A month or so ago, a friend had a Moth inspired story night at her house. I decided to write a story about a major event in my former life and it has an interesting ending. For those who don’t know about the Moth, check it.
Scene: 19 year old Jeremiah on a payphone…for you younger readers that is a phone you paid to use, in gas stations often.
I had just called Brandy to tell her that I was only now in town at 8 pm. That I got a lot of short rides and therefore missed lunch by about 8 hours but finally got a long ride. An interesting ride where I drove a stranger’s truck from Anchor Point up to town at 80 miles an hour on curvy ocean side roads following the owner after meeting him and his spoiled miniature pincher just 20 min before, on the side of the road. After waiting nearly 6 hours for a hitch.
I hoped to see her lovely face one last time before I left for the lower 48. To once again feel her breasts against mine although mine were much smaller after 6 weeks of hitchhiking in the Great White North. I liked her hippie smell and that belly button ring I helped pick out of the collection and put in. Course I was sober and clean now and even as a certified ass wiper as she called herself she would have made me smoke my greens like any good older woman. So maybe it was best it took me all day to get up the Kenai Peninsula. Plus she… well… she had rejected me for a girl. A small beautiful blonde girl. I couldn’t blame her. The wound was a little fresh; this was just a few months back. But wound or not that was in the past. I had other less solid plans for life now
I hung up the pay phone and walked to the toilet to fill up my dirty Nalgene with water to finally mix the Kool-Aid powder that been in there for hours and use the toilet before the city bus toward Palmer came. The last bus of the night and it would get me to a nice spot to hitch towards Tok or more likely camp near the road under the midnight sun.
I waved at the clerk who I had met just a couple minutes ago and spent no money with and started crossing the parking lot and street, giggling to myself thinking what if my pack was gone… It had become a burden really. I was in a big city after camping in the woods of small towns for 6 weeks, but who is going to steal a massive bag of smelly clothes, travel brochures, heavy camping gear and horrible writings.
What would I do if…ha-Ha…if it was gone and I was left with nothing.
As I crossed and reached the point where I could see over the road, my 100 pound Kelty pack of nearly all my earthly possessions wasn’t there. Oh I must have put it there…. No-o
Wait…Umm… there’s my sandwich. They ran this way.
Oh, holy f- bomb its gone, Batman.
Or maybe they drove away down Tudor and just threw the stale peanut sandwich over here to throw me off the trail…I saw that on TV once.
I calmed down and checked with the furrier if they saw anything or their surveillance cameras had any footage. I looked around. It was the only place close. They had to have seen something. I ran behind the business and through the apartment complex where only one place’s shades were drawn. I was not about to knock on their door and say something like, “Hi, I had a backpack and I think you just stole it. Can I have it back, please? Or I’m going to tell the teacher!”
Nope, I had the clothes I was wearing, a credit card and my driver’s license. Thank God for those street smarts I learned somewhere. Oh and my stale peanut butter sandwich that was in the middle of the furrier’s parking lot. And don’t forget the Kool- aid…
So I called a friend’s family who I had met twice before and asked if I could spend the night.
Luckily they said yes, and as I stayed up late for days with my platonic best friends younger sisters teaching them the finer points of online chat and how to pose as a 14 year old blonde girl from Alabama. I remembered all that was in my pack.
Plane ticket Juneau to Seattle…just purchased the day before.
Steel 35 mm Camera
14 rolls of film.
Library copy of Kurt Vonnegut book
Kmart pup Tent
Patched and 30 times re-sown Carharts
5 lb sleeping bag
Some cool rocks
My hand carved and sanded diamond willow hiking stick… This thing was amazing. It had like a y-shaped handle on top so it was like a cane but it also was a little long so it worked well for hiking steep trails, and was great entertainment for hours when no car was passing. But I digress.
I called my mom and sister and let them know what trouble I was in now. I filed a police report…and was told “Sorry, you ain’t gonna get them things back, boy. Did you know there is bad apartments right there, son?”
I canceled my passport, credit card, bank card, checkbook, plane ticket…and had most reissued.
For 4 days, I returned to the scene of the crime and the low income apartments and dumpster dove for my film and journal. I never found anything, which was disappointing, but the worst had not yet come.
The last day I was in Anchorage, I called my bank to check the balance as I was traveling to family in California slowly. I had approximately negative $985 in my account. Apparently my bank did not actually get the memo about the checkbook being stolen and were not only fulfilling the checks, but charging me overdraft fees when they did.
Out of 25 checks in a checkbook, I had 24 left. They were written to Tony Roma’s rib shack, Kmart, Fred Meyers, corner markets, a hair dresser in Palmer and 7 were written to WalMart. 7 checks totaling 3500 dollars were written to WalMart. 6 driver’s license numbers were used. 5 spellings of my name (written on top of the check). Over a 4 day period. It was like 7 days of Christmas or something! (I was about to explode in 3…2…1)
Luckily I have a great family, who was willing to learn the intricacies and fees of Western Union. They got me some money as I traveled by plane from Juneau to Seattle to Portland to San Fran and down to central coast Cali.
There my aunt and uncle housed me while I found a temporary warehouse job. My paralegal aunt called and dealt with most of the affidavits I had to deal with. The 50 or so affidavits, one for each check plus the multiple for WalMart who claimed to never receive them. When I left my aunt’s place two months later, WalMart, which was largest corporation that received a bad check…was also the only company to not clear my credit for 7 years.
And that is why I haven’t shopped more than twice at Wal-Mart since 1999.
Oh, and Brandy, what happened to her?
Well, the week I spent in Anchorage while I was looking for my stuff. She randomly passed me on the Seward Highway and picked me up while I was hitchhiking. We probably had an amazing couple hangout times that week. But I don’t remember that. Just the bad things.
And a post script. As I was writing this a few weeks ago, I was thinking I need to Google B, and see what she is up to, where, when and how she is up to. That Sunday I was procrastinating life by looking on Facebook, where I had a friend request from one Miss Brandy R——-. It was both shocking and amazing. Mostly for the fact she previously had the internet footprint of an eight month old and because fate doesn’t work like that in my life. We talked later that week…her voice sounded as friendly as ever! And her jokes were just as horrible as I remembered! It’s amazing when the cosmos align.