Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Oiliest Secret: Chapter Four - Desert Heat

When Jenna walked out of the gas station restroom, she found herself in a terrible predicament. “Where’s my bus?” she asked no one in particular, though, as it happened, an old man was sitting in a nearby rocking chair smoking a pipe.

“That bus left forty-five minutes ago, young lady.” He was shriveled, with a hunched back and thick bifocals, but there was a quality about him; he may have even been handsome a hundred years ago. Jenna felt herself being drawn toward him, as if caught in his gravitational pull. “No,” she told herself "I can't get involved with you," but she was already sitting in his lap. “No.  I have to find Bi-Ju-Ju, I mean Postmaster Koop J, I mean Hunk Stormdrain… Oh, I just have to find anyone but you.”

She strolled to the road, looked down the long empty stretch of highway. How could Hunk have done this to her? She really thought there was something special between them. He would never intentionally abandon her. Would he? 

In a way, her instincts were correct. Hunk would have called to the driver to stop the bus had he not been so preoccupied with trying to pry a quarter off the floor panel that some prankster had glued there as a joke. So intense was Hunk’s focus on his task that he failed to notice Jenna’s absence until the bus had traveled some three hundred miles. “I got it!” he cried.  He turned to show Jenna his prize, but other than his bindle, the seat beside him was empty. “Oh well,” he said softly. “Easy come, easy go.”

Back in the desert, Jenna cursed her fate. The problem, it seemed, arose from a simple miscommunication. The bus driver had said that the passengers would be allowed a fifteen minute bathroom break, but Jenna thought the woman had said an hour-and-fifteen-minute bathroom break, a natural enough mistake considering Jenna never spent less than an hour in any bathroom she ever visited.

“You can come sit in my lap again, young lady,” the old man offered. He tapped the right thigh of his tan trousers and offered up a gummy smile. “Another bus’ll be around in a couple of hours.”

Jenna considered the offer briefly. “I’m sorry. You’re too gross even for me. Besides, I have to find Hunk.” With that, she set off into the desert.

“There’s not another town for a hundred miles,” the old man called after her, but Jenna was both stubborn and oblivious.
“Well, she’s dead.” The old man lit his pipe.

It wasn’t long before the hallucinations started. Cacti transformed into old boyfriends. Postmaster General C. Everett Koop Jr. was there, reaching out with prickly arms. And of course, Hunk was present, pink-faced and peering down his beak at her as he circled overhead. Then there was Billy Baldwin Jr. Jr., or Bi-Ju-Ju as she called him.

“Oh Bi-Ju-Ju., my one true love,” she cried as she squeezed his tiny green claws and kissed his scaly face.

“Hey, Lady. Get away from my Gila monster.”

“W-what?” Jenna came back to reality just as a forked tongue reached out to meet her own.

“R2, you leave that nice lady alone.” The man reached out and scooped up his pet. He was in his mid-fifties, with solid white hair and a solid white beard. He wore a long brown hooded bathrobe. As he escorted Jenna back to the cave where he lived, he told her the story of his life. His name was Juan Mescal, but he preferred to be called Obi Juan.

Back in 1978, when Star Wars was all the rage, Juan discovered his one true passion in life. He saw the movie fourteen, maybe fifteen times, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted to inhabit the Star Wars universe. He tried to convert his lawn mower into a land speeder with disappointing results. He attempted Jedi Mind tricks on his teachers and received many hours of detention for his efforts. He begged his friends to refer to him as Obi Juan, but no one did. “That’s when I decided to become Obi Juan,” he explained to Jenna. “I asked myself, where on this planet is it most like Tantooine? Then, I moved out here.”

“Tantooine? What is that? A toothpaste?”

Jenna was intrigued by this exotic mystery man and was moved by his passion. Seeing as how she had no other place to go, she decided to stay for a few days and “try out the life of a deranged hermit.” One night turned into two and two nights into three.

On the fourth night, Jenna decided she had played hard-to-get long enough. She told Obi Juan she was finally ready to “go all the way,” and was very pleased when he fell on the ground crying tears of gratitude and repeating, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” over and over again.

Jenna spent several hours getting ready for the big event. She rolled her hair into buns on the sides in the style of Princess Lea, and she greased herself up with the cactus oil that Obi Juan said was “the most efficient lubricant this desert has to offer.”

Obi Juan, it should be said, had entered into a kind of erotic frenzy. It was all he could do to maintain control of his light saber. He chased her around the cave as Jenna squealed with delight.

“This reminds me of a scene in Return of the Jedi,” she said between giggles.

Obi Juan stopped cold. “What did you say?”

“Or,” Jenna considered. “Maybe I’m thinking of the porn version, Return of the Peni.”

“Re-turn… of… the… Jedi?”

“Yeah. You know. It’s one of the sequels to Star Wars.”

“They made sequels to Star Wars?” Obi Juan asked, mouth agape.

“Yeah. There are like six of them now, and about a hundred books, cartoons, you name it.”

Now it was Jenna’s turn to be stopped cold, stopped cold by the piercing shriek let loose from Obi Juan Mescal’s lungs. “I gotta get out of here.”

“Wait. Obi Juan. You’re my only hope,” Jenna cried but Juan was fleeing as fast as his legs could carry him. Jenna lowered her head in shame. For only the fourth time in her life, she found herself naked in a cave, alone, and very very oily.

More Oiliness: Chapter 1  Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Review of Novel-in-Progress Chapter 7 Chapter 8

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