The weekend was only hours away from its official beginning. The Van Man had one last drive to make on that Friday afternoon. Riverside to Los Angeles. The two-ten, westbound. A truck full of Teamsters. Van Man steered and listened to the always enjoyable, ill-mannered conversations among his co-workers.
The story began as a civil discussion about some new law in LA involving trans people and bathrooms. Van Man had heard about the new law which allowed transgender students in public schools to choose which bathroom they identified with. Van Man had no issue with it. But, of course, like most laws, he had not put much thought into the thing. And the discussion quickly evolved into a tale from one Teamster's past.
"I'm 'onna show you a pitcha. And you gonna say you knew it wasn't a girl, but at first glance...you ain't gonna be so sure", said Teamster One.
"Cool", replied Teamster Two.
"Listen, brah, I knew this nigga, Carlton. Me 'n this nigga grew up togetha. We wuz good friends an' all that, but...I hadn't seen him for a while. Nigga changed, brah. Brah, I wuz at his house last year and nigga was listenin' to Nicki Manaj, right, singin' along to 'em. She's got some good songs--I like some of her songs, brah, but nigga was singin' track seven. Know what I'm sayin'? Nigga knew every word to track seven."
Teamster Two laughed. Van Man knew of Nicki Manaj. He was sure that he had heard one of her songs in the past. And he could only assume track seven must have been the type of song that most men would not sing. Like Xanadu or Hopelessly Devoted To You.
"I went into this nigga's bathroom, brah. There's only one kind of mirror a nigga needs. Just one for the back of the head to make sure yo shit's good"
"Right", agreed Teamster Two.
"Nigga had one of those big, double-sided mirrors. Where you flip it to the other side so you can see real close", said Teamster One as he pantomimed holding a mirror and checking his eyebrows. Teamster Two laughed heartily.
"Few months later, I wuz walkin' into Walgreens and there's this girl standing outside wearin' a skirt and everything. And she starts callin' my name, like she know me. I'm like, who the fuck is she? Then she walks up to me and says my name again. I don't even know this girl, brah. I ask her how she know me and then she says, "It's me, Carlton", said Teamster One and silence filled the car. "Brah, just look at this pitcha. Nigga callin' himself CeCe." Teamster One scrolled through his cell phone and found the image. Teamster Two looked.
"Nigga's got titties", said Teamster One.
"She a'ight", replied Teamster Two and Van Man roared with laughter.
"Nah, brah. My boy called me up, tellin' me he met Carlton's twin sister. I'm like, I know that nigga don't have no twin. He tells me she fine as a mothafucka. Talkin' 'bout her titties. I'm like, brah, that ain't no girl. Brah. That. Ain't. No. Girl."
The story came to its conclusion. Dead air. The Friday traffic had reared its ugly head and Burbank seemed a million miles away. He could only imagine what the other co-workers were thinking after story time. Perhaps, they had their own dark stories of confusion. Or, maybe, they quietly judged Teamster One. The Van Man was perverse and quite enjoyed the seedy tale. But silence was golden at that moment and he did not want to ruin it by speaking.