Randal in the Jail Scene

I think I fucked up. I mean, we can get out of this, right? We've been in worse jams. Sold cigarettes to a minor, knocked over a casket at a funeral, played hockey on the roof. What do all those situations have that this one… doesn't? Or, what does this one have that the others don't? Shit… A jail cell.

"Jail cell design hasn't changed much in centuries, has it? Maybe it's time they brought in the laser bars or something." Okay, now I'm just killing time and silence with my big mouth.

"Oh, they could make a hard plastic cage like Magneto's in X-Men 2. Naw."

Jay, Jay, Jay. Where would we be without you?

"Come on, dude. Let's keep it in the real world, alright?" Stealing a glance at Bob proves he knows the next one I'm throwin' out. "But you know what wouldn't be a bad idea? Carbonite." An encouraging gesture. "What do you think, Dante?" The bomb.

"I think I'm gonna kill you!"

And Dante's hands are around my throat, in a strikingly familiar rendition of the fight of ten or so years ago, back on the day of Julie Dwyer's funeral. I can hear Jay hollering, "What up! Steel cage match!" and I barely hear myself tell Dante to get off, as usual. Sounds like a horrid sex dream.

"You ruined my life!"

And that's a sack of flour to my pride.

"Your life was already ruined! Jesus!" I finally manage to shove Dante off, readjust my shirt. The angry scowl I've got plastered on my face is barely held together. I want to pout, honestly. I want to figure out what I ever did to ruin Dante's life. I mean, wasn't he always the one fucking things up? He didn't need my help.

"What were you thinking? A fucking donkey show!?"

"It was your goin' away present!" Oh, don't diss on the show. You enjoyed it too, you fucker. You're the one who had to get all piss-scared and call the cops and fire department.

"It sure was. I just never thought I'd be goin' away to prison!"

Fuck. And before I can say anything, in steps Sexy Stud with his own little tidbit. Can't go to jail for watchin'? That's good, right?

"I can't believe you," and Dante's back at yellin' at me. "I finally get my shit together. I'm hours from finally getting out of here and really starting my life. And you somehow figure out a way to obliterate all that and reduce me to a convict."

Me? My fault? What?

"Oh, yeah. It's my fault your life's fucked up. I'm the engaged guy who knocked up my boss."

"You knocked up the guy who owns Mooby's? Ew." Jay, again. Gotta love him.

"Would you shut up?" Dante… always gotta fuckin' yell. Hey. The guy's sober now, and sober, he ain't that bad. "You're chaos incarnate, man. Our whole lives you've been getting me into trouble and holding me back."

"Oh, I'm holding you back, right? I remember, like, ten years ago, the night we went to Julie Dwyer's funeral, you were all like, 'I need to shit or get off the pot.'"

"You said 'shit or get off the pot,' not me."

"You got all fired up about takin' charge of your life, and what'd you do? You worked at the store till the place burned down."

"I took courses at Brookdale!"

"And dropped out."

"Because you stopped going." Because you made me pay tuition.

"Because we were just killin' time with those classes. One semester we took criminology for Chrissakes. What the fuck were we trainin' to be, Batman?"

"At least we were doing something, instead of wasting our lives in some fucking convenience store!" Ouch.

"You know what? You can badmouth Quick Stop all you want, but I miss that place. I loved workin' there. I look back on that period as the best time of my life."

"Now I know you're fucking nuts."

"Why? Because I enjoyed what I did?" Well, I did. "I got to watch movies, fuck with assholes, and hang out with my best friend all day. Can you think of a better way to make a living? Maybe it's not what everyone does, but it was pretty fuckin' good." Yes, it was, Goddamnit.

Oh shit. He's got this look on his face now. This, "I pity you and your silly ways" look. Fuck. Pity me? I'm not the pathetic one here.

"Man that's you all over. Scrape by with the bare minimum." What? "Well, I'm tired of that, Randal. I'm not in high school anymore. Shit, I'm not even in my twenties anymore. I don't wanna sit around and rag on customers while eating free food. That's what you wanna do. That's what you've always wanted to do. Well, if that's all you want out of life, man, then God bless. But I refuse to let your shit taint the rest of mine." Now he's pacing… And I can't take it. If he says one more word-

"I'm gonna smooth things over with Emma, go to Florida, and start my Randal Graves-free existence. I'll try to forget this last thirty-three years ever happened."

You know that feeling you get? The tightening of the throat muscles right before you cry. Where every time you blink, the world around you gets a little more full of water. I'm there, I guess, coz to hear that… I'm floored.

"So, that's the way you see all this time we've spent together? That's weird, man. I thought you were the only guy in the world who got me and had my back. The only person who'd take a bullet for me, coz I assumed you felt about me the same way I feel about you. Then, all of a sudden, one day you're like, 'I'm movin'. Bye!' Do you know what that's been like for me? I mean, I'm lookin' at a future that just sucks because you're not gonna be in it anymore. And you're not even throwin' me over for a life that means something to you. It's just this stupid hollow existence you think you should embrace because you're getting old or something. Because it's the kind of life everyone else goes after. You're a fuckin' drone, dude."

"Fine," Dante's saying. Fine? Sure. "Then the next friend whose life you ruin can be a totally free spirit. How's that?"

