By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
And when she asks me about myself, well, I tell her the truth. Tell her I'm a world-famous surgeon. The guy who pioneered organ transplants from pigs. You know pigs are the closest animals, anatomically, to humans. So, basically, I save dying kids and kidney-failing rock stars. I'm on the news like twice a week. What, you don't recognize me? Oh, well, this, these old tattered clothes, well, darling, this is just my disguise, because I like to get my fingernails dirty when I'm not on call. You know, slum it up a little to take the pressure off. And she believes me because I'm telling her the God's truth. And so we have some drinks and then she pulls out like a Ziploc bag full of coke and waves it around like a winning Lotto ticket. Well, how many times do you get to party with someone who's tight with the Generalissimo? So we go into the bathroom and hoover up a few fatties. When we come out I put some salsa music on the jukebox, you know, to set the mood, for all I know she thinks I'm the fucking Generalissimo at this point, because we're pretty lit. And pretty soon we're dancing the tango, the rumba, the lambada, everything. And we're doing it all real good and I think she's digging my moves.
And then we go out in the back parking lot to get some fresh air and I light up a couple of heaters for us and the sweat's starting to dry on my back and I'm getting a little chilly and the next thing I know there's this bright flash of light, like someone flicked the switch at a football stadium or something, and everything starts spinning like the world's been sped up to 78 rpm and I start to black out and I can't see anything but I can hear voices talking and Jimmy Cagney singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" in the background . . . and then I wake up outside the bar, right there on the sidewalk, and damn if they didn't take my teeth, throw this old saggy, wrinkly skin over me and give me this cane to help me walk. It's a bitch, sonny. I swear to you, I was 29 when this night started. So, you think you had a night . .
Or maybe it would be someone else. Maybe I'd walk into Scotties Donuts at Sunset and Fuller and see a forlorn young lady in a Navy pea coat and faded jeans with a hole in the knee that hints of the unblemished skin beneath her Irish sweater, whose jagged hair is tucked into a black beanie and whose distant gray eyes meet mine as I order a glazed old-fashioned and turn to see the small duffel bag next to her white Chuck Taylors onto which she has scribbled Tramps Like Us on one and Baby We Were Born To Run on the other. And I'd sit down and start to dunk my donut into my ordinary coffee with cream and she'd look me over again and then tell me how it all started back in Minnesota six days ago when she and her high school sweetheart stole her daddy's Buick Le Sabre, headed south on I-35 and hit their first gas station in Albert Lea.
And how they did it was, they'd drive by the station, scope it out and pull off on a side street. Then she'd change into her cheerleader outfit and he into his football jersey, number 1, like Warren Moon, which they kept in the trunk along with the 12-gauge bird gun his daddy got him when he was 10. She'd put her hair in ponytails and ribbons and he'd put shoe polish under his eyes. The last thing was the helmet. When he had the helmet on, he'd say, Blue 42! Blue 42! Hut! Hut! And they'd burst in and she'd yell, GIMMEE A C, GIMMEE AN A, GIMMEE AN S, GIMMEE AN H! WHADDYA GOT? CASH! CASH! WE WANT CASH!
He'd point the gun and the clerk would empty the register into the pillowcase she was holding and they'd grab the money and run out of there laughing their heads off. And they'd do it again in Mason City and again in Lincoln and again in Sterling and pretty soon newspapers all across the Great Plains were telling the tale of The Homecoming Queen and King, A Modern-Day Bonnie and Clyde You Could Root For. And there were stories with arrows on the maps of the places they'd hit and pretty soon the Homecoming King was leaving behind autographed napkins that read Nobody Wins With Child Abuse, Love Warren, and the Queen was doing cheerleading kicks into the surveillance camera, if there was one, to show that no she wasn't wearing underwear beneath her cheerleader skirt, and they continued heisting their way west until the Queen woke up in the middle of the night in an empty bed in a cheap hotel in Vegas only to find that the King had split with the money and the car, leaving behind $100 and a note that said See You After the Big Game, and so she caught a bus and here she was.