"Erik!" was dead. Maurice Starr was in jail. The men who repossessed my jewel capped teeth by extracting them through a hole they cut in my cheek had ruined my singing voice. But Sean and I remained close.|
The reason I'm telling you all of this is to prove a point: I have a friend. A posable friend with changing outfits and brushable hair I didn't have to inflate and that doesn't die when the batteries run out. I also thought that you might need a little background on my relationship with Sean so that this next part didn't make me seem 100% gay. Sean may have laid twenty percent of the women reading this right now, but he still has a bunch of earrings in his right ear and you can sometimes see his nipple through his shirt.
While we were in Cleveland, we decided to officially cement our Best Friend feelings for each other. We're both edgy rebels, so we're not very well informed about laws because, quite frankly, we reject your precious rules without necessarily needing to hear them first. We assumed that there must be some sort of official recognition offered for couples who want to upgrade their status from best friends to state-sanctioned Best Friends 4-Ever. We explained what we were looking for to the lady at the Cuyahoga County Clerk's office.
"Kind of," Sean said, "We want something, you know, as serious as being married but we don't want it to imply we're having sex."
"With each other," I pointed out.
"Rightright, if there's something that lets the world know we're deadly serious about being best buddies and that also suggests we're having lots of sex but not with each other, that's what we're looking for." Sean explained.
"We don't have anything like that," the clerk said. She pointed at a price list on the wall, "Just marriage."
Sean looked at me. I shrugged my shoulders. He said, "Okay, you sold us, we'll take one marriage."
The clerk shook her head. "We can't do that either, kid."
I squinted the way you do when you've all of a sudden become dangerous. "Gee Sean, I think someone around here thinks we're not best friends 4-ever enough to get married. I think someone's gonna have to learn the hard way how best friends 4-ever act whe-"
"Look," she interrupted, "it's illegal. If it was up to me, you people could get married."
I unsquinted my eyes. "By 'you people', you mean best buddies, right?"
"And what do you mean by 'illegal'?" Sean asked. "Do you mean 'illegal parking' illegal? Like, could we get married, pay a fine, then live happily forever?"
"Or is it 'suggesting someone might want to assassinate the president' illegal where the government sends Ben Stiller to ask you some questions," I asked.
Sean jumped in, "Shit! Maybe if you get married, they send Jeanine Garofolo instead of Ben Stiller!"
The clerk interrupted us again just before we could high five. "I mean it's 'you can't breathe through your eyeballs' illegal. It's 'outside the realm of possibility' illegal." With that, the clerk hung a closed sign on the wire mesh that separated us and, without moving, began staring past us.
Right as we were leaving, Sean said, "Hey, while we're here, we should change my name so the government can't find me."
"What do you want your name to be? Wait, how about 'Erik's Best Friend, Jr.'"
"No, that name still sounds like it wants to murder the president. I need something that sounds heroic... lovable. An inspiration."
I thought for a couple seconds and then pointed at Sean. "Lazer... Lazer Protector."
"Yeah, that's cool, but remember how two names ago, Prince's name was like a no smoking sign or something?"
"No, it was a handicapped parking sign with Christopher Reeve's head pasted on it."
But Sean didn't have time to hear himself get corrected. He was already sketching out his new name on a kleenex. Three minutes later, he slapped it down on the counter and told the clerk, "Call me this. Legally."
She nodded at the drawing for half a minute, inspecting it with the trained eye of a name expert and license salesperson. A single tear came to her eye and she whimpered, "Wow... this... this is a fucking great name, sir. Or should I call you..."
I was sooooo jealous of 's new name. I asked how to pronounce it outloud, and started to try to do a fire engine sound mixed with the adventurous barking of a loyal dalmation mascot, but finally decided to make it easy. "The Artist Currently Known as Firetruck."
I looked in his best-friend eyes and said, "That's the most non-president-killing name I've ever heard. And I should know; my cousin is named Pillow Pal."
Our attempts to be joined in "the word they haven't even invented yet for civil unions between best pals" had been blocked at every turn by the stodgy old straight and gay establishment. Why should a war between gays and the President affect our lives? I'm all for people telling other people who they can marry, but not when it applies to me and what I'm doing. So if we couldn't get married, at least we could still express our devotion to each other through the next best thing: The classic art of carnival caricature.
"We'll get the ultimate caricature!" Sean said as he clasped both my hands in his own. "That's not illegal yet, is it?"
"I honestly don't know," I said back. "I don't even know if I've made illegal modifications to these underwear I ironed the word 'heartbreaker' onto."
"Probably. I've actually been looking into underwear legality lately with the problems and children in the world and all."
"So you labeled them all with pro-president illustrations?" I asked.
"Yeah, except for those funny ones you got me that say 'Home of the Whopper.'"
I'm riding in the spaceship from Zaxxon and wearing a chef's hat on top of my space hat because I like to cook. I'm also delivering pizzas. Sean's racing a dune buggy across a tiny planet. He's holding a tennis racket because the guy drawing it thought he said "tennis racket" when he said "rocket lancher." Up in the corner: Final Fight's Mike Haggar. He's using the phone in the mayor's office to tell us the president has been kidnapped by punks!