I’ve been living in the mountainous wild somewhere in the State of New York for over four months now with a newfound, thirtysomething, slacker-looking friend named Todd. I ran away from my pregnant wife after duplicitously making her spend all our money and bankrupting us. I now wear a plastic garbage bag over my threadbare boxer shorts.
Two days ago, Todd and I decided to leave for a “quest” which he has assured me will net us each millions in cash. Todd is a motivational speaker who ran away himself after getting down. He now feels refreshed and has asked me to join him on his latest big money endeavor.
This morning, we hitchhiked into Manhattan, heading for Todd’s mansion townhouse. In the backseat of the car, I asked Todd what this “quest” was all about. I did this between two major bouts of the giggles (we do this often, never knowing what we’re laughing about). The driver who picked us up kept giving us nervous, terrified looks.
TODD: For years, many of us in the motivational speaking and publishing industry--
ME (cutting him off): Wow, I’ve never heard you speak so eloquently and concisely before. For four months I thought you were a complete idiot and I hated you. I’m sorry.
TODD: I didn’t know that you hated me. That must have been a terrible feeling to carry around for all these months, freezing in your garbage bag. I’m sorry.
He reached out and we hugged each other then. Really hard. It felt freeing.
TODD: So… people in the motivational industry have long known of a message written thousands of years ago on a cave wall--
ME (interrupting): You know, during our four months together, I went to a cave once to pick out a rock to kill you with. I was just so annoyed with you. I think I was getting stir crazy. I’m sorry. Anyway, if I had known you were so informed about ancient messages on cave walls, I wouldn’t have thought you were worthless enough to murder with a rock.
TODD: Oh my God, and you held that in for four whole months. It must have crushed you.
ME: It did. It was unbearable, especially having to carry that rock around, waiting for the perfect opportunity to smash you with it.
TODD: Come here.
Todd took me into his arms and held me for a few minutes. It felt nice, just being quiet and nurtured.
TODD: Everyone wants to find this message in this cave so that they can publish a best-selling book. Legend says it can be found near Angoulême in western France, and that the message tells the truth about why we are here on this planet, what we are all meant to do with our lives and how to be happy. Forever.
ME: I tried to poison you once with pebbles and bark. I mixed them into your water canteen and waited all day for you to die, spying on you from behind trees and such.
TODD: I am so sorry. What a burden to have to hold onto. And all that waiting, that wasted time.
ME: I’m glad you finally realize that.
We hugged again, rocking each other back and forth for almost half an hour.
TODD: I plan on finding this message first and making it my next multi-million dollar success. I’m going to call it Le Message.
ME: Thank you for taking me on your quest. I still have that rock under my garbage bag as we speak but I swear I’m just saving it as a souvenir.
Todd took out his water canteen and put it to his lips for a drink, but then stopped.
TODD: Why is this rattling?
I wrestled the canteen from his grasp, rolled down the window and pitched it.
TODD: I think I’d like to have that rock that you’re hiding under your bag.
ME: On your head?