I'm reclining on the couch, getting ready to smoke a fat one and peruse some questionable websites that will probably leave me with a depleted bank account and a plethora of viruses. My cell phone rings and Summer's name and our picture appear on the display next to a large sunflower. Summer's arm drapes around me and she's sporting a goofy syrupy smile that suggests she might have been robo'ing for the last two years without a break. I'm wearing a pink t-shirt that Summer purchased for me to wear to the Gay Parade last summer. She is beaming, but for some reason I'm glum, morose even. The shirt is bright fluorescent pink. Stenciled in bold black letters is “Fuck you if you voted for Prop 8, you fucking bigot” She picked the shirt up for five bucks at a local thrift store in a splurge of rare generosity. “Fuck!” I scream to an empty room. Not answering the phone is not an option.
“Uhhh, umm nothing?”
“Good,” she replies, “So you have time to talk?”
“What's up?” My response is intended to come off cool, detached, nonchalant but what comes out is something that's more akin to a 12 year old girl trying to get out of cleaning her bully sister's room, a kind of pleading squeak that makes my cat look up and take notice.
“There's a witch on my block?”
“So?” I say...hoping.
“So she's a fucking wiccan witch and I want her off my block. Don't be such a putz, Gerald; this is a good Christian neighborhood.”
“Yeah, but Summer you've only been a Christian for two weeks. Don't you think you are taking this a bit far?”
Summer always answers a question with a question and this time it's, “Are you questioning my Christian values?” It's an accusation not a question. Some urine has leaked onto my pants, I'm sweating, I need a drink,
“No! No, I'm not questioning you of course not. I mean why would I ever do that.”
“Well, it sounded an awfully lot like a question to me, Gerald!” She puts the emphasis on my name and her voice betrays a mixture of reproach and condescension.
“You know how I'm always wording things wrong” I squeak. This seems to mollify her and I give a sigh of relief into the phone.
“What was that?” she asks with the slightest hint of menace in her voice.
“Oh sorry, just been...ummm...tired you...”
She interrupts with obvious disdain “Look I need you to make nice with Michele Bachmann. Call her and tell her you're sorry.”
“Huh? Why...?” I whine into the phone.
Now she sighs, “Oh my god you are such an imbecile, and why are you still asking questions? I told you I have a witch on my block. What do I do? Get some of the neighbors together and stone her? Can we tie a rock to her and if she sinks and drowns do we give her a christian burial? If she doesn't sink, are we legally within our rights to burn her at the stake? And if we're not, maybe Bachmann could propose some kind of legislation or something?"
“Well Summer,” I say, stalling for time, “I think you at least have to get a permit to have an open fire within city limits.”
She is adamant. “This is why I need you to make nice with Bachmann. Call her office, make a $50 donation and tell her about the situation in my neighborhood! Do it right away, Gerald!”
"Why don't you call her, Summer? You obviously have a better grasp of the situation . ."
"Look, you're the one who screwed up by writing all that stupid commentary on her. Make things right. Witches are insane, you know... What if she puts some terrible hex on my baby? You don't know what to expect from witches; she's weird and you pissed off the only Congressperson with enough balls to end this!"
"I wrote it the way you told me to," I protest. I purposely omit telling Summer that she too had criticized Bachmann, But that was last month, before her latest epiphany.
Summer is always getting into things. In 2004 it was Muslim guys. In 2005 it was gay guys. She hardly even looked at me that year. In 2007, she became obsessed with the Macorena, followed by six months of some shaved hair Sinead O'Connor shit that ended with the Diocese 86-ing us from their property. This happened after Summer took the bag containing her silky, soft, gorgeous red locks and unceremoniously dumped it into the lap of an unsuspecting Priest and screamed, “You made me do this!!!" into his terrified face. The locks were speckled with small dandruff flakes and the whole spectacle took on a surreal dimension. The priest blanched hurrying away, but not before Parishioners exiting the Cathedral tackled Summer and began performing an exorcism. Summer, according to one witness, “stared into the Priest's terrified eyes like a rabid raccoon after its been through Barry Bond's garbage.” That's what mobilized these good Samaritans into action, in my estimation.
I light the joint, and sit back, barely listening to her. She yells into the phone, “Gerald are you even listening to me or are you ready to pass out into some kind of pot coma over there?" It turns out this is just the first salvo as she launches into a long tirade on the evils of weed.
Summer doesn't remember selling me the half ounce of Lemon Haze a mere three weeks ago, at a very inflated price, claiming, “there were some additional expenses, Gerald. Don't bug me for the details... I have a headache.” I decided not to mention the bag looked a little, well okay, a lot short. Imagine Alannis Morrisette wording rather than singing from Jagged Little Pill and you will have a general idea of how Summer sounds on a good day. I take a deep drag.
“Okay, I'll call her,” I say. I'm hoping to slink away, make a fictitious call and be done with it.
“I want to be there when you do it” she says suddenly.
“Do what?” I'm pleading, begging now.
“Make the call you moron! What's wrong with you? You really need to stop smoking that shit and come to church with me. The Lord loves you Gerald...he died on the cross for your sins. Do you ever stop to consider what a burden your sin debt was to him?"
According to Summer my sin debt could be mistaken for the national debt if it were converted into a number. “Look, ummm...can't I just make the call, on my own...I need to work on my autonomy, you told me just last week, Summer.” She's a little steamed “That was after I sent you to the store for my feminine products and a few groceries and you called me whining for a ride back because you had a headache. I was on my period, for crying out loud! Grow a pair!”
“I know," I say.” I'm just, you know...”
I swallow almost convulsively, “Um, I'm a little afraid of Bachmann, Summer.” There is a moment of stunning, surreal and then totally terrifying silence as she struggles to regain her composure. When she finally speaks, her voice is steely and cold like a scalpel in alcohol at the vets office.
“Well... are you more afraid of her than you are of me?”
I panic. “Oh god yes. I mean no... I mean you would never hurt me, but yes, you scare me more... but you're still a really nice person Summer, I mean that sincerely.” She thinks a minute, I can tell she's more relaxed now “Jesus loves you and died for your sins, that's all I'm going to say for now. Have coffee made by the time I get there. I'm leaving now.”
“You want to call her now?” Again my voice is pleading. “Of course! Why else would I be coming over?