CAFFEINATED ROADRUNNING PART II STATE LIBRARY BOOGALOO By Daniel Messer

MUSICAL INTERLUDE FROM DAZED AND CONFUSED BY TONY NARRATOR My cohort and I finished the show at the White Tank Branch, barely managing to pull it off without incident. Which isn t to say there wasn t incident of course, but no one will miss that librarian for hours, and it ll take time for him to wake up and make his way out of the janitor s closet. We ll have been long gone by then. Suddenly, my friend was yanked aside by a beautiful woman from the State Library. Oh crap I thought to myself. The jig is up. We re caught. Screwed. Oh well, I always looked good in pink prison outfits. Perhaps accessorized with the right accouterments it could be fashionable. After all, there s always the prison library and fashioning shivs from toothbrushes. My friend sauntered over, his eyes glazed just like they were this morning. TONY She, uh, she wants us to come with her, man. I didn t know what to do! I just stood there and nodded, smiled, and she kept going on about how our show was funny, interesting, and I knew, I just knew she was going to ask about the librarian in the janitor s closet. But she wants us to do this, I mean, what we just did, this recording thing with the computers and stuff What I m saying is

DAN (loudly interrupting) OUT WITH IT, MAN! How long are we looking at? 5? Maybe 10 years? I mean, it wasn t aggravated assault. We ve never done anything really wrong. Some multiple felonies, sure, but we were very gentle when we shoved him into TONY No, that s not it. She wants us to come and do this thing at the State Library. (pregnant pause) DAN Do this show at the State Library? TONY (smiling) Yeah, man. DAN You mean, the State Library . In Phoenix? TONY It s the only one in the state. DAN So, what you re telling me is that we need to pack all of this up again. Then we need to put it back in the car again. And then we need to drive from the far Northwest Valley back to Phoenix again. And then do this show again at the State Library? TONY (irrationally excited) YEAH, MAN! ISN T THAT COOL?! We re gonna

DAN (angry) We re gonna need more caffeine, man! Good lord, I woke up at 3am to make this drive and now we have to do it again? I won t last! The vultures are already hovering, circling me like like (quietly) like vultures. TONY (relaxed) Oh, don t worry about that. I got your back. (reaching underneath table to get suitcase with briefcase) NARRATOR He lifted the table cloth which we used to hide the cables and most of our caffeinated sugar stash. Underneath was a large, ugly brown suitcase that looked older than the Nixon Administration. He pulled it from its hiding spot and popped the latches, opening it up to reveal yet another old briefcase inside. AD LIB THIS BIT ABOUT THE SUITCASE/BRIEFCASE DAN (in quiet awe) Is that TONY Yes it is. DAN But how did you TONY Dude, I know a guy who knows this guy whose cousin works for Pepsi. He hooked me up.

NARRATOR The insanity which lay before me in the ripped velvet interior of the briefcase only now began to fully wash over me. Pepsi Shiso, never made available outside Japan where they take their caffeine damn seriously, bucko. Its appearance, comparable only to anti-freeze in colour and taste, has been compared to mixing the caffeinated, carbonated sugary delight that is Pepsi Cola with industrial solvents. DAN (nodding) It s exactly what we ll need. NARRATOR We hit the road soon after, the mid-day sun beating down hard on the Buick as we roared down the 303 toward Interstate 10 and, ultimately, Phoenix. I was back at the wheel, and my colleague uncapped the fluorescent soda and passed it to me. I took a long swig, swished it around in my mouth, and swallowed it. Then I turned to face my passenger and I punched him right in the face. TONY (pissed) THE HECK!? WHAT D YOU DO THAT FOR? DAN Drink that, and you ll understand. NARRATOR He threw back the bottle and drank deeply. There was a moment, that calm before a nuclear test goes so horribly wrong, he inhaled and turned to me with tears in his eyes. TONY (blurting out, with despair) FORGIVE ME, FATHER, FOR I HAVE SINNED! NARRATOR I let him babble on until we hit Goodyear. In that time he confessed everything he d ever done, much of which I was familiar with since I was there when it happened. I wasn t aware of that

incident in Colorado though. I d have to speak to him about that at some point, but for now, I managed to calm him down. He began to take another drink and I slapped the bottle out of his hands. DAN (sternly) NO! Dammit, man! You have to know your limits! NARRATOR My rebuke was interrupted by the Buick. It kicked and started sputtering and a white smoke began to roll out from under the hood. I glanced at the GPS and got the local temperature, 109 degrees. Fairly mild as Phoenix goes, but it was obvious that the Buick was overheating and on its way to a breakdown. I forced it to the side of the road and turned on my hazards. Raising the hood, I got hit in the face with white steam, even hotter than the outside temperature. TONY Awww man Did you see what GOD just did to us? DAN Well, any ideas? We ve not a drop of water, and I m not walking to Avondale. No way we re going to make the State Library by this afternoon. This thing needs fluids and fast. TONY (sadly) I had some water in this bottle, but I used it to make coffee this morning. NARRATOR My compadre stood there a few minutes, regarding his empty bottle and the smoking radiator. A thought dawned on him and he turned to me. TONY What if we used the Pepsi? You know, put it in the radiator.

NARRATOR I considered his plan. It was irresponsible. It was dangerous. It would likely destroy the car and anything standing in its way after we laid down on the gas. We d be risking our lives much less the lives of anyone driving the 10 at this time of day. (pause) DAN Sounds good to me. I sure as hell don t want to drink that stuff. NARRATOR In seconds, we d opened the bottles and emptied them into the radiator, waiving away the clouds of steam and catching a contact high off the fumes. As I climbed back in the car I was sure I saw a giant lizard ride by on a Harley Davidson and my friend was talking to someone who wasn t there. I turned the key and the Buick fired up. We buckled in and I stepped on the gas. I remember I remember edging the car onto the Interstate. Of that much I m certain. We rolled south down the 10 towards Phoenix as the scenery began to melt and hurl by as if sprayed from a firehose. And behold, a man astride a pale horse appeared next to us, urging his mount to keep up with us. But after a time, he sadly shook his head, and faded into the distance behind. There was a scream and I looked around as the world came back into agonizing high definition. We were parked at the Carnegie Library in downtown Phoenix. The Buick had made it, or I thought it had. I still feel the confusion now that I felt then as I opened the door of the silver Buick and stepped out of a fluorescent green Peterbilt. But this was no time for questions. TONY How how did we get here? Did we Was that DAN Never mind that now! We ve got a show to do.

NARRATOR He shrugged, and picked up a couple of gear bags before we walked through the doors of the library. Setting up our stuff again, we sound checked and looked out at the assembled crowd of totally respectable librarians, so very unlike ourselves. I handed my friend a microphone. As he took it, I swear I heard the sound of hooves walking away behind me. I turned and nothing. So I sighed and faced the crowd and said: DAN Hi, my name is Dan and this is Tony and we re going to show you something about podcasting.