Last night my friends and I were just walking out of Wal-mart when we were greeted with an uproarious cry of “DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE” from some girl a couple yards away. She was walking with another girl and some guy, and I just assumed they were having some conversation among themselves and she was screaming about that. But as we walk to the van she keeps shouting and it turns out she is, in fact, talking to us. My friend Abner wheels around, seeing an opportunity for… something. Anyway, he asks the girl what she wants and she replies that she wants to know if we are Death Cab for Cutie, and if we are, would we sign something for her — specifically her breasts. Abner says, Sure of course we are Death Cab for Cutie and we will do this thing.
So while the dude hangs out near the front doors of the Wal-mart the two girls come running toward us, completely excited, me and my friends who aren’t Abner try to figure out exactly what direction our lives are taking at the moment. The girls eventually figure out that we are not Death Cab, but claim it was an honest mistake because “you [referring to me, your humblr narrator] look just like Ben Gibbard.” I laugh at this, but the girls don’t seem to notice. Let me describe these girls so I can distinguish them as the story goes on:
The shouty one is blonde, has glasses. The other girl is brunette and doesn’t seem to be enjoying the events quite as much. When I say I don’t think I look like Gibbard, the blonde says, “But he has a really good voice.” Presumably, she means Gibbard?
I reply, “I don’t,” to which she insists I sing her a song anyway.
I consider doing a few lines from Running with the Devil, but the brunette interrupts us by saying that my “coat looks depressing, like you got it from a funeral. Did someone in your family die?” [To explain, I wear a black wool blend overcoat in the colder months, which I guess looks kind of funereal?] I respond, yes, people in my family have died many times. I in fact got the coat off a dead guy.
My gameplan is to just be weird and hostileto get these people freaked out and gone, but unfortunately they’re already too off-balance to really pick up on that. The blonde cuts in now, asking that, even if we are not Death Cab, would I please sign her boobs. Not even the whole name, she says, just D-C-F-C would suffice.
Without confirmation from me, they start shouting to their dude friend, who has been hanging out by the doors this whole time: “Trevor! Trevor!! TREVOR WE NEED A MARKER!” Trevor trundles over looking as if he might be genuinely sober and embarrassed. “Trevor,” the blonde says, “this guy looks like Ben Gibbard and he needs to sign my boobs, do you have a marker?”
Trevor doesn’t have a marker. “But I have this,” he says to me, and pulls a Bic lighter out of his pocket. “You could brand her.” And my hopes of him being sober, or rational, or whatever, go flying out the window.
“I feel like we’re being punk’d,” says my friend Travis, and I reply, “But I’m not even an actual celebrity.” The blonde is still harping on how much she wants this goddamn autograph, on her breast, from me, I guy that is not the celebrity she apparently mistook me for. I reply that I won’t do it, taking a page from Trevor’s book she says I could brand her, I say no, I am not going to permanently scar a woman in a Wal-mart parking lot.
“Oh,” she says nonchalantly, “I already have scars.”
Okay. “We’re all scarred, in our own way,” again hoping if I can remain stoic I can divert their attention. The blonde, though, comes right over to me and pulls up her shirt sleeves to show me the many scars and bruises crisscrossing her wrists. Then she opens her shirt, and without removing her bra traces a few scars up her abdomen for the benefit of me and my friends.
She ends with talking about the scars on her legs, and says she’d show them to us but wouldn’t want to pull down her pants in public. Of course. But I refuse to sign/brand her, and tell them all good evening as we try to get back to our van. We get fifteen feet before she comes back: “Wait! I at least need a hug!”
I don’t want to hug anyone because right now, but me, being Ben Gibbard, am the object of most of her attention. She attempts an embrace but I suggest we go for a handshake instead; she says we have to do her “special high five,” which I go along with: high five, followed by fistbump, and then the girl screams, “NOW TO MAKE IT DIRTY” and holds up her hand with the index finger and thumb in a circle.
I am genuinely confused at this point and it takes me about five seconds to realize I am supposed to thread my finger through her fingers in a crude imitation of sexual intercourse, but I decide to run with my confusion, because I am not going to fucking do that. “Huh?” I ask.
“Make it dirty!”
“I don’t understand!”
“Come on, like, you know, make it dirty!!”
“I’m afraid… I don’t understand.”
At this point the brown-haired girl, who’s been pretty chill so far by comparison, gets tired of me being so dense so she stomp over. “Jeez, it’s like, don’t you get it’s like” — she completes the gesture with her friend, sticking her index finger into the circle.
And I say, completely amazed, “Well what the hell does that mean?!”
The brunette turns to me, huffing with frustration, and shouts, “It’s like A DICK and A PENIS!”
That fucking does it, I can’t hold it back anymore and start laughing, and the blonde berates her friend for this simple and redundant mistake in anatomy.
My friend, by the way, left me to go stand by the van, not bothering to, like, help me or anything. Christ, Abner was such an asshole. Anyway, they’re all standing over there basically rolling on the ground and giggling, and whatever I’ve done seems to have broken a spell because now the two girls are walking back over to Trevor. I think I’m finally free, but the brunette says over her shoulder as she leaves: “I’m sorry about your family member who died.” I tell them all to have a good evening.
So finally we’ve gotten back to the van, but of all people Trevor has one last thing to say:
“Hey!” he shouts at my friend Travis. “You know you look like Demetri Martin?”