"You think I wanna start makin' friends at my age? Christ. Who would want me as their friend? I hate everyone and everything seems stupid to me. But you were always the counter-balance to that. The guy who was the yin to my yang. Now what the fuck am I gonna do for the rest of my life?"

Breathe Randal. Breathe. Calm and rational could still win this one for you. If you start goin' nuts, he's really gonna leave, and then… you'll have to start hanging out with the gay ex-stoners.

"I mean, shit. I really wish you woulda told me this when I first met you, that one day you were gonna bail on our friendship. Coz if I had known you were just gonna flake on me a few decades later, I wouldn't even have bothered with your ass in the first place."

"Jesus, why don't you two just fuck and get it over with already?" Goddamn, Jay… Fuck you too.

And my mind's in a whirlwind now. I'm not even hearing Silent Bob's words of wisdom Jay's coaxin' out of him. I'm hearing my own mind goin' nuts… Insane. And then…

"You got, like, one answer for everything. Pussy, man!"

"Oh, then you must love this fuckin' guy, coz he's the biggest pussy I ever met. The dude who lives his life according to everyone else's standards. 'I gotta go to Florida and get married coz that's what's expected of me.' And the fuckin' insane part is, he ain't even that crazy about the chick he's marrying, or Florida. Not to mention he's got a perfectly good chick over here who he's nuts about, and even Anne fuckin' Frank can see that she's nuts about him, God knows why. And she likes you for who you are, man. She ain't tryin' to stuff you into a box you'll never fit into. Not to mention she's carryin' your hideous fuckin' CHUD of a kid. Jesus, if you had any sense whatsoever you'd fuckin' stop tryin' to bray it up with the rest of the sheep and live your life the way it makes sense for you, ya fuckin' ass."

"Oh yeah?" Great, here comes another Dante ramble. "And what's that? You obviously have such a great handle on your life. Tell me what you would do if you were in my position. Or even what you'd do in your own position. Swing that judgmental pendulum the other way and tell me how you'd solve all your problems, asshole. What the fuck would the great Randal Graves do if he were half the master of his destiny that I'm supposed to be?"

Like I haven't thought about that.

"I'd buy the Quick Stop and reopen it myself! That's what I'd do… That's what we should do." Please, Dante… Take the bait. Please like this idea. Please?

"Yeah right," he's backing away now. No, Dante. Don't. We can do it. "Who are we, Lance Dowds? Do you know how much it would cost to buy the Quick Stop? Fifty grand easy. Neither one of us have that type of money."

Shit, he has a point. He has a great fucking point. And that feeling's coming back. Tightness in the throat. I want to cry. No, I don't cry. I'm not the crying type. Dante's the whiny bitch who cries. I… yell.

"We do," Jay again. "That's right."

"You guys'd be willing to lend us some of that money so we can reopen the stores?" You guys mean it?

Bob's shrugging a yes.

"Sure, on two conditions." Oh no. "One: We can hang out in front of the store anytime we want and you can't call the cops."

Alright, that sounds fair enough.

"And two: You have to blow each other. And we get to watch. Then you have to ass to mouth."

Fuck, sick prick. Ass to mouth? With Dante? The thought's enough to bring up my Egga-Mooby-Muffin breakfast from over twelve hours ago.

Bob's disgusted too. I can tell by the look on his face. He's conferring with Jay in that silent way he's got.

"Alright, just the first condition."

Is he serious?

"Seriously?" Well, might as well ask it aloud.

"Do I stutter? Yeah, seriously."

Okay. What's Dante thinkin' about it? I can't tell, really.

"Whaddaya think?"

"I almost hate to say it, but it kinda makes sense."

"I think maybe that's why we spent so much time in that store. Why college or anything else never panned out for us. I mean, think about it man. You and me running our own business instead of workin' for some other asshole? Could be pretty fuckin' sweet, right?"

"Yeah, it really could," he's agreeing with me. YES! I think I've got him. He's nodding. He seems to like it. And now he's stopped nodding. Shit, where'd I go wrong?

"But I don't know man," he's back on that track. "I was this close to starting a new life."

"Jesus. You're actually gonna make me do this, aren't ya?"

And now he's lookin' at me all expectant, like he doesn't fuckin' know. This is tough for me. Open up? Spill my emotions? With witnesses? Fuck. I can't do this. But, he's gonna make me do it. I have to.

"Could you guys cover your ears for a minute, please?" My request is answered with the two ex-stoners covering their ears, though they're still lookin' at me. Oh, well, it's close enough.

Now, breathe Randal. You can do this. Breathe in. Breathe out. Fuck. Put on the serious face. Don't fuckin' cry.

"You're my best friend. And I love you… in a totally heterosexual way."

"Chyeah right." Shut up, Jay. Shut up, shut up, shut up.

"Please, man… Don't leave me."

And Dante's smiling. He's got this big grin on his face and he's thinking, seriously thinking. And God knows I hope he'll stay. How the fuck can I manage in this world without that dickhead? I mean, who the fuck would tolerate me if not for Dante? Please, don't make this worse on me Dante. Please…

Review please. Coz I wanna know how I did on this one. I think it's eh, but it's mostly because I had to constrain myself to what happened in the scene.