine better than usual. Then I noticed the smoke coming out from the
checked the gauge again and realized that the needle was buried on the
other side of the dial, or, in technical terms, my car was overheating.
pulled to the side, and it turned out that we had blown a radiator hose.
No big deal, we jury-rigged it with some cardboard and duct tape. Duct
tape will fix anything.
off we were again.
soon as we hit the Georgia border, I slowed down. I figured the Psychic
was right about South Carolina, I'm very superstitious, so why take
a chance. The only problem I could see was getting pulled over by a
stopped for gas and food, but otherwise kept driving at a casual pace.
we hit the Florida state line, we all started screaming. We had beaten
the psychic's prediction and come through unscathed.
with Kristen in the back)
another gas station, we picked up some more food, and Reg couldn't find
his wallet. Someone covered the cost, and we didn't think anything of
we stopped in Tampa to drop Kristen off, we tore the car apart looking
for Reg's wallet. We found nothing. I asked where he remembers having
it last, and he replied, "In that truck stop in Georgia."
like he dropped it. In Georgia. The Psychic wins again.
we have a new problem. Reg's wallet had his cash card, credit card,
AND his I.D. Obviously, we planned to do a little drinking while we
were down here, but now Reg had little chance of getting into most bars
during Spring Break.
well, not much we could do about it now.
Spatmobile, heavily overloaded)
one wanted to be stuck in my car for the whole week, so Antonio rented
a Mustang convertible. They also had a special going, and threw in a
cel phone with the rental. Now we were set. We spent the night in Tampa
and the next morning headed down to Miami via the Everglades.
won't go through every detail of the trip; I really want to get to the
heart of the story, so, fast forward a few days; we made a fake I.D.
for Reg that actually worked damned well for the week. He was 26 at
the time and was stuck having to use one of my old I.D.'s with his picture
stuck on it. So whenever we went anywhere, we had to walk in a few minutes
apart, lest someone notice the name was the same (I have a distinctive
felony in progress)
go to a club in Coconut Grove called Coco's or was it Baja? Now I really
can't remember, but anyway, we hang out drinking all night and then
head across the street to a little outdoor cafe called Johnny Rockets.
Antonio was in a suit and had his hair slicked back into a pony tail.
He looked very European. I was in my MC and jeans, and Reg was in a
had some coffee, and since it was my turn to drive I was completely
sober. Antonio and Reg both had a buzz on, but weren't quite drunk.
the table next to us sat a woman in dark sunglasses. Her table was practically
covered in food, and she was holding a kitten wrapped in a pillow case.
We all watched in amazement as she spoon fed the kitten baby food.
noticed us watching and invited herself to our table.
I'm a native New Yorker and more than a little paranoid of strangers.
No matter where in the world I am, I'm always wary of people being overly
friendly for no reason.
she sat down, I moved back in my chair so I was exactly opposite her
and had a good view of the entire scene. My first thought was that she
was going to try to switch checks with us. Our bill was probably only
three or four dollars, while hers was more like twenty or thirty. Reg
basically did the same thing. I guess he's as paranoid as I.
introduced herself as Marina, and the Siamese cat as Jean-Pierre. She
told us how the cat was her son, and the father was still in Paris,
but would be arriving soon. Okay, I admit it. Wackos seem to gravitate
towards me. I can't help it.
Cat Lady herself)
put her stuff down on the table. It consisted of her purse, a gold lighter,
and a small tape recorder. After a few minutes of Antonio talking to
her I started to notice that she wasn't trying to scam us. Or if she
was, she was really bad at it. Like a bolt of lightning it hit me. She's
insane. Simple fact. She actually thinks that this cat is her baby.
gave the cat to Antonio to hold, and it seemed to me that she was oblivious
to everything around her that wasn't directly involved with her kitten.
decided it was time to have fun and test the waters.
casually as I could, I stretched my arm across the table and placed
my hand on her tape recorder. I slowly drew it closer to me, and she
took absolutely no notice.
placed it on my lap, and checked it out. It wasn't recording, but had
a tape in it. Why not? I hit record, cupped the recorder in my hand
and placed it next to my mouth. I started whispering, "I hate cats.
