Push, Nevada
The Letter Of The Law

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That Was Then

Vintagemobile shot with Should-Hadda-V8-Cam finds Jim tending to his ringing cell phone. It's Grace, asking, "Good morning Mr. Prufrock, did I wake you?" He attests that he's been up for a while, and she launches in with the day's business: the man who posted Jim's bail never identified himself, but listed his address as a privately-held corporation in Switzerland. Jim asks after the company's name, but Grace attests that "they don't have one," making the same lame Prince joke I hazarded in the last paragraph, but hey, at least I beat her by a paragraph, right? Incidentally, Grace is holding a leather planner with a "G" on it, a key chain similarly emblazoned, and the payphone on which she talks to her boss has a tough-looking blue "G" spray-painted across it. I guess it was put there by one of the roving band of gang members whose initiation consists of defiling public payphones with extremely transparent clues of nearly-cancelled television shows. Watch out, Grace. Those kids are tough. Jim also orders a background check on Dawn and Dwight Sloman, and she tells him she'll have to get it done today, because she has to appear tomorrow at her disciplinary panel. Jim apologizes for not being able to come on account of his "anklet and tracking device and all." That's totally the excuse my father used to get out of coming to all of my musical theater productions and dance recitals. Er, cough, I mean "Little League games and cock fights."

The Vintagemobile rounds a corner onto a suburban street. Jim watches as everyone in Push checks their mail in maddening tandem, because we've seen four million other manifestations of this same thing with different activities and -- sing it with my if you know the words -- we get it. Jim then watches as The Trucker's Wife comes running toward his car like she was waiting for him. Because the signpost of any exciting show is having its main character and obvious protagonist drive aimlessly around, waiting shiftlessly for things to just happen to him. The Trucker's Wife approaches the car and asks Jim to come in for breakfast, and Jim responds that he wouldn't mind coming in the house if The Trucker were available to answer some questions. He's working, she tells him, but convinces him, "A man's gotta eat." And after last week's debacle in The White Trash Dining Room Of Sudden, Perfunctory Cunnilingus, I don't want to go in there with them and I don't want to know what that means at all.

Martha's Quirk 'n' Go. That institution's namesake and an aged man sit in the beaded living room watching Good Morning, Push and looking down. They must have heard the morning entertainment report about That Was Then and immediately begun fading, Back to the Future-style, from cast photos of themselves and, forced to experience of the meta-horror of watching themselves get cancelled on their own network, the television's picture tube becomes a water slide back in time, technology fails to ever get invented, Earth plunges into darkness, and our unbroken weekly streak of blaming Ben Affleck for breaking the whole wide universe remains blissfully unbroken. Jerk. Taudrey walks in the door, and without looking at him, Martha informs her, "He's been waiting for you." Taudrey shoots her a panicked, pleading, but-when-I-go-in-that-room-they're-going-to-make-me-ACT glare, but Martha stares straight ahead at the TV until Taudrey takes her leave. Then she observes to no one in particular, "It just isn't right." The old man behind Martha sits unresponsively, awaiting the arrival of Tonto and Tarzan in order to wish the viewing public season's greetings.

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Push, Nevada

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