Returnin from Chicago, 7.28.2001

by J Randall and R Wisdom

Two young men are headed north on I-55 in a brilliant blue, sleek Pontiax Grand Am. The String Cheese Incident are playing on the car stereo. It is summertime. It’s hot out. The AC is on. It’s late morning.

R: Now every time I come up on these fucking bridges I think there’s a cop—that, there was one right there and I didn’t even see him! I was totally screened by these guys, didn’t even

J: Wow

R: See that cop sittin there. What the fuck, man?

J: What happened to 55?

R: What happened to 55? It used to be the Autobahn, man.

J: Ohh. This sucks, man. We could switch to 57.

R: That’s longer, though.

J: Well, we might be able ta do it in less time, though.

R: Yeah. And, this road is in such shoddy condition. I’m doin 69. Now, 69 is my desired speed when I’m under the influence, ya know? Cause it’s four miles over the speed limit, but no cop’s gonna pull me over for that so I can just set it on cruise and go by cops and not even care. But, I mean, it’s definitely not my ideal speed in general. I’d rather be doin’, y/k, seventy.

J: If the speed limit’s 65?

R: If the speed limit’s 65 I’ll be doin 80, y/k? 80! Like, cause that’s the perfect speed. 80 miles an hour.

J: Yeah

R: And when you don’t have to worry about cops, 80 is so chill. And 55 is just the perfect interstate for that because you can see forever. So, a cop can’t really catch up to you, y/k, y/k? They can’t really catch you. But now you know they’re around so you’re always so cautious, slowin’ down—it’s just ruining the drive.

J: Yeah

R: I guess…

J: I think the drivers have to unite and, ah, really get into flashing the lights. Cause I love it when people flash their lights at me when there’s a cop up ahead. I’m like, “Yeahh.” Y/k?

R: Yeah

J: But, I don’t ever do it. I, I always forget.

R: Yeah.

J: I think I’m always so scared of, or so frightened after seeing the cop that I don’t, y/k, that’s all I’m thinkin’ about.

R: Yeah. Yeah: cause you’re like, “Is he comin?”

J: I mean, y/k, when when when we just passed that cop we talked about passing the cop after

R: when you

J: we passed him

R: when you look in the fuckin mirror

J: Heh-heh

R: And you see if he stays

J: Yeah

R: there

J: Yeah

R: Buy you’re movin

J: yeah

R: and you can’t tell if he’s stayin there

J: Hah-eh.

R: And you’re like, “Is he —is he comin? is he comin?

J: Yeah.

R: Oh god, yeah. I hate that. Highway fuzz. Heh.

J: …highway fuzz. Fuck, man, that cop is right there?

R: And I’ve been gettin’ my ass passed, ever since we left. Granny Wisdom’s back on the road.

J: We’ve seen, what? Two cops?

R: Yeah. On the drive so far?

J: We should have counted how many we saw on the way up here?

R: [Coughs]

J: Estimate: how many do you think we saw on the way up here? Like, eight? Nine?

R: Did we?

J: You think there was more or less?

R: I guess that’s about right. It’s just that I kind of forgot that it was that many because I wasn’t speedin so I really wasn’t worried about it, y/k? They’re here to stay, John. That’s the problem. That’s the most disheartening part about it.

J: Yeah.

R: Is the days of worry-free speeding are OVER! You have these fuckin helicopters goin, those damn, like, lights? Where, if you run a red light you can get a ticket and they don’t even have to have a cop around.

J: Yeh.

R: God! You just cannot break the L-A-W [starts to laugh, breaking it up; R at his best] anymore. Big Brother is always watchin.

J: How do the red light things work?

R: They have cameras on the light, and then at the side. And when the light goes red, it trips this camera that if, and if something goes through it, it takes a picture of their license plate and it sends you a ticket in the mail—with a picture.

J: Ok.

R: But they’re gettin challenged big-time, and the courts might throw ’em out, like the

J: Really?

R: Yeah

J: How can

R: cause

J: How can they challenge them?

R: Because they’re findin a lot of ’em, ah, aren’t efficient. Like, they’ll give you a ticket when you’re innocent.

J: Oh, really.

R: And if it does that to even, like, 20% of the people, unless they can fix that, they have to be removed.

J: Yeah

R: Because, I mean, if it happens enough then everybody can say they, that it was because of a malfunction or something. And all of ’em’ll win.

J: [nasal exhale laugh]

R: You know what I’m sayin?

J: Yeah…Yeah.

R: Look at this hazy-ass day we’re havin.

J: Yeah, it’s really nasty.

R: I mean, it looks cool as hell but then when you think that you’re in it, it’s like, “Damn.”

J: Yeah, what the hell is this haze?

R: Fuckin…fog. It’s humid-y fog. What’s a word for th—let’s think of word for humid fog.

J: yeah…there is…a word for it. One of the things I wrote about is…

R: Hu-fog. That’s what it’s called, hu-fog. But it’s h-u-e.

