Happy San Diego Safari
Susie: "What did you pack for snacks?"
David: "What snacks? Do you want me to pull over at the next gas station?"
Susie: "Well, I am not really hungry right now. I just thought."
The washed out San Diego freeway passed them. There was the nuclear reactor San Onofre that heated the ocean water for the sharks. The shrubs next to the road were half dried out. The air slapped inside of the car through the open windows. The blue Pacific always looked great. The dash board was a dark blue and a bit dried out. James was wearing sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt. Susie held a blanket in her arms, the map with directions. She had a flowing dress, straw hat, and cute shoes. Her purse at her feet contained the usual snacks as well as sunscreen, sun block lip balm, and a field guide book for animals.
"We like to keep the lions on the windward side of the park. So, all the vegetarian animals get their scent. It keeps them alert and more active", Announced the tour guide in front of the train. Susie inhaled deeply to smell the lions. David looked down to the giraffes, who were being passed by a truck with other visitors standing on the back: "That'd be a lot of fun."
Susie: "Oh, we have a much better overview from down here."
After the train ride, they strolled around. Susie looked through a meshed fence inside an exhibit. There was a lot of green overgrowth. After a while, she looked at David and moved on. David had his hands in his pockets and followed her. She wrapped her arm around David's elbow and smiled a bit. A familiar crossway came up.
David: "We have pretty much covered this area."
David: "Let's see, if we can get on one of those trucks."
David: "It requires months advance reservation? But, there is one place left, because someone just called to cancel? It is twenty minutes to get around?"
David: "You didn't seem to care much for the truck ride anyway. Why don't you give Kate a call and tell her about the park?"
David: "C'mon, it's the one chance. Let me go."
The sun had gone down, when David stopped in front of her apartment.
David: "Thanks for letting me get on the truck. We'll watch a chick flick movie in exchange next weekend."
Susie: "Thank you for the ride. Have a good night."
Once he parked his car at home, his cell phone vibrated with a message: "It was nice knowing you. You can pick up your stuff from Kate."
The late afternoon sun at its lowered angle shined cheerily through the window on the cutting board. A pile of basil was in the left corner. A pile of diced Yukon potatoes was neatly placed to the right corner. A stalk of leek was held down with the left hand, the fingers curled under. The knuckles guided the chef knife that came down in a fast and rhythmic chop. The oil in the pot behind Kate started to hiss a little bit as the vapor of hot oil moved into her nose. The smell blended with the scent of fresh, sweet roasting corn in the oven.
She looked over at the dining tables, who were surrounded by two palm trees and a ficus, who all happily soaked up the golden afternoon sunlight. The lazy European coffee house chairs were arranged around the table with formal white table clothes and softly blue placemats. She had learned from the Internet to fold the napkins neatly with the utensils stuffed in. She had placed her utensil set at the chair closest to the kitchen. His utensil set was placed at the most conveniently placed chair.
The phone rang. She quickly pushed the pot with the slightly smoking oil off the hot burner. Two rings to go before the voice mail would pick up. She sprinted to her desk, grabbed the cell phone and flipped it open to yelp her name.
"Susie. (pause) Susie! Oh my god! I am so sorry, I forgot! Let me come over right now."
"You got a cab? Oh, I am so glad you thought of it. Let me give you the cab money back. Do you need a pickup? Where are you now?"
"You are already back home. Are you upset at me?"
"Did the doctor give you any good news?"
"That sucks. Do you want to come over? James is coming over. I am making corn chowder."
"No, you wouldn't be a bother. We would both like to cheer you up, if we could."
"All right, take good care!"
Kate took a look at her cluttered bathroom. At the sight of her dirty pant and bra on the chair, she closed the door firmly. She took another look at herself in the mirror and went back to cooking.
The next moment she remembered, she was sitting upright at the table. Her legs were neatly placed next to each other. The napkin was on her lap. She tried to a spoonful. Happiness radiated over her face. She looked at James, who was busy getting a candy gift out of his pocket.
James: "It is Canadian chocolate -- not special, yet still a nice change. Plus, it is made to blend well with pot."
Kate: "How nice of you! We can have it for dessert."
Kate: "You used to live for a month on a research fishing boat."
