“Hey Mandy, it’s Max calling. Jameson and I are headed downtown.”
Jameson closed his eyes for a second, and exhaled loudly.
“Yeah. I’m with Jameson right now. We’re. No. I was going to. Just—”
Max muted his phone.
“She won’t stop talking. Hang on,” he told Jameson.
“Just let her go man…if the three of us hang out together, the universe might implode.”
“It’ll be fine dude,” Max reassured, as he unmuted his phone.
“Mandy. Mandy! Slow down…I can’t understand what you’re saying!”
Jameson could hear chatter coming from the other end of Max’s phone for a couple minutes as he drove down the interstate. Max remained quiet, listening to Mandy’s words flying at him as if shot out of a tommy gun, as he analyzed his appearance in the mirror attached to the sun visor. His hair was properly hair sprayed, his teeth were sufficiently brushed, and there weren’t any nose hairs to speak of he decided.
“You’re talking about wanting me to invest in that? How much do you want?” Max finally cut-in with.
Jameson looked over at Max with a mild smirk.
“Max, you’re not seriously thinking of—”
“Yeah I could probably come up with sixty grand.”
Jameson’s eyebrows scrunched down as he peered at Max, gauging if he was serious.
“I’m guessing Bipolar Man could scrape some money together too…I’ll ask,” Max said, as he looked over at Jameson.
“Max. Are you fucking kidding me?” Jameson quietly shot back.
Max and Jameson looked at each other, silently, for a few seconds.
“He said he wants to think about it Mandy. I’ll talk to him more about it tonight.”
Jameson rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“Ok…sounds good Mandy. Call me later if you want to meet up. I’ll wire you the money tomorrow; I just have to liquidate a few things.”
“Max,” Jameson started. “Do you think that’s such a good idea?”
Max ignored Jameson’s voice of reason.
“No, it’s cool Mandy. If you need more money later, I can probably borrow against my house…let me know. I gotta go…talk to you later.”
Max hung up the phone, and looked at Jameson with wide open eyes and a grin from ear to ear.
“Do I even want to know?” Jameson said, hesitantly.
“It’s actually not a bad idea dude. She’s gonna start a driving school for toddlers, so when they grow up, they’ll already know how to drive.”
Jameson paused for a second as he thought.
“How the hell are toddlers going to drive the cars?”
“They’ll just use those little toddler cars and shit.”
Jameson thought for a few more seconds.
“By the time toddlers are driving, cars will be fully automated though, right? Like won’t it be totally different by then?
“Mandy was talking about that…she said it won’t matter for two reasons. First, not everyone will be able to afford that shit in the future. Second, parents are so worried about every little thing that they’ll think it’s a good investment right now.”
“Isn’t that taking advantage of the parents a little bit?”
“Like playing off their fears. Using that to make money.”
“Fuck man, I don’t know. Isn’t that what business is…just convincing people to buy your shit?”
“Yeah I guess,” Jameson conceded, as he began to lose interest.
“Sounds like a good idea, right? Max asked excitedly, as he smiled and nodded.
“Not really, to be honest.”
“I think it is. Like nobody else does that shit. This is it man…you gotta strike while the iron’s hot!”
“What the hell does Mandy need sixty grand for? That seems like an aggressive amount of money for that. Like what all do you have to spend money on? Toddler cars?”
“Tons of shit. Cars, space, an office, marketing, teachers. Plus, she wants to install fully-enclosed cockpits in the toddler cars with safety harnesses.”
Jameson turned his head and glanced at Max with the side of his eye.
“Those cars go like three miles an hour. Why do you need safety harnesses?”
“You don’t…but parents these days are worried about everything…we could probably charge more for that.”
Jameson shook his head.
“So, what do you think? Mr. Bipolar Man…you want in on that action?”
“I don’t know man. Let me think about it.”
“Does that mean you want me to let it go for now, and not bring it up again because you don’t wanna say no?”
“Yeah. But I mean…ask me later, just in case I change my mind.”
