08 Mar

The True Karl

I thought you were dead, I say.

Nata looks at me. She’s got a what-the-fuck expression on her face. You know this guy? she asks. Karl says to me, took you long enough. Seriously, Jimmy adds.

What’s going on? Nata says, I thought this guy was all weird to you when you popped his clutch.

Karl snickers.

Me and Karl thought it would be funny to set up a “chance” encounter, Jimmy says. He makes quote marks in the air when he says chance. It was just a joke, he clarifies.

Yeah, Karl says, I figured I could act really weird and eventually you’d recognize me and we’d all laugh about it.

But that didn’t work, Jimmy chimes in, so then we had Karl show up at the bar that night.

And that didn’t work, either, I say.

Right, Karl says. I figured I’d just keep messin with you until you recognized me.

Okay, Nata says, so who the hell is Karl Morris? She’s looking at me. So is Jimmy.

Yeah, Karl says – he puts his hand on my shoulder – who am I?

So I explain to Nata that me and Jimmy and Karl were good friends in elementary school, but then Karl moved away in 6th grade and that in high school, I heard that Karl had died in a skiing accident. I tell her how the three of us used to go wandering through the construction sites in the subdivision where we grew up and how we were always getting into trouble and how we stole two boxes of nail gun nails one time. And another time, I say, Karl put like 20 toads in a box and wrapped it and tied a ribbon around it and gave it to his sister for her birthday.

Holy shit, says Jimmy, I forgot all about that. Yeah, so did I, says Karl.

We crack open some beers and sit around telling stories about those days and then at 10:00 Oprah comes on and we stop talking and watch, all four of us – me and Jimmy and Nata and Karl. The show’s called “Perfect Strangers, Perfect Friends,” and it’s about a taxi driver and a businessman who discover that they are actually best friends. Or something like that. At the end, Dr. Robin comes on and starts talking about happy friendships and shit.

And then out of nowhere, Karl says, Dr. Robin’s a Creepy Mofo.

You’re telling me, Nata says.

Amen, Jimmy adds.

And I honestly can’t believe what I’m hearing.

Are you guys crazy? I ask. Do I even know you people? Dr. Robin rules.

They say nothing. They all look at each other for a second and then Karl says, just fuckin with ya and we all laugh our asses off. I’m telling ya, it was just like a sitcom — beautiful people, misunderstandings.

And as the credits began to roll, I kissed Nata and told Jimmy and Karl to go fuck themselves.

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