then, at the eleventh hour, i received a hurried phone call from darren via a cell phone with a waning battery charge. his keys had gone missing in action at some point during his trip to portland and Beth the Unemployed was launched on a mission. it was a mission to take place by crisscrossing this half of the dfw metroplex before, during, and after rush hour traffic. it was going to be a tight fit, but i wasn't giving up.
i informed NJ of his required assignment, attempted to dodge the hobo gatorade lady, and made my way without much incidence to darren's home to retrieve the car keys.
it was at this point i realized i hadn't mapped out a direct route from darren's to the airport. so i took a chance and really fucked it up, but still managed to stroll into the baggage claim area approximately 30 seconds ahead of an early-arriving darren. we crammed in five minutes of conversation, he gave me three lavender-laced bars of thank-you soap from the portland airport, and i was off again. this time, i took even longer to reach my destination as i attempted to dodge an undue amount of traffic, inadvertently drive all the way back up from whence i came, and locate a highway i didn't even know existed.
i stumbled into a darkened theater just as the projector was coming up to see i had given far too much credit to the anticipated size of the audience and apologized to NJ for having him arrive a half hour early as the first and only person in line.
we drank beer, gazed at the young faces of chevy chase and bill murray, laughed at the ever-present hideous pants on the main character, and fought off the un-heated air under a coat... if you know what i mean.
as NJ was walking me back to my car and saying his goodbye's, i noticed something awry the closer we approached. i had, as i was later informed, become the first victim of the Magnet Liberation Front (the founding Dallas branch).