Friday, May 5Lost Friday - "Two For The Road."
Season Two - Episode 20 - "Two For The Road."
Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.
You know, when it comes to Lost, I do my homework. I lurk on the boards. I spoil myself silly. I send locks of hair to Terry O'Quinn in the hopes he'll fashion some sort of crude wig out of it and sport it at the Emmys. So, even though I had an inkling as to what was going down this week, I was still floored. When I say 'floored,' I mean 'left with soggy pants.'
Later on in the evening, whilst ringing myself out over the sink and trimming off generous portions of hair, I came to the realization that I might have a serious disorder. Quickly blaming the uneasy feeling on the three-pound bag of M&M's I ate earlier, I placed the hair (and pants) into an envelope, addressed it to ABC and had the best sleep of my life.
Make with the skinny!
The Skinny - Ripped from Wikipedia:
(This is what happens when you go out drinking with Bernard.)
In flashbacks, Ana-Lucia is shown in the morgue, viewing the body of the man she has killed. Her mother, also present, begins asking questions, and her daughter gives a half-hearted alibi, knowing full well how patently guilty she looks. Her mother then offers her help, which Ana-Lucia declines; when she insists her daughter get help from somewhere, to respect her job, the younger officer quits.
("So, you like picking up drunk doctors in airport bars?")
Later, Ana-Lucia is shown working as an airport security officer. In the bar, she meets Christian Shephard, Jack's father. The two commiserate, and the older man offers her work as his bodyguard in Sydney. The two decide to adopt false names for their relationship. Ana-Lucia calls Christian "Tom" (a name shared by both Kate and Claire's boyfriends), while Christian calls her "Sarah" (the name of Jack's wife). In Sydney, they spend four days drinking, until Christian works up the nerve to visit a blonde woman in the suburbs in the middle of the night. A shouting match ensues; Christian tells the woman that he paid the mortgage on her house and has a right to see his daughter, which would effectively make his daughter Jack's half-sister. Ana-Lucia drags Christian away and they leave. Later, the two discuss what they are each running away from; Ana-Lucia tries to encourage Christian to return to the States, but he refuses and heads for a bar instead, bumping into Sawyer in the process.
("Please don't air this scene again, I beg of you.")
Ana-Lucia goes to the airport, waiting in line with Jin, prior to boarding Oceanic flight 815. Jack is at the ticket counter, earnestly telling a woman about his need to get his father's body home as quickly as possible. Ana-Lucia overhears and calls her mother to confess the reason she went to Australia was to escape her, since she knew what she'd done; her mother asks her to come home.
On the island, Ana-Lucia is shown caring for Henry Gale. She asks him a question; when he whispers something, she leans in close, only to be attacked. Strangling her, he snarls, "You killed two of us." Locke sneaks up and knocks him unconscious with a crutch.
("This is for making me sit through Blue Crush!")
Jack and Kate bring Michael back to the hatch. Meanwhile, Hurley is asking Sayid about the radio; he hopes to impress Libby by imitating the hero of the movie Say Anything. Sayid advises a picnic instead, and tells him about the beach where he took Shannon. Hurley and Libby set out for the picnic, but Hurley gets lost, and they wind up back where they started. Libby suggests they have a picnic right there, but Hurley forgot to bring blankets or anything to drink. Libby says she'll get some blankets while Hurley goes to get some wine from Rose and Bernard; Hurley jokes that if he gets drunk, he'll remember where he knows her from; Libby's expression in reaction to his joke shows uneasiness.
Ana-Lucia approaches Sawyer to get a gun. He laughs at her, and she attacks him. After a struggle, he overpowers her, and she responds by seducing him. Afterwards, she informs him that if he tells anyone, she'll kill him.
(Sometimes, the jokes write themselves.)
In the hatch, Locke asks a now tied-up Henry why he attacked Ana-Lucia, but not him, when he was trapped under the blast door. Henry claims that his mission was to kidnap Locke, as he is one of the "good ones." But now that he's failed, either one of the survivors will kill him or his own people will, because their leader, while a great and brilliant man, is not forgiving.
