Episode 22 – The Inn

The Cherry Pit doorman sticks his head out the door. “Your father wants to know what the hell you’re doing here?”

“We came to see the show,” I tell him. “It’s a free country.”

The guy gives me an are-you-delusional kind of look. “Kid, this may be a free country, but not if you’re underage. Adult stuff goes on here…and you’re not old enough to see it.”

Azalea chimes in. “Is it really raunchy?”

“It’s not Lincoln Center.”

I’m getting frustrated. “Look, could you just tell my dad we need money to get home. We weren’t sure what the show was about.” Sort of a lie, but not totally…I wasn’t positive what dad was doing…or was I?

“So, what’s your name?” the doorman asks.

“Gus Dodson.”

“Okay. Wait a second.” He disappears inside.

“Are we just going back home?” Carl asks. “We made this whole fucking trip for nothing?”

“Let me handle things,” Azalea says.

“I thought you were handling things,” Neal grumbles.

She turns on him “I am. We made it up here safely didn’t we?”

“Yeah, but so what?”

The doorman sticks his head out again. Hands me an envelope. “This is for you, but I’ve gotta tell you, you’re dad’s really pissed you showed up without asking. He’d come out himself, but the show’s starting.”

“Excuse me, Mr. Doorman,” Azalea says sweetly. “Is there a place nearby where we can hang out…maybe get a burger…and a sip of beer to calm our nerves. It’s been a really long trip.”

He looks around cautiously to make sure nobody’s eavesdropping. “Jesus, you kids are gonna get me in trouble. The Taconic Mountain Inn is down the road a couple of hundred yards. Ask for Artie. He’ll fix you up. Tell him Kayvon sent you.”

As we’re talking, I open the envelope. Damn! A hundred bucks! I whip out a twenty and offer it to Kayvon for helping us.

He waves it off. “No way! You barely have enough for dinner and the trip back…but thanks for the gesture.”

We say goodnight and head out.

Carl shakes his head. “Jesus, that was a fucking bust!”

“Not really,” I say waving the envelope. At least we’ll have a good dinner.”

“And…the night is still young,” Azalea says slipping her fingers in mine.

I’m s-o-o-o glad we’re a couple. So far, the trip’s gone nowhere…it’s a lousy night…totally fucking raw and drizzily…and the whole thing’s Azalea’s idea, but I would have come up eventually anyway. I’ve always wanted to see my dad’s act. Better to find out the truth at fourteen than twenty, right?

We walk along the highway, past a strip of crappy stores and sex joints. Some parts are paved. Some are full of ruts and mud. The air’s so damp, the clouds are hanging over us like cotton candy, reflecting the glow of neon signs. The walk’s further than we expected…maybe half a mile, and our sneakers are a slimy mess…so we’re all feeling shitty.

Neal’s totally clammed up, and I’m afraid he’s pissed. “How you doing, dude?” I ask

He shrugs. “Worried. It’s getting late, and after we eat, we could wait hours for a bus…plus the weather’s shitty…we’ll end up soaked. My parents are gonna have a fucking coronary.”

I have a brainstorm. “Maybe dad’ll give us a ride. I’ll call him after we eat.”

“That’d be awesome.”

The fog closes in worse than ever….seriously fucking thick. I can hardly make out the stores anymore.

“Damn, it’s spooky,” Azalea whispers, squeezing my hand, “like a scene from some horror movie.”

“Don’t say shit like that!” Neal gasps.

“Where’s the fucking inn?” Carl exclaims. I realize he’s worried about Stacy, but the bitching’s getting on my nerves.

Suddenly, we see a massive hulk looming ahead. Muti-story with wrap-around porches… lots of dark windows…looks half-deserted.

We take a short cut through the parking lot…a hodgepodge of mud, gravel, crumbling pavement…a few cars. Climb the creaky steps and stand at the door, unsure whether to go in or not.

“This place is bizarre,”Carl says. “I’m surprised it’s even open.”

“Brrrrr…I’m cold,” Stacy says.

Azalea takes charge as usual. “Come on. Let’s eat. How bad can it be?”

As we push open the door, I’m half wishing we do get stranded…so Azalea and I can spend the night…that’d be awesome! If I’ve accomplished anything this trip, it’s getting a realistic view of my life…and dad’s. The Cherry Pit’s not Radio City Music Hall…that’s for damned sure! Azalea’s more important than anything.

To be continued…

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