The Best Ass in the Whole School

by Gregg Pearlman


I flew from San Francisco down to Ontario to surprise Ray and stay for the weekend; I'd see his place in San Dimas for the first time, etc. How exciting. By the time I touched down at Ontario airport, I had everything I needed through AAA: maps to get me from the airport to Ray's place and from Ray's place to Scottsdale, Arizona.

I figured we'd spend the weekend having a zillion Level 5 (or, for those of you who aren't Ray or me, "extremely in-depth") conversations and doing all sorts of fun things like going to In-N-Out Burger and maybe getting in my rental car and doing a burnout drive to Scottsdale to see the Giants play some spring training games. (March, I'd been told, was a great time to be in Arizona.) We'd leave immediately after school on Friday and drop his son, Ian, off at Ray's ex-mother-in-law's.

In San Dimas, I had a little trouble finding my way around. I missed a left turn I was supposed to make, so I flipped a U-turn and was very damn nearly cut off by this little guy driving a light blue car, one of those little cars that are about the size of a Nash Metropolitan and about a billion times uglier. It had those sliding side windows that you see in English cars on TV.

I did a double-take because the driver and passenger were kids -- and I don't mean teenagers. This was a pair of boys no older than seven. Sure, they were doing okay, they weren't weaving all over the road or anything, or even struggling to see over the dashboard, but it wasn't going great. They'd slam on the brakes about five feet before they actually had to stop, and they weren't watching their mirrors very carefully or looking out their side windows. The driver only looked straight ahead, because straight ahead was where he wanted to go. He didn't use his turn signals, which made him a little tough to follow, so when he decided to turn left -- and he was directly in front of me -- I turned left -- now. In traffic. (This was, after all, morning rush hour. Kids were going to school. People were going to work -- which I would have thought, till that day, would have been the more obvious thing to say about rush hour).

I followed them for about 15 minutes, thinking, "What do I do when I catch up with them? Take them to the police? How do you make a citizen's arrest on two seven-year-olds? And will the police think maybe I'm the one with the problem -- the kind of problem that tends to get a lot of newspaper space during highly publicized trials?"

I was still in this train of thought when the kid, without significant warning, just pulled into the parking lot of a school. I went, "Whoooooaaaaa!" as I suddenly made my turn (with, I would guess, a maximum of two wheels touching the ground). The name of the school was Eugene W. Tilson Elementary -- Ian's school.

I pulled up next to the right-hand door, which I had come to realize was the driver's door, largely because, late in our merry chase, the kid that I had thought was doing the driving suddenly climbed into the back seat and began making faces at me out the back window.

I got out of my car extra quick and grabbed the driver by the collar, whereupon he started wailing, "Hey! Go away!" Then he looked at me, I looked at him, and this kid, by God, was Ian.

At the sophisticated age of seven and a half, Ian was finally able to talk well enough to say, "Oh, hi, Rich. What are you doing here? You got fat. Where's your mustache?"

I answered, "Listen. Three things. One: I shaved my mustache off a long time ago, even before the last time you saw me. Two: It's not nice to tell people they're getting fat, even if they are getting fat. And three: What are you doing driving this car?"

"Going to school," he said.

"Yes, I understand that. But why are you driving?" I barely avoided shouting. "Why isn't your dad driving? Why isn't this kid's dad driving you to school? Why aren't you taking the bus?"

"They let me take the car."

"They 'let' you take the car. Who? Why did they 'let' you take the car?"

"They never use this car anyway," Ian said. "Ethan's mom broke her leg and can't drive it."

I said to the other kid, Ethan (another of those 1980s yuppie names, like "Ian," but not "Ian"), "Did they 'let' you take the car? Did you ask your mom, 'Can I take the car?'" Ethan's mom, I discovered, didn't know or care that the car was gone. She couldn't go out to the garage because her leg was broken. And for some reason, though not a constructive one, it occurred to me to ask Ian, "Why are you driving the car? Why isn't Ethan?"

"Ethan doesn't know how to drive," Ian explained, as if speaking, not very patiently, to a moron.

"Ian, you're seven years old. Why do you know how to drive?"

"I'm not seven. I'm seven and a half."

"Whatever," I said, gently grasping the bridge of my nose between thumb and forefinger. "Why do you know how to drive? Kids don't learn how to drive till they're fifteen. How did you learn how to drive?"

"I learned all by myself by watching Daddy."

