I'm writing to you today because I need you to get back to the set. We've got another National Lampoon vacation story for you to star in, but you might want to hear about it before you commit. This story was told to us by some crazed woman in Virginia who they found balancing herself on the rail of a narrow bridge overlooking the Atlantic ocean. She said she wasn't going to jump, but was just thinking about it. I have every reason to believe she had a story in her so she sat me down and told me about it after I pulled her down. Chevy, listen, you might have reservations about taking this on, but you're the only one who is right for this role. Besides, no one else wanted the part.
At first, all the woman could say was "To hell with the mountains! To hell with the mountains!" over and over again...I thought it was some kind of hillbilly chant but once I calmed her down, she kinda sorta explained to me what had happened to her.
While she was telling the story, I knew we had to do another movie. National Lampoon's Smoky Mountain Vacation. Has a really neat ring to it, don't you think?
Anyway, I taped her conversation and got my secretary to type it out. I'll copy you on it below, but listen, keep thinking of all that money you'll get from doing this and not the fact you'll have to have nerves of steel to do it. I know you can handle it, but anyway, here's what she told me...
"I don't even know where to begin. It started out we really didn't want to go. Why don't we ever listen to our gut instincts? But it was a few days before vacation, everyone had taken off, so we had to make reservations like NOW.
I found a cabin online. It was beautiful. They called it Breathtaker and when you hear the rest of my story, you'll know why.
We arrived in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a few hours before 4, but my daughter suggested we try to see if we can get into it early. We were hot, starving (I had one hash brown from McDonald's and 2 fudge cookies to eat all day) and wanted to start our vacation after the trip from hell getting there. That's another story in itself.
The lady at the counter was nice and said, "Sure, it's ready. You can go on up there."
I don't know why I asked but looking back, it must have been for a good reason, but I asked, "How high up is it, btw?"
"I don't know," she said. "It's a new rental and I've never been there."
Well, I had been in other cabins in the Smokies before so height never really bothered me. The roads were usually safe and well we were just ready to get out of the 100 degree weather and get some real vacationing in. We deserved it, you know?
We started out kinda sorta excited. Like I said, I was hot and starving but I figured once we got to the cabin, we could throw a few hot dogs that I had brought in the cooler on the grill and we could just chill and start out tomorrow doing fun vacationy things, you know?
I think that's where it all started. On the road leading up to the cabin. Picture this. A one way paved road meant for 2 cars but could only accompany one, God forbid anyone coming the other way. Well we went down the wrong road. That's another thing. These realty places need to put better road signs out! Anyway, so we go down this road that is blocked by a truck. I have no idea where the owner of the truck was. Bear hunting? So we had to back down that freaking one lane road and hope the van wouldn't veer off to the left or right without going tumbling down the ravine on each side. My son and I got out and gave come on and stop signs with our hands to my daughter keeping in mind there were snakes all over the place (we saw them on the way in) and of course...bears and whatever other people eating species were out there.
But we did it. She got to a place she could go forward, back up, go forward, back up, go forward, back up and out on the road we were supposed to be. Now you think that road was bad? This next one we had to go up was freaking unfinished! Still a one way looking road, still with drops on each side, only this one the middle was finished and if you veered off to the right and the left, you'd hit the part that wasn't and go tumbling down. But wait, this isn't even the scary part.
We got up that road and there was a cabin to the right. We were praying it was ours because no way could we ever go any higher on those damn roads and just when we thought our luck couldn't get any worse, we saw a cabin to the left...about an eighth of a mile up a 40 degree road. Now, that's the way my son says it as I know nothing about degrees except for the fact the temperature in the van said it was 100 degrees outside. Man, I'm telling you, this road was the biggest sloped road I've ever seen. NOTHING could get up it. Of course, the friend of my daughters who was elected to take over driving from that point said we could make it and my daughter and I looked at each other and said hell no! The van had one gear. Didn't have a first, didn't have a second, that we could switch over to, just the one gear. We'd tear up the transmission going up and Lord forbid what the breaks would do going down. But we were not even going to attempt it, you can bet Billy Bob's new tractor on that.
So, I grabbed my pocketbook and we all jumped out and decided we were going to walk up to see if we thought the van could make it. Hell with vans, I couldn't make hardly make it! My son had to push me from behind! I was out of breath, I thought I was going to die from heat stroke and cussed at myself for ever picking up a cigarette!
Anyway, by the time I had finally reached the cabin, I was dying. My son grabbed me a glass of water and I said, "Where's the number to the office; we're getting another cabin. No way in hell can we lug all our suitcases up here every time we have to go out and I'll be damn if I travel these damn roads risking everyone's life..where's the freaking phone???"
