Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Old Switcheroo

By the time anyone could sensibly respond to her piercing cries of unutterable horror, Mali had practically climbed into the driver's seat.

The van swerved to and fro across the double yellow line, threatening to pitch them all over the precipice of a gaping slope to their left. Joe wrestled her from the floorboards betwixt the front seats as she kicked and howled and Casey reared her right arm for a firm, well-deserved hand across Mali's cheek.

"Spider!" she insisted, as though they were the crazy ones to not be screaming their heads off as well, indicating with two accusatory forefingers the seat she had been seated in a moment before.

Gordon leaned forward from the rear of the van and inspected the seat cushion. His nose scrunched up and he nodded with grim disappointment, "Yeah. Spider."

"Well, kill it!" Mali pressed.

Gordon shrugged and collected the shoe from his left foot in hand before steadying it high above the fearsome intruder, poised for the kill.

One swat, splat.

Parker expressed his disgust with a drawn-out ewww! while Joe searched the glove compartment for a tissue to clean up the remains of the tiny conquistador.

"Now where am I supposed to sit?" Mali groaned.

"Squeeze in with Gordon and Parker in back, I guess." Joe shrugged and turned to face the window, his interest now dissipated in Mali's troubles.

Mali worked her way down the narrow aisle of the van, careful to avoid the goo left by the spider. The boys parted, but it was asses to ankles for all intents and purposes, and Mali was left no choice but to slide onto Parker's lap. They exchanged an awkward smile before both stiffly fixed their eyes on opposite things.

"Are we still lost?"

"We've been lost for almost a day. I have no fucking idea where we are," Casey snipped, tired of driving and being accused of getting them all lost, but no one offering to replace her spot most of all.

"Well, we missed Rifle, clearly. Maybe Denver--"

"At this rate, it could be 'maybe Guadalajara'."

"Story time?" Gordon suggested, weary of the bickering.

Joe pulled the die from his pocket and gave it a toss down the aisle without a look.

"That'd be two," Parker affirmed knowingly.

Carl Marx was more than a man with a coincidental name; he was a hero - or to such esteem he held himself, at least.

The idea for his greatest feat came to him one notably average Tuesday morning, a moment of eureka that struck him the instant he lifted the carafe to fill his empty mug for the third time. The shock and awe of the scheme overtaking him was enough to spill the carafe across the table and onto the floor, rivulets of the steaming brew spreading over the kitchen like the tide. He knew he'd struck genius.

Marx shared more than a name with the deceased German philosopher; the two, should they ever had met somewhere in space and time, could have slapped one another on the back to commend their agreement in their perspectives on religion. 21st-Century-Marx, however, insisted on taking the analysis two steps forward, and every evening after work he would perch at his computer and ponder a way to serve all the religious of the world even just a teaspoon of their own bullshit. And finally, on a very average Tuesday morning, he at last had a plan.

As head of his graduating class from the most prestigious computer science academy on the western seaboard, Marx had been treated to the inside information of network diagnostics and security innovations in the computer realm since he was a teenager, and as such was one of the most gifted ---"

Gordon stopped in the middle of his story, his jaw left hung agape.

"Aw, fuck." Joe spoke for all of them.

Passing the right side of their van was a green highway sign, adorned with an enormous cowboy hat, reading in brilliant red, "Welcome To Texas, Partners!"

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