Thursday, October 8, 2015

La Ciruela Pasa- The Letter

I tried putting this on my "Yay For Me Wall,"
but Mrs. Penwasser would have none of it.
I'll have to settle for my "Yay For Me Blog."
    You may have noticed that there's no Captain Caption today.  Yeah, I bet.  Anyway, I had one scheduled for today, but instead decided to run Part II of my Award-Winning entry to the Soul-Making Literary Competition which netted me $25 and a new car nothing else.

    I had originally thought to post this next week, but was
"And Penwasser actually
has the stones to
compare himself to me."
afraid you'd lose interest in the story or would have no frikkin' clue what happened.  I think it's a lot like Game of Thrones that way.  I mean, so much time goes by between books that I tend to lose interest.  After all, why wait around when I can get sex and violence by putting on the Evening News instead?

    I had also thought to provide you with a handy link by which you can access Part I of this mess.  But, seriously, do any of you have the time to actually click on a link and look at old crap?  Yeah.  What I thought.
"No, the old guy in the hat just won't leave.
He's going on and on about Penwasser.
Now, I don't really blame him.
Sure, that hideous little jerk can be a real pain the ass, but I've got work to do.
Gotta get a head start on my NCAA brackets."
"Who is this?"

   So to help, here's what's happened so far.  My Great Aunt May has decided to relocate to Florida with her friend, Eleanor.  What follows is the letter she wrote me describing her adventures traveling from Connecticut to the Sunshine State.

    Yeah.  None of this actually happened.  I'm being an impish manipulator of facts (aka I'm a liar).  Although, I do have an Aunt May.  Rather, I did have an Aunt May.  She's dead now.

"LIke you'll be.
Probably a lot sooner than you think, wiseguy."

    Wow.  That's it?  Huh.  Yeah, I guess I don't have anything on George R.R. Martin. 
"Especially since there's no sex or violence."
    Captain Caption will return next week.

"So, you have that going for you."

So, without further adieu (French for "A Dieu")...

Part II of La Ciruela Pasa

    “Dear Nephew,

    Aloha from the Sunshine State!  As you can tell, your Aunt May has finally landed where it’s nice and warm.  It must be terrible for you way up there in the Winter Wonderland.  I hear it’s going to be 70 degrees over Labor Day weekend where you are.  Ha! Ha!

    Our trip was quite an adventure, starting when Eleanor’s car
No.  Not racist at all.
I'm shocked this place still exists.
began acting up near a place called South of the Border.  Wow!  I didn’t know Mexico was so close to South Carolina!

    A very helpful man called Ernest fixed us up real nice.  He didn’t look Mexican, although he did wear a shawl over his coveralls.  He told us we needed a new transmission, tires, rear disc brakes, anti-freeze flush, something called a Johnson Valve Realignment, computer diagnostic, front-end alignment, CV joint replacement, lamb skin seat covers, new bearing grease, and BOSE speakers. 

"And foam dice for your rear-view mirror!"
Yeah.  This is racist.
    I thought all we needed was gas, but “Ernesto” convinced us that, for only $4,500, he could make our “death trap” safe to continue.  Shows how much I know about cars!

    Eleanor was reluctant but, once he threw in one of those cute pine tree air fresheners, she realized it was the safest thing to do.  Thank goodness for that helpful amigo!  He really “primped” our ride (is that how you kids say it?)!

They're Chinese!
And they're handcuffs!
    Luckily, the South of the Border gift shop had all sorts of goodies to send to our friends in El Norte.  Eleanor and I picked up plenty of back scratchers, cedar jewelry boxes, frogs-smoking-cigars figurines, Chinese handcuffs, pecan log rolls, and sacks of boiled peanuts.  They’ll make great Christmas gifts.  Oh, shoot, I let the cat out of the bag!  Keep it a secret-shh!
"Oh, yeah?  Well, we got nukes, too.
    After polishing off an authentic Mexican meal of Velveeta on Doritos washed down with something called Mr. Pibb, we picked up our car from a smiling Ernest.  Bidding “Adios!” to our new friend, we jumped back on the highway, a little late, but a lot safer.

