On our way out of town we drove along the fence holding in the park. We stared longingly out the window at the white sands that looked like a beach vacation advertisement had gotten lost and found itself in the middle of Walter White's desert. Then, like a miracle, the dirt busted right through the fence and to the edge of the highway. Silly park people, you can’t hold in nature.
But no, Mom put me back in the Covered Wagon and turned it on. Then she drove right off the paved road and into the bushes and sand next to the gate, just like Walter White did when he was being an outlaw. “Towanda!” Mom hooted. “To Heisenberg!” I howled. Neither of us actually said those things. But when we drove back onto the pavement on the other side of the gate, Mom did laugh a crazy, evil, triumphant laugh like Kathy Bates after she smashed that fancy car.
It wasn’t just the big cactupi that had spines. The bushes did too. There were round Oscar-high poofs that looked like something you could sit on… if you wanted to get poked in the butt. And there were bushes that looked like they were made of spiny ping pong paddles. And other bushes had tiny little delicate spikes that looked almost like floofs of cotton unless you tried to touch them.
People who don't like the desert just don't appreciate its drama. It's like they are going to the movies hoping to see something with Colin Firth, and instead they get Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a very good actor, and his movies are always very well written and artfully directed, but it is the kind of drama that has grunts, and blood, and gore, and pain, not the drama with tea and feelings.
"Mom, mom! Come here and look! Quick! There's a man dressed like Smokey the Bear!" Then Mom came clattering out of the bushes. If she were a cartoon character, she would have had twigs in her hair, hashtags on her cheeks and forehead, and her tongue hanging out. But in real life she just looked like a lost person.
I could see that someone had decorated the whole park for Christmas. There was a delicate sprinkling of White dirt on everything that looked like the opposite of a shadow. Rather than the underside of everything being dark, now the sunny side of everything was white. The decorator hadn't missed anything, from the tiniest twig on the stubby trees that were all twisted like candy canes to the giant towers that made up the canyon.
Later, Mom explained to me that if anybody asked me what it was like to work in the City, that I should tell them, "It's like trying to hold it all together while balancing on one foot in high heels with a handful of dog doo."
"What's an obstaple?" I asked. "I don't know. Like crawling through mud and jumping over stuff and things. I didn't really read the website that closely. You'll love it. I brought treats." Now I was real excited to do obstaple racing and show off how good I am at getting dirty and looking cool in pictures. But I guess Mom didn't read the website closely at all because she found out that the humans had to do the obstaples too. "Oh, well I can't do that," Mom told the lady with the t-shirts. "I have a medical issue." "Mom, what's a medical issue?" I asked. "It means that I'm wearing socks," she said.
Then The Man threw something on the ground a few feet in front of us. I looked where it fell, and... "HOLY CRAP!" I said. "There's a spaghetti monster sitting right next to where you were tapping your boot a second ago! Hang on, let me go check it out." The spaghetti monster was about as big around as a rope leash, and had a shakey thing on one end that made noise, and mean eyes on the other end. I knew from experience that this was called a "rattlesnake" from when Mom and I saw a bigger one