Michael tells the assembled onlookers that he's found the Others. There's 22 of them, living squalid lives in canvas tents. They have a hatch of their own, with two armed guards. He tells them that he will lead them back there. Jack and Locke discuss this, then decide it's time to get the guns from Sawyer. Kate accompanies them, leaving Michael and Ana-Lucia in the hatch. Sawyer is busy reading a manuscript, so Jack throws it into a fire, then points a gun at Sawyer, demanding to be taken to the guns. Sawyer reaches for his gun, but realizes that Ana-Lucia stole the gun after they had had sex. Locke suddenly realizes why she took Sawyer's gun, and informs Jack about Henry attacking Ana-Lucia.
Back in the hatch, Ana-Lucia gives Henry a knife and instructs him to free himself. He does, and she points a gun at him. Henry says that Goodwin described Ana-Lucia to the Others as simply misunderstood, and even vouched for her. He hints that when Goodwin attacked her, he was not intending to kill her.
Ana-Lucia is unable to kill Henry. Michael talks with her and she tells him about Henry, about how he tried to kill her, and how she couldn't bring herself to kill him. Michael offers to do the job for her, and she gives him the gun and the combination to the armory, where Henry is still held captive. Michael looks at the gun somberly, says, "I'm sorry," then shoots Ana-Lucia, apparently killing her. Libby walks in, carrying the blankets she had got for the picnic. Michael, startled, shoots Libby through the blankets, and she collapses. Michael then opens the door to Henry's cell. Henry stands and the two exchange meaningful glances. Michael deliberately shoots himself in the shoulder.
(It's officially a corpse hatch.)
Allow me to be the first one to say it; this minority-on-minority violence has to stop. African-Americans shooting Puerto Ricans? African-Americans shooting the criminally insane? African-Americans shooting themselves when there aren't any more minorities around? Not cool, buddy. I'm just glad that Jin and Sun weren't down there; we would have a bloodbath on our hands.
4 - Have you checked out the new Hanso Foundation site yet? Better yet, give 1-877-HANSORG a call and see what you can gather. From what I can surmise, this is the first step in the North American version of the Lost Interactive Game. I'm not sure if this will directly reflect the show come season three, but it raises a lot of questions about what to expect next year. If you want the up-to-the-second updates on the Interactive Game, check out The Coconut Internet, which will hold your hand and lead you into the murky abyss.
(I'm far more insightful than you. Send me money for gas.)
8 - To be honest with you, I feel bad that Ana got capped like she did. I mean, she was trying to set things straight back on the homeland, and was on the cusp of becoming a good person on the island. According to the producers, her death was decided at the start of the season, and had absolutely nothing to do with what happened to her off-camera.
(Insert food-related joke here.)
Same with Libby. Poor Hurley will probably start hitting the fork again, and come next season he should be about 900 pounds. I wonder how they are going to resolve the 'What the hell is up with Libby?' stuff before the season's over. It would seem like she's not dead right now, but will die by the end of the next episode. It's a shame, too. I was just starting to hate her and everything.
15 - It would seem that Michael is doing one of two things. One, he's working for the Others in a futile attempt to get Walt back. Or two, he's tricking the castaways to get involved in a war with these people, presumably also to get Walt back. Either way, he's on the dark side now. He clearly felt remorse for what he did; almost as if he was forced into it. Also, keep in mind that Michael and Henry might know each other, considering that Michael has been gone a lot longer than Henry's been a prisoner.
("Wait, come back! You forgot to tell me who I was!")
16 - So, Christian's got a double life in Australia, or at the very least, a shadow family. The rumor is that his daughter is Claire; who doesn't know who her real dad is. You've got to like that little twist. That would make Jack Aaron's uncle, and me super confused.
23 - Was Henry telling the truth when he was talking to Ana and Locke? The theory of good and bad Others makes a lot of sense, and as manipulative as it sounded, it's entirely possible. Locke was really shaken by it, which is leading to the walkabout next week with Eko.
("Trust me, Sawyer. You don't want what Ana has. Let me put you down.")
