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Monday, 28 August
Ferry Tale

AND SO IT WAS on Thursday that the wife and I bailed on work halfway through the day to make our way to Whidbey Island. Our destination was the dubiously named Bush Point B&B, located just outside a lovely nothingness of a townlet called Freeland.

Island culture, it seems, leads to certain oddities in, well, naming things. Freeland, existing as it does in America, is pretty damn free, to be sure. However, my hopes were a little mashed when I wandered into the grocery store hoping that all the price tags would read "$0.00." YOU CALL THIS FREE? Oh, well. On the other hand, anecdotal evidence did suggest that the nearby Useless Bay was, in fact, actually useless, as did learning that there was a nearby golf course. And then there were the various cutesy-wootsey road names: Raindrop Lane! Cloying! Ptarmigan Ptollway! Puzzling! Handjobbe Hollow! Kind of disturbing!

Anyway, the Bush Point B&B--situated on a beach which was irritatingly bereft of much bush, frankly, but on the other hand, there were pointy things like sticks--turned out to be kind of awesome. First off in the awesomeness parade, the "B&B" part became clear enough when the kind folks who checked us in encouraged us, when breakfasttime rolled around, to "open the fridge and eat!" The fridge contained a couple blueberry muffins and a bunch of tomato juice. (The muffins went unconsumed, but I gleefully guzzled down all the tomato juice in the evenings to come by making Red Beers--don't scrimp on the black pepper!--much to the dismay of the wife.)

The decor was vintage 1973-era Lamer Homes and No Gardens, but we didn't care. In fact, we kind of loved the octagonal glass-top dining table, and the frosted-glass filigreed lighting fixtures, and the astonishingly terrible mixed-media paint-o-thingy still life that must have been entitled Raised Tin Flowers That Will Surely Suffer From Neglectful Dusting. A sliding glass door gave us egress onto the rear deck, which sat thrillingly atop the actual breakwater, and featured not only a gorgeous view of the ocean, but also an unblocked look at the former fishing platform, which, since it had been eaten away by corrosive sea brine, was now unfit to be trod upon by human feet, and has for some time been adopted as a seagull sanctuary. The gulls had coated the entire structure with a thick layer of guano, and the birds spent their time doing that great feather-ruffling shrug thing that they do and crapping with a palpable enthusiasm. It was great!

We took it easy that evening. We took our dinner in the restaurant upstairs, where for seventeen bucks I indulged memories of a youthful Skot by ordering deep-fried prawns. (When I was a kid, I just about made my parents cry by clamoring constantly to be taken to Skipper's.) I also managed to startle the waitress--and myself--by forgetting the difference between a carafe of wine and a half-carafe, with the result being that by the end of the meal (and the full carafe), the wife and I were half in the bag. Good job, Skot.

Actually, looking back, it put us in the perfect frame of mind for the DVDs we had rented. We woozily fired up the first one (with me starting in on the Red Beer), Spike Lee's Inside Man. I loves me some twisty caper movies, and hey! This one was pretty good. We had a good time. I made another Red Beer, and readied myself for the next feature, one that I had high hopes for.

It was Basic Instinct 2. At the video store--actually the Freeland Payless--I said to the wife, "I'm not sure I can pass this up." She concurred. We figured this film to be a lock for the "so bad it's great" categorization.

Basic Instinct 2 made me want to call the CDC to alert them about the world's first cinematographic disease vector. This movie is stupefyingly terrible on nearly every conceivable level, and should only be watched by burn victims, who are the only people on earth so overloaded on pain that it cannot possibly touch them. Only burn victims can lie there and moan, "Oh, that's nothing! My skin comes off in sheets!" For the rest of us, there is nothing but agony. Sharon Stone, who is clearly a hermaphroditic reef fish, has completed her transformation into a full-blown drag queen, and is hair-raising in her utterly unsuccessful attempts to raise anything else, much less her utterly luckless male foil, an actor named David Morrissey, whose every scene, every expression screams, "I know I've thrown my career away, but they gave me so much money!" So there you go: two hours of a leathery protogynecological nightmare gnawing away at a pasty-faced dullard with the Hollywood business acumen of Krusty the Clown. The wife and I mercifully passed out/went into neurological shutdown halfway through.

Did that happen? we asked ourselves the next morning. We stared at the awful evidence of the DVD cover on the floor. It really did. How did we get to bed? We weren't sure. We were lucky not to have drowned in our own unconscious bile, our heads tipped back on our necks like rainstruck turkeys. We were fortunate to have survived. We plucked the poisonous DVD out of the player with tweezers, handling the nasty thing like the filmic plutonium it was. "Don't touch it!" we hissed. "It might want to replicate itself. Don't let it touch your skin." We returned the thing to Payless and hurled it at the counter girl's skull, scoring a direct hit that dented her forehead and left her dazed and bleeding. "What are we, socialists?" we screamed. "Don't rent this to nice people!" We got the hell out of there. It was a scary time.

Whidbey Island lay before us, and reborn, we knew it was time to put it to the sword. We ransacked that island like huns, incandescant with the killing spirit. Occasionally stopping at bars to, well, kill spirits.

And so it was.

Roam | Skot | 28 Aug, 2006 |

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"...incandescent with the killing spirit." Christ on a crepe.

Comment number: 007969   Posted by: sgazzetti on August 29, 2006 12:08 PM from IP:

there are nerds on whidbey island (google 'whidbey island nerds' and you'll see) and you're lucky you missed them.

as for the red beer thing, i am clearly so far behind the curve that all i can do is beg for help; pepper? (i mean yeah, it makes sense) but up until now i've been reduced to pleading with confused and surly bartenders just to MAKE me one.

i should probably just start drinking at home more.

Comment number: 007970   Posted by: dolface on August 29, 2006 07:43 PM from IP:

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