“Are you kidding me?”
Arnie said something in reply, but I couldn’t hear him because of Mandy’s laughter. I tried to tell her to shut up, but instead of real English, I just babbled something about how I’ve had it with this entire gig. Arnie reached over and turned the volume switch down, and Mandy’s laughter faded. It wasn’t gone, but at least it was a bit more quiet. Usually, cranking down her volume pisses her off royally, but I had a feeling she didn’t even notice it this time.
“Dude, I can’t deal with this one,” he said. I couldn’t tell if he was about to laugh or cry. Probably both—I knew how he felt.
Being Portly Boy sucks. Even though it seems like I’m always on the news, it’s never the kind of publicity that gets you laid, and even though I make enough money from the website so that I can buy all kinds of crazy stuff, it just never seems worth it. Because every weeknight, I have to dress up in an itchy suit that highlights my every fold of fat, and I have to go out in public and subject myself to whatever the weirdoes of this city have thought up for the night.
“Listen, man,” I said to Arnie, “You have to disable this auto-brake thing.”
“No way, man—I do that, you’ll end up killing someone.”
“Yeah, that would be nice.”
“Maybe she’ll move if you ask her real nice.”
The “she” that Arnie was referring to was the old lady—Beatrice (Bee, to her friends). She was standing in front of the Portmobile, dressed up in a pink leotard, holding a huge sign that read, “Real heroes are the sidekick of God.”
The costume was clearly a children’s ballerina costume that was probably picked up from WalMart. Let me tell you a little about Bee’s appearance: she stands about four-foot-six, her ass is roughly the same size and shape of one of those booster seats they put your kid in at Pizza Hut, and a failed dye-job has turned her hair a strange purplish color that really sort of wants to be shiny but falls a bit short. You know the chick in the Dilbert cartoons? That’s the hairstyle that Bee had decided to go with. If you don’t know the chick from Dilbert, you have obviously just stumbled out of a time machine that brought you from the past, and although I think it’s very nice that you somehow managed to stumble onto my writings, I’m a little disturbed that there’s no one around to serve as your tour guide of the future.
Anyways, back to Bee. She also has these really big glasses—the rims are a sort of translucent pink color—that almost look like they were designed for a clown that still thinks comically large means funny. The lenses of said glasses are about three inches thick, which might freak you out at first, if you’re a comic book fan—these lenses were what Cyclops of the X-Men would wear if he didn’t care about fitting in at all. And if that doesn’t scare you, there’s always the chance that the sun might hit these crazy pieces of glass at a wrong angle and melt her face. I’m a pretty mean bastard, so in theory the face-melting thing doesn’t sound so bad, but I’ve also got a pretty weak stomach, which means that after watching an old lady melt her own face off, I would probably be throwing up for a month.
So you have this old lady, all saggy and with her giant glasses, purple hair, pink ballet outfit (complete with tutu), and a giant sign about God, and she’s standing right in front of the Portmobile, so that it won’t go.
“What’s with that outfit?” Mandy laughed. “Look at her bosoms!”
“I won’t!” Arnie cried.
“I did it on accident!” I screamed in terror. “Oh, Mandy, you’ll pay for this. I can’t think of anything evil enough to say to you right now! You’ve scarred my being for all eternity!” She was still laughing.
I don’t know if Bee came out planning on using her breasts as weapons, but that’s what happened. The Bosoms of Doom. How to describe them?
Okay…imagine this: a scrotum. But then imagine that instead of being all tucked away in your pants like it’s supposed to be, or trapped on the internet where it can spring out and frighten web-surfers, the scrotum has decided to break out. It grows and grows, until it’s about roughly the size and shape of a one liter Coke bottle, okay? And then imagine that it brought along it’s twin brother scrotum, and imagine that they both tried to burst through a piece of pink plastic wrap. They’re pushing and pushing, stretching out the plastic wrap, just about to break through. And then the scrotums run out of energy and die, and gravity steps in to make the entire scene even more horrific. So they’re left there, saggy and wrinkly and gross.
