JJ VIOLENTLY HUNG up the telephone in his kitchen. After leaving his homie, Curt a seventh message on the Olsen’s answering machine, he was frustrated. Screw it! I’m going over there, JJ thought, as he sprang to his feet. Charging through the house, JJ received a couple of strange looks from his mom and Kent her ripped, romantic-Romeo. JJ gave them no never mind, as he donned his trusty Twiztid hoodie.
“When are you going to stop wearing that ratty, old thing and start wearing that nice jacket I bought for you, young man?” Phee grilled her son, fixing him with a very serious stare.
Not in the mood to be side-tracked by his mother’s inquisition regarding his fashion sense, JJ quipped: “When they cut my corpse from it mom, feel free to stuff me in that funky coat!”
JJ burst out the front door on his march over to Curt’s pad. He heard his mother say “Meet my overdramatic…” as he calmly closed the door, not wanting to evoke his mother’s ire any further. He knew he should’ve played it off with a cowed remark, but he was in a terrible rush to talk with Curt. He also knew he just barely avoided a lecture he couldn’t afford to be mired in. When he got home, though, it would be was another matter altogether. Right here and now, he needed to make amends with his best homie.
JJ didn’t think twice about it when he vigorously cop-knocked on the Olsen’s front door. He hoped that even though the Roadrunner wasn’t anywhere to be seen, that Curt was at home. It was a long shot. Curt was never far from his beloved car, but JJ had a gut feeling his best friend was in there somewhere. JJ was just about to give up the pounding he was administering to the dark red door, when he heard Curt yell some choice obscenities from inside. As if JJ was in some B-level horror movie, the door slowly creaked open.
“Did I catch you in the shower, homie?” JJ inquired, as he noticed Curt roughly toweling his mop of stringy brown hair.
“Yeah, you did,” Curt said incredulously, as he turned away from the open door. “Come in.”
JJ hurried in, closing the door behind him. A shirtless Curtis Olsen stood before JJ in the foyer, and JJ thought that his best friend and homie in the whole wide world had never looked more terrible. Not even when Curt had actually tried to eat a dozen fried worms on a bet after their fifth grade teacher read them that book, and he turned seven shades of green before puking chewed worm and Cheerios all over Missy Carlson’s new red dress. To JJ, Curt looked like hell warmed-over.
“C-Curt,” JJ stammered, “A-are you alright, homie? You really don’t look so, so good.”
“What? What are you talking about, JJ? I feel great; ya know what I’m sayin’? I’ve never felt better. Right as rain,” Curt assured him.
“Really? I mean that’s good to hear if it’s the truth, but I’m looking right at you, homie. And I can see that you are not ‘right as rain,’ as you put it. Curt, your eyes are hollow and bloodshot, you’re as pale as a sheet, and you look all sucked-up and not like your usual buff self.”
“Well, that’s weird, JJ. Cuz I feel fine. Did you want something else or did you just come over to tell me how horrible you think I look?”
“Sorry, homie, I didn’t mean to tick you off. In fact, I came over to apologize for yesterday and take you over to Simmons Café for a Faygo root beer float to sort of bury the hatchet.” JJ was hoping his homie would forgive and forget.
Curt sighed heavily, fixing JJ with a long, deep thoughtful stare before embracing his oldest and best friend. The bear-hug Curt had JJ in was comforting at first, but as Curt held the embrace without budging, it stretched into the realm of weird. JJ tried to step back only to find Curt’s arms unwilling to disengage. Feeling he should say something but slightly afraid to, JJ cleared his throat a couple time in hopes that Curt would take the hint and let loose. A moment passed before Curt released his grip and stood again before JJ, looking haggard and weary.
“Fuck it. Sure JJ, you’re forgiven, homie. I’m sorry about acting like such a bitch-baby when you needed my help the most; ya know what I’m sayin’?” Curt spread his arms for another hug.
“Fresh, thanks ninja!” JJ exclaimed, completing the homie-hug. Breaking the embrace, JJ added: “Do you have to swear so much, homie? I mean, it isn’t necessary. You don’t need to use foul language to convey your thoughts, ideas, or emotions. I understand tone and body language, or better still: Remember when we were kings of anti-cussing vocabulary, we could go back to that.”
“What the fuck are you talking about, JJ?” Curt asked with a confused look on his face. “Never-fucking-mind, I’m gonna go grab a shirt.” He bound up the stairs.
“Thanks,” JJ said, rolling his eyes. Have it your way, homie, he added under his breath so Curt wouldn’t hear.
“Welcome!” Curt called over his shoulder.
That’s like a million pounds off my shoulders, homie. You have no idea, JJ thought as he waited for Curt to finish getting dressed. Again, JJ’s thoughts pondered the lack of classic American Muscle in the Olsen’s driveway. Where was Curt’s car? Did his parents have it? Where were Curt’s parents for that matter? JJ couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen Mr. & Mrs. Olsen or their bright red Aries station wagon.
“Hey Curt,” JJ called up the staircase.
“Yup,” Curt’s voice floated back down.
“Where are your parents at, homie?” JJ inquired with true concern in his voice.
“Burning in Hell. Eating shit.”
“What on earth are they doing in , of all places?” JJ asked.
“Getting my baby fixed up,” Curt answered as he slid at what seemed to JJ like Mach-2 down the polished oak banister. Landing nimbly, Curt added: “Your head fucked up my windshield worse than it hurt your head. Ya know what I’m sayin’?”
“Holy crap, homie! How’d you do that without busting your nugget?” JJ asked, hopping out of the way incase Curt lost his balance at the last moment.
“Years of practice, homie, you know that.” Curt replied, bouncing up and down like a rabid, caged gorilla.
JJ noticed that his friend now looked in the prime of health. Curt’s cheeks were full and rosy, his chest puffed and burly, and his eyes. Curt’s eyes were intense and blazing like right before a big backyard wrestling match with those crazy ninjas over in Ferndale. Curt’s crazed uneasiness and instant bloom of vitality unnerved JJ tremendously and for some strange reason, the bright red shirt he’d put on hurt JJ’s eyes terribly. JJ decided to ignore the warning bells clanging in his soul and soldier forward.
“So, how about we go kill a few floats, homie?” JJ asked heading for the front door.
“Sure, dawg. But with my ride in the shop, we’re gonna have to catch the SEPTA.”
“No problem, homie. I’ll get your fare, it’s only fair.” JJ laughed as he added the silly pun, one of their oldest inside-jokes that still made them both laugh, as best friends’ inside-jokes are wont to do. But Curt stood stone-faced without even the hint of a grin on his lips.
“Funny,” Curt said, as if in a trance.
“Jeez, homie. Thanks for your vote of confidence. And here I thought I was ready for Def Comedy Jam. Darn, and I had Russell Simmons on speed dial on my cell phone and everything.” JJ mocked, every word dripping with sarcasm.
“What, what’d you say, homie?” Curt asked; seemingly back in his own head again.
“Never mind, Curt. I was just trying to make you laugh. It didn’t work, though. No big deal. Are you sure you’re alright?”
“Sorry, ninja. I zoned out there for a second, but I think I had like a vision or something. Ya know what I’m sayin’?”
“Yeah, really, you did? What’d you see?” JJ asked, intrigued.
“I’m not sure, JJ. Don’t get me wrong. I’m down for drinking root beer floats until I puke. Ya know what I’m sayin’, but I think we need to make a slight detour first.”
“Okay, homie, where’s that?” JJ inquired.
“You’re not gonna like this JJ, but we need to go straight to the old Johnson place, now.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“I wish I were homie. I wish I were.”