    Several hours later, we turned around at the Welcome to Virginia sign.
"Yup.  That's $100.  Each.
Gotta buy new shirts."
Following a good night’s sleep at the Emporia Days Inn, where they charged by the hour-how convenient!-we finally headed in the right direction.  Thank goodness for the nice men who helped us pack our car as we were leaving, although I had no idea there was such a thing as a $100.00 Motel Luggage Recovery and Handling Fee.

    It was a beautiful ride down the highway.  I wish you could have seen all the beautiful places we saw:  lush pine forests, dense swamps, rolling farmland, and charming little gas stations with huge tin men dressed as lumberjacks holding tires standing in front. 

    And, let me tell you, that highway was immaculate, especially in Georgia.  Why, I wish I had a dollar for every man in overalls (but no shirt) I saw scraping some dead animal off the road.  What public servants!

    We managed to go for quite some time without stopping. 
"We've got seven year old hot dogs, too."
Before we left Virginia, I bought a couple of bags of pork rinds and a two liter bottle of Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper with Splenda from the 7-11.  We had plenty of food.

    I must admit that I got plenty hungry when Eleanor mentioned she saw something called pressed ham from inside of a high school bus.  Must be some sort of Southern specialty, I thought.

    We pulled off at a truck stop near Savannah.  A huge place with fuel pumps as far as the eye could see, it was all hustle and bustle.  Monstrous trucks idled in line waiting to fill up and we saw quite a few women truck stop employees bounce from truck to truck.  Such Southern hospitality! 

    After topping off our gas tank, we hungrily looked for a place to eat.  All that ham talk had left me famished.  Finally, after spotting a blinking neon sign which said “Eats” behind the shower area, our search was complete.

    Inside was a charming diner set-up.  It was a lot like you’d find back home, except for the farm equipment and dead things hanging from the walls.  Our waitress, a cute little girl who wore her hair up in a huge orange bouffant with a box of pencils sticking from it, sweetly asked us where we were from.

    After we told her New England, she made a note in her order pad and chatted about how beautiful the weather was down South, especially in the winter.  With a chuckle, she laughed at how all us “Yankees” swarm down I-95 every time it snowed in New York.  Then, with a serious look, she told us how important tourists like us were to her business.
Try the veal.
 It's to die for!
When Eleanor corrected her by informing her we weren’t tourists and that we were moving down South for good, she made a funny face.  Almost immediately, though, she smiled again and said, “Well, in that case, how ‘bout y’all get what we call the Interstate Surprise?  It’s what all the locals eat!” 

    We declared that would hit the spot, so we ordered two.  Closing her note pad with a flourish, our waitress spun on her heel and disappeared in an orange flash of pencils toward the kitchen.

    Within minutes, our orders arrived and we proceeded to devour them like we hadn’t eaten in days.  Well, my pork rinds had run out after we’d passed South of the Border for the second time and my pecan log roll had melted into the heater vents, so I was a little hungry.

    Even though my food was tasty, I found several little pebbles in the meat which I took for grits.  I also thought I detected a faint order of burnt rubber but, no matter.  I wolfed it down like it was my last meal.

    Eleanor, on the other hand, insisted she saw tire treads on her cut of meat. 

    “Don’t be silly,” I scolded her, “those are grill marks from when they cooked it.”

    Even though she gave me a skeptical look, she managed to clean her plate as well as I.

    When our waitress returned, she asked if we wanted dessert.  As much as I like sweet things, I had to say no because my stomach was a little unsettled.  Must have been that rich Southern food, I opined.

    “Takes a while,” she said.  “Some people never get used to it and have to go back North.”  She placed the check in front of me.  “Ya’ll have a nice day.”

