23 Feb

Karl Thickens

I just about shit my pants. Karl? I say. That Creepy Mofo who was at the bar with us that one night?

And she says, yeah, I was downtown, coming out of that shoe store on Washington, and I hear some guy say, what’s a pretty girl like you doing down here all alone? and I was a little freaked at first, but then I turned and saw Karl driving a red pickup truck and he says, Nata, right? and I say yeah, and he asks me if I need a ride.

So you got in the car with him? I say.

What’s the big deal? she says.

So I explain to her all the creepy details of that first time I met Karl and after I’m done with the whole explanation, she’s like, wow, he is a Creepy Mofo. And I’m like, yeah.

We stand there looking at each other for a second and then I remember that I’ve never asked Jimmy how he knew Karl. I ask Nata if she knows how Jimmy knows Karl.

No, she says.

You know what? I say. We’re gonna call that mofo.

Karl? she says.

No, I say, Jimmy.

So I pick up the phone, dail Jimmy’s number, and I get voice mail. Jimmy, I say (after the beep), hey, me and Nata are just wondering how you know Karl, cuz he’s actually a Creepy Mofo. He just gave Nata a ride and said all this Creepy Shit, and a lot of it was the same Creepy Shit he said to me a month ago when he gave me a ride. Call me. And then I say, asshole, just so he knows I still love him.

When I hang up, I say to Nata, maybe we should go over to his house, and Nata says, yeah, maybe Karl’s over there right now, like asking Jimmy to take a peak under the hood of his pickup truck.

And I sit there not saying anything, imagining how that plot might play out until I snap myself out of it and say, I’m callin Jimmy again. But just then the phone rings, and the caller id says it’s Jimmy.

Jimmy, I say.

What’s up, he mumbles.

Did you get my message?


So what gives?

Karl’s a nice guy, he says.

But something’s wrong with his voice. He sounds different. Like maybe he’s . . . holy shit! Who is this? I say.

I hear nothing.

Who is this? I repeat.

And then I hear a dial tone.

20 Feb

Karl Resurfaces

So then I’m like, shit. I have no idea what I’m gonna say cuz, see, here’s the thing: my chances with Nata are based not only on how smooth I am, but on how smooth the whole night is. And things would get really awkward if I told the truth about Karl right now. So I say nothing. Instead, I sit there with my mouth open, looking dumbly at Nata.

Then Karl leans in close to Nata and says, she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. And I’m picturing what my bottle of beer could do to Karl’s nose. Nata looks at Karl like he just let one go and is smelling up the place, but Karl, says, that’s what he said to me — he said you’re the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. Everyone exhales audibly. Nata melts, turns to me, and says, aw, you said that?

Uh, yeah, I sputter. And Nata grabs my arm with both hands and smiles and says, that’s sweet, and I smile at her, and her smile gets bigger than it was, and then my smile gets bigger than it was and then someone in the group coughs and we realize everyone’s looking at us, so Nata lets go of my arm and I call the waitress over for some more drinks.

We make it through the rest of the night, pretty much without incident and over the course of the next month, Nata are seeing each other like three times a week at least. We watch Oprah, we play Grand Theft Auto, we make out. It’s pretty much like the ideal girlfriend situation, okay?

But then one day, Nata shows up at my place and says, you’ll never guess who gave me a ride over here. And I say, who? And she says, Karl.

16 Feb

Karl Revealed

So I’m thinking, damn, I gotta tell Jimmy about this creepy mofo, and then Karl smiles at me and nods like he knows something I don’t know, and I’m about ready to punch him in the face, but then Nata says, so how you been? I glare at Karl one last time and turn to Nata and say, it’s good to see you again, but as I look into Nata’s gorgeous eyes, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, okay, Karl, you’re getting off easy for now, but I’m gonna find out where your psychotic ass lives.

Nata turns to me and says, so Jimmy tells me you like Oprah. And I’m already starting to dream up ways to get back at Jimmy but then Nata says, that’s so cool. I love Oprah, she says. I catch a glimpse of Jimmy, who winks at me, and I’m thinking about how I owe him one. And then Karl steps up to me and Nata and asks if we’re boyfriend girlfriend, and I’m like, shit. Karl turns to me and says, is this the girl you were telling me about? And I’m like, what the hell, but I don’t say what the hell. I only say what, but it in the most what-the-hell way I know how.

But Nata gets this huge beautiful smile on her face and says, wait, you guys know each other? And I say no at the same time that Karl says yes. Nata’s looking at me with her mouth hanging open a little which I find really cute so I start telling the story about how I’m standing at the bus stop and this guy walks up to me. Pretty soon, everybody’s listening to me and I tell the part about Karl not knowing how to pop the clutch and about how northside aint east and we’re all laughing. But I don’t tell the parts about how Karl’s actually a creepy pedophile for guys my age cuz I figure that would change the mood a little.

