Statewide Ride

I went on a trip once. During the summer. It was a road trip. Open road. Two weeks. Nothing but a bag of clothes, a bottle of Crown Royal, and my checking account. I went with my best friend. His name’s Brett. His last name’s Royal. His favorite beer’s Guinness. He’s Irish.

My name’s Shaun Stoffer. My family did not make the frozen entrees, although I still get weak in the knees for their French bread pizzas. My dad’s from Wabash, Indiana. My mother’s from Singapore, Singapore (like New York, New York). They met at Miami University. I lost a close tie for the second youngest in our family because my twin brother beat me to the punch. I have an older sister who is estranged. I’m covered in tattoos, but with a collared shirt you’ll never know. I fight in a cage for a living or so I tell myself. I help manage a Publix produce department too. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a gym rat. I rescue dogs because I hate jogging alone, plus cats have nine lives anyways. I love to travel truly. It’d be fair to call me a black sheep or a lone wolf.

We were old roommates, lived in an apartment for about a year, ten months to be exact. While I had school, work, and training, he had beer, drugs, and smoking. We balanced each other out. I came out of my shell, he cleaned up his act.

I’m a tight ass. He’s a dumass. Together we became jackasses. They say opposites attracts.  Eventually we switched places. I hit rock bottom, he turned a new leaf. It’s not complex. I lost my drive, my passion, my sureness. I stopped taking on challenges and started making excuses, I started to live selfishly. Bars till two in the morning, a twelve pack after every shift, hookah and cigars every day, cowboy killers in one hand, a 7&7 in the other. Then I grew up.

Nowadays I and Brett are levelheaded. He met a girl, I met a girl. His relationship lasted, mine ended abruptly. His girl made him happy; mine brought out the worst in me. I always thought of myself as a good guy, at least that’s what she said. I treated her right; I sent her flowers just because. I thought we were in it for the long run. Turns out I was just an option; I made this discovery through the grapevine.  I didn’t handle this well. She didn’t know I knew. Go figure. Stupid bitch. I could care less about finding a relationship; I’ll let the relationship find me, or maybe I’ll just stumble upon one some adventurous day.

We drove from the sunshine state to New York City. Stopped at something like ten states. I lost count to be frank. First stop was in Georgia. Hole in the wall spot. Had to get their peaches. There’s no tax on tobacco. Had to get dip. Old habits die hard.

Fueled by Starbucks and Monster we pressed onward to Virginia. Saw a dead dog in the road. Broke my heart. I am an avid dog lover. Stopped at Wawa religiously. Caffeine is my mistress. Must’ve passed forty Cracker Barrels. This is not an exaggeration. But damn is their country fried steak a prize. Broke down at Richmond. Triple AAA was our savior. Stopped at a hotel plaza. Got turned down three times. Turns out fourth time’s the actual charm.

Ate like a king in the morning. Nay an emperor. The bacon was free. The bacon was all you can eat. I made a bacon sandwhich. A bacon wrap. Bacon is actually my mistress. Got hit on by one of the employees. But I can’t do long distance. Brett didn’t wake up for breakfast. His loss. Fixed the car. Good old fashioned flat. No spare. New tire. Dammit Brett. We stopped at D.C. The National Cathedral is divine. Darth Vader is bewildering. I am the only English major who does not like Star Wars.

Got drunk in Philly, forgot to get a Philly Cheese Steak. A stranger asked us to come in and smoke a cigar. Horror movie fears made me decline. I’ve seen Hostel. It wasn’t cause he was black. But it kind of was.

Made it to New Jersey. A place called Newark. You don’t want to live there. We stayed there at a friend’s. His name was Jose Reyes. Surprise he’s Spanish. History major. Jiu-jitsu purple belt. Bartender. We ate out every meal with him. I swear he could be a food critic. A good guy if you’ve ever met one.

He lived in a duplex. His landlord was a bitch. She didn’t like me. She met me belligerently drunk, half-naked, and falling sleep on the couch. A second-rate first impression. The feeling was mutual. Driving in the city’s a bitch. I can’t parallel park to save my life. Honking there is like birds chirping here. House music is played nonstop. Gym – house music. Club – house music. Mall – house music. Barbershop – house music. I liked house music. Until I went to New Jersey. New Jersey the people are different. Everyone dresses up. The girls are attractive. The problem is they know they’re attractive. I’m calling them stuck up. The men are stereotypes, but the nicest of people. I got dozens of Jack n Cokes on the house.

New York is different. The lights put you in a trance. The subway is gross. Trash is left in the road. Bars don’t close until four A.M. I wish I had gone to Broadway. But a ticket is expensive. And have to be bought far in advance. Madison Square is way too big. Times Square is belongs in the future. By that I mean everything is state of the art. A pint of Guinness costs nine dollars at their pubs. Must come with a blowjob. Brett has a dirty sense of humor.

We spent many nights in Hoboken, New Jersery. Think of it as downtown. Bar food. Domestic beer. Jack & Cokes with limes. Jersey puts limes in all their whiskey drinks, don’t ask me why. I “bulked” up to one-hundred and ninety-two pounds. My weight class is one-hundred and fifty-five. God help me.

I ran into many a fighter. Turns out they’re everywhere in New Jersey, you just have to know where to look. I only trained a handful of times at a few gyms, as much as I love training and fighting, Superman has to take off his cape once in a while. God has to rest on Sundays. And I had to enjoy a good old American burger and fries with a cold one to wash it down without having to worry about how I was going to do a two-a-day tomorrow. I got to meet some famous fighters; more semi-famous than anything but being star struck was a common occurence. To meet athletes you’ve watched on TV since childhood, that’s what it’s all about.

I met a girl fighter who should have modeled instead. She was bartending at an upper echelon club. I couldn’t resist. She was Jose’s old roommate. And she just had a way about her. That way that you can’t describe but it’s like an aura about her. You know it when you see it. I gave my best Casanova attempt but alas drunken misfortunes. She slipped away while I drank the night away. However, I ran a bar tab for well over a hundred dollars, she put it on the house. I never saw her after that but I find myself thinking about her from time to time and as much as I resist a grin spreads from ear to ear.

I flew away at the end of the fourteen days. I had to be searched. Go figure. I got the middle seat on the plane. It’s the fucking worst seat. I got two whiskey and waters during the flight. The flight attendant put it on the house. It calms my nerves. I flirted with one of the girls I sat next to. Just cause. I had a hit. But she wasn’t my type. Got home safe. The old man picked me up. I don’t like traveling. I love traveling. This is what started my wanderlust.