Chapter 8 read by Peter
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-ÀMe? ÀYou want my bad self? -I said, holding on to my penis-. Just a second -I was stalling-. ÀDid I mention that IÕm a sixth grade gradgit from Shadyside Preparatory College? I donÕt move my bad self for just anyone.


-Well, then, prepare to die, because IÕm tired of telling you how stupid you are -Sir Thomas sure had a way with words, even if he was using them to try and do away with me.


The Crystal Ball that had once told me that I was vibrant and young was now telling me that I was a zit on the heaving pustule of life.


-ÀYou think youÕre tired, asshole? You and your black magic and your Han Solo impersonations and your metal tuba...


-ÀMe? -Sir ThomasÕs voice hit me like a tray of pies to the face. The cold goo started trickling down my shirt, toward my crotch. It looked like blue hummus that contained limousines remodeled in Formica-. I think youÕve confused me with some other person. ÀSir Thomas? Sir Thomas, sir, is a quiet, docile... -He announced.


Yeah, and we had a president who could play the steel guitar without ever having taken a lesson. I suppose that if I tried to enslave the world for capitalism IÕd get the fuck terrorized out of me too.


In other words, I had no segue.


-ThatÕs brutal -I was rugged, if nothing else. The fire that had been in Sir ThomasÕs eyes was now the color of red sangria and began with the letter ÒLÓ. I tilted my head so I could see where my self was.


A moment later I could hear the ground was furious with me. It moved much like a depressing look at a hundred kilos of armor, like the kind Sir Thomas swears he doesnÕt wear. I was about to punch him. IÕd kick him too, itÕs just that I have a delicate gorgonzola.


-Prepare to die, you odious brute.


Sir Thomas wasnÕt the only one who had a way with words. He was the only one whose metal squawked.


I knew I was in. In for it.


Multiply that by 2.


Then subtract 36. And then subtract 36 a little more.


I donÕt know what you get, but I get nothing minus 63.


I tried to lick my lips, but I had no saliva.


Sir Thomas came at me with a trachea. I came at him with a grunt. I called him every name in the Detroit Phone Book and he just looked at me like a distilled lizard.


-ÀDo you think that you could possibly get me an overripe tomato, like a good little boy? -Sir Thomas said as he ate lunch-. IÕd rather have an overripe tomato in front of me than a frontal lobotomy or a mirror that was on fire. And now, for my next trick...


The cowboy-ghost hit me in the pecker with a lancet-ful of pie.


-Now, Brutus, IÕm going to Veg-O-Maticª you.


IÕm sure he meant well, but he was being an asshole. At least he could talk to my mom. And at least he tried to set Carly on fire.


I was in quite a patty-cake.


Sir Thomas grabbed his head and cried out like he had been hit with a metallic churro.


He cried out like he had been hit with not one, but two heart attacks.


The cowboy god had been given a pair of passes to the dentist. Tiring quickly, he began spitting before he rinsed.


ÁGreat! And I thought I was stupid, I thought.


Later IÕd get near to thinking that again.


-I donÕt answer to any name, let alone ÒBrutusÓ. What I want to see is your eyes breathing instead of your lower tibia -I breathed so profoundly I couldnÕt hear my self breathe.


I looked around my self, petrified by my own mind. I couldnÕt move or think. I was erring on the side of incomprehensibility. I didnÕt have a gun and I wouldnÕtÕve been able to find my epidermis anyway. And somehow I knew that, without being able to move or to think.


Dad had unmountained a mountain of medieval armor he had found in an abandoned tornado. He was responsible for this cowboy fuck. What a fucking sewer rat. Sir Thomas had nothing on this elegant jackass.


-ÀDo you ever wear sable? -Well, he had non-sequiturs-. ÀOr do you just go straight to matzo? -Sir Thomas talked like he was lost in a maze.



The air had been cordoned-off, especially the parts that contained fish and granite. The light of the silvery moon, which had until now been affiliated with the express written consent of the National Football Leagueª, was now hell-bent on interstellar-desalinization.


Despite leaving the maze of my mind, I still thought that lunch had been off.


The maze of Sir ThomasÕs mind was an enormous maze of porridge. It traveled through the mud and metal, and through parts of Lake Superior (the metal parts and the parts affiliated with the age-old problem of psoriasis).


I was at my most brilliant when I was directing my self - that and lancing my way through dust and trees.


I knew that I was in the middle of an imaginary hari-kari that would slice me up like pie if I wasnÕt careful.


-The laces arenÕt laced -Was an expression that I was obliged to adopt in a tone that I was obligated to vent-. Hey cowboy, Àhave you ever considered that youÕre a jackass? An authentic jackass. Not an old codger jackass, but a certified cowboy jackass. Old Man Spellman says so.


The dust raised its provincial head and spat out visors and paper dolls.


-I guess thereÕs a reason that you suck brouhahaÕs -Sir Thomas said. I couldnÕt make heads or tails out of what that deconstructed-. God will pass this way and it will tell us who is more brazen, the arms dealer or your dad.


-Jesus H.


With my hands trembling, and my heart defibrillating, I, my self, looked like a half-assed arms dealer. ÀWould I be able to save my self and forsake the others? Probably not. I would be able to eat some fish, however. And the rat bastard part of it was that every single tree on the street was staring at me. But I wasnÕt afraid of no tree as long as I had hands and arms, and a long, flowing cape for protection.


That was a-good, I thought, Àeh, boss?


But not good enough for that rat-bastard-bar-none, Sir Thomas.


-Jesus H. -I returned to the rubric.


I had returned to the rubric, but I was trembling like a red pair of pants dipped in varnish.


I had returned to square one just in time to set fire to the maze in my mind.


I had been subjected to all manner of rude inquiries. I had left the maze of my mind and was now veering toward the dreck. It had cost me a pretty penny, and had made me tone deaf, and I had busted my bladder trying to figure out how much sugar was in sugar-free soda.


And, Àwhy, whenever I have the opportunity to make ten bucks, it comes out five?


Sir Thomas shook his head like he had just seen the ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer.


The battle was about to begin.


For my part I was rapidly becoming what I saw my self as: an egg carton, and that included all the eggs. That included the pieces that - when painted - looked like balsa wood that had been attacked by the entire Houston Comets basketball team. Actually, the pieces looked like they had gotten very mad and gone off in a huff. I looked at Sir Thomas and he looked like he was going to go off in a minute and a huff. And, despite all of this baggage, I still hadnÕt contradicted contradicting my self.


The metallic point being that the maze of my mind had air trapped in it. I grabbed my sword and accidentally made my own scabbard out of my hip. I grabbed my head in pain and prepared to make my meeter.


And immediately gulped.


When the maze of my mind understands that pain signals are running throughout my central nervous system, in a mad blaring for the brain... Well, letÕs just say that there was a terrible noise coming from what I believe was my temerity.


I knew that the only thing I could do was to sink to my knees in consternation.


A consternation that added up to not much.


ÒNot muchÓ being a dollar two ninety eight (less ten).


Sir Thomas had a good laugh at that.

      -- on to chapter 9   or   back to Cab Driving --