A couple weeks back I decided to go for a drive and ended up at Stonehenge.
I know what you’re thinking—Aaron, what nonsense is this?! You live in Seattle and that’s simply not physically possible! (Unless your lifelong dream of owning Herbie the Love Bug has finally come true, and as a result you managed to drive to England, under-water, in a ’63 VW Beetle…? Alas: no, although hope for such an outcome abides.)
The Stonehenge I found was in Maryhill, a small town in Central Washington along the Columbia River. Some curious facts about Maryhill:
Population: 98, +/- 1
Number of surprisingly well-stocked contemporary art museums: 1
Number of full-sized Stonehenge replicas: 1
Even though the largest river in the NW flows less than a mile away, this part of Washington is nothing but desert. It was hot. It was dry. It was dusty. There were no trees, only scrub grasses and sage bushes. Grasshoppers sprung nimbly about and the sun scorched my eyes.
Curious facts about this Stonehenge replica:
It is. The fucking thing really exists! Right in the middle of nowhere there’s a huge pile of intricately arranged rocks modeled upon a huge pile of intricately arranged rocks in England
The replica was built in the late nineteen-teens as a WWI memorial. There was an explanation for this—something about the builder thinking something—but I found it so unsatisfactory that I won’t bore you by repeating it
I arrived at Stonehenge and joined twenty or so other sightseers, some of us surely come to look for America. And oh what we found.
In the parking lot was a very large, shirtless, muscle-bound man attempting to put up a tent. Clearly he’d never done this before and poles swung wildly about and he was cursing loudly in the heat. To his right, standing several feet outside the rim of Stonehenge, was an overweight woman with a several large cameras wrapped around her neck. A black lighting kit was pointed at the rock walls.
At the sight of the cameras and lights I quickly became elated—was I about to stumble upon a gaggle of beautiful models out here for a photo shoot, ladies who, due to the intense desert heat, would require succor and care from yours truly?? I could imagine worse outcomes.
I was also very confused by this arrangement—it was two in the afternoon and the sun was blindingly bright, what could this artificial light add? But what really blew my mind was what was standing between the rocks where the lights were aimed.
Leaning against the walls of Stonehenge was a woman. I think. I don’t want to get into a discussion of gender roles here—we can leave the sexual identity stuff for my impending analysis of “Can’t Stop the Music”—but this person was either a real woman trying way too hard to look sexy or a tranny/drag queen with some serious chops. Regardless the proprietary junk, let’s call her “her” because that’s obviously what she was aiming for.
We’ve all seen those people who are so bronzy-tan that they look like the heel of a very worn snakeskin boot. This woman made those fake-and-bakers look like an out-of-the-box pair of white patent leather Mary Jane’s. Strata of makeup had been caked on her face and she wore a very short, skin-tight green-black dress with wide slits cut up the sides. Her hair was dark and curly and hung over her shoulders in thick, oily waves.
Against the walls of Stonehenge she posed like some eager teenager after a couple wine coolers and a half pack of clove cigarettes: arching her back wildly, squeezing together her breasts, licking her lips, rubbing her ass against the walls. To me she looked like a snake trying to pass itself off as a peacock.
If you’ve ever noticed how the deficiencies of certain pop music can be covered by cranking up the bass, I think you’ll have a good analogy to what I presume this woman was doing. Anything that smacked of actual sex appeal was gone, sadly replaced by behaviors of the most stereotypical, banal and degrading types. Likely it was enough to get someone off, but then the world can be a real lonely place.
Some curious reminders for readers skimming this essay:
I was in the middle of a desert
Through which a giant river was flowing
Looking at a life-sized replica of Stonehenge
While a scantily-clad woman-ish person slatterened herself in the most mouth-drying manner possible
For my part I made no qualms about gawking. I figured it was part of what she wanted anyway. I even had the thought of dropping my pants and holding my dick limply in my hands while staring at her with the blankest, stupidest expression I could muster. This response wasn’t about being a perv—if that had been the goal I’m certain I could’ve done better—it simply seemed like the most appropriate thing to do given the situation.
Some curious thoughts that followed this thought:
I grew afraid the woman would grow encouraged by my flaccid gawking and continue her strumpeting
I remembered the guy with the big muscles
I remembered that I’m giant a wuss who has never even been hit in the face as an adult
I scrapped the limp-dicking idea and just milled about, pretending to look at the WWI memorial inscriptions
Soon the cameras stopped clicking. The photographer yelled something at the muscled man still struggling with the tent poles. The man yelled something back. The model joined in: her voice was Fran Drescher’s siren tone minus the NYC accent. At the sound of it a bird fell out of the sky. Tent poles bent and flapped uselessly like storm-tossed saplings. Metaphors were written. A trio of motorcycles arrived and departed in a wash of dust.
Several minutes later I was across the river in Biggs Junction, Oregon, a state with no sales tax and also one where you can’t pump your own gas. A young guy in a dirty zip-up onesie loped over and began to fill my tank. I pointed toward Stonehenge, clearly visible across the river, and asked if he’d ever been. He said he had but hadn’t found it very impressive.
I got his point: this Stonehenge isn’t impressive, it’s downright confusing. You don’t leave awed so much as you feel confounded, your head scratched red as you wonder, What the hell is this thing doing here?!
He then added that it was a replica of the Stonehenge rocks that were in China.
I kept a straight face and a kind mouth and said, Oh really? I didn’t know that.
Yeah, China, he said as he looked across the river. I think it’s China?
He looked at me for confirmation. I was in no place to give or take it. I simply nodded and smiled.
So I guess that’s pretty damn cool, he added.
I couldn’t have agreed with him more—it was pretty damn cool. I gave him some cash and pointed the car further east.