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New Beginnings, Chapter 9
Reply to Alex ParrishPosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list October 6, 2003
Part:1/19 "New Beginnings"
Author: Alex Parrish
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Katims, Metz and the WB. No infringement is intended. I own nothing, Trust me. Suing is futile!
Distribution: Roswell Slash Archive/Others Ask
Rating: X? Explicit sex and language
Spoilers: Nothing in particular and seasons 1,2,3 in general
Thanks: To aunty_mib, Beta extraodinaire, eh!
Summary/General: The lives of the 7 primary characters for 9 months after they leave season 3.
Summary/Chapter: The group attempts life in a RV.
Let's Go Gorving!
I guess it was my fault for even bringing the subject up; I don't know. It struck me as funny, so I shared it with Max and Liz, and it kind-of took off from there. It was a TV commercial; well, not the commercial exactly, but the internet address that flashed on the TV screen at the end of it. Perhaps I just read too fast. The address says: www.gorving.com. The first few times I saw it I laughed and wondered what the heck 'gorving' was -- maybe some new recreational activity, like snow-skiing on asphalt, or some other silly thing. It must have been the fourth or fifth time I finally realized that it was supposed to read go-RV-ing; RV as in 'recreational vehicle.' You can still see the commercial on TV even now, if you watch closely. As I said, it just struck me as funny, so I began to use the word 'gorving' in reference to the humongus RVs we saw on the road, and as a verb to describe the use of an RV, like: "Hey, there's a family gorving on their vacation," or, "That's one heck-of-a huge gorvingmobile!" After Max and Liz started using the word too, and explained it to the others, it became part of our vocabulary.
Apparently that's when Max latched on to the idea that we should be traveling and living in one of those monsters, and staying at RV camps instead of hotels. His reasoning was sound, if only to him. First, he claimed that we would be harder to track moving among the RV camps.(we have absolutely no evidence to prove or disprove that) Second, he claimed it would be cheaper than using motels all the time. Cheaper than the daily rate at a motel, yes, but you don't have to BUY the motel. Somehow, the $100,000 or more that it takes to buy one of those beasts didn't strike him as outrageous. Michael pointed out that if we spent $500 a night on motels (which was quite a bit more than we were actually spending) we could stay 200 nights -- more than six months -- in motels without reaching the initial cost of an RV, not to mention the fact that there are daily fees for parking the suckers too, Max was not convinced. Max looked into renting and leasing, but it required too much information about who we were and where we were going and when we would bring it back. That was out. Max just dismissed the cost as irrelevant, and announced that we would feel happier and more secure in our own 'place' - RV that is. Max had a burr-up-his-ass about it and he was not to be denied. He announced his plan for stealing the hundred grand we would need up-front.
We bought plane tickets for Max and Isabel (using aliases, of course) each to fly to a major city in a different part of the US. There, they would each rent a car, and, in disguise (in case there were any witnesses) they would visit as many ATMs as they could, in different parts of the city, and clean them out -- being careful to trash any surveillance cameras. We figured that if they could average $3000 to $4000 per machine -- it seemed a likely amount to us -- they only needed to hit 15 machines each; three an hour for five hours; midnight to 5 AM. Three an hour gave them plenty of time to move to a different part of town, and choose a machine from a different bank. We had been making 'special withdrawals' from ATMs all along, but never anything on this scale. It sounded do-able.
They did it.
They didn't get quite as much from each ATM as we expected, but Isabel made up for it by hitting more machines. She said she was 'on a roll.' Max, on the other hand, became paranoid about being followed, and stuck to the plan exactly, so his haul was a little under budget. Once we counted up, we sent Isabel off to a third city to make up the difference, and get us a little 'cushion.' She loved it! I think in another life she must have been a cat-burgler or a raccoon. Now, before you get all judgmental on me, you have to remember that we were not robbing any specific person or even any specific company; just the bank itself, and we rationalized that banks made such huge profits these days, that no bank was going to be hurt by loosing the trifling amount we pilfered. Think about it the next time you read your bank statement and see all those two-dollar and two-fifty charges for ATM transactions which cost the bank about eight cents. We just nullified the profit from the ATM charges for 50,000 poor suckers. When you think about it that way, it doesn't seem so bad. Almost makes me feel like Robin Hood, almost.
