It all began on a hot Spring day. Ten years ago you would have said “unseasonably hot” with a knowing look in your eye and then leaned back in your rocking chair on the porch or something; you god damn red neck. Get that fucking truck out of the front yard for Christ’s sake. It’s been there three years and the grass growing up around the tires isn’t going to fix the engine Bill blew up trying to race the Westing’s kid down that service road behind the old Mayweather farm.
Not today though. You wouldn’t say that kind of thing today. Today it’s just global warming, or maybe it’s terrorism. Or Iran. Did we attack them yet? No? We will soon, don’t you worry. It’s this heat, as I was saying. Makes those Texans crazy, and there’s nothing worse than a crazy, sweating Texan except maybe a drunk, crazy, sweating Texan. And I ain’t never met one that wasn’t all three.
Like I was saying, it was a hot Spring day. Maybe in the high eighties which is pretty hot for the middle of April. Just the day before it had been in the seventies and tomorrow it’ll probably be snowing or hailing or raining or all three. It’s this unseasonable heat, you see.
I was supposed to stop by Jim’s cycle shop up in Kansas City around lunch time to pick up the bike. They’d had it in the shop to do one thing or another. Calibrate the rear tie rods or something. What do I know? Mario told me I should bring it by and bring it by I did. Lunch time rolled around and I headed that way.
Now, I don’t know what lunch time means to you, but to me it means right around when it’s time to eat lunch. I’ve had lunch at all kinds of times in my life. Noon, sure. Everyone’s had lunch at noon but I’ve had lunch at ten in the morning too. And one in the afternoon. Hell, there was a solid week back in the summer of ’04 when lunch time was 1:45pm on the dot every day. That was a hot summer, I’ll tell you. Before summer even showed it’s shining face it was spring and hot. Hotter than the hottest thing you’d ever seen and I’d imagine that you’ve probably seen some hot things in your life. Before that it was winter and hot. I don’t mean hot like in spring or summer, but you’d still call it hot for winter. Or at least warm.
Now today it turned out that lunch was going to be right around 11am. I’d been working on the god forsaken investigator reports extractor again when Mario called to tell me the bike was ready. I could have waited until a more respectable time to head out to lunch, say noon or even 1:45pm but I was eager to get the bike back and Mario is not a man you leave waiting.
I saw Mario and got the keys to the bike and hit the road. The bike was running good as new, which it had damn well better be, being that it was new. I took my time heading back to work. It was nice to be on the road, under the sun and not working on the god forsaken investigator reports extractor. My stomach started complaining about food as I got back to work. I tried to settle it down with a stern warning but there was no reasoning with it. “Remember that summer back in ’04?”, I said. “1:45pm every day!”, but it was useless.
There was a new deli over near the office called Matt and Auri’s so I thought I’d stop in and check it out. Turns out they make a mean chicken melt and they take their good old time doing it. I’m sure you’ll say some damn fool thing like “You can’t rush a good chicken melt”, and privately, I’d be apt to agree with you, but honestly I’m tired of your self serving, holier than thou attitude so just shut the fuck up, will you? I swear.
Anyway, Gary stopped in about three hours after I had sat down and I asked him to join me for lunch. I figured I still had a good 4 or nine hours to wait for my sandwich and it’d be nice to chat away the time. We chatted about motorcycles and clinical trials, the finer points of insurance accessioning and just how hard it is to get skilled data entry employees these days. After a wait of only 397 hours I got my chicken melt and Gary got his burger and we set to eating. Good chicken melt, and good burger, Gary said.
The rest of the day passed slowly, as any day working on the god forsaken investigator reports extractor is likely to do. Towards the end of the day Scott let me know he was getting off work early and asked if I could do the same. I had asked Scott if he would give me a ride back to Jim’s to pick up my car and he said he’d be happy to. I had had just about enough of the god forsaken investigator reports extractor so I said I’d be glad to leave a little early.
Scott was waiting at my place when I got there so we hopped in his car and headed north. We also headed west. We got to Jim’s and my car still had two of it’s wheels and a good 25% of it’s paint, which ain’t bad for sitting in Kansas City, KS for four hours unattended. I considered my good luck while we decided on some food and then we headed south seperately to meet at Chili’s. And east.
It couldn’t have been 15 minutes into the drive when something unexpected happened. I had just passed a line of traffic on the right shoulder, riding on two wheels at 290 miles per hour when my right leg started shaking. If I had been drinking I wouldn’t have called that unexpected. Hell, when I’ve been drinking a little leg shaking is what I call good luck. “This is the kind of good luck that deserves a drink!”, I’d say. This was different though. This was a real fast kind of shaking. Almost what you’d call a vibration. At least, that’s what I’d call it, cause that’s what it was. My phone was ringing and by ringing I mean vibrating. Scott was calling and I figured I had better find out what he wanted.
