We Have This Thing Called Voice Mail Now

I don’t own a car.

I used to own a car. Sorta. Actually I just had my dad’s old ’90 VW Passat after he bought a new car, but I pretty much only had that for my senior year in high school. After that, it was off to college, and the cost of bringing the car along was just too cost prohibitive. The insurance would go up, you had to pay an obscene amount of money to have a parking space on campus, and gas prices in Southern California lean towards the steep side. So it was decided that the car would stay home.

Or, to use my dad’s exact phrasing, “Learn to get where you’re going by walking, kiddo.”

Actually, this wasn’t really as big an imposition as it might seem. My entire time in SB, I either lived on campus, a block away from campus, two blocks from the bus stop that took me to campus, and if I wanted to go downtown there was always the express shuttle. And it’s not like downtown is all that big in the first place. So yeah, you can get around quite handily with a free bus pass and a pair of legs.

Walking became my chief form of transportation. More importantly, when there was nothing on TV and nothing on the internet and I started to get antsy, it’d give me something to do. That and it was a decent way to relieve stress. I’d go out for a walk whenever I got pissed, and come home feeling OK.

Of course then I’d realize that I’d gotten no satisfaction from just getting over being angry instead of doing something about whatever had made me angry in the first place. So I’d just angry all over again. But that’s neither here nor there.

So one day I come home, and my answering machine is full. “The hell…?” I’m thinking, so I go ahead and play the messages…

“Hey Mike, it’s the Riddler. Sorry if I came on to stron–”

Skipped to the next message.

“This message is for Mike, it’s from Edward Nygma. If you could just call me– ”

Skipped to the next message.

“Yeah, it’s Ed again. Listen, if you’re not doing anything this Fri–”

Skipped to the next message.

“Mike, can’t we at least be friends? Call me at–”

Skipped to the next message.

“Don’t be afraid of your feelings! I–”

Skipped to the next message.

“Mike, why haven’t you called me yet? I–”

Skipped to the next message.

“Damnit man, don’t you know I love you? I LOVE YOU! I–”

Hurled the answering machine out the window.

So yeah, as you can imagine I was a little bit annoyed. To say nothing of being really really creeped out. I mean god, the guy buys me a drink and he thinks we’re dating or something.

So I decided to go for a walk downtown. It was a Tuesday, which meant that there was a farmers’ market thing going on in the middle of State Street. Not that I’d ever buy their flowers and crap, but they usually have taquitos, and SB is brimming over with hot girls.

So I’m wandering amongst the stands in the farmers markets, covertly eyeing the cuties who are buying the overpriced crap that they could get for cheaper (And cleaner) at the grocery store just a few blocks up the street. Suddenly I hear all this screaming, and the screeching of tires.

As I look up the street to see what’s causing all the commotion, everyone dives for the sidewalks, and what do I see? The BATMOBILE! Rocketing down the street at break-neck speed and fishtailing everywhere! Let me tell you, crummy little flower stands have no way of surviving a high speed impact with the titanium-composite armored, turbine powered Batmobile.  While the car barely skipped a beat, the stands were exploding into showers of tarps, petals, and body parts of the unfortunate individuals who weren’t able to get out of the way in time.

Surely, I was about to die, about to be sent to that glorious Batcave in the sky. But the universe obviously had other plans for me, because right then a truck filled with watermelons pulled out into the middle of the street between me and the jet black four-wheeled juggernaut of death and stalled. The Batmobile swerved to avoid it, but ended up hitting another stand and launching off it like it were a ramp.

Man, it was like the whole thing in slow motion. The explosion of crimson and green as the Batmobile tore through the watermelons, spiraling in a barrel roll as it passed directly overhead, only to have it land on some poor saps behind me who were promptly ground to hamburger as the car finally came to a halt.

“Batman!” I cried, as I ran over to the Batmobile, “Are you alright?”

As I reached the car, the canopy opened, and who should be inside?

That’s right.

You guessed it.


No, it was some guy in a Batman costume. All concern I had for his wellbeing evaporated, and I was left with only one thought on my mind…

“Who the hell are you?”

“I’m Batman’s stunt driver,” the guy said. Turns out his name was Steve.

“So uh, why does Batman need a stunt driver,” I inquired.

“He doesn’t like to show it, but Batman is a total wuss. He can’t handle all the hardcore driving sequences, so he leaves it up to me.”

“Wow. I never imagined.”

“Yep, it’s all true. Hey, do you think we could not tell anyone about this? One more strike on my DMV record and my insurance premiums are going to skyrocket through the roof.”

“Sure. Not a problem.”

“Thanks.” And then he zoomed off into the sunset as the wailing of approaching ambulances drew near.