Two Stories

i finally got clearance

I had to wait a while to tell you these stories. I’ve finally been given permission. Actually, I think I was given permission a little while ago, but it wasn’t until I was looking at the picture sent by the car dealership of Eric and me standing in front of the new car, next to the old Club Pro that I remembered the little extra something someone will get when they buy Club Pro off that lot.

Here goes. Story One.

It was late at night, after the comedy club had closed, probably about two years ago. Eric and I were hungry and went to the Whataburger (known only to the finest of Southern tastes) for a late-night binge. That place is only good because it’s close to our house and it takes credit cards.

The catch for the convenience is that you end up waiting in line for thirty minutes no matter how many cars are in front of you. If it’s after midnight, you’re waiting for a very long time. This is fine if you enjoy your car company. This is not fine if your stereo is broken and you’re alone. Luckily, Eric and I were having a good conversation and not noticing how long we had been there. I offered to pay and handed my credit card (which is really a debit card) to Eric.

We hit a lull in the conversation where we were both just staring out the window. I remembered this one time where I had been sitting with my sister in a drive-thru line and we had gotten quiet. I realized I had never asked her what she was thinking before, and wondered what the answer would be. “What are you thinking about?” I asked her.

She looked at me. She pointed at the car in front of us. “I was thinking about the word ‘Chevrolet.'”

Well, I asked.

It was at this point that in the present time I heard a clunking noise. I turned to Eric.

“What was that?”

I don’t even think his face changed expression. As if he was going to point and comment on the word “Dodge” he said, “Yeah. I just dropped your credit card.”

“Well, open the door and get it.”

“No.”

“Why?”

“Can’t.”

“What?”

“Yeah. I dropped it inside the car.”

“In the car?”

“Here. In this little space where the window has gone down. It’s inside the car door. It’s gone forever.”

“Are you kidding?”

“You’re never allowed to tell anyone about this, ever.”

“What were you doing?”

“I was just tapping the card against this little slot thing here and then I just let go and the card went into the door.”

“Unbelievable.”

“I can get it out. I just have to remove the panel on the door and take the door apart and we can get it.”

“Oh, please don’t.”

He made me tell the bank that I had lost the card. He refused to even let strangers know that he was goofing around with my card and lost it inside my vehicle.

The new owner of Club Pro is in for quite a shock if ever in an accident. “Yeah, the door was totally smashed, but this credit card popped out, and I’ve been paying my phone bill with it ever since!”

Story Two:

Not long ago, maybe three months. We were driving to Houston to visit my parents, and they had given us directions to my father’s hotel, where we had a room. I had never been in this part of town very often, and I wasn’t sure if we had gone too far on the tollroad and passed the building. I called my mother on the phone.

[scripty]
PAMIE
Mom, is it this exit?

MOM
(on phone)
Honey, I think you still have a few exits to go.

ERIC
Ask her how many tolls?

PAMIE
How many tolls?

MOM
(faintly)
John, how many tolls?

DAD
(faintly)
Two.

MOM
Two.

PAMIE
Two.

ERIC
Then we haven’t passed it. We haven’t hit one yet.

PAMIE
We haven’t hit one yet.

MOM
Then you’re doing fine.

PAMIE
Ooh, here’s one coming up.

MOM
Tell him you want the cash only line, and not the–

PAMIE
Can we go through the EZ lane?

ERIC
EZ lane? Okay!

MOM
No! That’s for the people with the cards where you just drive through.

PAMIE
Go to Cash Only. We don’t have the drive through card thing.

MOM
Make sure he goes to cash only.

ERIC
There are so many lines!

PAMIE
That one is closed, go to that one with the line.

ERIC
I don’t want to wait in a line.

PAMIE
Hold on, I’ll get you some cash. How much is it?

MOM
A dollar.

ERIC
I think a dollar.

PAMIE
Okay, I have a dollar.

MOM
When you get there, do you want me to come out and see you guys?

PAMIE
Yeah, I think so, that would be fine. We’re not too tired yet and our flight isn’t until the late morning.

MOM
Okay, that’s what I’ll do.

PAMIE
Wait! What are you doing?

(Eric has taken the dollar bill and flung it into the basket at the toll. It sits there, limply, clinging to the side of the basket.)

MOM
Are you okay?

ERIC
Do I hit it in?

PAMIE
You can’t put a dollar bill in the basket!

ERIC
What the hell am I supposed to do?

MOM
He put a dollar bill in the basket?

PAMIE
Well, it didn’t make it in, exactly. Eric, you’re supposed to go to the box with the person in it if you have a dollar bill.

ERIC
It says Cash Only! This is cash! A dollar is cash! It’s cash!

PAMIE
This is for change! Not bills! How’s it supposed to know you threw in a dollar or five dollars?

ERIC
Give me another dollar. You got quarters?

MOM
John! Eric threw the dollar into the basket!

PAMIE
Just grab that dollar out of the basket and hand it to me.

ERIC
Give me change!

PAMIE
NO! Give me my dollar back!

(Eric frantically checks the rearview mirror.)

ERIC
Oh, they’re all laughing at me!

PAMIE
No, they aren’t. But they’re about to get angry. Just pick the damn dollar out of the side of the basket. It looks ridiculous.

ERIC
No!

PAMIE
But you can reach it! Just grab it!

DAD
(Faintly)
Tell him to try throwing in his credit card!

MOM
Whee!

PAMIE
Eric, just grab the dollar out of the basket.

ERIC
All of you, quit yelling at me!

PAMIE
No one else is here but you and me!

ERIC
Oh, I can hear everyone! Give me the change! Just give it to me! Give me it!

PAMIE
Okay, here’s a dollar, but dammit, grab my–

ERIC
Jesus, let’s go!

PAMIE
Hey! You forgot to grab my–

ERIC
I’m paying the people off behind us.

MOM
He didn’t grab your dollar out of the basket?

PAMIE
NO!

MOM
Oh, I can’t wait to read this on Squishy.

ERIC
And you can’t write about this on Squishy, either.

PAMIE
He just said I can’t, Mom.

MOM
He’s no fun.

ERIC
I’ll claim it’s all a bunch of lies. Your whole life is lies. You lie all the time.

PAMIE
I can’t believe you left my dollar back there on that basket.

ERIC
It’s CASH! It said Cash Only! I’ll pay you back!

PAMIE
No, you won’t!

MOM
Doesn’t he still owe your father five dollars for not knowing Jan and Dean?

PAMIE
I’m not bringing that up right now, Mom.

ERIC
Bringing what up?

PAMIE
Do we have enough quarters for the next toll, or do you want to throw in my shoe and see what happens?

ERIC
I’ll show you what’s gonna happen.

MOM
Hee. I can’t believe he just threw in that dollar.

PAMIE
Oh, I wish you could have seen it, Mom. It just sat there all sad on the side of the basket.

MOM
It didn’t even go in?

PAMIE
He didn’t throw it hard enough.

ERIC
IT’S HARD TO THROW A DOLLAR!

PAMIE
Because you’re not supposed to throw the dollar!

ERIC
Serenity now!

MOM
I’d better get off the phone before you two have an accident.

PAMIE
If I don’t call you back it’s because Eric killed me so I don’t tell this story. And lock your doors, because you’ll be next.

DAD
(faintly)
Tell him that sometimes it works if you just keep throwing in dollar bills one after another!
[/scripty]

This story has finally been cleared to tell. I’ve been sitting on it for too damn long. Hee.

If I don’t write tomorrow, it’s because Eric changed his mind.

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