One night early in the semester, the exact date of which has been lost to my memory (someone else on the trip can add this if they remember it)(it was a Friday - LoganGordon), five people decided that they wanted to see a movie. The doomed five were MichaelMaindi, MicahLamdin (who is currently writing this because the others are lazy bastards), LoganGordon, JamesOsburn and MaxPflueger, and the movie in question was Hero.

The trouble started because Michael decided that we had to go see it at Universal Studios rather than one of the closer movie theaters (though, to be fair, things could have gone to shit just as easily if we'd gone elsewhere). He wouldn't tell us why, but he claimed there was something we (more specifically, James) had to see. So we all piled into James' car, and our doom was sealed. Because, you see, that car was the cause of just about all of the subsequent misfortune we encountered. We did have the option of taking Logan's minivan instead, but this was vetoed by Logan himself, because he had been "driving too much recently" or some other bullshit excuse that we are never accepting again. (I ended up driving more anyways. -Logan)

The trip out there was fine and dandy, and nobody even knocked the piece of plywood out of the back seat (it holds up the driver's side seat - ask James why, I forget). We got to Universal Studios fairly close to the targeted starting time. Michael directed us around the back, where the lines to get in would be shorter - and lo, he was right, for we got up to the window selling parking tickets fairly rapidly. While James was paying for the ticket, the car died.

I figured it just stalled out or something, and that James would be able to restart it once he put the change away. So did everyone else, as far as I can tell. Certainly nobody expected what happened next, which was that James was completely unable to start his car. So we're sitting next to the ticket window in a dead car, looking at each other incredulously. After three or four futile attempts, James turns to the attendant again. "Uh, sorry, but my car just died. Is there anywhere we can push it that's out of the way?"

The guy directed us to push it to the curb up ahead where the road diverged into two ramps, one to the upper and one to the lower garage. To the surprise of the dozen or so cars behind us in line, we all got out, sharing more amused and incredulous glances, and did as he suggested. Once there, James attempted to start the car a few more times, continuing to have no luck. We opened the hood to see if we could figure out what was going wrong, but since nobody really had much of a clue about cars, we mostly stared at it in a faux-intelligent Dave Barry sort of manner. James finally went to ask one of the attendants what we should do, and we were directed to let it roll down the ramp to the lower garage and park, since we had paid for parking. We did so, with James steering, Logan sitting on the trunk and the rest of us jogging alongside. (You're all stupid. -Logan)

Once the car was parked, we decided that we'd come here for Hero, and dammit, we were going to see Hero. So we left the car for the time being and walked into Universal, with Mike and James arguing over whether it was the alternator or the battery that was completely dead (as it turns out, it was the former). Inside, we finally saw that which Michael had dragged us out here for - a nearly lifesize model of Master Chief from HaLo, which James proceeded to drool over. He asked how much it was - but, apparently, the thing is unique, and would cost about $25000, so that idea is right out.

On account of being slightly later, and hungry, we decided to go to a showing 45 minutes or so later. So we ate at Calzone's and then saw the movie, which was good, but is fairly unimportant to this story except as a catalyst, so discussion of that will not be present here. (Watch it, damn you! -Logan) Now, with the movie over, it was time to figure out a way home, a fairly daunting task without a working car. Michael called a friend of his who lived nearby to see if he could come over a give James a jump so as to rectify the 'not working' problem. We then trooped down to the garage to wait for him, with Michael and James going to meet him out front and direct him to us. Logan, Max and Micah stayed behind with the car. While standing there, some random people drove by and yelled "FUCKING FAGGOTS" out the window at us. We wondered if it made their genitalia feel larger. Someone else blasted air at us, but that was about it for profanity.

Eventually Michael's friend showed up and was ushered into the garage to attempt to revive James' car. Cables were connected, his car was revved, and... no go. The process was repeated. Again, no go. Cables were switched. The engine was squinted at. More revving occurred. Nothing happened.

So we were kind of stuck. Nobody had even thought to bring their cellphones (five people, no cellphones - brilliant!). Luckily, Michael's friend had one we could use, although the batteries were almost dead, so it generally had to be plugged into his car. Luckily, James had a AAA membership. He called them and found out that they would tow him back to Mudd for free. Now we had to figure out how to get the rest of us back, because the tow truck only had two seats for passengers (and from hearing James and Logan tell it, 'two' means 'one-and-a-half, maybe')(There are seats for 3, but there is only leg space for two because of the huge multi-function dashboard. -Logan). We went through a number of scenarios, including:

The latter was decided upon, Logan gave James the keys and Michael gave James directions to his house and Max directed James to his call phone back at Mudd, and Michael, Micah, Logan, and Max all piled in Michael's friend's car to be driving to Michael's house. On the way out of the garage, Logan suddenly remembered that the tow truck had two seats and got out to go accompany James so he could drive his own minivan instead of having James do it.(D'oh! -Logan) Jame's parting comment is "If I'm not there by 2 or so, assume I'm dead."

So now it was Max, Micah and Michael showing up at Michael's house at about 12:30 AM, buzzing his apartment and freaking out his mom. See, the thing with Michael's mom is that she's crazy (she's a neurotic she-bitch -Logan). If you ever want to know why Michael is so damn stubborn, spend ten minutes with his mom. So she was freaking out that she was in no shape for visitors and could barely be convinced to buzz us in before she brushed her teeth (though we were still not allowed to come into the apartment until she let us in). Finally we got in, and she started apologizing for the mess inside and the fact that she hadn't been expecting anyone, etc. We didn't care. We're college students; mess is our natural habitat (especially Micah's if you look at his room).