Imagine that, or just imagine old lady tits, hanging out through a pink ballerina outfit. Either way, it’s pretty freakin’ gross and very accurate.
“I think I’m going to puke!” I cried.
“Hey, while you’re out there, ask her to put on a jacket or something,” Arnie said.
“Eat shit, Arnie—if I have to see the Bosoms of Doom, so do you.”
“Who’s Arnie, old chum?”
“The asshole that let this lady into the house this morning.”
“He sounds very attractive—a real hit with the ladies, I bet.” He was staring at the floorboard, drinking gin out of the bottle through a straw, and when he tried to give me a thumbs-up, he choked himself with the straw and started coughing.
“No, I think he was going down on that lady this morning, actually.”
“I think I’m going to puke!” He cried.
“Hey, while you’re out there, ask her to put a jacket on or something.”
“Wow, that was pretty evil,” Mandy said.
“Bite me, Mandy—you’re topping the list for evil today,” I said, now staring at the over-filled ashtray, trying to get the image of the Bosoms of Doom out of my head. “In fact, you top that list until there’s some other shit-head German that thinks genocide is a good plan, you know what I’m sayin’?”
“Instead of saying mean things, maybe you should try to figure out how you’re going to get out of this situation,” she said, “You have about two and a half minutes before you have to be out of this garage, otherwise you get to see what it’s like to get butt-raped in prison for the next three years.”
“Man, what did I do to you to make you so pissed off?” I asked her.
“You don’t remember?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Talk about it later,” Arnie said. “It looks like Bee has some friends.”
I ventured a quick look, and sure enough, there were two more old ladies—complete with ballerina outfits—standing in the driveway.
I turned on the speaker, made sure the volume was at an acceptable volume, and said, “Listen, I don’t want to hurt you, but I can’t have you standing in the way.”
“This is a protest,” One of the women shouted. She was taller than Bee, and her hair wasn’t so crazy, but it still had a purple shade to it. I tried not to look at her old lady rack, but of course I did it anyways, because once you get a terrible thought like that in your head, you can’t get it out—like how you have to push the button if you see one with a sign that reads “Do Not Touch” or an how you have to check out an e-mail that has a subject line like “The Most Disgusting Thing You Will Ever See A Donkey Do.” Her chest wasn’t a nice thing to look at, but it wasn’t the stuff of nightmares, either. No Bosoms of Doom here—at worst, it would be classified as nastyrack. She was one of those people that you look at, and they seem pretty normal right up until you reach the ass-section. And then it’s like they just accidentally got the wrong ass—one from a much larger person. I’m not kidding, man—her ass was about the size of a pool table, just huge, hanging out everywhere, in a really flat and horrifying manner.
And then her legs looked normal—too many varicose veins for my liking, but nothing freakish like that crazy ass.
The other lady, she was just a typical old lady, like someone you would pass in the supermarket or see in an oatmeal commercial, except for the fact that she was dressed up in a leotard. She didn’t look as angry as the other two—in fact, she was smiling.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “A protest? What are you protesting?”
“You!” Bee shouted.
“Me? You can’t protest me! I’m just some guy. You can’t protest a person!”
“We’re against what you stand for!” The ass lady shouted.
“I don’t stand for anything.”
“Yes, that’s what we don’t like!”
“Have you been smoking a lot of weed or something?” I asked.
“Maybe they take medication,” Arnie whispered. Because I still had the microphone turned on, his whisper came out amplified over the loud speaker.
“We do not take medication!” Bee yelled.
“I do,” the normal lady said. “I’m supposed to, anyway—I haven’t today because Bee and Sylvia took me out of the home just before it was time to pass out meds.”
“Hush now, Dorothy,” Bee said. “What did we discuss?”
“Sorry,” Dorothy said. “I’ll be good.” She hung her head like a scolded child.
“You have about thirty seconds,” Mandy said.
“Okay,” I said through the loud speaker, “We’re coming out to talk.”
