Hola, amigos. What's your deal? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but there's been all sorts of mess going on in my life. For one thing, I've been having a hard time getting my government checks. Not that they're worth a whole lot, but I didn't work 57 jobs just to wait by the inbox for my Social Security download. In the meantime, I've got a little side job detailing vintage gas-engine cars out of the driveway of my apartment dome. I don't have a whole lot of customers, but it's all credits up front, so I don't need to report it to the IRS Compliance Force.
Oh, and the vertical-distance monitor in my hover-car is shot, so I need to get that replaced. I have to keep it under blocks or the damn thing floats away. I'd fix it, but I spent my money on another land car last week. Since the gas crisis, they're pretty easy to come by. This is my eighth one. I got like two Ford Mustang convertibles, but I can't afford to drive them much. The problem is that I don't have a place to keep them. I keep some in Ron's driveway, and the rest I keep in a vacant lot. In order to protect them from the toxic rains, I put big tarps over them. No roving mutants have tried to take them out of the lot yet. If they do, I guess I'll have to move them to the vacant lot across the street.
I've been seeing a lot more of Ron ever since his wife died last year. Ron married for love. My wife left me about 15 years ago, and I moved into Ron's basement. I only got married because the government assigned me a spouse. She was cramping my style like you wouldn't believe, so I wasn't too sorry when she left me. I don't have any regrets. Ron, though, he still gets pretty bummed about his wife. I tell him that we're better off without wives telling us what to do. We can hang out and drink beer all we want, or we could if my doctor hadn't told me not to drink since I had my heart replaced.
That really shook me up. Now I only drink a few times a week. The doctor says even that is too much, but what does he know, anyway? I know my body, and my body says I can drink once in a while. Plus, it's the only thing that takes my mind off my arthritis.
Anyway, I was hanging out with Ron the other day, and we were just shooting the shit like we always do—you know, talking about the old days when we ruled things. I guess we were going a ways down memory lane, and at some point, we got into my glaucoma weed. I don't mind sharing it, but it means I have to get my prescription refilled sooner. Anyway, we were talking about this one time back in '09 that we were totally loaded and we went out to get Wes and his girl to do some shots. We showed up at like midnight, and they were already in bed. We almost got them going, but then Ron got sick and threw up all over their rug.
He and Mindy moved across town and got married a few years later. We got invited to the wedding, but my car broke down on the way. By the time we got there, the beer was gone, so we got shitfaced at a nearby bar. We didn't see a lot of Wes after that.
Anyway, we were trying to figure out what happened to him. I know they had some kids after he graduated college. I think he was working for some Internet company, but that's the last I heard. Ron said it would be cool to see how he was doing. That seemed like a good idea, since there wasn't anything good on TV on account of Paris Hilton dying.
We decided that the best way to track Wes down was to go out by his old place and see if he was still there. If he wasn't, maybe one of his neighbors might know where to find him. Since I'm having problems with my car, we had to take Ron's. After a few beers and my government weed, he was in no condition to be driving, so he asked me to hook up the passenger-side wheel.
The problem is, we couldn't exactly remember where Wes used to live, so we wound up driving all over the place. I was counting on Ron to navigate, but he fell asleep about 10 minutes after we got in the car. I was going back and forth, trying to see if I could recognize anything, but the riots pretty much blew that area to hell, and steering from the passenger seat still throws me off. That's when I saw the flashers in my rear-view mirror.
I wasn't even speeding when we got pulled over. The problem is that my license expired three years ago, and I ain't got the patience to sit at the DMV at my age.
I was all respectful when the cop came up to the car. He told me I was driving erratically and asked if I'd been drinking. I told him I'd had a few beers, but not enough to affect my driving. He told me he'd let me off with a warning since I was so old. He administered us with sobriety pills and told me that Ron should drive when they took effect. Some favor that was. He killed my buzz twice. Pigs, man.
Anyway, we went back to Ron's place and hung out there until Ron fell asleep again, and I went back home. I walked up to my apartment and watched some more funeral coverage. I was a little bummed that we couldn't find Wes. For all I know, he could be dead. I looked on the ObituWeb, but I didn't find him there. Well, I found a Wes Baumgartner, but that was in Arizona, and I would have heard if Wes had moved there. That cheered me up a little bit. That meant I still had a chance to track him down. I'll wait for a few days until I get up enough steam to do it again. When I find him, I'm going to give it to him with both barrels for causing me so much hassle, then we can do some catching up. And believe me, we have a lot of catching up to do.
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.