“What are you going to do with it?” Kit Kat looked at the dilapidated fifth wheel haphazardly parked behind her parents’ house, no, Samson’s house. He answered, putting his hands on his hips, “I have no idea.” He shook his head and blew out a puff of air. It looked like a cloud of smoke escaping from his mouth. “Crazy Eddie got it about ten years ago from a classified ad Up North. He had Roscoe tow it down for him.” He wiped his hand across the outside of the trailer. “Back then, Roscoe wasn’t in charge, so he kind of hid the trailer so old Jeff wouldn’t find it.”
Kit Kat had never camped in a trailer in her life. She had camped in tents on Young Women’s campouts and firesides, but she had never slept in a trailer. She had looked at a friend’s Airstream. Well, not HER friend. One of Dave’s friends. She wondered where that woman was now. Suddenly, she imagined her and Samson traveling the country in that fifth wheel, just going where the weather was nice. “Let’s look inside.”
Samson shook his head. “I don’t want you to smell it. Crazy Eddie…” He shook his head, but she headed toward the door. She had smelled the rat-infested garbage of a New York summer. How bad could it be? She reached up and could barely reach the door. Samson hurried toward her and lowered a hideaway step for her. “Really, this isn’t a good idea,” he warned her.
She opened the door and realized why Samson was so squeamish. The stench was appalling. She pulled away from it, but at the same time, was speechless to describe it. She could almost TASTE it and tried to distinguish the flavors overwhelming her nose and tastebuds. “Chili,” she said. Samson nodded, guiltily. “Nalley Chili Con Carne with Cheese.”
She consciously kept her hand from covering her mouth and nose while Samson continued, “I had no idea that the only food he was eating was the chili I was sending up.” He walked into the trailer and picked up the huge Maglite sitting on the counter by the door, turning it on. It looked like a weapon. “Woulda brought some fruit…” She delicately stepped on the hideaway step and Samson stepped further inside. She peeked in, trying to see what she could. “I cleaned out some of the garbage. There were a lotta chili cans.”
Her tastebuds discerned a different scent, “Porta-potty.” Samson nodded, “Yeah, I guess he was just using that.” He swung the light over to a cheap portable toilet. “I don’t know if the toilet in the trailer was broken, frozen up or if it was just easier to empty that little thing.” He shuddered. “I didn’t empty it, sorry.” Kit Kat had seen porta-potties like this on campouts. They were easy to empty.
“Hold the light over it,” she instructed. She lifted up the lid to see if it was overflowing, but it wasn’t. The smell of waste and chemicals rushed up, however. At least he was using the proper chemicals. She removed the seat and closed off the opening. “I really should be doing this with gloves,” she said. She lifted it up and headed out of the trailer.
“Get the door for me?” she asked, but Samson was a tenth of a second ahead of her, sliding open the glass door. She headed through the kitchen, past the living room, no Samson had made it a computer room, and into the bathroom. Before she could ask him, Samson had lifted the lid of the toilet. When she tried to pour the waste, however, nothing came out. “Frozen,” he said. She looked at him and asked, “Can we leave it in here until it thaws out?” He nodded, switched on the bathroom fan, and replied, “Set it down in the tub.”
The second she put it down, she turned toward the sink to wash her hands. They were unsoiled, but just holding the porta-potty receptacle made her feel contaminated. Samson squeezed the liquid soap into her hands and she lathered up, rubbing briskly. She shuddered and made a rude noise with her mouth, “Aughaah!”
Once she felt clean again, they headed back out to the trailer. She climbed in ahead of him, no longer tentative. Samson had left the flashlight on the counter without turning it off, so she picked it up and looked at the insides again. “Just getting that porta-potty out of there really helped the smell. We should open up all of the windows and just use the screen door so it can air out.”
While Samson opened the windows, she took inventory of the interior. In her mind, every non-washable surface had to go and half of the washable ones. “We’ll need to replace the cushions.” She started grabbing them one at a time and tossing them out of the door. “Wait!” She realized that they should save them. “Can we put them in the basement? I’m going to need the originals as a pattern to make new ones.” Samson nodded and picked up two of the cushions and headed into the house.
Once all the cushions were removed, the trailer smelled a tad less rancid. At that point, Kit Kat ventured into the bed area. Two steps lead up to it. When she peeked around the cheap wood paneling, she saw them. Book upon book piled on top of each other. So many that it was amazing that Crazy Eddie had any room to sleep. They reached the top of the ceiling. Kit Kat tried to remove one, and it pulled uneasily. When it was in her hands, she realized what it was: a diary.
“Samson, you should see this.” The pungent odor coming from the bed was stronger when there were two of them in the sleeping quarters. She handed the diary to him and he opened it, then looked at all the books, crammed into the area. “Oh my God,” he muttered.
Kit Kat saw him turning the pages of the diary slowly and he said, “I have to read all of these.” He tried to pull them out of their nooks and crannies, but Kit Kat stopped him. “Are they dated?” She took the book out of his hand and held it up to him. “They’re not. Don’t touch them. The closest thing we have to a date is how these were put away.”
She pushed on him and said, “Get out.” He crawled out backwards and she followed him. “I need Post-It notes, some pens and boxes. We’ll have to label each one so we know which order they were in.” Samson ran into the house and she breathed deeply the clean and cold air outside. Her fingers felt stiff and fat.
He CARED. He cared what Crazy Eddie wrote in his journals. Kit Kat had known about Crazy Eddie her whole life. Back before she left for college, Crazy Eddie was still living with his mother, but he was always crazy. Seeing Samson care so much about those diaries made her heart swell up for him. She thought of her own filing cabinet full of journals and wondered if he would read hers. She had planned to send them off to her alma mater, but now, it felt like there was someone in her life who would read them. Someone who cared not only about her, but about some old guy who had been squatting on the mountain.
She felt warmer than she had in a month by the time Samson ran out of the sliding glass door with the office supplies and a box. “I’m gonna run to the store, but here’s something to get you started.” She felt a flush of attraction as she took the little sticky notes and pen out of his hands. “I’ll see you in a few,” she said as she headed back into the stinky trailer.