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Number of posts : 562
Age : 64
Location : Beaverdam Creek
Humor : If necessary
Registration date : 2009-02-22

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PostSubject: The Inn   The Inn Icon_minitimeFri Mar 11, 2011 5:00 pm

Overlooking the Rockfish River Valley, It had once been part of the Holiday Inn chain of hotels. In 1986 my first wife and I had spent our honeymoon here, before that it had been a good place to take a date or girlfriend if the Colony House Motor Lodge was booked up. After Holiday Inn pulled out the hotel changed hands and had began go down hill. Now known as The Inn at Afton it still offered a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge and Valley, but this cold evening we couldn’t see 10’ in front of us.

What had started as a late Winter day trip to the mountains had turned bad putting my friend Flip and I into desperate straits. Just when we were about to leave the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway that Saturday afternoon in February of 2004 a Winter storm suddenly came in from the north and west. Earlier while hiking near the Wintergreen exit we felt a change in winds and it became much colder. At first a fair amount of wind driven snow fell followed by frozen rain. We barely made it to Afton when the wind and sleet ceased changing over to a weird frozen fog thus making the already ice-slick roads more dangerous. A precarious drive we were glad to barely see the Afton exit. Since traveling in such conditions were almost impossible, Flip pulled into what was left of the Afton Mountain tourist area. The visitors center, Howard Johnson Motel and Afton Gift Shop were now closed and falling into ruin. All that remained was a small store/gas station along with the Inn a little further up atop the mountain. A bit unnerved and rattled from our drive, we both wanted a beer from the store, but settled on coffee instead. Our plan was to wait this weather out in the parking lot, but after talking with the clerk we discovered this frozen fog would be with us until early morning. There were other people coming off the road as well, in fact the store and it’s large parking lot was somewhat crowded with refugees.
Sticking a large wad of chewing tobacco in his maw the clerk announced to the customers - “Roads are getting real bad, both interstate and parkway,, so I suggest if y’all want lodging, y’all better get on up to the Inn quick, cause The Colony House ain’t got no more vacancy and the Inn only has a few rooms left. Purposely holding up the line I shouted - “Flip, hurry up and get enough beer and snacks !”
Grabbing an arm load of provisions the Birdman ran it all up to the counter. Taking the clerk’s advice, we traveled up the small winding road to The Inn.

Luck was on our side as we managed to get one of the few remaining rooms, in fact the desk clerk had to turn others away.

And what lodging it was, a below the window heater-air conditioner unit did nothing but enhance the scent of decades of blissful wanton carrying on, smoke, booze and vomit that had permeated our room. No worse than any Ocean View motel I had partied in. All in all we felt quite fortunate to be off the roads and thankful for the free HBO. Guzzling skunky Dutch beer at least soothed the image of the frozen puke outside we had to step over in getting through our door. Flip had correctly identified the mess as surf and turf on a bed of amber hued lager. One good thing it was to cold for green flies.
“Man, what a f#cking dump !” The Birdman hissed as he put on his coat and headed for the door.
“Where are you off to ?”
“Gotta get some stuff out of my truck”
Always prepared, Flip no doubt carried emergency gear, where I had but the clothes on my back, a large Gerber folding knife, my beaver felt Stetson, thick Buckskin coat, walking stick and cash. Good enough for one night, but minus a tooth brush and other essentials. Popping the top on another bottle, I felt confident enough to carry on.
With a blast of freezing air and tiny ice crystals Flip reentered the room with a zippered travel bag.
“Jammies and a tooth brush ?” I asked as The Birdman sat his bag upon our small round motel table. Unzipping it he revealed a 44 Magnum, tooth paste, two new tooth brushes, a change of underwear and socks, deodorant, and a large bottle of Crown Royal, unopened and still in it’s blue cloth bag.
“A big-ass pistol, whisky and a change of drawers,, ready fer adventure are ye ?”
“Nothing compared to calling Nicole here in a bit” He returned grimly. Flip’s live-in girlfriend seemed to be quite the distrustful type and had already called him 8 times on his cell phone earlier until I demanded it be turned off an hour ago due to dangerous driving conditions. She kept asking him at what time should he be expected back home. Calling her from the motel phone the conversation seemed rather pleasant ending with - “I love you too”
“Well ?”
“Well what ?”
“Is she pissed ?”
“Not at all, she’s just glad I’m safe for the night”
Calling home for me was a different story. Oddly enough my wife wanted to talk to Flip for verification of our stranded condition, after that all went well - “I love you too”
“Strange creatures are they not, Jim ?” Flip chuckled.

Having to hole-up here atop Afton we would make the best of this situation and Flip was already on top of matters. Producing a small Deerskin pouch, he pulled out a small steatite pipe and a plastic film canister full of the same top-shelf Whoodee we had enjoyed earlier near Wintergreen. Aside from times such as these, I really didn’t partake of the Whoodee much any more, but what a time this was, having to lodge-up here in the citadel of the damned. As long as we stayed in our room there would be scant chance of trouble, but sooner or later Flip and I had to amble over to the hotel restaurant for supper.
Flip loaded a bowl and passed it to me for the first draw. Taking in the pungent smoke, I did my best to hold it down. Several months had passed since I last smoked the Whoodee and after about four good hits, backed off Flip’s bowl. I had swiftly ascended having only a nicotine stained ceiling between me and the frozen fog obscured stars. Pretty much caught up with the elevation and less troubled by my surroundings, I laughed while watching a cockroach scurry across the low dresser top.
“For a mountain top inn, this place has slipped down hill” Flip said as he whacked our small six legged roommate with a rolled up tourist publication.
From the cigarette burns in the worn green carpet and nightstand to the piece of broken glass crack pipe I found underneath our small round table, this hole would inspire no more future visits.
“Look at this !” Flip hissed as he pulled down the bed spread. Although the covers smelled of industrial strength laundry detergent there were stains on the sheets. The mattresses of both beds were old and sunken in like salad bowls.
“Well at least we’re warm and safe” I said in attempt to boost a bit of comfort.
Flip sneered and returned - “I don’t know about safe. I’ve heard this is a known hangout for crack heads, hookers, speed freaks, screw-ups, fruitcakes and other weirdoes. Sooner or later I expect we’ll encounter some of them when we go for supper”
“I don’t think they’ll be hanging out at the restaurant, Flippy”
“We could call for pizza” The Birdman suggested.
“Have you looked outside ? Ain’t no pizza man traveling in this shit, Flip, besides there’s a lounge here too”
The Birdman’s dark beady eyes darted about - “Hope we don’t get sick eating any tainted vittles”
“Well then, crack open that Crown, Flippy and let’s get some antiseptic in our bellies before scarfing down”

Drinking out of clear plastic motel courtesy cups, we toasted each other and cheered on the night..

