When was the last time you got lost?
“That is the last time I listen to you for directions,” Matt shouted, slamming the car door in frustration.
Jesse shrugged and closed his door with less force. “We got here, didn’t we?”
“No thanks to your navigating!”
“How was I supposed to know there were different routes with the same number?”
Matt rubbed his forehead, flinging sweat away from his brow as he rounded on his old college roommate. “Jesse, there is a difference between a county route and a state route. Considering we were heading into the middle of nowhere, it didn’t occur to you that we should have been on a small county road?”
Again the blond shrugged. “I didn’t know there was a difference.”
“Ay, Matty Money!” The cabin door opened and their old friend Tom sauntered onto the covered porch. “Thought you two would never make it.” He grinned a toothy smile.
“Tommy boy!” Jesse clasped hands with the tall brunette. “It was my fault. We got turned around.”
Tom laughed as he looked over Jesse’s head to Matt. “You let pretty boy copilot?”
Matt groaned. “Yeah, yeah, I should have known better.” He smiled. The last time he had seen Tommy, Tommy was on one knee offering a stunning sparkling rock to his longtime girlfriend, Laurie. This weekend was their last hurrah for their old friend. In a few days, he would be a bachelor no more.
“AJ here yet?” Jesse asked, shifting his duffle bag on his shoulder.
Tom nodded. “He came with Ryan and Jason. They got here a few hours ago.” He smirked to let the jibe sink in. Jesse was imperturbable though and it just rolled right off of him. Tom sighed and nodded his head towards the house. “They’re out back getting a fire going.”
“Cool, I’ll go help them!”
“He doesn’t change,” Tom chuckled as Jesse disappeared into the house.
Matt shook his head. “Never.” He gave Tom an apologetic smile. “We would have been here hours ago if I had just remembered to print the directions you sent us.”
“I’m just glad you got here before Sunday,” Tom waved his hand dismissively. “Couldn’t marry my best friend without my best man at my side.” He wrapped his arms tightly around Matt’s shoulders.
Matt returned the embrace. “You know I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I would have crossed these mountains until I found the damn place.”
Tom helped bring in the beer and showed Matt to his room. “Bathroom is just down the hall if you want a rinse,” he said. “Not sure how much good it’ll do in this humidity, but I figure after 8 hours in a car with Shaw you might want to freshen up.”
“A quick shower might help me relax after that trip,” Matt laughed.
“Well we’re not goin anywhere,” Tom answered, turning down the hall as he spoke. “I’ll get some burgers cookin on the grill.”
A few hours later, the men were sitting around a roaring fire, bellies full of grilled meat and chips and cookies, beers in hand. “And he just keeps saying ‘It should only be 20 more minutes! I swear!’” Jesse held his palms in the air in defeat as the others laughed boisterously at Matt’s retelling of their journey.
“Honestly Monroe,” Ryan said between bursts of laughter, “I can’t believe you forgot to print the directions.”
“Well I’ll come confess later, how about that, Vatican?” He blew a kiss at his friend, eliciting another round of raucous laughter from the bunch.
Ryan’s last name was Pope, and he had earned the nickname in freshman year because of it. He folded his hands in front of him and bowed solemnly. “I will await you, my son.”
The flames danced late into the night, reaching for the stars as they consumed the wood the men piled on. They threw shadows onto the young faces, at times making them appear much older, other times punctuating a tale of horror. They changed color as Jesse threw chemical powders into them to the delight of his drunken friends. They faded to warm embers as the sky slowly turned and the conversations became nostalgic.
Jason raised an empty can over his head late into the night. “Tommy, you’re a lucky guy. I think I speak for all of us when I say, we are so happy for you and Laurie. You guys are gonna have a great life and make the most beautiful babies.”
A chorus of “hear, hears” and “amens” rippled around the circle as his fellows raised their drinks in solidarity. “We are going to miss you,” AJ said, choking back a sob.
Tom laughed. “AJ, I’m not dying.” He looked to each friend in turn. “We should make this an annual thing. We go too long without getting together.”
“On your anniversary?” Matt giggled. He knew it was unbecoming, but the alcohol kept him from caring. “Shall we come with you on your honeymoon too?”
“Yeah, that’s not happening,” Tom chuckled. He got to his feet and kicked dirt over the embers. “Alright kids, let’s hit the sack.”
More giggles erupted around the circle, but they all got to their feet, some more unsteadily than others. Matt looked up through the trees to the summer sky above. In a couple days, his best friend would marry the love of his life and be the first of their group to leave the bachelor life behind. Matt grinned. It was going to be one hell of a weekend.
Notes: This one sprang to life when the opening line popped into my head while contemplating this prompt. I wondered who these guys were and where they were going and drew a bit on my own experiences of my wedding weekend. The wedding party got a cabin for the weekend in the mountains not far from where the wedding would be. I wondered what it might have been like if the SOs weren’t around and the bachelor weekend plot took form.
It’s harder to get lost in this day and age, what with GPS and smartphones with map apps, provided you have decent service. I kind of decided this takes place before cell phones, hence they needed to print the directions and rely on Jesse’s memory despite that being a terrible choice.
Have you ever been lost? Physically? Mentally? What happened? How did you feel? How did you get unlost? Get out your writing tools and get these down! The details, the emotions, whatever crosses your mind while thinking about this.
Tuesday’s prompt: What area of your life do you tend to enjoy in excess instead of moderation?
Food. Definitely food. Hmm, but how do I turn this into a short story for you? Well, I’ve got a whole night to think/dream on it, and plenty of time at work to let my subconscious work something out. See you tomorrow!