I called the office and they told me to come down and they'll give me another one. Oh, the cabin was lovely what I could remember it but who in their right mind wanted a view they'd have to risk their life to get to?
So we head on back down the unfinished roads and I have my eyes shut the whole time. "Get a one with a pool," my daughter instructs me. I said, "I'll ask."
I get to the office and before I can put in my request, she says, "We have a cabin for you and it's on a paved road." Now, listen very carefully, when you book these things, please please please ask if the road getting to it is "gravel" or "paved." Their definition of gravel is unfinished, paved meaning it's finished...just keep that in your mind for the future.
Also keep in mind, I still haven't eaten, I'm hot, I've been scared to death, I'll take anything that doesn't require a life support system getting there.
Well, this new cabin...hmm...how can I put this. It looked okay kinda sorta. Wasn't what I would pay $500 a night for, but I just wanted to unload, get a shower, eat SOMETHING, and just put everything behind me.
I walked in and right away I spotted it. DARK FURNITURE. Now when I say dark furniture, it simply means something your great-great-great grandmother used to have. Something with history. Something with spirits still hanging around it, you catch my drift?
You know, I just thought of something. It must be one sick ass individual to all that first cabin Breathtaker, don't you think? I bet he actually laughed out loud when he named it.
But anyway, getting back to this other cabin....I checked out the bedrooms, right? After a previous experience with a haunted cabin, I wanted to check out to see which bedroom didn't feel how do I put that...spiritually inclined?
I picked the one that had the 4 poster bed which faced the living room. I figured I'd just leave the TV on and I'd be okay.
And of course, everyone else chose bedrooms which would be on the far side of the cabin which left me alone with Casper and other entities should they appear. Cute.
So anyway, I'm not boring you to tears, am I? I'm seriously getting to the good part.
My son and I were watching Forest Gump in the living room. Everyone else had gone to bed. I knew he was sticking around with me to make sure I was going to be alright being as he knew I had a thing about dark furniture and ghosties. Forest Gump was almost over and I got up and started figuring out which lights I could turn off and which were definitely going to be left on. "You okay?" he asked. I just didn't answer. I know I had had an already death-defying experience that day and just wasn't looking forward to having ghosties finish me off.
Well the movie was over and he said he was going to head to bed. I said okay, what could you do? We went into the kitchen and he said, "What's that?" There was some kind of alarm going off. We followed it toward the bedroom - the opposite bedroom from the one I was taking, the one no one wanted. We opened the door and damn if that damn alarm clock wasn't going off by itself at EXACTLY MIDNIGHT. I said something undecipherable and headed straight to the back deck and lit up a cigarette. He came out and said, "Are you going to be alright?"
"Ryan, don't you remember the time the clock went off by itself in that last cabin???? 12:00 midnight???"
All he could do was stand there and watch me grab a blanket off the bed, slam the door, and run back out into the living room.
"You sleeping in here?"
"You have a better idea? Just help me turn these lights out."
There was a room off from the living room that had this huge ugly and DARK pool table. I thought about keeping the lights on in that room but I would never get any sleep. I tried to turn them off but they wouldn't go off. Ryan walked over and did something and they went off. We started back out of the room and the lights came back on, all by itself.
O...kay. I said to hell with sleeping by myself, so I told Ryan I was sleeping with my daughter whether she liked it or not. This is the same daughter that insisted on separate rooms at the hotel going down...she didn't mind spending the extra $50 just so she didn't have to spend it with us. To give her some credit, she had a migraine and was sick even before we came with some kind of sinus infection or something which the altitude made even worse.
So, he headed off toward his room while I banged on her door. "Melissa? Melissa? Open this freaking door!"
I'm going to spare you the obscenities (don't know where she got it from) but she let me in and I climbed in her bed. "What's going on???" she cries. "I've got to sleep!"
I think I told her I hated her. Well I know I did. I didn't really but when you've had your nerves on fire all day long and you just want to sleep, you get a bit mouthy.
"The damn alarm clock went off at midnight and the lights in the pool table room came back on by itself!"
And that's when I started crying. One of many times.
I lied there trying to get to sleep. I almost dozed up when I felt her get up.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm going in another bedroom to sleep. Mom, I'm SICK, and I need to go to sleep!"
Well, I got up and followed her.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Look, the other bed is a king sized bed. I'll keep on my own side. I need sleep, too, so leave me the hell alone and let me get some sleep!"
I slept awful. She got up in the morning and went back to her bed. I got up and began to make preparations to do something fun that day being as it was my son's birthday, trying to put the previous day behind me. Little did I know, what was about to happen the next day was even worse..."
Story to be continued tomorrow...