Last edited by LongHunter on Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Number of posts : 562
Age : 64
Location : Beaverdam Creek
Humor : If necessary
Registration date : 2009-02-22

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PostSubject: Re: The Inn   The Inn Icon_minitimeFri Mar 11, 2011 5:07 pm

“This don’t even look like the place I took my ex at for our honeymoon” Flip said following a good slug of whisky.
“You too, eh ?”
“Oh yeah” The Birdman sighed as if reflecting upon a bad memory - “Yep, sure was a f#ked-up night,, I had to end-up hitting the lounge by myself, cause she was pregnant, sick and moody all at the same time”
“Knocked-up after the first date, you unlucky bastard” I laughed - “Sounds like y’all had a lovely wedding night”
“Bad medicine” Flip returned, adding - “Everyone I know who had their honeymoon here is divorced now”
“Yeah that’s why I had my last one up at Hot Springs “ I said all the while wondering if this mountaintop was indeed cursed.
“Still a fu#king dump” He hissed and went on about the room rate - “I guess the roaches are part of the seasonal package”
“Well Fippy, at least there’s a mini-fridge, microwave. coffee maker and radio alarm clock. Thank goodness you brought some booze and Whoodee along”
“Well Jimmy” He said - “We’ll probably need more than that to fall-out on those beds”
Downing another cup, we wrapped up against the cold.

All in all, dinner was not bad, Flip had the chicken fingers and fries, while I enjoyed a steak, baked potato and salad washed down with a particularly good local micro-brewed ale. Looking out the huge dining room windows I could see the frozen white mist swirling around. Many miles away from home, sitting high in an aging mountain retreat lent a bit of vigor to my middle age malady madness. With a bottle of good whisky, Whoodee and a lounge next door came the urge to have a throw down.
Picking chicken out of his teeth, Flip asked - “So what do ye want to do now ? It’s still early”
“Well I rekkin we can head back to the room, get our heads primed and hit the bar”
“Sounds like a plan to me, Jimmy”
Paying for our meals, we exited the dining room, passing an odd couple who were making for the lounge.
The man was freakishly tall and thin, black clad in a long leather coat, topped off with a high crowned fedora. He looked like a undertaker. The woman was of medium height, but most of her features and form were hidden under black hooded cloak-like wrap. Under that hood I caught the glimpse of pale yellow eyes which froze my blood until figuring they were some weird contact lenses.

Leaning forward Flip unlocked our door and we leaped in over the frozen puke. Safe inside I poured us another as Flip packed a bowl - “What about those ghouls we passed in the restaurant lobby”
“Straight out of 1313 Mockingbird Lane” I laughed - “There’s a good chance we’ll see those freakazoids down at the lounge”
“Too bad Bear ain’t here” Flip then inquired if I had heard from our large friend and one time traveling companion - “I ain’t seen him since 97 at the Autumn Dance and Gathering of the Tribes”
“Not since 1999 for me. Screw him, he hardly returns any phone calls and refuses to go camping anymore” Sad words to say indeed as our once tightly knit band had been reduced to naught. Flip and I and sometimes one or two others were all that remained who would brave the wilds. Now our camping trips were mostly family affairs with wives, girlfriends and children moving about thus sending us into the brush for a bowl or two. Taking a good look at the old Birdman I was indeed happy our friendship had spanned decades, surviving both careers, marriages and moves. We had seen some wild times and got through strange situations that had broke spirits, killed or turned some of our comrades into s0ber church goers, but those few who remained on the Heathen Path were always up for a bit of ‘high adventure’ even if it meant not knowing what lay around the next shadowy bend. Hopefully tonight we would be protected by the Good Spirit of fools and revelers. We also had confidence in our personal Medicine.
Slugging down another good measure of whisky and taking a large Whoodee hit, I thought it to be an excellent time for rubbing some old soot under Flip’s skin I baited him by asking - “Ever see Kimberly anymore ?” A beautiful young lady from North Hampton, the Birdman and I were after her at the same time back in the late 70s.
Lighting up the bowl again, Flip rolled his eyes and repeated a past experience for the 20th time since it happened - “Yeah I brought her up here once, right after I broke up with Donna. We had a real good time”
“A real good time ?”
“Yep, two nights of cocaine, cold ones and hot stuff, man”
“Oh yeah, I remember now, Kimberly was suppose to get up with me that weekend, but that’s cool, I’m glad y’all had a good time”
“It was a good time” The Birdman smiled thinking that he was getting my goat.
“Oh I bet it was Flippy, probably almost as good of time as me and Bear had when we brought them here”
“Them ?”
Oh yeah, both Kimberly and her good friend Donna, about six months before y’all broke up. It was a cold, like tonight but without the frozen fog. Feisty gals they were wanting to switch off and all”
“You f#cking dog !” Flip barked, then howled with laughter before adding - “Wench ! Donna stayed with me until she got that management position at Taco Bell. I was dating Donna before she fell for Flip’s cool Mercury Cougar, having about enough of my dad’s Dodge station wagon. Flip went on to tell me how he suspected Donna was also carrying on with Whitey and some young Marine from the Naval Weapons Station.
“We’ll we tried to hip you, but I suppose it’s hard to see or hear clearly when,,,”
“Head over heels in love ?” Flip broke in.
Shaking my head I continued - “Hard to hear or see clearly when being suckered by a cute two-bit amateur gold digger”
Regarding me with cold dark beady eyes the Birdman hissed - “Screw you Jimmy”

Donning our coats and hats we headed on out to the lofty Afton Lounge..

