Contemporary Friendship Funny

"Dude," I said, starting to giggle a little. "What are you doing?"

Benji, my compadre since forever - so high on an edible that he couldn't stand still, with his pants and boxers down to his ankles - was taking a selfie at the urinal beside me.

We had stopped at a random Safeway, somewhere south of Fresno, at 2am, to grab Takis hot chips for Benji. We'd both been pounding Diet Mountain Dew. And I needed to get the blood pumping. It had been a long day of music festival.

"Look, look," he was excited and snickering, like he was four and had just placed a spider in his sister's hair or something. He was shifting the phone around, trying to make sure his bare ass was showing in the mirror behind us. "For my mom."

"Dude!" I said louder, now laughing, and zipping up. "You're fucked in the head!"

"You know she's gonna love it!"

So, only because I'm a solid best bud, and Benji's mom was kinda crazy like that, I moved over, my back to the mirror, and pretended to hold his dick.

He caught on, raised his other arm above his head, to make it clearer that I WAS holding his dick, and took the shot with both hands on his phone. We immediately sent it to his mom.

"Ok, bro", he said, dead-pan. "Time for the shake," and shifted his gaze between my hand, and his dick. We both broke down.

Benji grabbed the Takis and I grabbed two more Mountain Dews and a pack of wet wipes.

"No orange dust on my Tesla seats, bro." He just smiled and nodded. He also had no money, so I paid.

"Dude," he said, as I pulled out of the parking lot and headed south, following the navigation, but doing the driving my own damned self.

I just looked over at him, grinning. He was funny when sober. High, he was ridiculous. I knew something really stupid was coming next.

"I think I could believe in God again." He had a huge, orange grin, his eyes watering from the heat of the chips, and a little clear liquid building up in his left nostril.

I handed him the wet wipes. "Whhhaaat?" I laughed.

"Dude. I'm serious. Can we be serious? I'm fuckin' serious, dude." His grin got wider, but his narrowed eyes looked right into mine.

"Ok, ok," but I couldn't stop grinning. "Lay it on me, Pope Benji."

He nodded as if the wisdom was about to flow. And, if I'm honest, it kinda did.

"Ok. So. Fermi Paradox?" He looked sideways at me, knowing I would be able to follow because we talked about this all the time, the conflict between the fact that there are billions of planets in the observable universe but zero scientific evidence of any extraterrestrial life, intelligent or not.

"Check," I said.

"Ok. Two days ago, I was high -"

"Nooooo..." I teased.

He held his hand up, "Swear to God." He chuckled and side-eyed me again. I nodded my approval of the pun.

"And I was listening to this awesome podcast, never heard it before, where this dude and his guest were listing all the normal explanations for the Fermi Paradox...great filter, berserker hypothesis, all that shit. Nothing new, but very cool discussion. Like really smart, you know?"

"Kinda like you," I quipped, half-joking.

He grinned, giving me a fake shrug of resignation. "Exactly, bro. Exactly."

"So," he continued, " they were answering questions that people were putting in the chat. Like, the show was live, and there was-"

"Check, got it, moderated chat," I interrupted, nodding and grinning. Benji was an over-explainer in the best of conditions. When he was stoned, he could be painful.

"Ok. Cool. So, the question waaaaasss..." He paused for dramatic effect. "What...about...fine...tuning?"

Benji looked at me as if I was supposed to know what fine-tuning referred to in this context. I just smiled and shrugged, giving more visual focus to the trucks I was about to pass on the left.

"Bro, this one is huge. Even the big baddies can't really answer the question."

"Ok, I'll bite. What's fine-tuning, I mean related to alien life?"

"Dude, I was hoping you'd heard of it. Cause I don't know if I can really explain it." Benji wasn't smiling anymore - just kind of smirking.

"We have two more hours. Let 'er rip!" I was getting pretty sleepy again, and needed Benji to stay awake and talk to me.

"Hmmmm. I guess let's break it down in chunks? Yeah? OK. First, the big idea. It's almost unfuckinbelievably impossible that you and I are here."


"Like, it's a loooong line of really unlikely shit that has to happen for you and me to exist."

"You mean like, millions of sperm, one egg, and here we are? That kind of thing?"

He shook his head, "Nah, dude. I mean, sure, that's a little biddy part of the end of it. But think more basic. Like, dude, get this. If the weak force constant, and the gravitational force constant..." he paused to check that I was following. I nodded.

"...if those were off by one part in ten-with-fifty-zeros-behind it - like off by almost nothing - there would either be no galaxies, or...everything would be smashed back together in a big ball of heat."

"Ok," I said. "But they aren't off, so..."

He nodded, "I know, dude. I know, that's what I said. But then I kept looking into it. There's loads of shit like that. And when you put it all together..." He shrugged, a sheepish, reddish-orange grin.

I felt myself get irritated. I had always hated all these conjectures that said the universe is hard to understand, so it must be God. "C'mon, Benji. You're just high. You don't really believe this bullshit."

He looked at me, a little hurt in his eyes, but undeterred. "Buddy, I gotta tell ya. I'm not convinced yet, but there are some big names out there that are, like, kinda avoiding the topic. Even bosses like Penrose are just, like, shrugging, and saying, 'Yeah, who knows?'"

"He's an old man, getting ready to die, wondering if Pascal's wager isn't the safest bet."

Benji just nodded, wiping his nose then his hands with wet wipes, then holding the dirty wipe up and looking around for a place to put it.

"Safeway bag," I said, still a little irritated, and mad at myself for getting irritated with my stoned best friend just talking a little whack.

Why does this piss me off. He's just being Benji.

Benji, placing the wipes in the bag, held out his fist for a bump, grinning. I bumped him. It was like an exchange of energy. I lightened up almost immediately.

Ding. Benji's phone.

"Dude, it's my mom. Think she's pissed?" He was chuckling, obviously not actually worried.

"What does she say," I asked, expecting like a HaHa tag or something.

His voice was a little misty when he answered, "She says, 'I love you two soooo much. Drive safe, sweetheart.' With a heart emoji."

"She's so cool," I said, tapping his leg.

"So are you, bro," Benji replied. "So. Are. You."

April 05, 2024 18:59

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