Inside 103 Main Street the tube blared and flashed. Two lumps on the couch watched the exciting and writhing bodies on the TV until the click of a button displayed full-grown men running around bases and catching balls for million dollar contracts. Sean, lying on an old, white leather couch flipped carelessly through the channels.
“This world series is over. I'll watch anything except Ice Road Truckers,” Ben said.
“We'll watch whatever I say were gonna watch,” Sean replied.
“No man I hate that show, change the channel,” Ben said. “Look, it's cold, they drive around in semis and it's cold. That's it. Cold.”
“Alright, alright your wish is my command.”
“I’m not done,” Sean continued. Its still just cold. Stuff on the truck breaks because it's cold. The guys get out and try to fix things broken on the truck. But guess what, they're cold too.”
“Hey! I already changed the channel, give it a break. I haven't been waiting all season for those ass holes to fall through the ice or anything,” Sean said.
“And then we're just waiting around for the damn truck to fall through the ice, but it never does. It's just cold,” Ben said.
“Our choices are Next, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, or Ice Road Truckers,” Sean said.
“Holy Christ give it up, if they made Desert Road Truckers would you watch that too? Hey I can fucking pitch it to you right now. It's hot. It's still hot. Stuff on the truck over-heats. The driver tries to get out but he can't see through his own pit stains and he leaves ass-shaped sweat marks on everything he sits on. Then, 'Oh no! Watch out for that quick sand!' don't let the truck fall through the quick sand.” Ben said.
“God forbid you put as much brain power into something worth discussing.”
“I'm just trying to save your sorry ass from yourself, Ice Road Truckers? Holy Christ, I lose respect for you every day.”
“What, you want to watch something stimulating? A presidential debate. Something scholarly, maybe? Maybe have profound conversation over Ham's Lite and pork rinds, master of culture?”
“Oh yeah, a televised debate sounds awesome. We'll ask politicians general questions about complicated policy matters, and then give them two minutes to respond. If anyone in this country can give a meaningful answer about that cluster-fuck in Iraq in two minutes they’re talking with the speed of an auctioneer,” Ben said.
“Well your highness, I didn't mean to insult your cultured sensibilities with my crude and horrifying taste in television,” Sean replied.
“Oh and then after stumbling through a question ducking answer the opposition isn't even allowed to respond. No one gets any of their bullshit called out. Not to mention, how am I supposed to take anything preceding toothpaste and blue jean commercials seriously? Lets pull out of Iraq! Hey! Buy car insurance!” Ben yelled.
Outside the window cars swerved and dodged as if everyone had suddenly began answering their cell phones at once.
Speeding through red lights and accelerating through yellows, the back seat of one such vehicle held only one, happily large passenger. His rotund belly was barely contained by a flannel shirt, stretched thin at the buttons, with hairy flesh poking through. Laughing, and shoving fries down his throat he took another swig of his fountain soda before wiping greasy, salt covered fingers all over the upholstery, occasionally licking his lips and winking at the oblivious driver.
“These wonder dogs are exactly as good as advertised,” the passenger said. “Sure the beef and onions have congealed together on top of the hot dog, but goddamn do I like the way all four tastes are totally indistinguishable from each other.”
“Double cheese burgers from McDonald's are a way better mush-mashed food,” the driver responded.
The four-door, slowly eaten away by rust and neglect swerved around a group of pedestrians stampeding across the middle of Main Street. The sun made it's way toward the horizon, and stared every westbound driver in the face.
“I knew I should have gotten something at Velvet Freeze,” the driver said. “Mind if we circle back around and pick up some Ronald's?”
“Hey, you're the boss. That shit'll kill ya. But don't listen to me, I've got three more wonder dogs to keep me company,” the passenger said.
Cameras perched upon the top of the intersection looked down. People screamed and waved hands at the surveillance equipment. No one watched back.
One car clipped it's rear bumper on a fire hydrant, sending it rolling side after side into an utility pole. The timber crashed towards the pavement, finally landing in the pooling body of water near the hydrant. Charged water started running down the avenue, a few walkers in sandals caught a little jolt, hair fell out, hearts stopped and a biker had to abruptly slam on his brakes (his front ones, accidentally) to avoid running over the recently falling bodies.