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Number of posts : 562
Age : 64
Location : Beaverdam Creek
Humor : If necessary
Registration date : 2009-02-22

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PostSubject: Re: The Inn   The Inn Icon_minitimeFri Mar 11, 2011 5:24 pm

Quite buzzed and about half snockered we braved the frozen mist. The walkway and hotel parking lot was slick with ice. For a short while we attempted to peer down into the valley but our view was obscured by trillions of tiny ice crystals. Stepping back on the walk sent Flip sliding into room # 109’s door. Bouncing off, he landed hard on his ass with a yelp. While helping him to his feet, the door opened and a warming glow poured out. In the doorway stood a woman wearing what appeared to be a multi-colored Rabbit fur coat with not a whole lot underneath. All we could do was gawk at her strange get-up which consisted of some very high cut rhinestone encrusted denim shorts, a checkerboard print bra or bikini top and high heel cowgirl boots. What struck me odd was the miniature cowboy hat setting atop her big Dolly Parton-like platinum blonde hair or wig. Not a bad looking bird, but I had to quell my mirth.
“John and Bill ?” She asked in an exaggerated southern accent.
Flip cackled with laughter and replied - “Fraid not Ms. Parton”
“Y’all ain’t the po-leeeece are y’all ?”
Still marveling I returned - “No ma’am”
“Then why y’all knocking on my door ?”
“It was more like falling on your door, ma’am ?”
Looking beyond this delightful creature, I saw a burgundy suitcase on the bed.
“Well I guess John and Bill ain’t gonna make it “ She sighed while looking us up and down.
“I don’t suspect anybody is traveling in this weather” I said now focusing upon her well turned goose bumped covered thighs.
Openly and direct to the point, ‘Dolly’ inquired if we were looking for a date.
“A date !” Flip laughed - “For the both of us ?”
Accepting her invitation inside out of the cold, she began quoting prices up front. One on one would cost 150 bucks an hour, but she would provide companionship for the both of us for 200.
“Ahhh group rates” Flip said, then asked - “Anyone else besides Dolly ?”
“I can be a French maid, secretary, school girl, school teacher, nurse or just plain nekkid”
“Hmmmm, nurse, eh ?” Flip inquired with a sinister grin - “With the white stockings and little white hat ?”
“Anything you want bay-beee”
Not wanting to mislead this evening entertainer, I informed Dolly that we were only weathered-in travelers and a bit too short of means to employ her services - “If I did, I’d probably go for the school teacher package”
“Nurse” Flip said, his beady black eyes leering at the woman’s boobs.
Not wanting to take up any more of her time, I told Dolly we were off to the lounge for a few drinks and if business became too slow then perhaps she was welcome to join us.
Sashaying over to her single motel window, she pulled apart the curtains, gazed long at the bleak conditions and said - “Maybe I will, that is if business falls off anymore” We said our farewells and upon our departing she warned us about strange folk who frequented the lounge.
“Strange People ?” I laughed - “Sounds like your kind of place ,Flip”

“The Inn’s bar was dimly lit and the lounge was a shadowy place of tables chairs and patrons seated here or there, their faces barely illuminated by flickering glass globes. Out of all those stranded here at Afton’s Inn, these were the drinkers. From what I could make out after my eyes adjusted to the dim light, lounged a mixed crowd consisting of a few suited businesspeople , an array of assorted recreational travelers sporting Ski lodge duds, off duty hotel staff, no doubt quaffing at an employee’s discount and far in a even darker corner, the weird looking couple we passed earlier.

Flip and I decided on the bar instead of a table.

From his name tag we learned our bartender’s name was Baxter. Short with a large head, he wore his dark hair in a 1970s Elvis like style with long sideburns, trimmed to perfection. He even sported a pair of Elvis-like tinted eyewear. A man of few words, Baxter didn’t skimp on the pour and kept our drinks coming.
Feeling rather adventurous Flip and I both ordered triple shots of mescal with lemonade chasers. Paying and generously tipping our bartender, he bestowed a - “Aaaaaah thank ya,,,,, thank you very much”
‘Talent abounds’ I thought while taking a good gander at Baxter. It was quite evident he was an Elvoid ~ Presleypithicus Americanus. To our utter horror we discovered Baxter would later be crooning the crowd with the aid of a karaoke machine. As he walked into the back room, Flip chuckled and said - “Dolly Parton, Elvis and the Addams Family, where the fuck have we landed, Jim ?”
Slugging down my mescal, I told him - “Maybe we crashed and died back on the Parkway and this is wannabe hell”
“Well Jim, who you wannabe ?”
“Who you wannabe ?”
“Who the hell cares !” We cheered.
Signaling to Baxter, we ordered refills. The mescal bit through any remaining outside chill promptly delivering a spreading warmth to my soul.
“Somebody is gonna eat the worm” Flip said.
Getting a bit more snookered with each tall triple shot glass, we blathered, told crude jokes and spoke fondly of the call girl in room #109.

But despite our drunken mirth, I was picking up some pretty weird vibes.

Nodding his head towards the lounge‘s darkest corner, Flip whispered “Look over there” It caught my attention immediately, the tall, somber clad man’s eyes reflected the dim bar light like a feral roadside dog as his lady friend, now uncloaked and attired in tight black jeans and turtleneck sweater rose from her seat and proceeded, seemingly in our direction. Thick straight raven-black hair fell about her well rounded shoulders and was cut into a false widow’s peak-like bangs. Just when I thought this exotic creature was going to bump into us, she veered-off, making way towards the restrooms instead. It reminded me of a primate’s bluff charge as until she turned away, her strange eyes were locked unto our location.
While I rattled off a few good words in my mother’s language, Flip hissed - “Something sure is unusual about those two” Not realizing there was someone saying the same thing about us.
Turning up my mescal glass again, I took a good look at Flip and said - “At first I thought it was Bear, or even me, but now I can plainly see it’s you”
“What’s me ?”
“You’re the f#cking weirdo magnet”
“Say what ?”
“Can’t go anywhere with you, where we’re not running into weirdoes”
Flip laughed and returned - “Maybe we’re just moving in our own circles”
“Are you trying to say,,”
“Besides” He started then continued after a good measure of mescal - “if I’m a weirdo magnet, what’s that make you?”
“Caught up in the middle”
Flip chuckled, finished his glass, then mirthfully blathered for awhile in the jargon of our old band. The Birdman was drinking with a bit more gusto than normal.

