Random Conversation with a Weirdo 1: “The Carpooling”.
There was a time when the Inter-Estates 21 was one of the most transited highways in the country. From 6:30 am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday, it was ridiculous to even imagine one would ever be able to go through it without suffering at least from two to three hours of pure hellish traffic jam at one point or another. But that changed after the plague that ended the last big war. With the total of the world’s population reduced by two thirds in just one decade of plain and simple apocalypse, now it was quite rare to cross with any traffic at all at any time of the day or night. It was in fact so commonly deserted that highway in particular, that a person could, if so he or she wanted, just take over all four lanes to make donuts, just spinning a car in the most reckless way, without having to worry too much about causing an accident; well, at least not one that involved another vehicle.
It was quite a sight: anold, deep purple, CadillacFlower’s Hearse, with its chromed back roof sparkling in the afternoon’s sun, while making high speed spin donuts in the middle of the highway, right beside a very scary crater caused by a terribly large explosion. A sight to be seen; one that would had raised so many questions, if there were any witnesses to this particular madness. But there was nobody outside the car to watch and wonder; and among the three people inside the car, only one knew exactly why this was happening; although, Jay wasn’t in the mood for giving explanations. All he cared about at the moment was that a minute before he had stopped the hearse on a side of the road and told the man sitting next to him to get out of the car, and that he refused. So the next everyone knew, they were spinning in the middle of the road, at very high speed, apparently for no other reason but because that was logical in the eyes of Jay; who seemed absolutely careless about the fact that it was madness for everyone else.
—You know —Jay suddenly said in the most out of place serene tone of voice— most people would tell you that to keep under control a car this large while spinning so quickly for a long period of time has to be impossible; and yet, here we are, making those tires screech, just drawing circles over circles inside circles of burned rubber. On one hand we haveme: wondering if I left charging my joypad’s batteries so I can get my gaming onwhen I get home. On the other hand we haveyou: screaming your lungs out. And of course, there is also Kitten. Hey, how are you doing back there, love?
Kitten gave Jay the finger through the rearview mirror without saying anything. Though hating him a little when seeing that smile on his face, because she knew it meant he was telling her he was right when he put that mirror there. “See? It is useful” he was surely thinking. If they survived, she would make him pay for giving her that smirk eventually.
Meanwhile; the ludicrous spectacle continued for a few moments more, until at last the passengerfinally shouted “Ok! I’ll get off your fucking car!”, and only then Jay slowed down, drastically so, hand-break-parking the hearse on the side of the road next to the crater, so the other man could get off.
Jay didn’t even wait for him to shut the door. Had he barely taken his butt out of Jay’s car, the last one pressed the gas all the way down, leaving the forsaken guy to eat his dust. Jay slowed down a bit after, stretching himself all the way to his right until he could reach the door and close it firmly but carefully, since after all “Such a beautiful vehicle was too awesome to have to endure the insult of having its doors slammed”. Had he finished doing this, and while he had gone back to driving at a moderate speed, Jay took a look into the aforementioned mirror on the windshield, and with a smile of pretended innocence, he asked to the blond haired woman riding on the back seat “What?”.
—All he did was to complain about the music.
Kitten had a peculiar face. Half of it had to be reconstructed, but since the doctors couldn’t count with any old pictures of her before the explosion, they and she had to agree that the only option they had was to reproduce her left side on the right one. Therefore Kitten had an almost perfectly symmetrical face, which by luck, turned out to be perceived as fairly beautiful by mostly everyone, even when she was burning out in frustration.
—You know that was the excuse, not the reason.
—So you don’t just kick a man out of your car, and left him about five kilometers away from the nearest city, just because he dissed on Billy Idol? Oh, I’m so glad! I mean, of knowing there has to be a good reason laying underneath all the crazy shit you just did! I can’t honestly even dare to think of asking why, oh why, did you felt that putting all of our lives in danger was perfectly justified! Because surely what you were trying to accomplish has to be so eminently obvious that I, as well as anyone else, should be able to see it!
Jay gave Kitten a couple of seconds to cool off; first reaching for the volume’s nob to lower it down, andthen he replied calmly.
—The guy rubbed me off wrong.
—It sounds dirty when you say something like that.
—I mean I just didn’t feel like I could trust him, Ok? Hey, if you want to blame someone for this, blame Orchid. She’s the one who hired that guy, without consulting me. She keeps doing this kind of stuff, you know? Acting like she’s in charge —And then looking directly at Kitten’s eyes, he added— But I am the fucking Commander! Of the whole Department! And I may have delegated to her some authority regarding the hiring of administrative personnel; but I am the one who have to deal with those who we bring into the field. She has to understand that we are the ones who might get kill if a weak link snaps in the middle of some shit. And I recognize she has a good eye for the kind of people who function greatly behind adesk; I do acknowledge she is in a good deal responsible for how well the Department is running, but she just doesn’t have inside her beautiful bureaucratic brain a dash of the sense of what it actually takes to survive on the field. I do; that is how I have outlived or outlasted every single one of my predecessors. And furthermore, it is because of my way of running, not just the Department in general, but the operations in the field, that we have so very little casualties, if any at all. Because I can deal with that something people like her calls “madness”, see its true logic, accept it for what it is, and then roll with it.That is how I do my job, which is to keep everyone alive!