I like Chili’s. It’s a little generic but what isn’t? They have good chips and salsa and you can get three solid days of food in one meal for about $10. They call it Monterey Chicken but the FDA calls it a biohazard. Or disaster area. I call it two chicken breasts covered with bacon and melted cheese with a side of mashed potatos and white gravy. I call it that because that’s precisely what it is and I like to call a spade a spade. I also like to call an apple an apple, a bottle of baby powder a bottle of baby powder and a 23″ Hewlett-Packard LCD monitor a 23″ Hewlett-Packard LCD monitor. Exact is what you’d call me. Also, Jason. And that’s exactly what I am.
Scott, it turns out, doesn’t like Chili’s. He likes Applebees and I’ll tell you what. I just don’t give a fuck. Applebees has good food too and plenty of it. I’ll go to Applebees or Chili’s or Outback Steakhouse or Chipotle or Mimi’s Cafe or D’Bronx or Panchos or Ponaks or Rudy’s or 75th Street or BD’s or Manny’s or Bo Lings. I’ll go to Lidia’s or Jack Stack or Fuddrucker’s or Georges or Old Chicago or Nick and Jake’s or Jazz or Lulu’s Noodle. I’ll go to Gates’ and I just don’t care. They all have food and around dinner time, which is what it was, food is what I want.
We met at Applebees and found a table and that’s when the fun began. I knocked over a glass of water to break the ice and entertain the waitress and manager and we got down to some eating. Applebees doesn’t have Monterey Chicken so I had a Chicken Caeser Salad instead. I wasn’t all that hungry. Still had a decent portion of chicken melt stick in my gut. Scott and I had a nice talk about why everything is so fucked up and what we could do about it. Turns out there’s not a god damn thing to be done. You can try and try but it’s not even up to you and you’ll wear yourself out in the mean time. We had finished our meals when that leg thing started in again.
This time I was ready for it. At least, I thought I was. I could never have prepared myself for what I heard next. JoLynn was calling and asking if I wanted to join her and Adam at The 75th Street Brewery. Now, I mentioned The 75th Street Brewery a few minutes ago as a place where you can get food. That’s one of the things you can get at The 75th Street Brewery. One of the other things you can get at The 75th Street Brewery is beer and if there’s one thing that I like, and there is, it’s beer. They’ll also serve you these giant pretzels that will just knock your socks off. They’ll knock your shoes off too. If you aren’t careful you’ll be standing there without a damn thing on your feet eating prezels and drinking beer and having a good old time. And that’s just what JoLynn and Adam were looking to do.
Scott had other plans for the evening that involved keeping his socks on so we said goodbye and headed our seperate ways. I drove towards Adam and JoLynn’s place and after a certain amount of time, call it 15 minutes, I arrived. Adam and JoLynn were almost ready to go so I had plenty of time to get hungry again before we left. And hungry I got. And thirsty too. I tightened up my socks and we left for 75th Street, all driving together.
Maybe 15 minutes after we left we were pulling into the parking lot at 75th Street. Parking was ample and JoLynn easily navigated the car into a parking space. We strolled into the place acting like we were there to sit down, eat and drink, then pay for our meals and leave. The hostess saw that that’s just what we intended to do so she sat us down at a table and we started to. The pretzels were great, and the beer was great and the conversation was great. Our waiter barely spilled an entire ramekin of mustard on me but he made it up to me by being completely stoned and unable to function.
Our responsibilities at 75th Street completed we decided to retire to Adam and JoLynn’s place to see what kind of trouble we could whip with up bottles of alcohol and a DVR full of funny stuff. I took a brief detour to my place to get my truck and my dog, in opposite order, and went back to Adam and Jo’s place. We had decided earlier in the evening that if we were going to hang out and have fun the dogs should be able to do the same thing. Now, I’m not a dog so I don’t know what’s fun for one. I can only compare the dog’s experiences to my own and I know that I’d rather be running around in the grass sniffing the crotch of a friend and peeing on the fench than laying alone on a blanket in the living room. I hope that my preferences mirror the dog’s and that she had a better time doing the former instead of the latter.
Sonja and Ty spent the night doing dog things and Adam, JoLynn and I spent the night doing people things. I don’t think anyone sniffed anyone else’s crotch, although I can’t speak for what went on after I left, but I did sneak outside to pee on the fence just to see if it was as fun as I thought it would be. It was pretty fun so I think I can be secure in the knowledge that Sonja had a good time. Probably Ty too.
We watched some South Park, which was pretty funny, and started to watch some of the fights. It was the UFC type fights that have a different name now, but I can’t remember what it is. Mostly we saw previews and fighter profiles. Right before the first real fight got going I found myself falling asleep on the couch so I decided it was time to go home and get some sleep. And that’s just what I did. When I woke up the next morning it was Saturday, just as I expected, and it was looking like it was going to be a hot one.
To be continued…