chapter 26


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So bootydharma use to be a big drinker but now he doesnt drink anymore, and in order to make up for all the years he got away with drivin drunk, he gives drunk peeple rides. if you see booty dharmas van, wherever, whenever, you can hop in. and if your drunk enough, hell give you a ride.

we were drunk enough.

it was one a those giant vans from the eighties forlike if you needed to transport an entire troop of cubscouts, tho as i mentiond, hed taken out all the seats and thrown a buncha pillows back there, and stuft animals and other soft things, it was like hangin out in a cloud.

a smoov beat came out of the speakers.

then a piano

and a womans voice,

no anecdote was ever wrote

that could cure her woried mind

it was madi. her lyrics were choptup and sprinkeld around, playin off the beat. underneath was a piano loop which i think was sampled from the begining of the song. it was tite yall. even you djs woulda thought it was tite.

whend you do this?!

madi said that. hadnt realized she was in the van but she was, ridin shotgun.

bootydharma replied,

thi smornin.

did i mention that he lookd like me? a few more
gray hairs and bigger glasses and a slitely larger face, but still, alot like me.
a handsome devil, inotherwords.

So i had some questions for him.

incase your wondring, my current leading theory re:
whatthefuck is goin  on? was that bootydharma was behind it. hed trickd
me into comin to athens and then aranged things to freak me out for the
purpose of

thats where my theory reachd its limits. if this was scoobydoo
it would be so he could scare me outa the house that stood between him
and his secret plans. but i had no house, i guess it was time to findout if
he had secret plans.

i was gettin ready to introduce myself, when someone
[ D no doubt ] shuvd me into madi.

scuse me i said 

madi smiled.

sodawater with lime?

good memory.

ever try it with bitters?

thats my favrite drink

ask her d-nazi 

whada ya wana know? madi 

its just, we were wondrin me  why—

i mean how you got into music. like, what

made you start orwhatever. if you remember.

oh i remember. neutralmilk hotel. in the airplane

over the sea.

she said it so matter o factly it almost got by me.


she nodded.

firstime i heard that record i thought  you can do this,

with your life. music, i mean.

well im glad you did, i think you made the rite choice

[ fanstruck stuttering praise etcetera ]

not the firstime but whos countin, so which side were you on?

which what?

side a the bet, i see D is behind this.

D was backthere cacklin to herself while she wiped
prater vomit off her glasses with johnsons flannel shirt.

the wrongside.

if you want my advice, dont take any a Ds bets.

no matter how much of a sure thing it might seem.

kayla peekd her head into the fronta the van.
it was like a seprate room up here.

So yall met a-l?

not ofishally booty-d 

introductions were made, we shook hands,

it was awsom.

we useto be lovers kayla 

yes we did booty-d 

but were not’n y more kayla 

dont imagine sadness tho. kayla reported it like a kid
tellin her mom what she did at school that day, and it was a pretygood day.

then bootydharma took out a cigaret-lookin thing, but it was too big for a cigaret, but i dont think it was a one-hitter. he put it to his lips and inhaled, and then what hapend is two conversations began simultaneusly and went on paralell, ocasionly intersecting like a trail and a river but moreso, because they got mixed up together.

Anyway, their real into simulconvee here. i ve been wantin to give it a
shot, so here goes—

so you took the bait?booty-d to me 

kayla squinted at the cigaret.

you mean Ds bet?me 

whats that?kayla 

no, my invitation to athensbd 

its an e-cigaretmadi to k 

so that was you?me 

whats an eesigret?k 

theres only one bootydarma i hopeb dan electronic cigaret. no smoke see?

bootydharma suckd on the apparatus, then exhaled something that lookd like smoke exept it disapeard instantly.

you must be the one who told them i was cominme to bd 


kayla held out an empty cup.

 i might a warnd a person or twobd would you like a drink kayla?

is that somethin yall do to fuck with


peeples minds?me 

theres oldcrow in the consolebd 

not exaclybd, to me 

whats a console?k 

morelike to not to fuckwith yourmindm 

ththing between the seatsbd to k 

athens is confusin enough as it isbd 

why dintcha just say that?k 


cause theres a word for itbd 

especialy since nobody will explain

consoles a stupid wordk 

anything to meme 

you gota better one?bd 

yeah. shitboxk 

confusion isnt always a bad thing mdid you justsay shitbox?


i knew youd comebd to me 

i made it up!k 


i nevercould remember whatcha calld

when i mentiond neutralmilk dude,

that thingm  i like shitbox way better.

i could see your drool thru the screen,

its a box for yer shitk 

i betchyou read that shit ten times.

i m never gona say console again.

i read it a few me 

y know i made it up bd 

my face fell, i am sure.

you did not! m to bd  you shuldnt fuckwith newbies like that.

aright, i didnt make it up bd  but i had you. you shoulda

seen yourself, al. you had suckerface.

you have a prety awsom suckerface madi to me, then

to booty-d  whadju tellim about?

firstime jeff playd in town

with elfpower and he was

nockin peeple over and broke aarons drums. dont handout all your goldstars
now al, booty-dll give you plennymore chances to be imprest.

but i am imprest.

im sure you woulda been there if youd livd in

athens then, but remember— most people didnot. its easy to forget that
sometimes. your here now, thats what matters.

madis little speech made me feel kinda woozy, like
taylor and his nyquil.

but im not— here.

sure ya are madi  even if you dont plan to be here forever,

your here now.

well thats true.

soon as i admitted that, i felt light, like id shifted up a few inches.

it was scary, but i breathd in like a flowerout like a cloud

this is not a metaphor not a metafor 

you can be a flower  you can be a cloud

you already are