Speeding down Van Nuys, Marcy demanded Donovan stop for the yellow light. Her Mini Cooper came to a halt so suddenly, I’m sure the tire tracks will be scorched into the boulevard for at least a decade. I quickly became fascinated by Donovan’s recklessness. In my life I’ve always been analytical and careful. Careful of my safety, careful of other’s feelings, careful…of well everything. And this guy seemed to be the antithesis of that. I had to take a closer look at this man/boy who represented everything I was not. I guess that’s how I ended up in his girlfriend’s car quite possibly endangering my life.
Marcy is a host at a bistro I managed to get a job at. People from work were supposed to meet up at this bar after the shift. But as usual I ended up there too early, so I went to a nearby In-N-Out. The minute I walked in, I heard someone call out my name. It was Marcy. The relaxed eyelids and blithe smile was starkly opposite to her usual demeanor and thus a dead giveaway that she was stoned. Sitting with her was her boyfriend Donovan and his friend Johnny. Donovan instantly engaged me and asked if I wanted to smoke out with them. I figured, why not, and got my burger to go. In the time it took me to get my burger Donovan managed to connect with me on our east coast roots, get Johnny to scarf down his two burgers for the sake of expediency, and jumped behind the register counter to grab me a cup of water and give a high fives to three of the employees. On our way out we passed two cops. Donovan gave them both a high five then decried “You know what I always say? Don’t shoot ’em, fuck ’em.” Once the police officers were safely inside, he climbed onto the trunk of their squad car, posing, and had Johnny take pictures on his iPhone.
I was ambivalent, torn between running as far away from this guy as possible and trying to figure out his secrets of confidence and charm. I could see Marcy’s frustration growing. She wanted to check the bar to see if anyone from work was there and Donovan insisted they head back to the apartment to smoke more weed. He told her to check the bar while he grabbed the keys to her Cooper from her purse. When she emerged from the bar, she found him tearing up the parking lot driving wildly in her car. Mack had always said that girls were attracted to dangerous guys despite their best interests. I had always rolled my eyes at the notion, but here was the proof. Continually Donovan dismissed Marcy’s wishes for wildly foolish and sometimes dangerous choices. His only reprimand? A slight nagging, immediately ignored. And as quick as I was to judge Marcy, there I was, getting in the car with him. Who was this guy?
Back at the apartment, he smoked me out and then danced crazy to Afrojack’s Rock the House. Marcy played with her dog and Johnny tried to dance too. But Donovan just danced harder putting Johnny in his place. I got a text from my coworkers informing me of their arrival at the bar. Marcy immediately wanted to return so Donovan rolled a joint for the road. Immediately my mind jumped to the probability of culpability should Donovan’s driving get us pulled over and the joint was found. I figured, should such a thing happen, one joint on his person probably wouldn’t get me into much trouble in California. But I was aware of the risk.
But here’s where my concept of Donovan radically changed.
Up until this point I saw a wacky, gutsy, foolish and possibly overcompensating individual with an abundance of charm. A dangerous combination? Definitely. But the danger was from a place of foolishness and youth. Something that hopefully, life’s hard lessons could correct. Then I saw something else. As we got back into the car. Donovan takes out the joint and hands it to Johnny. “Hey buddy, can you hold this?”
Could it just be that the joint wouldn’t have been safe tucked behind his right ear? Or maybe it would have been crumpled in his jacket pocket? Possibly. But the way I saw it. Should he get pulled over, the joint wouldn’t be on his person, it would on his friend’s. That’s then I decided the jackass was an asshole. He would never listen to Marcy’s nagging to slow down. I was, now, actually concerned for the pedestrians as the Cooper turned right in front of them crossing the intersection. And later that night I would sympathize without surprise when Donovan would decide he was too cool for the bar and leave Marcy to cab home.
Donovan’s self-centeredness bordered on psychopathy and I was glad he was gone. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t fascinated by him and what he was able to accomplish with his ability to influence those around him.