The Hitchhiker's Guide to Canada: Day 2: Part 2: The Bait

In the second of a two-part post, Ben reveals the conclusion of his day from hell hitchhiking across Ontario in Canada

Continuing from Part 1: Misery Attracts

Paralysed by the words Kevin had just spoken, I sat there with my fists clenched tight and no idea on what to do. Void of all hope, all I could do was think about how bad a situation this was likely to turn in to...

...But before I could arrive at an answer that would see me take action, Kevin turned his head once more.

“You know Ben” he said. “This isn’t the start of a horror movie.”

At which point he erupted into laughter.

Realising his comments were an apparent attempt at comedy, my fists may have unclenched but my face remained firmly unamused.

- - - Pack Down in Bruce Mines at 20:49 - - -

Still chuckling to himself, Kevin handed me a cold beer from the back of the car before leading me to meet his friend, and the owner of the camp-ground, Kim.

Kim stood close to the door of a large barn some fifty or so meters away, but even at this distance it was clear that she was a relentless smoker. Her teeth were bright yellow, her skin was as dry as sun baked leather and her wrinkles were set so deep they’d be better described as trenches.

Her hagged appearance however was no reflection upon her hospitality, for after hearing about how I came to meet Kevin, she was quick to invite me to sleep the night inside the house and on the couch. Readily accepting, I was handed yet another beer and from there I followed both Kim and Kevin in to the barn.

Stepping in, I discovered a barn of two halves. To my left lay various pieces of mechanical equipment, enough tools to open a hardware store, and a mish-mash of other barn-like things that probably wound up here after having no real rightful place to be.

To my right though, things were very different. The space was wide open with the exception of five or six armchairs that sat centrally in a large inwardly facing circle. 

As we walked over towards the chairs I noticed some tell tale signs that indicated this space was used both often and by many - a hi-fi in the corner, fairy lights spanning the four walls and above all, many large recycling containers, that, without any exaggeration must have contained many thousands of crushed beer cans.
Her teeth were bright yellow, her skin was as dry as sun baked leather and her wrinkles were set so deep they’d be better described as trenches
At six foot something, Pat was built as wide as he was tall and joining the circle, three became four. Like his wife beside him, he was very open and very friendly, though perhaps less like her, he gave the distinct impression he’d crush you to a pulp if you even thought of disrespecting him.

“So how did you meet Ben?” Pat asked Kevin.

Kevin laughed before spending the next ten minutes reliving the encounter in a lot greater detail than Pat was obviously seeking. What I found particularly strange though was how Kevin made reference to an offhand comment I made when we passed a small Indian restaurant in the nearby town of Bruce Mines.

“I forgot to mention to you earlier Kim” he said with a smile. “Ben told me back in town how he is yet to have a good curry here in Canada.” And before finishing his sentence Kim was already up out of her seat and heading for the barn door.

It would be five very long minutes before Kim would return.

With a fresh glass of wine and a cigarette in her right hand she had in her left a small bowl which with an almighty sense of pride she handed down to me.

“It's beef curry” she claimed. She went on to tell me how she just so happens to work at the restaurant Kevin and I had passed and how it had recently won national awards for its curry. 
Peering in to the contents in the bowl I wanted to question the credibility of the judges but with Pat sat within arms-reach I thought better of it.

So with three pairs of eyes waiting for me to pass my judgement I cautiously took a spoonful from the bowl.

The beef was tough, the flavour bland and above all it was greasy 
It was just as I had feared and at best it was unpleasant. The colour truly resembled something you would find down the toilet, the beef was tough, the flavour bland and above all it was greasy. How anybody could serve anything with such an obvious coating of oil was way beyond me.

“Oh wow” I said. “That’s incredible.”

She smiled and her ill-placed pride was for now at least kept in tact and as the conversation moved away from curry I questioned to myself what the least number of mouthfalls I had have to be seen to eat before I could hand it back without appearing rude.

She smiled and her ill-placed pride was for now at least kept in tact 
Ten minutes later and all I could think about was brushing my teeth and just as I was about to stand up and head for bed the barn door swung open and in strutted three young men. I didn't find out how they knew Kim or Pat and learned only that they had just returned from a day’s fishing out on the lake. So not wanting to appear rude I felt obliged to stick around. However, when the conversation turned to using live kittens as bait I felt these new additions were perhaps not the best judges of right and wrong and so doing my best to ignore their comments I chose instead to bid the group a good night and headed in to the house. 

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Lying there with my eyes closed I breathed a sigh of relief for it had been quite a day. I had awoken to find myself in a cupboard and from there it seemed only to get worse. I spent the majority of the day sweating and despite landing many rides I had failed for the first time to reach my planned host. Instead then of spending the night with a nice young family in Sault Ste Marie, I found myself stuck with a man who thought it was funny to act like a psycho and a group who found no wrong reason with using live kittens as bait. 

All too happy to see the end of today I went to sleep clinging on to the only thing worthwhile - that was it would perhaps at some point in the future make an entertaining story that would make others at least raise a smile.

I hope it was worth it.

Today at a Glance
Awoke in: North Bay, Ontario
Sleeping in: Bruce Mines, Ontario

Time travelling today: 08hrs46mins
Distance traveled today: 432km
Rides today: 8

Planned arrival time: 18:00 - 21:00
Actual arrival time: Didn't Arrive

Highlight: Lying down  knowing the day was done
Lowlight: Riding with Kevin

Total time travelling: 13hrs 06mins
Total distance covered: 628km
Total rides: 14