"Trigg, how's it going?" I asked. Trigg was the kind of guy who would tell people how he was doing instead of going through the "Fine, how about you?" process. "Well, first of all, my ex is laying into me this week about a bunch of crap I could do without," he started. "She took half of my stuff when she left but still finds time to call and give me hell. Good Lord, that woman...
"And, I won't even go into work; oh ho, those bastards," he continues. "They've kept me late every day this week, and now they're holding my overtime pay."
"Hey, Trigg," I stop him before he touches off another rant topic. "I was wondering if I could swing by and pick up some biscuits." Biscuits, beans, buttons -- it seems as if all the nicknames for ecstasy start with B instead of E.
"Yeah, man," Trigg answers. "Drop by anytime today."
Trigg's apartment is a dank cavern in an otherwise bright, sunny complex. The garden, pool, and courtyard are hidden from Trigg by layers of window coverings. I'm flash-blind when I enter. I stumble through the nighttime blue and amber of the apartment with black manhole covers obscuring my direct vision.
The little red dots that indicate that the stereo, VCR, and computer are on "standby" are the only indicator that I have moved from the kitchen to the living room.
"Yeah, man, in here," I heard Trigg call out from his room.
A hazy blue light filled the rectangular plane of his bedroom doorway, and I made my way to it. Trigg was in his normal position: sitting on the edge of his bed, his face six inches from a TV console. Now began the ritual.
There was a requisite amount of time one had to sit with Trigg and feign interest in The Price Is Right before one could ask for the required drugs. Too little time and you're just using him for drugs; too much time and your brainstem becomes Bob Barker's dainty microphone and your eyes are the faces of "beautifully grand" -- pause, unfold curtain -- "grandfatherclocks!"
Twice per year I could pull the "late for something" trick. I rolled my eyes and thought.
When did I pull that last? Just three or four months ago. It might be too soon, but here goes. "Hey, Trigg, I gotta meet, uh, Andy at noon, and it's already 11:30. Can I just get those beans and..."
WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK
Thursday, April 28 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
WB, 2:00 p.m.
Is this the one with the animatronic cat? Were we supposed to believe this was a real cat with the ability to speak, or were we supposed to think that these witches had conjured a mechanical familiar? The debate rages on.
Life on the Rock
Eternal World Television Network, 5:00 p.m.
I escaped from Alcatraz. Many people don't know that. I was a political prisoner, and I knew the government would kill me unless I swam the two miles of shark-infested waters between London and Paris. Ah, Jolly ol' Alcatraz.
Friday, April 29
What Not to Wear
The Learning Channel, 9:00 p.m.
This list has to be staggeringly long. Just off the top of my head I can come up with codpieces, bubblewrap, ducks. I could go on. It'd be easier to list what one should wear. Pants are acceptable. Rubber pants? Only in certain circles. If this writing thing falls through, I'll have "fashion consultant" to "fall back on."
Saturday, April 30
Saturday Night Live
KNSD, 11:30 p.m.
My friend Tom loved the sketch in which Will Ferrell impersonated Robert Goulet. He would practice his "Ferrell" doing "Goulet" at parties, at home, in his truck. He became obsessed. He found Goulet's website and decided to e-mail him. He asked him some questions, whether he knew he was a joke, whether he liked Ferrell's impersonation, etc. Goulet never wrote back.
Tom has since gotten over Goulet, doesn't impersonate him much or repeat the lines from the sketch. But now Robert Goulet is on Tom's buddy list, and he gets frequent updates on how Tom is doing. When Tom writes, "Hey, just got back from Hawaii. It was awesome," Robert Goulet's e-mail address is in the "To:" field along with mine, Tom's parents', and his ex-girlfriends'.
Sunday, May 1
Sunday Mass: Our Lady of the Angels
Eternal World Television Network, 9:00 a.m.
The Pope gets to choose his own name. I would've renamed myself and the College of Cardinals. So, our new names would be the Right Rockin' Pope Petrol Bismol and the Gasoline Coffin Jockeys. He went with Benedict XVI. Just as well.
Monday, May 2
Discovery Health Channel, 3:00 p.m.
My mom used to diagnose the poor wounded men on M*A*S*H . "Pierce," a pretty young nurse would say. "Private Jackson here has a fever, and he's complaining of abdominal pains." My mom would stare intently at Alan Alda as though she could hear through the little earbuds of his stethoscope. "I think Private Jackson's developing an abscess," she'd say, her voice trailing off a bit.
Tuesday, May 3
Of Mice and Men (1992)
SHOWTIME, 2:05 p.m.
I had a book report due and had one weekend to find a book and read it. I was rifling through the library. I measured each book, using my fingers as calipers, until I found it.
Wednesday, May 4
BRAVO, 5:00 p.m.
Kip and I were driving through North Park looking for a place to eat breakfast when we came upon a crew working on the street. In front of us a bulldozer peeled up big slabs of the asphalt, yet there were no flagmen. We looked around for alternate routes, but the street behind us was blocked as well. Kip became agitated. He looked in the rearview mirror, saw the calamity of machinery surrounding us, and snapped."There's no law," he stated coolly.
"What?" I asked. My question was answered when Kip shot the car up onto the curb and started speeding down the sidewalk.