That rang a bell. I had thought, while I was trying to simultaneously avoid wrapping my rental car around a stop light and noticing my life flashing in front of my eyes, that something had seemed familiar about the way the kid drove.

Ian, like always, had no fear. While he didn't exactly seem to mind seeing me, he wasn't particularly happy, or even surprised, to see me, acting as if I'd just seen him the previous weekend when in fact it had been almost a year. Kid didn't miss me a bit. That didn't bother me, though, until I took time later to think about it.

I said, "You learned to drive 'by watching Daddy'."

"Yeah."

"And you thought it would be okay to drive to school."

"Sure."

"And you've driven before?"

"Yeah. Hundreds of times."

"When did you start driving?"

"When I was only six."

"When you were six, you started driving."

"Uh-huh."

"And do you always drive to school?"

"Nuh-uh. Just today. We only drive at night -- "

"Lovely," I said.

" -- when Ethan's mom and dad are in bed."

"But what are you doing out at night? I can't believe your dad says it's okay."

"He doesn't know about it. I sneak out at night and walk over to Ethan's. And we get the car keys and start it up."

"Ian, that's a loud little car. Doesn't the noise wake up Ethan's mom and dad?

"No, we get it rolling down the driveway and then start it, when it's away from the house. You can do that, you can just get the car rolling, if you turn on the key and get the car rolling, if you turn the key, you can start the car, if you move the gearshifter."

"And you get far enough from the house so that it doesn't wake up Ethan's mom and dad?"

"So far," Ethan said, giggling like a schoolboy, which he was.

The first school bell rang. "We gotta go to school," Ian said.

"I'm going with you," I said.

"What are you doing here anyway?"

"Ah," I thought. "He finally perceives my presence as unusual." I said, "I came here to see your dad, but this is much more interesting."

"It's only school."

"Yeah, well, we'll see."

We went into the class. "My name is Richard Marks. I am Ian McCarthy's godfather," I told the teacher, "and I have something very serious to discuss with you."

"Can't it wait till the first recess?" she said.

"Uh, no. This is very important. I've really got to talk with you about it now."

She looked at me doubtfully. She didn't know me from Adam. Finally she asked Ian, "Who's this gentleman?"

"It's Rich." He still doesn't know my last name, I don't think.

"That's nice, dear, but who is he?"

"He's my dad's friend."

She seemed satisfied with that, but I elaborated on the introduction, and she introduced herself as Marion Stafford. She was about 35, I guess. She wasn't horrifically unattractive or anything, but she brought to mind Ray's comment, "If you're going to look for babes, one place you don't try is a school faculty."

She said, "Okay, look, maybe you'd probably be better off taking this problem to the principal. Come on back here, if you want, and fill me in during recess at 10:30."

"Okay, well, thanks," I said. The urgency of the situation seemed to escape her. And I guess I wasn't more forthcoming just because my head was still spinning.

The principal's secretary said he was busy, but would I care to wait, so I waited. Behind a door clearly marked "Principal" came occasional sounds of what appeared to be a phone conversation, largely because I only heard one voice, that of a man. After a while the voice rose, and I heard things to the effect of, "From now on, you will not..." and "One more chance!" Shortly thereafter, I realized that there were indeed at least two people in there, because I heard something very much like Whack! "Yaaaaaaaaah!" Whack! "Yaaaaaaaaah!" "You little humbrurghhh!" Whack! "Yaaaaaaaaah!" Something told me -- call it intuition, call it ESP, call it the astoundingly obvious -- that this was perhaps not the best time to bother the principal, although maybe I shouldn't rule out bothering the police.

With about an hour to kill, I decided to walk around the school grounds. I began feeling paranoid because of the looks I was getting from the Beehive Patrol, a name that I bestowed then and there upon the yard duty teachers in honor of their hairdos. It seemed as though they really wanted to make sure to be able to give the police a good description of me in case I chose to start doing something really suspicious.

I'd had to use the bathroom something fierce for about ten minutes by the time I finally managed to slip unnoticed into the boys' room, having skirted the Beehive lady guarding the area -- who knows what vicious rumors she would have told her walkie-talkie?

The fixtures clearly were designed for the Lollipop Guild. A nearsighted person over five-foot-six would have had trouble seeing the toilet from a standing position, it was so tiny and low.

As I prepared to leave the stall, in came three little thugs, third-graders, I think, lighting up cigarettes. They didn't see me, so I said, "Red team, code white, boys' room. Move! Move! Move!" The kids hot-footed it out of there in record time, leaving their fetid little death sticks behind. Call me crazy, but I didn't feel bad about it at all.