Ben, mid blink, caught of glimpse of mayhem reflected through the window onto the large TV screen. Quickly disregarding the image, he leaned back and turned up the volume.
“Hey, Sean, I was at Applebees last night. Three Little Birds, was playing over the stereo – quite possibly one of the happiest songs I've ever heard. Anyways, this family walks in to pick up their carry-out, the daughter ordered a sirloin steak. Apparently it was cold,” Ben said.
“Who gives a shit, what the fuck are you talking about?” Sean said. “Are you finding a way to rant about Ice Road Truckers again?”
“No, dude. The server brings out the sirloin, and the dad inspects it. He starts wiling out, 'You fuckers this steak is cold.' What the fuck?” Ben said. “He throws the steak on the ground and the poor server is about to bust into tears. The worst part, his family seemed to approve - wife, both daughters. They just looked on with smiles. They were proud. Rudeness on parade - applauded even.”
“I still don't care,” Sean said. “What the fuck are you even talking about right now?”
“Let me finish, I haven't even gotten to the worst part,” Ben said. “I was so taken in by the repugnant display of arrogance and I hate that I had to participate.”
“Yeah I just started throwing salt all over the table. I think I yelled 'Ice Road Truckers' really loud. Everyone started looking at me, so I just started yelling at that ass-hole dad. You know, just making a huge deal,” Ben said. “'You mother fucking prick. These people work really hard just so you can eat some sirloin. Ask for a refund politely you inconceivable ass-hole.'”
“He starts getting in my face, but I guess he remembered he was with his family. He had some self-control. I could see it bubbling. He wanted to shove that sirloin down my intestines, then reach up and pull it out of the other end. That sick bastard.”
Three erratic fire engines with sirens blazing sped down Main Street, swerving in between each other. A man wearing a wife beater and Miami Dolphins athletic shorts fired some shots out of his attic window in the general direction of the fire engines. One bullet deflected through the back taillight of the emergency vehicle, whizzed through the screen door of the Main Street home, knocked some papers off the coffee table before it lodged itself in a pot of soil.
“Did you just feel a breeze,” Ben asked.
“Yeah man, I thought I caught a little chill,” Sean said.
“Hey man, do you want to have a cig on the front porch? It's starting to smell in here,” Ben said.
The front porch on Main Street was directly adjacent to the family room. It was lifted about 4 feet higher than ground level, with a wrap around railing, and no stairs.
“Do you have a lighter,” Ben asked.
Sean handed him the clear, red-plastic lighter.
“What the hell is this. This isn't a Bic. I asked for a lighter, not a device built solely to annoy the piss out of smokers worldwide. Look at this measly flame. The flame is either too short and easily put out by wind, or you turn it up and it's a fucking crack torch,” Ben said.
After finishing lighting his cigarette, Ben wound up and tossed the lighter into the middle of the street.
“Thanks a lot man,” Sean said.
Pleasantly inhaling the rolled tobacco, the two sat in silence, finally. The two minds wandered here and there, thoughts of school, last night's fuzzy memories. It all just mushed together.
Back in the family room, the two resumed watching TV, arguing and debating, some old beer cans were lodged in the porch door-frame.
Back out the window, a motorcyclist driving closely behind a mini-van squeezed the throttle and dodged a dead dog in the middle of the road. The mini van, upon seeing the swerving biker, twitched to the right, running over the unappreciated lighter. The plastic device popped, sending a little squirt of lighter fluid into the helmetless biker's eyes. His hand grabbed for his face and squinted, drifting into oncoming traffic straight towards the rusted over four-door. The jalopy, fresh from the McDonald's drive-in slammed on its breaks before ramming head first into a monstrous SUV.
The impact of the crash sent the wonder dog flying through the air, just out of the last grasp for anything the backseat passenger would ever take. It soared through the front window, past the driver's bloodied head. It sailed by an overturned fire truck and an unoccupied wheel chair. That little piece of processed meat, bread and onion flew through the open screen door of 103 Main Street, landing softly on the coffee table.
“Hey, are you hungry Ben?” Sean asked.
“No, but I think I see a wonder dog on the coffee table. You can have it, just heat it up in the microwave.”