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Mild – Bad Things Followed By Good Things On The Jamaica North Trail
by Doug Hawley

In 1995 I had a vision or daydream or a hallucination, I’m not sure which.  My whatever-it-was was that in 18 years a woman would get fame and fortune from writing a book about how she suffered tragedy, took dope and on an impulse hiked a trail poorly prepared, but survived the ordeal to write a best seller about the experience and get remarried in her hip new hometown.

At first I thought the whatever-it-was could be the basis of a Stephen King type sci-fi or horror novel.  I’d have it happen under a dome.  On further thought, it was too crazy even for Stephen King.  Instead, I’d be the woman with the tragedy, the dope, the hike and the gold at the end.

My first hurdle was coming up with a tragedy.  Unfortunately, everyone I knew including myself was in great shape.  It was too late to get anyone to start smoking and ruin his or her health.  The best I could come up with was losing TV privileges when I was 16.

As Saul and I were having boring married sex, it occurred to me that we could have a horrible break-up that would leave me devastated.  When I suggested it to Saul, he was horrified.  “But, Meryl we love each other.  There isn’t anything that could separate us.”

I countered with an offer of 30% of book royalties and 25% of ancillary income, both off the front end.  Saul said “OK but I want to do the talk shows with you and my new wife and your new husband.”  It was a deal that I could live with.  
Then I asked Saul the hardest question “Saul dear, could you fool around some before the divorce to cause my depression?” 

“Meryl, do these have to be new girlfriends or old girlfriends?  Any particular race or size?”  At this point I knew that I had been played.

Before my divorce I kissed at least a hundred men and some women.  I had the kissing concession at the fund raiser for the “Acting Lessons For Reese Witherspoon” foundation.  Those that were good kissers and promised me drinks later got a little more action.  One guy got to third base, but double dribbled.  Sorry, I’m no good at sports metaphors.

When my divorce was final, I changed my name to Meryl Hemmingway so I would be known as a serious writer.

I must say that I was prepared for a physical ordeal, or so I thought.  Wasn’t I the one who always brought in the newspaper?  After talking to my friend Misa who lives in Lincoln, I decided to do the Jamaica North trail which starts there.  Even though I’d never been that far away from Omaha before, my tragic breakup called for a major expedition to get over it.  I thoroughly researched what I would need to make it all the way from end to end, and drove to Lincoln.

The night before the hike I was having a tuna sandwich at Jack’s Coffee House when Moe came in.  He was a classic bad boy with scruffy hair, scruffy clothes and scruffy teeth.  He came directly over to my table and said “Let’s go to my place and get wasted.”  How could I resist?  It was a night of pot and twisted sex.

The next evening I started on the defining event of my life.  I had to suffer through mildly rolling hills and occasional loose dirt, but after an exhausting beginning, I found out that I’d been wearing stiletto heels.  That must have been some good sh_t because I was really buzzed.  After I traded my f___ me pumps for the boots in my crazy heavy ten pound pack, I was much better.

At milepost three I encountered rabbit hunters with mismatched clothes.  I was terrified.

A little way down the trail I discovered a small festival.  The multi-instrumentalist sent cold shivers all over me, which, when mixed with my overheated state from hiking, left me rather comfortable.  He got the idea when I went over and rubbed his drumsticks.

We went over beyond some shrubs.  Use your imagination; I don’t have to do all the work for you.  After that I had a pizza and a few beers from the concession.
Later I set up my tent for my first night out.  I was so exhausted, I slept for fifteen hours.

After the beastly hot 70 degrees of the first day, the second day it drizzled.

I had my Milky Way bar for lunch and launched my bruised and beaten body onwards.  About 3 O’clock I was finally done.  I had copious notes and pictures on my smart phone from my quest, and a new life. I look much older in the photos because of my trauma and lack of an aesthetician on the trail. I had cataloged all of the helpful, weird, evil, tall, fat, and Estonian people I had met along the way.  My triumph was worth all of the blisters, the scraped knee, the sunburn, and the multiple orgasms I had experienced.

Back in Lincoln, after a lot of immoral but enjoyable fooling around, I met one of the only local film makers and we fell in love and got married.

In 2012 I found out that my whatever-it-was was off by a year.  Someone else had a best seller with a similar book and a similar title.  That author changed her last name to Straight, what she didn’t want anyone to think that she was lesbian?   Even though I was too late, I wrote my book in 2013 and did get on local TV and was interviewed by Jason Akins.  The book was not a big seller, but with my husband Ryan I did several minor motion pictures based loosely on my events from my adventure:  “Lust On The Trail”, “Lesbian Lust On The Trail”, “Hiking Hooker” and “Milepost Sex”.  Check the Cinemax schedule for showings.

I think that “Milepost Sex” is the one I’ll be remembered for.

This previously appeared in Dirty Pool and a shorter version in Potluck