Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Charleston, Chewed - Part 9

Click Here to read this story from the beginning…

So, Selma the Sadistic Server cruelly convinced us to order two items off the dessert menu, even though there was no possible way we could eat it. By the time she tromped back out with our selections, we were so bloated and miserable that all we could do was lay our heads on the table and stick our tongues out toward the plate, moaning. But then she brought another round of beers and everyone felt just fine.

Eventually we decided it was time to leave, mainly because we had now been in the restaurant long enough that we were starting to get mail delivered at the front door. We settled up the tab with Plunderina, who then rushed off to gloat to her co-workers that she had convinced everyone at the table to order enough pointless, unnecessary food that she had broken some long-standing restaurant record. They were making up a song about her as we left.

Once outside, we thought it a brilliant idea to go shopping, because who doesn’t want to do that when fortified by tropical drinks strong enough that they could clean the corrosion off your car battery? We went thundering down the sidewalk, in search of another retail establishment that would happily take our money based on impaired decision-making.

Since this was Folly Beach, and we were on the main drag, the available shopping venues were souvenir shops, gift shops, souvenir shops, bars, restaurants and more souvenir shops. After careful consideration, we went out on a limb and chose a souvenir shop. Mainly because there was one right in front of us and we wouldn’t have to walk that far.

We clattered through the bell-ringing door, on the hunt.

Isn’t is amazing how a little gin and juice can make everything in the world absolutely fascinating? Do you have any idea what they can do with seashells and driftwood these days? Works of art, I tell you.

I scampered about, fondling this and turning over that, enthralled with the concept of someone having the conceptual brilliance to paint my actual first name on a rock, and then add “Folly Beach” below, as if the artist could foresee the future and actually predict that I would walk into this very store. It was truly a religious experience, and I lit a small votive before moving on to bundles of dried, half-rotted beach grass that had been dipped in patchouli and tied with a bow.

The rest of the gang wandered off in various directions, pursuing their own pleasures, which was fine by me. I didn’t want anyone near me actually, lest they rush up and snatch away the last clothespin made into a seagull before I could get to it. Let them wander about in the designer flip-flop section, I had no interest in that, choosing instead to revel in the fact that with a little bit of glue and some discarded trash, anyone could be an entrepreneur.

I was rifling through some empty soda bottles that had been painted to look like hermit crabs (such exquisite detail!), when I got the first inclination that the entertainment program was about to change. I suddenly wasn’t quite as interested in what one could do with recycled seaweed. The yearning to hold a piece of broken brick that once may or may not have been part of a wall of a house that Jimmy Buffet walked by was diminishing. What was happening?

Then it hit me. The beer was wearing off. Mother of pearl!

Frantically, my eyes darted about, seeking a resolution. Perhaps the first order of business was to get away from all these mounds of worthless trinkets and find something more substantial and interesting. I darted down an aisle, around a corner, and past what might have been (I only surmised this later) some type of barrier indicating that only adults should be wandering thusly far.

Anyway, I had marched my gay little ass right into the Land of Lewd and Outrageous T-Shirts, the kind were they make insipid puns that are neither funny nor original but do allow for cartoon figures of enormously-endowed women. Everywhere I looked we had beavers and bongos, blazing in graphic neon and assaulting me with their planet-sized bosoms and legs tossed widely asunder.

Slogans filled the air in a whirl of cotton rudeness. “I wanna ride your board!” and “I’d Folly You Anywhere” and “Bet THESE mountains are high enough!” Or some such. I believe a few of the shirts had little scratch-and-sniff sections, a mind-boggler if there ever was one, and some of them even appeared to be padded right where the high-beams would poke forth in case you wanted to offend society in 3-D.

I had to get out of there.

I u-turned and raced toward whence I came. I plummeted back into the regular part of the store, sweat dripping off my forehead and madness in my eyes. I spotted Tiffany and clattered to her side, seeking solace and comfort. She turned to me with kind eyes and queried “Should I get the puka shell vibrator?”

Surely I misunderstood. “I’m sorry?”

She sighed, clearly not impressed with my focus issues. “I asked, should I get the puka shells or the lighter? They both have my name on them and I can’t decide. I don’t need either one of them but my name is so pretty. Wait. Why are you flushed? What were you doing back there? Do we need to be running from the po-po right now?”

“Well, I was just…”

Then her instincts kicked in. “Did somebody make you look at beaver?”

“NO! I mean, yes, but… I was just trying to… and I turned a corner… and…”

She patted my hand. “It’s okay, just breathe and think about Mike Rowe taking his shirt off. We’ll be done here in a few minutes, then we can run get you some medicine from the Tiki Hut back at the hotel. Mmmkay?” Then she flounced over to a display of pomegranate seeds arranged in the names of all the state capitals.

She is SO sweet. But she’s also a liar. It was NOT just a few minutes. It was hours. Apparently, some type of proclamation had been decreed where it was important that everybody in our group must touch everything in the store at least twice, three times if it was on sale, and four times if you already bought something just like it at the last shop we invaded. I guess I just didn’t receive the documentation, probably because I was over in Hootersville and screaming for Judy Garland to save me.

A week later, the last of our clan was finishing up at the checkout counter (a set of earrings made out of beer tabs, if I recall), allowing us to finally depart. Tiffany took my hand again, wiped the mindless drool off my chin, and reminded me what my name was. I grunted and followed her out of the store. Behind me, off in the distance, I could still hear the t-shirts laughing.

Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series…

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