Friday, October 09, 2009
I'll Drive Myself
More from the recent book -- thanks for reading!
On the matter of how plain old Tim became Captain Tim. One night Tim circled my house, hoping to spot Chris’s car. Melissa and I caught him doing this a lot on weekends when he came home from Texas A&M. Even though it was a long drive, distance meant nothing to Tim who prided himself on being able to find anyone without being informed of his or her whereabouts. The term stalking had not yet entered the lexicon so we called this behavior clever or bat shit depending on whether or not you wanted to be found.
So one night, old Tim circled no less than twenty times, hoping to find a reason to stop. His car was gray, the kind of gray that blended into the world, Tim in the gray flannel car. Melissa and I sat by the window and counted.
“Maybe we should flag him down,” Melissa said. “You know, like stand in the middle of the road waving a white hankie.”
“Who is surrendering in this scene?” I asked.
“I am. To his charms.” Melissa squirted on some Poison she’d dug out from her enormous Dooney and Burke purse.
I sighed, remembering that I had encouraged this crush, imagining if Captain Tim dated Melissa, he would be around Chris all the time. But it hadn’t worked out that way. At least Melissa was open to the idea of love, saying that even though Tim was no Mr. Universe (Melissa was fond of understatement), she liked that he was older, smart, and could quote endlessly from Mystery Science Theater and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Given her propensity for Star Trek, it was a dream come true.
Except that it wasn’t. Captain Tim seemed petrified of any girl that wasn’t Chis’s date or his sister. Chris’s last girlfriend, Amy, had thought that the two were one in the same, hot with jealousy over Nika. I thought back to Cathy and Chris in Flowers in the Attic. Romantic. Amy didn’t appreciate my observation that this situation would be mighty convenient and save gas money on car dates. Paranoid and distraught people seldom enjoy attempts at levity.
Despite the stupidity of the hankie idea, Melissa persevered and we went outside to flag him down. On lap two, he stopped and parked. Melissa’s mother, Janice, was schedule to pick us up in an hour to go to Red Lobster in Weatherford, the fanciest place we could get to in half an hour. We invited Tim despite his weirdness about food. He rarely ate anything except chicken tenders from Chicken Express or peanut butter and jelly that he carried with him.
“I’ve never been,” Tim said. His family favored Panchos, a greasy Mexican buffet where each table was outfitted with tiny Mexican flags. When one finished the goodness that was scooped onto the plate in the buffet line, you raised your tiny flag and asked for more before the lard had time to stop your heart or at the very least inflict a severe case of the runs.
“Am I dressed okay?” Tim asked. He looked like he always did -- a pair of high-waisted relaxed fit jeans and a white t-shirt, bright white sneakers. For special events, he would sometimes don a t-shirt with the front of a tuxedo imprinted on it. I had a Polaroid picture of him wearing this novelty and a sombrero at El Paseo for his last birthday. Sober no less.
“You look awesome,” Melissa said, her voice a few octaves higher than usual. The girlish affectation threw me. I noticed Melissa had unbuttoned the top two buttons of her blouse at some point. Dear God.
Janice arrived in her huge blue Cadillac, a car I’d been enjoying since fifth grade, my small body like a pinball in the backseat.
“I’ll drive myself,” Time said. Given his plethora of hang-ups, his refusal to ride with anyone else except Chris didn’t come as a big surprise. He could plant himself somewhere for hours as long as he knew he could leave when he wanted. I wondered what that would feel like.
Mother and Daddy took me and Amber to Red Lobster a few times a year. We’d both order off the Little Sailors menu, the same dinner each time -- popcorn shrimp and French fries. Even though I was past the children’s menu, I still ordered the same thing. As did Tim.
Janice didn’t say much about Tim coming along. Unlike my parents, she didn’t have to worry that each new person would break the bank. If she noticed Melissa’s crush, she also notices that Tim’s interest lie elsewhere.
“It’s like a ship in here,” Tim said after we all ordered. “I feel like I’m the captain of a ship.”
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye." Jimi Hendrix
Any suggestions for costumes? Mark has suggested the Bride of Christ, I have stuff for the Bride of Frankenstein, and there's always Shelley Duvall in her role as Wendy in The Shining. I look to the rest of you . . .
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday! Will let you guys know news on Screen Test when I do.