I returned to Ian's classroom at about 10:10 and entered through the back door, then found a seat at the reading table in the back (having decided not to make a comical attempt at sitting at a desk built for a second-grader) and looked around the room until the 20-minute recess at 10:30. The class had a big pink cardboard Easter Bunny with a big smile and idiotic protruding teeth. It was flat cardboard, but the arms, legs and ears could all be positioned, just like they had in grammar schools when I was a kid. The blackboard had that week's spelling list.

All around the classroom were portraits of the kids, done by the teacher, where she had traced the shadows of their profiles on a piece of paper taped to a wall, sketched in an approximation of their features, and had the kids fill in the drawings with colored chalk. Each drawing had little stories about "Who I Am."

One said:

My name is Jessica Siddons. My daddy is a loyer, and my mommy is another loyer. We have 3 TVS and 2 VCR and 3 Cars and a swimming pool. I like to swim and watch TV. My favorite people are Madonna and Princes Di from England. When I grow up I want to be a queen or a butifull singer.

Ian's said:

My name is Ian McCarthy. My daddy is a techer I live with him. My mommy does not live with us she is a waiteres. I like basball and darkman. I like the Giants and hate the Dogers because I come from Sanfransico and the dogers are bad. My heros are Will Clark and Freddy Krugger.

Very patiently, I watched the teacher teach. Since I already knew most of the material, I didn't pay much attention. At recess she said, "What did the principal have to say?"

"He wasn't available. In a beating -- meeting. Listen to me. Do you know how Ian got to school today?"

"Usually his dad drives him, or he takes the bus."

"Well, his dad didn't drive him in."

"Then he must have taken the bus."

"Come with me a sec." I took her to the little blue car. "Have you ever seen this car before?"

"No. Wait, that's a right-hand drive. I think it belongs to the mother of one of my kids."

"Ethan?"

"Yeah."

"Listen. Ethan's mom didn't drive that car."

She looked sort of startled and turned away. "I guess Ethan's dad must have driven them in and stopped off here for some reason. Maybe he's talking to the principal. Ethan's kind of a problem."

"Neh-neh-neh-neh-neh," I said. "Listen, I followed this car here after the driver cut me off in traffic."

After a pause: "Oh." She knew.

"I know who drove this car, but I want to hear you say it, because I think you know who drove it, too."

"Ian drove the car."

I summoned up all my calmness, which amounted, at that time, to nearly none. "This is a seven-year-old child. A second-grader. What in God's name is he doing driving a car?"

"Ian's very precocious and bright."

"Um, yes, that may be, but, well, this is illegal! And it's extremely dangerous. He doesn't use his mirrors or look out his side windows to see if he's gonna kill somebody, or himself, and he can barely see over the dashboard."

"Well, he's only a little boy. You can't expect him to know all that stuff."

"Then why the hell is he driving? Seven-year-olds do not drive cars."

"Ian is one of our brightest and most precocious students."

"Yeah, but he doesn't drive a car. He does not drive a car. Seven-year-olds do not drive. They play with GI Joes or Freddy Krueger gloves and they eat lunch out of Batman lunchpails. They do not drive."

She said, "Look, don't get your balls in an uproar over this."

"'Scuse me?"

"Oh, come on, we're all adults here."

"Yeah, you and I are, Ian isn't. Is this normal practice? How many second-graders do you know who drive?"

"Just Ian."

"Does his dad know he drives? No, don't answer that. He doesn't, because if he knew, I'd know."

"Well, I dunno, it's not my responsibility to know what goes on at home."

"It damn well is your responsibility to at least have a clue about what goes on at home. If you think that there's problems -- I mean, you see this kid more every day than his dad does, really -- you gotta know if there's something weird going on, and there definitely is."

"Look. Are you a teacher?"

"No. I'm, um, sort of a writer."

"Then what the hell do you know about it?"

"I know about it just because Ian's dad, my best friend, is a teacher, and I talk to him about it. He knows what he's talking about, and I trust his judgment."

"Well, I'm a teacher too, and I've been a teacher for a long time, so why don't you just trust mine?"

"Because a seven-year-old drives a car, and you don't bat an eye."

The bell rang. Recess was over. The kids filed back into class.

"Look," she said, "we'll just continue this later, okay?"

