February 28th, 2006


Still Got It

"The best thing about starting drinking in the morning is that you're sober enough for a carjacking by mid-afternoon."

"Bullshit," I inform the Madman. "I'm in no condition to drive."

"You wouldn't be driving." He's got that... well, I was going to say there was a glint in his eye, but I'd be a liar. Lately, the Madman has been hard to read; I used to be able to tell what he wanted to do just by watching his expression, but now he's got an inscrutable poker face twenty-four seven. "C'mon, I see a car coming."

I follow him off the porch to the sidewalk. We drop our cigarettes down the sewer. "We haven't done this in a couple of weeks. You sure you're good for it?"

"Good?" Spit. "I'm perfect." Oh, sure, he says that now, I think to myself. There's a huge difference between the anticipation and the moment. He steps out into the street, blocking the car's path. We've done this a hundred times and only got busted twice. Assuming the Madman doesn't keep walking, which signals that he doesn't want to deal with this particular driver, he turns around and looks at me as though to say, 'hurry it up.' I stay in front of the car, he goes over to the driver's door and yanks it open - unless it's locked, in which case we wave and wander off. For some reason, nobody ever thinks to call the cops. I say it's because they're just happy to get away from what are clearly a pair of violent cocaine addicts looking for their next hit, perhaps thinking about how much more dangerous the city's gotten in the last few years as they speed away. The Madman disagrees; one of us must be a heroin addict in their minds, he says, because people are more receptive to opposition theory. "If they're going to delve into the specifics of our chosen poison, they'll probably apply something different to each of us, just to keep our details separate. Otherwise we'd blend into the mass of all the coke junkies they've known, blurring into obscure featureless fears that keep them up at night."

In this case, the door opens. This part is always a little trickier, because often the Madman has to take the driver's seatbelt off as he's grabbing him so he can throw him out of the car properly. But this driver has thrown caution to the wind. An unlocked door and no seatbelt. He tumbles out of the car, pipe tobacco spilling from his shirt pocket. I must be worse than I thought, because he looks kind of like a cat.

There's a passenger. She's watching to see what we'll do next, apparently unconcerned. "Uh, we're carjackers," the Madman says. "Aren't you going to get out?"

I can't hear her response, but the Madman's eyebrows rise. Must've been deep and insightful. I walk around to the open door in time to hear her inquire where we're going. Not just ask, but definitely inquire, the way you inquire of a supreme court nominee how he would intend to rule on Quebec separation.

"The super water park." Good answer. We'd been talking about the super water park earlier that morning. "Um, you wanna come with?"

I glance nervously over my shoulder at the cat, but he's fallen asleep. The girl considers. "I really shouldn't get my way. That would ruin the consistent ironic failure archetype that I'm supposed to live out."

"You have consistent ironic failures?" the Madman asks. Damn his newfound lack of emotion! I can't tell if he's genuinely concerned or not.

The girl nods. "They're not always ironic, but certainly consistent."

"You should have an ironic failure that doesn't follow the pattern, then." The Madman gets behind the wheel, moving the seat back. "Get in, Simon. We're goin' water parking."

I climb into the back seat as the girl begins to complain. "I'm not sure about this, actually. If something goes my way, it might just be the end of my post-modern adventures!"

"Post-modernism is overrated," the Madman says. "Living in the new millenium doesn't mean you can't be happy."

"Heck, Frasier went on for four more seasons," I pipe up from the back seat. The girl and the Madman turn around and glare at me. I frown. "Too soon?"