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ACC junkie

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The call came out of nowhere.

"I'm in," I said without having to think twice.

"OK, cool," said my neighbor. "Meet me in 10 minutes out front. I'll honk the horn."

Ten minutes later, right on time, the horn honked.

I slipped on my leather jacket, stuffed my wallet into my back pocket, topped off my head with a knit cap and headed out the door. "Good luck," said my wife. "Thanks," I said.

Once inside my neighbor's car, I got the instructions: We were to go to the Shell gas station at the intersection of Route 54 and Interstate 40 and wait.

The wait was painstakingly long, both of us salivating at the prospect of what would soon be in our possession. My mouth was dry.

"You want anything?" he said as he got out to purchase something from the mini-mart inside the gas station.

"Water," I said.

He came back and we sat and waited in silence, a silence broken occasionally by the sound of my lips slurping water off the tip of my water bottle; a nervous tick.

"This sure is taking long," said my neighbor.

"It is," I said back.

I've know this guy sitting next to me since I was 13 years old. Yet suddenly we had nothing to say.

"Can I borrow your cell phone?" he asked, breaking the silence. I handed it to him while disengaging the lock that blocks the phone from being inadvertently dialed when on your person. He dialed a number and asked for another. Then he dialed the second number.

"Hey," he said.

I heard the garbled voice of someone on the other end of the phone.

"Yeah, it's me. Where are you at?"

He hung up without a word and handed me the phone as a flash of headlights streaked across our windshield. He got out of the car. I heard the slap of handshakes and a "thank you" or two.

He slid back into the front seat, slamming his door in the process.

"We're golden, dude," he said with a big, sly smile on his face as he held out his hand, revealing two tickets to the Carolina vs. Davidson basketball game.

It's like he just handed me the Holy Grail: In the 10 years I have lived in the Triangle, this is only my second Carolina game.

I finished the last drop of water from my bottle, turned and said to him, "Done."

Then I threw my bottle on the floorboard of his car.

"Done," he said before bursting out in a maniacal cackle as he jammed his car into reverse.

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