Renee's VW camper ate shit around Palmdale, barely 1/3 of the way to the party site in Death Valley. Throttle cable. Shit. I had Mortimer and the Good Father in my car and she was carrying three others. After a quick tow and a switch out to a rental mini-van we were back in business and happier, since the VW only goes about 58 and I'm impatient.
We'd found the spot - Panamint Springs - last October on a backroad excursion and knew immediately that we had to throw this event. The town consists of a 15 room motel, bar, restaurant and campground across the street. 10 or 15 residents live up behind the motel in trailers and there's a pig pen with three ugly swine off to the side. Otherwise, it's 26 miles to the closest four dollar gallon of gasoline. And much farther to anything with a logo.
Most importantly, it's too far out to bother calling a cop.
We got in a bit after noon and just after Andy, who'd set up a campsite with his dog and had already begun scoping out good trouble. The Tommy Rocker camp had set up the night before and looked war-weary already. We unloaded into the main cabin and with the first few desert beers, the story becomes more and more blurred.
Folks started rolling in shortly after us, 40 or so total throughout the weekend. Cliffy had to have a spinal tap during the week and, just to be able to make the party, had to have blood taken from his arm and injected into the hole that morning. Wisconsin drinkers dedication, that. Mortimer and Hennigan made it from Scotland, leaving the absent Alaska contigent looking like douchebags for saying it was too far away.
The only person missing was the mushroom driver whose car made number 2 around the same spot Renee's did, only he lost a transmission and had no means of getting a rental or even a tow. We were fucked drug-wise but the beer and the barbeque got it in line and then Tommy Rocker cranked it up until he fell down hard. He and Chaille blew out a rendition of Blister In The Sun that destroyed. The only room that was occupied by someone outside the party fled shortly afterwards, laying on his horn the whole way down the gravel drive.
Prinny and Ben showed late and Sean and Shannon later still. Ronny traded some perscriptions for some stray shrooms that were floating around the campground and split them with Renee and Mortimer while I broke out a pill that I had sitting in a Q-Tip box from my birthday. Other people had supplies but the problem with using the emergency stash is that folks tend to hide the fact that they are tripping, so as to not look like the selfish fucks we all are. The party rolled on unefftected.
I remember Andy shirtless in overalls in the middle of the night with a bouquet of flowers. He said it was time for "piggie-courtin". He jumped the fence of the pigpen and tried to lure the piggies to romance with various chocolates and other gifts. The local pig-tender woke up as he was takeing a piss in the corner of the pen and shouted "Don't you give my pigs no golden shower!"
Anyone who uses the term "golden shower" doesnt stay angry long.
I woke up early - probably moments after the Tampa contingent went to bed (the best pros of the lot) - and swallowed as much of the breakfast buffet as the hangover would allow. Then we went door to door with a master key and a poloroid for the 9 am surprise beauty pageant. Erica took Hennigan and Paulie on the 26 mile beer run, as the many cases we thought would last forever were all greying livers. Paulie was 4 months sober when he left on the trip. But you can't call your sponsor from Death Valley. Of three sober members of the party, two went off the wagon within 24 hours. Sorry you couldnt make it, Joe.
As most folks crawled out and started at it again, Andy showed up with a Super-Soaker on his back and a plan. He'd spotted a group of Asain tourists in the camprground, peacefully rising from their tents in the desert morning.
"I think we need to do a pre-emptive strike."
"They'll just come after us if we don't hit them first. Then we'll have these Yellow Devils right here at our breakfast table." says Andy, like a drug-addled Patton with a khaki fishing hat.
A militia of 8-10 was immediately gathered with Super-Soakers, water cannons, squirt guns and water balloons (for the initial air strike) and we made our way low across the higway and through the tree line to their site. On Andy's call, we launched the balloons and with Banzai shreiks we over came their camp - Screaming Japanese, outnumbered and zig-zagging in vain to escape our onslaught cut down in their prime.
As we crossed back to the motel, Andy looked up at the flag and turned to me.
"This isn't over, you know."
Later, as we all sat on the grassy knoll alongside the motel, we caught sight of Andy springing from the brush as the Asians tried to drive out, hitting then yet again with the water cannon and chasing them naked down the highway.
Later came the oil wrestling. Baby oil on a vinyl trap.
Chaille vs Sheehan. Sheehan victorious with a vicious face-sit move.
Mortimer vs Kimmie. Kimmie loses like a girl but gains respect for hitting a meddling Andy hard in the face with a whiffle ball bat.
The Good Father vs Cocktease Kelly. Kelly has no chance. I jump in to add insult to injury with the patented Indian Wedgie/Navajo Teabag move.
Now it was time for hidden camera pranks. Naked Hitchiker. We pull the minivan down the highway a mile and set Cocktease Kelly - a true american hero - outside of it to hitchike, as though its broken down. When a guy stops to pick her up, four naked dudes jump out to get in the car. Screamingly funny. Guys were spitting gravel to get away from us. Renee and Heather join in just to up the naked ante. Maybe one day I'll get footage up.
Shit got real weird the second night but I slept through most of it. Steve was the hero that got the shroomage there finally but there wasn't enough to go around so we all did just enough to stay awake a bit longer. The motel had scarecrows, male and female, beside the restrooms alongside the restaurant. Somewhere in the middle of the night they were taken out and set ablaze. Andy went into a vomit fit that scared people straight, then went jogging and was right back at it. I took a blanket out on the grassy knoll and let cartoons play inside my head until the wind got too much and my wife rescued me and put me to bed.
We woke with an adorable lesbian in bed with us and, regretfully, all of our clothes on.
There's no way to communicate every story that happened nor do any one of them justice. The people at the motel never turned on us, regardless of the damage we caused. Unfortunately the Parks Dep't is going to be taking over the place soon and fun will cease to exist. Glad we could help send it out in style.
It took us hours just to clean the main cabin, with most people in no condition to help.
Chaille ended a 30 month losing streak. 30 months. Good times, he would say. Tommy Rocker, after having broken off his key in his ignition and having to get a local hotwire it, blew his whole engine on the trip back. McCumby came from the show and now I see him on the lot and we just smile, that dirty smile of people who did something wrong.
We dumped off the rental in Palmdale but the camper wasn't fixed so the Good Father upped with his AAA Plus card that gives you 100 miles free towing and had the VW towed back to LA. The Father doesn't drive, himself, yet I noticed the AAA card said he'd been a member since 97. I asked him how long it'd been since he had a car.
15 years, he says.
So why do you have AAA Plus?
Well, my friends have cars, says the Father.
And the next morning he had the dates of the party tattooed on his forearm.
What an amazing group of friends. I can't thank you guys enough.
P.S.- Send any Panamint photos to chaille so he can get them up on the site.
(Ed. note:) Email the digital images or you can send them to me directly. I can return anything you send or pass it on to Doug for his fridge. Contact me for a mailing address. Email me if you need help.
Saturday, May 24, 2003 at 11:19AM