This article is part of the The Tiger King and I series.

Read the previous part here.

Disclaimer: Names have been changed mostly because I forgot them and partially because they might sue me for putting them on blast.

I woke up in the Hi-Way Hotel to the sound of someone banging on the door. To this day I pat myself on the back for bracing the door with that desk. The person was yelling for someone that wasn't me. They kept yelling that they needed their shit. I stayed very quiet and just listened until they left. Figuring I was safe, I decided to watch TV. The only channels that came in clear were porn, and it wasn't that kind of day, so I moved the TV to see if the coax cable was loose. I found the mystery person's shit! Two small baggies filled with a white substance and two scorched glass straws. I pushed the TV back into place and decided I didn't need to watch TV.

When daylight approached I talked to the guy behind the bulletproof glass at the front desk and got directions to the Greyhound station. I snagged my duffel (hotel door didn't fucking lock) walked there, and purchased a ticket to Oklahoma City. The bus would depart in 3 days. Just had to survive until then. I stocked up on convenience store food and drink on my way back. When I returned to the Hi-Way the man had come from behind the bulletproof glass and met me outside. He took my hotel key and gave me a different room. Apparently someone came back and got their shit from behind the TV.

The three days were uneventful. I slept a lot, talked to my mom on the phone, assured her that I was gonna be ok. She had been doing research online about Joe Exotic, and based on what people were saying then, I had walked into a literal and metaphorical tiger pit. She was happy I was coming home and so was I. I settled into my shitty hotel room, and counted down the days until my Greyhound came.

I boarded the Greyhound in Markham and our first layover was in St. Louis. I read a lot on the bus. A very pretty girl sat next to me and I tried to chat with her. She had a bonnet and a long dress, a bit old fashioned, but I was 18 and didn't care about anything. She blushed and smiled, but didn't talk, so I made bad jokes and goofed off. I felt like I was getting somewhere. We stopped in St. Louis and everyone got off the bus for the layover. As I was standing up to disembark, I felt a hard grip on my shoulder. I turned around and was met with two amish guys about my age.

One of them asked if I was talking to their sister. I said I was, and that she didn't say anything back to me, and I was just generally complaining about lack of communication when he said, "don't talk to our sister." in a very Amish voice. Imagine a stern Amish voice. Yep. You got it. It's that one, the one you're thinking of. I was full of piss, vinegar, gas station food, and terrible cigarettes (Davidoffs, if you're wondering. Awful smokes) and I sized up the two Amish fellers. I decided my best course of action was to shut the fuck up and not talk to their sister. These guys looked like they could drag me off the bus, build a barn, kick my ass in it, and not break a sweat. They had the physique and temperament of guys who work a farm all day and never masturbate.

All said and told, the bus ride plus layovers took just a hair under 24 hours. I stepped off a bus in Oklahoma City and felt at home for the first time in months. I was done with Joe Exotic, done with his crazy tour, done with the other employees, done with the G.W. Exotic Animal Park&

Except my car was still there.

– Jans "Untrustable" Holstrom (@HolstromJans)

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