Press play to begin today’s tape show
Started writing at 2:55PM while listening to Sigur Rós – Starálfur
He said he was outside the airport, in the precise spot where I told him to wait. I drove around the arrivals loop with my bleary eyes peeled. No CAT, not in gate G4, not anywhere.
I called him again to figure out where he was, but his cell went straight to voicemail. I said some 4-letter word beneath my breath and then called him an asshole really loud for my empty car to hear.
45 minutes later I got a call from a payphone. CAT.
He said some bullshit like,
“I don’t have a lot of time, so listen. The sign right above where I’m standing says G – as in gamma – 4. G4. I’m wearing a black trench coat.”
“I was just there, asshole.”
because the line went dead.
I drove around the arrivals loop for like the 80th time and back to G4. I looked at the sign and blinked my eyes to clear them of any distortion. I squinted.
Yes, this was G4. This was definitely gamma 4.
I looked around for a guy in a black trench coat,
but all I saw were these 3 girls fingering their iPhones. 1 had a lip ring. She was the tallest of the gaggle.
I looked hard at her sad facial expression and thought about CAT. He wasn’t anywhere ever. He was never anywhere. I said a different 4-letter word and called him asshole!
this made me laugh.
this briefly made me forget about hamstering around the loop.
I smiled. Then the smile sunk into my face and I turned off the car and got out.
I had no other option. If CAT wasn’t where he said he was, then he must be somewhere else similar but not the same.
Logic dictated my reasoning.
The tall girl played with her lip ring and looked at me with a subtle suggestion hanging droopy on the corners of her mouth.
Her lip ring looked like a colorful beach ball. It looked like she was bouncing this beach ball with her heels, while supine on the sand, sunglasses over her eyes, bikini top, bikini bottom, tanning her brown skin,
I found myself thinking about her orange zest heels. Then I found myself asking if she could do me a favor.
“Hello. I need to look for a friend, but I don’t feel like paying for parking.”
She held that subtle suggestion on the corners of her mouth and bounced her beach ball into the stratosphere.
I looked up at the concrete ceiling of the airport arrivals area and got my lips wet because I could tell they were flaky.
“Obviously you don’t know me, but I need a favor from you. I’d ask the other girls, but you seem more real than them.”
She scanned the other girls, starting at their shoes.
“What do you need?”
“Could you sit in my car while I go searching for this asshole friend?”
I was going to apologize for my dirty mouth, but we live in the 25th century. That’s right,
this the future baby, and saying 4-letter words and calling friends asshole is as common as astronaut peanut butter, which kicks the shit out of astronaut ice cream.
“You want me to sit in your car?”
She looked at my red Honda Civic with THE OPEN END painted on the rear window.
“Are you going to leave me keys.”
“No. But you can roll down the window if you get hot.”
She laughed. There was something naughty about the sound of her laugh, like she had 1-too-many bumps with b-rate hip hop acts.
“Cool. Let me waste some chivalry on you.”
I opened the driver door and waited for her left ankle to get inside. She put her hands on the steering wheel and smiled. She put both feet on the clutch.
For some reason I heard a beautiful song in my head break down into something so uplifting I almost choked on my soul.
I gave her a kiss on the cheek because I could. She stared at me like she had never been kissed on the cheek by a stranger. She glued her face to her iPhone and read an incoming text message:
I’M ALMOST THERE, MI DIOSA.
“Oooooh, someone thinks your a goddess.”
And she bounced her beach ball. I felt like asking if she was trying to seduce me.
Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?
“You better hurry.”
I shut the door and started running fast, from G4 to A1 – gamma to alpha – and then from A1 to G4.
I said a different 4-letter word and ran inside the airport. The sudden rush of cold air almost gave me a heart attack.
I ran upstairs because logic dictated my reasoning.
Sure enough, right above G4, but in the DEPARTURES area, a man in a black trench coat stood. I tapped CAT on the shoulder.
“This is departures, asshole! You’re an arrival.”
“This airport confuses me.”
We took the escalator down to the arrivals area. We walked to the real G4 and found my red Honda Civic,
I opened the driver door and reconnoitered the inside. Part of me, the libidinous male part, wanted to find some rune that would lead me to the Goddess’s bed.
Maybe directions to her hotel room.
Or a new number programmed in my cell.
Or a slice of her hair on the headrest.
Or the smack of her lips against my rear-view mirror.
Or her lacy fuchsia panties in my glove compartment.
“What’s the delay? Open the trunk.”
I whispered a different 4-letter word.
I love the future.
Then I got down by the clutch and sniffed at the pedal. There it was, orange zest.
That was all I needed to make me smile,
proof of her existence inside my car.
Then my smile sunk into my face.
On the way home, CAT asked if we could detour to the grocery store. He needed to get dinner. He was ravenous after a long day of flying.
This was what he ate:
Rocky road ice cream, Astronaut peanut butter, 1 banana
Stopped writing at 3:57PM while listening to Sage Francis – The Best Of Times
::Keep it locked on TOE::