We had breakfast in the morning at the Vandalian. Porter and I are fixed to the same astrological clock of moodiness, so he was cranky that morning. I yelled to him through the order window.
Me: “I’m going to order a water and use your bathrooms and not buy anything.”
Porter: “This sink is loud. I can’t hear anything you’re saying right now. It’s probably better that way.”
Me: “Porter’s cranky right now.”
Nate: “Who is Porter?”
Laurie: “Porter is the most famous route developer on the east coast.”
Nate: “When y’all do your HC convention breakfast here, I’m going to make t-shirts to sell that say ‘I had breakfast with Porter and he was crabby.’”
I think back to last summer, when I was swimming in the lake above the Summersville dam with Porter and Belinda, and Belinda snapping a picture of me with her boxer, Clover, as the sun set.
The memory of it is happy, and laps at the mood I’m in this morning, yet I know the three of us were just as pissed at the world then as I am (we are?) now. I remember trading stories about how people complained about how Porter had equipped his routes “you go up there fucker and bolt it yourself!” and how I had run Homo Climbtastic “if you want a guide to show up with gear go hire one!” But in retrospect, the memories of those conversations just make me laugh, like the ones watching Porter smoke on one of the floaties that Kris left behind while I ate my leftover potatoes without flicking the ants off first (you can’t really taste them).
* * *
After breakfast, me, Nathaniel, Laurie and Jonathan were supposed to go mountain biking, but we were one mountain bike short of four bikes, so we stopped by the bike rental shop. Nathaniel found a brand new bike on the floor for rent.
“Can you give us maps to the new Boy Scout trails?” I took out my credit card to pay for Nathaniel’s bike rental.
“When you pay for the bike rental, I’ll give you the maps.”
I wondered to myself if trail map mooching was a major problem at Fayetteville bike stores, although considering the bikers go into the restaurants to take whore baths, I wouldn’t put it past them.
“Ok. Great. Well, this is my credit card. Now give me the maps.”
“Are you familiar with where the trailhead is?”
“Yeah, I looked back there one day last year while they were building it.”
“Then you were the one who got it shut down for two weeks.”
“I doubt that someone looking back there would cause them to shut down for two weeks.”
“Uhh, were they worried about people getting hit by the construction gear?”
“No, you were part of the group they were angry at. The Boy Scouts are really anxious about their property. They don’t even allow people that aren’t part of their group on their other property, they’re worried about child molesters or something.” I couldn’t figure out if the group he was referring to was people scoping out the trails on foot, or the HC convention. Nathaniel wasn’t sure either.
Nathaniel finished filling out the rental agreement and I signed my credit card receipt. “I think I can figure the map out.”
Me and Nathaniel loaded up the car. I told Laurie I had gotten a copy of the map.
Laurie: “I’m going to run in and grab another copy, so that we have extras in case we split up.” Laurie ran into the shop.
Nate: “He probably won’t give her one. He’ll probably blame her for giving the Boy Scouts AIDS.”
So we went mountain biking. Nathaniel has obviously been working out, because the last time he went mountain biking with Laurie he vomited, and this time he was going way faster than me.
(As an aside, because you know I’m not actually writing this down while we’re mountain biking, but afterward at Cantrell’s, Nancy (the Cantrell’s manager) makes a chocolate-pineapple martini that’s strong enough to cause you to lose feeling in your right arm.)
The trailhead triggered memories of seeing buses full of Boy Scouts driving through Roger’s parking lot last summer, reminiscent of prison buses full of prisoners out on work-release programs on GA Highway 316. They were probably very excited about whatever badge work-release earns them. If I had been a Boy Scout, I probably would have been the one who earned the badge for sitting in the corner being crabby. (The Boy Scouts are a difficult organization to harbor resentment for–although I obviously do–because the people in charge are very far away, and the agents are typically local children with no power. I still condemn any adults involved in the organization for enabling their policies, in particular for their failure to found another organization that isn’t pinned under the vice grip of a despicable group of people.)
There isn’t much to say about the mountain biking itself, other than that people were friendly and afterwards, everyone’s taint felt sore, except for Laurie, who wears some kind of padded onesie singlet like an eighties teen pop star. “It was a gift when I was sponsored, so I wear it whenever I can.”
We pulled up in front of the bike store to return the bike. Bike store guy was hanging out on a bench.
BSG: “How was the biking?”
Nate: “It was good.”
I lowered the bike rack and opened the trunk.
Nate: “So, uh, I have some bad news. I got the trails shut down.”
BSG: “They’re shut down?”
Nate: “All of them. Nobody’s gonna be able to use them again. Because of me.”
“Yeah. I ran into the Boy Scouts. Caused some trouble.”
“Yeah.” Nate nodded. “I gave them all AIDS.”
Laurie: “That’s not the only thing we gave them. We also gang-raped the scout master.”
Me: “How do you put this rear tire back on?”
BSG: “I’ll show you. I just have to check it and make sure there’s no damage.” He spun the tires and shifted all the gears. “Yeah, it looks good.”
Me: “Well, there is one thing you should know. About the bike.”
BSG: “What’s that?”
Me: “It has AIDS.”
Nate: “You better disinfect it.”
BSG: “The woman in the bike shop earlier when you guys were renting the bike was part of the Boy Scouts leadership, I just was trying not to offend her.”
We got in the car and shut the doors.
Me: Do you think we were too hard on him?”
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