"Fine." You'd think I'd go to the police at this point, but you'd be wrong. It felt like a dream -- none of this could possibly have been happening.

So rather than taking some kind of steps, I sat till noon, writing down what had happened. Unfortunately, all I had to write on was that beige paper with blue lines that are about six inches apart, where the paper was only recently made directly out of wood as opposed to being processed in some fashion, the kind of paper the kids chew up and spit at people. I was using one of those red pencils without erasers, the kind that are never anywhere near sharp enough and are thick enough for small hands to cope with reasonably well (for tiny people with small hands).

Marion Stafford spent most of that time teaching the kids how to prepare to be able to write in cursive. She did this by having them make little circular swirls, around and around and around, making the kids keep their elbows off the desks and move their entire arms instead of just letting them move their hands and wrists. She seemed to think this would somehow help them write in cursive. (Ian could barely write not in cursive, as he showed in his little essay.) My second-grade teacher used the same method -- without actually getting us to write at all in cursive before the end of the school year. She just had us make those damn circles. My handwriting is not exactly a testimony to her success.

At the lunch bell, I told Marion Stafford that I wanted to spend lunch with my godson. Fine with her. She didn't give a shit. She just went into the teachers' lounge, pulling a pack of cigarettes out of her purse as the door closed.

But instead of eating with Ian, I watched him in the cafeteria. He just ate and talked with his buddies. Nothing interesting. He wasn't acting up or anything. In fact, he was quieter than most of them, including Ethan.

The kids finished eating and went outside. I followed them discreetly, not exactly skulking, but maintaining a safe, seemingly nonchalant distance, kind of like the way my dad used to follow us at the beach when we were kids, far away enough for us to ignore him, but close enough for us to count on him if necessary.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of kids, and they all looked alike. Many wore Bart Simpson Tshirts. Ian, however, was wearing a Giants T-shirt that Kim and I had given him, which made him stick out like a healthy thumb in Dodger country. Even so, I lost him. He just disappeared into a crowd. After a while, I went back to his classroom to wait till he got back.

The classroom was, of course, dominated by tiny desks, but the back of the room mostly featured the large table for reading groups (where I had been sitting), some chairs, a sink, the coatroom, etc. I did experience a certain amount of surprise, however, to see that the reading area had been transformed into what could easily be called a travesty of a bar.

Marion Stafford was there, tending bar, wearing an apron around her waist. Several kids, including Ian and Ethan, sat around the table. These kids were second-graders, and yet there were boys and girls together, which was completely unheard of when I was seven, if you don't count the annual folk-dance festival.

Not only that, but each kid held either a wine glass or a pint mug. The wine glasses had either red or yellowish liquid, the pint mugs contained deep yellow liquid -- with a head. Some of the kids were smoking. One little boy headed over to a girl sitting on her own at her desk. I couldn't hear them, but he made a hand gesture: "Mind if I join you?" "This can't possibly be happening," I thought.

"Without question" I reflected, "this has certainly been a day for not believing what you're seeing."

Back at the table, Ian had a wine glass with something red in it, and Ethan and another boy had beer glasses. A little girl walked by. All three boys looked her up and down. Simultaneously, Ian said "seven" and the other two said "eight." When the next girl walked by, Ethan said "six," the third kid said "eight," Ian said "seven."

A third girl walked by. In all respects, she looked like a normal seven-year-old girl -- all these girls did. She wore little-girl shoes -- black mock patent leather flats with round toes and straps -- bobby sox and pigtails. But I noticed her particularly because her dress had the same fabric as one of my wife's, a black one with a floral print, which looks great on her. But something was unusual about the style of this little girl's dress, and the way it fit her.

Suddenly, all three boys said "ten!" Ethan said, not too quietly, "She's got the best ass in the whole school."

I went, "Ah-bibby-ah-bibby-ahb!" -- my Warner-Brothers/stunned-cartoon-character noise.

I said to Marion, "Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?"

"Ethan just described that little girl, the one with the pigtails, as having the best ass in the whole school."

"Well, she does."

"Ho-boy," I said, as the words "egregiously unbalanced" zoomed through my mind, not to mention the words "Why haven't I done something about this?"

Ian by now had begun chatting up the little girl with the best ass in the whole school. I realized what what was so weird about her dress. It wasn't a little-girl dress. Another thought flitted through my mind, finding its way through the zillion other thoughts, most of which declared my inability to believe what I was witnessing. "She must really be growing fast, because that dress is so tight." It was gathered at the waist and clearly defined her buttocks. The buttocks of a seven-year-old child were clearly defined. I wondered if her mother knew about that dress.