—The irony; How doesn’t it crush you?
—What do you mean “irony”?
—You say your job is to keep us all alive, just five minutes after you put three of us in serious danger, for no good reason, and then you let a person alone, out there in the open, where he could get kill in a number of different ways. Did you even stop to think for a second what could happen if he gets caught by a gang? Or what if a bloody mutant, or mutants, attacks him?
—He is armed and wearing armor. He is also supposed to be experienced in combat situations, you know, being him “a veteran” and all that shit; and he has a phone in working order, built in into his helmet. So all he has to do is to keep his wits about him, call in for a pick-up, and in ten minutes he will be back into the city. Safe and sound.
—Wait, so you are not even going to call this in?
—Nop. You see, it’s important that he gets the whole feeling that I don’t give a fuck about his life.
—Why in the hell could you possibly want that? —Kitten asked furiously.
—So he quits.
—You don’t know if that’s what he is going to do! I mean, maybe he will, yeah; but not without at least fucking sue you first! Aren’t you at least a bit worry he may ask for you to be fired because of this?
—No, I am not, because he won’t.
Kitten let out a very loud scream while holding her face between her hands. Then she punched the back of Jay’s seat a few times so she could let out, and make Jay feel, her anger.
—I hate it when you do this, Jay! It’s like you don’t have any idea of how hard is to defend you when people starts calling you crazy!
—What do they know anyway? —He said with a gesture of disdain, as if he were brushing the thoughts other people had about him out of the air— Look, in hope it will help you ease out your worries, let me tell you what’s going to happen: the guy is going to get rescued about any second now; then he is going to be taken back to base; he will go straight to Orchid and he is going to make a fuss, maybe yell a little, you know, like the little bitch that he is; and so, once Orchid manages to calm him down, she will propose him a deal for a settlement, most likely transfer to another agency or department, which he will take immediately. You know why? Because he never wanted to do this job; and I don’t mean it in the general sense, because nobody wants to do this job either, but because he is a broken piece of shit who knows he never had a nerve, and so he will love the change that I have given to him to take the easy way out of the burden that is working in our Department. That jackass will simply go away, while pretending to do so as if he were doing us a favor for being cool about how much I mistreated him. And I’m not telling you to trust me when I say it will be just as I’m telling you it’s going to be; I just ask you to check my record on these things, and then tell me whether or not I may be right. After all, you should know better than anyone else that I am an excellent judge of character.
Just at that moment Jay’s cellphone ringed announcing the arrival of a text message. He rolled his eyes at the same time he said “Here we go”, believing he knew what the message was about and whom was it from. So he pulled the phone out of the pocked of his ugly old grey jacket and passed it over his shoulder, shaking it twice in the air, obviously asking Kitten to take it.
—You check your own phone, jackass! I’m not your secretary!
—Hey, I’m driving here! Safety first!
—The mother fucking irony, man! I can’t believe you sometimes!
Kitten snatched the phone out of Jay’s hand, and as soon as she unlocked the screen and saw who was texting him, she reached out with her hand and slapped Jay on the side of his head.
—What the fuck was that about? —Jay shouted surprised— What did Orchid say?
—You are still seeing this psycho slut?
Jay didn’t need to ask anything to know about whom was Kitten referring to. He quickly shook his left sleeve so it rolled down just enough so he could see what he had written on the inner side of his wrist, and then spoke calmly, but assertively.
—Jezebel is neither of those things, Kitten. She is real sweet to me, and I love her. So, please, just give me back my phone; let’s not make a drama out of this.
There was a moment of tense silence, which lasted until Jay looked into the mirror and saw Kitten’s big green eyes fixed on him; it was her famous and feared “Freezing Stare of Death”, which he knew he could defeat, even destroy if he wanted to; but he also knew that he couldn’t, simply because he didn’t have the heart for it. No matter what, Jay couldn’t ever hurt Kitten; at least not while she remained human.
—Kitten, look… —Jay hesitated when trying to pick the right words, and the right tone of voice to sound more conciliatory than condescending— I thank you for how much you care about my wellbeing, but I assure you have nothing to worry about.
—Jay: you are dating a stripper; who’s probably also a serial killer.
—She is not a stripper! Please stop saying that!
—Try telling that to someone who has never seen her. And speaking of “seen her”; How is it possible that you, mister great judge of character, haven’t noticed her whole… —Kitten made the onomatopoeia of the “Psychosis” movie’s tune while shaking her hand in the air doing a stabbing motion— …Aura?
—Ok; in the first place: she doesn’t look like a stripper —Kitten was going to quickly object, but Jay stopped her by rising his voice just enough— Although, I’m willing to admit she does… Possess an unusually high level of… A certain sensuality, which may, maybe, confuse people…
—A: she is not that hot. And B
eople think badly of her because she dresses like a whore.
