As an unabashed skeptic and atheist, it's hard for me to rationally acknowledge this. However, the facts indisputable: many of our adventures back in the day had this weird supernatural feeling to them, like some netherworldly demon accompanying us on his kazoo.

For instance, there was the exploding milkshake. Mark, CFJ and I were hanging out at my house one evening, waiting for LG and Melanie (at that time, my girlfriend) to show up. My little brother, whom I was supposed to be babysitting, was asleep in his bed. The three of us were sprawled across my mammoth queen-sized waterbed, watching something, probably Saturday Night Live. A typical evening, really. Until we heard the squishy "pop!" from the living room.

And there it was, clear as the lenses in Mark's thick glasses: the shattered remains of what had once been a homemade milkshake. It had been sitting on one of the end tables next to the couch, slowly melting since probably dinnertime. And now, for no apparent reason, it had expanded outward, breaking the glass and leaving a stream of chocolate dripping off the table to the carpeted floor below. I later found out that, at that precise moment, LG had been making out with Mel. Somehow, some way, the combustion of the frothy beverage was a warning to me, but I had foolishly ignored it. As a result, I was put through weeks of turmoil and suspicion that ended with my breaking up with Mel.

Then there were the countless disasters surrounding Gumba: the mythical island nation about which I constantly spoke and wrote. Don't ask me to prove that I wrote anything, though, because none of it has survived. Somehow, everything I ever wrote that contained the word "Gumba" disappeared, was lost in a hard drive crash, got wiped out during a power storm or burned. Yes, burned. I actually found a melted floppy disc containing my backup of "Tales from the Gumba Chronicles Saga" near my desk one day. I seriously, honestly can't explain how that happened. At the time, I remember some connection with possums that had made a nest under my house -- evil, demonic possums that sought to keep me down with their oppressive heels... er... curly tails.

Perhaps the strangest vaguely supernatural event, however, occured in the years after LG had moved to New York, but frequently came down to visit Jenn. At the end of one such visit, I found myself taking him and his friend Eric home in a rather nasty blizzard. I distinctly remember Mr. Stapanon, Jen's dad, himself a devout Man of God, insisting that we stay until the storm blew over. We chose to ignore (forsake) this advice, and journeyed forward into the great unknown.

I don't remember exactly what happened to my little Plymouth Horizon that time (there was always something wrong with the d**n thing), but the end result was us being stranded in a snowbank about 20 miles north of Solomon's bridge. Remember, these were the days before cell phones, not to mention the fact that the three of us were dirt poor. So being stranded miles from a payphone in a blizzard was a pretty serious situation. Fortunately, a pickup truck happened by us and offered us a lift.

They took us to a small store in Prince Frederick -- one of those scary Christian book stores that sell Jesus fish and books about the liberal news conspiracy. There we were: three long-haired, unshaven and probably unshowered college-aged kids. Two of us lived in New York City, one in Philadelphia. And a couple of large right-wing southerners had us in the security of their Christian book store, smack in the middle of a major blizzard. No one would even know to come looking for us for weeks. We would have felt like Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames in Pulp Fiction, had Pulp Fiction been an available reference at the time.

We came out of it fine, but I remember all of us being really scared, especially by the life-sized cardboard cutout of Rush Limbaugh. I'm positive God was majorly screwing with us that day, and I don't even believe in God.


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