Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I ain't never been much of a fan of the muscle car. I mean, sure, they gots themselves big ol' loud engines, which I like, but they're kinda impractical when you need to haul lumber or donut grease or a pack full of half-wild chipmunks that need to be released far enough away from man that their little landmines will no longer threaten our hound dogs and various other pets. That's why I've always preferred either a pickup, a boat car or, when all else has failed, an El Camino. I ain't tryin to disparage the American auto makers or nothin like that. I think they do plenty well with their own disparagin, actually. I'm just sayin this to let you know that, when I say that the Camaro I was shootin over the meth plains in was, without a doubt, the rip-roarinest, tire-squealinest, pants-fillinest car I've ever had the pleasure of ridin in, that ain't no hyperbole. Imagin that you lived in the future. I ain't talkin, like, next week future, neither. Like, way way in the future. Like so far in the future that flying cars have become obsolete because now, to get to work, everyone just uses their shrink rays on themselves, climbs into the barrel of a .45 Magnum, settles down in a tiny little seat inside the bullet, puts a little "Barracuda" on the radio and just shoots their way to work. Now imagine that, inside that bullet, there was another tiny little shrink ray and another tiny magnum that shot a smaller bullet that same speed, and it all got added to that first shot. Now, on that tinier bullet, put a blower and paint some flames on the side. Now you got some small idea of what ridin in this thing was like.

That's why I was shocked when the cop caught up to us and pulled us over. I ain't no physicist or nothin, but I woulda thought we were travelin fast enough that the sound of his siren couldn't catch up with us, let alone the car in which his siren was travellin. But catch up, he did. I ain't sure if the other Pat was ignorin the lights or if he was tryin to outrun them, but when that rocket was fired across the front of the car, bounced off the hood, shot into the air, swerved around for awhile and ended up landin on what, accordin to the sign, was a strip club/bar/boxing ring/barbed wire wholesaler and changin it into a crater/ditch/smokin hole in the ground, his mind got changed right quick.

As we were rollin to a stop, Pat looked over and told me, "Try and act like a meth addled junkie. Follow my lead."

He started squirmin in his seat and itchin himself like he'd just run a marathon through a poison ivy patch and followed it up by a cooldown roll on a red ant hill. Last thing I wanted was to get into problems on this planet, so I joined right in.

In between pretendin I'd been the main dish at a mosquito wedding and tryin to pass myself off as an unsprung jack-in-the-box, I saw a figure get out of the car behind us wearin a cowboy hat and reflective sunglasses. I had about four nanoseconds to wonder why he was wearin sunglasses on a planet of perpetual night before he hit us with what could loosely be called a flashlight beam but would be more accurately described as a thousand suns pushed into a tube and then pointed directly in my eyes. By the time the light spots had faded enough for me to be more that half confident I wasn't gonna be blind all my remainin days, the man was tappin on our window. Pat rolled it down and I could see that, despite the cowboy hat, reflective shades, and shiny tin star I could now see pinned to his chest, the cop was in full ninja dress and carryin enough weapons to supply a whole village of starving orphans with the means to rise up against the oppressors and establish a new world order in which orphans called the shots. Sure, they'd try to be good leaders at first, showin compassion to others and tryin to level the playin field, but then they'd get their first tastes of power and soon it would be "All Hail Orphans!" and goose-steppin and tanks rollin through the streets.

I was just workin up some orphan propaganda posters in my head when I was rudely interrupted by ninjacop hittin Pat with the standard first line, "Sir, do you know how fast you were going?"

Now, I don't know a whole lot about theater, and I ain't never taken any sort of drama class down at the community center, even though Frank kept tellin me to, but mostly because I was suspicious she didn't care if I acted or not, but she was really tryin to set me up with this friend of hers, Bernice, that's into this weird new-agey stuff where she calls herself a Buddhist but keeps statues of Vishnu in her house and dresses like a gypsy. I don't wanna sound like I'm some sorta anti-gypsite, but, honestly, how many silk handkerchiefs and gold bracelets does one woman need? So, anyway, I may not know a whole lot about actin, but this other Pat was so into character that I almost believed he'd snuck in some actual meth while I wasn't lookin. He pretended at first not to hear the cop, lookin straight into my eyes and askin, "Did you hear somethin?"