“So what are you guys ?”
The slurring voice came from two stools down Sliding out of her perch, she staggered somewhat approaching Flip and I with a wide smile that did not match her leering eyes. It wasn’t a lack of words on our part that delayed an immediate response, we were just caught off guard as anyone would be when suddenly approached by a staggering stranger, who referred to people as ’what’ when initiating initial contact.

They looked to be of another remote tribe, and aside from the short greeting which was not returned by them, Flip and I paid them no further mind until now.

A somewhat short and plump woman, she was wearing jeans, boots and a bright red sweater sporting a little American flag pin above her left breast. Her strawberry blonde hair was bobbed around the neck in a Doris Day Dutch boy doo held fast with heavily scented spray. One small, pudgy, freckly hand grasped what appeared to be a White Russian, while the other pointed at us with a crimson talon tipped index finger in a jabbing motion. Hopefully this was not someone I had left in a motel room without a morning cuddle, a Waffle House breakfast and a ride home. A common aftermath of a blurry-eyed, late night libation lubed liaison.
At first she appeared no different from many of the short, corpulent lowland women who inhabit areas east of here between Virginia’s James, York, Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers. Marsh Saxons, we called them as most of them were of old English descent with pale features, especially the women. However her accent bespoke of someone not from Virginia.
“You’re not Americans, are you ?” She slurred as her rather rotund partner looked nervously on, lips held tightly together as if he wanted to call her back, but wouldn’t dare.
Flip managed to pull off a pretty good Jerry Mathers-like -“Gee lady, what makes you think that ?”
Closing one eye to focus a bit - “You’re not Mexicans !”
“ Maybe Basque or Gypsies” I told them, then ordered two more drinks as this was getting rather interesting.
Rudely reaching in and tapping the Hawk feather hanging off my hat band, she then ruffled the fringe hanging off my coat - “Cherokee, eh ? Oh Donald look, they’re Indians” She then slurred an apology - “Sorry, can’t be too sure these days”
“Too sure about what ?” I asked.
Instead of answering me she informed me - “I’m part Cherokee on my mother’s side” Flip staring at her pale freckly features said - “Oh I can tell”
Paying the Elvoid for our drinks I told her that we were not Cherokee.
“Lakota, Apache, Navajo ?” Apparently her knowledge of Native People was limited to these often spoken of tribes.
Lying, I told her - “We are lower Chickahominy of the Slapaho Band”
Chickahominies I’ve heard of, but Slapaho Band ? I’ve never heard of them”
“You should “ I returned prompting Flip to howl with drunken laughter. Not to seem impolite, I vaulted off my bar stool with hand extended - “ We’ll hey there, glad to meet ya, I’m Jim Drowning Otter and this here is Philip Flipping Bird” Taking her hand I knelt and kissed it, then when on to tell her that we were chiefs. Drunkenly impressed with what she took to be Powhatan royalty. - “I’m Kate, and this is Don”
“Well howdee” Flip chuckled.
However she wanted -“Where are you guys from ?”
“The Chickahominy”
“Oh near Jamestown”
“Some ways north and west of” I returned then inquired of their origins.
“We were heading back to Alexandria from Wintergreen, but after Don almost ran off the road, we found accommodations here at this shithole” Kate was much too intoxicated to take notice of the angry Elvis-like sneer playing upon our bartender’s lips. Don on the other hand regarded us with a haughty squint-eyed stare.
Libations loosens lips and in Kate’s current condition, the flood gates were open, pouring out a jumble of jabbering gibberish that seemed to be funneling down into a political poo. One minute Kate was praising pro-liberal motions, then the next she vocalized conservative values, all the while attempting to find out where Flip and I were coming from. Actually she was beginning to molest my celebration. Preaching and propaganda mixed none too well with my mescal especially when tinged-in by some uptown gated community type who otherwise would probably have naught with two old long haired Heathens. I informed her that it was bad manners to talk politics and religion in a bar. With all of the growling about left right, blue state red state here of late, had me trailing far behind in the middle, upon a wake that remotely resembled national unity. I really didn’t want to be reminded of it tonight.
Oh how being stranded and drunk on a scary night brings people together She showed off her large silver dream catcher shaped earrings and asked if we had Dream Catchers to which Flip replied - “How can we ever hope to catch what has already caught us ?”

Just as Flip started talking about the weather a woman walked in and plopped down between us and Kate’s place at the bar..
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Number of posts : 562
Age : 64
Location : Beaverdam Creek
Humor : If necessary
Registration date : 2009-02-22

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PostSubject: Re: The Inn   The Inn Icon_minitimeFri Mar 11, 2011 5:39 pm

