(This is Part 3 of my story. Reading Part 1 and Part 2 first would be helpful. Not essential, but helpful.)
Did I mention that I got my kids back?
Honestly, I’m not even sure how it happened. I guess it was a little dumb luck and a lot of random chance and then a dash of Doctor Belloq to boot.
One minute, I was waiting for my date to sober up at a party we were at, and the next, I found she’d just negotiated an impossible settlement agreement in my ongoing family law battle.
By the time the sun came up, everybody-but-everybody who is important to me was sitting in one of those big booths inside House of Pies. I could see them all from where I was standing… out in the parking lot.
My brother, Anthony. My ex, Dana. My boss/attorney, Adri. My lady friend, Doctor Belloq. The kids.
They were sipping coffee and they were eating French fries and laughing, but mostly they were trying not to inadvertently glance out the window and into the parking lot. At me. Out where I’d been banished.
This show was happening without me.
We’d been up all night because of a dart throw and some coin tosses, and now everything was riding on a couple signatures… and, of course, the pine cone.
The pine cone. I don’t even know whether it was a pine cone, actually. Let’s just say it was a pine cone-looking thing. It had definite pine conish qualities. If it had dated a real pine cone, not even the most conservative of conifers would have raised much a fuss.
Whatever it was, I found it on the ground, out in this parking lot where I’d been banished. I was tossing it up into the air and catching it. Tossing it up into the air and catching it again. I was trying to calculate whether I could manage to throw it all the way over the peak of the roof of House of Pies.
“If this pine cone thing makes it all the way over…” I declared to no one in particular, “then I climb back into my van and get some sleep.”
“But, if it doesn’t!” I said, gesticulating dramatically and unseen towards the diner window through which I could see Doctor Belloq and my daughter, Rachel. “If it doesn’t, then I march right into that restaurant and I tell everybody exactly how it feels to be treated like a leper or a pariah or the smelly kid at the back of the class in third period geography.”
At this point, I probably ought to reiterate that I got the kids back.
House of Pies is a tall building and my arms… well, my arms look like this, so it really could have gone either way. And that could have been pretty awful because everyone-but-everyone who is important to me was in that diner and I could have been snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
And even though I could make this story a whole lot more suspenseful if I were to tell you the pine cone thing almost did not make it over – that it landed on the very peak and then wobbled and then got caught by a breeze or something – the fact is I pitched that god damn pine cone thing clean over the roof and into the parking lot on the other side.
I threw it again to determine whether I would be keying the side of Dana’s BMW.
I did not key the side of Dana’s BMW.
Then, it was over. The settlement agreement was signed and it was dated and notarized, and this weekend, the kids and I are going to… going to… Hmmm. This weekend – which is Mother’s Day weekend! – the kids and I are going to go do whatever it is I see on the television when I randomly hit three buttons on the remote in just a minute here.
I can hardly wait to find out what it’s going to be!
Anything could happen.