Knob Creek Hell

by LF (5/98)

An oldie but a goodie: Thompson M1928A1 firing tracer ammo

The Laissez Firearm page has managed to score friends from all over the globe, ranging from the inspiringly talented to the downright scary. Keep that e-mail coming. At any rate, a couple of the regular geeks managed to talk me into going over to West Point, Kentucky for the bi-annual Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot, the biggest full-auto-oriented shindig in the US, which took place on April 17-19th. I was planning on taking a trip up to Cleveland to pester some old friends anyways, and was just going to stop in for a day, but various shit happened. Hence this bit.

. . .

I stopped about halfway, in Athens, Ohio. I went to school there long ago, and still like to drop by every year or so. It has the highest number of decent bars per capita of any place I've ever stayed. To get you up to speed, one of my favorite stories about the area took place twelve or more years back when the local sheriff mounted up on "PorkChopper One" to scan the local fields for marijuana plants. (Athens is next door to Meigs County, one of the premier pot-growing regions in the country.) Well, one of the locals didn't take kindly to the "Ride of the Valkyries" bit, and put a 12-gauge deer slug through the helicopter's turbine. It autorotated down into a pile of mud, and nobody got hurt, but the confrontation led to a hilarious series of articles in the local papers.

I still have a surprising number of friends there, and every time I drop in they make me feel like I never left. It's extraordinarily laid-back without being slow, a big difference between Southern Ohio and North Carolina, my current home.

I spent two nights on a bed provided by Danny and Karen, who were, as always, so kind that it made me sick. Their home burned down a while back and they're in the process of rebuilding, so the stumble up the stairs after a night downtown was rendered a bit dodgier than usual. But they sure acted glad to put me up. Of course, compared to their most recent houseguest, I was relatively low-maintenance. Turns out this dude came in blasted one night, forgot that the top floor's bathroom was not yet hooked-up, and took a piss that filtered downwards, eventually drizzling in through the floorboards about two feet away from where my friends were sleeping.

. . .

So Danny and I walk in the door, and he notices a friend perched at the bar. He introduces me to the young lady, and we set to yacking. After about ten minutes she turns to Danny and says, loudly, "You know, your friend is really an arrogant, condescending asshole." Puhwung-Thunkk! I looked around but didn't see any roses at hand, and the floor looked too sticky to plant one knee on, but Bub, I was in love. After too many years of despairing of women who wanted to be treated like Daddy's lil' darling, or felt the need to sneak in lust-killing references to their personal relationships with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or (worst yet) them's that thought that it was important that I comprehend the meaning behind their tattoos or piercings, meeting a no-shit broad who simply liked to booze and read was a longed-for and genuinely pleasant surprise. It got way too much better when she turned out to be a video geek and a libertarian! As a matter of fact, after another extended conversation, she managed to plant checkmarks beside a total of six of my eight criteria for a perfect female companion. The "Obscenely Rich" category might prove to be a tough nut, but if I'm lucky enough to see her again, I'll try to work on that "Gun Freak" thing.

The Drinker (1889), Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

I scammed out of Athens the next morning at 6am, seeking to beat a storm front that eventually churned up a tornado that nailed Nashville. The drive was brutal shit through Nelsonville, Lancaster, Columbus, and Cincinnati, but then the sun broke through beautifully just as I crossed the bridge into Covington, Kentucky. I took that as a sign and dropped into a local grocery store to stock up on Hudepohl and Christian Morlein beer, fun stuff that I hadn't seen in years.

. . .

I hit the Shepherdsville Budgetel around 10:30, took a long hot shower, and then headed out for what turned out to be a 18-20 minute drive to the Creek. The storm had churned up all kinds of slop, so there was a hefty lag after my arrival before I was permitted to head up to the camping area, as the RV's were stacked up and fish-tailing through the mud. I was camper #74, by the way.

I eventually stumbled upon my group, and finally got to meet Mike Stannard, who was just the type of hard-core gun geek that I'd undoubtedly be if I didn't have to waste so much time working for a living.

. . .

Then Steve and Monica and I headed out to Gerbil's -- sorry, make that Gobel's, the local "adult entertainment" venue. I knew that we were in trouble as soon as we cleared the door and rounded the corner. Off to the right was a cordoned-off section dedicated to "Personal Couch Dances". And what couches they were, with big orange stripes of upholstery peeling off and springs sticking out from odd places. All they needed to complete the scene were a couple of plaster burros and shiny balls on pedestals. I wanted to ask whether they had private engine-block dances on alternate weekends.

Then we hit the main bar, where the promised wet-dream continued to seep away. The first "babe" that performed had breasts only because she retained a sufficient supply of what I will politely term baby fat. The rest of the talent stable was composed of either extremely rough-looking chicks or what appeared to be chunky substitute schoolteachers (there was a Middle-High right next door!) short on their trailer rent. One lady in a yellow bikini was actually fairly appealing from a distance, but turned out to have a face like a worn-in wallet. Damn them tanning benches.

My guess is that the local wives subsidize the place so that their would-be thrill-seeking hubbies would be appropriately cowed when returning home to the same old plate of goodies.

Oh, and did I mention that Monica is, how should I put this, like really easy on the eyes? Five minutes into our vist, the local stud-puppet in a Snap-On Tools T-shirt (a hard-ridden SOB who was apparently popular with the local gals due to his easy willingness to lay down eight to ten bucks per visit on waaayyyy too drawn-out, garter-snapping tips) dropped by to tell us how much he'd appreciate it if she'd perform. After his second pop-in, Steve and I started discussing the possibility of running out to my car to snatch weapons from the trunk and then laying down suppressive fire in order to facilitate Monica's escape.

. . .

Ooh, that looks safe! A home-rigged flamethrower attachment

Old hands consider this to be the best way to view a flamethrower -- from far behind

The Definition of Sweet: the "Radio Gun"

Sorry, I've seemed to have stalled out on nice things to say . . .

However, more information on this trip can be found in my One Year In.

Up the spout