“Do you think you should have brought a change of clothing for the amount of things you’re going to get thrown at you?” asks Barry in a snide tone. “That is, if you even manage to get inside.”
After opening and closing the glove compartment for a third time, Quinn begins to toy with the rear-view mirror. Barry slaps his hands and pushes him back into his seat. Settling down for a moment, Quinn admires the passing cascade of colours that people chose to paint their houses.
“Personally, I always liked a white house. Grew up in a white house. It’s what I know. Why use colour when you have white? White’s good, off-white’s even better,” Quinn muses.
“You’re avoiding the question.”
“Well, it’s all part of the process. I have to make these apologies before I move onto the next step, anyways. I’m sure they’ll understand and embrace the change that I’m committing to. Speaking of which, as my sponsor, you should be more encouraging.”
“You’re claiming to be a sex addict,” says Barry, “I really doubt you have a true addiction.”
“Which makes you the worst sponsor ever. How am I supposed to accept my disease if you don’t?”
“It’s hardly a disease, more just a lack of self-control. To be frank, I only agreed to be your ‘sponsor’ because I happen to be the only person who can tolerate you for longer than an hour.”
“Which I love you for, by the way.”
Making a final turn, Barry narrows his eyes in an effort to read the address numbers.
“These house numbers are so spectacularly well hidden, you’d think they were actually trying to avoid guests,” says Quinn.
“I think this is it over here,” says Barry, pulling over at a white bungalow almost entirely obscured by ragged hedges and thorny blackberry bushes. Pots of half-forgotten dead roses and decaying lilies lie about the patio in spider dressed clusters. A single creeper vine had climbed the wall in an attempt to escape the filth.
“Cornsilk white, very classy choice, Irene, very classy,” remarks Quinn, ignoring the house’s condition.
“I’m starting to worry if you’ll even make it to the front door,” Barry asks hesitantly.
“Again with the negativity! This shouldn’t take too long. She’s very understanding, if I remember correctly. Actually, maybe that was the other Irene.”
Quinn exits the car. He readies a calculated smile upon reaching the door before rapping its peeling paint. It opens with a measured hesitation, revealing a young lady, who, by Quinn’s estimation, hadn’t been sleeping well, which was made more evident due to her lack of makeup.
“Irene!” he says with open arms, putting a foot into the door.
“GO AWAY!” exclaims Irene from behind the door’s light frame.
“I’ve only come to apologize! Don’t make me do it from out here.”
“You can do it from your whore’s house for all I care! Just get out of here!” She drives an umbrella into Quinn’s canvas shoes, sending a pain up his foot and his leg out the door. A battery of sliding locks, latching bolts, and a single metal chair ensure the door remains closed.
“I’m not even with her anymore!” screams Quinn through the door, “Okay, I’m sorry! Done. Off the list! Be miserable! At least I tried! Hateful, spiteful witch!”
Just as he turns toward the car, a bullet flies through the wood of the door, narrowly missing his head.
“We’re under attack!” yells Quinn, knocking over a pot and falling into its shattered remains. Back on his feet, he scrambles towards the car. “Get in!” Barry howls through the open door as he revs the car.
Quinn falls into the seat. The car peels away from the curb, nearly colliding with an oncoming truck.
“I think that counts, don’t you?” Quinn asks after a few blocks of silence, smirking as he crosses off ‘Irene’ from his dripping list. “Only thirty-two more apologies to go.”
“Remind me why I’m doing this again?” Barry twists the wheel as if snapping a small neck.
“You said it yourself,” smiled Quinn, “you’re my only real friend.”