At first I thought her to be with Kate and Don as she too wore nice jeans, boots and a reddish-hued sweater, but that multi colored Rabbit fur coat jolted my substance enhanced short term memory. It was Dolly the cowgirl or rather the person who portrayed that character in room #109. Instead of the huge country music star doo, was straight shoulder length tawny hair. In a southern accent, but not so much as earlier she introduced herself as Tonya. Lighting up a long thin white filtered cigarette she appeared in a off the clock manner, that is if such a luxury exists amongst prostitutes.
“Ahhhhhhhhhey there pretteemama whinchat drinken ?”
“Well hey there Bax !” She delightfully shouted. Apparently Tonya was no stranger to this lofty watering hole. Coming out of her furs, Tonya handed Baxter her coat to be hung up behind the bar. Ordering a beer, she then turned her attention upon Flip and I, leaving Kate still vacillating on wobbly legs mumbling something about turquoise jewelry and Navajo woven blanket throw she had ordered from HSN. Taking notice that Don was eye-balling Tonya, Kate, after two tries, remounted her bar stool as to block his view.
“Ahhhhhhhhereweeego prettymama “ Baxter served Tonya a beer with tall frosted glass while I tossed money upon the bar.
I opened the initial exchange of substance induced small talk - “Nice little place y’all have here”
“It’ll do in a pinch” She whispered as not to have Baxter hear such words about his beloved motel bar and claim to fame While taking into consideration the bartender’s promptness and moderate drink prices along with the Inn’s lofty location, I returned - “No really ? I kinda like this place, good drinks, fine service and friendly people” No sooner than those words left my mouth, the black clad women walked back into the lounge passing us in a pantherish stride all the while glaring at our little bar-side party with those weird cat-like eyes. She not only turned our heads, but Kate and Don’s as well. Again I saw that high-hat, tall shadow of a figure eyes glow like a Whitetail Buck in the headlights.
“See I told ya” Tonya said while pouring her beer. A local gal she proved top be good company and we caught up on the happenings of Afton, Waynesboro and the rest of the southern Shenandoah. Having often traveled through society’s more shadowy fringes, I’ve always found professional non-drug addicted prostitutes to be friendly, sociable and sensible folk, not at all like their crack and meth-headed or skag hooked street walking counterparts. Off the clock, Tonya did not talk shop, instead we discussed weather conditions and deteriorating state of Afton’s tourist area.
“Yeah “ She sighed - “At one time this was the place to be, but ever since Holiday Inn left and the larger motel chains and resorts came to this area, Afton Mountain is declining into a ghost town”
“Maybe people don’t want to deal with the fog” Flip stated. It was true as I can recall this area being foggy more than it was clear here of late. There had been many terrible vehicular accidents here because of these weather conditions, especially where Interstate 64 climbed over and descended Afton.
“I’ve been coming here for years” Tonya said then took a long quaff of beer - “Besides the regular weekend crowd or those tourists who don’t know any better, it’s been pretty normal here until last October”
Thinking of my salad bowel-shaped bed for tonight, taking a good look at Baxter and remembering that tiny red cowgirl hat perched upon Dolly’s doo, I feigned a serious tone and asked - “Normal until last October ? What has become of this place, Tonya ?” Leaning in from his bar-side perch like a starving buzzard, The Birdman added - “Do tell us”
“A lot of strange guests here lately” She replied.
Taking a good look at Flip‘s Vulture-like posturing, then slightly nodding my head in Kate and Don’s direction I inquired just what did she mean by ‘strange’.
Finishing her beer swiftly, Tonya asked what we were drinking and accepted a half glass of mescal from Flip. Shooting it down, she loudly exhaled, then in a low tone said - “No not like those government contracting twits from the DC area”
Surprised I whispered - “Those two ?”
“Yeah, I’ve seen them in here before, but not so much lately”
Calling out for another beer, Tonya again lowered her voice - “Just who did they say they are this time ?”
“Kate and Don” Flip said while matching the cold glare from the pair sitting just outside of whispering range
“Ha !” She barked then softly said - “They were Tom and Susan at the New Years Eve party”
“Then they know you’re on to them” Flip returned.
Thanking Baxter for buying her this beer she shook her head - “ Oh they come in with different hairstyles and clothes, last time at New Years, Tom or who ever he is tried to pick me up after his little princess had to be half dragged back to their room. He had longer hair and a beard then, and she was more of a red-head with glasses”
“Ahhh glasses” I laughed - “They kept Clark Kent’s identity a secret”
“Don’t forget about his slicked-back forehead curl” Flip added.
Getting back to topic, Tonya said - “Those two are small potatoes”
Ordering three mescals and more lemonade re-fills I made brief mention of the many government employees and contractors here of late in Virginia. Rather commonplace in a state so near Washington and host to many military bases.
“Tell me about it” She returned - “ They’re in and out of here. You can smell fed all over some of them, then there are the others”
Motioning for Flip to pay for this round I then asked - “What others ?”
“Like that Goth Chick ?” Flip added.
“That’s no Goth” Tonya replied before putting down another half glass of mescal.
Now I was interested - “Then who is she ?”
Chasing down the rest of her mescal with beer, Tonya ordered another round, then regarded us with squinted eyes wanting to know - “ Sure you’re not cops or feds ?”
“Nope,, just day hikers stranded here at the lovely Afton Inn”
“One can never be too sure” She stated, paying the for this round.
“Oh how can we prove ourselves otherwise ?” I laughed.
Flashing a wide smile Tonya purred - “I would ask you to accept some of my services at a greatly reduced rate, but I can’t tell you how many cops, feds and government employees I’ve escorted over the last 10 years or so “ The liquor was catching up with Tonya, but she revealed nothing more about her clientele - “I guess you guys are alright”
“That’s very kind of you “ Flip chuckled.
Throwing down more mescal, she called for our bartender and in a whisper bade him - “Baxter tell Flip and Jim here about those turnip heads and cat people”
“Ahhhhhhhhh, don’t ja getmeee talking bout them there weirdoes, man” Baxter then added - “Come on now,,, they’rrrre some good tippers, man”
“Never mind Baxter” Tonya said while shooing our bartender away for another beer - “There’s two kinds” She informed us -”One like that critter who just walked by, and the others”
“Others ?”
“The turnip heads”
“Turnip heads ?” I laughed.
“Tall, pale and freaky-looking ?” Flip asked.
“How did you know that ?” Tonya demanded.
Flip took a swig of his lemonade and replied - “Passed one with that dark haired gal earlier, he’s over there wearing that tall hat”
“Yep” She returned, then cast a swift glance at ‘Kate and Don’ before filling us in about The Inn’s more recent strange visitors..
“They always come here together, never just one or another,, but most of the time there’s more of those cat people than those other freakies”