—First she’s a stripper and now she’s a whore? —He shouted; but Jay didn’t want for the moment to escalate into a fight, so he raised his right hand open in the air for a moment as asking for a time-out. Once he felt he had regained his cool, he spoke again— What I’m trying to say is that feeling of exuberant femininity she emanates, and which most people do tent to interpret, due to remnants of classic misogynistic cultural indoctrination, as a looseness on morals; it’s not related to how she decides to attire herself. I assure you Jezebel looks just as powerfully sensual as she does while wearing her leisure clothes, as well as when she is wearing her school uniform.
—Her what? —Asked Kitten with a triumphant tone, as if she had caught Jay on a big mistake.
—I don’t mean it like that! I’m talking about the uniform she wears at her work.
—So her stripper character is a school girl?
—She is a gym teacher! Ok? At a middle school!
—Yes! I had the ninjas to triple check her for me!
—Ok, leaving aside for a moment that you, in total disregard of rules and regulations, still insist on using the Department’s investigation personnel as your “ninjas”…
—If the shoe fixes; it’s all I’m saying.
—Leaving that aside; she being a gym teacher does not explains the whole stripper body that she has. Neither her fashion sense.
—Well, I can’t say anything about her “fashion sense”, as you call it; but in regard to her body: it’s the result of good genes, plus practicing belly dancing since she was like four years old.
—Belly dancing, eh? Does she do it professionally?
—She is not a stripper! Please stop trying to spin it that way. Although, she does gives lessons three times a week. So in a way one could say she too does it professionally.
—Really? Where does she teach dancing? —Asked her, making a remarked sarcastic emphasis on the word “teach”— I would love to go see her in action. Say, could you please describe to me the “girls, girls, girls” sign in the front of the place? It would make a lot easier to find it.
—It’s at a feminist community center. So, if any, they would have a “women, women, women” sign. Hey, maybe you should go for real to that place. Perhaps they can help you deal with this current of woman hating you are on right now.
—I don’t hate that slut, Jay. I’m just worry about the day in which I might have to explain to Boadicea that her dad is gone because some random crazy bitch ate his liver.
Jay gave a confused look at Kitten through the mirror. The latest held his gaze for a while, until she finally asked what that look was all about.
—Our daughter hasn’t told you on what she occupies her free time in the evenings three times a week?
It took Kitten one second to understand what he meant. Her reaction was of sincere alarm.
—You are letting Boadicea hang out with that woman?
—They don’t “hang out”, if you think I just let Boa go around having fun with adults without me. Listen, I mostly only see Jezebel when Boa is with you; but still, they met each other, and they happen to get along quite well. And don’t give me that look; I never have, and never will, ask Boa to keep things from you. So I honestly thought you knew she had joined Jezebel’s class. Although; I indeed was very intrigued about why hadn’t you gone all crazy-lion-mom about them knowing each other. Wait, wait, wait! Before you start yelling at me again, please consider that perhaps it was because Boa felt like you were overreacting in regard of how actuallydangerous Jezebel is,why she decided to keep their friendship a secret. Boa is a teenager now after all; they do tend to go a little rogue one way or another on us parents. But I’m with you on the fact that she should had told you.
—So I’m the one who’s crazy now? Am I supposed to ignore what I see when I look into that woman’s… Eye? Why? Because you said so? I don’t care how many times you had got her checked by your “ninjas”, neither I care about what you think are your amazing character judging skills, nor about how well you think you know her. I know how I feel when she looks at me with that soul piercing intensity of hers; and this feeling inside of me tells me I’m not crazy to believe she is dangerous!
Jay gave a kind smile to Kitten trough the mirror; then spoke calmly again.
—I’m sorry I said “crazy”, Kitten. And I wish I could do something to help you see beyond the uneasiness Jezebel causes you, so you could see what Boa and I see and like about her. But I understand and I know that she does has a particular intensity about her, a certain predatory air that she sometimes projects unintentionally; and so, I’ll never think you are crazy because of that feeling of apprehension you get when you are around her. However, do you know what is really, but really crazy?
—What is it?
—With all this about Jezebel, you forgot completely about that guy.
“Oh, shit!” Kitten exclaimed. Her first instinct was to call Orchid directly with Jay’s phone, but then she guessed the kind of greeting she would get from her if she thought it was him calling her, surely suspecting he wasn’t feeling any remorse about what he had done, Orchid most likely instantly explode through the line. So, thinking she had better chances checking in by any other mean, Kitten tossed Jay’s phone over to the front seat. Its owner knew well it would be best for him not to protest, but simply, and sneakily, pick it up from the seat while Kitten was distracted.
It was of course dangerous, even in a deserted highway, so he didn’t want to check the message he had got from his lover; yet he did, quickly, for he was too curious about how private and personal the message which Kitten had seen was. Jay breath relieved when seeing it was a rather innocent text, just asking if he was up for some cake and some “Naked and Afraid” latter that night. He didn’t answer right away, but waited until they arrived to their destination. Sadly he would have to pass; since there was still a lot more of risking their lives to do that evening…