The road trip of the Midnight Society

It’s Friday evening.  And at a nondescript Capital District gas station, a man parks his car, checks his wallet for his credit cards, and exits the car to fill the vehicle with gasoline.

And inside the car…

A conversation takes place.

IMG_20160527_0710141 Dibs! Dibs!  I call front seat dibs!!
IMG_20160527_0709593 Get out of the cupholder, Nimslo.  Chuck needs to put his drinks there, and you’re not helping matters.
IMG_20160527_0710141 Aw, no fair!  I don’t want to sit in the back seat!  Come on, why do I gotta sit in the back seat?
IMG_20160527_0708380 It isn’t so bad, Nimslo.  Just do as you’re told.  Everybody’s going to get a chance to have fun on this trip.  That includes you.
IMG_20160527_0710141 Well, I don’t want to sit between the Chief and Kodak Red.  They’re going to fight all the way down the road and all the way back.
IMG_20160527_0708380 Don’t be silly.  They won’t fight.  Right?
IMG_20160526_0929323 Nothing for me to fight about.  Considering I’m the best American camera Chuck’s ever owned…
IMG_20160526_1159421 Aw, geez, do we gotta hear that again?  One lousy picture you took five years ago, it wins awards and you think you’re the greatest thing ever.
IMG_20160526_0929323 Like you ever took a great picture in your life.  Thanks to me, Chuck has The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake.
IMG_20160526_1159421 And thanks to me, he has Vivaldi’s Pond.  And I came from a real city in New York.  Rochester is the crown jewel of Upstate.
IMG_20160526_0929323 It’s not as good as my hometown of Binghamton.
IMG_20160526_1159421 Ugh.  Southern Tier construction.
IMG_20160526_0929323 Listen, Crapchester, who won the Calder Cup a few years ago?
IMG_20160526_1159421 Listen, Stinkhamton, who wins the Calder Cup every year?
IMG_20160527_0709593 Knock it off, the two of you, or you can take your fight to the trunk.  And if you go in the trunk, don’t expect to come out for the rest of the trip.
IMG_20160526_0929323 He started it!
IMG_20160526_1159421 You started it!
IMG_20160527_0714532 Nyet, nyet, you two must fight all the time, is not good for my travels.  I must stay balanced.  No more fighting.
IMG_20160526_1159421 Fantastic.  Now we’re going to get lectured by little Moscow.
IMG_20160527_0714532 I am from Ukraine.  Do not insult the crown jewel of former Soviet Union.
IMG_20160526_0929323 Right.  Crown jewel.  When was the last time you took a picture that Chuck ever entered in competition?
IMG_20160527_0714532 You have a mighty big mouth for camera that’s older than Bolsheviks.
IMG_20160526_1256227 Come on, guys, we don’t need to fight throughout this trip.  Chuck’s going to use all of us on this trip.  Or he wouldn’t have brought all of us.
IMG_20160527_0710141 Dibs, dibs, I still call dibs.  And if I call dibs, then I get to choose what’s on the radio for the road trip.
IMG_20160527_0709593 You’ll listen to whatever’s on the radio and you’ll like it.
IMG_20160527_0710141 I’ll listen to it – but I don’t have to like it.  I mean, does he have to listen to NPR on this trip?
IMG_20160527_0709593 What’s wrong with NPR?  Don’t you want to listen to something smart?
IMG_20160527_0710141 It’s the same three shows he listens to every Saturday on road trips – Car Talk, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and then A Prairie Home Companion.
IMG_20160527_0709593 There’s nothing wrong with A Prairie Home Companion.
IMG_20160527_0710141 And how often do you listen to A Prairie Home Companion?
IMG_20160526_1256227 Stop griping.  Maybe this trip Chuck will put the good tunes on the radio.
IMG_20160527_0710141 Well, it wouldn’t hurt to play some vintage New Wave.
IMG_20160526_0929323 I dig it when he plays the old radio dramas.  They take up a lot of travel time.
IMG_20160526_1159421 I’m glad he got a car with a satellite radio.  Wouldn’t mind some ESPN for a few hours.
IMG_20160527_0714532 Must listen to world news.  Chuck needs to know about happenings in his home world.
IMG_20160527_0708380 Home world?  What are you talking about, Raskolnikov?
IMG_20160527_0714532 I heard some of Chuck’s family came over on the boat from Latvia.
IMG_20160526_1256227 No, I distinctly heard someone say that his grandmother’s family were descended from German immigrants.
IMG_20160526_1159421 That’s his father’s side.  His mother’s side has Native American in it.  Not enough to get free admission into a casino, but still…
IMG_20160526_0929323 Doesn’t matter.  Chuck’s a proud New Yorker.  That’s why he uses New York cameras for his shooting.
IMG_20160526_1256227 Ahem.  He appreciates fine German construction.  That’s why I’ve been Chuck’s primary 35mm shooter.
IMG_20160527_0709593 Hello?  Listen, all you Johnnie-come-latelies, Chuck’s been using Nikon equipment for nearly twenty years.  Step back and show pride.
IMG_20160527_0714532 If that is so, then why am I the only Soviet camera he still uses?  He appreciates fine Soviet machinery.
IMG_20160527_0708380 My money’s with Leica Green.  The minute Chuck got his hands on my German construction, he fell in love with my medium format skills.
IMG_20160527_0710141 Well, I’ve got one advantage over the six of you.
IMG_20160526_1159421 What’s that, four-eyes?
IMG_20160527_0710141 You know where I was made?  Atlanta, Georgia.  Home of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.  Yow!
IMG_20160526_0929323 James Brown was from Augusta.  Not Atlanta.
IMG_20160527_0710141 Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, doesn’t matter.  We’re still driving through there.  So for me, it’s old home week.
IMG_20160527_0709593 All right, let’s stop our bickering.  Can we all agree that we’ll take great pictures on this trip and make Chuck happy?
IMG_20160526_1256227 Agreed.
IMG_20160526_0929323 Me too.
IMG_20160527_0714532 Da.
IMG_20160527_0708380 Okay, everybody – oh crap, Chuck’s coming back.  Everybody shush.  Nix.  Nix.
IMG_20160527_0710141 I still call dibs…

The man gets back in the car, inserts his keys into the ignition, and sets the car radio for road trip driving music.

And at the last minute, he switches the radio to NPR to catch the first few minutes of A Prairie Home Companion.