I'm going to kill your cat. Your cat is going to die." Then I just kind
of moaned into it for a while and turned it off.
carefully as I removed it, I placed it back in front of her. Again,
she paid no mind to us. She was still watching Antonio and the cat.
and I were laughing to ourselves over the tape recorder trick, and now
he decided to try one of his own. He slowly leaned across the table
and took her lighter. After he drew it back and examined it, he began
lighting it over and over again right in full view of the table. She
never once noticed so Reg put it back.
of course saw all this going on and was quite amused.
looked over at me and looked at the roof of Johnny Rockets. I instantly
knew what he was about to do. I threw the car keys to Reg and told him
to pull the car around, NOW!
ran off, and Antonio began bouncing the cat in his arms checking its
weight. Every so often he would look up again, and judge the distance
to the roof. Bounce the cat, check the roof, bounce the cat, check the
pulled around with the car, and I paid our check. Antonio looked at
me and mouthed the words, "Three....Two....One."
guess the cat had better sense, because before Antonio could throw him,
he ran off. We spent a few minutes tracking the cat down for Marina
while she paid her own bill. She then asked Antonio if he would drive
her home. Reg and I were behind her shaking our heads, waving our arms,
and mouthing the word "No!"
they leave together, and we're stuck in the cafe waiting.
of the waiters came by and asked where the wacko went. I said our friend
drove her home.
that's not good." he said.
asked why not, and he told us that she had been arrested outside the
cafe a few times for Drunken Disorderly and Solicitation.
looked at Reg and said, "Antonio's going to get laid, and he's gonna
pay for it!"
laughed for a few minutes and then thanked the waiter for the warning.
twenty minutes later they came back. Marina had changed her clothes
and left the cat home.
and I were looking at Antonio to see if we could see any signs that
he had just had sex with the girl, but found none.
got out of the car and crawled into the back seat with Marina, while
I took the wheel, and Reg rode shotgun. We drove around for a while
as she talked away to Antonio. We decided to head to the beach.
was about 11:00 by now, so the beach was deserted. We parked the car,
and Reg and I got out and stood by the sides watching Antonio and Marina.
She asked what Antonio did, and he told her Marine Biology student.
She asked what Reg did, and Antonio told her, "It's not important, you
don't need to know that."
and I looked at each other again wondering what Antonio was talking
asked what I did, and Antonio told her that she didn't need to know
asked what he was talking about, and Antonio told her, "See, my father
is very high up in the Government in the Azores, and he is a friend
of the American Government's. But some other Governments might seek
to do him and myself harm, so these," he pointed to us, "are my Secret
I looked at Reg, I noticed that he was as confused as I was, but neither
of us were going to say anything. Also, we were both standing on either
side of them, and both had our hands clasped behind our backs. We looked
like we were body-guarding. In actuality, we were just trying to stay
away from her and keep an eye on her in case she did something stupid.
turned towards me and noticed that with me standing outside the car,
my crotch was at about her eye level.
said, "This is a great view."
bother" Antonio said, "He's gay."
was never so happy to have someone think I was gay in my entire life.
It was like sudden freedom from worrying about her coming near me.
asked Antonio why he would want a gay bodyguard, and he told her that
if there are women around, some bodyguards get distracted, but at least
Spat can keep his eyes open.
then it happened. We fell into our characters.
that time in that strip club in Texas, right?" I said.
Antonio and I laughed, and told her the story of the female assassin
that was able to lure Reg away and then tried to kill Antonio, but I
was able to stop her.
a minute she wasn't sure if she believed us or not, so I decided to
have some fun. I saw a car coming down the road with no lights on, so
I yelled, "CAR!!" and Reg and I threw ourselves over Antonio in the
back seat. She dove under the seat so fast it wasn't even funny. From
that moment on, she believed every word.
told stories of places we'd never been, things we'd never done, and
people we'd never met. About how bad I am at flying a helicopter, and
was lucky that this other agent named Bob was able to pull me out of
the wreck before I bled to death.
asked why Reg left while we were at Johnny Rockets, and we explained
that he had to search the car for bombs.
that time he missed one?" Antonio asked.
actually looked embarrassed at the mention of this fictitious story.
