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by: Max Burbank

Iím riding shotgun, AGAIN, because as queen of everything Oprah ALWAYS has to drive. And yes, itís her car, but hell, she never fails to hit me up for gas money and every time we we fill up itís "Go get me Fresca, go get me some Yodels" and who pays? Me.

Celine is in the back yammering away in that disturbed half-English of hers, it never stops, I just turn the radio up which usually works unless GOD FORBID one of her own horrid little anthems comes on and then sheís singing along loud enough to make your ears bleed, beating her frail bird cage of a chest with one knotted, anorexic fist and I swear to the sweet baby Jesus itís all I can do to keep from grabbing the wheel and steering us straight into oncoming traffic.

You know why Oprah includes Celine? To make herself look better. No other reason. Richest person on earth, if she said she was reading a fucking government manual on suspension bridge load testing it would become an overnight bestseller and sheís still so low self-esteem she has to cart around some maniacal Canuck human scarecrow to feel good about herself. And why do I hang with them? I donít know. I swear to GOD I donít know.

Oprahís hammering the Wild Turkey I PAID FOR like thereís no one else in the car and I know whatís coming next, I could almost say it for her, "Letís go by Steadmanís house and fuck up his mailbox". Iím all "For Christís sake, O, what even makes you think that poor bastard has his mailbox up yet, we knocked it over twice last week, he probably wised up and got a PO box by now" and she just laughs, which is a relief because it means she hasnít reached the mean stage of her drunkenness yet.

"Pool Ovair, POOL OH-VAIR!" Celine shrieks from the back, an octave higher and thirty decibels louder than the constant patois that had, over the last half hour, mercifully become just so much outrageously accented white noise, and O goes "Shut the hell up, you freak!" and Celine screams "POOLÖ OHÖ VAIR!!! And starts scrambling into the front, all elbows and knees and chin so we pull over.

Oprah looks in the rear view mirror, gives her the eyes that gave an intern a near fatal Grand Mal seizure just that morning and asks what the HELL is so important Celine has to harsh the buzz before the evening has even begun? Now you got to be a frigginí micro cephalic moron not to know thatís a rhetorical question, but like I said, thatís just why O keeps Celine around, so it should come as no big surprise when she says:

"I gots a Jelly Bean up mah nose."

Except she says the ĎJí like the ĎZsí in Zsa Zsa Gabor, ĎZselly Beaní and puts the stress on the word ĎBeaní which somehow changes the moment from surreal to incredibly infuriating and I have this disturbingly real flash of just what it would be like to smash her right in the teeth. I mean I can see three of her big old horse choppers let go, I can feel the skin on my knuckles snapping like overcooked sausage casing And sheís till TALKING!

"You know, you know, ah was play-ING? Wis zah Zselly BEANS? Kind of jusí rubbing zem ovair mah face, you know, while I was telling you about Re-NAY? My Mana-GAIR an Ďus-BAND? Aní how he is old enough to be mah Fa-ZAIR aní Ďow I sed-yoose ĎEEM when I am only za teen ay-JAIR? And zah zselly BEAN? It jusí go up my nose! ĎAn it woní come OUT!!"

Iíve been grinding my teeth in my sleep lately and itís giving me migraines plus Iíve broken two molars already this year which Dental does not cover and costs about a grand a pop and now I realize Iím doing it awake. And when I try to stop, itís actually an effort, it takes real willpower to unlock my jaw. Like I donít already owe her enough for that God Damn Titanic song, now the bitch is giving me dentures.

"íAn you know, I have to SEENG, for my come-BACK! Iím haveeng my come-BACK, from my ree-tie-yer-MENT, Ďow can I seeng wisí zis zselly-BEEN up my NOSE?!"

Now the thing about O is you totally never know which way sheís going. I mean one time back when we used to hang with Liza, weíre at Red Lobster? And right in the middle of dinner O reaches over the table and crushes Minelliís left pinkie with the nutcracker for a whole hell of a lot less then sticking a ĎZselly-BEANí up her nose. Plus she made her keep the plastic bib on in the emergency room. And now? She hands Dion a Kleenex. And she says to me, totally calm, "Why donít you go in that Seven Eleven and see if you can find Celine a tweezers?"

And I go "Why donít YOU go in that Seven Eleven and see if you can find Celine a fucking tweezers? And by the way, Miss Perfect itís either Ďa Twee-ZERí or Ďa pair of Twee-ZERSí but only an idiot says Ďa Twee-ZERSí" Because the thing is? Iím not afraid of Oprah. Thatís probably why she hangs with me most nights, but that doesnít mean she brooks any challenge to her omnipotence. Her eyes get so thin itís a wonder she can see through them and she says "Get. Celine. A. Tweezers." And I go. But as Iím going I say "Donít suppose you might spring for Ďem, Book Club? No. Didnít think so". Oh, she hears all right, but she pretends not to which is how we keep the peace.

And you know some days it does not pay to get the hell out of bed because whoís over at the Slurpy machine sneaking No Name gin into her Big Gulp? Meredith Fucking Viera. And I just keep my back to her because there is MORE than enough blood under that bridge, but God hates me and he always has. Thereís nail clippers, thereís nail SCISSORS, like anybody goes to Seven Eleven to buy frigginí NAIL scissors, but Iíll be damned if I can find Ďa tweezersí and Iím sure O knew there wouldnít be one which is exactly why she sent me in here. Iím just starting to wonder if maybe I could pull the damn Bean out of her snoot with scotch tape and a push pin when this cloud of hot Clorets breath wafts over me and itís the 1980ís again and Iím Ďhelpingí Mer Ďget overí getting chucked off 60 Minutes. Yeah, and you know what? I owned a "ThompsonTwins" album and I had a Mullet, too. It wasnít a good time for anybody, okay?

After that, things got worse faster than Al Roker on a Slip Ní Slide.

Continue onward to Chapter II

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