A Tale Of Two Garth’s. Chapter Eight. Stolen Stereo’s and Lost Parents.
Life as usual, if you could call it that, was moving right along when I got a call from my dad informing me that he was going to marry his long time girlfriend Violet. Which I actually thought was a pretty good idea. I liked Violet, still do, and the fact that my dad was actually willing to settle down and make an honest woman out of her was a good sign. Wife number two? Not such a good sign. I actually found out about that wedding AFTER the fact. It didn’t last long. They had a huge age gap and she wanted kids and a house with a white picket fence and he didn’t. He already had me who was 17 at the time and the idea of starting all over was just not really working out in my dad’s grand scheme of things. I had moved in with him for the first time in my life during his divorce from wife #2 and I was over the young girlfriend thing. That’s when I made the Age Rule:
“No women under the age of 30 are allowed in this house.” I informed my father of this rule after wife #2 had come back trying to reclaim her vacuum. She didn’t get it. What? It was a really good vacuum. Anyhow, my dad kept to his promise. After that, the only woman he brought home to meet me was Violet.
When I first met Violet she kind of freaked me out a bit. I’m a rather animated person with a lot of energy and Violet isn’t. She’s very quiet and is more of an observer. This used to make me very nervous. And when I’m nervous, I get even more chatty. So I would overcompensate for her lack of conversation by talking faster and being even more animated than usual. Poor Violet probably thought I was on Methamphetamines. I would just be talking and waving my hands in the air trying to get her into some sort of excited state but I was probably scaring the absolute crap out of her. That child needs rehab and a hug. That was probably what Violet was thinking for a good many years. But now I’m 40 and have spent a lot of time with Violet and have not only become accustomed to her calm but also really enjoy and appreciate it.
So when my dad called me and told me they were going to have a low-key wedding in Laughlin and wanted me to come and bring Garth if I wanted, I was so excited to be a part of it. I immediately called Garth and told him the good news.
“I can’t make it,” he said over the phone.
“What? Why?” I asked.
“Because I have to work.”
“Oh…Okay,” I said back totally deflated. I really wanted him to come. After I hung up the phone I was a little pissed. I knew he had to work but damn it so did I. I was the one always taking weekends off of work to drive down and see him. All I was asking for was one weekend. Was that so hard?
So there I was, going to drive to Laughlin to my dad’s wedding alone so my dad and Violet could feel bad for me and feel the need to hang out with me. I will not be the pathetic third wheel damn it! I had two beautiful roommates. I didn’t need this shit. I had backup. Fuck you Garth! So I walked into the room Claire and Hung shared and asked Hung if she wanted to go to Laughlin for the weekend and I would provide the weed.
“Hell yeah I do!” she replied. “I’m in!” And that was it. I had a date. She was better looking that Garth, drama free, and I didn’t have to put out. This was a win win situation.
But before Hung and I could cut free from LA we had run into a little snag. Her mother. Hung’s mother was not hip on the whole idea of me taking Hung to Laughlin.
“What if she try sell you?” her mother yelled at Hung over the phone in broken English.
“Mom, Stacy is not going to sell me,” Hung said back trying not to laugh as I stood there with a confused look on my face.
“Hung, you don’t know this girl rerry well. I hear bout this sort of thing all time. She goin sell you!” This went on for quite some time so while Hung and her mother are arguing let me give you a little back story on Hung’s family. Hung’s parents are from Vietnam and Hung and her brothers were all born here in the states. She has two older brothers. One is very sweet, sane, and normal, and the other one is not. The normal one is named Steven and the bad one’s name is Chien. I have no idea why Steven was the one to get the American name but maybe Hung’s mother had another conspiracy theory she was trying to thwart.
When I had moved in with the girls I really had not heard anything about Chien. But that might have been because he was in jail for attempting to kidnap his ex-girlfriend. Talk about love. I couldn’t even get my boyfriend to take a couple of days off work and Chien was trying to kidnap his. Maybe I was with the wrong guy? But eventually Chien did get out of jail. And when he did, he made sure to visit his little sister first thing so he could steal her car stereo. I know what you’re thinking, what kind of asshole brother would do something like that to his little sister? But calm down, Chien wasn’t all bad. He did sell it back to her for $35. Can you imagine what it would have cost her to get an all new stereo? I mean he probably saved her at least a good $100 or even more. Chien, in my opinion, was a very thoughtful young man. Then there was the time Hung’s mother called to inform Hung that Chien was casing the house trying to get to her tax refund.
