The History of Twin Bayous – Welcome Home
I will say without a doubt, that Wendy Dawson and I had a marvelous time in Al-Simhara.
But we only had a three-day visa and we needed to return home. I suggested that we go to Lucky Palms. I had “friends” there who owed me and who could help us in case of trouble.
Upon arriving back in the States, we needed to change planes at JFK and first needed to collect our luggage to go through customs. It was really only our dirty laundry that we needed to collect, as Wendy carried the important stuff in her carry-on. I was the first to notice him, standing in the Pan Am baggage claim area.
Wendy must have also seen Mr. Monday, because before I had a chance to say a word, Wendy grabbed me by the crook of my arm and led me in the direction of the Hertz Rent-a-Car. Not sure whether he had seen us or not, before we got to the counter, I switched places and guided Wendy out the terminal doors. Quickly the two of us hopped on a bus that was marked “La Guardia”. It was at the other NYC airport that we rented a car and headed west as fast as we could. We both knew what was going on: Late-night teevee personality Elvira Richland had hired dirty cop, Joe Monday to track us down.
We each took turns on and off driving throughout the night. I was planning to continue west through Saint-Louisim before I turned over the wheel to Wendy and dozed off. So when I awoke at sunrise, I was surprised to learn that we were somewhere in Tennesimmia.
I asked Wendy to pull over so I could figure out where we were. She pulled off the highway and stopped in front of a very large and stately looking mansion. I pulled out my phone and found our location on the map app: Moonshine Falls, Tennesimmia.
I finally realized what was going on when Wendy commented as she looked over the grounds of the mansion… “It is just the way I remember it. Nothing ever changes in good old Moonshine Falls.” and then she gave me one of her pretty smiles and said “Come on let’s get some breakfast.”
As we got back in the car and continued into the heart of town, Wendy explained to me that this was her hometown. She had been born and raised in Moonshine Falls. She ran away from home when she was 16 -years old. The year was 1966. Now in 1980, Wendy Dawson was returning home for the first time in fifteen years.
I really had to pee and so we stopped first at the bus station. I was a little angry at her so when I came out I asked Wendy why did she not just tell me that she was planning to come here. She told me that she had actually forgotten about this place and that she must have made a wrong turn somewhere in Maryland last night. She insisted that this was not planned.
I knew that I was hungry and a little cranky so I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. I asked her for directions to the nearest diner. It turned out that the nearest diner, Julia’s diner, was the only diner in town.
The place was less than a block from the only motel in town and the breakfast menu was a simple hearty, country fare for a reasonable price.
Wendy said, “Think of the money we’ll save hiding out in Moonshine Falls rather than Lucky Palms.”
I could not argue with her, especially considering that I was enjoying the hell out of this breakfast. Also, I had noted at the bus station that the current temperature here was 78 degrees and that today Lucky Palms was expecting a high of 103. I told Wendy that I was okay with staying in Moonshine Falls for at least a few days.
As we were getting ready to leave, the waitress came out to tell Wendy that her card had been declined. I told the woman that I would take care of the check. (It was later that night that it hit me that Wendy had intentionally used the card that she already knew was bad and that it would catch the attention of the waitress she was back in town. Wendy was a fox, but she couldn’t out fox me!)
Then the woman said to Wendy: “Girl, I think I know you!” I thought: “Oh, oh, we got a problem.” Then the woman said: “Wendy? Wendy Barrie? It’s me, Maria Vito! Only I’m Maria Goombah now.”
Wendy responded in the affirmative (it was actually sort of a squeal) and when she did that I knew that this was my cue to have a seat as this little reunion could take a little while.
Wendy Barrie and her best friend from high school, Maria Vito had not seen one another in a decade and a half. There was a lot to catch up on.
This reunion was followed by the sudden appearance of former boyfriend, Mark Clemens.
Mark was a senior in high school when he and Wendy dated. So far, she had not told me why she ran away from home during her sophomore year, but from the tone of the conversation I was not getting that Wendy left because of anything that Mark had done.
Mark, a veteran of the war in Vietnam, was now an unemployed, unpublished novelist and married to the woman who owned Julia’s diner. When Wendy starting giggling at something Mark said, I had to look up and when I did, I noticed someone that I now recognized. It was country-western recording star, Peggy Sue Lynne! She was born and raised in Moonshine Falls and was now back living here and was in the process of opening a recording studio.
As Wendy and Peggy Sue began playing catch-up, Mark’s Korean-born wife, Julia, came out of the diner and dispatched her husband on an errand. She came to live in Moonshine Falls about ten years ago, after her husband left the Army. I was paying more attention to what Julia was telling Mark and I had tuned out on what Wendy and Peggy Sue were talking about.
Gladly before anyone else showed up, Wendy told me that we were leaving. Wendy drove us. I thought we were going to the motel, but instead Wendy pulled up in front an office building. The sign on the window read “Ringwald’s Real Estate”
I asked, “Wendy, what are we doing here?” “I am thinking of buying that mansion on the highway out of town,” she responded with a laugh, “I am kidding, I just want to say hi to someone.” Then when she figured out that today was Sunday and the office was closed, she said, “Never mind. Let’s go check-in at the motel.” So, off we went to the motel and gladly this was the last stop of a very long day.
After we settled into the motel room, I was a little miffed to learn that the television set was broken, but being the clever guy that I am, I was able to fix it.
Then I learned something about Wendy that I did not know… she actually hated television. For some couples, I could see where that could be a big problem. Yet, while I enjoyed watching my crime dramas and rom-coms, Wendy was content to sit beside me and read from one of her occult novels. This was a different “Wendy” than the one I ran away from in the other dimension.