“Do me and Colin,” Lindsey said softly, her eyes staring down at her bare, tan knees. “The other Colin, I mean,” she added.
And so Colin did. He sat down and balanced a book on his knees, then pulled out his notebook and pencil. As he filled in the variables, he said, “Now just so you know, getting cheated on counts as getting dumped. I don’ t want you to get pissed off about it; that’s just the way the Theorem works. ”
said curtly. Colin had played with the Theorem so much that he knew from the numbers what it would look like, but he still went through the motions of plotting each point.
When he showed it to her, she said, “Wait, what’s that?”
“That’s TOC dumping you,” answered Colin.
“So it works,” she said, her voice empty of emotion. “It’s weird—I feel sad, but not about him. All I feel about breaking up is—I’m just relieved. ”
“Relief is a Dumper emotion,” Colin noted with some concern.
Lindsey hopped off the pool table and plopped down on the couch beside Colin. “I think I just realized that I don’t actually want to date an asshole I’m not even attracted to. Those are two separate revelations: I don’t want to date assholes, and I’m not actually turned on by big muscles. Although I did cry like a two-year-old in the nursing home, so the relief is possibly temporary. ”
Hassan grabbed the notebook from Colin. “It really fugging seems to work. ”
“Yeah, I know. ”
“Well, although, not to poop on your party, but you proved what I already knew—that guys who play football know how to play the mother-fugging field, and that Katherines dump Colins like Hassans eat Monster Thickburgers: voraciously, passionately, and often. ”
“Well, the real test is whether it can predict the arc of a relationship,” Colin acknowledged.
“Oh, hey,” Lindsey said, seeming to remember something. “Ask Hassan what he was doing in the Game Room about twenty minutes before you showed up. ”
“What were you doing in the Game Room about twenty min—”
“God, don’t take her so literally,” said Hassan. “I was on the Internet. ”
“Why were you on the Internet?”
Hassan stood up, smiling through his busted lip. He rubbed the Jew-fro as he walked by, and then paused at the doorway and said, “Me and Thunderstick decided to take our show to college,” Hassan said, and Colin opened his mouth to talk, but Hassan said, “I only registered for two classes in the fall, so don’t start creaming yourself. I’ve got to ease my way into it. Don’t tell me how fugging happy you are. I know. ”78
Colin slept through the rooster that Thursday morning but not through Lindsey jumping onto his bed and saying, “Get up. We’re going to Memphis. ”
She gracefully jumped down, her butt landing on the bed, and sang, “Memphis. Memphis. We’re skipping work and going to Memphis. To spy on Hollis and find out why she was filling the swear jar. ”
“Mm-hmm,” Colin mumbled as if he were sleepy, but he wasn’t. Her presence made him shoot immediately awake.
When Colin got downstairs, Hassan was up and dressed and fed. With a few days of healing, his face had returned mostly to normal. He was searching through a mess of papers. “Kafir,” he said loudly, “help me find the warehouse’s address. I’m lost in a sea of spreadsheets. ”
It took Colin about thirty seconds to find the address of the warehouse in Memphis. He found it at the top of a business letter addressed to Gutshot Textiles, Inc.
Hassan shouted, “MapQuest 2246 Trial Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee 37501,” and Lindsey Lee Wells shouted back, “Awesome! Good work, Hassan!”
“Well, technically, it was my work,” Colin noted.
“Let me take the credit. I’ve had a tough week. ” Hassan said as he collapsed, dramatically, on the couch. “Hey, how do you like that, Singleton? You’re the only nonrecent Dumpee in this house. ”
This was true. But Hassan seemed to get over Katrina immediately, and Lindsey had just burst into Colin’s room in song, so he still felt he could lay claim to the Household’s Most Devastated Dumpee, even if he had to admit that he didn’t exactly want K-19 back anymore. He wanted her to call; he wanted her to miss him; but as it turned out, he was okay. He’d never found single life so interesting before.
Hassan called driving and Lindsey called shotgun, so even though it was his car, Colin was relegated to the backseat, where he curled up against the window and read J. D. Salinger’s Seymour: An Introduction. He finished it just as the Memphis skyline came into view. It was no Chicago, but Colin had missed skyscrapers.
They drove through downtown and then got off the interstate in a part of the city that seemed to be comprised entirely of low-lying buildings with few windows and even fewer signs informing visitors of their function. A few blocks from the exit, Lindsey motioned to one, and Hassan pulled into a four-car parking lot, which was empty.