“Tracy….Tracy…. TRACY!!” “Sweet Jesus, what do you want?!” McKinley points to the map Tracy was holding. Daniel was leaning on a pole smoking a cigarette. Four young adults have been standing on a corner for about 5 minutes looking at a map some homeless bum just gave to them. The reason being they were looking for some olive oil, but not just any olive oil, EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil. Only quality ingredients for these food connoisseurs. What did the map have to do with all this? Well, the bum that sold it to them promised them that in this little town in Alaska, there is at least one store with the promised ingredient……well that's what they interpreted because the man in question actually said this: “Oh virgin you say? Hehe, I know quality virgin alright, here is a map. Follow it and your dreams will come true Hehe.”
And so, our poor heroes went with a map, not knowing exactly where this map will take them.
“Tracy!! We’ve been going the wrong way this whole time! Look closely at that drawing! That’s the town’s main sign! You took us the wrong way!”
“No, I haven’t! See! mostly used the direction of the compass that was drawn on this map. It is pointing us northeast which is where the red circle indicates the store.”
“Isn’t that Gilligan’s Fishing Store? They sell olive oil there?” Daniel piped in. Daniel was the oldest of the group and knew a lot of the town and its inhabitants.
“That is not a compass, that is a chocolate stain left by the bum. He was eating it as he handed the map to us, and I saw him smear it!”
Tracy rotated the map and took a good look.
“.... hmm now that I’m seeing it, you're right. Whoops.”
“Hey guys, are we going to stand here any longer? I’m freezing and I want to get this over with” Violet exclaimed. She was the female of the group. Well Tracy was a girl as well, but you couldn’t ever tell from the shaved head and boyish clothes she donned on.
“In a minute babe, I’m just figuring this out right here.”
McKinley chimed in again “Can we PLEASE just abandon this map and just keep looking through the stores we haven’t been in!”
“That will take forever,” said Tracy “The food back home won’t last long. Besides, the kind man has given us this super useful map to guide us!”
“He was a bum!! What does he know?!”
“You dare doubt the doctrine of the town’s wiseman?”
“What?” McKinley said.
“It’s true,” Tracy replied “That man has been revered as the town’s wiseman. He has the answers to all problems.”
“Is that why we went to him?!”
“No he came to us, remember?” Daniel said. Daniel was now halfway through his cigarette. He doused the burning tip on his tongue and put the cigarette back in his carton.
“Yes! He came asking for a smoke and some change!”
“I think he predicted we had a problem and came to us first.” Tracy said.
“Tracy,” McKinley sighed “he couldn’t even predict the obvious crack on the sidewalk he tripped on. C’mon Tracy we don’t have time for this!”
“Let’s head back to the truck and start heading down the other direction then. I’ll start it.” Daniel pulls out the keys and heads back first. The others follow him and enter the truck.
As they began driving, there was an announcement on the radio. An oncoming storm was passing through and heading to their little town. A ferocious one.
“That does not sound too good.” Daniel muttered under his breath. He then gave a slight burp “Erg we better find that olive oil soon because I don’t want my truck out in the storm for too long.”
“We will find it, okay? Look, we’ll make this last stop to this place wherever it is and then if it's not there we’ll just go back home.”
“You do good with that promise!” McKinley barked.
As the gang began south in the directions of the mountains, they saw in the distance the dark clouds of the oncoming storm from far away. They begin to realize the urgency of the matter, and each begin to question whether this trip is actually a good idea. But they were far from home and already halfway there, no turning back now.
The gang finally pull up to the building in question that supposedly was located on the map. It was a bar, but not just any bar. This was Tiffany’s, the recent addition to the town that employs the cutest girls in town as waitresses. Most people admit they’ve never been to this establishment, especially the men, but it’s always peculiar how business is always booming in this bar. The building used to belong to a psychiatrist but shut down due to few customers and turned into a bar that now practices a new form of therapy: middle aged men crying into the arms of beautiful waitresses.
“Are you kidding me?” McKinley exclaimed “That’s it! I’m done! No way am I entering this sad place! Especially with you two!” He points to both Tracy and Violet. Daniel once again pulls out his cigarette carton and pulls out a new fresh cigarette and sparks it up with the cheap gas station plastic lighter. He gives a couple puffs as the white cigarette smoke mixes with the evaporation of his hot breath in the cold Alaskan air.
“We’re already here so we might as well walk in and look around.”
“Why would a bar have olive oil? That doesn’t make any sense!” McKinley continued to ramble on.
“It is a Bar and Grill, McKinley,” Daniel replied “They also serve good food. Besides, I'm already hungry. I’m going to have a snack.”