42 - By the way, this is what happens when you have sex or picnics of any kind on the island. I'm starting to think this show is a big promotion for the Catholic church. I know that Jin and Sun got it on, but they're Korean and apply to different rules.
The Preview (Spoilers Ahoy!):
Episode 21 - '?'
(Eko has a lifetime contract with Hawiian Tropic cocoa butter.)
4 - Flashback: Eko-centric. Expect rampant cornrows and general bad-assery throughout.
8 - The press release sez: "Mr. Eko enlists Locke to help find a secret location he believes houses answers to the island's mysteries. Meanwhile, Jack and the other survivors struggle to cope with the horrific situation in the hatch."
Wait. Eko wants Locke to tag along? What does Eko know that Locke doesn't? Maybe he's going to tell him where all the chest grease is being stored. Ever notice that? He's always lubricated!
(From the 'holy crap in a carry-on' department.)
15 - Producer Damon Lindleof sez: "The question-mark episode is about finding out what that question mark on that map means. That episode is a great opportunity for us to finally put Locke and Mr. Eko together, sort of a philosophical battle of faith and will that we've been hinting at all season long. It started back when Eko gave Locke the film in that hollowed-out Bible, and this is sort of the next step in their relationship."
"Just as a side note, the '?' episode was originally going to be the episode that Darren Aronofsky would direct prior to Rachel Weisz's pregnancy. We thought it would be a cool shout-out to him since he made the movie Pi, which was just the symbol for pi. It ended up being directed by a guy named Deran Sarafian. It was hard to find another Darren to direct the episode, but we managed."
16 - Wait for it: In a flashback at the airport, Libby will make an appearance. Claire may also pop in at some point. I don't know where they fit into his backstory, but I can assume Claire will be crying for some reason.
23 - What: The end of this episode will be a great lead-in to the Michael-centric episode that's coming in two weeks. It looks like they have Michael locked in the armory during this episode, which leads me to believe that Libby spills the beans (and her stomach contents) before she dies.
42 - Trailer: In the preview for this episode, we see Eko falling off a large cliff. It didn't look like a flashback, but if it were something serious, they wouldn't have made such a big deal out of it in the preview. I'm sorry; I don't know why I even brought it up.
Like we've been doing all season, here are links to damn near every Lost Friday that ever was or were. If you want a quick way to catch up, check out the Clip Show Edition first. Send fan/hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and start sounding off in the comments section.
SEASON TWO - CLIP SHOW EDITION
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 19 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 18 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 17 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - TEMPORARY EDITION
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 16 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 8
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 7
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 15 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 14 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 13 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 6
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 12 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 11 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 10 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 5
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 4
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 3
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 9 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 8 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 7 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 6 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 2
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 5 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 4 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 3 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 1 REVIEW
SEASON TWO PREVIEW
Thursday, May 4Katharine McPhee Watch - Volume 8.
92,000 people auditioned for American Idol this year.
There are now 4 singers left, and Katharine McPhee is one of them.
Just thought you might want to know. Here are some quick thoughts:
I was relieved to see that there were no washed-up artists promoting terrible new albums this week. Maybe we'll get lucky next week though, and the Top 4 will have to sing Vanilla Ice songs. In fact, I insist upon it. I want to hear four different versions of 'Ice Ice Baby,' and I want them sung with feeling. Mr. Ice himself will even show up to coach the finalists once they've decided on an arrangement (they can use the 'Under Pressure' sheet music Brian May left behind a few weeks ago). Strap on some parachute pants and shave your left eyebrow, because Ice is back with his brand new invention.
I like how Ryan Seacrest mentioned last week's Katharine McPhee button-popping bonanza. Once again, searches for 'Katharine McPhee naked' skyrocketed on my page, and frankly, I don't care where my traffic comes from as long as they make the counter go up. Word of advice though, she ain't naked on the internet. You're not going to find it. Ever. I know you're in a lot of pain and whatnot, but you're just going to have to move on for the time being. At least give her ample time for her career to take a nosedive, then see what you can dig up.
