We Interrupt This Travel Journal to Bring You: Halloween!

Starring Goblin Foo as the latest must-have gadget: the iFoo! . . . She’s a phone! She’s a web browser! She’s a music player! She’s a squirrel chaser!

Beautifully designed and manufactured in the United States by Rob.


TRAVEL JOURNAL, DAY ONE: Interstate 95 to South of the Border

(As I mentioned, I’ve actually already returned from this trip, so this is not exactly a blow by blow, but I just post it to show I was thinking of you, wishing you were there, et cetera. Oh wait, I’m lying.)

Vacation! If there is anything more conducive to relaxation than barreling down the Interstate at Warp 8.2 then I don’t know about it. Wait, yes I do, it’s called staying home and faking your own death, but I’m saving that for next year. It took about seven hours to get to South of the Border. It would have taken longer except that when traffic got congested, there was a man who held a two-foot cross aloft from his driver’s side window to disperse the offending cars, and we followed in his hallowed wake. There was also a minivan with a large decal emblazoned across its back window reading “Body Piercing Saved My Life!”, which captioned a bloody illustration of someone hammering a nail into Jesus’ wrist. At least they properly rendered the anatomy as it is unlikely one could be held aloft on a cross or any other surface via a nail through the palm, which is the traditional image. I get the idea that Jesus was no fool and ended up choosing crucifixion over a road trip through the bowels of the American South.

South of the Border is a hideous and excellent fantasyland situated between North and South Carolina. I almost typed “Couth” Carolina instead, which would have been the typo to end all typos. One of my dearest friends—one of the most brilliant and creative people I have ever met—is from South Carolina, and my theory is that he and his family must have been queued in just the right spot when the gods were distributing positive attributes in the former Confederate states. Or perhaps everyone else was off buying fireworks and contraband cigarettes. In any case, South of the Border is presided over by Pedro, a Mexican caricature in a sombrero and serape who rules with an iron fist. Pedro sez no running. Pedro sez no stealing. Pedro sez every neon and fluorescent light between South Carolina and Timbuktu must be assembled in the most alluring configurations around his roadside kingdom. Pedro owns a diner, a tee-shirt shop, a fireworks stand, a Mexican shop, an African shop, a concrete statuary booth, a hot dog counter, a candy store, a live shark, about seven hundred life-sized plastic animals, and a fifteen-story tower shaped like (what else?) a sombrero, from which one can observe traffic whizzing by on the highway.

Rob and I stayed for the night at the associated motor lodge, which has not changed a shingle since 1962. On a previous occasion when we stayed there, we were given a large room with fabulous mod furniture, but this time they stuck us in a windowless cinderblock cube that stank of three hundred years of accumulated carpet powder. We nonetheless found the wherewithal to sleep, although I first had to decompress with a book about how plants attached to polygraphs can read your mind and react accordingly if you intend to burn them with a match. I feel this shows more common sense than the person waving his personal cross out his car window to dispense with traffic, but then again, I am a stranger in these parts.


Friday Chupacabra Blogging

This morning, I woke up to three squirrels romping among the dead plants on the balcony outside my bedroom window. Goblin was asleep at the switch, so I observed their misty morning dance for a few minutes, but then I had to get up to go to the gym and decided to let my little girl earn her keep. “Goblin, is there a squirrel?” I whispered to the snoring hound. She sprang out of bed before she was even awake and stumbled around, blinking, until her bat ears swiveled in the right direction and she darted to the window. I had thought the varmints would disperse at the sight of her, but they stood motionless on the rail and observed her curiously; it was Goblin’s turn to dance, lurching back and forth, stiff-legged, as she calculated the probabilities and trajectories of an attack through solid glass. She was still there, pacing, after I brushed my teeth and shaved.

So—surprise!—we are home from our trip to the Undisclosed Location. I started a half-hearted travel journal, which I will belatedly post here in abridged format over the next few days.

But first, a chupacabra.



Friday Chupacabra Blogging

Well, somewhere it’s Friday. I’m just afraid I will forget to post this tomorrow thanks to the aforementioned Undisclosed Location. Do you know how hard it is to get a wi-fi signal in an Undisclosed Location? Answer: (E) Nigh unto impossible.

So this one is sad because it’s a dead chupacabra. But it’s OK because death is part of the Circle of Life and everyone knows that if Elton John sings a song about it, it must be true. That was Elton John, right? Anyway, this chupacabra will be up sucking goats before you know it.




Tomorrow, I am going to an Undisclosed Location. I would Disclose it, but then I would have to kiss you. See, you thought I would say “kill,” but I like to mix it up a bit. I will kill you next time, and the time after that I will, um, kipp you. Yeah, there won’t be a next time. How many Undisclosed Locations are there in the world, and how much time do I get to travel? Right, right. You will remain forever unkipped, you wascally wabbit.

What’s new with me is that I finally got the vomitacious wall-sized mirror removed from my office. It was a delicate operation that has resulted in hideous gouges in the plaster, but that’s all right because now that stupid genie will stop bothering me. Speaking of wascally wabbits, remember that episode of Bugs Bunny where Bugs was dressed up like a witch and trick-or-treated to the real witch’s house, and the genie in the mirror said Bugs was the fairest witch of all or some such thing? That’s where I get that from. The witch decided to play nice but secretly poison her rival, so she went into the kitchen and prepared a snack, singing, “A cup of tea, a cookie, and you-ou!” I asked my employees if they remembered that episode, and they looked at me as if my jacket had arms that tied in the back.


This Sort of Thing Probably Happens a Lot in the Wild

Yesterday morning, Goblin Foo was in the midst of pooping when a squirrel ran directly past her face. Pooping and squirrels being her two main avocations, this was the Sophie’s Choice of one little Boston terrier’s life. Her reaction, to sort of squat-run-lurch toward the fleeing rodent with poop pellets bursting out behind, was an option not open to the original Sophie if for no other reason than the Nazis would have been able to follow her trail. Oops, only Bill O’Really is allowed to evoke the Nazis. When I do, it is gross, but Goblin likes gross. Gross is how we celebrate her seventh adoption anniversary, which was this past Sunday. She wanted a bicycle but got a stuffed rat instead. She has already chewed its ears off. She was clutching it a little while ago when she came to tell me it was thundering but she was Not Scared.

I was going to change Goblin’s name to Bumble-Butticula. However, I think I am going to go with Bumble-Buttstinkula. I can hear the squirrels quivering in their trees.