The following is work of fiction. Resemblances to any person, real or imagined, alive or dead, is pure coincidence.
Thelma and her daughter, Louise, decided to take a couple of days off and hit the road. They made reservations at a park along the way, with plans to take lots of pictures and spend a little time in the cool outdoors.
Because they’d had a bit of a late start, they got to the park half an hour after the office closed. Fortunately, there was a park ranger outside the office, and he helped them do the after-hours check in, gave them a temporary parking pass, and told them to come back up the office early the next morning to pay all the entrance fees and get a regular parking pass.
After Louise pitched the tent with just a smidge of help from Thelma, it started to drizzle. They’d driven through some rain at the edge of town, and it looked like it was about to turn into a real storm. They decided to go get some dinner instead of being stuck in the tent all night. Before they left, they blew up their air mattresses, ran their electricity, and got their sleeping bags ready for the night.
During a delicious dinner of hot wings and fries, Louise expressed a wish to find a karaoke place that would let her in, since most of them are in bars, and Louise was only 19. Thelma, ever resourceful, whipped out her trusty internet enabled smart phone and searched for karaoke bars in the town. She was happy to find one that was actually a restaurant, which meant they would let minors in. However, due to a stupid corporate policy, minors were not allowed after 11pm, even if they were with their parent. Since karaoke started at 10pm, Thelma figured they could go for an hour and then head back to their tent and comfy mattresses and sleeping bags.
It was only 8pm, and they had an hour and 45 minutes to kill, so they went into the biggest Target they’d ever seen. Louise wanted a travel steamer because she and her mother were going to a concert the next night, and Louise knew her dress would be slightly wrinkled from being packed in a tiny bag for hours. Thelma and Louise found the steamer, then wandered around the store for a while. At 9pm, they checked out and went out to their car.
Louise was wearing a pair of jeans and a ratty t-shirt; without any makeup, she looked 12 years old. Thelma suggested she change shirts, brush her hair, and throw on some makeup. They went back in to the giant Target, as Louise needed the bathroom to wash her face and use the mirror for putting on her makeup. It took her longer than any human should require to do those things, and when she was done, it was 9:40pm.
The restaurant was just across the parking lot from the Target, so they walked across, sat down, and ordered iced tea, chips, and salsa. The karaoke guy was already set up and had his books out for easy song selection. Louise started flipping through the huge selection, and found several songs that she wanted to sing. The karaoke guy was really friendly, and told them that since there weren’t many people there, Louise would be able to sing plenty of times.
At around 10:15pm, the karaoke guy got the night started by being the first singer. Louise was second, and it looked like it was going to be just the two of them taking turns. Louise was deceptively quiet, and no one expected such a tiny girl to belt it the way she did. Once karaoke guy heard her sing, he was impressed, and wanted her to stay and sing some more, even though it was going to soon be 11pm, and time for Louise to turn into a figurative pumpkin. Karaoke guy did what any smart businessman would do in such a situation…he vouched for Louise and said he knew her and she was 21. Because Thelma and Louise were only drinking iced tea, no one bothered them as the night crept on.
However, disaster loomed when a bartender appeared at their table around 12:15am, and produced two giant margaritas. Thelma and Louise were surprised, as they had not ordered the drinks, but Thelma figured since it was perfectly legal for Louise to drink as long as she was within Thelma’s sight, she’d pay for the margaritas. Unfortunately, the bartender thought Louise looked suspiciously young and decided to ask for her identification. Louise, ever the consummate actress/spy, coolly removed her id from her wallet and handed it over without a blink. The bartender glanced at it, said thanks, handed it back, and walked off.
Thelma and Louise thought they were in the clear, but a few minutes later, the bartender reappeared and informed them of the corporate policy of no minors after 11pm. She agreed to allow Thelma time to finish her margarita, but removed the drink from in front of Louise. Thelma commenced drinking her margarita veerrrrry slowly. Louise sang a few more songs before the bartender caught on, and came back to the table to throw them out. Since it was already after 1am, and both Thelma and Louise needed to be up early the next day, they were ready to go, and left without a fuss.
They were only ten minutes away from the area where they were camping, and as they drove towards their waiting tent and mattresses, they saw an amazing lightning storm off in the distance. A few minutes later, they pulled into the park driveway only to discover the gates were locked at 10pm. Thelma knew from experience that overnight campers were given a gate code in case they came back late, so she grabbed all the papers the park ranger had given them earlier that afternoon and started to flip through them. It was only a few seconds before she realized they didn’t have a gate code.
They were locked out and the storm was coming.