Havenít read Chapters 1 and 2?
Go back and read them now or this
wonít make one damn bit of sense.
Hereís a poser. Whatís the difference between a great leader and
a bully? Iíll give you a hint. When Doug Macarthur got his ass
canned by Eisenhower he said, "I shall return". When Celine Dion
sneezed a JellyBean right through Barbara Walterís skull, Oprah
Thatís right. The Great Oprah Winfrey keeled over like a drunken
sorority pledge. I have to say I was surprised. I once saw her
sucker punch a Sarah Lawrence intern for microwaving her baked
potato too long; and when the kid was down? O shaved her head
with a letter opener. I guess accessory to murder crossed some
sort of interior line in the sand. I know sheíd been kind of
squirrelly and paranoid about the whole menacing, gigantic, bull
dyke scene ever since Rosie went public, and maybe the thought
of hard time in the joint just proved too much for her.
Someone had to take command of the situation. It sure as hell
wasnít going to be Celine, who at the best of times had the
constitution of an insane Canadian Gerbil with Attention Deficit
Disorder. As a material witness there was no way we were leaving
Meredith at the crime scene and since cheek gouging, eye rolling
and Monkey calls are generally not on a short list of leadership
qualities, it was doubtful sheíd take the reins. That left me
and the Pakistani guy under the counter.
"Celine. Get O in the car." I said slowly, looking her straight
in the eye.
"But, but, but what about Ms. Wal-TAIRS? I seenk my Szelly-Bean,
it take her whole brain out ze back her head, non?"
"Celine," I reassured her, "Listen to me. Iíll put your eye out.
Iím not kidding. If you donít get Oprah into the car right now,
Iím going to stick my thumb right into your left eye and pop it
out just like Little Jack Horner getting his Christmas Plumb.
Sammy Davis Junior had enough panache to play arena venues with
a glass eye. Do you?" She went.
"Viera," I said, "Mer. Youíre going to have to pull it together
now. Iím taking off and if you stay here the fuzz will pin the
rap on you."
"ButÖ butÖ" The aging former news gal sputtered, "The counter
"IíM BEHIND THE COUNTER, CROUCHING!" he shrieked helpfully,
"IíVE BEEN DOWN HERE SINCE MS. WALTERS WALKED IN! I DONíT WANT
ANY TROUBLE! I ONLY GET MINIMUM WAGE AND THE SEVEN ELEVEN
CORPORATION DOES NOT GIVE PAID TIME OFF TO TESTIFY IN CRIMINAL
"The security camera-"
"IS PERMANENTLY FOCUSED ON THE VERY COUNTER I AM NOW CROUCHING
BEHIND! SINCE DECEMBER OF LAST YEAR THE SEVEN ELEVEN CORPORATION
HAS BEEN USING THE SECURITY CAMERA SYSTEM TO ENSURE ITíS
EMPLOYEES DO NOT ENJOY THE PORNOGRAPHY INVENTORY WITHOUT PAYING
She headed out to the parking lot and for a moment it was just
me, the guy under the counter, and Walterís corpse. I thought
about closing her eyes, but that would have meant touching her,
and besides, the surprised look on her corrupt, hateful mug was
the only silver lining my cloud had at the moment. Iíll tell you
the truth; I was pretty badly shaken. Not so shaken I didnít
grab a box of Teddy Grahams on the way out. The ones with the
tiny chocolate chips in Ďem. Stealing is a filthy habit, but I
was broke, and those things are awesome. Anyone says different
is a GodDamn liar.
For a miracle, Dion had the common sense to stow Oprah in the
back. She was trying to teach our erstwhile leader some sort of
Quebecois hand slapping game, which is always amusing when one
of the participants is in shock.
I climbed behind the wheel, shoved a handful of sweet, sweet
Teddy Grahams into my mouth and found out just how fast Oís ride
went from 0 to 60.
"Celine," I said, a fine mist of broken Teddy Bear shaped cookie
bits spraying the windscreen, "Put the Jelly Beans in the front
"Que? ButÖ but non, zey are mine! I woní put zem up my nose a-gan,
I only will eat of zem! Renne gave zem to me, Ďee say "Ere,
Celine, Ďave some zselly BEAN for daí road, non? Iím your
mana-jair aní us-BOND even zo Iím old enough to be your
gran-fa-ZAIR, so Ďave ze szelly BEAN, non?í"
"PutÖ the beansÖ" I said, testing my teeth to see how much jaw
pressure it would take to splinter them, "inÖ theÖ front."
"NON!" she brayed hysterically, pressing the greasy zip lock to
her bony chest, "NON, ZAY ARE ZE GIFT! ZE GIFT OF HEES HEART! I
WILL NEVAIR GIVE ZEM UP!"
"THATíS WHAT DEGAUL SAID, AND ABOUT FIVE MINUTES LATER THE
NAZIíS WHERE DANCING IN THE CHAMPS ALIZE, YOU CRAZY BITCH!" I
hollered, flailing spastically over my shoulder at her. The car
lurched into the guardrail and sparks flew. Meredith wailed and
started reflexively hitting me in the side of the head. She must
have been flashing back to our romance. And hereís the sad
truth. Iím pretty sure DeGaul never said word one about
"Pull over" Oprah muttered, and we got quiet. All you could hear
was the roar of the engine and the guardrail slowly eating
through the passenger side of the car.
"Pull over" she said again. Ever seen "The Seventh Seal"? Black
and White Bergman flick? Max Von Sydow plays chess with Death?
When Death says, "Itís your move"? Thatís what O sounded like.
But who am I kidding? Youíve never seen that movie. And thereís
nothing in "Porkies" even remotely like the moment Iím
describing. Maybe something from "Dude, hereís my Car?" but I
was totally messed up on cough syrup when I saw that and I ended
up in the tank with a guy named Norge who insisted Iíd promised
him dinner at Arbyís, so I canít say. The point is, screw you. I
"Viera. Get in the back," Said O opening her door. "You. Slide
over. I drive."
Remember what I said about 0 to 60? Oprahís wheels did 60 to 120
in half that time.
"Iíll tell you what," She said, "This is getting fixed. I am not
taking the fall. Celine. Put the beans in the front."
"Do it. If it seems easier Iíll drop you off at the next police
station. And you," she said without even looking my way, "Keep
your eyes peeled for a liquor store. I got a powerful thirst.
And give me those damn Teddy Grahams."
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