**** i'm sitting here, two weeks after the fact, almost cursing at myself for not finishing this sooner. two weeks! i'm sorry to anyone who's been waiting for the missing link. i was on the road, i've been too busy, ect. pick an excuse. but you're getting it now. pt nine will hopefully come tomorrow. i'm gonna do my best to recollect all of this, so bear with me. **** early friday morning, kelly and i sat in my car, driving 80 mph towards the great northwest. we'd just gotten on the road. once the initial, 'we're so excited to be on the road' conversation wained, i put on some of my old band's cds to keep practicing for the upcoming reuninon show. it was a beautiful day out. we had the windows down, our hair was blowing this way and that. i sang at the top of my lungs and kelly grimmaced at what must have been an excruciating experience to sit through. a couple hours later, we decided we were hungry and that we should stop in bakersfield for some food. we debated fast food resturants and finally decided on long john silver's. it was my favorite resturant when i was a kid. hadn't eaten there in years and a bucket of hush puppies had my name all over it. we went through the drive thru and opted to park with the car running as we hurriedly ate. just as i was going to say, 'this sucks', the car came to a sudden hault. i looked at kelly, she looked back, and i gave the key a turn. nothing. again. nothing. i found myself saying, 'this sucks' anyway, but this time it wasn't about the food. i got of out the car and looked under the hood. why i did that? i don't know. i don't know the first thing about cars, yet (and i know i'm not the only one) when the car breaks down, you under that fucking hood and stare at the jarbled mess as if that's gonna miraculously fix something, and it didn't, but i tried. being one that is accustomed to being stranded on the side of the road, i wasn't too surprised by the situation. kelly and i both had high hopes at that point that it was gonna be a minor problem and we'd be back on the road with in the hour. we walked over to a gas station and then a auto parts store. we pryed for answers and easy solutions, but there were none. no one in the town seemed to own a car that wasn't built in the nineties. after a few hours of debate and wasting money on possible cheap fixes, we decided to break down and call for a tow/fix. i grabbed a phonebook. it was 4pm on the friday before memorial weekend in a small town. half the shops were closed and the ones i did get through to promised tuesday as the earliest it could be fixed. it seemed inevitable that the trip would be off. kelly and i sat on the floor of the auto parts store, head in hands, sad and pissed. finally i looked up at the clerk and asked, 'what town is this?' 'bakerfield,' he said and then it hit me. i've got a friend here! i called brianne. she was in l.a., but gave me a number to a shop and said she'd be back in town in a few hours. we were welcome to stay at her place if need be. i called the shop and they were the heroes she'd promised. a pink and lime green in and ex-teriored tow truck showed up a mere 45 min later. we entertained the mexican behind the wheel with stories of an unbreakable car and embarrasing puke incidents. we arrived at the shop and hope still remained. the mechanics hopped right in, but within another 30 min, we got the news. it was a bad problem. i.e. not cheap and not today. he said saturday at best and that it would cost $500. fucking distributers! i called brianne and told her we'd need the place to crash after all. she said she'd be back in town by 9pm, it was 6pm. one of the mechanics at the shop gave us a ride downtown and dropped us off. kelly and i wandered around until finally settling down on a street corner. i began making phone calls. i called natalie in seattle and told her the trip was cancelled. i called kate and told her the same. both tried to entertain me, but there was no entertainment to be had, at least on the phone. we sat for a good hour. i read wizard magazine as kelly 'groomed' me. it was weird. we decided we needed to eat again and went over to a taco place. we drank beers and stared at rednecks. after that we hung outside of a pizza place that was having a punk show. we sat on the sidewalk as 16 yr old after 16 yr old walked by, not paying us any attention. we questioned whether or not we were old and then brianne called. she picked us up at nine and took us back to her house. we met her mother (nice and a little strange, like any good mom) and relaxed for a bit. brianne was off making plans for the evening. kelly passed out and i tried to write. at 11pm our taxi cab arrived. brianne was gonna show us the bakersfield nightlife. on the ride over, the cabbie went on and on about his love and admiration for his daughter. everyone couldn't help but ooh and aww and i couldn't help but question what the world would be like if everyone was like him. he seemed genuine enough. it was sweet. then i questioned if he was for real. we got dropped off at this club where a 'show' was going on. we walked up and there were a few kids meandering out front. we met brianne's buddies, three other ladies, who were nice enough to direct us to the dollar beer. we bought some and filed into the show room to watch the band. they were a poor excuse for a mtachbox 20 ripoff. the room was stifled, but you could tell, this was probably quality entertainment in this town. during their last song, the extremely overweight drummer got up and played violin and completely fucking blew everybody away! i swear to god, i'd never seen anything like it. the dude was the van halen of hick violin. we decided to split. we piled into one of brianne's friend's cars and drove downtown. they were taking us to the new gay club that had just opened. i thought, 'great, i'm just gonna get hit on all night,' (cuz the gays love me) and i did. three times. one guy even put his hand on my dick and kissed my ear at the sametime. a bit erotic, yes, but not interested. i drank tequila all night. several shots, several margaritas. about half the men weren't even wearing a shirt. the dj, though, was surprisingly one of the best hip hop dj's i'd ever seen, but of couse, given the circumstances, he had to throw in some madonna and george michael for good measure. i danced with one of brianne's friends for a while and traded playful winks with kelly. it was fun, but after a while, the ladies decided to drag us to another bar. when we walked outside, i realized how drunk i'd gotten and tried to flirt with this really cute underage girl trying to sneak into the bar we'd just left. i gave her my i.d. (the one where i'm 16 and have long hair) and said try this. the door guy didn't let her in, but grabbed my ass and flirted with me instead. we walked down around the block to the other bar. it was a lot like the cha cha or shortstop of bakersfiels. the rocker kids were hanging out and they had a decent juke box. i ordered another shot of tequila and we all headed to the back porch to smoke. we ran into a couple local boys the brianne was friends with and kelly thought were cute. we decided to end the evening, rather than standing around, on the dance floor, so we headed back over to the gay bar. the more i got drunk, the more i was convinced that brianne's friend was trying to hook up with me. i was making subtle hints, but have a hard time taking any sort of action when i'm in that state. i'd rather vegetate in the corner. i came to realize that i was out of the question when she discovered the bartender with no shirt and the hollywood body wasn't gay and gave him her phone number witha note attached that said, "here's my number, i'm not a bar slut, swear!" i had one more drink and then stumbled back outside right before closing. kate called me, and i sat on the ground and happily talked to her as my friends looked for me, smiling and hiding. after about 15 min, our conversation was over and i joined back up with everyone else. we piled in the car and went back to brianne's. i passed out in the car. once inside, i sat on the couch and within minutes was passed out again. i woke up the next morning, cuddling kelly, with absolutely no idea of how i'd gotten there. after we'd all freshened up, i begged brianne to take us to get coffee, and she did.