The road to a vacation is fraught with danger and excitement.
Since I got my Covid vaccinations last month, I was anxious to celebrate my newly acquired immunity by going on a trip. Mr. Pap Smear casually stated that he wanted to check a visit to Death Valley off his bucket list. My ears perked up, realizing that the road to Death Valley leads through Las Vegas, the home of the never-ending buffet. I was all aquiver with hungry excitement.
So, with my stomach already growling in anticipation of gorging on a fabulous LV buffet, I loaded up Queertanic with two cases of diet Mt. Dew, four dozen Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, five wigs, four sets of breasticles, 17 caftans, and my make-up case (the barest of necessities for any road trip) and we hit the road.
It was just after sunset as we crested the Apex Summit on the North end of the Las Vegas Valley, and I could clearly see the gigantic shaft of light beaming into space from the top of the Luxor pyramid. This magical sight brought a tear to my eye and a grumble to my stomach. I could literally smell the prime rib. I put Queertanic on autopilot, and she automatically steered forward on a road she knew by heart — toward the largest buffet in Vegas.
I was so hungry that I had a case of the shakes. So much so that when I tried to freshen up my lipstick, I ended up drawing a fuchsia lightning bolt across my cheek. I was utterly devastated when we arrived to find that all the buffets in the entire city were still closed due to the pandemic. I simply could not go any further. In a final act of desperation, I ended up steering Queertanic to a McDonald’s drive-thru, also extremely familiar to Queertanic and got an emergency lifesaving dozen Big Macs. Then we checked into a motel just off the strip where I had made reservations. It’s often difficult to tell what a hotel is like when you make online reservations, and I was greatly disappointed with this hotel. I feel I’m being generous to describe it as half step above a homeless shelter.
The next morning, we were off to Death Valley. The totally desolate road through the desert was devoid of all other vehicles, save Queertanic. The glaring sunlight beat down mercilessly with the intensity of a gigantic laser beam melting everything in sight. As we descended down past Furnace Creek, down past The Devil’s Cornfield and Devil’s Golf Course, (do you sense a theme here?) down to Badwater, 282 feet below sea level, the very depths of The Valley of Death, I could see the heat waves shimmering against the lifeless valley floor which seemed endless. It just so happened that the Klingon battle theme was playing on the stereo. How totally appropriate! I Halfway expected to see Ronald Reagan and John Wayne leading the 20-mule wagon train loaded with borax rounding every turn.
We stopped at the Zabriskie Point view area and had to get out of the car and climb up a hill about a hundred yards to overlook the valley. So, I got out my rolling walker and set off up the hill. It was well over 100 degrees. It’s no secret that we “big-boned” queens don’t handle heat very well. A river of sweat began gushing down from underneath my beehive wig. My mascara ran and my lipstick melted and smeared. By the time I got to the top of what seemed like Mt. Everest, I looked like a demented raccoon having her “time of the month” without the aid of a maxi pad. I must have looked quite frightening because the mother of a passing family desperately tried to shoo her children away from me.
Depleted from the climb, I sat down on the walker and shielded my eyes from the torturous sun with my hand. My Lee Press-On Nails began to melt from my fingertips. Between the shower of dripping mascara and falling fingernails, I tried to see the beauty that all the other tourists were commenting on. All I could see was an endless desert where even sagebrush wouldn’t grow. Snakes and lizards and scorpions! Oh my!
Time to return to the car. I got the brilliant idea that I could just stay sitting on the rolling walker and effortlessly ride it to the bottom. In an ever-so-delicate lady-like fashion, I mounted my buttockus maximus on the walker side-saddle and began the descent. I greatly underestimated the downhill forces nature exerted on my rolling gravity-enhanced body and, before I knew it, I was traveling dangerously down the incline at warp speed. I also discovered, too late, that I was unable to steer the walker while in a seated position. I dug in my spiked high heels in an effort to slow my descent. This resulted in a screeching sound, like fingernails on a blackboard, resounding throughout the valley. My heels threw out a shower of sparks, igniting the hem of my caftan on fire. A very hunky park ranger heard and saw my predicament and threw himself in my path, stopping my journey. Then he threw me on the ground and rolled me until the fire was out.
I returned to Vegas, singed, melted, and with my heels ground off. Not one of my best days.
This story leaves us with several important questions:
- Were my lighted breasticles jealous of the light shining from the Luxor pyramid?
- Should I have mined some borax to help me clean off the melted makeup?
- Should I market it as Petunia’s heavy-duty exfoliator?
- Is there an easier way for me to “roll” with a hunky ranger?
- Should I become a stop, drop and roll spokesperson for fire safety?
These and other eternal questions will be answered in future chapters of The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear.