Thursday, February 17, 2011

Take It On The Run, Baby - Part II

So me and my lazy ass pull into the parking lot of the Driver’s License Hell Mouth, and initially I remain calm. Sure, there are several cars already here, but it doesn’t seem to be too overwhelming. (Granted, I would have preferred that nobody else be here, with me as the lone citizen seeking political asylum, greeted by bored government workers gathered at the door with welcoming arms, proffering donuts and coffee and a free facial, but this does not happen.)

I innocently park the car, check to confirm that I have the proper paperwork for the 27th time, make sure that all valuables are safely stowed away since we all know that shady people hang out at the DMV, get out of my car and lock it, ignore that one strange nearby vehicle where it sounds like somebody is shooting up while listening to Judas Priest, and make my way to the nondescript door that grants access into the Chamber of Vehicular Compliance.

I throw open said door with a little bit too much exuberance, and several mortifying things happen in such quick succession that it takes me a few seconds to process it all.

First, apparently nobody in here likes that door to be opened for any reason. Whatsoever. The entire room turns to me as one, glaring with such intensity that a small bush behind me explodes and a bird falls out of the sky. There’s not a single happy face in the sea of angry citizens. One woman in particular, her eyes filled with a vengeful hatred, clears her throat in just the right manner to indicate she would rather crush me with her massive breasts than let me live another second. I make a mental note to completely avoid her if I ever want to see the final Harry Potter movie.

Second, there are more people in this room than voted in the entire country during the last Presidential election. They are packed in this place. All of the available chairs have been taken, and probably have been since 1967. Everybody else is mashed together in one steaming miasma of humanity, crammed together so tightly that all you can see are arms and legs and questionable hairstyles. It seems that some of the lighter people have been pushed upward like toothpaste, forced to ride on the shoulders of strangers and hoping that their human transport device is headed in the same direction they need to go.

Third, there’s not a single sign indicating where I need to go or what I need to do. The only visible hint of some type of crowd control is a giant electric board at the end of the room. This is one of those “now serving” signs, with the four people currently being served identified by numbers and a station where they should proceed. And these numbers are all over the place, like 436, 287, 319 and 5. This does not look encouraging. And where did these 436 people come from? There are 10 cars in the parking lot. Have these people been here so long that they have multiplied and raised families? Sweet Baby Jesus.

Fourth, and perhaps most important at the moment, someone’s buttocks are preventing me from actually entering the room. (If that’s not a sign that you should turn and run, I don’t know what is.) It’s not clear what she’s doing, other than bending over and rummaging around in a purse that looks like it could hold the population of Cuba. She’s also grunting as she does so, which does nothing to enhance the ambience.

So, while Gruntina continues searching for the Holy Grail or a suppository or whatever, I scan the room again for a possible plan of action. It’s entirely plausible that Two-Moon Junction might move out of my way some day, and I will need to have a destination in mind. I see that there appears to be a glassed-in little room off to one side where people are handing forms to a woman whose expression belies that she would rather be in Newark. Okay, that’s one potential compass heading. An unsavory one, but possible.

Off to the right and kind of around a corner, I spy a row of other attendants standing below what looks like station numbers. It‘s not crowded at all over there, and people seem to be enjoying life much more. Maybe I could just run over there and sweet talk someone? Then I see two burly security-type people preventing the common folk from skipping to the land of milk and honey. The expression they give me implies that they will gladly snuff out my life if I don’t follow the rules. (This place is just oozing with potential death every where you look. Good times.)

Fine. So I’ve got to get in the line leading to Hagatha Newark and her attitude in the giant glass box. I turn my head back to the box and re-analyze. (Gruntina, her head shoved in the confines of her fake leather satchel, makes a muffled exclamation of discovery and begins to dig even more ferociously, so I know I’ve got plenty of time to make battle preparations. That ass isn’t going anywhere soon.)

Okay, so there are two people currently bickering with Hagatha, a discussion which requires that phrases like “I ain’t got one” and “just got out of jail” to be bandied about. Off to the side of Inbred and Jailbird, I suddenly realize that the people standing right there might actually be in some sort of formation. Terrific, we have the semblance of a line. I just have to track the line back and figure out who I have to crawl over or knock out of the way in order to join the line. Something tells me that I will be bathing in hand sanitizer if I ever make it back to my car. (I might even drink some, because I understand there’s a mind-numbing amount of alcohol in those things. Write that down for party emergencies.)

Anyway, my eyes follow the queue of frustrated heads as it meanders down one wall. Interestingly enough, the further I go along this line, the… sweatier… people seem to be. Really? What fresh hell is this? Then I spy a possible explanation. Suddenly, the sweaty heads stop and there’s a non-sweaty head. But she’s facing to the side of Sweaty Head #13. I crane my head around Gruntina as best I can, and realize that the line, already massive enough, is even longer than I realized. It actually meanders down some random hallway and back out.

The people going IN to the hallway look relatively happy, almost smiling but not quite (because true happiness is verboten in this hell hole), with their hair non-mussed and makeup intact. The people coming OUT of the hallway are all wild-eyed and dripping, the terror and confusion evident in the way they are gasping for air and crossing themselves.

Something really, really bad is happening in that hallway.


I sigh and continue tracking the line. It winds here, it winds there, it makes it to El Paso and back, with people in that section of the line wearing sombreros and sloppily hoisting margaritas. It runs between those chairs and over what might be a dead body. It circles a group of afro-puffed little girls, trapping them within and somehow inspiring them to do a slightly bawdy dance routine in an effort to escape. The line runs clear over that way and then curves back around to-

An odd noise breaks my concentration.

What is somebody ripping apart? I look down, and in a horrifying flash I realize that the spandex encasing Gruntina’s hind-quarters is having some structural issues, and things are about to blow.

Oh. Dear. God.

To Be Continued…

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