Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Stage 7: Kings of the Road

After waiting patiently for a week, the day arrived to lay claim to my arcade prizes. I convinced my roomate Colin "CeeDawg" Campbell to come along to not only make sure this wasn't another ninja-orchestrated trap, but to help me wrangle these machines into the confines of Allan Street.

The weather was grey and rainy. Normally I don't care about the weather, but today it would play a fairly signifigant role in our operation.

We took off for Green Street and I found myself standing in a ramshackle used furniture store that also doubled as a U-Haul rental office for some bewildering reason. The staff were friendly, if not a little shady looking, and soon I was given the keys to my transportation.

The van we had been assigned was in a sorry state of repair, and that's being kind. This thing was filthy, the outside totally covered with graffiti and muck. The inside was little better, with stale cigarette smoke seared into the off-blue seats and crushed butts littering the ashtray. I knew it was bad when Cee, a chronic smoker, commented on the stench. Huzzah.

The mechanical condition of this wreck was little better. The wipers only had two settings, off and near-light-speed, which made negotiating the steady rainfall most entertaining.

The turn signals appeared to work, but were tempermental and needed coaxing to activate. The windshield leaked a near constant stream of water directly onto Cee's lap, which did little to inspire confidence, although the steady flow of profanities emitted from Cee as he tried in vain to escape this uninvited pissing-upon was rather amusing.

The pedals were in shambles. The brakes were extremely sticky, requiring almost all my weight to activate and a mere touch of the accelerator sent the van lurching forward wildly. Not exactly what you want to deal with when driving in the fog and rain in a vehicle you've never used before.

The engine gasped like an old man on his deathbed, eliciting worried looks from myself and Cee. At least the horrendous cacophony this beast made as it ambled about the parking lot assured me that if the turn signals did eventually fail as I predicted, any neighboring motorists would surely hear our catostrophic approach and swerve to avoid certain death.

Undaunted, we set sail aboard our decrepid rig for parts unknown. Cee was manning the maps and I was doing all I could to not murder passing cars and pedestrians. The game was officially afoot.

For some reason, we were barred from using the Angus L. MacDonald bridge (aka, the Old Bridge), as the crone at the U-Haul office indicated that "U-Hauls ain't allowed on there". According to the official bridge website, the bridge is open to all vehicles under 3,200kg. I had neglected to pick the van up over my head to gauge its weight before heading out, so I had to take her word for it.

Since our printed directions to Kevin's place were predicated on using the Old Bridge, Cee had to bust out his sextant and compass and plot us a new course through deepest darkest Dartmouth. Oh, and as an FYI to anyone who tries to drive a van across the New Bridge, the toll is a full $1.75, as we were so pleasantly informed by the cancer-ridden gargoyle working at the booth. Shudder.

Despite almost no visibility and an increasing feeling of dread, we managed to zip through Dartmouth pretty quickly. We resisted the natural urge to drop in on the weekend buffet at Ralph's Place - my recent visit to Kama Sutra in Montreal has turned me into a strip club snob, anyways.

Not long after that big "wheeeeeeee!" hill on the road out towards Lawrencetown, we found ourselves perilously close to our ultimate goal. Deftly maneuvering through the sculpted landscapes of this suburbia, we rolled up at the address in question.

We stepped out of the van at the foot of a monstrous gravel driveway which rolled down the hillside like the giant grey toungue of the mansion that perched ontop of the crest. As we contemplated the increasingly heavy rainfall and marvelled at the size of the house we were staring at, a man appeared from around the back of the house, cigarette in hand.

This is where things got interesting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:07 AM  

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