Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rebel Without a Clue





I pulled up in front of the cafe with minutes to spare, jumping from my ride and racing into the arms of my old friend.

"OK, enough of this hugging shit,"  he grinned, holding me at arms length.  "Let me see the rock!"

Beaming, I thrust my left hand at his face so hard I almost ruptured his cornea.  Jon squealed with joy and kissed my cheek with an audible 'smack'.  "I can't believe it!"  he cried.  "So wild!  So whirlwind!  So perfect!  And YOU look amazing!"

"Why thank you, kind Sir."  I stated, dropping a delicate curtsy.  "That's what happens when you're funemployed for three months and do nothing but be in love and go to the gym.  You get all 'glowy'."

"Well, glowy looks good on you."  Jon concluded, holding open the cafe door for me.  "But what's this I hear about you being on the wrong side of the law?"

"Pfft!"  I dismissed with a wave of my hand.  "Order a bitch some coffee and I shall regale you with the tale of my social deviance."

As Jon is both a prudent and giving man, he immediately ordered us a carafe of French Roast and I proceeded with my narrative.

"OK, so a couple of weeks ago, I'm dropping the short people off at day camp. . ."  I began.

"Wait,"  Jon interrupted.  "I thought you weren't working last week.  Why were the boys at camp?"

"Because,"  I explained sweetly, "I have been home with them for three months. . .Three.  Months.  And trust me, that much family unity would make Mother Teresa stabbier than a Manson youth.  Anywhoo, I dropped them off at camp and pulled out onto Country Club Road."

Jon frowned.  "Where on Country Club?  Was it that street by the place. . ."

"With the thing?"  I acknowledged.  "No, not that one.  It was the other place with the stuff. . ."

"Ooh!  Yeah!"  He nodded.  "The one with the thing-a-ma-jig out front."

"Exactly!"  I cried.*


*This is the type of conversation one has with someone they've known since they were 13.   


"So," I continued.  "I pulled out, and like, five seconds later this dude is tearing up behind me, laying on his horn and screaming.  I tried to flag him around me, but he just started tailgating me; flashing his lights and honking his horn."

"What the ACTUAL fuck?"  Jon gasped, signalling the waitress for two of our usual orders.*


*Being a 'regular' at a Portland brunch spot is some serious gangsta shit.  Belee' dat.


"I KNOW!"  I yelled, throwing my hands up in astonishment.  "I mean, I pulled out in front of this guy but there were about eleventy-jillion car lengths between us, so no need to go all Fast And Furious on my ass, Vin Diesel!"

Jon took a swig of his coffee and stared in amazement.  "How far did he follow you?"

"All the way to Lewis and Clark College!"  I told him.  "I even took a bunch of detours and side roads to see if he truly was going all Stalky McStalkerson on me, and: yup.  Sure 'nuff."

"You've gotta be shitting me."  Jon said with a roll of his blue eyes.

"Oh, I shit you not."  I averred, smiling as the waitress set our breakfasts before us.  "So, I pull into the student lot at Lewis and Clark because I saw some hipster undergrads there who I thought could either protect me through brute force or by reading  Nietzsche and offering him a kombucha.  I ran over and told them this giant bag of crazy was following me, and...umm...help?  Just then, Tailgunner Joe jumps out of his car, runs over to us and starts jamming his camera phone in my face!"

"Shut your whore mouth!"  Jon screeched, slamming a hand on the table and sloshing coffee onto the pristine white cloth.*


*For the record:  shouting the word "whore" in a crowded upscale restaurant?  Ill-advised.

I nodded my head somberly.  "true story.  Then he starts screaming 'You almost killed me, Bitch!' and jams his camera in my face AGAIN!  So, one of the students tries to go all passive-resistance on him and steps between me and the camera.  So, American Psycho here GRABS this college kid and THROWS him to the side!"  

"Oh no he, DI'INT!"  Jon cried.

"Oh, yes he Di'ID!"  I replied.  "Then the whack job starts yelling 'I'm a lawyer!  I'm a lawyer!'  and one of the other students says 'Yeah, well, I'm only a first year law student and even I know that what you just did constitutes assault.  So, the next thing you know, I'm calling 911 to report this dude who takes a bunch of pics of my car on the way out of the lot."

Jon chewed his eggs thoughtfully.  "Could they do anything?"

"Not really."  I shrugged, reaching for the sriracha sauce.  "The kid didn't want to press charges, and apparently being a peckerhead isn't against the law, so I figured that was the last we'd hear from the guy."

Jon raised his eyebrows.  "Why do I sense a 'but' coming up soon. . ."

I smiled benevolently.  "Ah, my dear friend; for you know my life too well to think the story would end without at least a modicum of drama.  So, a few days later Norm is working in the yard when one of P-Town's finest rolls up at our house in his black and white to issue a citizen's arrest against me for making an illegal right hand turn."

Jon did a spit take with his water.  "Wait. . .what?  You can seriously DO that?  What did Norm say?"

"I believe his exact words to the officer were 'Is this about that dickhead in the Studebaker who harassed my wife?'"  I said, smiling fondly.  "Suffice to say, the cop apologized that everyone's time had been wasted, he and Norm discussed motorcycles and firearms, and we all agreed that the indignant attorney can go pound sand."

