Chapter 13: (Written by Phoenix2020)
The following morning, after seeing that Martin was hooked up with a tow truck and in no further need of their assistance, the boys headed out with Griffin at the helm. After carefully examining the Google map over breakfast, they had decided to continue north a ways on the Blue Ridge Parkway and then hang a right onto Hwy 64 towards the Richmond area. Nicholas phoned the Americamps RV Resort in Ashland to make reservations, as it was close to King’s Dominion, the theme park they planned to take by storm tomorrow.
With Griffin’s tunes as a soundtrack, the morning passed peacefully with the boys enjoying the Appalachian scenery and lost in their individual thoughts. As they maneuvered onto the highway and picked up the pace, Lady Gaga let them know in no uncertain terms …
“I’m beautiful in my way
’Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way (Born this way!)
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby, I was born this way
Baby, I was born this way!”
Checking the time on his phone, Nicholas suggested stopping in the Charlottesville area for lunch.
“Maybe find a hot spot near the UVA campus? Find a little eye candy to feast on?” Griffin teased.
“Ooo! I hadn’t thought of that but, of course, you went right there!” Nicholas said with a smirk.
Noticing Griffin’s not-so-subtle scratching of his nether regions, Nicholas inquired, “Diaper rash? Jock itch? Heebie jeebies?”
“I have no idea. It started itching about an hour ago and it keeps getting worse the more I scratch. I took a shower this morning and I didn’t notice anything then.”
“Well, maybe stop scratching … both hands on the wheel, Captain.”
As they continued on, with Griffin trying bravely to keep his hands off his treasures and Nicholas giggling at his frustration, desperation set in for Griff. When he spied the UVA/Charlottesville exit, Griffin almost bumper car-ed three other vehicles in his attempt to navigate to a suitable lunch establishment. At the moment, he wanted nothing more than to find some relief for whatever was going on in his boxers.
Griffin turned the ignition off and headed toward the back of the RV in one fluid motion. By the time he got to the bedroom, his shorts were at his ankles and he was squealing gibberish at the plight that his boys were in.
“Let me see,” Nicholas said. “OH, dude! That is just fifty shades of nasty!”
“What is it?” Griffin screeched.
“My best guess is that, my friend, is an epic case of poison ivy rash.”
“WHAT? … HOW? … WHY?”
“Well, let’s think about this. Yesterday, when you were preparing the picnic area, did you have to clear a spot for the blankets?”
“Yeah, of course. It was kinda overgrown.”
“And, at some point, did you find the need to … uh … drain your main vein?”
“Uh, yeah, I think so.”
“So, you, apparently, handled some poison ivy vines before you then handled yourself, so to speak, spreading the sap to your playground area.”
“Then why aren’t my hands covered in rash?”
“We went back to the RV to eat and you cleaned up, but you didn’t clean up down there. Also, that area is much more sensitive, I would think. You may still get some small rashes on your hands and arms, but not like that.”
“So, what do I do? Help me, Obi-Wan … you’re my only hope!”
“My mom is highly allergic to it and she uses a lotion called Caladryl. It’s a combination of calamine, which helps with itching and drying up the rash, and Benadryl, which eases the allergic reaction. I see a Walgreen’s in that strip center across the road. I’ll go get some. While I’m gone, you wash the whole area with a lot of soap to help dry out the rash.”
As Nicholas strolled across the parking lot heading for the pharmacy and still giggling, but in a sympathetic kind of way, he heard a yelp. Looking around, he spotted an elderly lady waving her hands about as the shopping cart she had apparently been pushing raced away from her and towards a line of parked vehicles.
Nicholas sprinted toward the cart, dodging an oncoming mini-van and leaping over a low hedge. He snagged the rogue cart just before it had the pleasure of making acquaintances with an exquisite Lexus LX. Stopping a moment to catch his breath, he turned the cart back toward home and the now visibly relieved customer.
“Oh, thank you so much, young man! I didn’t realize there was such a slope here and it just slipped right out of my hands. You reacted so quickly and I’m so very grateful!” She gushed while digging in her purse and pulling out a wad of bills. “Here, please take this! It’s the least I can do.”
“No, no … I can’t take your money, ma’am. Your ‘thank you’ is quite enough. It was no big deal. Just in the right place at the right time.” Nicholas helped the lady put her bags into her car as she continued to thank him and try to get him to take the money, which he politely refused. “You have a good day, ma’am … and drive carefully now.”
“Well, this day just keeps getting more fun,” Nicholas thought, “and I haven’t even had lunch yet!”
“It took you long enough!” Griffin snarled before Nicholas even had the RV door closed.
“Mind yourself, Mr. Grumpy No-pants … I still have the receipt! I had to rescue a damsel in distress, blackmail a store clerk into finding more of this stuff in the stockroom because the shelf was empty, and wait in line behind eight people at the only register open and it was being operated by a ‘Please be patient, I’m new’ employee.”
“Fine, thanks … so gimme, gimme!”
Griffin tore the seal off the bottle and practically poured the stuff all over himself.
“Easy there! That needs to last you at least until we stop tonight. Rub it in good and let it dry before getting dressed.”
“Dressed? I’m gonna lay right here just like this while you drive. Just go get us some lunch and bring it back.”
“OK. Wash it well with lots of soap every couple of hours and put more Caladryl on it. By tonight, it should be much more tolerable. Let me know if you need a hand!” Nicholas couldn’t resist the quip but also began to realize the disappointing implications as he left to scrounge up lunch.
Griffin would definitely not be interested in any amorous overtures for the next couple of nights, at least. It still amazed Nicholas how their beautiful friendship had morphed into … well, whatever this was now. They were the same people they were a few days ago … before. But nothing was the same now. That thought made Nicholas’ tummy flutter … a lot like that old lady’s hands!