The three of them spent that night in a jail cell. The next morning they all had to pee but nobody dared use the toilet in the cell. That would be awkward. At 8 AM, an officer escorted them to an interrogation room, one of those cool ones that has the two-way glass. Antwon thought it was cool. Anthony was upset he was being interrogated for a crime he never tried to commit. Rachel was unimpressed with the entire situation.
“I’m going to ask you a few questions now,” the officer began.
“Um, excuse me, real quick, sorry for interrupting, but I have to pee. Can I use the bathroom before we get started?”
“Oh, me too!” Rachel and Antwon agreed.
The officer looked frustrated. “Wasn’t there a toilet in the cell?”
“Yeah, but that’s weird…” Anthony said, glancing around at Antwon and Rachel, who both made weird faces too. The officer sighed heavily and escorted them to the bathroom and then back to the interrogation room.
“Okay, confession time. Did you rob the bank?”
“Technically, yes,” Anthony began, looking around at his companions nervously, “but we never intended to! The real criminal is her sister. She forced us at gunpoint to front the operation. Plus, it should be obvious! Check the duffel bag we had in the bus! It’s empty! We were just a decoy so that Coral and her posse could get away clean!”
“So you’re saying there were more than the three of you involved in the robbery?”
“Yes! There were five others! Coral-“
“Gonzalez,” Rachel interjected.
“Her name isn’t Coral?” Anthony asked.
“No, it is. Our last name is Gonzalez,” Rachel said.
“Oh, that makes sense.”
“So there was Coral Gonzalez, a big man named Jimmy, another big dude named D’vonne, and one other we don’t know the name of..”
“Rich,” Rachel said.
“Well they’re certainly rich now…” Antwon said, rolling his eyes.
“No,” Rachel said, rolling her eyes, “the other guy’s name is Rich. Probably short for Richard, but we always just called him Rich.”
“Ohhh,” Antwon and Anthony said in unison.
“So you knew the rest of the gang?” The officer asked Rachel. He was taking notes on their story.
“Yeah… to be honest, I am partly to blame for the whole operation. I was the one that led these guys into the heist… my sister Coral—“
“Did you just confess to criminal activity?” The officer said ecstatically. He probably wasn’t very experienced and was eager for a breakthrough.
Rachel diverted her eyes downward, ashamed. “Well, sort of. I did help in the heist, but I was denied any payoff and sent away with these guys, who were genuinely innocent… so maybe that makes me mostly innocent?”
“Hm.. makes sense,” the officer said, scratching something off on his notepad.
“Rachel, this probably a weird time to bring this up, but you’re not monotone anymore! I’m so proud of your voice right now!”
There was a long, awkward silence. Leave it to Anthony to misread social cues and be overly optimistic in a clearly dreadful situation. I mean, c’mon! They’re in jail being questioned by a cop!
“Okay, well is there anything else you want to add?” The officer piped up.
Antwon, Rachel, and Anthony exchanged glances as if to wonder if there was anything else to add.
“Um,” Antwon began, “I’d like to add that I was responsible for evading the cops in the bus. I installed nitrous in the bus, which I think is technically illegal… but it was really fun.”
“Ah,” the officer said and wrote something down on his notepad. “Okay, so Rachel is partially innocent, Antwon is kinda innocent but also kinda guilty, and Anthony is a pure little baby angel who hasn’t grown his wings yet. Got it.”
“Also,” Anthony said, “Rachel, while partially guilty, is changed now. She spat on her hand and shook my hand – I spat on my hand too, so you know it’s legit – she is committed to living a wholesome life and rediscovering her true self, just like Antwon and I. That’s how we met Rachel in the first place—“
“So Rachel is or isn’t partially guilty..?” The officer interjected, looking around the room skeptically.
“Uh, well I guess that’s your job to figure out…” Anthony said, confusion lacing his voice.
“But basically I’m innocent, for the most part,” Rachel chimed in.
