I’d be setting out for Oregon with my lovely wife, Rosamund, and our three young daughters, Persephone, Alice and Strawberry. Truthfully, I’d prefer to be traveling alone with our studly farmhand, William, but it’s 1848 and I have to at least pretend, so it’s Rosamund, me and the girls, and William would ride along in the back.
We would leave from our hometown of Independence, Missouri, around the start of April with only $400 in our pockets, four oxen, a chest of clothes, a cabinet of cereals, a Tupperware container of William’s homemade potato salad, my face moisturizer, daily scrubs, weekly mask, ultra moisturizing hand salve, lip balms, invigorating oatmeal soap, body cremes, my magazines, my coffee table books, all of my winter scarves, both of my winter coats, my pair of sexy underwear, my crate of footwear (both formal and casual), my 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, my ergonomic Tempur-Pedic pillow, and my electric tea kettle from Oprah’s Favorite Things, 2013. Oh, and all of Rosamund’s crap.
We’d set out for Oregon at the beginning of spring, early enough so the grass would be fresh for our oxen, and the weather would be nice enough for William’s nude swims.
Of course, two weeks in, we’d attempt to ford a river and lose 56 pounds of our food, three of our oxen, and the collection of couture gowns I purchased from the fur merchant during week one. Oh, also Persephone would drown. She was always the weakest. And she fucking knew how much I loved those dresses.
We’d quickly run low on food, supplies and water, because I’d be too impatient to stop to trade or hunt. But whatever. I’m not about to stop this fucking wagon for a rest just because the children are “weak and hungry and susceptible to fatal communicable diseases.” William and I have fucking lives to lead. Anyway, the food rations would run out, and I’d attempt to hunt, but I’d accidentally shoot Rosamund in the face and kill no bison or deer.
A week later, Strawberry would somehow break her fucking leg, because things happen for no goddamn reason along the Oregon Trail. A month later, she’d die, but not after completely diminishing our medical supplies, and breaking the ceramic bowl that William made me for our third anniversary.
Not long after, Alice would somehow get cholera, because that’s what happens on this goddamn trail. People just fucking get cholera and then die immediately.
Finally, though, it would be just William and I, as I’d dreamed all along, although I’d imagined we’d have more food to share between us. And, unfortunately, despite his rough, manly presence, his strong jaw line and hairy chest, and the way he could wield a musket, he’d prove to be as useless of a hunter as me. We’d be forced to continue with no food During one particularly fierce thunderstorm, we would dance naked together in the rain, asking the gods for sustenance. But all they would give us was the measles.
One day later, William and I would each die in one another’s arms, having made it this far, three miles from where our journey to Oregon began. “Here lies Matt and William,” our gravestone will say. “They were gay and weak.”