Exit 149 
     (A Quinn Martin Production)


by Brad

August 31, 2007


I want a thousand guitars
I want pounding drums
I want a million different voices speaking in tongues

Wendy is leaving town for the long weekend, and for the first time since we've been married, we will be apart. I mean, we do spend hours apart when we're at work--don't get me wrong. We're not one of those couples who literally do everything together. I knew couples like that in high school and even a few in college, but after that, not so much. They're kind of creepy. I remember a commercial parody on Saturday Night Live with Kevin Nealon and Victoria Jackson (I think)
playing a couple so in love they did everything together, including
going to the bathroom. The product in this "commercial" was his-and-her toilets, for the couple who couldn't stand to be apart for one second.

Funny stuff, but if that's true love, then I haven't reached that level of bliss.

Anyway, Wendy is going away to see her brother who lives down in Florida. He's coming up a little closer to us (the North Carolina coast) for a visit and since I can't get off work, I told her to go ahead without me. I'm a good guy. What more can I say?

Unlike Mr. Surf Report, I'm very fortunate in that my in-laws are good people. It makes for boring writing, but sane living. The majority of them live here in this little spot off of Exit 149 and if they were even a little bit like the in-laws that Mr. Surf Report describes in his updates, I'm sure I would be whimpering in the corner of some nervous hospital, wrapped securely in a nice little restraining jacket. At the risk of sounding like Eddie Haskell, Mr. Surf Report is a better man than I. And that is a lovely dress you're wearing, Mr. Surf Report.

Predictably, when word got out that Wendy was leaving town for the weekend, friends crawled out of the woodwork (like zombies, naturally) and told me I needed to go out and have a good time. Recapture some of the glory days of your bachelorhood, they told me. That was my intention, but little did they know, my "glory days" of bachelorhood consisted of me lying around on the couch and watching TV. My wild days, for lack of a better word, were back during my first go at college. Getting "wild" as a bachelor meant juggling a bowl of popcorn in one hand, while holding a beer in the other, and not spilling either. That was thrill seeking.

However, I was curious as to what recapturing my bachelorhood would look like, so I watched a few movies that covered this particular event. I was surprised to learn there is a genre out there. Sometimes it's presented as a bachelor's last night of "freedom" before getting married, but there are movies where a married guy goes for a night out on the town with his friends, or a gang of married guys have a weekend. Most of the ones I saw appeared to be low-budget, straight-to-video and poorly acted. This was fine because I took zero theater in school and only stayed in film appreciation class for about three weeks before dropping it (the professor was unbearably pretentious). It was like I was learning from my peers.

What I saw horrified me. Not just the acting, mind you, but what happened on these alleged innocent nights out. They started out innocently enough, but it wasn't long before they spun out of control and it was always the poor innocent married guy, the one who was dragged into all this by his buddies. who was forced into getting things straightened out before his wife got home. All the brave talkers, the bachelors who scoff at us married men, were cowering mounds of blubber in some of them and in others, they were dead or maimed. And these were the comedies. In some of the newer ones, there was the addition of a stripper or a hooker who shows up in the action only to drop dead. Naturally, she becomes the married guy's responsibility, and he has to find a dumpster without the cops spotting him, or he has to dig a quick grave. In one of them, he was hand-cuffed to a stripper who dropped dead. Comedy gold. I guess.

I liked the idea that a night on the town for a few drinks could lead to me being able to learn how to discharge elaborate firearms two at a time, but I'm not sure it beats the appeal of a very comfortable couch and a kick-ass, 12-year-old TV. And it would be nice to be able to see my friends, some of whom I haven't seen in a couple years, but I'm not sure I want to risk their lives for a few Kodak moments. After all, some of them might not be around afterward to enjoy them. Plus, I'm getting no help from the Internet on how long it takes for a dead stripper hand-cuffed to you to start smelling.

The clock is ticking on me as I weigh my options. Wendy shoves off bright and early Saturday morning and by the time my shift ends Saturday night, people are going to want to know if I'm a man or a mouse. I have no idea what this means, but I suspect in their eyes, a man goes out for drinks and runs the risk of inadvertently pissing off the Russian mob, flees for his life while dodging bullets and assorted artillery, ends up in strange neighborhoods, has a stripper (or hooker) thrust upon him only to have said stripper (or hooker) die on him, buries or tosses the stripper (or hooker), loses a couple of drinking buddies in an ambush, arms himself for retaliation, takes out Russian mob that he inadvertently pissed off, gets back home in time to clean house, greets Wendy at door and collapses in a heap. A mouse goes home after work and watches TV while relaxing on the couch.

This will probably be a game-time decision. They both have their pluses and minuses, so I will wait and see how I feel after work ends Saturday night. To save time, I went ahead and bought a couple bags of quicklime and dug a grave in the dirt cellar of this house that we call home. If one or two of you want to be an alibi for me, in case things really go south, I would be most grateful.

Write Brad at exit149@gmail.com

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