Taylor Hicks, on the other hand, has had full-frontal goodness plastered all over cyberspace for months now. And yes, the carpet matches the drapes, if you know what I mean. Eeeewww.
Somewhere over the course of the season, Elliott Yamin has seen a huge and warranted boost in popularity. When people thought he'd be out weeks ago, he's only gotten more exposure and votes, and that's great. While I still don't know if he can win the show outright, I want him to stick around as long as possible. It was surprising to see him in the bottom 2 last night.
What a great Wednesday night. Paris Bennett gets kicked out of Hollywood, House was hands-down the best episode I've ever seen them do (both episodes, I should say), and Lost surprised even the biggest spoiler nerds around.
Speaking of Lost, LOST FRIDAY arrives in 24 hours. Come on back, it's going to be huge.
Wednesday, May 3Don't Make Me Turn This Blog Around.
I swear to God, if you kids don't cut out the horseplay, I'll pull right the hell over and beat you to death with my travel mug.
Here are 6 things to shut you up. If you stay quiet for ten minutes, I'll let you smell my fingers after I fill up the car.
1. Here's the Missus' fly new ride. It's a 2001 Ford Focus that rocks so hard, it blows the clothing right off of anyone in its presence. Why, just yesterday she sped past me on her way to work and I was left dangling and confused in the carport. She loves the way it handles and maneuvers; I love that it's a car that runs on gas. She likes it. I like it. We're happy and wish not to discuss anything more on the subject of car accidents and thousands upon thousands of dollars. Please respect my wishes, or I will cut you.
2. Always bringing you the latest in tired Internet Phenomena and MySpace bashing, I present to you the Magical Grid Of Bad Emo Hair. Knowledge is power, and someday we can eradicate this injustice plaguing the youth of America. Emo hair is the new mullet, kids. Get off the train before they start making fun of you in beer commercials. I got a haircut and dye job yesterday, and I look so rad that both my cats instantly went into heat. Rolling about and mewing and whatnot (see top photo).
3. Best AI Top Five ever? Consider the following. I've graded the previous top 5's on a scientific scale that measures various levels of suckitude. Here are my findings*:
RJ Helton - Bad.
Tamyra Gray - Good.
Nikki McKibbin - Bad.
Justin Guarini - Bad.
Kelly Clarkson - Good.
Trenyce - Bad.
Joshua Gracin - Bad.
Kimberley Locke - Good.
Clay Aiken - Good.
Ruben Studdard - Good.
George Huff - Bad.
LaToya London - Good.
Jasmine Trias - Bad.
Diana DeGarmo - Bad.
Fantasia Barrino - Bad.
Scott Savol - Bad.
Anthony Federov - Bad.
Vonzell Solomon - Good.
Bo Bice - Good.
Carrie Underwood - Good.
Taylor Hicks - Good.
Katharine McPhee - Good.
Paris Bennett - Good.
Elliott Yamin - Good.
Chris Daughtry - Good.
*Sources are available upon request.
4. Speaking of TV, there's some good stuff on tonight:
7:00 - 8:00c - House (FOX)
8:00 - 8:30c - American Idol (FOX)
8:00 - 9:00c - Lost (ABC)
House concludes its two-part episode tonight, and American Idol narrows down to the final four. Lost arrives with 'Two For The Road,' the first of the final four episodes of the season. Obviously, you can count on the CDP for your Idol recap tomorrow, immediately followed by an all-new Lost Friday. Tell your friend.
By the way, I got the Hanso image from the redesigned Hanso Foundation website, which is more than a little terrifying. If this isn't good insight into season three, I don't know what is.
5. Here are the last 10 albums I've listened to:
1. Saves The Day - Sound The Alarm
2. Sage Francis - A Healthy Distrust
3. Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control
4. Maritime - We The Vehicles
5. Morrissey - Ringleader Of The Tormentors
6. Michael Jackson - The Essential Michael Jackson
7. The Beatles - Abbey Road
8. Hot Chip - Coming On Strong
9. Polysics - Polysics Or Die!!!
10. The Suicide Machines - Destruction By Definition
6. I went bowling with co-workers last week. I bowled a 130, which is pretty good for me. You can tell I was pleased.
There you have it. Sound off in the comments section. Get out of my Blog.