Max and Jesse then, each hit two banks with twenty-five grand, explaining that they had just sold a car for cash, and would need a cashier's check to buy a new vehicle. Three banks obliged for a fee, requiring only identification. One bank made Jesse open an account, which he did. That left them with four cashier's checks of twenty-five grand each, or a hundred-grand in cashier's checks. We had followed this plan many times already, in various cities, with lesser amounts, each time we traded in a van for a different one, so it was nothing new for us, only the scale was greater.
After several hours, Jesse returned with Max driving something that seemed more like a house on wheels than a motor vehicle. It was gargantuan! Ninety-eight grand had bought them a used 'motorcoach' with just over 30k miles on the odometer. It had a rear- mounted diesel engine, two air-conditioning units, TV, VCR, Stereo, a bathroom with shower, a full kitchenette (Isn't that an oxymoron?) a king-sized bed in the bedroom compartment, a rear-view camera, and it slept six.
"Whoa!" I butted in, "Repeat that last part. It sleeps how many?"
Well, it seems that was the best they could do with only one-hundred grand. The only thing bigger in that price range was high- mileage and in dubious condition. They reasoned, we could pitch a tent for the seventh person or for the sixth and seventh, and rotate sleeping arrangements. They had already bought an air mattress, and they pointed out that, in bad weather, the air mattress would fit on the floor in the 'full kitchenette' so no one would have to stay in the tent.
We piled in with our handful of belongings, and hit the road. Max was happy as a pig-in-shit. I, for one, was skeptical, but I bit my tongue. Besides the bedroom compartment which was, indeed, crammed full of a king-sized bed, and almost nothing else, there was a double bunk above the driving compartment, and the dinette folded into another double bunk. In effect, there was one private bedroom and a dormitory for the other five people. Great. Who needed privacy from the people we were traveling and living with, 24/ 7 anyway? I was eagerly looking forward to our first chance to share the 'dorm' with another couple (NOT!) Even more attractive to me was the miniscule cupboard that passed for a bathroom -- with shower, mind you. With three women along, I figured I might get to use the bathroom sometime around, say, November.
Liz and Maria made a joint announcement that neither of them would be driving this behemoth, ever. Michael, on the other hand, was anxious to get behind the wheel. I cringed. I also suggested we name it "Titanic." The name stuck.
In addition to its long list of features, Titanic came complete with linens, dishes, cookware, and a frightening collection of soft-rock/ pop/country-western/combo-crossover tapes. I cringed again. What Titanic did NOT come with, however, was a tank full of fuel. I don't know if you've noticed this little rip-off by the oil-conglomerates yet, but it seems that diesel fuel, now costs just as much as regular gasoline, and Titanic had a great thirst for it. Even Max was shocked at that first fill-up -- he tried to act all cool about it, but I saw the expression on his face as he watched the dial on the pump go higher, and higher, and higher.
Now, a word or two about gorving camps. All the advertisements would have you believe that each camp has been apportioned a little slice of the Garden of Eden. All the places we stayed were either a little slice of WalMart's parking lot, or else, a little slice of an Ozark mining camp. Nothing in-between. There were two kinds of people in these gorving camps (besides us.) There were middle-aged couples on their allotted yearly two-week vacation, trying to cram in a circle tour of the US with their 12 children -- all between the ages of 'silly and annoying' and 'totally impossible.' And none of those kids knew how to speak below a shriek. The other kind of people at gorving camps were elderly retired couples with more dollars than sense, who had sunk their life-savings into these gorvingmobiles, and, BY GOD, they were going to TRAVEL, no matter what. They were all lonely, having left family and friends back home in Peoria, and just wanted to talk with you, except that, they couldn't hear you, and weren't listening anyway. But, they were TRAVELING. This became clear to me on our second morning, when I witnessed one such couple breaking camp to move on. Here was this frail 70-something lady practically lifting her husband into the driver's seat, with his walker beside him and his oxygen tank in tow. It took him ten minutes to regain his breath enough to start the engine. And, they were heading for the interstate. If that isn't enough to make you want to just stay home, I don't know what is!
