My most dependable friend, the unpaid Internet content provider, who is quite dependently wealthy, and rarely sleeps for long, which means he still lives in a big house with his fabulously more wealthy mother who tiptoes quietly around him, bailed me out of jail at 5 AM. That was shortly after I had been informed that all charges were about to be dropped. But, I did not want to hang around and wait for vindication. Vindication is hardly ever worth the price. Especially when you are trying hard to pretend you don’t give a fuck.
My jailer said, “Name.”
I said, “Singular.”
Without looking up, he said, “First P. ?”
How many other men with the name First Person Singular have been locked up unfairly, I thought, with as much venom as I could muster under the circumstances? How many others have been forced to endure the humiliation and the suffering? How many will continue to suffer? And when will it ever end? And where? But what I said was, “Yeah, that’s me.”
“You better not make me see your sour face around here again.”
I apologized to my friend for disrupting his networking or his blogging or his coding or his whatever, unless it was the flow of the epic all-night brainstorming session I was disturbing, the latest one of many that would be required in order to prepare for the next new development of warp speed acceleration that needed to be internalized and self-absorbed post-haste, the likelihood of which was theoretically no more or less likely than any other random experience.
“That’s okay. I was only thinking about getting ready to jerk off.”
“How much thinking in advance does it take?”
“There are times you’d be surprised.”
“I probably don’t want to know then.”
“It’s probably best that way.”
“I guess that’s what all that time you have on your hands is for.”
He flashed me a look poignant with existential angst that was supposed to be inscrutable, but betrayed his disappointment. I shrugged.
He said, “I guess.”
When you are unpaid for what you do, you can do whatever. Pretty much, whenever. It seems to suit him.
I said, “I need coffee.”
He shook his head. “Not until six. I won’t patronize any of these so-called cafe establishments except The Coffee Roasting Company. They only use the best fair trade beans from Peru. But, they don’t open until six.”
I said, “So-called?”
“It’s not enough to just pour coffee. Any schmuck can do that.”
I replied, sagely, “Sometimes it’s not necessary to have the best.”
“No way. That’s what they want you to believe. Then you’ll cave.”
“Yes, I will.”
“That’s borderline blasphemy.”
I said, “I’m me. That’s who I know. And barely, at that. Who are they?”
He said, “Don’t give me any of that.”
I said, “Well, fuck it then.”
He said, “Uh-uh. I repeat. No way.”
Where I was moderate, he was extreme. Where I didn’t care, he did. Even when I cared, he cared more. He cared passionately not only about fair Peruvian beans. He cared with equal fervor about Chinese dumplings, styrofoam peanut packaging, grass fed lamb, overheated laptops, methane gas, faulty corkscrews, stressless recliners, and the irrepressible scourge of irresponsible dog shit on mountain biking trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He was opposed without reservation in all cases where opposition was objectively correct. He was supportive only where the blatant facts warranted. I think he was in love with the little yellow warbler who sang so sweet and low while dropping tiny shit bombs from the redwood tree overlooking my deck. She is adorable, I agree, but I don’t think she’s right for him. She’s not dependable at all. She comes and goes as she pleases. I’m convinced the attraction is merely biochemistry. And he can’t dance when she sings, not even in the jumpy, spastic manner of a whiteman. Wisely, he refuses to try. That’s not only my opinion, either. He can’t dance even after drinking several bottles of my best brown beer. He claims he has his reasons, though, good reasons that are well reasoned and way better than mine. I frequently think about his ravings in passing, and not only as a response. What I think mostly is, whatever. And, in addition, as if.
I was also thinking, in addition, now that I had been sprung from the latest episode in my cruel and unusual pattern of punishment, what the fuck. And in addition, fuck it. Vindicated or not, I had been unjustly accused of a crime against the sanctuary status of Monterey Bay yet again by the jack booted thugs of Santa Cruz County. What did I do? I assisted a drowning man, that’s all. What did I spill, a bottle of brown beer? Okay, maybe two, tops. The loss hurt me more than anyone. It was no crime against Monterey Bay, that’s for sure. All the ingredients are organic. I was caught unaware, that’s all. That’s what happens, right? At least it does to me.
The crime of which I was admittedly guilty, although I had vowed never to admit it in public, the crime of treason against my species in the war against the human enablers of treacherous cats who murder beautiful birds, never came up. I don’t think that Santa Cruz County has jurisdiction in that area.
I repeated, “Fuck it.”
The unpaid Internet content provider said, “Trust me, these beans are way worth it.”
But, he was wrong. They were not. Not even that close. Later, after he dropped me off, I said, “I’d invite you over for dinner tonight, but I have the tween twins this week.”
“What are you having?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“It’s just as well. Your twins don’t exactly like me hanging around that much.”
I said, “Yeah, I don’t exactly know why.”
“It’s probably just a phase they’re going through.”
“They have a lot of homework to do, too.”
“Well, let me write you a check.”
“Make it out to my mother.”