Summer Guide 2011
Published: June 15, 2011
At least until we heard a rustling in the trees.
We saw a young woman walking with a dog on a leash, a strange twentysomething dude following behind her.
"Oh, hi," she said. "We didn't think anybody would be camping here this early!"
How close were we to civilization after all? Was it just an illusion?
She seemed ready to walk on and leave us alone, but the dude strode right into our camp. He had the look of a juggalo without face paint, a wiry, gangly guy with thick glasses and close-cropped, 1/8-inch hair that was bright orange. He squatted right next to us, warming his hands by the fire, and I could feel our collective hair stand up.
"Come on, Tay," the girl said, "they don't want any extra company."
The girl seemed nice. She said she was from Warren, and was now working double-shifts to get by at the McDonald's in Mio. Her friend Tay, however, disclosed little. When he finally spoke, it was with slack-jawed enunciation.
"Aww, man," he said, "that far feels goood."
"He's a little ..." the girl said, hinting at Tay's complete lack of boundaries.
"My nam's Tay," he said, reaching out to Cherry and giving a weird, limp handshake. Cherry was visibly disgusted, and later said Tay's hands were sticky; he described the stickiness as that of somebody who had spent hours taking apart cigarettes and rerolling them. We all stared at Tay, and he didn't venture another handshake.
He eyed Fournier's bottle of Woodchuck Cider hungrily. He spoke again, "Aww, man, Woodchuck. Tha' shit'll get you fuuucked uuup!" No doubt our Jugga-friend wanted some of our hard cider. We stared at him impassively.
"Come on, Tay. They don't want to be bothered."
Still he had to try. "Can I get one a' them —"
Before he could finish the sentence, Fournier and Cherry simultaneously barked, "No!"
He stood there, staring at us, licking his chapped, split lips and staring at our drinks, our coolers, our camp.
"Tay! Come on! Let's go!" the girl cried.
"You guys wanna know the weather?" he said.
We just stared at him. He fiddled with his phone for a minute or two, pressing buttons and looking confused.
"Thunderstorms all night," he finally said.
We said nothing. The radio had not predicted thunderstorms at all. We figured he was just sore about not getting "fuuucked uuup" on our Woodchuck.
After more urging from the woman with the now-restless dog, Tay finally stopped standing there and wandered off behind her, his lanky, pale form at last disappearing down the trail. Cherry got up to wash off his sticky hand. Little by little, the precious illusion of being away from it all returned to our camp.
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