Fortunately, nearly all of these camps had communal bathroom and shower facilities available. I can't recall that I ever used the shower in Titanic -- somehow my turn just never came up. And the scheduling for sleeping spaces wasn't much better. The first night that I finally got the real bedroom -- with king-sized bed -- turned out to be a night that had Max sleeping with Liz. Thanks-a-lot! I did some trading and dealing and managed to get the schedule changed a little. It turns out that I actually preferred to use the tent; at least there was the illusion of privacy, unlike the 'dorm' in Titanic. None of the women liked sleeping in the tent, which worked to my advantage, because I could usually score a trade.
It took about three days for our nerves to frazzle enough to generate a fight. Maria and Michael succumbed first with a spat about -- gee, I can't even remember -- it was about nothing, really. In short order, Liz accused Max of always siding with Michael, and he pointed out that she and Maria always ganged-up against Michael, and the show was on. Fortunately, I was driving with Jesse riding shotgun and navigating, so we were too busy to engage. Isabel hid in a corner and, I think, took notes. Let me tell you, no matter how huge it appears to be, a gorvingmobile is way too small an arena to accommodate two fights simultaneously. It just can't be done. They had to call for a cease-fire and re-start when we reached camp and they could take it outside. That was a lovely evening -- both Max and Michael wanted to join me in the tent. And, this was just the first of many such lovely days. I don't know whether that particular vehicle was cursed, or proximity just caught up with us, but it was two of the most miserable weeks we spent all summer. Yes, I said two weeks. After two weeks, even Max agreed that Titanic just wasn't working out and that we should sell her -- at a loss if necessary -- and go back to our old routine.
One other incident stands out in my mind from Titanic's tenure, and I won't forget it as long as I live. Privacy being in such short supply -- and Titanic's walls were made of cardboard, I think, so even the "bedroom" was only out-of-sight, not out-of-earshot -- sex had become scarce also. Early one afternoon, all three of the women decided that they would go boating on the lake at our camp. Michael was snoozing in a conveniently-placed hammock, and Jesse was at a picnic table, absorbed in a book. Max and I decided to seize the opportunity for an afternoon "quickie" and commandeered the bedroom, carefully locking the door as though locks meant anything to aliens. We were well underway, and oblivious to distraction when, all of a sudden, the bedroom door flew open and there stood Isabel. As her mind began to register what her eyes were seeing, she stood there incredulous, immobile, with a shocked expression like a deer in the headlights. Apparently, she was ill-prepared to see her baby-brother naked with his ass in the air and his head on the mattress and me behind him playing 'hide-the-sausage' in her baby-brother's bottom. Max's head had been turned away from the door, so it took him a moment to understand that someone had opened the door. When he turned he yelled, "Isabel, get the hell out of here!" and he threw a pillow at her. I didn't know what to do, so I just continued doing what I was doing -- I didn't miss a beat. She let out a shriek and turned and ran, slamming the door as she went. I could hear her screaming all the way to -- I don't know -- I guess to where Jesse was. At that point Max began to laugh, and so did I and we definitely couldn't continue exactly as we were. We took a break to laugh ourselves silly, and then finished what we had set out to do. As we came out of Titanic, Max made a show of tucking-in his shirt and fastening his belt, I think just to see how embarrassed he could make his sister. She was pretty damned embarrassed. She was glowing red and couldn't even look in our direction. I think she averted her eyes from us for two whole days. Max enjoyed torturing her about it the whole time. After regaling everyone with the whole story (well, he left out SOME details) he continued to say things that would allude to the incident like -- when someone went into the bedroom or bathroom, he would call out "Be sure to lock the door," and then he would add, "Oh, never mind, don't bother." He didn't have to name names. Six of us would snicker and Isabel would blush like a bride. I just wish I had a snapshot of Isabel's face as she opened that door. That would have to be the defining moment in our gorving adventure.
It took two days for Max and Jesse to find a sucker to buy Titanic, and we took a big financial hit on that sale, but I think everyone was genuinely glad to be back into a van and taking motel rooms. I know I sure was.
From then on, gorving took on a new meaning. It became a code-word for sneaking off for a quickie, but whenever anyone said the word, Isabel still blushed and Max snickered.
Continue to Chapter 10
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