It was during one of their weekly sleepovers (which Abed had suggested with the air of someone setting up a vitally important business meeting and Troy had accepted because, as weird as Abed was, Troy really liked him) that the whole road trip idea came up. It was August, when summer stopped being awesome and started being just one hot day filled with boring TV and nagging parents after another.
“We should leave town,” Abed announced, suddenly, once Sarah Michelle Gellar stopped being hot on screen. “It’s a classic way to alleviate boredom and will most likely end in the learning of a life lesson and/or the discovery of a soulmate. We could go on a Road Trip, where the journey is the focus of the story, or Walk The Earth, making significant plot developments in each place we stop and working towards some sort of fulfillment or destiny. Your call.”
“Road trip sounds ballin,” Troy said in response, and that was that. He’d gotten good at understanding what Abed said, even when 75% of the words went over his head, and he was pretty sure he’d picked the right choice. The Earth was big – walking it would probably take a really long time.
Abed showed up at his house the next day, way before Troy planned to wake up, with a really ugly bright blue van and, for Abed, something approximating a beam.
“Whoa,” said Troy, impressed. “Where’d you get the car?”
“I pooled our respective money and realized that it was ninety-four dollars and seventy seven cents, which is unlikely to be sufficient for a car, even a old, comedically colored one which can break down at strategic, meaningful points on the road. So I approached Jeff and asked him to spot me a few thousand dollars. He laughed for five minutes straight, and then I said I would tell Shirley about his Japanese schoolgirl porn and she'd storm his house and never leave him alone again, and then he looked like he wanted to punch me but instead he just gave me the money.”
Troy held up his hand for a high five, and Abed delivered perfectly, seamlessly starting their secret handshake, which was three minutes long and included a verse from “Feliz Navidad.”
That’s why Abed is his best friend.
“Mom!” Troy called, standing on the porch. “I’m going on a road trip, I have my cell phone and clean underwear, please don’t call the police, I love you!”
“You better call me every single night, Troysaurus, or I will -- "
“I told you to stop calling me that!” Troy protested.
Troy’s mom sighed, loudly. “You should have thought it through when you told me to call you that.”
“I was five!” Troy yelled back.
“Is that boy giving you sass?” Nana asked. “Because I can take care of that.”
“Go now,” Troy mouthed, hearing the telltale steps coming down the stairs, and Abed simply nodded. They sped out of the driveway, halfway down the block before Nana made it down to the door.
“I made a mixtape of the songs most commonly associated with successful road trips,” Abed said, popping it into the actual cassette player in the car. Troy thought those had stopped existing in like the sixties or whatever. This car was older than he thought; he hoped it was still working. “I considered making a playlist, but it seemed bland and inauthentic, and I want to preserve our integrity.”
“Cool,” said Troy, shrugging. Abed had weird taste in music, but he kind of liked it. “Do you have Nas – “
“—ty by Janet Jackson? Of course. And we can – “
“—make up new lyrics? You’re awesome.”
They drove in silence for a few moments, Troy at the wheel, swerving around other cars, Abed tapping his fingers and looking out the window, making faces at the kids passing them. Abed made the best faces. Troy was kind of jealous.
Eventually, Abed turned back to him and announced, “We need a quest. Road trips are nothing without an ultimate goal or destination. Like in Stand By Me, where they look for a dead body, or try to get a band back together to save an orphanage in The Blues Brothers, or look for sex from a girl they met on the internet.”
“I’ve always wanted to visit the world’s largest Oreo Museum,” Troy said immediately. When he was in fifth grade (the first time), someone had mentioned it, and who didn’t want to visit a museum made out of Oreos? Troy could eat the entire building. And Abed could help.
Abed made a few calls (Jeff, Annie, Britta, God), and then they were on their way to Godspeed, Alabama, home to the world’s largest Oreo museum.
“I need to pee,” Troy announced, a few days later. Road trips were still awesome, but he was starting to see the appeal of hot showers and real beds and food that didn’t come out of a package. (Except beef jerky. He would never get tired of beef jerky.)
“Pee in the bottle,” Abed replied without looking. Abed drove like he played Grand Theft Auto – focused, hunched over, never taking his eyes off the road. Though there had been no carjackings – yet -- it was nicely familiar. I love this image, although I feel like Abed might be a really calm driver.
Troy made a face. “Do I have to?” He’d done that once in sixth grade, but apparently a pill bottle wasn't the right kind of bottle.
“It’s a time honored tradition of road trips everywhere, in all forms of media. Of course you have to. I've saved several empty bottles for the occasion, you can find them in the backseat.”
Troy deliberated – Abed really wasn’t kidding when he said he had prepared – but eventually chose a Bud, to keep with the tradition. Abed nodded his approval.
When Troy threw it out the window, it shattered next to a hitchhiker who looked disturbingly like Starburns, and Abed started to rap in Spanish overlapping with the Don't Stop Believing coming from the speakers. And Troy thought, yeah, he could do this.
Troy managed to deal for about a day after the halal food packed by Abed’s dad finally ran out. Then he broke down and demanded some real food or he was gonna die. Abed glanced at his watch and agreed, because “11:11 is a notoriously significant time, and if we hurry we can find the nearest diner by then.”
They were served by a waitress who could have been Troy’s mom, if Troy’s mom smoked two packs a day and covered it up with the scent of burnt apple pie. But Troy ordered a stack of pancakes taller than his head, and Abed ate fries dipped in chili, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and a milkshake. While they ate, Abed told him about some MILF and her son who fight robots from the future who might take over the world and kill everyone if they aren't stopped, and Troy listened and laughed in the right places and promised to watch it with Abed, and he wasn’t even lying.
As they walked out the door, two blond boys with lacrosse sticks snickered, and one said something that sounded like “freak” and the other said something that sounded like “gay” and when their ketchup-drenched burgers and Cokes landed in their laps, Troy didn’t feel guilty at all.
The museum, when they got there, was a pretty huge letdown. Apparently, when someone says “Oreo Museum,” they mean a boring building built out of bricks and wood with words in it, and you have to pay for your Oreos. Troy didn’t really appreciate any of that.
Thirty seconds after walking into the museum, Troy leaned over to Abed and whispered, “Our Oreo Museum would be way cooler.”
“Do you think we could get into the Guinness Book of World Records and/or become viral celebrities by building a structure entirely out of Oreos?” Abed asked, looking thoughtful.
Guinness World Records 2011
Largest Structure Made Entirely Out Of Edible Items
Who: Greendale Community College
Where: Greendale, Colorado
When: September 2nd, 2010
Details: The largest structure made entirely out of edible items is a student dorm with a total square footage of 99,756 on the Greendale Community College Campus in Greendale, Colorado. It was made exclusively out of 34,789,693 Oreo cookies, and was organized and primarily built by Abed Nadir and Troy Barnes between August 25th and September 2nd of 2010.