There was poundin’ on the door.
I can’t ignore him, he won’t leave.
Through the door I say, “I know what you want, Cap’n.
“She’s not here. I threw her back.”
“Arrgh, Ya won’t mind if we look around then.”
“When did you know you were lost?” he asked.
“As soon as we didn’t get there when we should have,” I said “What kinda stupid question is that anyway?” I grinned, “We were makin’ great time though.”
“Yeah we were,” he agreed. “But how did we wind up in France?”
“France? What makes you think we’re in France? We’re in a pickup truck – we can’t get to France in a pickup truck.”
“I dunno, maybe it’s all the people speaking French?”
“That doesn’t mean anything; we could be in Haiti or New Orleans or Montreal. We are lost, remember. And, what makes you think that’s French anyway? Sounds like it could be Spanish to me!”
“Pull over,” he instructed, “let’s ask someone.”
“You don’t speak French or Spanish,” I said.
“Not since high school, anyway,” he grinned. “Come on, come on – pull over by that café.”
So I did. I pulled over to the curb, put the truck into first, set the brake and killed the engine. He got out of the cab and naturally, he leaned against the hood until a good looking girl came by.
“Excusez-moi mademoiselle.” He asked her, “Pouvez-vous s’il vous plaît me dire où nous sommes?”
She looked at him like he had just escaped from a mental ward and stepped a little closer to the building, giving him a wide berth, “La Rochelle, bien sûr.” She said hurriedly and picked up her pace to speed past.
He leaned into the window, “I think she likes me.”
“Like hell, she was lookin’ at me. What’d she say?”
“She said we’re in La Rochelle. Where’s that?”
I pulled out my iPhone and went to work. “I think she’s fuckin’ with you. La Rochelle’s in France, but dude… we only left Richmond a couple of hours ago and we haven’t even stopped for gas. No way could we be in France. Ask somebody else.”
He stood up, rapped twice on the doorframe and turned back to the sidewalk. An elderly gentleman wearing a beret and walking rather sprightly, with a cane, was approaching. “Excusez-moi monsieur, pouvez-vous me diriger vers La Rochelle?”
“Vous êtes à La Rochelle. Que faites-vous, un comédien?”
He stuck his head back in the cab. “Well?” I asked.
“The old guy says we’re in La Rochelle, dude. How can that be? What are we gonna do?” He was starting to get worried.
I pulled my phone back out and started asking Siri some serious questions. He was standing on the curb looking at stuff.
“Dude,” I called, “come here, I got a plan.”
He came back and opened the door. As he climbed into the truck he said, “The only car here with Virginia plates is your truck, man. Everybody else has funny lookin’ plates. I think these guys were right, we’re either in France or we’re in the Twilight Zone. Have you seen that Serling guy? You know who I’m talkin’ about right? I think I’m startin’ to hyperventilate.” He leaned his head down between his knees; put both hands over his mouth and started breathing deeply.
“Take it easy man,” I said, “I tell ya, I got a plan. My phone tells me that La Rochelle is on the coast, right? That means there’s a beach right?”
He thought about that and nodded.
“Let’s go get some fries and head to the beach. If we’re in France well, the beaches are topless in France. That means there’ll be tits at the beach.”
He looked at me with that thousand yard stare, no longer hyperventilating. “Yeah,” he said slowly like he was talking in his sleep. Then, picking up speed, he continued, “tits at the beach and, and fried potatoes. This has the makin’s of a great day.” A smile spread slowly across his face. “An epic day.”
I started the truck and pulled back around into the sparse traffic, heading west.
“Can we buy beer?” he asked.
“We’ll probably have to settle for wine,” I answered, “this is France, after all.”
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