September 10, 2001

I used one of Daddy’s credit cards to rent us an Escalade.

It was definitely that kind of outing. Nothing short of a Cadillac was going to do. It was black, for which I paid extra. (I should say, for which Daddy paid extra). The factory trim was a bit disappointing, but what could be expected on such short notice? Besides, the sound system made up for it.

I drove, naturally. I pulled up to the appointed Manhattan corner clenching the stub of a Philly blunt between my teeth. I scanned the rushed, mean faces of the after work crowd, looking for TRUE. She came out of a deli just as I pulled my floating fortress into park.

She was dressed all in black—black Diesel jeans, black hooded sweatshirt, black on black Yankees cap. I caught the barely perceptible nod of her head as she threw a look at the car. I knew she thought it was hot. I couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit like the mack, despite the circumstances. I was dressed for success in a black Armani suit and light violet silk shirt, also Armani. I leaned over to pop open the door and then promptly leaned back again and extended my foot so that TRUE could see my brand new Bally moccasins.

“I do believe it’s acceptable not to wear socks in early September,” I said, laughing for no reason.

“I don’t know,” she said, giving me a cursory once over before sliding into shotgun. I immediately noticed that her face was even paler than usual. Perhaps it was all the black. Or perhaps it was because her honor had been attacked. I felt a surge of protectiveness towards her that I immediately set about detaching myself from and analyzing.

“Is the 10th still early September,” she asked, her voice weighted with weariness.

“Certainly, anything up until the 15th.” The car lighter popped. I stared at its glowing orange rings before bringing it up to the blunt.

I tilted the mirror so I could look at her. She was leaning against the window with her eyes closed. There was a long white athletic sock across her lap.

Suddenly, she held up her hand and kept it poised in mid-air. This was a signal for me to pass the blunt.

She pulled hard and coughed once, loudly, like an old man, before passing it back.

“What are you going to cover your face with?”

“Nothing,” I said as I tapped a fat Philly ash into the brilliantly clean silver ashtray.

“I’ve realized that my face is completely unremarkable. Don’t look so shocked, darling. I’ve come to terms; I’m over it.”

“Give me a break,” she said.

I winked and tipped an imaginary hat.

“Don’t worry, darling, I’m the invisible man. And I’ve got a pair of Ray Bans for the magic moment, if I feel it so requires.... Now. First things first. Choose a CD.”

“I made a mix.”

“Of course you did. Let’s pick-up the dyke.”

We got on the West Side Highway and headed for 42nd St. At one of the lights, TRUE showed me the picture she’d snapped of her perpetrator. It was printed on the back of old MapQuest directions for some street in Phoenix. I felt a shiver go up my back when I saw the name of that hated city. I concentrated on the picture. It as an action shot of a kid in blue jeans running beneath the overpass of the BQE. His brown hair fanned out over his head. The Twin Towers looked like blue ghosts in the background. Her digital camera takes shit pictures even under the best circumstances—this hurried, ill-lit shot was more like a pixilated puzzle than a picture. She was very proud of having managed to take it, however, so I held the paper up to my nose and tried my hardest to make out the asshole in question.

“What do you think?” she said.

“Um, well…I think it’s very brave that you took this, but I’m not sure how helpful it will be in finding him.”

“Of course it helps! Look at the way his hair curls up at the ends…and his blue white jeans…they’re so totally not in style.”

“What if he’s not wearing the jeans?”

“Oh, he will be,” she said, smiling smugly.

“How do you know?”

“I just know,” she said. “True Faith” by New Order came on the mix, the opening beats thudded dramatically in the door speakers:

I feel so extraordinary, something’s got a hold on me
I get the feeling I’m in motion…a sudden sense of liberty…

I tilted the mirror some more so I could watch as she took a roll of quarters from the pocket of her sweatshirt jacket and emptied them into the sock. She repeated this several times.

A calculation flashed across my blunted brain in bright green lights: the number of white boys wearing blue jeans in Brooklyn divided by one fat, rented caddy with a semi-recuperated psycho riding shotgun wielding a sock stuffed with quarters…how long would it take us to bean each one of them in their floppy-haired heads? I envisioned us, days later, the Caddy dusty and dented, with TRUE leaning out the window with a blood soaked sock…

“Hold on! I’m abouts to bag me another one!”

Oh, it was funny, but not really. It’s like the Smiths song, “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”, when Morrissey sings, “it’s too close to home and it’s too near the bone.” That’s what it’s like being with TRUE, ever since Arizona...

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