“My mom is crazy,” Hung said to Clair and I as she hung up the phone. A couple of days later Claire and Hung went over to Hung’s mother’s house for dinner and as they were driving down the street, sure enough Hung saw Chien hiding in the bushes just outside her mothers house.
“Is that my brother?” Hung asked Claire as they passed him in a slow roll.
“I think it is,” Claire said back to her. “Oh my God Hung your mom’s right! Look at him; he’s casing the mailbox.” Both girls started laughing but didn’t slow down. Hung had just gotten her stereo back and wasn’t planning on making the same mistake twice.
Then there was Hung’s dad. Hung’s mom stayed old school Vietnamese while Hung’s dad became very Americanized. So much so that he kept trying to talk Hung into breast implants because he was convinced that his daughters ta ta’s were far too small and she needed a little bit of work in that area. Hung held strong though and kept her chest to herself. In my opinion and in the opinion of the men that would constantly fawn all over her, she looked just fine the way she was.
With everything else going on in her life, being sold in Laughlin was the last thing that Hung needed. But then again I probably wouldn’t have even thought about it if her mom hadn’t planted the seed in my head.
“Hung, you noooooo go! She sell you. You see. Then you no cry to me!.”
“I’ll take my chances mom.” And just like that Hung and I were on our way to Laughlin.
Hung and I were driving out of LA and my dad was driving out of Orange County but we were able to meet up along the way and I followed his Toyota 4-Runner in my bright red Firebird. The Red Rocket. That’s what Hung and I had named my car. Her car was the Rice Rocket. Hey, don’t look at me; she came up with the nicknames. But nothing says “Hey cops pull me over!” like two young attractive women smoking pot in a bright red Firebird. My dad pulled into a gas station just before we hit the Point of No Return. This is the stretch of highway through the desert where if you run out of gas or break down, you’re pretty much shit out of luck. Keep in mind this was before cell phones. Yes, I’m THAT old.
“You girls better fill up before we go into the desert,” he told me in his fatherly way.
“Aren’t you going to fill up?” I asked him with my eyes so slanted from the weed I was starting to look like Hung’s mother.
“No, this truck has great gas mileage. It’ll make it. This is a great truck right here,” he said with his arm out the window patting his truck like you would pat your dog. So he and Violet went ahead and we would all meet up at the hotel. As the car was filling up, Hung and I sat in the gas station in hysterics. About what I don’t even remember. But it must have been funny.
It didn’t take long before our stoned asses made a pretty astute observation, if I do say so myself.
“Shouldn’t we have caught up to your dad by now?” Hung asked.
“Yeah, we should have.” I wasn’t driving that fast but I was definitely driving faster than he was and we should have at least seen him at this point.
“Maybe we passed him,” Hung said.
“Maybe he stopped along the way to try and find someone to buy you.” That was all it took. We laughed the entire way through the desert and all the way into Laughlin without giving my dad’s disappearance another thought.
We took our stuff out of the car and went up to the front desk of the Harrah’s. I gave the desk clerk my name and asked him if my dad had arrived yet.
“No, I’m sorry he hasn’t checked in yet.” Okay, now I was starting to get worried. Hung and I took our things upstairs and went down to the lobby and played some slots. While we were in the lobby we kept checking with the front desk and still no sign of my dad and Violet.
“Where are they? Hung, I’m starting to get really worried.” I told her. I had all kinds of horrible scenarios playing through my mind. What if they had gotten into an accident? What if a bus full of old people on a group trip highjacked them for their quarters? What if they accidentally picked up the Hitcher and Violet was currently tethered between two big rigs while my dad was trying to figure out how to save her before he ripped her in two? Ah, but none of that stuff happened. Turns out they ran out of gas. Shocker, I know. He and Violet ended up spending a good portion of the afternoon at a hot rest stop in the middle of the desert until they found a guy with a camper who had some extra tanks of gas on him.
When they walked in the front door I threw cocktail waitresses at them and sang their praises. They were alive and well and soon to be married. It was going to be a great weekend.
To be continued…
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