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Five Miracles

Illustration by Mitch Handsone

I.

It was a hot Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after lunch break. The two Ricks and Upright James were working alongside me, busting up walls with sledgehammers for 7 bucks an hour. A lot of dust, so a lot of short breaks to cough, and to joke about asbestos, about how someday we’d all get lung cancer and die. But just one of us did — one of the Ricks, and he was a bigtime partier. Anyway, we were taking a break out front by the bus stop, just goofing around, throwing rocks at the parking meters, when this totally hot babe sauntered up and gave me this look, this I’m ignoring you look, which I always took to mean that she was trying to ignore me but couldn’t. She was wearing one of those tight, thin-cotton summer dresses, out to here on top and like that on the bottom. I mean, this chick was Chick of the Week, minimum. So Rick started making that clucking sound he always used to make — like farmers do when they’re scattering chicken feed. The other Rick said, “Hey, double-bubble!” and Upright James said, “Yow, baby! Yow! You’re hurtin’ me!” and I just mumbled, “Yeah, baby! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” So this chick stopped, kind of strutted over, grabbed me by my big bronze Official Nevada Brothel Inspector belt buckle, and asked me right then and there to marry her. That’s how I met your mother.

II.

I get big, fat bonuses for putting people out of work. If I don’t do it, someone else will. Tell me you wouldn’t do it, too, for 600,000 big ones. Smile, shake hands, sign your name. Fuck ’em. So it was a Friday morning, and I’d gotten one — a six-figure bonus check. I didn’t need the money, so I figured I’d either donate the whole thing to AIDS research, or buy myself a kick-ass bright-yellow Lamborghini Diablo with 750 horses in a 5.7-liter twin-turbo V-12 and divide the rest of it between some offshore petroleum investments and a pound of blow. I ended up going with the second option, because someone’s got to set an example, keep the dream alive, and it may as well be me. It took a few days to set everything up. On Tuesday, my dealers delivered the Lambo and the blow, and that night, on the way to my friend Rick’s club, I realized I’d forgotten to bring my portable mirror, so I stopped off at a late-night drugstore. Parked in the handicapped-only space, because it was the closest space to the front door and it was too late for cripples to be driving to drugstores. The drugstore should’ve been paying me to park a Lamborghini in its parking lot, right? So I bought the mirror, and I was in the driver’s seat, testing it out in the parking lot. These two teenage girls who’d been in line behind me walked up and said, “Nice car!” They looked about 15, so I opened the window and smiled politely and said, “Want a ride?” They squeezed in and we did some blow, and I asked if they wanted to go to the club. They did. We drove hard and fast down Sunset and made it there in five minutes. My buddy Rick — Rick owns the club — Rick let us hang out in the VIP lounge, upstairs. We got pretty fucked up, and a year later I got this letter from an attorney, requesting a DNA sample. So I met with the attorney in her office in Century City. We shared a big pile of blow and took the Lambo up to Big Bear for the weekend. And that was how I met your mother.

III.

A fluffer reached out for another Limp member to stiffen, to smother With lube — just a splat’s worth On a porn set in Chatsworth And that’s how I first met your mother

IV.

I was running in slow motion through a sunlit field of lavender and Queen Anne’s lace, with my arms raised forward at shoulder height, anticipating an embrace. The field seemed to go on forever. At last, in the windy distance, a woman appeared — a woman wearing one of those tight, thin-cotton summer dresses, out to here on top and like that on the bottom, running (also in slow motion) directly toward me, with her arms extended like my own. Just seconds away from eternal bliss in each other’s arms, four penetrating, high-pitched notes scraped the sky from all directions. We stopped in our tracks and covered our ears with our hands. It was no use. Piercing triplets followed by an eighth note and two eighth rests, repeating, unyielding. I kept my eyes closed as I stretched to turn off the alarm and return to the field before the woman could disappear, and that’s how I met your mother.

V.

I woke up in the alley behind the doughnut shop, walked out to the curb on Highland to look for food, and saw that someone had recently dropped an ice cream cone in the gutter and left it there to melt. I hadn’t eaten recently, so I got down on my knees and scooped blueberry-swirl vanilla ice cream into my mouth with both hands. Then this half-totaled yellow Lamborghini pulled up, right in front of me. At first I thought it was going to hit me. No such luck. I heard a man’s voice. “Excuse me,” he said. “Are you going to finish that?” I stood up — all drippy with ice cream, all greasy and dirty and with a busted lip and clothes in tatters — I stood up and saw that it was the driver who was talking to me. His eyes were bloodshot and bugged out. I said, “Am I going to finish what?” And he said, “Whatever it is that you’re eating out of the gutter. Are you going to finish it?” “You got me,” I said. “I hadn’t thought that far ahead.” Anyway, to make a long story short, that’s how I met your father.