We’d both had truly terrible weeks and needed to blow off steam. My best friend Betty and I decided on a whim to drive up to St. Augustine from Tampa Bay where we lived. Betty was originally from Buffalo, NY and we’d met at the mall coffee shop we used to work in together. She was a couple years older than me, wiry with a tough attitude I secretly envied and long wavy bleached blonde hair. Everything was wonderful and everything was funny. We giggled at the names of towns we drove through, like Homosassa Springs and Howie-in-the-Hills. Never have hyphens seemed so hilarious. We took turns picking CDs, but Alphabet Aerobics was required listening when entering the highway and accelerating.
We made it out to Daytona Beach around one in the morning, changed clothes and got dolled up in a 7-Eleven bathroom, and hit a club before it closed. After only a couple minutes in the club, Betty and I learned that alcohol sales stopped at 2 AM in that county, not the 2 AM we were used to where we lived. We ran out of the club to my car, and drove as fast as we could to the liquor store the bouncer had directed us to, and made our 6-pack purchase at 1:59. Betty called the mad dash to get there our own Daytona 500.
We drank our Miller High Life in a bottle club, laughing and dancing and toasting one another as “the champagne of chicas”. We made a thousand promises to stay friends and keep in touch and we got some guy to buy our music selections on the jukebox. As the club started to close, he offered us his couch to crash on.
We followed him in my car, first to a 24-hour grocery store and then to his house. Betty and I took down his license number and the information from his driver’s license, thinking he’d be less likely to try something if knew we planned to report it. Standing in a grocery store parking lot at 4 in the morning and munching on a bag of Tostitos, Betty turned to me and said, “We’re about to get axe murdered. Would you like a chip?”
stay tuned for Part Two coming later in August.
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