Now, we had a while to wait before Logan and James showed up, and nothing really to do. We sat around for a bit before Michael's mom suggested we might want to set up her new fan for her. We said sure. Apparently this was a model Michael had used before, and he claimed that it sucked (this is only marginally true, for reasons to be explained in a minute). So we started putting it together, eschewing the directions (what do you take us for, Caltech students?). The fan itself was fairly straightforward and didn't take us very long. However, the fan was unimportant compared to the other thing in the box - TheRemote, which contained TheButton! This thing kept us entertained for a good 45 minutes. Next, Michael's mom asked us to try and figure out why the DVD drive wasn't working. Michael had already tried downloading all the various up-to-date codecs and whatever else he could think of to get it to work. Max and I tried, but the best we could do was find a defunct manufacturer's page in Singapore or Thailand or something like that. With this endeavor a failure, we all sort of drifted off to sleep in various positions, to be awoken about 4:30 by the message that Logan and James were coming, and again at 5:20 when they actually showed up. From here we made it back to Mudd at about 6 AM, staggered off to our respective rooms and passed out.

The story of Max, Michael and Micah is not, however, the only one that occurred after we split up - James and Logan had yet another adventure of their own, quite likely even wackier than ours (though without TheButton and thus inferior). Logan can tell this better than I; he was there.

(shift focus to Logan narrating)

So James is grateful that he has company because he would prefer not to be alone after midnight out on the streets of greater LA on a weekend. As should you. We wait. And wait. Then we wait. Eventually we flag down a golf cart with security dudes in it, and use them to call AAA again. The first tow truck was turned back at the parking garage because of clearance issues, so they send another, and we go outside and sit on the curb for half an hour or so.

The tow truck gets there in the turn-around for picking up passangers, and he gets his booster pack and walks with us over to Jame's car in the garage. The booster pack fails to get results, but the AAA guy thinks it might be because his booster pack is kinda low on juice or something. We roll the car out of the garage, a mostly downhill trip. The guy steers, I ride on the trunk, and James admits he is an idiot for jogging to keep up. The AAA guy bring his tow truck over (James' car is sitting between to uphills) and hooks up his tow truck to jump Jame's car. James mans the engine and I hold flashlights and cables. Some random guy drives by and yells some that very well could have been "That's a gay truck" at us. Then again, it might not have been. We have no way of verifying. The truck alone fails to rev the car, so he hooks the booster pack up on top of that. At this point I am scared by the amount of cables leading into/out of James' hood, but I trust this guy because he's a specialist. After five minutes of this insane circuit, James' car is ALIVE!!! Then he takes his foot off the pedal, and it is dead again. The guy pronounces the problem to be with the alternator and hooks up James' car for the long haul.

He drives out of Universal Studios, goes a hundred yards or so, then pulls into a turn lane and idles while talking on his radio. So, fifteen minutes later, it becomes apparent that we were only in line for a jump, so he is already queued to help some dumb bitch who locked herself out of her car while changing a flat. He asks James if he can drop us off at a gas station where a flatbed will pick us up in 45 minutes or so, James acquiesces, and he drops us off at a gas station so we can wait for 45 minutes for a flatbed to come pick us up.

We both decided that we are both hungry and need to piss, so we go to the bathroom at the side of the gas station and find that the door takes 25c to operate. I am stunned, having never heard of such a thing in my life. Where I come from, spilling your uring wheresoever you choose is a soviergn right not to be abridged. So I dig around and find a quarter, we both go in, James goes while I look at the more interesting of the two opposite quarters, and he walks out as I go to do my business. As I'm unzipping, I hear James say "No, there's somebody else in there." To which, I exclaim "'Sup!" As I go out, I hold the door open for an employee at the gas station. We go in, he gets Soda, I get Starbucks (because I still have driving to do), and we chill in the parking lot. About 20 feet aways some teenagers are having a drama, with some conflict between a guy and girl (who is crying), with another guy and two more girls being supporting characters. I don't pay much attention because I figure that they'll make up and have sex within the hour. They leave. The flatbed arrives.

We get James' car onto the flatbed, and then the guy says that his truck has a slow leak in one of the tires so he goes to fill it up. The air machine eats his quarter and fails to be not broken. We drive for a little while and happen upon another gas station. We drive up to the air thingy, the guy gets out, and finds that the nozzle is the wrong size for his tire. The third station works, but the pump is weak, so it only gets his tire up to 60-65 PSI, so we find a fourth station to get it all the way up to 80. Now we actually drive to Mudd.

We arrive at 4am or so, two hours after James' self-imposed "I'm probably dead" deadline. We call them, getting Michael's mom because everybody else is asleep, leave a message and head out. My van was missing the middle two seats, because we had removed them to make room for a couch that we never got, and they were left in HaloSuite as a stand-in couch. They're still there. Nevertheless, the van still seats five, so off we went.

Ahhh, driving on LA freeways at four in the morning. There's a surprising amount of people for four in the morning, but you can still average 80 or so, even in a minivan. So we get to Michael's house, James buzzes in, and Michael's mom has to wake up the guys. They pile in when they get down, we swap stories, and they promptly fall asleep again, making it a boring drive for me (grrr...). Around 5:30 I start cursing profusely because I don't like going to sleep when the sun is out already, which appeared to be the case. We made it back to our rooms at 6. Curses! Foiled again, by that poxed sun. I'll get it one of these days. And then sweet, sweet sleep.

It was an interesting night.

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