“Okay, this is confusing. I’ll go look over my notes and see what conclusions I can draw. I’ll escort you back to your cell now… you each have one call if you want to call someone.”
Back in the cell, they discussed who they might call with their one phone call.
“I might call Ed…” Antwon said.
“But he’s dead,” Anthony responded.
“Well, you never know.”
“What do you mean, ‘you never know’?? He is dead, isn’t he??”
“Then why would you waste a phone call on a dead guy?”
“Hey listen! He’s not just some dead guy. Ed is my hero, my inspiration—“
“Was,” Said Rachel sarcastically.
“Besides,” Antwon continued, “He’s the only phone number I know. It’s not like the phone at the police station is going to have my speed dial presets…”
After a pause, Rachel piped up. “I think I’ll call Coral.”
“Coral? How would she help you?”
“Well, she won’t… but I can at least let her know that her evilness landed us in jail and that I refuse to ever work with her ever again. Ever.”
“Who will you call, Anthony?”
“You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about my best friend growing up – the one who went into a coma and who’s cat I refused to look after – his name is Alan and I haven’t talked to him in years… but I can’t help but wonder how he’s doing. I think I might call him and see if he’s okay… maybe apologize for all those nasty things I said back in high school.”
“Guys, I think you’re missing the point of a phone call when arrested,” said an unfamiliar and strangely deep voice from the cell next to them. Had he been listening to their entire conversation? Oh well…
“That’s really nice, Anthony. I think you should call Alan,” Said Antwon. It was the first encouraging thing he had ever said. And I mean ever. Not just since he had been with Anthony on the bus, but like, ever, ever. This little self-discovery excursion was having a positive effect on Antwon after all! He was softening! Who woulda thought.
The three amigos spent another night in the jail cell. The next day they had the opportunity to make a phone call. They all tried, but nobody answered their calls. You know how in the movies when a criminal is given a phone call, the person they try to call always answers after one or two rings? Yeah, that’s kinda unrealistic…
That day, however, the same officer from the day before came and let them go. “Well, your story checks out. Turns out one of the cameras in the bank was left uncovered and we were able to identify the real criminals. We’re currently searching for them, but you guys are free to go.”
And so Anthony, Antwon, and Rachel gratefully returned to the bus.
“You know, I think it’s about time we painted the bus.”
So they stopped at a body shop and had the bus painted white, with black splotches all over so it looked like a cow. And then, in beautifully italicized yellow letters was painted the bus’s splendiforous new name, Chicken and Waffles. It was beautiful, nay, it was glorious.
“Well my friends, is it about time to go experience the best chicken and waffles in the nation?”
They drove nonstop for ten hours from Nashville to—
“Wait guys!” Rachel’s shrill screech nearly caused Anthony to swerve off the road from fright. “Guys! I just read this article about the best chicken and waffles in the nation… none of these restaurants are in Texas!!”
“But the waitress at that one diner in chapter one told me the best chicken and waffles are in Texas!” Anthony said, sounding rather offended.
“You didn’t think to fact check her??” Rachel was still shrieking.
“I’m a trusting guy, what can I say??”
“Wait, hold on a second,” Antwon said, “did you say you stopped at a diner in chapter one? What are we, characters in a book or something?”
“Yeah, that’s exactly what we are,” Anthony responded.
“Yeah, you didn’t figure that out by now? There are so many plot holes in this story too! How did you not know this already?” Rachel added. Antwon shrugged.
“So what do we do now? Are we still gonna go to Texas even if the best chicken and waffles are in New York City??”
“Dang, we’re not even close to the best chicken and waffles in the nation..”
Anthony was, understandably, disappointed. If this little sabbatical from the real world had taught him anything, it was to trust people less. Rachel, Coral, Antwon, the waitress at the diner… they had all either directly or indirectly lied to him and made his life more difficult! How can anybody trust anybody these days? Anthony was becoming a real skeptic and that was honestly the last thing he wanted to become.
“Well I vote we go to NYC,” Antwon said.
So they did.