The pro bro looked at me sadly. He sighed as if he was the one being victimized here. I sighed right back. I refused to be cowed. I tried mightily to avoid the tinge emanating from his yellow eyes. He looked with longing at his bare hands for a spot to begin biting his manicured nails. I knew the real victim here. Our hour was only beginning and I felt as if I could be getting ready to pass out. The pro bro was wearing an unsavory chocolate tie that coordinated with his unsightly cocoa suit. I knew his wife shopped for all of his clothes. She had studied color coordination at San Jose State. I was sure that the itchy rash that appeared on his neck along with the suit had much to do with his ruddy complexion. His peppy pink shirt completed the visual splendor. He was my defense lawyer. He scribbled a note and shielded it from me. I’d known him for years. The wife, too.
He said, “What happened to you? You used to be so normal.”
“You know I’m innocent.”
“Irrelevant and immaterial.”
I had been charged with crashing my car into a big boulder in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I had also been charged with hauling a bunch of debris into the sanctuary of Monterey Bay. Two separate charges, two separate sojourns after dark inside the Santa Cruz County Jail. There were also several paragraphs of some bullshit mumbo-jumbo I was forced to read and pretend to take seriously about negligence and malice. The charge against me in the sanctuary of Monterey Bay included the additional allegation that my boat had drifted too close to a breaching humpback whale.
“What else could I be but an innocent bystander? Obviously, it was the whale in his own environment who snatched the momentum away from me. The other way around makes no sense.”
“I don’t want to know.”
I did not disclose that I was acquainted previously with this particular humpback whale, a known astral traveler who appeared to me on several occasions to be light taupe, unless he was more accurately dark ecru. I did not disclose that in my mind all of my actions had been carried out in my role as a traitor to my species in the war against human enablers of treacherous cats who murder beautiful birds. I also did not disclose that the humpback whale had set me up big time. To him, it was all a big joke. I knew he was likely laughing his blubbery ass off as we spoke, in cahoots with the tawny owl of course.
The pro bro said, “I should probably plead you diminished capacity.”
I asked, “Would that work?”
Later, after I did not pass out, I returned home and began to cry as I gratuitously chopped an extra red onion. Red onions in my opinion form the basis of several major food groups. I wiped away the tears and drank a bottle of the superlative brown beer I brew in my laundry room. One good beer tends to deserve another. How clueless would a singular man have to be to deny obvious momentum? When the tween twins returned from another edifying day in middle school, I was ready to start cooking.
I said, “Sup.”
The yang twin scowled and said, “What do you think?”
I said, “Probably nothing.”
He said, “Good talking to you for a change.”
I asked the yin twin, “What’s wrong with him?”
She said, “Probably nothing.”
I sauteed and stuffed many of the onions into a large tortilla. Then I multiplied, before dividing. Minimal daily requirements were piously considered. No fingers were lost or unaccounted for in the process. There were several lesser components, including fresh vegetables and parts of a dead animal, that fit inside the tortilla as well. The animal used to have cloven hooves that had been hacked away. Nothing spilled out of the tortilla that was recognizably abhorrent. And there were no major complaints from the gallery of experts. I drank just a bit more brown beer to my success. I repeated.
“Who has homework?”
“Who do you think?”
“Very funny, Pops. By the way, that’s a real nice outfit you’re wearing.
“What do you mean, ‘outfit’? They’re called pants.”
“What’s with those funny looking doo-hickie jobs on the bottom?”
“C’mon, you’ve seen cuffs before.”
“I had an appointment with my lawyer today.”
“I’ll bet you really wowed him with your dashing style.”
“It’s going to be a big help to my case that I’m the responsible father of two needy children who depend on me.”
The yang twin scoffed, “Good luck with that.”