I said to Marion, "If a seven-year-old girl can possibly wear -- I can't believe I'm saying this -- a 'take-me-now' dress, that's what she's wearing."

"Well, she's in the right place."

"Ah-bibby-ah-bibby-ahb." Indeed, this little girl was in a bar. Literally a bar. A meat-rack. A bar full of grammar-school things: the little portraits of the kids, the Easter Bunny, the diagrams of letters above the chalkboard -- Aa Bb Cc Dd -- the apple, for crying out loud, on the teacher's desk up front. A sign in the back said, "Happy Hour 12:30 to 1:00. Lambada lessons every Monday."

I shook my head, hoping to clear it, and walked out, heading for a pay phone. "Ray ought to know now," I thought, feeling like an idiot for not having called him sooner.

I called his school, giving my name and saying that it was an absolute, full-blown, red-alert emergency and that his child was in serious danger and to interrupt him, pull him away from whatever he was doing -- "I don't even care if he's in the men's room and they have to grab him by whatever part is exposed," I said, "just get him now. This is a genuinely bad situation." I mean, things were bad enough when Ian only drove.

The receptionist said to hold for a minute. After five minutes, Ray said, "Hey! How's it going? What's up? Mary says it's an emergency."

"Look, first of all, I'm down here. I'm at Tilson School."

"What are you doing there?"

"It's a long story. Just get out here now. I mean it. I am absolutely not kidding, Ray. We're talking Borg invasion here."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means, I'm not kidding. This is big."

"I'm on my way." Click.

Hopefully, I tried the principal again, but he was apparently beating the hell out of another student, so I went outside to wait for Ray. Within seconds, Ray's Suzuki jeep screeched into Tilson's parking lot, two tires jumping the curb. Ray yanked up the handbrake hard (before his vehicle completely stopped moving), accidentally turned on the windshield wipers, turned them off, leaped out of the car, started to haul ass toward me, then returned to the car, grabbed his keys, and slammed the door. Then he started running toward me again. I made a "follow me" motion with my arm, and we shot toward Ian's class, Ray's necktie flapping and wrapping over his shoulder.

I stopped him outside the door. "Now, Ray," I said, panting, "you will not believe what you're going to see. At least, I hope not."

"I realized later that something pretty major must be happening," Ray said, "because you gave your real name." I usually gave the name of the newest San Francisco Giant when leaving messages for him.

I ushered Ray in. The first thing to hit his eyes was the big "Marion's Place" sign above the reading table-cum-bar. The second thing to hit his eyes was the reading table-cum-bar. The third thing was the sight of Ian doing a close slow dance with the little girl, the one with the "best ass in the whole school." I heard Ray go,"Ah-bibby-ah-bibby-ahb!"

"Ian!" shouted a bewildered Ray.

"Daddy!" shouted an astonished Ian.

"Um, grownup hour's over for today, kids!" shouted a thoroughly flustered Marion Stafford.

"'Grownup hour'?" said a still-disbelieving Ray, pinching himself hopefully.

All at once the kids went, "Awwww!" in resigned disappointment.

"Ian!" shouted Ray. "Let's go. Now."

"But Daddy!"

"I said now!"

"But I don't wa -- "

"Five. Four. Three. Two. One." This is one of Ray's rituals, the upshot of which is that should Ray reach zero and Ian has still not complied with whatever command has been issued, serious butt-scorching will take place. Ian managed to abort the countdown and was standing next to me, figuring that I wouldn't discipline him (while failing, as always, to take into account the clear and obvious fact that I would still turn him over to the Daddy Police without giving it a second thought).

"Mis-ter McCarthy!" haughtied Marion Stafford. "We all would appreciate it if you and your friend would please leave! I am trying to conduct -- "

"Miss Stafford!" said Ray evenly. "I will not have my child subjected to this kind of abuse for one second longer."

"Abuse!" protested Marion. "These kids are having fun! How dare you question my methods?"

"Actually," I chimed in, largely because I didn't want to be ignored, "I bet there'll plenty of questions about your 'methods,' such as, oh, I don't know, why are you serving wine and beer to seven-year-olds, why are there second-graders smoking cigarettes in your classroom, why, for instance, are you offering lambada lessons, and why -- oh, yeah, Ray, there's something else I forgot to mention; you'll like this one -- why on God's green earth did Ian drive a car to school?"