Tonya went on to tell us that although they still frequented the Inn, their numbers have dwindled with fewer visits. Heated by the mescal and still reflecting upon the raven-haired woman, I asked - “So why do you call them cat people ?”
“It’s the way they move and act. A few weeks ago I heard 2 of them making purring noises while grinding up against each other on the dance floor”
“Women ?” Flip smiled and added - “Are all the cat people women ?”
“Those two were and most of them are, but sometimes there’s males here too. Long black hair like the girls, but fat and gluttonous. They look like washed-up metal band members, but with those same freaky eyes as the girl kitties.
Flip issued a grating cackle, then inquired about the turnip heads. He lived for this kind of weird unbalanced intrigue.
“Y’all think I’m insane, don’t you ?” Tonya sighed not knowing that Flip and I had already staggered around a good portion of a realm my old departed friend Denny referred to as ‘Weirdsville’
Looking into her glassy, but otherwise lovely light brown eyes, I said - “Insane ? Not at all ma’am, we’ve seen our share of strange shit”
Leaning in even closer from her bar stool Tonya studied our faces for a good half minute, then smiled and whispered - “You’re paranormal investigators ! I knew it !”
“Huh !”
“You’re here doing research, ain’t ya ?”
Flip howled with laughter then suddenly ceased returning with a - “Nope”
“You’re not paranormal investigators ?” She asked in disappointment.
Pouring a bit more mescal down my gullet, I lit up a cigarette and replied - “fraid not, ma’am”
“Then what are you ?”
“Drunk ma’am” adding - “Among other things. Now what about those turnip-headed freaks ?”
“Well, damn, I thought for a minute there you guys were some kind of paranormal researchers”
“Was that after you thought us to be cops or feds ?” I laughed. - “ No I don’t think you’re crazy. You’re just somebody that lives in a crazy world trying to come to terms with just how crazy it is”
“Crazy or something else” Flip hissed with a twisted grin.
“Whatever it is, it’s in here now, Flip” Nodding my head to Tonya I asked her to continue describing the turnip heads.
“They always wear those tall hats, but sometimes their women wear big wigs, like the one I had on earlier”
“Then how do you know they have turnip heads ?” I wanted to know.
“From what my friend Luanne said,,”
It must have been a mirthful mescal-mangled mindset that prompted my interruption - “Luanne ? Flip weren’t you once sweet on one of your cousins named Luanne ?”
The Birdman shot me a venomous glare and hissed - “Her name is Lorene, you jerkwad”
Apologizing to Flip I chuckled - “My mistake” then bade Tonya to continue.
Chasing down a gulp of mescal with beer, Tonya said - “Last December Luanne and her ‘date’ decided on hitting the lounge here for a little dancing and drinking,,”
Flip, somewhat cock-eyed snookered blurted out - “Who the hell would take a date here?”
“Flip, shut the fuck up” Tapping Tonya’s hand I then said - “Please excuse my friend as he never ever patronized such establishments. Please go on Tonya,, what did Luanne say?”
Rolling her eyes at me, she took another good quaff of beer, lit a cigarette and went on - “Well it happened when Luanne and her date were on the dance floor,,”
Flip snickered and demanded - “And just what were they dancing to ?”
“Damn it, Flippy ! Let the woman speak ! Shit !”
“I want to know what they were dancing to. What song ?”
“Why the f#ck for ?” My words were loud enough to turn heads and bring Baxter back around - “Ahhhhhhhhh eevereethang cool ?”
“ Everything’s alright Bax, get us another round of everything,, please” Tonya said while shaking her head at us.
“Why the f#ck for ?” Flip loudly whispered - “Such small overlooked details are often the most important”
If this was indeed a serious concern which Tonya had sought to confide in with us, Flip and I were swiftly becoming much too slammed to attempt any meaningful, level-headed reasoning. Despite all of the weirdness, I was rather enjoying this foul weather evening well over a hundred miles from home.

“I’m serious y’all !” Tonya informed us. Flip and I were now all ears as there’s nothing more dead certain than a serious drunk, especially when she just paid for the last round.
“Well from what Luanne said, one of those freaks was drunker than hell and out on the dance floor,,” Casting a glance at Flip she continued - “And no, I don’t know what song was playing either. Anyway, Luanne told me how this freak stumbled back into the wall, catching her hair on a big plastic Holly wreath. Before she managed to get the wig back on, Luanne saw her head”
I think both of us asked at the same time - “What did she say it looked like ?”
“Like a turnip or better yet a sweet potato, with thin white hair sticking out in a topknot”
“So we could also call them potato heads ?” I laughed, then inquired about how they talked.
“I’ve never heard them say a word, it’s always the cat people who do the talking, ordering drinks, or food, or else telling curious onlookers to move along”
Remembering well Tonya’s trade, I asked - “You haven’t had any professional dealings with them, have you ?”
“Hell no !” She sharply returned - “I’d rather spend my time with drunken strangers like you, than to hook up with any of those freaks, no matter how big the benefits are”
Flip managing a somewhat serious moment himself inquired - “What about the Inn’s other guests ? What about the local patrons and staff ? What about the cops and local press ?”
Shooting down a whole triple shot, Tonya replied - “The local cops don’t come here unless there’s a disturbance and management and staff appreciate the business and tips, The guests here are mostly party types,, drunks, druggies, cheaters and a few business women like myself, but please understand I usually stay clear of those government people and damn sure don’t service the freaks”
Gulping down my mescal, I asked - “Any idea where they come from ?”
“Most of their license plates read Virginia, DC or Maryland, sometimes New York”
Snockered, Flip suddenly issued a slurring - “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
As this strange couple got up and walked by, allowing us a clear gander at them. I had already got a good look at the cat woman, but it was the other’s facial features that sent a chill down my spine. I had never seen a nose, mouth and eyes like that on another living person. His face and hands were the color of old ivory and beneath his small pointed chin was loose baggy yellowish skin which reminded me of a Lizard’s crop.

