October 4, 2010 — It’s Day 2 of my NY Comic Con road trip, and things keep getting more Fringe by the moment. After a stopover last night in Vicksburg, I headed east. A call to my cousin in Atlanta to arrange our reunion tonight was met with a shrill, “You didn’t get very far!” Already, I’m coming up short because I didn’t leave early enough on Sunday. Whereas my mother cautions me to drive with care or stop and eat, my cousin tells me, “You’d better not drive the speed limit or it’ll take you 10 hours to get here!” I take her at her word and my pedal hits the floor. Did I mention my Prius is equipped with a radar detector?
I made great time along the rolling hills of I-20 East. Average speed 85 mph. Average miles per gallon 42.5. Apples, pretzels and Ding Dongs (delicious chocolate-flavored death) kept me alert as I worked through my iPod’s Madonna playlist. Her song “She’s Not Me” got me listening for Fringe meanings in every song that followed. During Bowling for Soup’s “1985”, all I could think of was Walter Bishop’s mullet. I bobbed and sang along with gusto until the universe sent me spinning into Fringe overdrive.
I crested a hill a few miles past Jackson (!) Mississippi and did a comic double take. Did that sign indicate an exit for “Downtown Brandon”?! I slowed a bit to catch my breath and scan the horizon. It was true. They’ve named a town along my route specifically to honor my darling Brandon, the star of Massive Dynamic’s underpaid mad scientist brigade. Here’s the proof:
Shaken though I was, the trek continued. Soon it was time to fuel up, and fate stepped in again. Welcome to Newton, MS., home of delicious beef jerky and extremely courteous shapeshifters. After filling the tank, I had to empty mine. Just to be sure that it was safe for humanity, I visited the Newton public restroom and had a good cry. Crisis averted. Those shapeshifters maintain very tidy facilities.
Very soon I crossed the Alabama state line, home of lots of RED and rolling tide of some sort, but I never saw one beach. I did see plenty of state troopers, however, somewhat hindering my ability to break the law.The Ding Dongs began to wear off, so I decided to grab a snack. There had been no recent Fringe pattern sightings, so I thought it was safe. I followed the exit sign for a Subway sandwich shop, but it had apparently been pulled “over there” by persons unknown. I opted for something called the Huddle House. I guess it’s like a Waffle House or IHOP, but with less waffles and pancakes and more huddling?
I perched myself at the bar, much like Olivia Dunham without the shot of bourbon. I didn’t see any Observers, either. But here in alter Alabama, things are not always what they seem. I’m a friendly sort. I enjoyed trading pleasantries with the hash-slinging waitresses and fellow diners seated next to me on vinyl swivel stools. An attractive 30-something African-American fellow inquired if I had gone to high school with him, because I looked like someone he knew. I get that a lot. I guess I’m somewhat generic, or perhaps part shapeshifter?
I explained my Texas origins and chatted with him about Alabama state police activities and traffic patterns. He showed me pictures on his phone of his 8-year-old daughter and his Harley Davidson motorcycle. That’s when the Huddle House became the epicenter of what I can only assume was a “cougar 9-1-1” emergency!
My new friend, Terrance, proclaimed my beauty and offered to drive across state lines to take me out. He extolled his virtue as a nice guy and even invited my cousin along for the party. I responded with surprise and laughter. But, get this, he was SERIOUS!?
“Playa’, you been pickin’ up women at the Huddle House all the time?” I asked. I hope I let him down gently. It never hurts to know someone if you ever have to get bailed out of a jam with the Alabama state police.
I arrived safely in Atlanta tonight. No date, but I do have Terrance in my celly just in case. Please ladies. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. It only works at the Huddle House.