This is a day late due to a busy weekend with friends. I'm continuing on from Live, and preparing Parts Three and Four for next week. Then I have to figure out what I'm doing for Halloween.
Jeff was pressed against the window by Fat Johnny’s titular girth. Mahmoud was on his right, but was slimmer and less affected by the man’s size. Now and then, Adam would glance back to Paul, who hadn’t stopped grinning since the sardonic man’s first grunt of anguish. Every time he saw the broad smile cover his friend’s face, he would shake his head and focus on driving again.
“How’s it going back there?” Paul asked, turning to Jeff.
“Can’t breathe,” he wheezed in response, “If I don’t make it, tell my father I hate his shoes. He’ll know what I mean.”
“We’re almost there, so chill,” Adam snapped back at him.
Paul chortled, “Yeah, don’t be such a drama queen, buddy.”
One of Jeff’s arms poked out from behind a roll of Johnny’s fat and pointed at his antagonist, “I will haunt you. I swear to god, I will haunt you, Paul Fester.”
Adam rolled his eyes, “Stop it. You didn’t complain before.”
“I must have blacked out,” coughed Jeff.
“No, no,” objected Mahmoud, “You were very much a quiet, Jeff.”
Fat Johnny shot him a look, “I thoughts yous was sleepin’.”
Half-laughing, the scrawny man sneered, “Death is like sleep.”
“Well, time to wake up,” the driver said, grinding the car to a halt. “We’re here.”
Doors opened on their own. The rest of Adam’s passengers left the old Camaro as Jeff stumbled out wheezing. Linh and Ben’s van pulled up and Jeff’s lithe little Leila slipped out of her seatbelt to run to his side. Shinsuke, Nanako, and a legion of unknown Chinese men and women joined her. Mark and Haruka left their hatchback, helping Darren and all of his bags out of the back seat.
Down the hill where they all stopped, a sea of people writhed amongst the wide expanses of grass. White stages dotted the horizon, vanishing into the distance. Another parking lot sat at the bottom, where a mass of enthusiasts covered in a cloud of marijuana smoke. No doubt they were prepared for an oncoming rap battle. The wail of guitars, the whine of violins, and the thud of drums reached them on that plateau.
They gathered at the edge and stared out at the scene. Adam pulled the map and information brochure out of his coat and started reading them over. Haruka and Mark held each other close as they snapped photos of the landscape. Darren did a quick inventory check while the titanic Fat Johnny mumbled out suggestions to an agreeing Shinsuke.
Two stragglers, Linh and Ben, joined them, a baby girl sitting in Linh’s arms and cooing. She wore sunglasses and an old Sneaker Pimps t-shirt.
Adam turned to them and did a double take, “Why?” The rest stopped and shared his shock at the infant’s presence.
The couple looked at each other and shrugged. “We can’t get no babysitter,” Linh said, “so she’s coming with.”
“That baby is so getting stolen,” Jeff said, morosely. Leila jabbed his ribs.
Linh smiled and bounced her daughter, “No, we gonna get family pass now!”
Jeff laughed, shortly before returning to his previous expression, “No, seriously, you’ll never see her again.”
“Jeff!” Leila cried, jabbing him again.
Striding around the gang, Adam checked the pamphlet. “Okay, so who’s going to be where? We should make the food courts our meeting place, alright? We can regroup there now and then throughout the –”
“God, man, you sound like my mom,” Mark whined, stroking Haruka’s hair, “Just let us do what we do.”
“I want to know where everything is and I want to know where all of you will be so we can find you all in case of an emergency. I know Nanako’s dying to throw Hennessey cans at Hard Nox and the Nguyens are off to Sexadecimal.”
“You are taking the baby?” Mahmoud said, wide-eyed, “To see the Sexydeci-mall?”
“What?” complained Ben, “She’s eleven months old! She won’t remember this!”
“You trouser trolls can do whatever you want,” the cynic sneered, wrapping an arm around his girlfriend’s shoulders, “Leila and I are gonna hit the stage the Further Colonels are rocking and mingle with the cool kids.”
“The what?” Darren asked, in-between bags.
“You’ve never heard of The Further Colonels?!” Jeff cried, striding forward with his hands up, “They’ve got some of the best songs! ‘I’m In The Strip Club?’ ‘Come Get That Mm-mm?’ ‘We Are Going To Get Several Bitches In This Motherfucker?’”
Darren eyeballed the fanboy, “Never heard of them. They cool?”
“They got swag?”
“They bleed swag.”
Mark rolled his eyes, “Christ, you sound like a promoter.”
“We know what we like,” chimed in Leila, stroking her boyfriend’s chest.
“Oh god,” Adam groaned suddenly, looking around them all wild-eyed, “where did Shinsuke and Fat Johnny go?”
Everyone stopped and scanned the area for the obese giant and his associate. Darren leaned over the landing and waved at them. They gathered at the edge and looked downward.
Down the hill, they saw a familiar, bulbous shape and a tiny man rushing for the bottom.
Adam slapped his forehead and instantly felt lost.
See you next time,
EDIT: May 23, 2012. stidE