TOMORROW - KATHARINE McPHEE WATCH.
THE DAY AFTER THAT - LOST FRIDAY.
Tuesday, May 2Would You Like Lies With That?
Last week, I made a late-night run to Wendy's for a baked potato. I wasn't necessarily in the mood for a baked potato; I was just in the mood for anything I could digest and convert into waste matter.
At the time, I hadn't gone grocery shopping in approximately eight months and was beginning to eat things I found in the windowsills. My sheer laziness and apathy for all things foodal prevented me from driving the sixty yards to the market and filling up on whatever my hungry heart desired. Instead, it made more sense to waste money and eat garbage until my body could take no more.
Usually it was Taco Bell that got my business late at night, but tonight I was in the mood for a lawn bag full of french fries, handed to me by someone who spoke english.
I pulled into the barren Wendy's parking lot with the intention of using the drive-thru. As I went around back I was recklessly cut off out of nowhere by a busted-ass minivan. The van had used the side entrance and floored it just to get in front of me. Certainly, this person was exceedingly hungry; far too famished to wait the extra fifteen seconds it would have taken me to grab my items and hit the road. I felt bad for him, in a way. You really shouldn't have to wait so long for nourishment that it becomes a life-or-death thing, especially in a country that sells cheese in a spray can.
A little angry, but more confused than anything, I waited behind him as he slurred loudly into the menu box. Watching the reflection in the van's side mirror, I saw that it was some mustached, 20-year-old turd, eyes glazed over by the gallon of gin he washed down shortly before taking the wheel.
Fantastic. Maybe it was better that he was in front of me.
I shook my head and reached down to grab my wallet when I saw my dashboard start to illuminate. I looked up just in time to see the van backing up towards my car. Alone at the time, my lips parted and I squeaked 'whhaasaa?!' as I threw my wallet down and fumbled with the gearshift to get the hell out of this guy's way. I backed up about a yard when he finally stopped and went forward, ending up right where he started, just in front of the speaker.
I kept my distance. This man was so hungry he was clearly capable of anything.
I was just getting my bearings together when I saw the driver waving something out of his window. What could it be? A gun? A knife? A more focused glance revealed that it was a $20 bill, which he was thrusting towards the speaker.
Read that again; let it wash all over you. He was presenting his money to the magic voice in the box. I jest you not.
After about ten seconds of this, he must have realized that the menu display wasn't going to take his money in exchange for food, so he pulled up to the window. By the time I made my order and got up behind him, an actual human being had finally confiscated this fool's cash and hopefully his license.
I guess what the guy wanted was going to take a while, so the cashier told him to pull out front, and they would bring it out to him when it was ready. If he was as drunk as I thought he was, chances are he ordered the entire left quadrant of the menu, only to eat one fry and puke in the bag once he received his meal.
So, the cashier tells him to pull out front, the guy nods, rolls up his window and calmly drives away. Right out into the street and down the highway. Keep in mind that he already paid.
I'll bet that sometime later in the evening, that guy's going to say to his friends, "I'm hungry, we should go to Wendy's!"
Another week, another 5 posts. Sound off in the comments section; see you tomorrow.
Monday, May 1Three Strikes, You're In.
(Catch up on Part I, Part II & Part III before reading.)
I got in.
To this day, I don't know why I did. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment. Maybe I'm a pushover. Maybe I wanted to make the most out of my rad blazer. Whatever it was, it won.
Gail was driving, with Vinny riding shotgun. Me, Kim and Charlotte lined the backseat with a flat storage area behind us (it was an old Suburban or something). Everyone was talking loudly at once, and I was doing my best to stay silent and still, perhaps meld into the upholstery and disappear altogether. Peeking over Kim, I could see that Charlotte wasn't crying, which meant that I had done my job earlier on in the night. She stared straight ahead, which was all she could really do with her neck brace.
