The lodge was massive: constructed fully of logs, it squatted on the wide acme of a hill, the wings and verandas and porticos branching downwards towards the driveway, which did a full loop around the structure. Three chimneys puffed grey smoke that clung to the surrounding redwoods before drifting off above the old-growth wilderness. There were already cars in the driveway.
There were also a ton of geriatrics.
“Yo, Jeff sure made a lot of older friends since high school,” noted Gaffney nervously as the Prius crawled around a clot of them.
“Maybe they’re family.”
“I dunno….” Gaffney turned as one was giving him an invasive stare through the car’s window. He shuddered.
“Hate old people. Jus…jus hate ‘em. So…fuckin creepy and sad, so close to death…”
“That’s kind of a mean thing to say.”
“I mean, I don’t hate THEM, they were people, once…I just hate what they’ve become.” Gaffney locked his door.
“Well, you’re going to have to face them soon. I’m about to park.”
Phil slammed on the brakes to avoid running over a flock of rascal scooters.
Hands full with wedding accoutrements they hadn’t had the time (Phil) or wherewithal (Gaffney) to actually place in luggage, the two shouldered open the large oak door to the lodge. The whole place smelled like an attic. The carpet was sun-bleached a tan hue, and it belched up dust whenever they took a step. A large desk was set against one of the walls.
Phil craned his neck about for some indicator of how they should proceed. The wide hallway they had stepped into was deserted.
“WEL-come to the 19th century!”
Gaffney yelped in terror. Two short arms adorned with period clothing stuck up from behind the desk. Phil approached and peered over to see that the arms and the voice were attached to an androgynous, gnome-like geriatric.
“Do you have your reservation confirmation code?” it said.
“I don’t…I don’t think so, actually,” Phil stuttered, trying to keep up with the weirdness. “Can you look us up?”
“This lodge is historically accurate.”
“We don’t have any way of ‘looking you up.’”
“We need a confirmation number. You received it when you secured the reservation on the phone.”
“What?!” Gaffney was feeling the liquor. “Wait…if this lodge is supposedly historically accurate, then how were you able to receive our phone call in the first place? Mm?”
“Our reservations are done offsite…to preserve the historical accuracy…smartass.” It muttered the last part at a volume that was meant to be heard.
“Dude! What the hell?” Phil had to usher Gaffney away, but in the manner of an usher who is ushering someone out of the theater for being too drunk.
“What’re we supposed to do?” demanded Gaffney, who had partially calmed down. They pondered for a moment while leaning against another Moghogany desk farther down the hall.
“You could always go to the off-site location.”
“FUCK!” Gaffney screamed. There was also a geriatric behind this desk, though at least this one’s gender was identifiable.
Phil cut in before she could reprehend Gaffney’s cursing.
“Is it far?”
“Only about 8 miles.”
Phil supposed that it was more historically accurate for the geriatric-lady to state the distance to the reservation site in miles instead of minutes. However, it would have been nice of her to mention that the road to the site was a couple of sloppy ruts that winded up a steep mountain.
Gaffney was yelling things at his closed window.
“Who the fuck puts a reservation site on the top of a mountain?” It was a legitimate question. They had been driving for a half hour.
Phil ignored Gaffney, staring through the windshield at the rusty trunks of the redwoods. The car slalomed through the temperate rainforest, following the ruts that avoided the giant trees. The redwoods were either protected, or just too big to chop down.
The Prius crested the mountain to reveal a tiny, modern building set in the middle of an expanse of rock. Two women about the guys’ age were stepping out of a Prius. One of them turned. She had thick, rust-colored hair, fair, even skin, a pointy nose sprinkled with orange freckles and brilliant green eyes.
That was Phil’s observation of her. When Gaffney saw her, his focus snapped directly to her very large breasts, where it just kind of stayed.
Big tits were Gaffney’s passion, his pillar of fire, his Eldorado—his Achilles’ Heel. They fucked with his priorities.
Phil saw Gaffney sober himself up and check himself in the rearview mirror with one eye. The other eye still hadn’t moved.
“Wonder if they’re part of the wedding party…we should ask.”
It wasn’t as though Phil’s sex drive was any weaker than Gaffney’s. It was just that Phil usually viewed his lust as an animalistic and destructive force, something to be controlled so it didn’t whip off and smack someone in the feelings.
Gaffney just kind of rode his while it whipped around, and right now it was whipping him towards the other Prius. Phil followed behind.
“Hey, is this the reservation office?” Gaffney smiled with crooked charm.
“Yeah…I mean, I believe so.”
“You forgot your reservation code too?”
“I know! I thought they could just look it up.”
“I just have no idea why they would locate a reservation office out here.”
The second girl spoke up.
“Maybe so they can get cell-phone signals?…I mean, they said they received calls here, but it doesn’t look like there’s any telephone wires.” She was taller and had straightened dark hair that curved over her defined jaw.
“Huh,” Gaffney cocked his head slightly to the right and smiled deeply at the other girl. “That makes a lot of sense. Hey, are you part of Jeff’s wedding?”
“That’s Ariana’s fiancé’s name,” the dark-haired girl reproached. “You should really know that, Mary.”
“So!” Gaffney hopped in. “You are Mary”—he shook her hand, then turned to the other girl—”and you are…?”
“I’m Gaffney, and this is Phil.”
Handshake. Handshake. Handshake. Handshake.
“I wonder if they have like, a medieval theme up here? All this rock…”
Mary smiled openly at Gaffney. He was excellent at opening people up when he wanted to.
“Oh My God, I had NO idea the lodge was historically themed until we got there.”
“Neither did we,” chimed in Phil. Finally.
“That little old person behind the Reception Desk freaked me out….not that this is the REASON they freaked me out, but were they a man or a woman?”
“I have no idea,” said Gaffney perfectly.
He lightly touched her back as he ushered her into the Reservation Office, but in the manner of an usher who is pretty sure he’s on his way to getting laid tonight.
“I can’t BELIEVE they have boyfriends!”
“Husbands,” noted Phil with his index finger pointing upwards. “Husbands. And WHY can’t you believe that? They were fucking sexy and about our age.”
“What are you talking about? NO-body’s married at 29.”
“People are. Obviously.”
“I think it’s pretty uncommon.”
“Maybe it’s just that no one YOU know is married.”
“…maybe….maybe.” Gaffney stroked his chin for a second before diving back in.
“But that’s not even what I’m TALKING about. They just…didn’t seem married. Like, they seemed like people I would hang out with. Besides, Mary was TOTALLY flirting with me.”
“That’s was probably all in your mind.”
“Nah MAHN…you don’t know…” Gaffney had dropped his affected sobriety after the girls had driven away, and he was getting unnecessarily worked up about the situation.
“…and, anyway,” Phil continued, “Married girls can be friendly. They just can’t SLEEP with you.”
“OR GIVE YOU HEAD.”
“Yes, I suppose they can’t give you head, either…” Phil begrudgingly admitted. “But my point is, seeing as you don’t know any married people your age for some reason, you’re in no position to argue what a married woman acts like.”
Even Gaffney couldn’t argue with that damning logic. He stared out the window for a moment.
“Well, do you think their husbands are here?…”
Phil stopped him right there.
“YES, I think their husbands will be here. That’s who you bring to these types of things.” He turned and gave Gaffney a squinty glare.
“Yeah, yeah, it was just a thought…”
The Prius pulled in sight of the lodge. There was a Telsa parked out front, and Phil and Gaffney suddenly saw Jeff hopping out of the driver’s side. On the other side exited the woman who must have been Ariana. She was thin, and had the biggest tits Phil had ever seen in his life.