The road to California is fraught with danger and excitement.
On the Sunday preceding Christmas, my company called upon me to deliver a 9,000 pound piece of industrial something or other from Salt Lake City to the Bay Area in California. Well, what with Utah being Utah, and the Bay Area being the Mecca of our people, I clutched my emergency overnight/bathhouse accessory bag and rushed to the office as fast as my land yacht, Queertanic, could take me.
Complicating things was an approaching storm, and having previously been caught in Donner Pass during a snow storm, I preferred to forgo an encore. I was hastily strapping the piece of equipment onto the truck, when tragedy struck: My hand slipped and I broke a nail.
A lesser queen might have broken down into sobbing heap of polyester and glitter, but I did not have time for a “Lifetime, Movie of the Week” meltdown. There were parts to haul, storms to beat and men in need of comfort.
Summoning snippets of knowledge gleaned from viewing my vast library of porno movies, I was able to master the strapping down action that should come naturally to our people, what with all the use of leather straps and harnesses, etc. I then secured the piece of equipment firmly to the truck. I can be amazingly butch when the occasion arises — though in truth, securing 9,000 pounds of equipment is nothing compared to setting the table for high tea.
As I finally got on the road toward the Golden State, I noticed that the immense size of the equipment was making it catch a lot of head wind, thus forcing the truck engine to work harder than usual to maintain a suitable cruising speed. When I passed through Wendover, I had about half a tank of gas and thought that I could easily make the next 69 miles to Wells, Nevada, thus onward, ever onward! To my dismay, as I reached Oasis, Nevada, the low fuel alarm rang out.
OH CRAP! I had made a serious misjudgment which was going to lead to my being stranded along Interstate 80, out of gas and with a storm approaching. I still had to climb the 2,000 foot Pequop Summit and cross another valley before I would reach Wells, civilization and precious gasoline. I slowed down the truck and tried to keep the RPMs below 2,500 in order to conserve what little gas I had left. Like a geriatric queen who needs a gentle helping hand to rise up from her customary serviceable kneeling position, I proceeded very gingerly at 25 miles per hour up the mountain, letting all others pass me by. I was greatly relieved upon mounting the summit, thinking that it was all downhill from there.
Next, I coasted down the other side of the mountain and reached the valley floor, again proceeding slowly to conserve fuel. Ahead, however, looming ominously like Black Gates of Mordor, were a few remaining hills that stood between me and salvation. Can I make it, I wondered. The engine began to sputter. I pumped the gas pedal gently with my size 13 ruby slippers while chanting, “There’s no place like Wells. There’s no place like Wells.”
With the truck proceeding at a snail’s pace, I reached the top of these hills, and saw a road sign that said “Death Star Valley.” Being a huge Star Wars fan, I was very impressed that someone would actually give that name to a forbiddingly lifeless desert valley. And how appropriate that name was at that moment: just then, the engine breathed its last few desperate gasps and died. Suddenly I heard the voice of Obi Wan Kenobi: “USE THE FORCE PETUNIA and coast within walking distance of the gas stations in Wells.” So I quickly threw the transmission into neutral and began to coast down the slight slope. A few miles later, I stood corrected when a second road sign actually read “Deeth and Starr Valley. ” I was disappointed about the lack of a Star Wars reference, but encouraged by the fact that the truck was still moving forward — albeit at 10 mph. MAY THE FORCE STAY WITH ME! With my emergency flashers blinking more wildly than light sabers in a duel, I did not give up my spot in the right hand lane, thus forcing all other traffic to swerve around me, lest the rumble strip at the edge slow my forward momentum.
Amazingly, I was able to coast several miles, all the way into the gas station to a blessedly vacant pump, and to the applause of a couple of other drivers who had realized what was happening. Apparently, God really does look out for children, fools and drag queens with heavy equipment. Right then and there at the Flying J, I summoned my inner Scarlet O’Hara and I committed to myself, AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I’LL NEVER RUN OUT OF GAS AGAIN! I filled up the tank, replenished my Diet Coke mug, called and made an appointment for an emergency manicure and drove on, putting off thinking about the slick road that undoubtedly lay ahead in Donner Pass and the people I might be forced to eat should I get stuck. For after all, tomorrow is another day!
Like always these events leave us with many eternal questions:
1. Is fighting a head wind the same as giving head?
2. Could helping an old queen up off her knees be considered a good deed for the day by the Boy Scouts?
3. Is coasting down the mountain the same as “going down” on the mountain?
4. Should we petition Nevada to rename the place Death Star Valley?
5. Would Darth Vader be the sheriff?
6. If I hiked up my skirts and showed some leg would I attract or repel help?
7. How many laws did I break by not pulling over?
These and other important questions to be answered in future chapters of “The Perils of Petunia Pap-Smear.”