Winter in south Louisiana began quietly. We camped in the Cypress-Fairview State Park and got our ‘Stream set up. I’m an old goose about good food; I drove to Rouse’s to find dinner. Then things got weird.
Around dusk a clean white Honda backed into the site next to ours and parked, motor running and headlights on. Perhaps he’s saving a place for a big RV? Three hours later the engine was still running with the high beams burning bright, with no one in the front seat. The driver was either in the middle of a four hour quickie, or had a date with death asleep on his backseat. We paid the Camp Host a visit, and before long the police arrived.
Two cops rousted our car camper, lecturing him on carbon monoxide while shining big flashlights in his face, gun hands on their holsters. Ten minutes later they left, and once out of sight, our neighbor cut loose with choreography worthy of a Super Bowl touchdown celebration.
Around 7:00 the next morning we awakened to peak volume Led Zeppelin. Before coffee was ready his music fittingly segued into Chicago (“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBuUUBrC9eQ Monoxide Man was outside, grooving to the music. He looked forty-ish, with a luxurious head of dark hair and a beard worthy of an ayatollah. Later that day he relocated to campsite #1 near the campground manager’s office.
Then LSU Fred (Class of ’59) strolled by walking his dog. “Good morning, Michael!” I’ve never used that alias, but I didn’t correct the old goose. He volunteered that his dog is blind, 14 years old, and dates back to his divorce (Fred’s, not the dog’s). He asked about my health history, and noted that in his opinion the President is a Muslim who hates America. I told him he was wrong, but that didn’t bother Fred. He further explained that Sharia Law would supplant The Constitution in his lifetime because Muslim women bear an average of 8 children each. I disagreed with that too, again without ruffling a feather. A man knows what he knows. Both of us!
The following day Monoxide Man returned to our side of the campground. This time he parked near Fred’s RV. Pretty soon Fred and a female friend far too young to be his daughter strolled by. Again he greeted me as Michael, and this time his girlfriend spoke: “Michael was camped here before this fellow, Freddy.” “Fred, my name is Jackson.” “Well, you look more like a Michael to me, but I’ll call you whatever you want.”
Then Fred wanted to know about Monoxide Man – shouldn’t somebody contact the police? I told him they’d already been out, and they’d found MM sane — enough. He dresses well, plays a Martin D-15 guitar, and that Honda’s almost new. He must have some money, which entitles one to some eccentricities. Fred thought old MM was a PTSD sufferer from Viet Nam, but Fred, “I’m Viet Nam era, and this guy’s much younger than me”. “Okay, maybe he’s Iraq era. I still think he’s off his meds.” That was Fred’s most sensible comment over the few hours I knew him, because as Hank Hill would tell you quick, “That boy ain’t right!”
Sunday afternoon four police cars and an EMS van parked near Fred’s RV. One of the onlookers was our Camp Host, whom I asked “What’s going on? Was Fred’s heart not healthy enough for sex?” It turned out that Fred complained about Monoxide Man doing kung-fu exercises waving a big hunting knife. MM explained to the cops that this is his exercise routine; it’s no big deal. He convinced them, and as they began to leave he commenced his celebration prematurely by birding and cursing every nearby camper. The cops took that as a threat, cuffed him, and dragged him off to the slammer. The next day his car was towed away.
Is there moral to this story? Maybe it’s a matter of who’s crazier: MM, Fred, or me? That could be a three-way tie. But Freddy and I are harmless, so let’s go with “If you’re on meds, take them!”