This is the tenth part of a twelve-part story called Ten at the Trio. It takes place in and around the Chicago area in the Spring of 2000. It is dedicated to everyone I have ever gone to an Alkaline Trio show with. For previous parts go here.
Ten at the Trio
X. Making the most of a bad time
“Michigan?!? How the hell did we get to Michigan?” the teenage girl shouted, punching her boyfriend in the arm as the car crossed the state line.
Always aiming for balance, he met her fury with soft tones, “Well…shit. That’s a good question…Don’t worry babe, we’ve got plenty of time.”
“You better hope so. We’re going to this show and we’re making out on stage during Radio. That’s all I fucking want.”
“We’ll make it, don’t worry.”
He turned the car around at the first opportunity, sending dust and stones flying up from the center median.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “it just means so much to me. I’m going to languish and die in Alabama. I can’t believe, of all places, my mother is forcing us to move to Alabama. Alabama! It’s not even a state, it’s a joke.”
“Babe, babe come here,” he said, pulling her toward him as she undid her seat-belt in order to be able to rest her head on his shoulder. I know you want our last night to be perfect, I do too, but it’s not like we won’t ever see each other again. When my family gets back from vacation I’ll drive down there. It’s not that far from Cleveland.”
“You know I do.”
She lifted her head and kissed him.
“We’ll grab some quick food and figure out where we went wrong, okay? You gotta be hungry, I know I am.”
“Yeah…” she lied.
“Here, right here, ‘Chubbys.’ You know that’s gotta be good shit.”
There was no sign of Chubby, only a short Mexican teenager who spoke little English. He took their order. The cafe was small. The lovers sat at two of the four stools squeezed together at the counter that was made to comfortably sit three, tops. The walls had been white but the years had given them a faded, greasy shine. Following an equally faded and greasy meal they drove next door to the gas station. Parking next to the pump, he went inside and began leafing through the maps, writing down directions on the back of his hand. Ten minutes later he jumped back into the driver seat and smiled, handing her a 32-ounce suicide, heavy on the Dr. Pepper, her favorite.
“Thanks. Sorry about freaking out,” she said after taking a long drink.
“It’s alright. But for the rest of the night no more talking about Alabama or the future or any of that shit, okay? Leave it till tomorrow.”
“Okay babe, okay. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
He dug about under his seat, threw a mix tape in the cassette deck and raced to make up for lost time.
End of Part X