A donut shop we drove past that made Casper think of inside joke he has with a good friend of his. So, this is for you, Ian.

We left Lindsey’s, and Chicago, on a Monday. Casper went to another successful Craigslist gig; he was paid $75 to have his hair cut on camera. He wanted one side shaved, “like Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element”, but the barber wasn’t game. So, instead, he shaved both sides and around the back. When combed down, it looks like a mop top, which has always been one of Casper’s favorite hairdos. When combed to one side, he gets a little of that Gary Oldman look that he was after. It took me a week to get into it, but I’m quite fond of the cut now.

Casper's new hair cut.

Our plan upon leaving Chicago was to drive to the suburb of Palatine, where a funeral home has a free mini golf course and arcade in their basement. We had an appointment but couldn’t find the darn place so gave up. We found a beautiful forest preserve and I built a basic fort off of the trail a ways. We set up our bedding and then went to Dunkin’ Donuts for wifi.

And this is where stuff started getting rough. Casper lost his wallet. In that wallet was his hair cut money, our food stamps card and our prepaid gas card. So, basically, we had no money. We had no way of continuing our travels or getting dinner.

We made it work. The canned food we’d brought from Cincinnati and two nights in our fort allowed us to wait out the payment from our writing work. With that, we were finally able to move on to Milwaukee.

But, before we left, we searched the car in its entirety – we took the opportunity to reorganize, too – checked every place we had visited since the disappearance, and tried to come to terms with the loss. It was hard not to fight when we were both stressed, Casper in particular. I was amazed at how well I took it in stride; I kept expecting to have a breakdown about it, but nope! I have no explanation,

Along with Casper losing his wallet, I lost one of my lenses while in Palatine. Luckily, I soon found my spare.

but I’ve lived in this head long enough to just take some things like this as blessings and not question them too much.

When we finally had the money to move on, we stopped by the funeral home. We had good directions this time and were really excited to finally play. We both love mini golf but have never played together. And I have only played once or twice in my life. The guys who gave Casper his haircut knew about the place – apparently they and friends had gone on some epic Midwest road trip seeking out the best mini golf courses – and said it was totally a place you could just drop in on.

They were wrong. We pulled into their parking lot and used some herbal incense. It was such a relief to finally relax, to finally be on the road. We just sat in our car for quite a while, enjoying the sense of relief moving on brings. But, when we finally went in and asked to play – they told us on the phone they had free hot chocolate in one of those machines where you just press the button! – they said we couldn’t just drop in and we had to make an appointment.

There was no chance in hell we were staying in Illinois any longer so we grumbled to ourselves and headed north to Milwaukee!


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