We’re All Strangers Here: The Odd Couples

In the cafe of Dick’s Truck Station somewhere in Utah a pair of star-crossed lovers enters and hovers near the door until Pam the dacron-uniformed waitress cheerily calls out, “There’s a table by the window, hons!” Most unsurely of themselves, the two, clad in damask, velvet, brocade and all that Olde Italian-ish yardage, mutter something to each other and then coyly take a seat at the last available red vinyl booth.

“Prithee, My Precious Heart, whither have we awoken?” So asketh the fair Juliet of her Romeo, her conical hat wildly askew.

“I am without cognizance, My Own Sun-Moon-and-Stars! Methinks the potion with which the Friar hath begifted us in the best of will and foreknowledge hath in some wise gone awry. But, leastly we are together, Sweet Cherub!” He strokes her cheek with one finger.

Pam appears with a pot of dark fluid and asks, “Coffee?” as she adroitly flips two cups in their saucers.  

“I beg your forbearance!” Romeo looks endearingly quizzical with his bowl haircut and lush dark lashes. “Again?”

“Do you want coffee? To drink? Water?”  

“Let us dwell upon this a bit. Is this your bill of comestibles?” He points to the laminated, highly illustrated menus on the end of the table.

“Uh, sure. I’ll be back. Oh, soup of the day is Navy Bean.”

“What strange fare!” says the lovely Juliet, eyeing a double cheeseburger and onion ring combo. Romeo considers a chili-smothered omelette with hash browns. “Do we have specie, gold, whatever it is one needs must possess to make purchase, Prince of My Heart?” Romeo gazes at his Sweet, but looks fearful.

Suddenly, two women in capris, tank tops, huge sunglasses, and windblown hair enter. Seeing no empty tables they approach the table of the conspicuous lovers. “May we park on this side of your booth, you obvious lovebirds? On your way to Burning Man are you? Great get-ups!” Both women go thumbs-up.

“Oh, please do rest thyselves here. We beg for company if not bald assistance! We find ourselves lost in boundless bewilderment. To this, we have no coin to purchase sustenance. We are indeed in a sorry plight!”  

“Begging your forbearance, our turmoil hath surely loosened my sweet Romeo’s tongue,” Juliet explains to the strange pair. “You doth prattle on so, Romeo, to those with whom we have yet to be acquainted or who may be repelled by our strange and forward requirements!” Romeo kisses her hand.

“We can afford to treat you darling kids!” Louise beams, then winks at her companion. “We would love to help you. Aren’t we all just wanderers on this planet? Ourselves (Oh, this is my friend Thelma. I’m Louise.), we are heading out after lunch for parts unknown.”

“What a strange unplannéd scheme, methinks! Hast thou room and wherewithal to take two with you hither it is you two do go?” Romeo brazenly inquires.

“Oh, what a poet you are, My Love!” Juliet daubs at her eyes with a flimsy napkin she has plucked from a chrome dispenser.

“Sure, if you’re going west or south or north or east!” Thelma and Louise both throw back their heads and laugh liked crazed weasels.

In a matter of minutes the four are chatting madly. “So, you’ve no idea where or when you are. Well, beam me up, Scotty! Some ‘potion’ is positively in the mix!” Thelma and Louise laugh again, Romeo and Juliet now joining them. The two bottled Buds the lovers each imbibed with their food have made the star-crossed pair quite bold and serene simultaneously.

“And now,” whispers Louise with a smile, “is the time to dine and dash!”

“Okay, Romeo, you hit the head and stay there till you count to three hundred.”

“Beg your forgiveness? What is it thou intends for me? Am I called to strike her or mine pate?”

“No, no, no. You walk to the men’s room back there. It says ‘Cowboys’ on the door.  See?”

“I fear I am not able to interpret these signs and am also unsure as to the import of ‘boys of cows.’”

“Listen: go to the door to the left of that doorway. Go in. Wash your hands; do whatever. Count to three hundred before you come out, turn left, and go out that door way back there. We will be outside in a turquoise convertible. That car you can see out front there. Blue, no top.” Romeo looks out the window and then turns to leave, kissing Juliet farewell.

“Juliet, you come with me to the little Cowgirls’ room.” And Thelma shuffles the over-clad but dewy Juliet away. The conical hat just barely makes it through the doorway.

Louise takes a long, last pull on her beer, and innocently looks around the cafe. When she sees Pam going into the kitchen with two armloads of greasy plates, she runs to the car, swings it to the back of the cafe, and picks up Romeo, Juliet, and Louise. As Pam rushes out the front door screaming and waving her arms, the convertible peels out. “What a frantic godspeed from our wench!” observes a bemused Romeo.

In a few minutes Louise takes an exit from the interstate. It seems to lead to no where and nothing. “We are leaving Mother Earth now, kiddies! Who’s for it? Do you two have any more of that ‘potion’?” She screams into the wind.

“Alas, we have none more. We had pledged merely to die as one and had no need beyond Death’s sweet kiss.” Juliet yells over the wind before sighing soulfully towards Romeo. “Our foremost thought was eternity together!”

“Well, alrighty then! We’re off to meet the wizard!” sings Louise taking a hand off the steering wheel and grabbing one of Thelma’s. They smile in triumph at each other while Romeo and Juliet wonder how this amazing mechanism of conveyance will sustain them in the open air as they sail out past the oddly colored and strangely formed mesas and cliffs. What a lovely flight of angels sings! Juliet’s conical hat drifts out over the trunk.

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