“Hey, so how many d—”
“Ninety days,” he said.
“How the fuck did you know what I was gonna ask you?” I said. “You haven’t eaten meat in ninety days?”
“Just my wife’s vagina.”
There was laughter.
“Hey dude! Umm, Why are you only wearing underwear, and why the fuck are you hanging out of my window?”
“Well, get back in bef—”
The sweat from the heat caused Steve to lose his grip. Just as I reached over to grab him he slipped and the wind caught him and he fell out of my moving car.
I snapped my head around and saw him bouncing and tumbling like a man-sized tennis ball down the street.
I stepped on the gas and took the first right turn I could.
“He’s gonna be fine. I wasn’t going that fast,” I said to myself.
I banged a u-turn and stopped at the light.
“C’mom, c’mon, gimme green. Fuck, man I hope he’s not dead. I had the one beer. They’re gonna think it’s my fault.”
The light turned green and I went left, drove a hundred feet. I pulled over fast to the right and double parked. Steve wasn’t in the street. I saw him sitting up against a palm tree as thick as a Smart Car in front of Bill’s Oil Lube. I sprinted across the street with my hands up in the air, halting traffic on both sides. Cars honked.
“Dude, are you ok?” I asked
“I don’t know,” he said. “The hearts on the left side, right?”
He was rubbing his left thigh. His face was pale and clammy.
“Why? Does your chest hurt?”
I knelt down to get a closer look.
“OH GOD!” I said as I turned my head away and closed my eyes.
“What’s wrong? Is it bad?”
His eyes were as wide and as white as golf balls.
“What the fuck! Where did your underwear go? Jeezy Christmas!”
They must have been torn away in the fall. I took off my shirt and threw it over his man parts. He didn’t look too bad considering he had just fallen out of my car at 25 miles per hour wearing only his boxers. Some road rash on his shoulders and thighs, a little on his back. Nothing on his face or head.
“Is my penis ok?” he asked.
He was sweating profusely and breathing heavy.
“Your penis is fine. You only lost a few inches.”
“I’m kidding. Relax, I’m gonna get you some help. Just keep yourself covered up, please. This is embarrassing.”
I pulled my phone out of my pocket and stood up. There was a guy on his cellphone in front of the Kabob shop the next building over. He was staring at us like we were two guys reading the Sunday Times. I was about to ask him if he was calling 9-1-1 when I heard his conversation.
“Nah, let’s go somewhere else. They have no idea how to make a latte there,” he said to the phone in a shitty foreign accent.
“Really, asshole! You see my friend’s bleeding out of his ass here and you’re on a fucking social call?”
“Fuuuck youuu! You’re the one who drove away. I was the one helped him out of the street. His goddamned penis touched my leg.”
Then he walked back into the Kabob shop.
“Fuck you!” I said.
I went back over to Steve.
“How are you feeling?”
“Dude, are you sure my penis is ok?”
“Well, I’m not gonna look again. I’m sure it’s fine. Forget about your ding dong for a second. How do you feel otherwise?”
“I feel weird…Hey, can you tell my wife and kids that I love them.”
“Don’t start that shit. You’re gonna be fine. You can tell them yourself.”
“Please, just tell them how much I love them, Jake. Please.”
He was choked up.
“Stop! Stop that shit right now.”
He looked scared.
“Here, I’ll take a video and you can tell them yourself if it makes you feel better.”
I held up my phone and hit the red button.
“Ok, go,” I said.
He started to tear up.
Steve’s an actor, lives in Hollywood. He came down to San Diego for the weekend. He’s one of my two best friends.
“Dude, knock that shit off. You’re gonna be fine. We don’t have time for this. Yes, I’ll tell your family how much you love them, yes, I’ll make sure your kids have a positive role model around, and that they’ll go to college or whatever, and yes, I will definitely do sex with your wife if you die.”
“Package deal, pal.”
“Think about the kids.”
“She’s gonna need a man around, Steve.”
“What, you’d rather someone else fuck her?”
“Yes! I mean, no. I don’t want anyone to fuck my wife.”
“9-1-1, whats your emergency?” the lady answered with a cracked, shaky voice, like it was her first call…ever.
“Hi, yeah, my friend ahh, fell out of a moving car cuz he’s a fucking idiot,” I said.
“Who was driving, sir?”
“Is that relevant?”
She typed something.
“Don’t type that.”
“Is your friend conscious?”
“Yes, but I think he’s a little dumber now.”
“Ok, don’t move him. Where does he feel pain?”
“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna touch him, he’s naked.”
I turned to Steve.
“My legs, my elbow, my sides.”
I put the phone to my chest to muffle our conversation.
“Yeah, well if you die my ass is gonna hurt. I’ll get fucked. Don’t. Fucking. Die.”
I pulled the phone away from my chest.
“Everything but his head he says,” I said to the operator. “That’s important to him, he’s an actor.”
“What’s the address of the accident?”
I looked up at the Bill’s Oil Lube sign. Bill and a couple of his employees were standing outside staring and whispering.
“What’s the matter? Never seen a naked man covered in blood being consoled by another man before…fuckers. Yeah, thanks for the help, assholes,” I said to them, then continued to the operator. “It’s 101 El Camino, Encinitas. Right in front of Bill’s Oil Lube. But I wouldn’t recommend an oil change from these useless pricks. Their customer service sucks.”
