Chapter 6: Ignorance is bliss
They had just passed over the border into Michigan State when Ray seemed to hit a whole new level of weird. He'd been driving for over nine hours, with pretty much no breaks, and although Brad had been trying to monitor his caffeine intake, or at least supplement it with water and food, Ray seemed to be getting more from somewhere.
"Man, this road trip, Brad, doesn't it make you think of all the things we haven't done?" Ray glanced at Brad, who looked at Ray wearily. "Just think about it for a second, alright? Think about it for a second. We've never driven from New York to California before, right? And we're doing that! We've never picked up hitch-hikers before, and we're doing that! Doesn't it make you think of all the other things we haven't done?"
"If I'm to be brutally honest with you, Ray, I'm going to have to say no. No, it doesn't, and nor does it make me want to think about all the things we haven't done. Most of those things we haven't done for a reason."
"What?" Ray asked, his voice going all high-pitched, as it usually did when he was incredulous. "Tell me, Brad, what possible reason could there be to not dress in drag and go out to town? Please, give me one good reason."
"You get hit on by dudes," Gabe said, his voice telling his dislike of such a scenario.
"You get hit on by other men dressed as women," Evan said in a way that suggested that he'd had experience of it. Brad almost asked, but instead turned his attention back to his friend.
"See, Ray? Plenty of reasons not to dress in drag and go out to town."
"That was only two, Brad, and neither of them came from you. Come on! Why don't we do it in LA? We can visit the local gay bar -"
"Are you gay?" Trombley asked suddenly. Brad glanced back at Trombley, who looked more than a little uncomfortable.
"Jesus, Ray, you've scared the kid. He thinks he's riding with a raging homosexual."
"So what?" Ray asked. He turned his head a little to glance at Trombley. "You haven't got a problem with raging homosexuals, now, do you?"
Trombley shifted in his seat, pulling his bag into his lap and staring outside. "They tried to open a gay bar in my home town, but someone lit a fire in the place it was meant to be, burned the whole block to the ground."
"That is just sad," Ray said, shaking his head. "Everyone knows that gay bars are the best place to go to pick up chicks!"
"Really?" Gabe asked after a second's hesitation.
"Of course, my man!" Ray said with confidence. "See, in a gay bar, they think they're safe. They think they can let loose, with all the guys hitting on other guys. They think you're gay, they dance with you, then BOOM! You're in the bathroom making out. Easy."
Trombley was sceptical. "I don't think that'd work," he said, shaking his head. Brad sighed, his expression resigned.
"Oh, it works," he said, looking back into the back seat at their three hitch-hikers, his expression dead serious. "I've seen him do it."
"It was beautiful," Ray added. "She wasn't bad, either."
Trombley and Gabe both shook their heads, but the reporter looked thoughtful. "So what's the point of dressing up in drag?" he asked. "Wouldn't that ruin the whole thing?"
"Ruin it? No, no, no, my friend, I think you're missing the main component of this brilliant plan. Let me lay it out for you. They think you're gay, right? And you're probably very drunk at this point. So they think that you're just drunk and confused and they figure that there's no stings attached anyway. So not only are they sluttier than they would normally be, but they're also way more open to the weird shit, you know what I mean?"
"Don't ask him what he means, if you don't know," Brad instructed the reporter, who was opening his mouth. "Believe me – you're better off ignorant."