Jen R and i are situated at the courthouse. the court's lights are neon of course. but the gavel is Vaporwave which means we would get a fair shake, you never know which way a Vaporwave gavel will swing and sway with the purple-blue beat.
me: are you sure you're up for this?
Jen R: um, i don't have a choice. i'm the one with a daughter. it must be nice to be you, free from responsibility, free from life. a freeform life.
me: but i'm locked inside my head forever. and i swallowed the key which is in my body not my head. don't worry, it's a certainty you'll be granted custody. it's a SURETY.
Jen R: sure. yeah. whatever. the judge is sure to look at my drug records.
me: just say all the drugs you ingested were mine. what is your drug of choice? i should know this by now, i'm in love with you.
Jen R: we're drug buddies.
me: same thing.
Jen R: burnies.
me: oh yes, burnies. i used to take large quantities of Extasy but that was back in my Berkeley rave days. LONG time ago. i've forgotten all those days.
Jen R: they say MDMA doesn't adversely affect you, no bad side effects, all it does is make you euphoric, sanguine, and friendlier.
me: no catatonia, a form of psychosis.
Jen R: unless you snort it. take your vitamins. just be sure to attach a plastic gallon-bottle of watercooler water to your hip on the dancefloor. dancing like that is sure to attract a crowd.
me: i desire friends so badly. but i haven't the foggiest how to make them.
Jen R: how do i look, hon?
me: fire. those nine-inch heels are hot and tight. love the Quaker buckle.
Jen R: thanks, hon.
me: but how you look doesn't matter in this court. besides, no one will see the shoes, they'll be covered on the stand by the stand.
Jen R: damn pulpy pulpit podium. eat a papaya, judge.
porte-cochere: only seen in Merchant Ivory movies...
orangery: same. orangery, the place not the adjective...
Instagram: the place for tweakers.
me: U.S.A. vs. El Salvador in soccer? my heart can't take it.
Alabama: the place for space. The Northern Lights in The South.
Zverev: IT'S NOT DRUGS!!! i may be a legal prick but this ain't an illegal prick i'm sticking into my elbow vein, the needle is necessary, it's a saving stinger, it's for my diabetes, come on, ump, come on, chair ump.
recherche: why you can't understand Cher.
Pink Floyd on the Meddle album cover: what the heck is that? nobody knows to this day.
Queensryche Hear in the Now Frontier: ...
Pink Floyd: we should have gone with the baboon butt, nobody would have known the difference, nobody would have been the wiser.
Battlestar Galactica: we're huge UConn fans...
Lenny Henry: my Chef! show.
Gordon Ramsay: the black Gordon Ramsay? the black me?
Lenny Henry: believe it or not, we were trying to be the British Cosby Show...
custody court commences. the court is high in the sky, not to be played at, volleyed for. my Chromebook is now this week Court TV Chromebook filming the proceedings onto tape. i'm sitting in the first row right next to Jen R's ex-husband and by Dan Fielding, Abby Stone, Washed Out's Ernest Weatherly Greene Jr. and his wife Blair Greene.
Blair Greene with red hair: our sex is in Sexton. i make the bacon and he cooks the bacon in Macon.
me: and The Count, Grover, and Big Bird. and the Sbarro mall mascot.
Sbarro mascot: in Capitola.
me: Sbarro, oh so i guess i DID have New York pizza this whole time!!! had my first Slice at age 4!!!
judge: are you a drug addict? do you take drugs regularly? recreationally?
Jen R from the stand: there's no such thing. nobody takes drugs for fun. everyone does drugs to kill the pain.
judge: what's that there in your pocket, miss?
Jen R: my pink antique grandma sweater pocket? that green? it's not cash money i can tell you that, i'm a librarian. it's pot.
judge: marijuana is a drug.
Jen R: NO IT'S NOT!!! what drug HEALS?!!!
i'm summoned to the stand.
me: permission to approach the bench to hug Jen R?
judge: permission not granted.
me: i'm gonna do it anyway, contempt is worth it to get that hug. i admit i was jealous when i first saw Jen R's papers and it said ENGAGED. but you're divorced now, right? you're getting a divorce?
Jen R: it's complicated.
Jen R's ex-husband starts humming "Too Late" by Washed Out on his thin salivating lips.
Jen R trips over the stand on her way down.
Jen R: pay you no mind, judge, i was just doing the JenLaw trip at the Oscars.
judge: Jen Law? Jennifer Lawrence? i can respect that, you Jennifers stick together. i can respect a Law whence-ever it comes.
the judge makes the "Too Small" NBA gesture at me.
me: what is that? what does that mean? Too Low? i'm too low? too low of a person? i'm a low person? i know this.
Goemon: i quilt scarves and toilet paper with my samurai sword.
Pati Jinich: my specialty is Spanish spinach...
Marco Island: i only want to learn about the history of Florida and the history of the United States through an old 1950s film reel narrated by Walt Disney for the Disneyland Files, okay?
Laertus: look, Dirg, i like anime, too, i really do, i admit it, anime has the best story structure in all of literature, but you can't celebrate an anime character's birthday, you just can't.
Dirg: wanna borrow some tiny candles?
Laertus: okay only if i get to celebrate Elliott from E.T.'s birthday.
Eye Luggage: and Jem's birthday.
Andre Agassi: is it just me or is Friends only funny when you're watching it under the influence of crystal meth?...
Keith Morrison: Dateline during the day? Dateline in the afternoon? that's an afternoon delight, that's not scary. not scary enough, my voice only comes through at night. it's like Meet the Press on weekdays...
AI: computer bipolar disease...
the verdict is nigh. the judge enters his chambers with the 1970s bead-rope door and enters out.
Jen R stands up in the pew.
Jen R: before you render your decision, if it pleases the court i'd like to recite what i carved myself by hand on this silver pendant here. Maryland the Silver State. Music Maryland.
the judge starts to cry.
Jen R: My little girl yesterday, my friend today, my daughter Forever
Jen R (and by extension me, I'm) awarded custody. Jen R's ex-husband is NOT happy and writes a song about it that afternoon.
me: so happy for you. i love your kid as my own daughter, she's a great kid, she has the face of unspoiled innocence and perfect positivity, a brimming kindness forged by Beatles love, she's unruined by the cruel world and i will keep her that way, i will protect her with my life.
Jen R wipes her brow.
Jen R: phew that was close. i had no other plans. no more babysitting at the bar from now on. these aren't drug sweats, it's hot at night in Baltimore. where to now?
me: we gotta celebrate. what are the fine-dining establishments around here? the places with class. at least TWO Michelin stars.
Jen R: you watch Check, Please! Bay Area on PBS?
me: of course. surely. hey let's pop in here at this corner bistro, it was featured on the show.
Jen R: okay but we don't have time to do ALL THREE restaurants, one night isn't that long.
Jen R takes one look at Leslie Sbrocco and groans.
Jen R: oh no, not this again.