“You know you’re not gonna change your mind. Just say no.”
“Just ask me later,” Jameson declared.
“Whatever man. Your loss. Hey, can you pull off at this exit? There’s a gas station off to the right and I want to grab some smokes.”
“You’re smoking now?”
“Yeah I’m trying it out.”
“When did that start?”
“Tonight. I feel like ripping through a few packs of darts.”
Jameson veered right and coasted up the exit ramp, then turned right toward the gas station.
“I’ll fill your tank…that’s the least I can do for you driving me around all night.”
“Is that what I’m doing…driving you around all night?” Jameson inquired, with mild frustration.
“I’m going to get completely tea-kettled tonight…to celebrate quitting my job! You don’t drink. I figured you could keep an eye on me; make sure I don’t do anything stupid.”
“Yeah, sounds like a realistic job.” Jameson said, as he laughed. “Wait…did you really quit your job?”
“You know it. Last week.” Max laughed, as he handed Jameson his credit card.
“Weren’t you making like 200 grand?”
“What did you wife say about that?”
“She already hated me.”
“Here, fill the tank with this. I’ll run in quick.”
Max opened the door, jumped out, and ran toward the building. Jameson looked at the gas gauge, saw the needle was already just about on full already, closed his eyes, and shook his head.
“Things are looking promising for Bipolar Man tonight,” Jameson mumbled to himself.
“God. What did I get myself into here? I’m going to duck out early. I’m just gonna tell him I gotta go after a couple hours.”
Jameson checked his phone. He looked up and saw Max through the gas station’s front window. Max was typing something into his phone as he talked to the girl behind the counter, then pointed outside at the car.
“What the hell are you doing now Max?” Jameson mumbled, as he shook his head and turned the key to start the car.
Max swiped his credit card, grabbed a few things off the counter, and walked out the door toward the car. Jameson pulled the car forward and stopped next to Max.
“You getting that chick’s number or what?” Jameson joked.
“Well I was going to, but then I just gave her yours. She might meet up with us later.”
“Why did you give her mine?” Jameson asked, wearing a confused expression on his face.
“I don’t want her knowing my number. What if she’s some crazy chick?”
Jameson stared at Max for a few seconds, waiting for him to say he was joking.
“What? It’s more believable. Just tell Kit you were manic and gave some girl your number if she calls or whatever.”
“What are you talking about? What does that have to do with her being crazy?” Jameson inquired.
“I figured since you’re bipolar…you know how to deal with that crazy shit.”
“Yeah. You figured you don’t want your wife knowing you’re hitting on girls.”
“Well she’s already suspicious…ever since I started going by Midlife Crisis Max, she’s all up in my business.”
“That’s bullshit. She’s totally out of line,” Jameson said, sarcastically.
“I know right?” Max replied.
Jameson rolled his eyes as he drove, while Max scratched off a handful of lottery tickets he had just purchased.
“Where is this place we’re going Max?”
“It’s like two blocks east of Men-Tal University. That club…Frisky McWhisker’s. That’s where the college talent hangs out.”
“Sounds fun dude…a couple of thirty-five-year-old creeps lurking at the college club.”
“It’s cool…I met some chick on Tinder who goes to college there; she’s coming with. We can mix ourselves in through her.”
“I don’t like it. I don’t wanna go. I’m turning around,” Jameson tried.
“Fine. You bail on your buddy…not be a team player…go ahead. Go home,” Max shot back.
Jameson clenched his teeth as he felt his chest constricting with anxiety.
“Max…you owe me for this. But, if you get me stuck in some bullshit situation, don’t think I won’t leave your ass.”
“Deal.” Max said, as he patted Jameson on the shoulder.
“What’s your Tinder girlfriend’s name?” Jameson joked.
“She calls herself Existential Erica. I told her we would pick her up at her dorm.”
“The dorms? Unreal,” Jameson said, as he shook his head and aggressively rubbed his eyebrows with his right hand.