This crew consisted of Lisa Whitaker, Lori D., Nicole Morgan, Faye Jaime, Van Nguyen, Vanessa Torres, Amy Caron, and me, and on the return trip we smuggled Nugget across the Canadian border-Nugget is a person and a star of skate majesty reigning from Canada. Now listen closely because someday this could happen to you. I think it started at the In-N-Out Burger or perhaps it was long before-a war was waged between vehicles. Faye, a member of the Impala posse, and Vanessa, devoted rider of the Crown Vic, sat across from each other amongst the rest of us at a crowded picnic table. The wind was whipping cold air through the narrow corridor where we were huddled eating burgers and fries. In blew the In-N-Out security guard-perhaps his keen senses smelled trouble in the air.
“It gets even colder here in the winter,” he offered without any prompting. “Why, it gets so cold here, the penguins migrate to this very spot.” He laughed alone and faded into a crowd of happy customers.
His exit prompted Faye to throw a fistful of fries at Vanessa’s face, getting salt in her eyes. Vanessa didn’t bother with the food fight; on account of the sting, she went straight in for the headlock and a one-two punch. Mr. Security hurried back over. Faye, having been released from Vanessa’s grip, assured him that the penguins would clean up the fries. This seemed to satisfy him, and I wondered if he didn’t believe in the penguins after all.
So it all began, one car against the other, and this is how it went. We were at a skatepark just outside of Seattle. Vanessa, Amy, and Van were shredding, if you will; meanwhile, Faye was doing crosswords and eating peanuts, Lori D. was drawing up a storyboard for the parade we were organizing and filming in Canada for our upcoming video, Lisa and Nicole were filming, and I was taking photos. A typical tour day, until Nicole suggested we go canoeing at our friend Wil’s house in Monroe, Washington, an hour away.
During the commute, walkie-talkie battles started right up. I called up the Crown Vic, “Do you all like celery and peanut butter?” They gave it some thought and gradually relayed to us that, yes, they did like celery with peanut butter.
At a stoplight five minutes later, I lathered up a piece of celery with runny peanut butter for Faye. As soon as the celery was loaded, she flew out the door and did a run-by-shooting of peanut butter-lathered celery at the Crown Vic windshield. Back in the Impala, we all had a good laugh-a somewhat nervous laugh-as the celery slid down their windshield, smearing peanut butter like a slug as it traveled. The clouds kicked out a drizzly rain, and the Crown Vic kids were forced to use their windshield wipers. The swishing blades smeared a peanut butter rainbow that we could just barely see their aggravated faces through. Later, when the incident had moved to the backs of our minds, slices of peanut butter-covered bread slammed into and stuck to every window of the Impala and scared the noodles out of us.
We arrived at Wil’s house despite being unable to see out of the car windows. The canoe ride commenced immediately as the sun was eager to set. The Crown Vicians were suspicious of us and wanted nothing to do with a capsizing canoe, so all four of us brave Impala warriors loaded ourselves into the two-man canoe with Wil as our guide. The river water was nearly to the lip of the canoe as the rain poured down, and every time Faye twitched a muscle, I resorted to yelling. Faye began whispering that she was sure the others were stalking us with water balloons along the river edges. Rather than getting out at the boat launch, where they would surely be waiting to ambush us, we saddled up to the bank and emptied out of the canoe. With a mud ball in each hand, we moved in slowly through the brush for a sneak attack. Drawing near, we could see the Crown Vic surrounded by cows that were licking peanut butter off the window. We didn’t see the organized war party thhat Faye had described-the girls were scattered, Vanessa was on the phone. We launched our mud balls anyway, but there was no counterattack. It was time to assess the scene.
“Watch out for the fence,” they warned as we approached. “It’s electric.” We ducked under it one by one, except for Faye who was missing in action. The girls, it turned out, had been battling cows and electrocution-each of them had unwittingly grabbed the electric fence while ducking under it. We apologized for having opened fire on the innocent and waited for Faye, our fearless leader. We were all distracted with herding cows away from the car when a yelp was heard echoing through the forest. We looked in the direction of the cry to find Faye squeezing her hand after having grabbed the electric fence.
Somehow the shock of the electric fence changed all of us, and we were united in our quest. The radio wars were still fought, Faye and Vanessa still boxed at every gas station, Amy still called us bitches, but when we sat down for meals there was a feeling of camaraderie and respect for the duration of the trip.