Quiet On The Set
We’d just scored eighty bucks in crack from the black dudes in the Sugar Hill neighborhood. The car I’m driving burns oil and produces a trail of gray smoke still visible at night. Adding to the car’s unique characteristics is that the license plates were stolen from an abandoned car in South Tucson and on top of it, they’re expired.
Also there’s no registration for the car and I’m driving without proof of insurance. That’s not even the Bingo, my driver’s license has been suspended for over two years with outstanding warrants for my sorry ass. I don’t have any type of identification whatsoever. Yet, here I am at 1:00 in the morning scoring drugs with a prostitute and an ex-convict still on parole as my passengers. I’ve failed to mention one detail, the brake lights don’t work. Every day I say I’ll fix them, but somehow it just never gets done.
It’s only a couple miles of Tucson neighborhood back streets to navigate until we reach our room at the Paradise Motel on South Sixth Avenue.
“Hey Messiah, get me a beer will ya? Do you want one Santi?” Selma asks.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t want to get stopped for open alcohol in the car! Damn, you’re just inviting the cops to bust our asses.”
“Sorry, I figured it would calm you down some. You look all uptight.”
“And drinking a beer in the car would just add to my stress level.”
“Is it okay if I do a hit real quick like? I’ll hold it down out of sight. I promise.”
“Then Messiah will want a hit. Five minutes later you’ll want another, flicking the god damn lighter off and on. Even a rookie cop knows what that signifies.”
“You know what you are?” she asks. “Do you know? Huh?”
“This ought to be good. No, tell me. Better pick your words wisely, it’s a long walk back to the motel.”
“You ain’t scaring me. You’re not the director of this movie, ass clown!”
“That’s a good street name for Santi, Director,” Messiah chimes in from the back seat. “Selma, it’s perfect! Director, it fits your personality.”
“Just fine, I can live with that name. Now I’m about to direct your ass to get the fuck out of the car and walk. You’re really pissing me off, Selma.”
“What’s wrong with you, Director?” Messiah asks. “Why can’t you lighten up, relax and have some fun?”
“Why? Did you just ask me why I can’t lighten up? I’ll tell you why! Because I have to babysit you two all the fucking time. Both of you don’t have any type of safety filter. You just go about your lives doing what you want to do, without any concern for the consequences of your actions. Just think about it for a few minutes. How many times have I saved both of your lame asses in the past two weeks? I can think of seven, maybe eight times. Do either of you try to change your inane witless actions? Hell no! You both act with a blatant disregard for simple social standards of conduct. What’s even more incredibly amazing is you’re clueless, you have no idea of the level of stupidity you demonstrate.”
“Are you done putting us down? You’re treating us like some kind of lowlife street trash.”
“Sorry you see it that way Messiah. This reckoning is long overdue. I’ve tried to make you aware of this personality defect for a while now. Neither of you would pay any attention to my pleas. You went on ignoring my advice. Maybe this is the only way to get through to you guys. And I apologize if your feelings were hurt. I’m not purposely being disrespectful, if I didn’t love the both of you I wouldn’t take the time to even mention this shit.”
“So what’s this then, your idea of tough love?” Selma asks. “Are you practicing some radical new kind of therapy you read about in one of those books you’re always reading? Let me tell you this, Director, you can’t control what everyone in the whole world does. Life isn’t a movie, so you can shove your bullshit advice up your ass. Stop the car, I wanna get out now!” she screams. “Don’t want you to have to be responsible for me no more. I’m taking two rocks with me, I put in twenty bucks.”
“Ya me too Director,” Messiah demands, “hand over two rocks.”
I stop, give them the crack and put the car in gear.
“Ain’t ya gonna try stopping us, tell us to get back in the car?” Selma asks.
“Hey Messiah, don’t forget your beer in back. Selma, I didn’t tell you to get out. You both said you wanted out. I’m just doing what you requested.”
“You’re a limp-dick son of a bitch!” Selma screams as I drive away.
“My mother was a very nice lady, I’ll have you know!” I holler back at her.
Forty-five minutes later, there’s a knock on the motel door.
Wonder who that could be?