Curtis and I froze. Cropper’s mood swings were world-famous, but in person, the shock was overwhelming. I was thinking — and I believe Curtis was, too — that Cropper was about to take a swing at him.
So Curtis said, in his best Jesus voice, "Nothing, man. Just . . . Mozart lived in the 18th century. You said 14th."
For a full 10 seconds, which is a long time, Wes Cropper just stood there, brow tight, silently staring at nothing, his eyes fixed somewhere between panic and rage and an unshared, unexplored dimension.
Then, as quickly as it had stiffened, Cropper’s face went limp, and he burst into howling laughter. "Jesus! Yes!" said Cropper, catching his breath, then losing it again. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Then he turned to me. "Dave, man!" he said. "Did you see that?"
"The expression on his face!" (Curtis’ face.) "When he said, ‘18th century,’ he looked exactly — exactly — like Phineas Phreak! You know who that is?"
"Yeah. Freak Brothers. He always looks like that," I replied.
"Or Jesus," said Curtis, meekly, still half-bracing to be hit.
Cropper couldn’t stop laughing. I found it really frightening. But I figured the danger had passed, so I walked back outside to the living room, to the couch, to the cannabis indica, and carried it to the kitchen, to the heavenly Pasquini espresso machine. "Jesus," I heard Cropper tell Curtis Grasswood, "you’re really good, man! Fucking perfect accident! Let’s do another round of coffees! Dave! Where’d he go? Where’s the weed?! More coffee?!"