Writing Challenges

Really? Is That All?

One hand gripped the wheel while the other one clutched an egg mcmuffin.

With my gaze fixed to the road, center lines flicking by, I raised the warm synthetic sandwich to my mouth and took a bite of heaven.

I was set back $3.33 for 2 McMuffins back in Swanton, VT, that little town just past the border. When the price rang up, I’d asked the cashier, “Is that all it is? For 2 of them?” and he’d replied, “Yes. It’s 2 for 1, sir”.

Question: If you can get 2 Egg McMuffins for $3, can you really be sure that you just bought food?

I pushed the thought away and swallowed. The center lines flicked by.

My thoughts turned to ‘her’ and the last time we talked. In fact, there hadn’t been much talk. Now less than 24 hours later, her and her septum ring were fading in the rearview mirror of my mind until she was just a speck and was gone.

I looked ahead at the changing landscape and my thoughts drifted back. Back to Vegas and that fucked up trip.

How much time did we actually spend there? It couldn’t have been more than 2 sleeps with the majority of the trip spent wearing out our tires on I-40.

When we first hit Vegas, the sun was coming up and we were starving. Dave parked and we all crawled out into the blazing morning sun and looked around. Across the street was a casino with a Holstein on the roof.

Holy Cow! Casino and Cafe

“How about that place?” Phil nodded towards the cow.
“Think they’re open?
“Probably. This is Vegas.”

We sat in a booth and had huge burgers for breakfast and discussed our plans. We’ll catch some sleep today, explore The Strip tonight and hit Death Valley tomorrow. We’ll rent a car to give Dave’s beat up Oldsmobile a break. We’ll spend another day in Vegas and then hit the road back east and take one day to visit the Grand Canyon. Then Memphis, Graceland and then home. Plenty of time.

“So who knows how to get to Death Valley?”
“It’s that way”, Alex pointed towards the desert.
“Well, duh. We’ll get a detailed map from the car rental place”, I said.
“How hard can it be?” Dave waved a hand dismissively. “There are only like 2 roads in the desert.”

We all laughed in our exhaustion. It was great to be here. Four friends on an adventure without a worry in the world, except maybe if Dave’s car would make the trip back to Montreal.

The first hotel was a motel on South Vegas Boulevard. Actually it was a “Motor Inn” which, even though is technically the same thing as a motel, is somehow worse and comes in dead last in the hierarchy of rooms for rent. It was the very definition of a fleabag.

The room was a complete disaster. The first hint was that the beds weren’t even made.

“Holy shit, look at this place!”
“This room is so bad, it’s great.”
“Shut up, Alex.”

We were too tired to complain, so we tried to sleep off the day and made a plan to move into a better hotel by nightfall. I managed an hour or two before giving up and going for a walk. The others didn’t do much better.

“Guys, we gotta find another place.”
“How about Circus Circus?”
“How much is it?”
“Who cares, as long as it’s not this place.”

Turned out Circus Circus was booked, but after a few hours we finally settled on some hotel with a bowling alley.

The next morning we rented a white Topaz. I took the first shift and headed north on 95 towards Death Valley. The center lines flicked by…

…the center lines flicked by as I wondered what happened to the rest of those guys. Only two of us had remained friends, while the others drifted away as the years passed.

I gripped the wheel with one hand and reached into the bag with the other. I retrieved the second McMuffin and took a bite.

————————————————-

And that is all. Really. It’s over. 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing is done. Congrats to everyone. You should all be proud! Now go see what everyone wrote today. I’m out of here.

* destroys computer *

vegas car

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  • If you leave the egg off, most sausage McMuffins are only $1 each. So you could have had three for $3. Imagine the memories then! Hooo rah!

  • Maybe your friends drifted apart after you refused to share your Egg McMuffins? The last 28 days has been great fun Mike. Thanks to you and Nicky for luring me into this little endeavour.

  • No!! That can’t be all! There’s more to that story, I know it! Damn you, Mike.

    Still, I’ve really enjoyed all your entries in this challenge, you’ve done some really great writing. 🙂

  • Tami Von Zalez

    PJ’s right – that is Mr. VZ’s trick …

  • Las Vegas – women…man, where were the women? Great story – I want to hear more , but we know what they say about what happens in Vegas…

  • Road trip story! Did you find Death Valley? Or did you decide to turn back and live to tell the tale? Now you have me wondering about people I took road trips with long ago… I wonder where they are now.

  • The best part is not having to eat that crappy egg!

  • I’ll have to check that out. I don’t think sausage McM’s are $1 here. I do they are less w/o the egg. Sausage biscuits are $1, though.

  • I’ve enjoyed these stories, and know there must be more, but I’ll give you a break. It has been a fun, but grueling month.

  • Damn, Mike. You told this whole series so well. But now I’m hungry. And kind of in the mood for a road trip.

  • That was great. I can’t wait to read about your trip to Area 51 and Graceland. I went to Graceland about seven years ago on my way to the airport after a business trip. Had a banana and peanut butter sandwich. No wonder Elvis was so fat.

    Congrats on making it through 28 days. February was a wise choice.

  • mikewjattoomanymornings

    CheesyMike, I gotta be honest here: If I was in charge of picking the winners for this competition, I’d pick Ziva first and you a very close second. Your writing has impressed, amused and intrigued me throughout this thing. I feel like I’ve met a whole new you.

    Oh, I just thought of something. Third prize is an autographed photo of you. So maybe I’d pick you for third place. Because that would be really funny to see you give yourself a picture of yourself.

  • Hey Mike! I loved the structure of this one, the shifts in focus, the mixed memories, the septum ring! Great stuff; I’ve really enjoyed your entries for the challenge. Indigo

  • But the egg is the whole point! Well, at least for me it was 🙂

  • You’re welcome, Dufus. It was really all Nicky’s fault…I mean idea.

  • Thanks, Z, it’s been alot of fun regardless of how many tantrums I’ve thrown over this challenge.

    Maybe there is more….maybe there’s an epilogue hiding somewhere. Time will tell 🙂

  • You bring up a good point and that’s probably another reason why that trip sucked.

  • Yep, people do drift. And we did find Death Valley, although that’s another story, or is it the same one…?

  • It has, and it feels very good not to have to write today 🙂

  • Thank you 🙂 And if you do take a road trip, point the car north to Montreal 🙂

  • Thanks, Lauren! Those peanut butter sandwiches most likely did Elvis in. Never did make it to Graceland myself. Maybe someday..

  • I think the universe might collapse if I give a picture of myself to myself to myself to myself….:)

    Thanks Mike, I appreciate it. The challenge really helped me to tap into some different styles this time around. It was actually amazing to see how differently everyone interpreted the themes,

  • Thanks Indigo! I just had to tie up that whole septum ring thing somehow haha.

  • MikeWJ is going around and writing this on everyone’s site!

  • There is nothing real about egg mcmuffins or Vegas, but your writing is definitely the real deal. I wish I’d been able to contribute more read every entry. It really is quite amazing how this type of challenge will mine those creative juices and what a talented group of people.

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