James: "Yeah, that was a great gig. The fish we were observing have never been seen to lay eggs. So, we spent a month following the fish. Someone had to stay in the ship, while the other two went down diving. So, it was pretty much hanging out. Except for the weekends, because we were so remote we could organize rave parties on somewhat remote islands. Peeps from Victoria would come out and it was a lot of fun."
Kate: "Are you high?"
James: "Are my eyes red? They get dehydrated. Let me put some eye drops in."
Kate: "Oh, did I set the heating too high to dry out the room?"
James: "No, it's me. Don't worry about it."
Kate: "Were there drugs at those raves?"
James: "Maybe, some, probably."
Kate: "How do you like the soup?"
James: "Oh, it is delicious. Cooking is a very self nurturing thing to do. That's great."
Kate: "Did you really study bondage in a class?"
James: "That was an awesome class. It wasn't necessarily a college. In SF, there was this meeting place with a few tables. The instructor was a rather plain looking guy. He looked like a cross between a rural gas attendant and a pot bellied chef. Some of the best people in the scene have unlikely bodies. Ones you get the basics knots, patterns, and safety instruction, there are so many options."
Kate: "Did you get tied down as well?"
James: "Oh, yeah. It actually feels really nice. They tell you to go limp. Don't move on your own. Let yourself be moved. It sets you in a trance, where you feel like a post package. The skin gets so sensitive from that and goose bumps rise. Like the instructor said, people really enjoy being handled."
Kate: "Did you partner with a girl or a guy."
James: "It was a guy. It felt awkward at first. However, there is a kind of manly feel to open up to a man. It is easy to open up to a girl for me. They feel so warm and soft. Yet, a man is kind of rough, strong, and stoic. It can feel nice as well. However, it is a fine line of guilt between feeling uncomfortable and enjoying it. Are you into it?"
Kate: "Well, it is interesting to hear, not that I experimented with that."
James: "What kind of parties do you like to go to?"
Kate: "I haven't been out in a while. Work, you know."
James: "Hold on I got a phone call."
James: "What happened?"
James: "Is she still bleeding?"
James: "Did you call 911?"
James: "Oh, the hospital let her home already? Would she want us to come or rather not come?"
James: "Okay, I'll check in tomorrow."
James to Kate: "Susie attempted suicide."
Sweat formed a film around her face to which her long unkempt hair clenched. Kate was squatting on the dirt littered with little stones and pieces of dried out desert plants. Her left hand was pushing against the ground behind her, carefully avoiding the painful little stones. Her pants were down at her ankles, while the bottom of her t-shirt stuck in between her teeth. A little depression and a desert gray shrub provided her with surprising privacy in the flat landscape with the waiting Jeep that contained David.
She peered over her snatch to aim her butt over the little fox hole that she had dug out. A small fluid mass of brown shot out of her asshole. Her face eased some of the tension. Paleness left a bit. She struggled forward and up dancing her feet cautiously around the shit hole. Her butt stuck out away from her ankles with the jeans as she wiped front to back with the roll of toilet paper that was half covered in dust. She placed the soiled toilet paper carefully into the hole. A bit of wind required her to push the loose paper into the hole with a stick. As she wiped hair and sweat out of her face with the back of her hand, she got ready to light a storm proof match and drop it into the hole.
The rabbit ran a fast hook in the soft desert sand. It disappeared behind the low shrubs with small fresh green leaves. Only the memory of a fat rabbit with nice fur was left in what should have been a desolate wash. The shrubs were green, alive, and as tall as the Jeep. All the windows were pulled down. The sun was shining through the open top with only the rollbars above them. The tires sunk into the sand and left a clear trail.
Kate had the guide book on her lap and was counting tenth of miles to navigate the way through the winding pathways in the shrubs. She threw a puzzled look at David, who immediately slammed on the brakes, looked over the left shoulder. There was an opening in the shrubbery with small plants flowers and uneven piles of dirt. The right turn was a little back to the left. He smiled happily and his eyes grew as he started backing up the car into the off road world. The adventure had begun.
