Episode 21 – Road Trip

As our bus rumbles toward Albany, Neal gets up and weaves down the aisle.

I’m nervous as a cat. “Dude, where the fuck are you going?”

“Chill. I want to find out when we get off. I found the address on the Internet.”

“Wonderful,” I mumble.

Azalea’s cackling…getting a charge out of my discomfort. “Gus, you should see your face. You look s-o-o-o-o freaked!”

I roll my eyes. “I wonder why…you realize what this’ll do to my reputation?”

“Relax, Baby, we’re all friends here. Nobody’s gonna tell anyone.”

“Tell anyone what?” Carl asks leaning over the seat. He and Stacy are suddenly a couple…snuggled up close. His arm’s draped around her shoulders.

Neal works his way back to us. “It’s not far. The driver’ll drop us off.”

“Where?” Carl asks. “There’s no theatre on this road, only peep shows and strip clubs.”

Neal smirks. “You got it, dude. Gus’s dad works in a club.”

Carl looks stunned. “You’re joking, right?”

They all stare at me…including Azalea who’s getting a kick out of the whole thing.

I sigh…”It’s true. My dad’s a transvestite.”

Everybody’s shocked, especially Stacy. She obviously had no idea what she was getting into.

“Gus, what the fuck are we doing up here!” Carl exclaims. “We can’t get into a strip club! This trip is a total waste!”

Neal turns to me, confused. “A transvestite??? Did he have a sex change?”

I’m s-o-o-o fucking embarrassed. “No!” I exclaim. “He just does his act in women’s clothes. He’s still a guy!”

“Jesus Christ!” Carl exclaims. “Why are we up here? It’ll be totally gay, and we won’t get in…great!”

“Well…I’m curious to see the show,” Neal says. “It’ll be a total first.”

“Yeah,” Azalea says. “This is an educational experience. We’ll see a different slice of society…and Gus’ll see his dad in action.”

Suddenly, the the driver pulls into a packed dirt parking lot…the doors open. “All out for The Cherry Pit,” he announces with a laugh. “Good luck!”

We get off as the bus roars off. Spread before us is a sea of parked cars clustered around a log cabin…lighted sign on the roof: “The Cherry Pit” with two big cherries like testicles. Jeez!

I turn to Azalea. “Now what?”

Carl has a sudden change of heart. “Now that we’re here, we might as well check the place out.”

“Why?” Stacy asks. “It’s s-o-o-o strange!”

“Aren’t you curious to see Gus’s dad in a bra!”

“Fuck you!” I say with a grin.

We weave our way through the cars. Neal laughs. “Carl, you better watch out. When they see your long blond hair, they’re gonna sign you up!”

Carl flips him the bird. “Neal, you’re a flaming asshole.”

We walk to the door and, as usual, Azalea takes charge. Whispers in my ear: “Tell ’em it’s an emergency and you have to speak to your dad.”

“Emergency?”

“Yeah, Baby, we need money to get home!”

Carl turns to Stacy. “I’m sorry you got dragged out here. This isn’t a normal Friday for us…in case you’re wondering.”

“It’s okay,” she says. “I’m getting used to the idea. How many guys would have the nerve to do this?”

Carl laughs. “Not many!”

A bunch of burly guys are guarding the door…no uniforms or anything…it’s hard to tell exactly what they are…guards, bouncers, or what.

I reach for the door, but one of the guys blocks the way. “Hey, kids, whoa!!! Nobody under twenty-one!”

“No sweat,” I say casually. “I’m Quincy Babson’s son?”

His face is totally blank…no recognition at all. “Who the fuck is Quincy Babson?”

I’m stunned. Glance at my friends rolling their eyes. “Let’s get the fuck out,” Neal whispers. “This is a bust!”

Azalea whispers in my ear. “Tell them you’re Maude’s son.”

The doorman overhears. “Maude has a son?”

“Yeah, me,” I tell him. “Can you tell him, her, whatever, that his son’s here and it’s urgent?”

He looks uncertain…then says “Wait a second.” Disappears inside.

“This is so frigging weird,” Neal says.

Carl and Stacy are holding hands. Not sure if it’s because of fear, mutual protection, or what. Everything’s pretty nasty. A shower passes. We take shelter under the overhang of the roof…shoulder-to-shoulder with lots of others…listening to the buzz of neon signs.

Me and my friends try to look inconspicuous, but we’re the youngest by a mile…stick out anyway. As we wait, a bunch of people go in, including some questionable women who are clumsy in heels. As they pass Azalea whispers: “Tranny…gay…sex change….whatever…”

“Shut the fuck up!” I hiss. She’s freaking me out…partly because my dad could be one of them.

“Gussy, you’re so feisty tonight!” She says with a grin.

“Chill,” I say. “This is no joke.”

She puts her arm around me. “Forgive me, Baby. It’s new for me too!”

To be continued…Read next episode!