Dancing with Earthquakes
LOS ANGELES —If you are a single young woman in an urban community, you know how difficult that can be. Especially if you were just laid off from your only job, found an eviction notice on your door after violating your lease agreement by allowing a friend (several actually) to stay with you to help them get back on their feet, and now you’re five months pregnant, (well, nine) by a man who beat you for months and then left you for another woman after finding out you were having his baby, and you have no family members who care enough to have your back.
“Oh, well,” you mutter, after leaving the bank, where you just cashed your last paycheck. “It could always be worse.”
"Give up your money, ya stupid pregnant chick," a male voice growls.
You turn around, seeing a man in dark glasses and a Del Taco baseball cap leaning out of the window of a beat-up Cadillac Coupedeville, pointing a revolver in your direction.
“Uh,” you look behind you, and back at the gunman. “Yer talkin’ to me, right?”
“Of course,” he says. “Otherwise, why else would be like, 'Give up your money, ya stupid pregnant chick'?"
“Oh, right. My bad." You reach for your purse. “But how do I know that this isn’t some sort of prank, or a mere dream?”
“Well,” the robber says, “would this happen in a mere dream?”
He fires the gun at your feet, forcing you to dance around as he and his partner, whose face is distorted by his pantyhouse mask, laughs, making his expressions even more grotesque, while a few people at the nearby Starbucks observe.
A guy sitting at one of the outside tables says on his cell phone, “Hey, Brian! Check out this picture of this stupid pregnant lady getting robbed and doing the Running Man.”
Everyone's cell phones start smoking as massive text button-clicking resounds. On someone's laptop screensaver, you see a photo of yourself breakdancing.
"Okay, okay, okay,” you tell the robbers, panting at the end of The Charleston. “Ya got me there. I get it."
“Good." Del Taco trains the revolver on your pregnant belly. "Now hand over your money.”
“You cowards,” you say. “You won’t dare fight a pregnant woman without any weapons?”
“Nope,” Del Taco says, grinning proudly as he pulls back the
"Okay, okay, okay," you say, quickly removing the handle of your purse from around your shoulder.
As you start to hand over the purse, you believe that you're doing the right thing. After all, it’s not about only you anymore, it’s also about whoever is in that oven. And besides, your life is bad anyway. That's why you should stop being such a selfish mother. Be an example to yourself and this child, who after all, may pop out any moment. Right?
“GIVE THAT BACK!” you shriek, struggling, as Del Taco yanks at your purse. “I WORKED SO HARD FOR THIS MONEY, IT’S MY LAST PAYCHECK, I NEED IT FOR ME AND MY BABY, YA BIG FAT —”
Del Taco tries to wrench your purse from around your shoulder, tangling with you in broad daylight, as cars, (some of them patrol ones), pass by, right in front of the bank and its numerous customers.
Del Taco manages to free your purse strap from around your neck as he yanks you towards the Caddy, whose engine roars with a vengeance as it jerks forward on the pavement. You hear the gun go off a few times, miraculously missing you as the gun drops away and clatters into a nearby gutter.
Panty Hose steps on the gas, and you begin to run with the moving vehicle.
“Ya big baboon!" you shout. "YA BIG FAT NASTY PILE OF...uh, did you guys turn on the radio?” you ask, as for some reason, the opening lyrics of "Eye of the Tiger," by Survivor, begins to blare.
“Why, no," Del Taco says, scratching his head. "Our radio is busted."
"Hmmmmm...." Pantyhose says. "I wonder why this powerful and thrilling song would suddenly start playing by sheer and utter coincidence." The three of you look completely befuddled, then shrug, going, "Ehhhhh," and continue fighting.
You begin to run with the moving car until you are no longer able to keep pace with its speed and eventually allow it to drag you along, holding on to your purse with all your might. As the front of your jeans start to shred, Del Taco shouts to his partner, “This girl is crazy, maybe we should just forget it.”
“Not so fast,” Panty Hose says. “Let’s try the ”˜snake’ maneuver.”
“Really? Cool! The snake maneuver!” Del Taco shouts. “My favorite maneuver in the whole wide world. Woooooooooooo! Ho, HO!" He rubs his chin. "What IS the snake maneuver?”
“THIS maneuver.” Panty Hose speeds through the highway in a side-to-side motion, apparently attempting to bang you into things.
"Oh. Okay. Very original,” you say, rolling your eyes.
“Actually, our car radio just suddenly started working,” Panty Hose says proudly, as cars attempt to move out of the way of his maniacal driving.
“Really? Great. I won't even get into why it mysteriously decided to play this song then," you say, "because it happens to be one of my favorites.”