My anxiety finally got the best of me, and I peeped, "Where are we going?"
"Never you mind!" snapped Vinny.
At this point, it was about 1:30am, and I was thinking to myself what could possibly be open at this time of the night. Not only that, where were we going that wouldn't seem ludicrous as we sported gowns and formalwear?
Of course. The bowling alley.
The local alley was open all hours of the night; it was a nice place for white 13-year olds with thuggish tendencies to smoke and brandish weaponry. It also seemed like a magnet for teenage lesbians for some reason. Beats me, all I knew for sure was that I wanted to be in bed right now.
As it turned out, we didn't show up to bowl; we showed up to smoke and meet people I wouldn't ever invite into my home. Gail knew some people that were far less pleasant than Kim and Charlotte, and every time one of these baggily-panted alley-dwellers got within a yard of me I clutched my wallet and stared at the ground. I avoided one ass-kicking tonight; I wasn't in the mood to press my luck.
Me and Charlotte don't smoke, and our eyes met up through the haze and stench of the deafening alley. She laughed and smiled, and I could only assume she understood the head-shakingly brilliant irony of this night. After everything the two of us did to make our evening perfect, here we were at 2am, in what was one of the least-classy places in the city, sporting $300 outfits and wishing we were anywhere else. Hours ago, we were strangers; now we were allies. She came over and attempted to take a seat next to me, walking as elegantly as someone could do with a tight dress and a busted neck. On the other side of the table, Kim sat on Vinny's lap and inhaled her Camel Light.
Before Charlotte could sit down next to me, she stared over the top of my head, presumably at something very frightening that was going on behind me. Judging by the look on her face, I fully expected a wrecking ball to collide with the back of my head in microseconds, transforming my skull into malt powder.
I turned back quickly to see nothing serious; just a few people at the next table over. However, when I looked back at Charlotte, I could see her face change shades and the tears start to well.
Well, I'll be damned. Sitting just feet away from me was her ex-boyfriend, the very man that broke up with her hours before Homecoming. The very man that should be sitting where I'm sitting. Instead of doing what he should have been doing tonight, he was sharing an intimate bowling alley moment with his All Star Lanes mistress.
Charlotte took off for the bathroom, with Gail and Kim in tow. "We're leaving," Gail said.
The next thing I can remember, we were all back in the truck, driving much faster and cursing much more than was really necessary. Charlotte was completely inconsolable and my night's work was shot directly in the can. Earlier in the evening, I came to the conclusion that the Utility Man was the role I was destined to play, and what just transpired was clearly Exhibit A.
Everything I had regrettably speculated came true. When the night started, I was determined to become the kind of guy that Charlotte's ex-boyfriend was. Essentially, an insensitive ass that made injured women cry. In reality, the greater good called, and if it meant wasting my life making others happy, then so be it. After sobbing for a while, Charlotte sunk into hyperventilating quietly in the corner, as I silently counted off the blocks to my house.
Kim should have been consoling her. Kim should have been doing her girlfriend duties. Kim should have done everything I had been doing for her all night. But once again, instead of stepping up for a friend, she left that job to a complete stranger. It turns out she wasn't the person I thought she was when I met her.
No less than six inches from Charlotte's face, Kim and Vinny started viciously making out.
For my money, there's nothing sexier than getting to first base next to an injured woman in the midst of an emotional breakdown; I could barely hear her bawling over the two of them. Angry and more than a little disgusted, I reached over Kim's wildly bobbing head and tapped Charlotte on the shoulder. Someone had to get her out of this wide-awake nightmare.
Obviously, she couldn't turn her head to see me, so she just screamed "What!?" into the back of the passenger seat, where she had her face mashed. I had startled her. Eventually, I motioned for her to jump over the backseat and into the flatbed area in the back of the SUV.
This was how the night was going to end for me. Sitting in the storage area of a Chevy Suburban with a red-faced stranger who should be in traction. Still incoherent, she was sitting cross-legged in the flatbed with her dress twisted up around her waist. She either didn't care or didn't notice, and I did my best to divert my eyes.
