I knocked on the massive door, and came one step closer to knowing what I didn't know before.
Honestly, I didn't even know that it was a thing, like, something that people actually did.
I've always considered myself a pretty well-rounded and worldly type of guy, I eat sushi and watch foreign films, but I'd never even heard of it. My job brings me in contact with a wide spectrum of personalities and lifestyles and I've since discovered that it is pretty common, so maybe I just wasn't paying attention before.
Two years ago if someone had told me that I would end up doing it, I probably would have stared stupidly and blinked at them.
I remember the night it first happened mainly because it's not the sort of experience that you just let slip your mind but I also I had a business dilemma going on at the same time, plus, it was after a nerve wracking drive, the white-knuckle kind of trip that tends to stick with you.
Trees. Trees. Ice and snow. More goddamn trees. Fucking bullshit.
I navigated the narrow, winding and twisting, snow-packed-into-ice-on-top-of-dirt road along the side of a hill with a forty foot drop off ending in an icy river below with an expression not far removed from completely pissed off. All that was missing to make that bullshit complete was a nice big heavy log truck barreling around the next blind corner or a bull elk jumping out of nowhere. The mountains there were pretty densely populated with big game- mule deer, elk, moose and also semi tractors loaded with timber. The first two would just scare the shit out of you and your wife, fuck your car up at the very most; the third and fourth would fucking kill you if you hit them. You don't get to come back from an encounter with either.
Jesus Fucking Christ, the place was clear the hell out there in the middle of nowhere. I kept wondering why he didn't just keep his place in town? It was so much more convenient, just a few miles from my middle class neighborhood into the swanky rich part of town where the houses all sat on their own five acre lots.
Mother-fucker. I had started to reconsider my delivery policy just as I saw, and blew, right past the road I was supposed to turn down. It was a huge pain in the ass but I admitted to myself that it was better than having them come to my house. The last thing I needed was any more attention from my snoopy Mormon neighbors than I already had.
I knew that if I slammed on the brakes I'd skid off the ice and probably die, and if I didn't die immediately, I wouldn't be able to call for help for two exceedingly simple reasons:
One: There is no fucking cell phone reception in the middle of nowhere.
Two: The pound of weed in the back seat that was already divided into sixteen individual one-ounce baggies.
State Code Ann. §§ 37-2732(c)(3):
Marijuana is a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance under the
State Uniform Controlled Substances Act.
Possession of more than 3 ounces but less than 1 pound of marijuana is considered
intent to distribute, a felony punishable by 5 years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine.
Possession of more than 1 pound but less than 5 pounds is considered trafficking,
a felony punishable by 15 years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.
The threat of freezing to death instead of going to prison was a powerful motivator to drive safely that evening.
I pulled my foot off the accelerator and gingerly touched the brakes, found the widest spot in the ludicrous little one lane road to turn back around and even managed to do so without driving my Subaru off of the edge and plummeting into the water below, but my ass cheeks were clamped together as I anticipated one of those big goddamn semi-trucks coming out of nowhere and T-boning me. I got going in the right direction and drove slowly until I found the side road that I had missed. A few hundred feet past the turn off I could see Puffy's new barn through the pines, about the same time my low fuel light came on, not an angry red but a stern amber warning, and I really started to reconsider my delivery policy.
I saw the unfinished security gate he had mentioned and pointed the nose of the wagon in, steering with the very tips of my fingers and my knee as I stretched my body between the front seats to grab my coat from the back. I knew damn well it was going to be cold as a bitch when I got out and I wanted to at least be comfortable. Puffy had said that the cabin was a bit of a hike past the barn but that it shouldn't be too bad for a guy like me. He, on the other hand, hadn't left the cabin since they moved in that summer but the Valkyrie liked the hike though and didn't mind the long drive back to town.
I'll bet she didn't mind at all. I figured it reminded her of home.
I'd been selling to Puff since before he had even hired the Valkyrie, and despite the fact that I was bringing him a gym bag full of dope, nobody called him Puffy because he smoked a lot of weed. His real name starts with a P, I think, but he told me to call him Puffy years ago, because, he was Puffy. He was easily 400 pounds back then and it was no wonder he didn't want to leave the cabin either. I could see the rough granite stairway leading up to it as I pulled up and parked alongside the barn. It was a bit of a hike. One trip up that staircase must have been quite enough for poor, fat Puffy.
The so called "barn" was really more like an aircraft hangar, huge steel framed building with aluminum siding and massive sodium arc flood lights that were starting to flicker on because the sun was dipping down behind the Tetons. I looked around for a minute at the horse corrals and greenhouse, the solar panels and several smaller buildings around the area, their purposes unknown. Puffy described this place to me when he first started having it built, mentioned that it had a great view of the mountains, and also gave me a little bit of a history lesson too. Said that the old timey French fur trappers that came through here back in the day thought that the jagged tops of that range looked surprisingly similar to a woman's breasts and they named them Teton, "French word for titty," he told me.
Looking at them from where I was standing they looked like fucking mountains. But I guess if you spent enough time out here trapping wild animals and eating snow, fighting bears and Indians and shit like that, deprived from the company and comfort of the gentler sex, everything will start reminding you of titties.
I slung the pot laden gym bag over my shoulder and by sheer force of habit, pressed the lock button on my key fob. I instantly felt ridiculous as the high pitched double tone echoed throughout the otherwise silent pines, an ugly, alien sound in such a setting. The nearest person that would even be slightly interested in breaking into my car to steal my wallet or iPad was easily 200 miles away. Whatever.
As I was about halfway up the granite stairs that led to Puffy's newly constructed cabin, I smiled, amused, by the sudden appearance of LEDs at the base of each step, a photocell sensor somewhere must have acknowledged the fact that it was dark enough outside for someone to fall and bust their ass. They reminded me of the lights on the floor of a theater or in an airplane, except that they were installed in solid rock. I can't imagine how happy the contractor was to get paid for this job. Not that Puff would even flinch at the amount, no matter how outrageous.
Puffy spent most of the late 90's building and maintaining websites but when he saw where the real money was to be made, advertising and porno sites, he didn't hesitate to jump at the opportunity and got in on the ground floor. Most of the technical side of what he did for a living was lost on me, I can barely type a decent HTML document without having to rely on quick links to guide me, but I knew that all the time he spent in his custom made swivel chair, staring at his six over-sized monitors, bombarded with page after page of smut had made him filthy fucking rich.
Evidence of this fact was clear as I turned my gaze upward to his new residence. It looked as if a gigantic Aspen ski lodge and those enormous clam shell looking amphitheater things you see on postcards from Australia had fucked and given birth to a concrete and timber monstrosity cut exactly to Puffy's specifications. It was completely obnoxious. I could only see the front half because it disappeared into the dark woods and pine cones that surrounded it. This whole property was a wedding gift for his new bride and from the looks of it he hadn't spared any expense in the quest to prove his love and devotion with the only appealing quality he had to offer- a shitload of money.
Above the humungous front door that had probably cost more than my fucking car, fifty foot tall sections of mirrored glass reflected the sunset and the Titty Mountains behind me.
It was absolutely one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen; right up there with my first and only acid trip under the crystal clear night sky in the wastelands of Arizona, watching the sunset over the ocean behind the Uluwatu Temple in Bali, and the first time I pulled down Barbara Ann Harris' panties, back in junior high.
It was fucking religious and all at once, I forgot how pissed off I had been about driving all the way out to BFE for a delivery.
I got ready to make one of the most important presentations of my life and I took a deep breath.
I knocked on the massive door, and came one step closer to knowing what I didn't know before.
knock on the door