July 29, 2005

Day Four of The Random Biggie Lyric Short Story Challenge

Today's random lyric (From "Unbelievable"):

My forte causes caucasians to say
He sounds demented, car weed-scented

Friday night, we hotbox Chris�s Civic.

There's no CD player, just a tape deck, and nobody has tapes anymore and Chris is too lazy to dub any CDs so all we have to listen to are tapes his brother's ex-girlfriend made for his brother. A lot of mid-nineties alternative music. This car used to belong to Chris' older brother.

"There is no alternative music anymore," Chris says, very philosophical after one joint.

"Your brother used to fuck this girl to this music," I say, very sorry after he punches me in the arm.

Her name was Kate. KATE + CHRIS ADORATION MIX 96, one of the tapes says in loopy blue pen. Can't you just write love? Adoration is something Catholics do for saints. I already don't like this girl. But, by the same token, I'm in love with her.

Chris fast-forwards through an Ani DiFranco song while we pull out of the church parking lot. We're both seventeen years old males and we're not about to listen to a chick song alone together in the car.

On the way to Sonic, we play Ways To Die. Chris is so good at this game it's scary.

"So, I'm hitchhiking on the side of a deserted highway when The Rapture happens like in that series of books all the kids in LifeTeen love to read, right? So all the good Christians are recalled to Heaven. And you better believe all long-distance truckers are Christian, right?"

"You don't KNOW that, I'm sure there are--"

"COME ON. Who ever heard of a Muslim truckdriver?"

"Trucks have to come and go in Muslim countries too!"

"Right, but I'm not in a Muslim country, I'm in Nebraska, right? And two trucks, headed down this same highway straight at each other, driverless because both of their good Christian drivers have been recalled to Heaven, leaving their ass indentations in the seats, both these trucks, they're both rolling toward each other, and I'm in the middle. I see them both coming, slowing down but not stopping."

"They're slowing down because no one's pressing the gas?"

"Right, but they're still fucking TRUCKS so they're still fucking hauling. And they both start to leave their lanes."



He hits play on the tape deck. We're in the middle of a Pavement song. Fast forwarding is an inexact science, especially when you're stoned and playing Ways To Die.

"-and I think, awesome, right, BOTH these guys are stopping for me, I have truckers FIGHTING to get me to my destination-"

"Which is?"

"Not important. They're still hauling, though, not really slowing down fast enough to stop. And they're still swerving. I run out into the road to try to signal them, see what's up, I don't know...I go deer in headlights, right? And these two driverless trucks, not going full speed but still enough to catch me and still fucking TRUCKS, I'm sandwiched between them. I try to jump out of the way but I just end up pinned from the waist down like Mel Gibson's wife in 'Signs. And I see, neither of these trucks has a driver. Nobody can hop out to help me. I'm just fucking stuck there, bleeding to death--"


"HOLD ON. Then the crows start to circle."

"Aww, man..."

"I'm trickling kidney fluid through the hot fused grilles of these big fucking trucks, I have no idea God has made his judgment and judged me unworthy, but just from where I am I think I can probably, like, infer that, y'know? But I'm not bleeding fast enough to die. Not before I can get dehydrated in the hot Nebraska sun and listen to country music still playing from both trucks. Different songs. Not before the crows come and peck out my eyes."

The Pavement song fades out.

"Okay, your turn."

This girl we know from school, Tina, roller-skates out to our car when we pull into Sonic. She looks good, but everything looks good right now. When Chris rolls down the window she wrinkles her nose.

"Aww, you guys shouldn't drive while you're high."

"Tina," Chris says. "We don't tell you how to live your life. I don't roll down my window and go, 'Eww, don't work at a fast food place.'"

"Very funny, dickhead. What do you guys want?"

"The usual," Chris says.

"I...don't know what that is."

"It's four--" I start.

Chris shushes me. "Is Tito working?"

"No," Tina says.

"He knows what the usual is."

"Right," Tina says, "but I just told you he's not working."

"It's four orders of tater tots, two cheese Coneys, and two cokes with cherry and vanilla," I tell her.

"Aww, you guys order exactly the same thing," she says. "Be right back," and rolls away.

"Great, now she thinks we're gay," Chris says. He leans over and starts to fast-forward through a PJ Harvey song.

"I don't think she thinks that. Anyway, she has a boyfriend."

Her boyfriend, Kevin, edits the school paper. Chris' brother used to edit the paper, before he went off to college.

"Yea," Chris says. "She has an asshole boyfriend. Don't they fucking all."

Chris hits play. "Who's this?" I ask.

"The Replacements. But it's half-over."

"How do you know?"

He shrugs.

"You should learn to listen to the radio. Or dub some CDs. I'm tired of these tapes and this isn't even my car."

"The radio is a corporate sham. It's not how it used to be."

I don't ask how he knows how it used to be.

"Your turn."

"Okay...uhm...terrorists have hijacked Air Force One. And I'm on Air Force One because--"

"If this turns out to be a NOBLE death you're walking home. No noble deaths. No heroics. It has to be painful and excruciating."

Tina rolls back up with our food. We pay her. I eat slow so I have time to think of a painful and excruciating death. When we're done with our food, we can't think of anything else to do and it's still pretty early so we drive back to the church. There's another joint in the glovebox in a Boyz II Men cassette case.

When Chris and I were twelve, we used to hang out in his basement every day after school. It was huge and furnished, constantly stocked with all the food we could eat, all the soda we could drink. Freedom incarnate, and three gaming systems. We never went to my house.

Chris' brother's room was down in the basement, too. His friends would be in there sometimes, smoking and playing guitar. Other times it would be him and Kate alone in there. While Chris and I were watching cartoons we were listening through the wall, painting ourselves into high school lives, big mature lives full of guitars, cigarettes, and adult love.

Sometimes Chris' brother would come out with his shirt off and comment on the game we were playing or ask Chris what they were gonna have for dinner. I remember a very specific time, Kate came out. We were watching Dragonball Z. She made for the bathroom. Her hair was a little mussed and she was wearing one of Chris' shirts from newspaper, My Drinking Staff Has A Newspaper Problem. It had gotten Chris suspended the semester before. It was way too big for her. Then, when she was done in the bathroom, she got two sodas from the fridge and went back in Chris' room. She closed the door and we could no longer hear whatever music they were listening to.

That's what it will be like, I thought. That's what it's like.

Chris finishes peeing in the bushes, hops the divider and walks back to the car. The church parking lot has the last lights for miles, until the Indian reservation.

He climbs in the car and says, "My brother says in college all you do is discuss the things you want to be discussing with people smart enough to discuss them with you, and fuck. Talk and fuck, all the time."

I fast forward through a Liz Phair song while we debate going back to Sonic.

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