you’ve been eating retard sandwiches again
Before life separated us I had four friends. Earl, Flynn, Jo and Chris.
Earl was a tall slim blonde who belched like a trucker and had a flowery feminine name that didn’t suit her. She had brains but wanted brawn. Her hobby was men. Get ‘er done. I bet she loves Larry. She once went eight days without bathing just to see if she could make herself stink. Married and divorced by 23. Someone told me she’s an accountant. I don’t believe it.
Flynn wasn’t a Flynn either. She did away with her given name because it wasn’t romantic enough. She was abrasive. She was a dreamer. She bordered at the homes of friends for years. She had cahoneys. (How do you spell cahoneys?) When she was 15 she swiped her stepdad’s credit card and went to Europe. Told her family she was staying with a friend around the corner. Phoned me at 4:30 one morning. “Ok, so I’m in London now. Saw a play last night. Woman in White. It was ok. You know anyone here who can put me up?” Yep. Six years later we were in the city together. I haven’t seen her since.
Jo, I ran over once. She dropped a cigarette in her lap and jumped out of the car – it was still moving. I have a vague recollection of Chris and I looking at the empty seat and wondering what the hell just happened. I slowed and Jo passed us in a spin. She looked like a giant popple. Chris and I just watched. “Did she just fall out of the car?” I asked. Chris looked at me. Like she couldn’t believe it “Yep. Think she did’. Jo just picked up her shoe, crossed the road, and got in the car. “You know you ran over my foot,” she said.
Chris, I still know. She’s an expert in international emergency sign language (see ‘Help me. I’m choking’). The funniest person I’ve ever met. Bar one. She’s short and annoying, the way most perfect people are. One day, in an effort to save time, she went into the bathroom and chopped her hair off to the bone. It still looked better than my $200 do. She’s witty. Intelligent. Gorgeous. Organized. And calm. All the things I try too hard to be. One day we’re going to write something hilarious. Because we can.
Winter 97/98. Best winter ever. We spent three months holed up in an old grey farm house. The kind with thirty six rooms and a fire place in every one of them. We went to class in the cold. In the snow. And came home to big woolly blankets, peach cobbler and cinnamon sticky biscuits. I stopped being afraid that winter and we watched Beautiful Girls.
We were they. Not the beautiful girls. Not a one of us looked like Uma Thurman or Mira Sorvino – except maybe Earl. We were the snow plow boys. We were Timothy Hutton.
Earl was easy. She was Kev. Kev was little and strange and seemed just the person earl should be if she couldn’t be Rosie O’. It was during her bathing strike and Kev looked dirty. He also drank a lot.
Flynn was Hutton’s under-achieving artist. The one who left and came back only to leave again. She would never be the one to stay. She would never be the one to be valued like she deserved.
Jo was Mo. Because it rhymed. It was that simple.
For Chris it went deeper. She wanted to be Tommy. But she wanted to DO Matt Dillon. She couldn’t do Dillon if she was Dillon. So she was Paul. He drove the plow with Kev just like Chris drove the Hooptie with Earl. Perfect.
That left me as as the Birdman. Just the way it should have been. I was the one who couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Getting kicked in the face by people who had my want when my need was some place else.
Yes. I am the Birdman.