“I’m not going out to talk,” Arnie said. “I’m staying right here, where-”
“Holy shit!” I yelled in surprise. Bee and the ass lady both shot horrified looks at me, because I was still talking into the mike. Apparently, they didn’t feel it was necessary to scream curse words through an amplifier. The other old lady—Dorothy—didn’t seem to notice about me cursing, because she had wandered off into the street, right in front of an oncoming vehicle. Which is what I was screaming about.
I hit the eject button without thinking—it was practically the only button that constantly saved the day—and Arnie and I both shot out of the vehicle. There’s not really any way to aim when you get ejected out of the Portmobile—you kind of just lean in the direction you want to go and hope things work out. I shot out just under the garage door—barely missing it—and over the two old women standing in the driveway. Arnie, who had no idea a second ago that he was about to be ejected, wasn’t leaning properly, and slammed out into the wall of the garage with a short yelp.
I sailed out into the air, my arms flailing, trying for some semblance of control, and failing miserably. By some miracle, I was going in the right direction, and it looked like I might arrive at Dorothy’s side just in the nick of time to get hit by the same bus that was about to plow her down. She was bent over, picking something up off the street, and had no idea that she had both a very large vehicle and a very large man speeding at her.
I hit the ground about ten feet from her, landing on my feet and then quickly spilling over forwards. I tucked into a ball to avoid getting my face smashed on the asphalt, and rolled on my shoulder. Before I understood what was happening, I was back on my feet, the momentum of my fat-ass carrying me right through a somersault and throwing me back up and running. I launched myself at the old lady, hoping that my enormous stomach would provide enough padding to keep from breaking her hip or whatever, and caught her dead center. We flew out of the bus’s way and I turned us both in midair so that instead of landing on her and killing her instantly, I managed to use my butt as a landing cushion.
The bus driver, apparently not alert enough to notice an old lady in the middle of the street, had no problem seeing a fat man in fluorescent yellow tights, and I heard the squeal of brakes and rubber as the bus jerked to a halt. I jumped up, adrenaline pumping through me, and quickly bowed to the bus load of cheering passengers. Then the Portmobile pulled up beside me, and the hatch slid open. I tossed the old lady across the console to Arnie, and jumped in behind her. I didn’t even do anything stupid like catch my foot on the top of the door or anything.
I slid the top of the Portmobile closed, stomped on the gas, and we rocketed out of the neighborhood.
“Holy shit, man did you see that?” Arnie screamed at me. “You make The Avengers look like a load of douche bags!”
“The Avengers are a load of douche bags,” I screamed back at him. I was pretty pumped up, but there is no denying that The Avengers suck. And what’s really too bad is that you know it’s not going to be too long before they get their own movie, too, what with Hollywood making a movie out of practically every comic book on the market these days.
“You were awesome, though! Krackow, man, total Spidey-style, just right in front of the bus and shit! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that cool in my life, man, and I’ve seen that thing that those twins do with that Vaseline that the FBI told me if I ever mentioned it by name again, they would lock me up!”
“I thought they just told you about it.”
“Yeah, that was a lie—I saw it. I had a tape for a while, but the Feds ganked it.”
“Damn the man.”
“Yeah, but let’s not talk about that right now. I can’t believe you just saved her life like that.” He looked at the old lady that was sort of sprawled in his lap. “Can you believe he just saved your life like that?”
“We moved very fast,” she said, and smile really big at Arnie. “Whoosh!”
“Whoosh is right! I thought you were both going to die, man. I was so scared, I probably would have peed my pants except for that I just got slammed into the garage, and it get my emotions from working in peak condition! Man, just…yeah, lady, just WHOOSH! Right out of the way! Oh, man, that was cool!”
“So,” I said, kind of just now noticing that I had kidnapped one of the protestors, “Um…where to?”
“Where are you headed?” She asked.
