BY LANCE DOILY Although our inner circle has become desensitized to such things over the years, I can see how it could be considered odd to an outsider that Smitty still shits in the woods. I’m not gonna get on my high horse and say we’re all “indoor plumbing or die” folk, but even Dusty, origins as primitive as his, stopped shitting in the woods when he turned 23. Yet barring the times where a link would ease itself out during a drunken slumber, Smitty has remained true to himself for every last one of his 46 years on this earth. No matter how many times we try to talk some sense into him, or at least get him to move onto a spackle bucket, he fires back to say that if it was “good enough for Thomas Jefferson, it’s good enough for me.” Remember that Murph’s is located on one of the more densely populated roads in the county, and there’s little anyone could legitimately call a forest for miles. So Smitty supposedly finds a loophole in the rules that enables him to designate a half dozen plum trees near the nail salon’s parking lot as his private forest. Some fuckin’ frontiersman. But I’m not here to argue the finer points of shitting in the woods.
I’m here to talk about a showdown between our resident burnout Dusty Clouds and a local woman named Laverne who, like Dusty, has the ability to lapse into a state of catatonia at the drop of a hat. She left behind a pretty run of the mill Piney tale: prom queen gets tossed in a burlap sack and driven out to a tool-shed where she’s thrown a hatchet party and left to rot for three days before an overgrown manchild drags her to safety. For the benefit of anyone reading who grew up with me in Upper Deerfield down in Cumberland County, this all took place in the small shed that was behind the big shed a couple miles from the shed where the prom took place a week earlier due to an act of arson at the high school. Smitty just yelled over to me that it was spearheaded by a group of pastors from the Pittsgrove Presbyterian Church 20 miles west of Deerfield. He was passed out in the cemetery that night and swears up and down he awoke to a half dozen pastors running between the headstones with hatchets in their hands. No stranger to sleeping in the cemetery or hallucinations, you can be assured he’s completely full of shit, but it hasn’t stopped him from preaching to Laverne about it ever since. Add that to the perp never getting caught and that’s essentially why she’s so fucked up. I have to give her points for resiliency though, nine times out of ten a hatchet is gonna get the job done.
I was already a little impatient due to the outright mythological tales I’ve heard spun about Laverne and Dusty in recent weeks, but it was Freddy and Smitty trading off duelling meltdowns set to a lousy Seger album cut that ultimately wore me down beyond repair. Smitty’s had to do with some pills he was taking behind his wife’s back to bulk up his ropes which resulted in a big sweaty argument when she found a note with “dick pills” scribbled next to a phone number. He played it off by telling her it was the name of an old punk bassist he met in the trade and wanted to buy an amp from. Freddy’s meltdown story was pretty typical, with him howling that we’re all riding the gravy train from Tallahassee to Timbuktu while he’s still wiping his ass with the funnies section of yesterday’s paper. Whatever that means. By the time the chorus of “Bell Bottom Blues” hit and Smitty launched into his trademark overreaching falsetto I questioned if this would even be worth it, but that’s when Laverne stepped in. She still carried herself as well as someone walking in barefoot with a Raiders jersey and cat-shit stained sweatpants possibly could. Laverne is a night regular and I’ll usually pay for her drinks due to the whole being brained with a hatchet and left in a tool-shed to rot deal, but I regretted never seeing her during one of Dusty’s shifts.
I have to admit I was pretty underwhelmed at first, and even though both experienced a few impressively complete catatonic lapses, they were occurring at different intervals and I feared they would never sync up. But then Dusty topped off Laverne’s drink and they fell silent. A look in their eyes revealed absolute nothingness; they were well on their way. The first couple minutes went by without incident besides a tripped breaker and a double-digit temperature drop, but the vibe was unsettling enough that a few regulars ran out to their trucks for ponchos in case some serious Scanners-style exploding head type shit went down. No such luck. The worst that happened was a couple bottles in the wells lost their caps, which I credited to excess carbonation and a stress fracture in the glass brought on by the rapid temperature drop. The atmosphere grew dense but it was nothing like the “Picnic on Venus” shitshow Freddy raved about the last time the two of them got together. I walked out front for a quick smoke. The lawn was dead, I chalked it up to shitty weather. Got a call from Rex that a Coors guy ran his rig straight into a Fuddrucker’s, which wasn’t unprecedented and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Royce celebrating the 25th anniversary of the strictly local “Budweiser cuts your brakes” campaign we ran on them in the summer of ‘86. After all, Royce had that area today. Unimpressed, I headed into my truck and turned the key — no answer. I could sense what was going on. I still had a full route to run but I was forced to admit defeat the only way I knew how…head back to my stool to finish the weekend at Murph’s instead. At least one of those brain dead fuckers had the good sense to drain my battery.
PREVIOUSLY: The Auspicious Debut Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The Second Installment Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The Third Installment Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The Fourth Installment Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The Fifth Installment Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The Sixth Installment Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The Seventh Installment Of Blotto
PREVIOUSLY: The Eighth Installment Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The Ninth Installment Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: The 10th Installment Of BLOTTO
PREVIOUSLY: How I Came To Know Lance Doily