Seeing the couple had their winter wraps, Flip always being the friendly type bid them goodnight as they walked out without a word

Almost teetering off my bar stool, I threw down another good measure of mescal and asked - “And you say there’s more like that critter ?”
“They mostly stay in the deluxe rooms, but sometimes have to settle for less, there could be more of them besides those two. This weather is probably keeping them and the other riff-raff away from here tonight”
Flip calmly lit a cigarette, called out for more mescal and told me to relax.
“Relax ?”
“Yeah relax. You about fell off your perch, when those critters passed by”
“Did you see that mug ? That kind of shit doesn’t go good with a man’s drinking”
Flip laughed and reminded me - “Human-like non-human critters, they ain’t the first ones we’ve come across”
“So what do you think, Flip, alien or domestic devils ?”
Paying our bartender, the Birdman spoke to Baxter in an Elvissian dialect many of us had mastered by watching The King’s full-length featured films from the 60s - “Ahhhhahaaythere, man,,,wherrrya thank those strange Kats arrr from ?” To my surprise Baxter took no offense and replied - “Ahhhhhhhhidon’t know, man, maybeeeefrom around Alpha Centauri way, man,,, maybeee theeeey arrrrr somekindaa crazee Canadians”
Getting in on the act, I added - “Wow, thaaats wild, man,,, way-out”
Having enough of this silliness, Tonya asked - “Are they Reptilians”
“That depends on what your definition of Reptilian is as I’ve seen better looking Skinks and Copperheads”
Turning around and taking notice of Kate attempting to dip into our strange conversation, Tonya suggested we move it on over to a table..
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Number of posts : 562
Age : 64
Location : Beaverdam Creek
Humor : If necessary
Registration date : 2009-02-22

The Inn Empty
PostSubject: Re: The Inn   The Inn Icon_minitimeFri Mar 11, 2011 5:49 pm

Although some distance away from the Northern Virginians our new bar room companion still spoke in a slurring whisper - “I don’t usually discuss anything pertaining to my clientele, but last month I had a date with a young man from Charlottesville who saw some of those freaks, while he was at the vending machines, getting us some mixers. After he got back to the room we talked awhile about the turnip heads”
“So what were his thoughts concerning these critters ?” I asked while motioning over the barmaid as it was time for something to level-out the mescal.
“Hi, my name is Jenny, what can I get you ?”
Requesting a large Zombie and slipping a twenty in Jenny’s’s fingers, I asked my companions - “Tonya ? Flip ? Name yer poison” Both opted for more mescal, and chasers.
As Jenny sped away Tonya leaned in and told us that her date from Charlottesville referred to what he saw by the soda machine as a Reptilian - “He told me about some websites that have a lot of information about these Reptilians. I read some of it,, and it freaked me out”
Having breezed through some of those sites I said - “Yeah I’ve read some of that stuff too. Aliens, Reptilians and spooks of all sorts,,, who can tell for sure ? Maybe they’re not alien. Maybe they’ve been here all along. In an evolutionary sense, who knows what branch or tree some of these critters have slid down from”
“Like that cat woman” Flip asked.
“Like anybody, Flip. Like the critter years ago up at Big Meadows” I then prodded Tonya for more information regarding these strange visitors - “What about the turnip head women, surly you’ve seen a few ?”
“A few”
“Well what do they look like ?”
“Double ugly, like that one you saw a little while ago”
“What about their bodies ?”
“Tall, thin and boney, why ?”
“What about their tits ?”
“What ?” Tonya was somewhat taken aback.
“Have you seen any hint of breasts on the females ?”
“Why, wanna do one or something ?”
“Maybe after a couple of Zombies” I returned - “No really, I’m trying to make a call”
“What kind of call ?”
Watching Jenny approach with a tray full of beverages, I replied - “ To determine if these turnip heads are of an Mammalian variety, instead of Reptilian”
Clamming up until after we were served, Tonya told us - “Well I do remember one of those hags bending down to get her purse long enough to see some slab looking boobs and a bra”
Taking a long quaff from my drink, I said -“Hair and tits, they’re Mammalian alright, but probably evolving from a different species. My theory is some of these weird types have been around a lot longer than us”
“What about the cat people ?” She asked.
“Homo Sapiens” I returned - “Probably selectively bred as to be servants of sorts”

Just as we were going over more possibilities, Kate and Don moved over to the empty table beside us. Leaning over the plump little strawberry blonde said - “I couldn’t help but catch bits and pieces of your conversation at the bar. Sounds interesting what in the world are you guys talking about ?”
“Science Fiction” Flip laughed and suggested the three of us drink-up so as to continue this discussion back at our room - “We got Crown and cold beer”

Tilting back our glasses and bidding the nosey couple goodnight, we made way to a more private setting.

As the three of us were walking out Baxter was just going into his Karaoke rendition of 'Clam Bake'. Exiting the lobby, I felt not the cold as a good fire burned within me. Flip was snockered as well, staggering precariously upon the ice-slick walk “Ahhhhhhwoooooooooooooooo !” He howled - “Splitting the scene Daddeeeeeeeeoh !”

No doubt due to enough all weather practice, Tonya moved with relative ease over ice patches and various cracks and crumbles in the concrete walkway. It wasn’t even 9:00 yet and the both of us were fucked slam-up. I took full notice of that fact during my last trip to the restroom. Rising from our table, my legs turned a little rubbery thus resulting in tripping on a chair leg almost sent me crashing into an older couple’s night of trapped, but otherwise enjoyable libations. A last second swirl and sidestep kept me from falling on their table. Outside I became overly cautious, broken bones don’t tinge well with a night of glorious guzzling and for some reason, that last Zombie was not enough. Tonya followed a few steps behind us. No doubt resulting from plenty of all-weather practice, Our new friend, bounced upon the walkway with relative ease.
Catching the Birdman from slipping I said - “That’s no way to split the scene, daaddeeeeo”
“And how !” He laughed - “Like I’m already there, man”
“Oh, I can tell. Guess you’re ready to call it a night, eh ?”
“Oh hell no,, I’m just ready for more comfortable surroundings”
“Ahhh, you’re having trouble walking and want to sit down”
Mishearing us, Tonya thought we were calling it a night - “Well great. I thought we were going to have some drinks”
“Got beer and booooooooze” Flip slurred - “And you’re welcome to join us “ Attempting a wide hand sweeping bow, the Birdman’s foot slipped forward upon slick patch of ice sending him backwards hard against yet another motel room door. Struggling myself in yanking Flip to his feet, I dropped him when Tonya issued a short loud scream. Backing away from both Flip and the door, I beheld a horrible sight. Someone had pulled the curtains open as if to see who was outside. Her jaw dropped in terror, Tonya mutely pointed to what was beyond the window glass. There clad in what looked to be black silk or satin pajamas, coldly glaring at us was the cat woman. She bared her teeth like an angry Leopard and was poised as if to bound through shattering glass.