"Why did Ian what?" blithered Ray.

"Toldja," I said to him.

"Oh, puh-leeze!" said Marion. "That 'wine' is St. Regis. That 'beer' is O'Doul's. Non-alcoholic."

"Oh, that makes it all right," said Ray. "What was that about Ian driving a car?"

"What about the cigarettes?" I said.

"What about the car," howled Ray. "They're not even tobacco, they're cloves," said Marion. "Gimme a fuckin' break!"

All the kids made those gasps that seven-year-olds make when they hear people swear. Some of them said, "She swore!"

Trying not to rub my hands in triumphant glee, I said. "Hey, Ray, ever made a citizen's arrest?"

"No, but I think we're about to."

Marion headed toward the front door. I got there first. Ray was at the back door by the time she got there. I picked up the intercom-phone thing near the blackboard, pressed a button, and when the receptionist said, "Hi, Marion, what's up?" I fought back an impulse to say "The jig," and instead urged her to call the police and get them over to the classroom now, just before I explained why. She complied, and Marion, Ray, Ian, nine thousand second-graders, and I sat silently until the police arrived ten minutes later. They carted off a screeching, blithering Marion, and Ray and I followed them to the station to give statements. Somebody, I think it was a social worker, maybe two, stayed with the kids and perhaps get a handle on this Lambada-lesson thing. As near as I could tell, the kids loved it. They didn't have to do school things anymore.

I filled Ray in on everything that had happened, starting with his kid cutting me off in traffic and ending with Ray making the cartoon noise.

"I don't know what to think," Ray said. "First, I feel like an idiot because Ian has managed to get out at night and drive a car without my having the remotest clue. I don't know how he does it. But this other thing, this bar, I just can't believe it."

Where had I heard that before?

"Look," he said, "I'm not getting on your case, but how come you didn't call the police right away?"

"Um, we-ell, how can I say this, oh, let's go with 'I forgot.' I'm genuinely sorry, but it's kind of hard to think rationally when you enter a classroom and find yourself in Wonderland."

"I don't know how I'm going to handle this. I mean, I'll definitely press charges."

"And maybe you and the other parents can file a lawsuit or something."

"I don't care about winning a lawsuit. I just want this lethally insane goofball away from kids, especially my kid."

At the station, they took our statements, in addition to all the notes I'd made. Ray offered to defray at least some of the travel expenses I would no doubt incur if this thing ever got to trial. I said, "Oh, you don't have to do that. But thanks," I added quickly, making it clear that I would in no way turn down the help.

We didn't go to Scottsdale that weekend; Ray had placed Ian under house arrest. Ian was to stay in his room, except to use the bathroom, until Ray could think of what to do. He was being punished not because of Grownup Hour but because of his sneaking out of the house at night and driving. Ian was told that he would under no circumstances drive again until he was 15 and had a learner's permit, "but that doesn't matter anyway," Ray said, "because you're grounded till your ninetieth birthday." Ian went into his room and wailed until it got boring.

We accomplished virtually nothing that weekend. Our Level 5 conversations were only about Level 2, and they all revolved around Grownup Hour. We didn't even make it to In-N-Out Burger, which was a great source of disappointment to me, mostly because of how Ray went on about how great the food was. We took his basketball to a schoolyard nearby and shot some hoops, which was something, but our hearts weren't in it.

Friday had really taken the fight out of us, and, even though I really enjoyed seeing Ray (and even Ian, despite the circumstances), and even though I knew that it would be eons before I got to see him again, I couldn't wait to get home.

My wife picked me up at the airport and gave me a big hug and told me she missed me. "Did you miss me?" she said.

"I didn't have time."

"You look exhausted. How was Arizona?"

I told her the whole story. She pointed out that while the events of Friday were pretty serious, there was no way to get around the fact that what happened was, at the very least, comical, if taken at face value.

About a week later, we were lying in bed talking at about 1 a.m. We had just decided to call it a night, and I had just begun drifting off to sleep, when she said, "Babe?"

"Yeah, Babe?"

"How did Ian drive the car?"

"He just drove it."

"But how did his feet reach the pedals?"

I sighed. "Thanks, Babe."

"Why?"

"Because now I'll never get to sleep."


Copyright ©1991 by Gregg Pearlman

Last updated 7/15/96
Gregg Pearlman, gregg@EEEEEEgp.com

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