I’ve been enjoying the Gargantuan Amount of Friendship World Tour that azuresquirrel and keyofnik have inspired TO NO END, and desperately wanting to contribute, but… Jackson, and I honestly cannot think of a single reason on earth that the Senshi would ever voluntarily go to Jackson, Mississippi.
The answer of course is that obviously they didn’t come here on PURPOSE.
I imagine that at some point pretty early on in the American leg of things, Makoto puts her foot down about FREAKING AIRPLANES, we are on a continent now can’t we take a train or something? And the other girls really do feel pretty bad for her because she’s basically always losing a good half a day to recuperating after they land and they know she feels terrible about making them herd her around the airports in a drugged-up stupor, so… okay, we can take a train.
And then it all goes horribly wrong because Amtrak is not the Japanese rail system, and God knows where they’re actually trying to go - maybe heading up to Memphis after New Orleans or something - but Usagi gets confused and sweeps Minako and Makoto up in it with her and before Ami can manage to get them set straight they’ve all ended up getting off at entirely the wrong stop and they’re in JACKSON, of all places.
They know absolutely nothing about Jackson. Aside from Ami, they barely have any notion of where the heck Jackson IS, but the next train to where they’re actually going isn’t for hours and they wouldn’t get to their destination until pretty late at night and Usagi’s worked herself up into full wailing and Rei flatly refuses to wait around at the station (it doesn’t even have a lounge!) so they decide to get a hotel room and start over tomorrow.
Meanwhile Minako’s been chatting up some guys and they tell her about the Mississipi State Fair, and as soon as Usagi hears about it they absolutely HAVE TO GO, it sounds like loads of fun! There are rides! And food! And concerts! You can get a free biscuit and apparently this is a big deal! It’s like a festival!
…it is kind of like a festival, and they have fun, if frequently in a ‘what the hell are we watching’ kind of way. Seriously, pig racing, what the heck? (They get surprisingly into cheering the pig racing, although Rei refuses to acknowledge it afterwards.) The free biscuit doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but hey, free food; Usagi eats Rei’s and half of Ami’s and most of Minako’s. Of course they have to visit the petting zoo, Usagi has to pet ALL THE ANIMALS and all of them find the Choctaw tribal dancing interesting for various different reasons. The rides are frankly kind of appalling, but Usagi makes everyone go on at least one ride with her and screams and clings to them the whole way through convinced that they’re going to die. Minako flirts with all the good ol’ boys (the young and cute ones, anyway), and enters a celebrity resemblance contest and is indignant when she doesn’t win, haven’t these yokels ever heard of Sailor V?
Between rides they stop at basically all of the food stands, partly because Usagi is perpetually getting hungry and partly out of an increasing sense of train-wreck fascination at the things that are actually being served for people to eat. Grilled corn, okay, that’s familiar (except no soy sauce which is just plain wrong), and of course they have to get funnel cake, but - Kool-Aid pickles? Deep-fried Oreos? Deep-fried Coca-cola? Deep-fried alligator on a stick? Oh my God did they deep-fry an ENTIRE HAMBURGER? WHY IS THERE A CHEESEBURGER WITH DONUTS FOR A BUN WHAT IS GOING IN HERE? Eventually they find that one guy with a stand selling dubious yakisoba and Makoto gets into a one-sided argument with him in passionate Japanese and the other girls have to pull her away, to the great entertainment of onlookers.
They go back to their hotel after that but it’s still only like 7 in the evening, and even Usagi doesn’t actually care that much about getting dinner after all that fair food. Ami gets online in search of something to keep Usagi and Rei and Minako from descending into hair-pulling, and that is how they find out about Blue Mondays at Hal & Mal’s. LIVE BLUES MUSIC! Minako is into it immediately and it doesn’t take long for the other girls to catch the spirit, even if not a single one of them can understand a word that’s being sung, not even the two of them who actually speak English. They drink craft beers and martinis with silly names and generally party up a storm, and Minako talks her way into a turn or two at the microphone, to great acclaim. This does not stop until the band does, by which point it’s 11 pm and Usagi suddenly realizes she’s STARVING, but since it’s past 11 pm on a Monday night options are limited to fast food drive-throughs and, like, an IHOP or a Waffle House.
DRUNK SENSHI CRAMMED INTO A BOOTH IN A WAFFLE HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Usagi doesn’t care, she’s still smashed and just really excited about waffles, you guys. She’s squashed into one side of the booth between a somewhat glassy-eyed Makoto and Minako, who is still jazzed from rocking out with the blues band. Rei by this point knows better than to expect a decent cup of tea anywhere, but she makes Ami ask the waitress what kinds of tea they have anyway, and since Rei is also kind of drunk the answer of ‘uh… sweet or unsweet’ makes no sense at all. ’AMI-CHAN YOU ASKED HER WRONG, ASK HER AGAIN!’ ‘I already did, Rei-chan, that’s all they have.’ ‘THAT MAKES NO SENSE, OBVIOUSLY SHE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND’. This goes on for a solid five minutes or more before Rei gives up in disgust and orders a soda.
They do not make an early start the next morning, and any plans to sort out their travel plans and get back on the road are dashed when Makoto finds out about the Mississippi Farmer’s Market. Minako doesn’t see the appeal at all and Rei is kind of done with this whole city after the fair and the Waffle House, but Mako really REALLY wants to go and Usagi can’t resist Mako’s pleading eyes and nobody can resist Usagi for very long and they end up going. (Fine, says Rei, but tomorrow we are DEFINITELY sorting out this train thing and getting back underway. Ami promises that it will happen.) Minako and Rei gravitate to the handmade crafts; Makoto drags Ami around with her to take in the cooking demonstrations and translate for her; Usagi bounces back and forth between and discovers muscadines and boiled peanuts.
Ultimately Makoto just can’t resist the lure of the fresh produce and the idea of trying out all the new ideas she’s been collecting and she starts going around shopping with abandon - “But Mako-chan where are you going to cook, our hotel room doesn’t have a kitchen?” “SHUT UP we will figure out somewhere for her to cook, if I don’t get some real food soon I am going to DIE.” Somehow or other they end up at one of the picnic spots at the side of the Reservoir, where Makoto cooks an absurd number of things one of those little park grills and they spend a good chunk of the middle of the day chilling out by the water and taking selfies and talking about whatever comes to mind.
This leaves everyone feeling pretty mellow and there are no complaints when Ami spends the rest of the day taking them around to museums, starting with the Museum of Art. Makoto’s favorite is the Agriculture and Forestry Museum. The Museum of Natural Sciences is having an ‘Animal Grossology’ exhibit designed to appeal to the twelve-year-old in everyone; Usagi and Minako do a lot of squealing while Rei pretends not to know either of them.
They have pizza for dinner at Sal & Mookie’s, and when Usagi discovers the ice cream bar she declares it her new favorite thing ever, until the next thing, and she goes back like three different times. After they’re done eating Minako is ready to go looking for another party, but Ami gently but firmly shepherds everyone back to their hotel room so that they can finish fixing their travel arrangements and be up at a reasonable hour in the morning, because now they’re two full days behind schedule and Mamoru’s texts are starting to take on a distinctly aggrieved tone.