The cop, somehow emoting a frown despite wearin layers of black cloth over his face, asked again, "Do you know how fast you were goin?"

Pat whipped his head around, past the window and ended up lookin at the back seat. "I think the invisible dog is back again!" he yelled. "And it's talkin now. You won't get me this time, invisible dog!" Then he started throwin punches into the empty air.

I thought to myself, "When in Rome..." popped the five point harness and jumped into the backseat elbows first yellin like a banshee ridin a guy from Braveheart into battle.

The third time, the cop had to yell, "DO YOU KNOW HOW FAST YOU WERE GOING?!" I think he was gettin a little mad by this point. Either that or he really wanted to be heard over Pat cheerin me on in my fisticuffs against the imaginary talkin dog.

Over my wrestlin, I heard Pat shout out, "Woah! When did you get here?!" Then he put a hand on my shoulder and said, "Be cool, man, it's the 5-0"

I sat bolt upright in the back seat, hands in my lap. I sat prim and proper like an elementary school librarian who's never happy about nothin sits in church.

Pat turned back to ninjacop and said, "Gee, officer, I'm not exactly sure, but I think it was somewhere up around 145."

The ninja nodded slowly, "Yeah, it was. And how high does your speedometer go?"

Pat rocked a little in his seat. "Um, let me see. See? See. See's a funny word. So's word. Word, herd, turd bird. Turd bird! HA!"

I took my cue and yelled out "TURD BIRD!" as loud as I could.

The cop, obviously gettin fed up, leaned into the car and said, almost to himself, "200, huh?" Then he leaned back again. "Your speedometer goes all the way up to 200, why were you only goin 145?"

Giggling nervously, Pat said, "Oh, that? That's nothin. We were just tryin to stay in the middle of the cheetah herd so them giant carnivorous zebras didn't get us before we got to the dynamite store. I swear, when we get to the dynamite store, we're gonna stick it to them zebras. Right boys?!"

"RIGHT!" I confirmed exuberantly. And then, realizin he's said "boys", I yelled, "RIGHT!" again, just to be safe.

The cop leaned back and put his thumbs in his belt, "Well, allright. I'll let you guys off with a warning this time, but if I see you come back through here goin less than 180 tonight, we're gonna have problems. Understood?"

Pat scratched his neck. "Yeahyeahyeah, I got it. EAT RUBBER ZEBRAS!" And with that, he peeled out in a trail of dust.

We didn't say nothin for awhile. I was busy trembling like a fawn without a coat in Siberia and checkin to see if I was gonna need to borrow a pair of overalls when we got where we were goin. Once that passed, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask, "Hey, other Pat?"


"Why was that ninja wearin a cowboy hat?"

"Universal law," he explained, "like gravity or the speed of light or fat kids likin cake. All sheriffs have to wear a cowboy hat and reflective sunglasses."


I sat in silence the rest of the way. I mainly occupied myself by thinkin of more orphan propaganda posters for my imaginary world. While I was doin that, I must have drifted off to sleep because, after some darkness and dreams involvin spiders and Heidi Klum that I shouldn't discuss in mixed company, I heard Pat up front say, "Pat, honey, put your shoes on. We're at grandmas."

I sat up, rubbed my eyes and looked out the front of the car onto a black sea that looked like someone had split open a million gorgon hearts with a million bic pens and then covered the whole thing in velvet. Floatin on top of this sea was all the flotsam and jetsam that you'd expect on meth world; dolls, plastic cartons, boxes, cigarette butts and dead whales among them.

"What are we doing here?" I asked. And then I saw it. Amid the debris and dirt, floating near the shore, was a three masted pirate ship bristling with cannons.

Pat nodded at the ship. "We're gonna put you on that there boat and take you to the moon."