    I turned to look at Eleanor, who appeared a little greener than when we first walked in.  I asked if she was ready to go.

    With a pained expression, she blurted that she was indeed ready to go.  At that, she leapt from her seat and bolted to the Ladies Room.  

    Seconds later, I joined her.

    An hour later, we were back on the road.

To be continued....
"Not so easy, is it?"
"Thank goodness.  He's finally gone."
"Who is this?"


  1. In addition to pebbles and tire tracks, I bet the meat had some extra holes in it from the turkey vultures.
    South of the Border. Not proud to say I've stopped there. Half of it closed now. That's probably a good thing.

    1. I also noticed, when I was traveling south of Richmond on I-95 in August, all those outrageously tacky billboards were gone. Also a good thing.

  2. Maybe some maggots got in the meat for flavor as well. I bet it wasn't a pimped up car that hit such roadkill lol then again that would be $4500 roadkill.

  3. I am suddenly very concerned, having been born and raised in the South; but this is funny!

    1. Thanks! I'm very familiar with I-95, having driven virtually its entire length. The only section I haven't driven on is the part north of Bangor, Maine.

  4. Wow! This is a hoot. Can I say "hoot" on a sophisticated blog like this?

  5. don't distract Martin he's still got two more books to write

  6. You're right. It's racist. I'll shut up now, you penwusser, you.


  7. "Who is this?"

    Bwahahaha....too many funnies to mention today, Al.

    But, by the way, if you drove from VA to GA you probably sailed right by me with not so much as a "Hi, ya'll!". And I'll cook for a couple of travelin' bloggers...

    1. It wouldn't be Interstate Surprise, though, would it?

  8. The Road Kill Cafe is a real thing now. Old people are pretty gullible. I could buy everything in this letter happening to people. Maybe not literally the same old woman, but a series of old women over time. I'd love to be a car mechanic given how much money they make selling people things they don't need.

  9. Oh those poor women with their tasty "grilled" dinner, or maybe it was the pork rinds that got 'em. I still don't understand some southern food. At least when they get to FL, give 'em a tasty key lime pie. So, ignore George RRRRRR Martin - he's got nothing on your writing. I'm getting a kick out of Aunt May's adventures (RIP).

    1. Key Lime Pie....................

    2. Seriously, the REAL Aunt May was a lovely old lady. When we were kids, we always loved visiting her.

  10. Haha, Aunty ate a roadkill! I don't feel a bit sorry for her - it's wild game that's lived on natural fodder like insects and human leftovers. Do rich Americans ever confuse Indians from India with Mexicans?

    1. I bet they do. I know quite a few confuse Sikhs with Muslims.

  11. Well, whenever I have to spend money on the ole Johnson Valve Realignment, I lose my appetite too. The meat is way too raw, and realignments never hold.

    PS You wrote "hooters." You're hilarious, Al Penwasser. Hilarious!

  12. Well, whenever I have to spend money on the ole Johnson Valve Realignment, I lose my appetite too. The meat is way too raw, and realignments never hold.

    PS You wrote "hooters." You're hilarious, Al Penwasser. Hilarious!

  13. THere's ANOTHER part? I coulda been realigning my Johnson valve, but nooooo...

    1. I just hate it when my Johnson needs to be readjusted.

  14. Oh I say, Penwasser, terrific blog. Following!

  15. Great story, Al. I can't wait for the next instalment.

    1. Thanks! I'm thinking the conclusion will be...Thursday? Meaning that Captain Caption will be bumped back another week. I'm thinking this is no big deal.

  16. A great tale (veal tail). Is this how Shag Carpet and Knothead are told too? Hilarious! Also, is it wrong that I read all the captions in the voices of the various Simpson characters? Well, if it is, I don't wanna be right!

    1. Shag Carpet yes. Knothead no. It's Not Just a Job yes.
      I am so confused.

  17. Sorry, just catching up. I think those two have a good handle on the situation. I mean who doesn't love truck stop hospitality?