[C.O.D.Y. the Robot Who Hangs Out and Darryl’s dad are hanging in Darryl’s dad’s basement. Darryl’s dad is on the phone and he is bummed out. He’s usually not a crier. The last time he cried was when he saw Wall-E, when Wall-E and Eva dance around the spaceship amongst stars and sparks, and she kisses him. Darryl’s dad loves that scene; he loves it when Wall-E asks the computer to define dancing. “That little hangbot didn’t know what dancing was,” he said, holding back the tears. He’s watched it on YouTube no less than ten times, and when he saw it in the theater – wasn’t he on a date with that ladybot from Trotwood who never called him back? – he let out a few sobs. But those sobs were nothing compared to the loud, gasping sobs he’s letting out now. Red-faced and teary, clutching the cell phone, he says:]
Darryl’s Dad: Who was he with? [sobs] OK, OK. [sobs] Where were they? [sobs] Jesus Christ.
[The person on the other end talks for a while and Darryl’s dad sobs even louder. C.O.D.Y. sips from his Stroh’s and puts an arm around his friend.]
Darryl’s Dad: And he was unconscious when the ambulance showed up? [sobs] Uh uh, OK, and what did he take? [sobs] Jesus Christ, Darryl, you idiot.
C.O.D.Y.: Psst, who are you talking to?
Darryl’s Dad: [to CODY:] The cops, shut up. [Into phone:] Sorry, I have company over, and he’s being rude. No, I don’t want an autopsy.
C.O.D.Y.: Autopsy? Draaag.
Darryl’s Dad: Shut up! Does his mother know? [sobs] OK. I can call her later today. What else can you tell me about what happened?
[Darryl’s dad listens to the cop. Tears run into his mouth. It's the saddest thing CODY has ever seen: Dayton's legendary hanger-outer having the worst hang of his life.]
Darryl’s Dad: Thank you for the call, we’ll be in touch.
[He hangs up and sobs, and these are the worse sobs yet: louder than before, and there’s spit coming out of his mouth now. He falls into CODY's arms.]
C.O.D.Y.: What’s wrong?
Darryl’s Dad: It’s Darryl. He’s dead.
C.O.D.Y.: Dead? You mean dead-dead?
Darryl’s Dad: Dead-dead.
C.O.D.Y.: Have they double-checked? I’ve read stories about people thinking people are dead, but then at the funeral they pop out of the coffin and they’re all like, Why’s everyone so bummed? I’m totally fine. Let’s party!
Darryl’s Dad: They’re sure, Cody. He’s dead.
C.O.D.Y.: But you should double-check.
Darryl’s Dad: I’m going to the coroner’s tomorrow.
C.O.D.Y.: Niiice. How did he die? Do you want me to guess, or do you want to just tell me?
Darryl’s Dad: It was an –
C.O.D.Y.: Spider bite?
Darryl’s Dad: No, it was – [sobs]
C.O.D.Y.: Wolf bite?
Darryl’s Dad: No.
C.O.D.Y.: Brown recluse bite?
Darryl’s Dad: It wasn’t a bite. He O.D.’d, OK. He took too many drugs.
C.O.D.Y.: Drugs? I didn’t think Darryl hung like that. He was Eagle Scout, for chrissakes.
Darryl’s Dad: Fuckin aye, he was.
C.O.D.Y.: One time Darryl taught me how to tie a square knot, just ’cause, I didn’t even ask him to. We were playing foursquare or roller hockey or something and he pulls out a rope and says, Hey, do you know how to tie a square knot? And I say no. And he says, Do you want to know? And I say, Not really, what do I need to know how to tie a square knot for? I’m not a rope guy, don’t care to become one now, probably never will be one. Darryl says, Well, CODY, life is about getting better at shit, don’t you know that? Don’t you want to be good at one thing? Your thing can be square knots. I’ve never thought that, I said. I’ve always thought we were supposed to hang out and have a good time with people we like having good time with and not worry about being good at shit. And Darryl says, That’s what people who are bad at shit say. But people who are good at shit know the truth: that you’re supposed to be good at shit. And if you aren’t good at shit then you should work harder at being good at shit. Do you want to be someone who’s good at shit, or someone who hangs out all the time? Here, take this rope, let me teach how to tie a square knot. It’s easy. And so he taught me, and it was easy, and for a few days after that I was a square-knot tying fiend: I’d tie square knots around trees; I’d tie ‘em around people’s hands and necks if they let me. I was teaching everyone I knew how to tie square knots. Your son made me the Johnny Appleseed of square knots.
Darryl’s Dad: He was a good boy. Before he met Simone.
C.O.D.Y.: I couldn’t tie one now to save my life. Guess I’ve been hanging out too much. [he makes a shaka sign with his pinky and thumb and waves it around] Who’s Simone?
Darryl’s Dad: Simone is…Simone is Simone. Simone is the reason he’s dead, if you ask me. That’s who Simone is. You want to know who Simone is? I will tell you who Simone is. Darryl told me all about Simone, and he only tells me about the girls he’s crazy into, so he must have had it bad for her. He had it so bad for her from the get-go that he called me the day they met. They met while volunteering at the hospital. He was a good boy, always volunteering for this, that and the other, always helping his great-aunt with her cats and craft projects, and at the hospital he played piano for the sick kids, the cancer kids, the kids who weren’t long for this world. He played Raffi songs and songs by that that Bieber kid and whatever else they wanted to hear.
So one day, Simone starts volunteering there, in arts and crafts. You gotta watch out for girls who are good at making things with their hands: if they can mold and manipulate paper and clay and stuff, they will mold and manipulate you. But Darryl didn’t know that. They don’t teach you that in Eagle Scouts. But they should. There should be a Dealing With Deceitful Cunts merit badge. To hell with surviving the wilderness; we should prepare these boys for hardships they’ll actually encounter.
He called me the day they met and said, Dad, this girl at the hospital, she’s an angel. A ginger angel. She has curly orange hair and an adorable Cleveland accent. She grew up up there and moved down here to be with her dad, so she says the word mom like maahm and milk like melk. Darryl said that when she said, My maahm can’t drink melk because she’s allergic, he almost proposed. I don’t know why he liked that accent so much. They all sound like carnies to me.
[more to come about this]