I said, "I was pulling shrapnel out of my back for a week."
asked why we drive such a flashy car if we're trying to be undercover,
and Reg jumped in by mentioning the "Hide in plain sight" theory.
was now intrigued.
were interesting, dangerous, mysterious, and worldly. Or so she thought.
an hour of us telling her stories of our secret service exploits, she
began ducking whenever a car went by, just in case.
looked at my watch and noticed it was 3 a.m. Antonio saw me check and
said, "It's time to check in." He handed me the cel phone, so I walked
away a few feet and pretended to make a call. I walked back to the car
and told everyone that the meeting was still on for noon and that Bob
says hi to everyone. We talked about Bob the helicopter pilot for a
little while more and made up adventures that are better than anything
in the movies today.
and Marina started getting a little touchy-feely by the time the sun
was coming up, so Reg and I walked to the highway and sat on a bench.
We laughed and asked each other what this girl's problem was.
few minutes later I looked back at the car and couldn't see Marina.
I could see Antonio's head, but not hers. So we snuck up to the car,
and as we got closer, we could see her head bobbing up and down. Antonio
saw us, and I was about to go back to the bench and leave them alone,
when Antonio started motioning for one of us to take a picture. Unfortunately,
the camera was in the front seat.
stopped what she was doing, and looked up. Reg and I were already hidden
behind two trees. She looked back at the bench and when she didn't see
us, asked Antonio where we went. Antonio snapped his fingers, and Reg
and I stepped out from where we were hiding.
was shocked. Antonio just shrugged and said, "Secret service."
offered to take the three of us on, and I was so happy she thought I
was gay. For a minute anyway. She offered to convert me. I was about
to run onto the highway, when she turned her affections to Reg. He was
of like mind and basically just kept walking away from her also.
7 a.m. we were a little tired of running away from this girl and decided
it was time to take her home. We got in the car, and she started going
on about the foursome again. Then she offered to come with us wherever
we were going. We told her that we didn't know where we might end up.
Today we're in Florida, tomorrow might be Alaska. We never know. She
still wanted to come. We tried everything to talk her out of it and
finally just had to stop discussing it.
kept driving and pretty much ignored the conversation, as did Reg. When
I did check the mirror again, she was giving Antonio....how to put it?
Oral affections? Sounds good.
it's 7:30 in the morning on a Wednesday. We're in a convertible with
the top down, and we're driving in rush hour traffic.
time, Reg was in the front seat with the camera.
camera that we were using was an underwater camera. So it needs to be
six feet from the target to focus properly. In a small car like this,
six feet is just not possible. So Reg had to hold the camera near the
windshield, and point it at Antonio that way. Antonio sat there smiling,
and with his hand, directed the angle that Reg was holding the camera.
A little higher, more to the left, etc.
it was right, Antonio gave Reg the thumbs up, and Reg snapped the picture.
dropped her off, went home, and went to sleep. It was 9 a.m.
was one long night.
actually joked around about calling her up a few days later and telling
her we were in Arizona, or Brazil, or someplace, but never got around
to it. Or maybe call her and tell her that Antonio had been killed by
a spy in some exotic locale.
we developed the pictures, the only one that came out was one of Antonio's
smiling face. You couldn't tell what was going on, but we thought it
was funny just because we knew the story.
know that what we did wasn't very nice, and it's definitely not something
I would do again (except for the fact that that night we went to a bar
and told everyone that Reg's father was on trial in New York, and Antonio
and I are his body guards trying to keep him safe and out of the way
until the whole thing blows over), but no one got hurt. It was good
clean fun. Believe me, we could have done a lot of things to that girl
had we been meaner people; she should be happy that we're nice guys.
We did joke around briefly about taking her clothes and leaving her
naked on the beach, but just couldn't do it. I bet she still tells the
story to her friends about the spy and his bodyguards that she almost
ran away with.