Every turn was an adventure. Would there be a bird, a rabbit, a sharp turn, a sand pit? The next turn brought the tallest hill that they had yet seen in the flat land. It invited to be climbed. Kate needed to pee. David relished leaving the Jeep middle in the road as probably nobody would come by for a long time. A round and red cactus with many spikes wanted to be observed on the ground. It is really rare for city folks to see a cactus outside of a pot, in the place where cacti came from originally.
David pulled down his zipper. Kate searched for a bit of cover behind the hill. As she returned, she waved David to join her on the hill. Kate had long curly, very dark brown hair. She loved wearing jeans with loose threads hanging off of it and a bright orange t-shirt that showed her athletic torso and also contoured nicely with her boobs. She was wearing two heavy metal rings that she had picked up in a local store on a trip to SF. Her sun glasses were elegant and functional.
David came running up the hill like a puppy. He had long ago discarded his shirt and was wearing his surfer shorts and running shoes. He had a long scar on his right shoulder from a bicycle accident as a teenager. His parents hadn't checked his bike and a screw had fallen off leading to an accident. ER could fix it all.
He looked in all four directions, turned to go back to the car, and glanced at Kate. Kate shared how wonderful the air felt and free it was to be far beyond people. With that, she put her arm on the back of David for the first time. David: "Yeah, awesome, let's go and see more of it." Kate didn't move and said, how happy she was to be out. David walked away from her arm and said, "don't be a sentimental pain. You can always look at scenery. We rented that Jeep for this weekend. Let's use it!"
Kate didn't move. Her arm fell down to her side.
David: "Sometimes, I wish that you were more action oriented, more of a tomboy. Though, it is probably good that you are different, because you have something else to offer. Maybe, you are a good cook. (pause) I mean no offense. That was a cliché."
Kate slowly followed David down the hill, careful not to slip on the steep dirt slope.
David: "People are just very different. You couldn't imagine, how much Susie depended on getting that ride to the doctor's office last week? I found her crying on the phone. She couldn't even think enough for herself to simply call a cab."
"Kate?" But, Kate kept walking. She kept walking in a straight line towards some destination towards the mountains. David stood there. He looked. He looked inside of himself. Then, he walked to the car and fished for a CD in the CD booklet. He put his feet on the side mirror of the opened car door and listened to "Rage Against the Machine."
The exciting wash had given way to a barren and flat desert with dried up looking plants. The last rays of the day were chasing over the desert. Beyond the 395 was a mountain range with Fort Piute waiting for them. David gunned the car across the rocks with a redneck style delicate balance between getting there before sunset and having their gear not fly up too high, when he hit a large rock or ravine. His head was slightly moved over to Kate to avoid being smashed against the rollbar with the shaking of the car.
Kate smiled at his leaning over to her: "Now that you are offering me your ear. I want to be closer to you and would like to share something more risky and vulnerable."
"Sure, go ahead princess", David said with a smile of smugness and not peeling his eye away from the upcoming road for a second. He kept scanning for rocks that could hit the oil pan or pot holes that could break an axle. It was like a computer game to him, only much much better.
Kate: "Earlier you got mad and yelled at me."
David: "So what, you want to hear sorry?"
Kate: "I want to tell you that it frightened me, because I didn't know, what you were going to do?"
David: "Just strong talk. Words can't hurt you."
Kate: "It seemed like there was more to it. I saw your face."
David: "Maybe, it wasn't you. Maybe, the week had a lot of pressure for me."
Kate: "I figured that there was more to it. What's going on at work?"
David: "Do you want to drive? You seem mighty bored."
Kate was silent. She looked down at her pants. Her finger twisted around a string hanging from her jeans. She looked out at the rock and dirt, which had lost its sparkle in the diminishing light of dawn.
Kate: "You are an asshole. I try to talk about the issue. And, you avoid it. How are we going to share a tent like that?"
David: "I liked the idea of company on this trip. I shouldn't have picked a woman."
The cell rang and Kate picked it out of her purse.
Kate: "David is a jerk." "Can you pick me up?" "No, he hasn't done anything. I'd rather not experience that happening." "He wants to talk to you."
David: "Hey buddy, what's up?" "Everything is cool. She is being a female. She probably has PMS or hasn't had food in a while." "Yeah, I'll feed her. Check back in a few."
