Thinktoomuch was friends with Captain Colt Crush of the Rio Frio Police Department. This connection is how Manny Furious came to see Lemon Crush for the second time, seeing as how Captain Colt Crush was Lemon Crush’s husband.
In literal terms, this wasn’t really the second time Furious had seen Lemon. They passed each other in the halls at work almost every day. It’s just that Furious essentially had a sixth sense for her presence, and when he felt it getting near, he would angle himself as best he could from out of her eyesight. If they were in the halls, he would take out his cell phone, hold it up to his nose, twist toward the nearest wall and basically slither down the hall until she past.
Sometimes they would spot each other outside, as he was walking to his car and she was out in the parking lot, smoking. Furious hated those times, because he was generally to distracted by thoughts of where he was going that his sixth sense wouldn’t pick up on her impending presence until it was too late. At those times, his relaxed, free and easy jaunt of a walk would turn self-conscious and stiff, and he swore he could hear his joints creaking with every step, and he would give a severe smile and a heavy nod. She would smile freely and say hello, which had an effect on Furious’s central nervous system something like trying to light a candle with a nuclear bomb. He would try to say hello back, or “how you doing” or “how’s it going” and all that would find it’s way from his tongue was a barely mumbled groan. He literally choked on it on several occasions, and he always felt like the moron he was for hours after these much-too-frequent-for-his-taste run-ins.
Anyhow, Thinktoomuch had a party. He thought it would be the best way to make friends who weren’t Manny Furious, El Crow, Pedolo or Lone Wolfe.
“I’ll offer lots of alcohol,” he stated plainly. “And hamburgers. But what if some of the people who show who are vegetarians? Ah, who gives a fuck? Vegetarians need to get a life? As do teetotalers? Who wants friends like that anyway? I mean, they can be vegetarians or whatever, but don’t expect me to just drop my life to adjust to yours. I don’t have to be uncomfortable to make other people comfortable. Right? Let me think about this.”
When the party finally came, Furious sat at the other end of Thinktoomuch’s back yard, at a table with the ethnically ambiguous, Mario Suazo, who was in his mid-40s wearing a Slayer t-shirt and a Slipknot choker, and showing Furious all the snapchats he was exchanging with girls who had graduated from high school two weeks prior.
Furious and Lemon exchanged a handful of glances, but Captain Colt Crush was there, and he was her husband, so what more was Furious supposed to think about any of this? He was a master of torturing himself with romantic thoughts of unattainable women. And he was trying to put a stop to that sort of thing.
But this was the second time he really saw her. He hadn’t expected her to be there, at the party, so he was wearing a short-brimmed straw fedora, a Hawaiian shirt and swimming trunks, because “it’s summer.” But if he had known she would be there, he would’ve dressed a little less like himself. For, he considered that he probably wasn’t what she had been–
“What the hell are you doing, Furious?” Thinktoomuch interrupted.
Furious looked all around, up and down, and couldn’t fathom whatever it was he was doing that Thinktoomuch had asked about.
“Why are you standing like that?” Thinktoomuch continued.
Furious finally came back around to the Present Moment and realized he was leaning like a willow in the wind toward the direction toward the direction where Lemon Crush was sitting, at a table, eating barbecue food–hamburgers, potato salad, chips.
“How the how do you do that?” Thinktoomuch asked.
“Do what?” Furious asked.
“Lean like that without falling over. It’s a borderline miracle, man,” Thinktoomuch laughed that infamous soprano, Catholic-school-boy laugh of his.
Furious, cleared his throat, straightened himself up and tugged at the bottom of his Hawaiian shirt with the blue palm trees for no discernible reason, and changed the subject to something like the drinking habits of large frats are large universities, which Thinktoomuch had first-hand experience with.
Meanwhile, the day, and the party, came and went. There was nothing notable about it, except for the aforementioned fact that it was the second time he had seen Lemon Crush. And, I suppose, it was notable for the fact that that was the first time he had met and seen Captain Colt Crush, who, no joke, made everyone complete roadside sobriety tests before allowing them to drive home.
The days at work went on as typical for the next several months, with Furious’s sixth sense mostly being successful in informing him when Lemon was around, so that he could continue to react by being dumb and awkward.