“Really?" Del Taco shouts. "Mine too!”
“Well, turn it up then," you encourage.
As you enjoy the new theme music for this scene, your jeans attempt to survive the 20th mile of the escapade, and your unborn little one seems to enjoy it, judging from the numerous back flips and cart wheels and occasional parkour-style boogies, while for some reason, you utter, “Must, recover, money. Find, way, out of this”¦shout...for”¦HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALP!" causing Panty Hose to jump as he hands Del Taco his gun, which he nearly drops.
Del Taco prepares to shoot you as you shriek, "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!" He pulls back the hammer, and you screech, "HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALP!" again. He rubs his face in exasperation as you shriek, "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! HAAAAAAAAAALP!" even more, and after he points the gun at you, you all crash into a waiting perimeter.
Five minutes later, you hold your newborn in your arms, saying, “Hmmmm”¦giving birth to you was so much easier than I thought...at any rate, I am so glad we are rid of those losers,” as the police take the robbers into the waiting police cars. “Heh-heh. Good for them. Neener, neener, neener," you chant.
“Not so fast, Miss Lady," the officers say, taking your baby away to hand over to some nearby social workers with the children's protective services. "You, too, are under arrest." They slap handcuffs on your wrists.
“But-but-but-but-but-but-but-but —" you say, "What did I do?”
“You are being arrested for child endangerment."
“But the robbers are the ones that started it,” you insist, as the cops throw you into the back of a police van with your two assailants, handcuffing you to the bench across from theirs. “And besides, what law says that I was doing child endangerment when my child was not even yet born?”
"Well," the sergeant says, “I will have you know, that it's under California Penal Code Number”¦number...uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...." he looks around nervously. "Bye now." He slams the door in your face.
Alone with the two robbers, you grin. “Well. I have to say, this was certainly one heck of a thrill ride.”
“Great, glad you enjoyed it,” Del Taco says, pulling a knife on you, which he had used to unlock his cuffs. “Just curious”¦don’t you think you could’ve stood a better chance of defeating us if you weren’t narrating to yourself, and us, everything that was happening, including your own actions —in every other sentence?”
“Hmmmmm”¦” you say, rubbing your chin. “Good point, but who are you to talk, when you are taking a curiously long moment to stab me with that switchblade?"
“Hmmmmm...good question. I myself don't know why it's taking so long,” Del Taco says, approaching you with the blade in an extremely sloth-like manner. He finally gives up, bored, and tosses it away. “But what really puzzles me," he says, as you sneak towards the blade, "is that it would make so much more sense if someone could at least explain where all this unexplained music has been coming from, because a scary violin chorus just started playing from seemingly out of nowhere."
“Well, I have nothing to do with that," you state, with the knife blade between your teeth, which Del Taco snatches, flips open, then evidently forgets what he meant to do with it. "So don’t blame me for everything strange that happens.” You turn to Panty Hose. "Unless YOU happen to know something about it, Mr. Snake Maneuver."
Panty Hose quickly hides the gun he pulls on you behind his back. "Always the cynic."
The rear door of the police van suddenly swings open, and Del Taco and Panty Hose toss the switchblade and the gun into your lap, re-cuffing their hands behind them. The three of you grin sheepishly as a reporter shoves a microphone in your face.
“Is there anything you would like to say about your frightfully childish and stupid escapade?” the reporter asks you.
“Well," you say pleasantly, "I was just attempting to protect myself and my baby, not only because I realize the majority of these assaults often result in deaths anyway, but because I was just so tired of always being messed with by everybody in the first place, so I decided I might as well fight to the death, which I thought would ultimately serve as a good example for my child," you finish with a flourish. "But, none of it quite turned out right, because now my child has been taken from me, and I may face additional weapon charges for having this knife and gun in my lap, and these two robbers may get away from everything they did to me scot-free," you state as they both jump out of the van, high-fiving and making faces at you and then skipping and hooting and cartwheeling away. "But, as I always say, ”˜All’s well that ends well!’”
Laughter erupts everywhere, among the seriously injured accident victims who are being carried into ambulances, among the social workers who sadistically took your newborn from you, and among a group of police officers who pop open a champagne bottle, laughing and pouring drinks into wine glasses, as everything around you looks very memorable and beautiful and the cameras and overhead helicopters light everything up like a stadium, everyone's laughter ringing in "Hahahahahahaha!" everywhere.
And you, ever mirthful, laugh the longest and loudest, going, “HA, HA, HA, HA, HA! HO, HO, HO, HO, HO! AAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAHAAAA HHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”¦uhhhhh”¦I don’t get it.”
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