J: Not h-u-w?

R: No, not h-u-w, because people’ll think you’re bein all scientific with h-u-e because that’s the kind of shit you adjust on your TV. No one knows what hue is.

J: H-u-e?

R: Jyeah-ahh

J: What about h-u-g-u — h-u-g-h? Hugh

R: It’s not a person!

J: Fog! Ha-hahh. Hugh Fog is a great name. Man…

R: That’d be a great weathercaster name.

J: Yeahh! Ha-ha-ha-ha.

R: Hugh Fog. Hugh Fog.

J: That w—should be the name of the, ah, weathercaster on “The Simpsons”, that would be a great “Simpsons” character.

R: Yeah. It would.

J: Get, like, Norm MacDonald or somebody to do it. Phil Hartman…

R: That’s when the show took its tumble.

J: Fuck, man.

R: We lost one of the greatest comedy

J: Phil, Phil Hartman I think has proved that he’s been more valuable than like, ah…ah…Chris Farley.

R: Oh, yeah.

J: Ya know?

R: It’s just that Phil Hartman is one of the most, like, gifted comedians ever, y/k?

J: Yeah.

R: He’s genius.

J: Yeah, Phil Hartman was great…. Who else, who else died besides Farley? Didn’t someone else die?

R: Belushi.

J: Yeah, I guess I was thinkin of someone else.

R: Gilda Radner died of cancer.

J: Yeah. What do you think about, ah…Phil Hartman or Mike Myers?

R: See, that’s tough.

J: That is tough.

R: Because Mike Myers is a different kind of funny.

J: Yeah. Definitely. So that, that’s not a choice you would

R: I would choose, I would choose

J: not want to make

R: Mike Myers’ movies.

J: Yeah.

R: Y/k?

J: Well, Phil Hartman didn’t really do any movies, did he?

R: Yeah, well he did that one with Sinbad.

J: Really?

R: Yeah, it was, like, about a dentist. I don’t know, I only saw the first half hour of it. It was…

J: Sinbad, I mean…

R: It’d be alright if Sinbad wasn’t in it.

J: Aw!

R: I just never think he’s that funny.

J: Sinbad sucks.

R: He’s such a sore…on my eyes.

J: Yeah

R: He always wears the loudest stuff he can think of. It’s never like cool, or it’s always just so god-awful ugly.

J: What was Sinbad on? How did Sinbad get into the business?

R: [laughing] I think Cosby broke him in.

J: Ohh…was he on “In Living Color”?

R: No. He was on that spin-off of “The Cosby Show” that had Lisa Bonet, or Benet? ‘Member which one I’m talkin about? It was on right after the “Cosby”s when the “Cosby”s were like, in the last couple years of the run, y/k?

J: Oh.

R: And it was just a spin off. Like, she was the same character in it. I think he ws in that. He was in somethin else, too. You see that trailer? Like, that 80-foot trailer is packed so full.

J: Yeah

R: They had to put those last four things on the outside [cracks up]

J: I didn’t even look, I didn’t see it.

R: It was, like, did you see that thing that was on the end of the truck?

J: Not really.

R: It was, like, a table, you could tell it was like a table and a chair, y/k? With cloth over it? And then it was just tied to the fuckin door. We’re gonna go past Pocahontas.

[Something visual happens here, like I give Ray a strange look]

R: What? What?

J: You might have just barely missed a bird.

R: Oh, fuck! I thought you were talking about somethin important: like a cop.

J: No

R: Hah-ah. I didn’t see it, so I didn’t kill it.

J: If it made it, it was bang-bang. I mean, kuh-loce.

R: From behind or in front?

J: Close! I wish I had something like that on videotape, man.

R: What was the trajectory of it?

J: It was comin like, like that [moving his arms, with a finger pointing]

R: And it w— it almost hit the front of my car?

J: Yeah

R: Wow. Damn. You got all goofy on me, I’m like, “What the hell?!”

J: Yeah. The other day I saw about thirty crows on the side of the street. That’s crazy, I don’t care what anybody says.

R: Yeah. Birds are the freakiest, man.

J: Yeah

R: The ones that just sit around.

J: I’d like to get into crows. I don’t think anybody’s studied crows. Get into crow psychology. Tag ’em and see what they do.

R: It’d be hard to keep up with crows, man. I think they have a pretty big, ah, area.

J: Eh…yeah, I think…

R: But, I mean, that would be sometthin to figure out: how big their range is. [Starts to laugh at something] Ah-ha! Did you read those?

J: Naw, I didn’t get all of it.

R: “A woman alone deters” something…I don’t know…”deterrence is a requirement…” And it said, what was the third one? “Protect, protect yourself or some—”

J: “A woman alone”

R: Yeah. Deterrence

J: is a

R: is a requirment. Then there was a third one which I don’t remember, but then it was like, “Gunssavelives.com.”

J: Better than a phone…a-ha! [high-pitched squawk]

R: Better than a phone.

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