Kate gloated at David. Her whole body was turned over to him. He slowed down, didn't stop, and reached behind her seat, searching through the grocery bags. He dropped the bottle of orange juice on her lap. She kept gloating at him. He got himself a bottle of orange juice. When he started slugging it down, she looked ahead at the windshield again. The orange juice left dark spots on her jeans from the desert air condensating on the cool juice bottle.
She remembered the long drive over the 10, then the 15 along the desert with the stop at the quirky gas station with the garden and mini-zoo, where the gas prices were jacked up, and a bus load of tourist clicked their cameras happily. She remembered the wind flapping at the fabric of the Jeep. She remembered the radio being turned up to overpower the noise. She remembered her lunch at home a long time ago. She drank half of the bottle of orange juice and decided to throw the closed bottle at David's chest.
David looked at the high grass at the bottom of the cliff, where a creek was gurgling very happily. Didn't the national park web site say to avoid camping near water to allow the wildlife access? The small dirt parking lot was definitely the camp site according to the directions. He opened the soft top zipper on the back of the Jeep and his dry skin cracked. He pressed his finger for a moment and then kept fumbling in the bag in the trunk for the sponge and degradable soap. He closed the zipper, washed the dishes, opened the zipper again, stowed the sponge and soap. He looked pissed and opened the zipper again, while pressing a tissue down on his bleeding finger to find water to rinse his bowl. A tear surprised him on the edge of his eyes and he formed a fist.
Kate couldn't see him and called over in a more chirpy voice: "That's one of my two talents: setting up a tent. It is all ready with air mats inflated, sleeping bags unrolled, and a midnight snack tucked next to the pillow."
David was quiet right away. The birds and insects kept singing on even louder after the sun had set. A light wind was blowing down the mountain. The hair on his head was close to hers. He was a lot bigger then her. He smelled quite a bit. Who wouldn't after a day of desert perspiration? He was rolled into his sleeping bag. There wasn't much to see. She looked anyway.
The wind picked up and invaded her dream. She dreamed that she was in a dust storm with snow rovers chasing across the desert. She was sitting there as they passed her left and right. The tent wouldn't fly away with the two bodies as a dead weight inside.
She held the cup under her butt. The morning was still hazy. The stream made that water running sound as it collected. She pulled away the cup to let the rest of her urine run onto the dry ground, where it quickly created a lake that would run to her right foot, which she moved out of the way without spraying the urine stream too much during her shift.
It was only a few steps to get back to the tent. She hadn't had to worry about David being already up and seeing her. She unzipped the door, left it open, leaned forward and poured the quarter cup of urine over David's face. David twitched. He opened his eyes slowly. Kate swiftly and smoothly moved out, ran a few steps to the Jeep and observed the tent.
After a moment of silence, David came out. The hair above his face was a bit wet. There were some drops on his t-shirt. The bottom of his t-shirt was riding slightly high on his belly showing his gut and was somewhere else tugged into his pants. He stood there for a moment. Then, he pulled down his sweat pants, reached for his penis, and peed straight at her. She jumped up and back and stopped within a few feet. David let the stream run out. Then, he looked for a water jug and splashed himself. Kate searched in her bag for another jeans.
They both find their own breakfast in the grocery bags.
Kate: "David, this is maybe a lot of information. I am looking for a boy friend very hard. And, I had hoped that going with a guy on a weekend trip could have been something."
David looked up at her: "I have been in the dating pool for a while. And, right now neither my job nor my love life seems to be going anywhere. Somewhere, I had dreamed a happy dream about this weekend. Then, I decided that it is probably not going to happen anyway. And, I better focus on enjoying the trip itself."
Kate: "I miss so much to get a hug, feel warm and safe. I feel alone by myself. I wish there were someone, who could take me to that sanctuary of comfort."
David: "The desert can mess with you, especially your mind. Why would Jesus get high in the desert for 40 days, if there wasn't anything trippy happening?"
David: "Susie broke up with me, because I wouldn't take enough care of her."
Kate: "What do you mean?"
David: "She complained that I'd never offer her anything to drink, eat, or inquire, if she were cold or hot. I don't know, wouldn't she tell me, if she'd need anything?"