"That is truly magical."  He mused, giving me a s-l-o-w c-l-a-p.  "You're a scofflaw!"

"I AM a scofflaw!"  I laughed.  "I scoff at the law!"

"Did you at least save the arrest warrant?  You know, for posterity?"

"Are you kidding?"  I snorted.  "The guy described me as '5'6, 120 pounds'; I'm having that motherfucker FRAMED!"  Jon gave me a fist bump, then, without ceremony, slid a thin folder from his briefcase and set it next to my plate.  I pulled a face and glowered at the folder with obvious distaste.

"You suck,"  I glowered.  "with your MOUTH."

Jon snickered smugly.  "I told you we were going to discuss your house today, Jen.  It's my obligation as your realtor, not just your friend, to make sure you're up to date on all of the economic fluctuations in the market and making the best fiscal choices."  His eyes pored into mine briefly. "You've already totally tuned me out, haven't you?"

Jon is a dear friend, and God love him he is patient as an ever-loving saint, but there are times I catch him gazing at me like one would a mentally-challenged toddler.  There is little doubt in my mind that he doesn't occasionally question whether the amount of Hood River vodka I ingested in the mid-90's didn't atrophy my cerebellum in some manner because no matter how many times he tries to explain things like interest rates and principal payments, invariably my eyes start to cross and all I hear in my head is "Oooooour house, in the middle of our street, ooouuur house. . .hey, remember that shitty Shannen Doherty show 'Our House' with the chick from 'Days Of Our Lives'?. . .is 'Days Of Our Lives' still on the air?. . .hey, look!  A squirrel!"

Jon shook his head sadly.  "Jen, seriously?  How long have we known each other?"

"Umm, I believe it was the first year of that international frat party known as the Clinton Administration."  I mused, sipping my coffee thoughtfully.

"Exactly."  Jon sighed.  We've known each other for thirty years.  And in TWENTY of those, I've been working in real estate.  I can't believe that I've been a realtor for twenty years and you've managed to learn NOTHING about real estate."

I sputtered indignantly.  "Yeah. . .well. . .I've been a writer for twenty years and I can't believe you aren't more witty and loquacious.  Ha!  Howda ya like them apples, House Boy?"

Jon dropped his face into his palms. . .*


*I get this reaction from people occasionally.  And by 'occasionally', I of course mean. . .OK, shut up.  Don't judge.


"Would you like me to explain principle payments to you one more time?"  He said with a strained smile.

I shook my head affably.  "Nope.  There's no point.  You see, my brain is a little like a computer; there's only a finite amount of RAM space and at the moment it's filled with Shark Week, Gordon Ramsay, and the names of all nineteen Duggar children in birth order.   I can't just delete those files from the desktop, and I don't want to allocate any 'real estate' space that the Kardashians might need later."

Jon chuckled, pushing his fork through the remains of his omelet.  "Fair enough."  he concluded wryly.  "But can I at least send you some literature that explains the terms?"

"You're wasting your time, Son."  I intoned gravely.  "Unless that literature involves wrestling a Great White, voting someone off the island, or marrying Kanye West, I'm probably not going to read it.  Unless there's pictures. . .are there pictures?"

Jon gazed at me in awe. . .or disgust. . .not sure which, so I'm going to go with awe.  "I don't get it."  he laughed.  "You're one of the smartest people I know.  I can't even read a text from you without consulting a thesaurus and yet you are physically incapable of digesting any information I give you regarding your finances."

"Fine."  I sighed, slipping the folder into my tote bag.  "I'll read it later.  This will be great for when I run out of Ambien."

Jon amiably flipped me off and signaled for the check.  "Just trust me, Kiddo.  You'll thank me later. Have I ever steered you wrong?"

I leveled him with my steeliest glare.  "Two words:  Murder House."

He tilted his head quizzically.  "Was that the house I showed you that had the used condoms floating in the toilet?"

"Ha!"  I cried.  "That place was Barbie's Dream House compared to the Murder House!"

"Was it the one with the creepy Coen Brothers wood chipper in the garage?"  Jon asked.

I shook my head.  "Keep guessing."

"Was it the one with the video camera mounted on the bedroom wall?"

"Dude, I BOUGHT that house."

Jon continued to ponder silently.  Finally, I decided to pull him from his reverie.

"House was owned by a single man in his 60's.  Master bedroom was filled with dolls.  Bookshelf had nothing but true crime.  Guest bedroom had a Dora the Explorer bedspread.  Basement had a spot on the concrete floor. . ."

". . .shaped like a coffin!"  Joe recalled, slapping a hand to his perfectly coiffed head.  "Fuck me running, how could I forget that?"

I snorted derisively.  "I don't have a clue, because that Amityville shit STILL haunts my dreams."

Jon laughed.  "OK, so I owe you.  But didn't I find you a good place in the end?"

"That you did."  I admitted with a benevolent smile.  "That you did."


COST OF A THREE BEDROOM HOUSE:  $300,000-$500,000

COST OF BRUNCH:  $26.50

FRIENDS WHO LOVE YOU IN SPITE OF YOURSELF:  Priceless.


XOXO,

Jen