“Where ever there is crime,” Arnie said, “We’ll be there. Where-”
“Knock it off, there, Drunkard. We’re headed over to 30th Avenue, and then we’re just crisscrossing until we get back over here—that should take up most of the night, and keep us form getting killed. So I can drop you off anywhere along the way—now that we’re out of the garage, I doubt your friends can do much to harass. Do they have a car?”
“First of all, they aren’t my friends. Second of all, yes they have a car, but they aren’t good drivers. Third of all, why don’t I just ride with you boys tonight?”
“Ma’am,” Arnie said, “I understand that the fabulous glow of hero-dom lures you like a moth to a candle, but this life is not for the weak of heart.”
“I have a great heart,” she said, clearly insulted. “It’s just that my attention gets away from me when I don’t get my medication. That’s why I was out in the street. I can generally stay focused if I try, but not always.”
“I hear that,” I told her, “But the point remains that you can’t hang out with us. The car’s not big enough, and I’m sure you need to get home.”
“I live at an old-folks home. Why would I need to get back there?”
“I don’t know—don’t they give you cookies and medication? Seems like a pretty good thing they got goin’ on there.”
“Oh, it’s disgusting,” she said. “Have you ever been into one of those places?”
“I try to avoid them.”
“Yeah, me, too. It’s kind of hard, though, when your sister decides that picking up your medication twice a week is too strenuous and has you committed.”
“Is that what happened to you?” Arnie asked.
“Yep. Bee said she had too much else going on these days, and she didn’t ‘have the resources’ to take care of me, whatever that means. All this protest nonsense, I guess.”
“So you don’t really care to protest against us?” I asked her.
“I don’t even know who you are. Like I said, I have trouble keeping things in line without my meds, and Bee made sure to come get me before I got them—she always does that when she wants me to help her protest because she knows how incoherent I get.”
“You seem pretty lucid,” I told her.
“I guess almost getting killed clears out some of the cobwebs,” she said.
“It just gives me a headache. So where do I drop you off at?”
“I’ll buy us some pizza, we can all scout together.”
“Done and done,” Arnie said.
“No it’s not! Ma’am, I’m sorry that you don’t like it where you live, but you can’t ride around with us all night. We have things to do, and you aren’t involved in those plans. How about the subway station? I could drop you off at the subway station, give you money for a token, you can get where you need to go from there, right?”
“Oh, come on, man,” Arnie said. “We can let her hang out for a bit, can’t we? I mean, remember that time you went into that old folks home and it gave you wet-the-bed nightmares for a week?”
“That was a long time ago, and you promised you wouldn’t ever mention it again.”
“It was like three years ago.”
“Old people freak me out, all right?” I yelled at him without thinking. I looked at the old lady. “Um…sorry. Not you. I mean, not that you’re old, and I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being old or whatever. It’s just, uh, when we were there, there were all these people, they just sort of walked at us, like surrounding us—they reminded me of zombies.”
“Yeah, they do seem a lot like zombies up there,” she said. “Thanks for those pleasant images just before you dump me off.”
“You’ll buy the pizza?”
“Show me your cash.”
She has a little chain around her neck, which she tugged on. She lifted a little coin purse out of her shirt, attached to the chain, and opened it up. There looked to be about six hundred dollars worth of twenty dollar bills in there.
“Holy shit, you have a lot of money for an older woman to just walk around with,” Arnie said.
“If you leave anything in your dresser, the orderlies take it.”
“So you have six hundred dollars just hanging around?”
“There are three orderlies that are real bad about taking stuff. I usually pickpocket them.”
“Are you serious?” Arnie asked excitedly. “You’re a pickpocket?”
Instead of saying anything, she held up his wallet, my wallet, and a pack of smokes. I wasn’t sure who the smokes belonged to, so I just snatched them back along with my wallet.
“Looks like another member has just been inducted into the screw-up crew,” Mandy said.
“No,” I said. “No. That is not how things are going to go down, here.”
“Can you be so heartless as to throw an old lady out on the street?” Dorothy asked.
“Yeah, man,” I said, and pulled to a halt. “Get out.”