Part Two – The Morning, the Bacon Bloody Mary, and the Blonde.
Hours later when I woke, I felt groggy, like I still had Vicodin in my system. “I only took one pill yesterday, right?” I asked myself, as I tried clear the cobwebs and roll out of bed. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I tried to focus on the night stand clock. Squinting just right, I could make out that it was eleven o’clock. Next to the clock, was the open bottle of pills.
An addict gets adept at keeping track of their stash. I started counting my pills years ago. I needed know if I was in danger of running out. A three-month prescription would normally last about a month. I counted fifty-six pills in Salinas. I knew I had taken one pill yesterday, so I should have fifty-five pills left. I slowly counted the pills left in the bottle. Fifty-two pills. Somehow three pills were missing. I immediately thought that the cleaning crew had entered while I was asleep and had helped themselves. I certainly didn’t take three more pills before I went back to sleep. But why was I so groggy? “No way.” I whispered. I would make sure I put the bottle away before I went to bed tonight.
After a cold shower, I was feeling more alert so I got dressed and started thinking about breakfast. I went downstairs, back through the Whiskey Bar, to the Cascades restaurant. Sadly, the restaurant was closed. Too late for breakfast and too early for lunch. I sat down at the bar to ask the bartender about someplace close to get breakfast when I casually picked up the bar menu. The first thing that caught my attention was the Bacon Bloody Mary. Back home we called a Bloody Mary, breakfast in a glass. I decided to try it.
“You are kidding me?” I said as the bartender placed the drink in front of me.
“Looks good, doesn’t it?” he asked.
“Almost too good to drink.” I answered with a smile.
“Take my advice, drink it.” Said the bartender, “You look like you could use it.”
Describing the Bacon Bloody Mary is like trying to describe the holy trinity. The Bacon Bloody Mary is not your typical bloody Mary. The large glass was filled with a garden variety of pickled vegetables and garnished with four slices of thick applewood smoked bacon. Two pieces in the glass and two more crossed on top of the glass. The smoked bacon was salty and sweet, and it was a perfect complement for the rich flavor of the tomato juice. Before I knew it, I had eaten all the garnish, finished the drink, and was making that god awful straw sucking noise in the bottom of the glass. I considered ordering another drink, but I had reservations for a tour of the Rocky Mountains at one o’clock. I only had an hour before the tour started and I had to find the place. I decided to wait until the next morning to have another Bacon Bloody Mary. “All things in moderation.” I thought and made my way to the Jeep.
The Rocky Mountain Rush tour is a favorite among tourists who want to take a thrill ride through Rocky Mountain National Park. The bright yellow hummers that they use for the ride made the place very easy to find, so I parked across the street in the town library parking lot. As I walked across the street, I glanced at my watch and noticed I was thirty minutes early. “Damn”, I thought to myself, “I could have that second bloody Mary.” I entered the small office and checked in for the tour. The clerk directed me to the large wooden benches in front of the building. I walked outside and sat on the bench closest to the door.
I sat on the bench for forty- five minutes. No one else was there and I was becoming anxious. I was about to go back in the office when I noticed a woman, wearing a baseball cap, crossing the road. Her hair was pulled back into a pony tail and the pony tail was coming through the back of the ball cap. As she got closer, I thought I recognized her from somewhere. Then it hit me, this was the blond who arrived at the hotel early this morning. The one with the huge suitcase. I put my head down as she passed me and went into the office. I was immediately faced with a fight or flight scenario. I had already checked in for the tour, so leaving was not an option. A few minutes later she walked out of the office and sat on the same bench, but as far away from me as possible. “You had better get used to it.” I thought, “you two are going to be stuck with each other for the next four hours.”
I didn’t say a word, and kept my head down in the hopes that she would not recognize me. Occasionally I would take a quick glance at her. “Maybe she won’t notice.” I thought. My next glance caught her looking directly at me. She knew who I was and stared, shooting daggers in my direction.
“Look,” I said as I raised both hands, “I didn’t see you until you were nearly at the top of the stairs. I would have offered my help, but it was too late.”
“Yeah, you look like you would have been a great help.” She replied with a smirk.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“Well just take a good look at yourself.” she said. “You’re not in the best shape, and you look like you haven’t slept in days.”
I stood up ready to defend myself and saw my reflection in the window. I did look bad. I had forgotten to comb my hair and there were huge bags under my eyes. “Point well taken.” I said, as I plopped back down on the bench. Under my breath I muttered, “At least I know how to tell time.” We sat in a brooding silence for the next fifteen minutes.
One of the yellow hummers pulled up and the driver stepped out of the hummer and into the office. He was heavy set and he was dressed like an Australian crocodile hunter. “Really?” I thought to myself. When he came back out of the office he stood next to the hummer and waved us over. “We have to have at least four people to take the tour.” He said, “Unfortunately, the other party we had scheduled for this tour called to cancel a few minutes ago.
“You’ve kidding me?” I asked sarcastically.
“No, I’m not.” he replied, “You’ve already paid for the tour, so you have the option to get a refund or reschedule for tomorrow.”
The blonde and I glanced at each other and simultaneously proclaimed, “Refund!”
The blonde went in first to have her refund processed, while I waited outside. She left, giving me quick glance, and then walked across the street to her car. I watched her drive away, went inside and holding back a laugh, I said, “I’d like to reschedule for tomorrow.”