But it was what sat upon that king-sized bed that really freaked me out..
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Number of posts : 562
Age : 64
Location : Beaverdam Creek
Humor : If necessary
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The Inn Empty
PostSubject: Re: The Inn   The Inn Icon_minitimeFri Mar 11, 2011 5:53 pm

Hatless and shirtless it’s monstrous, oddly elongated head was thrust forward as to better peer through both glass and frozen mist. Underneath a thin protruding brow were strange deep-set eyes flickering a terrifying red light. Beneath a nose that appeared to be just large nostrils, a thin gash of a lipless mouth and strangely pointed chin, it’s crop was partially inflated like a toad’s and looked to be flushing in a purplish hue. Flip crawling away from the door, looked up seeing only the cat woman and not the critter sitting down shouted - “Sorry lady, I slipped !” and at that, the curtain swiftly closed.

Advising Tonya to step over the frozen puke, we entered our lodging. Immediately she took notice of the bottle of Crown Royal and asked - “Snakebite medicine ?”
“Gotta have a backup plan” I returned - “Never know where there’s gonna be reptilians”
“Oh my god !” She exclaimed, asking us while nervously lighting up a smoke - “Did y’all see that thing ?”
“Whadda want, beer or whisky ?” Flip slurred, staggering around with a Dutch brew in one hand and a clear plastic motel cup in the other.
“After laying eyes on that freaky-deek, I’ll have both” She replied. I must admit, after that bit of motel window Tom-Peepery, I was ready for a good slug.
“We need ice !” Flip announced.
“Go out to the machine and get some, that is if you trust your stride” I laughed while wrenching the plastic cup from his boney fingers. Pouring Tonya a large one, I then fixed myself one.
“Are you guys really hikers ?” She asked before taking a big gulp of the dark amber hued liquor. Grabbing the beer from Flip’s other hand I provided her with a chaser, if needed - “Sorry for asking, but there’s been a lot of weirdoes around here lately”
Pointing to my Dogwood walking stick with a carved antler Hawk’s head I assured her - “We’re just hikers, ma’am”
Looking about the deplorable condition of our room, Tonya sighed - “ I’ve really been thinking about switching locations, but a lot of my regulars request this place, because it’s out of the way”
“A place where most normal folk shun” I added.
“I’ll say” Flip chuckled, then inquired about what we saw in the window. After a brief description, the Birdman pulled out his pistol and waved it around a bit.
“Put that damned gun away !, Flippy, I think we’re safe enough for now”
“A place that normal people shun !” Flip laughed - “Weirdoes ?, we’re weirdoes alright, but not that kind of weirdo !”
“Speak no more of those devils” I said - “Let us enjoy what’s left of the night”

Convincing this intoxicated and still very freaked-out woman to join us for a little Whoodee was rather easy. Tonya told us she smoked upon occasion, tonight being one.
“Well at least I now know y’all ain’t cops” She said upon an exhale.
Issuing a mirthful bark, I informed her that some of the biggest dope heads were cops and other government employees. Hearing that, Tonya giggled and said - “Guess you’re right” Then went on to entertain us with a little tale of how she had an affair some 9 or so years ago with her boss and city councilman, - “A big coke-head, his wife caught us at this very motor lodge”
Something clicked deep in my booze addled brain as she drunkenly swore - “Fuck that bastard !”
“Yep, sho-eeenuff did, eh ?” Flip cackled.
“You know that prick fired me the next day, hoping to get back in his wife’s good graces”
For some odd reason, I became rather interested - “So what kind of work were ya doing back then ?”
“I was a secretary at a car dealership, he owned the place, or was about to. His daddy was getting ready to retire”
“And his wife caught y’all fooling around here at the Inn ?”
“Sure did and after that, his wife took him to the cleaners”
“I’ll bet sheeee did” Flip slurred then ask her - “Did you take up escorting after that ?”
“Not right away” Tonya returned - “For awhile I lived off the money, both ’Brad’ and his daddy paid me after blackmailing the both of them for me not to speak of our special working arrangement”
“Daddy too ?” Flip hissed in twisted delight.
Just when she was about to reply, I laid my hand over Tonya’s, looked into her eyes and informed her - “Yeah that Saturday morning, after Brenda caught you here, I thought she was going to claw my eyes out with her puke coated fingers”
Tonya chuckled - “Hot tempered little wildcat,,,,” Then her mouth opened in sudden surprise - “How do you know Brenda ?”
Pouring a fair measure of Crown down my gullet, I leaned back in my chair and reflected a bit.

I truly felt this was one of those long journeys that had come full circle.

“Several of us were holed-up down the road at the Colony House, that Friday evening because of a rain storm”
Leaning forward, boldly matching my stare with glassy red, yet otherwise beautiful light brown eyes - “Oh ?”
Pouring us all another round, I continued - “Two of our party went up to the Inn’s lounge that night, where they hooked up with Brenda and somehow managed to get her down at their room at the Colony House, after they got kicked out of the bar”
Taking another draw off Flip’s pipe, Tonya laughed aloud then asked - “So did Brenda revenge fuck you guys or something ?”
“No she drank too much, got sick and puked all over our friends’ room. We had a hard time bringing her around that next morning”
Placing her hand over mine, Tonya smiled - “Small world, ain’t it ?”

Very much caught up with the altitude the three of us sat drinking the bottle dry, then finishing what beer. Sure we belly-ached a bit about the state of this mountain top Inn, but after another go at the Whoodee, we praised this location as a truly charming, out of the way place that would leave a lasting memory.

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