Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I'm still not feeling that great, so I left work early yesterday. (Early, in this case, meaning '7 p.m.') I had dosed myself with some kind of canned souplike substance and was trying to sleep on the good couch when my cellphone rang. "Someday I will kill you," I said, and got up to answer it.

"I'm having dinner with Ingrid, but Cool Ghoul has been spotted two blocks away and I need you to drive Ingrid home."

I got the address of the restaurant, staggered out for a car, and was there in half an hour. Ingrid was waiting outside, all dressed up and screaming at a guy in a jean jacket. I pulled up and she got in.

"Who's he?" I asked as we moved out into traffic.

"Shut up," she told me.

"You know, this ride would take a lot longer if I put the car in neutral and made you get out and push."

"Sorry," she said, but not like she meant it. "I'm just really pissed off tonight."

"Is this the part where you unburden yourself to me about how frustrated you are with your relationship? Because I hear enough about Greyghost's personal life from Greyghost."

She sat up. "Really? He tells you about his personal life?"

"No." We stopped at a stoplight.

"Oh. All right," she said, and, "Hey," pointing to my left.

In the next car was a guy trying to get my attention. He was wearing a Groucho-nose-and-glasses, and in the passenger seat a woman had her face in her hands and was trying to make herself invisible. I unrolled my window.

"Hey, buddy," the guy said. "My girlfriend asked me to kiss her where it smelled funny . . . so I took her to Bridgeton!"

The light turned green and we drove away.

"What the hell?" Ingrid said.

"It's your city, man," I said.

"The thing about Victor is," she said, "he's Greyghost all the time. Even when he's painting or sleeping or eating lunch. It looks like he's being Victor Scigrave, but he's really just positioning himself for the next Greyghost thing."

"So you decided I secretly wanted to hear all about it?"

"Yeah. Tonight's a perfect example . . . look at this."

We were at another stoplight. Up ahead of us was a jeep. The driver opened his door, stepped out of the car, brushed a pound and a half of chip crumbs off his shirt, and got back in.

"They're all out tonight," I said.

"Tonight's a perfect example. We're out, we're eating, we're talking, everything's great, and then his damn phone rings. And he's gone. Like he was just waiting for it to happen or something. I love him, but I do not need this shit."

"Did you hear the name of the guy he was chasing? The Cool Ghoul. These people have no shame."

"Could you shut up about superhero names for one second? I'm trying to have a conversation here."

"Check it out," I said, pointing. "This guy's license plate." The car ahead of us had a license plate reading 'IHATEYOU'.

"See if you can get a look at him," Ingrid said, intrigued.

I changed lanes and eased up beside him. The driver looked like just an average guy, but he glanced over and saw us checking him out. He gave us the finger and hit the accelerator.

"What's going on tonight?" Ingrid said.

In the car beside us now were two guys. One was driving. The other was in the back seat, giving the first guy a haircut.

"You know what?" Ingrid said. "Let's just get out of here. This is scary."
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