To celebrate our 500th post on BigShotsNow we are republishing some of our more popular posts. This post first appeared on February 26 2014. If you have any suggestions of previous posts you’d like to see again drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and honor that request.
Phlegm Catarrh’s World Famous Trading Post!
Cold Soda! Post Cards! Bus Stop! Greyhound station! Customs! ATM! Fishing Licenses! Gas and Oil! Party Favors! Maps! Pony Rides! Moccasins! Information! Taxes Done While You Wait! Indian jewelry! Fry Bread! Mechanic On Duty! Bible Verses Explained! Passports! Barber Shop! Rodeo Tickets! Water! Water To Go $8! Brakes Inspected! Flare Guns! Box Lunches! Wills Made Out! Internet Café! Babysitting Done Cheap! Snake Bite Kits! Message Board! Immigration advice! Notary! Cabins to Let!
These signs and more greeted us as we pulled up to the rusty gas pumps. Everything was covered with the fine red dust that makes this country look like a movie set on Mars. It was desolate but we were just happy to find someone alive. After getting Powell the pump dog to move we stuck the nozzle into our gas tank and flipped the lever up. Several minutes went by with nothing happening. Clicking the handle, flipping the lever up and down, smacking the side of the pump, nothing worked. Finally we heard the Screendoor slam and out came an older fellow, unshaven, kind of tall, kind of covered with the same red dust, who we guessed was Phlegm himself. He came out to the edge of the porch and said “Ain’t no gas. Truck hasn’t been here in three years. If you need gas you’ll have to take the short cut down to Potash rd. then onto 279 until you come to 191. That ought to take you into Moab. I heard they got gas.” How far is that, we asked in our bravest voice, we’ve got less than a quarter of tank left. “Shoot, no problem just head on down the hill here and try not to use your 4 wheel drive too much.”
Are the roads marked, we don’t want to get lost, you can probably tell we’re new around here. “You don’t say, Hell Yes They’s marked! Sorry Ma’am. The school bus driver put up fresh piles of stones at all the corners so the new driver wouldn’t get lost. Damn fool wound up way the hell , sorry Ma’am, back behind the Hopi reservation last week. We didn’t see the kids for three days.” I’m not sure we understand the stone marking system, how does that work? “You people really are new ain’t you. Where you from, New York city? Listen up then. The first corner you come to at Potash there’s a big flat rock and on it are two kinda smaller, rounder rocks with the littlest one pointing up the road where you’re supposed to go. It’s simple you can’t miss it. How much gas did you say you got?” Little less than a quarter of a tank. “Hmmm, you might want to coast the first 7-8 miles down the hill then.”
Don’t you have any gas at all you could let us have, we’d really appreciate it. ” No, can’t really spare any but I can sell you a map. It’s pretty close. They made some changes to White Rim road though after the rockslide tore it up. Buried the town grader under 20′ of rock. Damnest thing you ever saw, sorry Ma’am, if old Ed hadn’t stopped to take a leak, sorry ma’am, we still be digging for him. Come to think of it you may want to coast a little farther down the hill, you’re going to need 4 wheel drive to get through that stretch.”
How much is the map then? I guess we better have one. “Well, seeing as it’s the last one I got and it’s almost a collectors item, I can let you have it for 20 bucks.” 20 bucks for a map? That’s a little steep, isn’t it Phlegm? ” Well, I don’t know, young fellow. You got a Map?” So we paid our money and started down the hill. It was a very steep part of the hill with a sharp bend to the right when we saw the faded sign that said ” No services for the next 128 miles.” Phlegm had not mentioned this to us and as there was no place to turn around for as far as we could see and we couldn’t back up, we walked the half mile back up to the store to ask Phlegm what that meant.
Phlegm! There’s a sign there that says No Services for 128 miles! Is that right? “Yup that’s right. The signs there for sure.” We can’t go 128 miles on a quarter tank of gas! ” Well, son, then don’t miss that flat rock with the two smaller rounder rocks on it. If you do, then it’s 128 miles to the next Trading Post, but it ain’t as well stocked as this one, so look close.” Do you have a phone Phlegm? We need to call Triple A. ” Nope, used to, but the last tow truck that came up here slid down the hill. Took out three of our poles and phone company hasn’t sent anyone out since. You folks better get going if you plan on making it out before dark. That roads tricky at night.”
How much are your cabins Phlegm? “Well son, I can let you have one with two beds in it for 250 dollars a night. The ones with one bed are all taken, You like Fry bread?, by the way, do you folks need your taxes done? Come on over this way, watch for snakes now if you need to use the crapper, I mean the facilities, sorry Ma’am.”