Jim Anchower
The Cruise

Hola amigos. What's shakin'? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but the waters are not always smooth in Lake Anchower. The brakes on my Festiva were starting to whine and grind, which really pissed me off. If it's not one thing, it's another with that car. I was gonna sell it and let someone else have the headache of fixing the brakes, but then gas went up to $3 a gallon, and my Festiva gets like 35 miles to the gallon. These gas prices can suck my ass. I remember when it used to cost $12 to fill up my car.

So, I had them fix the brakes, and I spent a day giving her a tune-up myself. Changed the plugs, the wires, filters—everything. I even wiped off all the crap on the engine. I hate getting started on that stuff, but once I'm up to my elbows in oil, nothing feels better. Now it's in great shape, which is more than I could say for me.


You may think that my life is pretty sweet, and who could blame you? Usually, Jim Anchower drives where he wants, drinks what he wants, tokes when he wants, and doesn't take much shit from anyone unless he absolutely has to. But lately, things have changed in a big way.

My summer was packed full of hanging out, keeping Ron from accidentally burning his place down, and getting together with Wes, which has been hard to do since he moved. Anyway, a few days ago, there was a knock on the door while I was trying to find my keys so I could make a beer run. I opened the door, and this woman was standing there.


Now, I had no idea who she was. All I knew was that I had five minutes to get to the liquor store before it closed, and someone I don't know is in my way. Plus, I might have forgotten to pay some bill she was there to collect, in which case I wouldn't have beer money anymore, so I told her this is a bad time and tried to get past her. That's when I noticed she was carrying a 12-pack of Miller Genuine Draft. If she's a bill collector, she knows how to get my attention.

She told me that she was sorry for throwing up on my floor. Then I remembered who she was. She was one of those chicks Ron and his friend Rob brought over to my place to watch Dude, Where's My Car? a couple months back. They were all pretty wasted, and this girl, Debbie, puked all over my floor. It was disgusting. It was all I could do to throw a shopping circular or two over it and wait for it to dry.


I told her it was cool, but I still have to get to the store. She told me that the MGD was for me, and she had another 12-pack in her car. For the first time, I took a good look at her. She's not Pamela Anderson hot or anything, but she's all right to look at. So I invite her in.

So this chick, who I barely know, walks past me and starts making herself at home. She put the 12-pack in the fridge, right on top of the pizza from two days ago. She grabs herself a beer, don't even offer me one, then sits down on my couch and turns on the TV. In my book, that's a hell of a way to say you're sorry, but I let it slide since she brought beer.


We were talking some and watching whatever was on. She seemed cool enough. She was able to keep up with me, beer for beer. I wasn't really paying much attention to the TV. I had a girl on my couch that was probably good to go, if I could figure out how to get the engine running.

I couldn't even remember the last time I dipped the wick, so I was thinking about what I did last time that worked, only I didn't get a chance to make a move. Before I could even come up with something, she was all over me.


Now, I don't want you making any judgments on me. I did what any man would do in my position: bumped uglies. I ain't going to tell you any more details than that. All I'll say is, she sure as hell wasn't puking that night. I mean, she got up to use the bathroom once or twice, but I don't think she puked or anything.

The next morning, I woke up thinking she was gone. I don't like a lot of snuggle bunny shit, so I was glad I had some space to get my head together, which was hard because I was pretty hung over. I went to the kitchen, and there was Debbie going through my cupboards. I asked her what the hell she was doing, and she told me that she was looking for coffee. I told her that I don't have any.


That would be enough for most anyone, but not her. She just kept rummaging through my shit without answering me, as if she didn't believe me. I told her that there was a gas station two blocks away and maybe she could just pop down there and pick some up. That seemed reasonable to me, but not to her. She turned and looked at me like she was going to rip my head off, and said that if I was a man, I'd get my ass down to that gas station and pick her up the biggest coffee they had with cream and sugar.

I didn't even know what to say. I believe in being a gentleman and all, but I don't usually have someone yelling at me first thing in the morning. I was about to say that when she reached in the cupboard and threw a pot at me. That was all the encouragement I needed. I went down to the gas station and got two coffees, one for me and one for her.


I got back and she was sitting on the couch flipping channels. She hung out for a while and watched TV, finally leaving at 2:30. But before she left, she said if I had plans that night, I better change 'em, 'cause we were going to a movie.

Seriously, I like getting some trim, but I'm not too big on having to look after someone else. See, I like to play it by my rules. No compromises, no remorse. I don't need no one to tell me when to be home and what we're doing this weekend. She drops by unannounced with beer once or twice a week, then expects me to drop everything so we can get busy? Hell, I'm not a machine.


Jim Anchower has to have some space. I can't have Debbie telling me where to go and what to do. I figure I can only take another month or so of this before I let her go. Don't worry, I'll let her down easy. I'm king of the breakup. I just need to get some weed in the system first so I can get myself in the zone.

Jim Anchower joined The Onion's editorial writing staff in 1993 after several distinguished years on The Come Back Inn dishwashing staff. He comments on community-affairs, automotive, and employment issues. He attended LaFollette High School in Madison, WI.


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