The Brian Sweeney Travel Diaries: Mackinac Island
Part I: The Road To The Road To Mackinac
The fist came into my face without announcement. It hurt, but I've been hit by much harder fists that belonged to much harder men who wished to make a hole straight through my skull.
This was a punch that didn't have the rage of a man who caught me in bed with his missus after a long day of toiling in the fields, like old Jebediah Hampstich had on that early July morn near a decade ago. No, this was the punch of a man who had caught me cheating at cards, a crime that I was, admittedly, guilty. However, just because I deserved a beating didn't mean that I was going to accept one. As a card-cheat, I know that I am always in danger of being found out that I am dishonestly taking the money away from the poor suckers that agreed to play a hand of Omaha hold 'em with me. I am a no-good swindler. That's who I am and I have made peace with that fact. If you want to call me a huckster or fraud or mountebank you would be correct in your assessment. So being that I am a flimflam man, I must be ready to defend myself against those that find out that truth and wish to do me harm. That's why my good friend .45 Springfield XD-S always accompanies me underneath my shirt tucked in my belt.
Before he can hit me again, I have the gun out and the barrel staring straight at him. "I see we can't just settle this in a civilized manner, so if you don't settle down I will have to let my next sentence be spoken in .45 caliber words."
He put his hands up. Smart boy. But now, unfortunately everyone in the Applebee's was looking at us. I could see that I had best be going. I grabbed the money from the pot off the table and made my hasty exit. It was just as well. Applebee's serves Pepsi. If I'm in an establishment that doesn't serve Diet Coke, you can be damned sure that I am not a happy patron of said establishment.
I sped home and poured a large shot of Fireball to calm my nerves and help clear my sinuses. My sinuses are a mess. I've had surgery to try to fix them, as they are a crooked maze of snot and woe, but the surgery didn't take. It hurt like hell, though.
I got up the stairs and threw the sack of money on the bed. "You get enough?" said a voice from behind. A voice that belonged to Mary, the sultriest creature that walks on Satan's green Earth.
"And then some."
"Let's spend it."
"Don't you want to know how I got it?"
"Did you kill anyone?"
"Then I don't care." Mary said, with a disappointed sigh.
Mary was cold-hearted to everyone and everything but me. She was a dame that rooted for the bad guys in movies. A tough broad from Chicago Heights that cut her way through life the old fashioned way: going to school, getting a degree and becoming a school psychologist in the North suburbs of Chicago.
We both got into the car with the sack of money and head off to our destination. The place where dreams come true: Mackinac Island.
Mackinac is an eight hour-plus drive, so we decided to stop off at a hotel in East Lansing, Michigan to cut the trip in half. East Lansing is about ninety minutes away from Detroit. My one concern was that I might run into my old rap partner, Eminem.
Eminem and I were once in a duo called The Freshy Fresh Boyz when I lived in Detroit on 8 Mile. We used to write rhymes in our notebooks and battle rap each other. I once rapped "Your feet smell bad, the opposite of good/ They are the worst smelling feet in the whole neighborhood," and Eminem went silent. I thought I saw tears in his eyes. "Come on Em," I said, "it's just battle rapping." He nodded and smiled and said that he knew and was fine, but then I continued my battle rap, "Stinky, stinky feet. Eminem has stinky feet/ His feet smell so bad they're like rotten meat," and he again went quiet. He then said he had to go home to his trailer and his mom, who he hated and wanted to kill. The next day, he came over and said, "Brian, I bought Odor Eaters. My feet aren't going to be smelly anymore. I'm being proactive and trying to make changes in my life, starting with my stinky feet." I told him that was great. I'm glad he got the hint that his feet actually were stinky. Many truths are said in battle raps.
After using his Odor Eaters, he was able to get a girlfriend named Kim. He would tell me all the time about how much he wanted to kill her and then do terrible things to her dead body. When she became pregnant with their child a short time later, I could see how happy he was. He would often talk about how much he wanted to kill that worthless slut. It was clear my friend was in love.
However, the stress of impending fatherhood must have been getting to my good friend, because he began putting profanity into his raps. I would say, "Good sir, The Freshy Fresh Boyz are not some fouls-mouthed vulgarian collective. We are about being dope and fresh and smooth. We do not say things like 'ass' or 'crap' or 'buttcheek dildo ride.'"
"Well, then maybe I should go solo."
"Perhaps you should. And you know what, even though Dr. Dre wanted both of us to come to California and record an album, I think only you should."
"No. No," pleaded Eminem. "I can't be a solo act. I need someone else."
"Maybe you could pretend you are two people. Like one person is Eminem and one person is a guy named Slim Shady. And Slim Shady is your darker, more ribald side, and Eminem is just about dope flows."
"Hmmm... That just might work."
"Yes. And without me there, you can swear a lot. I'm just holding you back."
"Look Brian, the truth is, I don't even like swearing. I was just doing it because I wanted you to think I was a big shot."
"Eminem, you should keep swearing. I think it works for you."
"And as far as thinking you are a big shot, you are the biggest shot I have ever known. That's why you need to take that to California and show Dr. Dre just how fresh your stupid dope rhymes are."
"It would feel so empty without you."
"We'll always be friends, Eminem," and I kissed him passionately. We began making love right there, among all of our notebooks filled with dope rhymes. We had amazing sex until the sun came up. And when Eminem left my home, I never saw him again. He would call me, but I would never answer. It was too painful. And I knew that if we spoke, he would just want to go back to being in The Freshy Fresh Boyz. I couldn't let him. He needed to be a solo artist. Even though I knew he would hate me for it, I never spoke to my best friend again.
Mary had said that she would drive us out to East Lansing. I said that she would be too tired, as she had a very long day. She objected, saying that she would be wide awake and not sleepy at all. Within ten minutes of driving, Mary began to feel that she was going to fall asleep and said I needed to drive. The stubborn lady that I love pulled off to the side of the road and we switched places. As I began driving, Mary was immediately lulled to sleep by the vibration of the automobile running, like a newborn baby. I was on my own for this part of the trip. As I was already filled to the gills with high-quality Peruvian cocaine, I would easily be able to make the drive.
I had been driving straight for three hours, stopping only four times to masturbate by the side of the road while watching enema porn videos on my phone, when the red-and-blue flashing lights appeared in my rearview mirror. Shit. Michigan State Police.
The state trooper approached my car and I rolled down my window. We locked eyes.
"Do you know why I stopped you?" the trooper asked.
He cleared his throat, summoning courage. "I saw you masturbating to enema porn back there. I was wondering if I could join you."
I smiled. "Officer, let's do this."
The trooper was a great guy and just the person I needed to get my spirits up during this long, monotonous drive. He also shot thick, thick ropes. We talked and masturbated to enema porn for a good twenty minutes, discussing our favorite enema actors and enema directors. We then shook hands and parted ways like gentlemen. I drove the rest of the way to the hotel, with Mary groggily waking as we pulled in its parking lot.
"I fell asleep," she announced to no one in particular. We gathered our things and went to our hotel room. "I'm not even tired," Mary said as she laid down in the bed. She was asleep within twelve seconds.
I stood awake, looking out the window at the night sky. By this time tomorrow, I thought, we will be in Mackinac.
To be continued…