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Twenty Two More Minutes

6:23 p.m.

It's gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never have

I had my 'Best of the 80's Playlist' still cranking and was crooning to the amazing melodic tones of ToTo when the Wicked Witch of the West interrupted what might be one of the best non-Journey songs of the decade.

"I'll get you my pretty! I'll get you my pretty! I'll--"




"Where are you?"

"I'm stuck in traffic."

"What's all that noise?"

The pan flute was vibrating my seat. "It's Africa!"

"You're in Africa?"

"No dumb fuck, the group Africa!"

"Ohhhhh. Well, we're at the airport waiting for you."

I ran my hand over my chin. My beard was growing pretty well even though it was driving me nuts. I had this great vision that all five of us would grow some awesome beards and go all Beatles for our album cover. I mean the Beatles were and still are legendary and after twenty years we were too, right?

"Brian, I'm like stuck in the fifth ring of hell traffic," I said, reluctantly turning down Toto. "I think I'mma gonna miss the flight."

"He's gonna miss the flight."

I knew that he was telling Kev. I didn't even have to be there and yet I could see him stepping from foot to foot like a kid that had just ate a whole bag of KitKats, making an 'I'm just the messenger' face as he uttered the words.

"What do you mean he's going to miss the flight? Let me talk to him--"

"I can't. This is Leighanne's phone and--"


Even though it was low, Toto faded into Billy Joel.

North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe,
Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye"
Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen,
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

"Hey Kev," I said, adding a lot of regret and pathetic-ness into my voice. "I got my shirt and I hopped on 5 but I got into this wicked traffic jam and--"

"Use the carpool lane."


"You heard me."

"You want me to break the law?"

There was a pause. "Yes."

I grinned. I could see Kevin, turning just in time to keep out of reach of Brian's hands trying to get the cell back all the while debating on whether or not to tell me, a natural rule-breaker, to break the law.

"As enticing as that sounds," I did a head bob as the 'and on, and on, and on' part of We Didn't Start the Fire came on. "I can't even get to the carpool lane. That's packed too. Probably a whole buncha lactating moms choking from the smell of poopy diapers."

"Lactating moms?"

"Is he talking about Rochelle?"

Brian's voice sounded awfully close to the phone. Kevin musta been losing the twirling game.

"Whatever you haveta do, you need to be here in ninety minutes. Got it? NINETY minutes."

I looked at the clock. 6:45. The Sonata seemed to have gone backwards, the bumper really close to my front end. There was no way in hell.

"No problem," I lied.

"See ya in ninety."

I hung up before he could add some sort of threat. I glanced at my reflection in the rear view mirror. The old dude behind me was eating a Fiber One bar. I really hoped the wind wouldn't shift for the worse in the next half hour. I scratched at some of my uber long chin hairs.

The beard idea was full of win.