Hell Found Me
Hell found me. Naked and running from trailer to trailer until an old woman was kind enough to lend me a towel her dog had been sleeping on. She was also kind enough to call the police.
That part turned out all right though because I wouldn’t have gone back for my truck without them.
Now before you jump to any conclusions, I don’t live in a trailer park. I don’t even know anyone who does. As for that plump brunette in that tight black cocktail dress, well… I didn’t really know her. Not that I’m blaming her. She didn’t expect her husband and her brother to return from their fishing trip that early in the day. All I know for sure is that I now have a sense of what it is like to die and wake up in hell. Mind you, at this point I deserved it. Justice is not the issue.
I woke to the sound of a door banging open and a light so bright I thought it would melt the room. I tried to focus in on the screeching half-nude woman clutching handfuls of my raw flesh and shoving me toward the door. Even then I might not have moved, due to acute alcohol consumption of the previous night, except the phrase she was screeching over and over finally penetrated my sodden brain: "My husband is home!"
Now this is a gender thing. Ever since the man crawled out of the primordial slime and began to walk upright there are those expressions, in what ever language he develops, that are guaranteed to liberate whatever adrenaline is in his system. "My husband is home!" tops the list. Mature women have been known, for the amusement of their friends, to holler this at their own napping husbands, and they will run out of their own houses and climb into their cars before realizing where they are.
I stumbled out the door and would have maintained my balance had the last step not been missing. My roll in the gravel was cut short by another of those motivational expressions, uttered in a guttural grunting tone, "Hey! Who the hell is that!" I was up on my feet and running faster than an NFL defensive end with an opening to the quarterback. I had no real sense of where I was so I ran from trailer to trailer scaring whoever I encountered until the aforementioned old lady let me retain an old towel I grabbed from her small porch. The previous owner of the towel, a rather large German Shepherd, might have recaptured the towel except it sensed my desperation and I sensed its age.
At any rate, I returned with the police to that trailer and got my wallet and keys (pitched out of a sliding window) but as for my clothes, they would not return them. I demanded that the police go in and get them but they laughed and assured me that next to drunken spousal abuse confrontation with the authorities was their favorite pastime, and unless I agreed to go in and murder someone, they were not going to go into that trailer and get my clothes. It would seem that out on the street half naked men reeking of alcohol and old dog have few rights.
That left one more level of hell to descend to; home to tell the wife. Now my wife is a good woman, better than I deserve, and an understanding woman, but showing up without my clothes, wrapped in a threadbare towel that smells like a dog – this was going to be a stretch. The fight we had last night over what we were going to do for our sixth anniversary seemed a light year away, and no doubt paled in comparison to not coming home at all. In all the six years we have been married I had not once reverted back to my red-neck ways and this would be the theme I intended to cling to.
Cautiously I opened the door to our apartment, hoping against all odds that she had gone out for a while, but the soft sound of the TV told me she was here.
"Ha, there you are. I didn't know if I would see you today or not; now that you are a celebrity."
"A celebrity?" I mumbled, trying to make sense of that.
"You made the morning news. It's nice to know that naked unfaithful husbands cavorting wildly through a trailer park is still news. I was fearful that maybe it had become so commonplace that no one would care – or call the police."
"It was the old lady that called the police. She gave me the towel" I stood there pointing at the towel like she wouldn't know which one if I didn't make it clear. "Her dog was using it."
"Thank goodness. I was hoping that smell wasn't all you."
"And I wasn't unfaithful!" I said, trying to remember to stick to my main theme.
"If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck... Or maybe a Pig would be a better."
"Let's not fight." I offered somewhat lamely, "I've had a rough night." The words were still fluttering out of my mouth and I couldn't get them back.
"You've had a rough night!" she screamed. "I'll tell you about a rough night! You stomp out of here in the middle of a discussion we're having and I don't see you or hear from you... You've never done that before... And I spend the whole night worrying and crying. I'm sick and exhausted and when I wake up you're still not home... I'm ready to call the police, the hospitals and all that when the phone rings and my mother, who never liked you that much anyway, joyfully tells me that you have made the news. How am I ever going to face my family again?"
Now as much as I would relish never facing her family again I had to let that one go and stick to my main theme. "I am so sorry," I said. "I got upset and did a stupid thing and I am so sorry. But you have to know that I wasn't unfaithful."
"You were running around naked in a trailer park! Doesn't unfaithful fit in there somewhere?"
"I gave her a ride home. But we were so drunk I realized I had better not drive anymore and she offered her extra bedroom for me to sleep it off. She insisted on one more drink but the only thing she had was a half of a bottle of some kind of red wine from the fridge. Well I spilled it, or she spilled it – I don't remember exactly – and it stained everything I had on. "Club Soda' she kept saying over and over until I gave her my clothes."
"I'll remember that. Next time I meet an attractive man I'll just say 'Club Soda' over and over until he gives me his clothes."
"You'll have to get him blind drunk first," I shot back, "and once you do that you won't need the Club Soda."
"Even if I chose to believe you, and I'm not saying I do, how did you end up running around naked for all the world to see? Or at least for a channel five news crew to film?"
"To film! To film?" I blurted out. "I didn't see any news people."
"Well they sure saw you. Kind of like the Sasquach everyone is always trying to get a picture of. Of course the pasty white truckers belly doesn't fit the profile, but all in all I'd say they captured your essence. You did have the towel by the time they got there."
"I didn't know - this is terrible. What are we going to do?"
"We? I'm going to avoid anyone we know and laugh with anyone we don't."
"It isn't that funny. Maybe they won't know who I am."
To be honest I expected crying and screaming but now she was seeing a humor in the situation that surprised and hurt me. I couldn't appreciate how ridiculous I had to look standing there in a dirty hooded jacket scrounged from my truck and my bottom wrapped in a stinking threadbare towel "It's nothing to laugh about," I spat, raising both hands in the air for emphasis. Too late I realized what a mistake that was as the towel slid to the floor. She was now laughing out loud.
"Guess you can't help yourself, Big Guy!" She spurted out as she reached for her purse.
I was trying to keep an eye on her and grab the towel at the same time when I realized what she was doing. She took her phone out and pointed it at me. All I could do was turn and run toward the bathroom.
Her laughter told me that she believed me about not being unfaithful. My descent into hell was over - except for a picture of my retreat – which lurks somewhere on the net. But I won't say where.