“Save room for the food we still need to make at home, don’t forget the purpose of this trip!” said Tracy.
They walk into the bar and look around. Yup, mostly male customers. Immediately one of the waitresses perks up with an excited look on her face. “Mickey? Mickey, is that you?” She begins to walk over as she calls to the other girls in the bar. “Hey girls, look who’s back again so soon! It’s Mickey!” She gives McKinley a hug as the other waitresses also show excitement on their faces. “Is that Mickey I see? Hey it’s Mickey, our favorite!” The other three are left confused as they look at McKinley. “Don’t you judge me.” he utters. “Welcome to Tiffany’s! Have a seat!”
The gang sit at a table, adjusting themselves to the environment of the bar. Tracy and Violet are especially getting glares from the other men in the bar, as if a secret has been leaked. Daniel continued to take a drag from his cigarette until a waitress approached him.
“Sir could you please put that out? We have a no smoking policy.”
“Oh, sorry about that.” Daniel once again puts out the half-smoked cigarette by dabbing it on his tongue and putting it back into his carton.
A waitress approaches the table. “What can I get for you all?” “Actually, we’re here for another reason.” “Oh?”
Tracy begins to explain the entire situation to the waitress. The waitress’s face becomes more serious. “You said…. the man on the street gave you a map for this?”
“That’s right,” said Tracy. The waitress puts out her hand. “Let me see it.”
Tracy pulls out the map and places it on the table. The waitress reads it for a bit. Then she digs into her apron and pulls out a marker. “I met the town wiseman as well when I first moved in here. He predicted that I would build an establishment one day on this very building. I didn’t believe him, and yet here we are.” She continued to scribble on the map. “But before all that I too was looking for some ingredients and he gave me a map as well. It was confusing at first but once I figured who I had to go too it change everything.” The waitress finishes scribbling and points to the map. “There.”
The group lean in and look at a spot circled by the waitress, it was a square they have not noticed on the map before, and it was farther away from the rest of the town. “Um,” Tracy remarked “What are we looking at?” “Whitney’s place. If you all truly met the wiseman, then she will have what you are looking for.”
“Are we seriously going to mull over how the whole town believes this bum is some wiseman?”
“I wouldn’t recommend going now, she lives pretty far and the storm will hit you when you reach her place. I’d say wait another day.”
“NO! We wait. We wasted the whole day finding this olive oil, at this point my pride won’t allow it.” stated Tracy. McKinley sighed with his palms at his face. “Are you kidding me?”
Tracy turned to Daniel, who also sighed as he pulled out his keys.
The storm was now inching closer as they drove up the mountain in the path directed in the map by the waitress. Snow was starting to come down a bit and the beaten path was somewhat bumpy. “This is really ridiculous. Who would actually live up there?” “Look I promise this is the last place we’re going and then we’re done. Promise”
“You already said that before! I’m telling you that guy was a nut who’s having us run around in circles!”
“He was trying to grope me,” Violet said.
“He said it was to get a better reading to find the virgin oil,” replied Daniel.
“See? He’s a pervert and a nut! Please Tracy, let's just go home and eat pizza rolls!”
“Look McKinley, I know you have your concerns, but I just have a feeling I have to trust him. We have to keep going”
The storm was now very strong. The snow in front of the truck is piling on like crazy and blinding the path. Daniel is having a hard time steering the truck. Suddenly something appears faintly in the distance. “Is that it?” Violet commented.
They park the truck in front of the house. The place was dark, and it didn’t look like anyone was there. Matter of fact, the place looked abandoned. The dread began to loom on the whole gang, but the storm was already here and they were stuck.
Tracy got out and began to look around the place, the snow smacking against her cheek stinging like a frigid hand. “Help me look around”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake!” They all got out and began looking. Daniel trying to light another fresh cigarette, Violet knocking on the front entrance, and McKinley staying near the truck, ready to jump in at any moment if something goes awry.
2 minutes pass by and yet no answer, and no clue to anyone living here. “Are we done now, Tracy?” “Yes, I admit, we were fooled.” “Yes! And now we are out in the open in the middle of a storm! Let’s get back now before it really gets bad!” Suddenly they hear something. A voice. It was the voice of a woman in distress.
“Help me! Please help me!”
Tracy and the others began to follow the voice, all except McKinley, who chose to stay near the truck. The gang descended down the bottom part of the situated snowy hill that the house was perched on. They continued down until they reached the start of the woods. The voice screamed out again “Help me!” and it sounded much closer now. They continued deep into the forest, listening close to the cries when they finally came across the source.