When I’m done telling the story, everyone’s like, what a coincidence! And we’re all laughing like we’re starring in a sitcom. And then Nata says, so wait, where’s the part where you were telling him about me?

12 Feb


Two days later, I’m sittin there watching Oprah give tips on how to declutter your home when the phone rings. I say hello, and the guy on the other end says, hey man. I’m not sure who it is yet, but I say, hey, what’s up, hoping that I’ll figure it out once he talks some more. Watcha up to, the guy says. And since I’m not sure who he is, I don’t know if I should tell him exactly what I’m up to, so I say, not much. He says, that’s cool, and then neither one of us says anything for a second. And then he says, so a couple of us were gonna go out for some beers tonight, you in?

And now I know who it is and I say, shit, Jimmy? I had no idea who you were until just now. Jimmy and I go back a long way. Even though he went to MIT and has a job where he makes tons of money, he never disowned me. Jimmy laughs and I tell him I’m watching Oprah and I say sure I’ll go out for beers, and we call each other assholes and laugh cuz we’re good friends and Jimmy says be there at 8:00. When I hang up, Oprah’s saying, when we return, Dr. Robin will talk to us about obstacles in our friendships.

So later that night, I get to the bar and I’m like a half hour late, which Jimmy knew would happen, but I figure I don’t wanna get there early and be sittin around alone like a jackass waitin for other people to show up. Jimmy sees me and shouts my name and I walk over through the crowd and he’s there with like five or six other people. He starts introducing me to everybody, saying this is Kate, this is Randy, this is Alex. And of course, Nata is there, and I smile at her cuz I kinda have this thing for Nata, who works with Jimmy and is like the hottest nerd girl I know. And this is Karl, Jimmy says, and at first, I’m not really paying attention cuz I’m staring at Nata, but then I snap out of it and I look at Karl, and sure enough, it’s the same creepy mofo who gave me a ride the other day.

10 Feb

Dry Spell

Sorry for the lack of stuff in the past month. Insert favorite excuse here (from list below).

  • Dog ate it.
  • Cat tipped it over.
  • Ran out of salt and the store was closed.
  • Used baking soda instead of baking powder.
  • Can’t eat dairy.
  • Battery died.
  • Talk to the hand.
  • Maybe you gave me the wrong address.
  • Thought the O was a zero.
  • Internet was down.
  • Switched to Linux.
  • Thought the white border meant it was optional.
  • Printer went berserk.
  • Turns out I’m colorblind.
  • I was up till, like, three.
  • Locked my keys in the car.
  • The drugs don’t work.
  • Power outage.
  • I’m just in a bad place right now.
  • Things have been pretty intense lately.
  • I lost mine.
  • I didn’t know.
  • My wife forgot to remind me.
  • I was spanked as a child.
  • I’m standing at the bus stop and this guy walks up to me and he’s like, hi, my name’s Karl. And I’m like, uh, hi Karl, and he stands there kinda just looking at me for about four seconds (which is a long time in reality) and he says, um, my car won’t start and I was gonna try to pop the clutch but I need someone to help me with that. And I just look at him blankly for a while and he says, I could give you a ride to wherever you need to go.

    So I say, ok, and he says, aw, man, thanks so much. So we walk together without speaking for like three blocks and he points to a red pickup truck and says it’s this one. I start to push it on his signal and he tries to pop the clutch but it’s pretty clear he doesn’t know how to do it cuz he keeps trying to force it into first gear. So I say, hey Karl, why don’t you push and I’ll pop the clutch, and he says sure. So he pushes and I pop the clutch and the car starts. I move over to the passenger seat and he gets in and says where to, and I say north side.

    We take off and right away, he gets on the highway heading east. And I’m like, uh, Karl, north side aint east. And he looks at me kinda awkward and says really slowly, oh, yeah, you’re right. I’m thinking, okay, this guy’s a freak, and I tell him he can get off at this exit so he does. But then he says, so what’s a pretty girl like you doin waitin for the bus all alone, dontcha got a boyfriend? And I say, uh, Karl? I’m a guy. And he says, right, that’s what I meant. He says, I meant to say girlfriend.

    After that we don’t talk for a while. Then out of the blue, Karl says, I don’t think I got your name. And I want to lie to him and say my name is Dan Smitherson, but I don’t have the nerve to actually do it, so I tell him my real name and he smiles at me. So I’m like, you know what, Karl, you can let me out right on this corner. And he says, you sure? And I say, yes. So he lets me out and says, see ya later. And I walk away without answering.