I turned back toward Bill and his gang of monkeys and backhanded the air.
“Go the fuck back inside.”
“Sir, try to remain calm,” said the operator.
“I’m calm. But my friend here is really worried about his big, dumb, penis. He may have to switch to a vagina. If I put him on the phone with you, can you please tell him that those are cool too.”
“He could afford to lose a few inches anyway.” I gave Steve the middle finger, then continued. “It’s like two coke cans stacked on top of each other. Lucky bastard!”
“Sir, have you been drinking?”
She sighed and typed something on the other end.
“Wait, what are you typing now?”
“Are his eyes dilated?”
I put my hand under his chin and tilted his face to look at mine.
“Let me see your eyes.”
“Yeah, his eyes are still super dreamy,” I said to the operator.
She laughed this time.
“Dude, stop fucking around. I’m dying here.”
“You’re not dying.”
“Just kidding, yeah his pupils look pretty big too,” I said to the operator.
“Ok, just hang tight. I mean, just relax. An ambulance is on the way. Does he know what day it is?”
I turned to Steve.
“You know what day it is?”
“Yeah, the day I’m going to die.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” I said, as I rolled my eyes.
“It’s Saturday,” he said.
“Yeah, he’s good. Just a little sad; he’s got a little gay on him,” I said to the operator.
She started to speak, then laughed again, then typed something.
“So, you said your friend’s an actor. He been in anything I’ve seen?”
I turned to Steve.
“The operator wants to know if you’ve been in anything she might have seen.”
I put the phone back to my ear before he could respond.
“Do you watch gay porn?” I asked her.
She laughed again. So did Steve. Then the ambulance arrived.
Two days later I was in the hospital lounge waiting to go see Steve. His parents, sister, and brother—my other best friend, Ash—had come out from Virginia to be with him. He was pretty banged up. He had a broken femur, a broken elbow, two broken ribs, a fractured collarbone and a bunch of road rash. No internal bleeding though, and no head injuries. A nurse approached me.
“You can go in now but I don’t know if you want to. They don’t seem too happy with you,” she said.
“What the fuck did I do?” I asked.
She held her hands up and walked away lazily.
“Oh, that’s great! Thanks for the support Nurse Jackie. I only saved the guys life. Where you goin? Raid the pill station?”
I went to room 201 and opened the door. All heads turned. Steve and Ash’s mother and sister were looking at me with devil-red in their eyes, hands on their hips. Steve’s dad looked more concerned. I walked in and hugged Ash.
“My mother’s pissed at you,” Ash whispered in my ear.
Then I gave Steve’s wife, Andrea, a hug.
“Thanks for taking care of my husband, Dip-shit. You know if he would have died I would’ve cut your balls off, right?” she whispered and smiled as she pinched my arm.
Steve was laying in his bed, covers up to his chest, partially sedated. He looked ok though. I was relieved. I leaned over the side of the bed.
“Hey, buddy,” I said.
“Hey,” he said.
“I’m really glad you’re ok.”
I put my right hand on the side of his face and gazed into his eyes like a father to a son. He looked at me with gratefulness in his. There was a moment of silence.
“Ok, fine I’ll kiss you…But not on the pee-pee,” I said.
Everyone laughed quietly except for the mom and the sister. Steve’s dad covered his eyes in his right hand in a show of what I can only imagine was disgust.
I leaned in and kissed Steve on the forehead.
“I’m sorry they had to amputate half your penis. You look so much like your brother now.”
I shot Ash a smile and the middle finger. Ash flipped me off. Andrea and Steve laughed.
“You think this is funny?” asked Steve’s mom.
“Mom, c’mon,” said Ash and Steve simultaneously.
Andrea went over to console her.
“It’s ok Arlene.”
“No, I wont c’mon. And it’s not ok. My son almost died and you’re making jokes. Just like you did on the 9-1-1 call. I heard you were telling the operator about his movie career, and that he was a gay porn star. My son is not a gay porn star.”
Mrs. Zempe was shaking with anger. Steve’s dad turned away to look out the window. I turned to Steve.
“Dude, you fucking told her that?”
He had the look of someone that wanted to leave the room. I turned around very calmly, looked at Steve’s mom, dad, and sister, their arms now all folded.
“Listen, I just saved your son’s life. How about a Thank You?”
“You’re not taking this seriously,” said Steve’s mom.
“Look, your son thought he was going to die. And to be honest with you, I wasn’t so sure either…”
Steve shot me a look. I continued.
“…But he was scared, he was nervous. I was scared too, but I figured I needed to stay calm for the both of us.”
I turned toward Andrea.
“He was really worried about his penis, by the way.”
She smiled and muffled a laugh. I turned back toward Steve’s mom to continue.
“He thought he was going to die for chrissakes. I love your son like he’s my own brother, Mrs. Zempe. And I apologize that it’s not in my nature to take shit seriously. I can’t help it. I’m immature. All due respect.”
Steve’s mom was so frustrated that she said nothing and walked out of the room. The sister followed her. The dad stayed.
“Mr. Zempe, I’m sorry, I didn’t me—”
“Did you really say that to the 9-1-1 operator?” he asked.
“Uh, yeah, I thought maybe it would lighten things up. It was stupid, I know.”
He walked up to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and started laughing.