Recently, I went to pick up a friend from his home, which he claims is in North Richland Hills, but is actually in Euless. But that point of contention, which comes up quite regularly in driving to and from his house, is not relevant to this particular tale. Mark is known, amongst myself and the rest of his bandmates, not to mention the rest of his friends, probably, to really have a knack of making one wait around for quite a bit of time before leaving to do whatever task it is that people like us may have on their minds at any given time. Yes, like a good prom date before the spiked punch and misplaced rebellion, Mark makes a soul wait. Whether it's to finish watching a five hour marathon of "The First 48," or simply to "wrap up a dooket," as he often quips, know that, upon entering his house, even if you have, and iterate, a dire urge to leave, you are bound to be in his house for at least fifteen to twenty minutes.
I've learned to accept and embrace this trait of his. I don't mind, generally. Usually by the time I'm at his house, it's well past any time I have to be anywhere important. Plus, sometimes he'll pass an unopened beer, bum me a cigarette, or put on a David Blaine special. The evening I speak of now was not vastly different, though he did seem a bit more anxious to leave, as his mother was talking to him. An understandable motivation, to be sure.
Well, I thought we were leaving, as that is what he told me as I exited his house and headed to my car. I reached the door to my car, and turned to realize that he was nowhere to be found. I assumed he had just gotten caught up on his way out, presumably by his mother, so I climbed into my car and put on the CD-R that he had just burned for me that contained The Urchin and some really rare Dillinger 4 songs. You see, sometimes you also receive nice gifts for picking Mark up. It's always a surprise.
Needless to say, these songs were enough to keep my attention diverted from the fact that it was beginning to be an unbearably long time since he had informed me that he was ready to leave. Perhaps he knew of this particular eventuality that he presently found himself in, and that the CD he had just given me would quell any bitching I might passive-aggressively toss in his direction when he finally did show up. Nonetheless, I did notice the slow, exponential increase of time passed without Mark in the passenger seat, and for just a moment, I grew anxious, looked impossibly around in the inked forest of his poorly lit front yard, and impatience began to crystallize around my frontal lobe. I even considered leaving him at home, stuck with only his mother and her admonitions of his alcoholic tendencies when he asked to use the car, if only to prove a point that it is very rude to keep one waiting so long. I was ready to go, boy!
It was at that very moment that he opened the door and climbed into my car. In all my impatience and anxiousness to espy where he might be, I failed to see the exact person I was looking for walking right up to my car. I made no comment on his tardiness, even though he was not really tardy, as there was no predetermined time for him to be present in my automobile. We began talking about the songs on the CD, and he regaled me with many snippets of information about these bands that I simply did not know! It was glorious.
And then, a queer thing happened. My cell phone rang, and as I checked the caller ID, I noticed that the call was coming from Mark's house, where we just left not three minutes before. I thought it might be his mother, so I answered the phone somewhat tentatively, with the radio turned all the way down:
"Where the fuck did you go," a male's voice asked, with a lilt of curiosity, but moreso,with an air of annoyance.
"Who is this?"
"-the fuck do you think? MARK, stupid."
I turned to look at Mark, who looked in turn at me with a puzzled expression on his face.
"Who is this," I asked again, with somewhat of a laugh in my voice. I figured Kevin must have showed up at Mark's right after we left and was playing an hilarious prank!
"Are we practicing or not?"
Mark's impersonator was beginning to sound more like Mark with every passing syllable.
"Uh, yeah, MARK. We're on our way to practice right now."
To my right, Mark looked at me with as screwed up a face as one can surely muster, and quizzically said, "Huh?"
"Look, you comin' back or not?"
Shaken, but not stirred, I turned to Mark in what seems now like slow motion, and. Handed. Him. The. Phone.
As soon as he put the phone to his ear, he was gone.
When I arrived at the practice space twenty minutes later, so did Mark. He climbed out of my car.