Beep beep! Mercury hits retrograde right inside the Vintagemobile, as Prufrock's phone starts to beep with a low-battery alert. He asks Grace if she remembered to charge the phone because, when in doubt, blame your assistant. Perhaps two or three million fewer iterations of the sentence fragment "not listed at the casino" could have ensured many further hours of chatting, text messaging, and Snake. Shut up, Ben Affleck. Montage of Things Breaking, as the heat on the radiator climbs into the danger zone, the radio fails to register any stations, and the car finally succeeds in overheating, smoke pouring out from under the hood. Prufrock mutters a resigned "of course." Well, that's what happens when you drive a car from The Past. I don't see him careening off the road in a product-placed Toyota, do you?
Black liquid pours out from under the car, as Jim (may I call you "Jim"?) leans against the passenger side door, waiting for his certain death. A cut to him reading a map coincides with a truck pulling up next to the car. Jim leaps out of his car as the truck comes to a stop, and a grizzled Road Cliché pulls up with a trucker's accent and an almost uncontrollable desire to pull down that "honk honk" cord at every possible opportunity. Jim climbs in as Road Cliché pulls back onto the highway, Road Cliché informing Jim, "This side of Death Valley doesn't get much traffic." As opposed to the teeming other side of Death Valley, with its well-known sandy destinations the Death-ney World theme park and "Make Your Own Ishtar" Fantasy Camp. Jim thanks him for the pick-up, and expresses further gratitude when Road Cliché lets us know, "That desert'll kill a man in four hours." Further self-congratulatory "Look ma, I'm a writer" patter is exchanged which might as well be, "I liked The Sum of All Fears so much more than The Bourne Identity, didn't you, grizzled stranger?" Introductions are made. Jim Prufrock, meet B.R.B. I'm sad that my internet career makes me think that the trucker's name is nothing more than a chat room directive. It does not make me LOL. More blather between them. Prufrock cops to working for the government, and B.R.B. says that the comedic romp Forces of Nature was so good it resulted in him ROTTFL (that's "rolling on the truck floor laughing," for those of you not in the know). Jim looks around the truck to note dozens of Polaroids of a woman in various stages of dress taped around the perimeter of the truck, across the glove compartment, and one smack in the middle of the steering wheel itself. B.R.B. goes TMI with the info, "She's my wife. We make love like wild animals, every other night at 9:15, just like clockwork." Jim resorts to that conversational safehouse that equals either "I'm confused and disoriented by your words" or "I'm so boring that I lack an opinion even on subjects as potent as dirty, dirty trucker sex," tossing back a strained, "Well, that's something." Silence. Jim inquires, "Where'd you meet her?" We're plot developed to a Push locale called Sloman's, which B.R.B. calls "a good meeting place." Luckily, he also knows "a good car-fixing place." Jim is relieved. He was "afraid this would be like something out of a movie. Where my car overheats and I get held up by some crooked mechanic for a thousand-dollar fan belt." Which movie is that, Jim? Meineke: The Musical, starring George Foreman and the Michelin Man? Oh, great. I think I just accidentally pitched Project Greenlight 2. Chris Moore? Get your damn hands offa my screenplay. Stolen Summer ruined a transatlantic flight for me a few months ago, even after a Valium and two glasses of white wine. I will simply not allow myself to get hurt like that again.