Monday, September 12, 2005

Origami Roadblock

He sounds bored and tired after a five-hour New Brunswick/Albany/New Brunswick car parts run. A hotrod man needs disco exhaust pipes.

Tata: You're very busy and I'm sorry to bother you.
Paulie: That's okay. What's up?
Tata: I need a getaway driver.
Paulie: I'll be there in ten.

If there's anything I can count on it's Paulie Gonzalez's cheerful willingness to commit misdeanors for the hell of it. Nine minutes later, he appears, ready to work.

Tata: Last night, Siobhan and I bought all kinds of paint and went to the new apartment where a can slid out of her truck, landed on my foot and broke open on the street.
Paulie: How's your foot?
Tata: Balloony. Better than last night, thanks. Anyway, I didn't know what to do and Siobhan sure as hell didn't -
Paulie: Cat litter.
Tata: Of course. You always know. Siobhan said it'd be dry in four hours, tops. So I put down circulars I found in the hallway so people would avoid driving through a gallon of emergency orange paint and pedestrians would know grapes were on sale at Pathmark. Stop laughing.
Paulie: Orange? On asphalt?
Tata: Yeah yeah, it's a disaster that says, "Hello, new neighbors! I'm HERE!" Today, I went over there to paint my hall a kind of sunny beige. I picked up the circulars and the paint wasn't dry.
Paulie: What'd you do?
Tata: I called Siobhan's cell and hissed, "It's STILL WET!" Stop laughing.
Paulie: She still feeding you mice?
Tata: Then I picked up most of the circulars, stuffed them in a grocery bag and put down more circulars over the big spot but the thing is -
Paulie: I can't wait!
Tata: Some of the circulars are stuck to the road and the paint is wet even now!
Paulie: No way.
Tata: Way!
Paulie: How do you know?
Tata: I went over an hour ago but couldn't find a parking space in the same zip code. I wanted to tear up the stuck newspaper again.
Paulie: And put down cat litter. Let's do it.

Cue the Mission: Impossible Theme. Picture two giggling people riding around a quiet neighborhood in the World's Largest Pickup Truck(tm) which really hates low speeds. There's nothing stealthy about us. We're making a racket. Paulie turns the corner and sees the giant spot. He's no longer giggling. Now he's laughing hysterically as he parks the truck.

Paulie: How do you do it?
Tata: It's a gift. Stop laughing. Man the kitty litter!

I hobble to the puddle with a garbage bag and dig up scraps of newspaper. Underneath, wet paint oozes. Paulie's shocked. I'm shocked. In the interest of Science, you will be pleased to know that while paint may remain moist on pavement it dries almost immediately on my left hand, forming an uncomfortable yet illuminating orange coat. When the wet paint is exposed, Paulie pours the kitty litter over it, hoping to form a rubbery orange pancake of only mild toxicity. It's hard to tell if I should pray for rain or stray tabbies.

Then we drive away very fast.


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