"Thank you," she blurted out. "You're a good friend." I didn't have the heart to tell her that I didn't know her last name, and I would almost certainly never see her again after tonight.
"You're welcome," I whispered back as she threw her arms around me, instantly drenching my blazer with tears. In the corner of my eye, I saw Kim and Vinny happily stretched across the backseat, where minutes ago we were sitting. Reaching out over the top of the seat, I attempted to strangle the both of them to death, to no avail.
Charlotte pulled her head off of my shoulder and pressed her wet nose against my face. Hiccupping over words and shivering, she looked me in the eyes and said, "Do you want to kiss me?"
At this point, I was secretly wondering how injured I'd get if I popped the hatch and flung myself out of the vehicle. This was the worst possible thing she could have said. I would have more preferred it if she said, "This neck brace is actually a bomb that's set to turn this stretch of highway into a smoldering crater in 3-2-1..."
Honestly, what would you do? On one hand, this was my opportunity to prove that the nice guy will get the nice girl in the end (hooray! vindication!). On the other hand, Vinny was proving that the jerkass always wins, and always has more fun along the way. Honestly, I wanted nothing to do with this situation; the last thing she needed on her fragile psyche was another loser who made decisions with his ween. On yet another hand, she might once again feel rejected if I said no, and that might actually hurt her far more than if I just went along with what she wanted. "Think man, think! What would Larry Csonka do?"
Finally, I saw through it and realized that she was just begging for acceptance, and only asked me because it's what she thought I had wanted the entire night.
This was nowhere near the truth, of course; I was just doing my job.
So what happened? What did I do? It doesn't matter what happened, does it? Just know that it stopped her crying, put a smile on her face and made her happy. Wait, that actually sounds suggestive. I better redeem myself and spill it.
If you must know, I told her the same story I'm telling you right now. About my night; about my ideas and projections for what I wanted to become as a man. I told her about my near ass-kicking at the hands of a vengeful boyfriend and sadistic woman. I told her about the mystery girl and how I felt when I saw that she already found someone to make her happy. I told her how I need to accept the role I chose to play, because it was what made me content, for better or worse. I told her that as much as people need a sympathetic ear, I need to get my attention and acceptance as well, and this was the best way to make myself happy. I told her that her suffering probably made my night, because it allowed me to feel important and mend wounds I has no business tending to in the first place. I told her that no matter what I became, I was still operating on selfish and egotistical morals. I told her that I was an asshole that deserved everything I had coming to me tonight, and she was better off never seeing me again.
She understood. She actually understood. The night suddenly was in perspective.
For the second time tonight, we pulled into my driveway. This time, however, I had to pop the trunk to get out. Vinny and Kim didn't even realize that I was leaving, far too busy tearing at each other to peek their heads up. Charlotte smiled as the red brake lights reflected off of her face. We hugged and I told her that everything would be okay.
"You, too," she said. It was the truest thing anyone had said to me all night.
It made sense. In my honest confession to her, I made her feel empowered and let her know what my motives were. On a night like this, she very much needed a guy like me to come along. A selfish guy, bent on feeling self-important and making an impact on someone. On a night like this, I very much needed a girl like her to come along. A train wreck of a girl so gruesome that the only thing that could save her from destruction was the complete and undivided attention of someone more sad than herself.
Guys like me are attracted to trauma because it makes us feel dominant and important, much like everything else we're attracted to. It didn't matter what our names were and what we looked like, as long as we possessed these qualities and spoke the same language. We weren't necessarily special in each other's eyes, we were just what the other needed to make it out of Homecoming with our dignity.
I never saw Charlotte again, and we made no attempts to contact each other. I think we knew that Homecoming happened for a reason, and it didn't matter what happened afterwards.
So long, Charlotte. I hope your neck is feeling better. You saved my night; hopefully I saved yours.
(As an epilogue, the Missus wanted me to remind everyone that I eventually ended up with her, proving that nice guys with emotional problems don't always finish last. She also wanted to tell everyone that I have incredibly smooth and soft forearms, whatever the hell that means.)