A fallen tree landed on an older woman, and she couldn’t get out. “Help me please! I’m stuck!” “We’ll get you out as soon as possible!” Tracy comforted her. “How will we do that?” Violet asked “The tree looks heavy. Daniel, do you have any rope?” “No, I don’t usually pack rope in my truck” “My shed,” The woman said, “Use the rope in my shed.”
Violet and Daniel both looked at each other, then at Tracy, who nodded at them ensuring she would stay with the woman. They then ran off to tell McKinley.
“Mickey!!!!” Daniel shouted. McKinley was shocked at the sudden shouts, especially coming from Daniel. Daniel throws the keys at McKinley. “Start the truck NOW!” But as they were thrown, McKinley missed the catch and they fell in the snow. And with the blinding storm getting worse, McKinley could not make out the location of where the keys fell. “Son of a bitch! Where are they?! Oh God.”
As he searched for the keys, both violet and Daniel ran towards where the shed was and walked in. Suddenly a window shattered, and wind began blowing at high speed, toppling things around the shed. Violet screamed. “This storm keeps getting worse, we need to hurry or we’ll lose them!” They searched frantically around until they found the rope buried under some tires all the way in the back. Together they pick it up and run out.
McKinley is still desperately searching for the keys until he finally feels them. “Yes!” he proclaimed, when suddenly a strong wind knocks him against the side of the truck, banging his head. “No no ! I just had them! Shit!”
Violet takes one end of the rope and runs down to the forest as Daniel takes the other end and tries to attach it to the truck, but as he’s about to hook it, the rope suddenly tugs him backwards. The rope was too short. They need to back the truck closer to the forest. Daniel runs to McKinley. “Where are the keys?” “I lost them!” “What?!” “I SAID I LOST THEM I’M SORRY!” Daniel grabs McKinley by the collar, cigarette in his mouth. “You will be sorry if we freeze to death out here!”
Tracy and Violet tie the rope to the tree and try to comfort the woman. “What’s taking the guys so long?” “I don’t know!” “Violet….” Tracy begins to feel lightheaded. Out of the entire group, she was least prepared for frigid cold with her minimal attire, and the cold was seeping in. “Violet I’m ……blacking out…” “Wait Tracy! Now stay with me!” Violet turns to the direction of the truck “Guys hurry up!!!” All this…. for some olive oil. Tracy began thinking about this as fell into a deep sleep.
The group began walking back home in the empty streets. It was dark and they were let out of the hospital. “Well, that was a waste of time.” McKinley commented. “Thank god Violet called the patrol about our situation, because we were barely any help,” said Daniel “Not to mention having to deal with Tracy here who fainted.” “Yeah, sorry about that,” Tracy felt embarrassed. “Apologize for the whole day! We followed a bum’s map and almost died in a snowstorm because Tracy here actually believes in people!”
“Look, I said I was sorry!”
“McKinley, look on the bright side, we saved someone today, and we were heroes.”
“Yeah, except we made the situation more difficult for the fighters who had to save our asses! And then the woman said she didn’t have extra virgin olive oil in her stock anyway! It was all for nothing!”
“Maybe your cynicism made the olive oil disappear.”
“Oh, please had we just looked around a bit more instead of going on this adventure we would’ve easily gotten some regular olive oil and just went home!”
“But the cookbook says EXTRA VIRGIN!”
“Screw Martha Stewart and screw the ingredients! I just wanted a simple dinner and I almost died! I can complain all I want.”
The gang had reached their home again and as they were heading up the steps, Tracy noticed a stranger wobbling towards them. The stranger bumps into Tracy, dropping their liquor bottle which was wrapped in a paper bag. “Careful there,” Tracy said to the man, who gave Tracy a couple pats in the cheek with a toothless smile and kept wobbling down the street. Tracy went to pick up the paper bag bottle. “Sir you forgot-”
“Forget him Tracy, that bum has had enough for the night, just throw it away”
Tracy looked at the paper bag and pulled out the bottle, only to her shock that the bottle wasn’t liquor, but a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and a high-quality brand as well. She looked up to find the man, but he was gone. She also felt a paper in the bag, so she fished it out. It was a note that said “Here is what you were looking for. Sorry for the goose chase, but you were the only one who I knew would listen to me. Thank you for saving my friend.”
“Tracy! Are you coming in or not?”
Tracy looked at her friends. They may not be much, but when it comes to going to great lengths over the words of a homeless wise man, they stayed with her through the very end. Tracy smiled. “Yeah, I’m coming.”