Not Again

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
One man's memories after a night out with friends.

Submitted: March 30, 2016

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Submitted: March 30, 2016

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A A A


Not Again

By J.C. Black

 

I hadn’t been asleep very long when I noticed her looking at me.

“You should go back to sleep.”

Realizing I wasn’t, “I know.  I don’t think I know how though.”

That made her laugh.

“You were funny when you got home.  Wanted to tell me all about it.  Said that DC and Terry had been in a fight about who loved whom the most.”

I had no idea what she was talking about. 

Terry and his kid had picked me up at a little before 5:30 yesterday.  His kid was all proud because he was driving his old man and his friends for a night out.  Terry and I sat in the back, letting the kid chauffeur us.  I got a kick out of that. 

So we left my place and then picked up Allan.  He came bounding down the steps from his front door and popped open the passenger door.  He’s way too tall to sit in the back, so he didn’t notice Terry and I acting like we were being driven.

“DC just texted and said he was jumping in the shower.”

Effen DC.  Seriously?  DC had started texting about eleven that morning, so fired up about the night out with the boys.  Talking stuff to Terry about how messed up he was going to get.  Planning late night shenanigans that would likely not happen.  But the warning shots had been fired, and you had to admire his consistency. 

So we drove from Allan’s to DC’s in about three minutes.  When we got there, Terry got out and rang his doorbell.  Nothing.

“Instead of putting his Christmas decorations away, DC has just knocked them all down so you can’t see them.  Penguins are on the floor.  The Santa wreath is sitting on that bench.”

Effen DC.  It’s February for effs sake.

Allan and I made small talk with the kid about going to college next year.  He’d already gotten in to the state university and I told him that was a damn fine school.

I said,“You should go to the best school you get into.”  The kid acknowledged me with a bit of a shrug.

“That’s my intent.”  Eff off, old man.

After what seemed like a long time, DC finally walked out the door buttoning up his shirt and tucking it in.  His real name was Frederick but no one called him that.  I called him DC because, when we used to work together, I always told him he was a political animal.  DC, get it? 

Because the kid was there we made polite conversation about some news story DC had read that morning.  Terry had read it, too, and they got erudite about it.  I didn’t read it and couldn’t give a eff – just get me to the bar!  But it sounded like it was going to be that kind of night, with serious conversation.

Up front, Allan was telling the kid where to take us.  I was crammed against the passenger door in the back while Terry and DC talked.

“Go right on Lincoln then drop us wherever you can stop.”

It was after six o’clock and already pretty dark.  Crowds were forming, a bit early in my opinion.

“Crowded down here tonight.  I don’t ever come down here on the weekend.”  We were just a few blocks from my work and literally in front of Terry’s office.

“The D bags really show up on the weekend.”  Thanks, Allan.  I hadn’t noticed.

We tried three different places until we found a bar with room for us.  It was a fancy place we’d been to before, last time for DC’s birthday.

I ordered a Hendrick’s and tonic and planned to stay on that for a few hours.  I figured I’d switch to red wine with dinner, then finish the night on beer.  That strategy should let me wake up with a clear head in the morning.

We were into our third round when DC struck up a conversation with the couple beside him.  Effen DC.  He sold tires for a living and so he was always selling.  The lady said to him, “You guys really seem like good friends.  Were you classmates?”

DC explained how we knew each other and what each of us did in the world.

Then they were talking about some famous actress that was apparently having dinner there.  I knew the name, so I got up and went looking for her.

Sure enough, it was her.  Smaller than I expected, but pretty damn gorgeous.

“She’s right around the corner.”

Allan said something about how talented she was, then Terry said something vulgar about her talent.  Then I dared Allan to go talk to her.

“Eff you.  Don’t be a dick about it.”  I wasn’t.

We paid the check and left. On our way out, we stopped on the stairs just under where the famous actress was sitting.

Terry was being corny, looked up at the ceiling. “Hey, look, she’s sitting on my face!” 

Thinking we were really funny, we all took turns standing in the spot.  Four drinks will do that to you.

Out on the street DC ran into someone else he knew.  You couldn’t take the guy anywhere without running into at least a hundred people who knew him.  I had that, too, because of my job.  I sometimes was on tv or in the paper, and was always going to lunches and charity banquets.  Difference between me and DC was I had to do it, but he really seemed to like it.  He genuinely liked everyone he met.

“DC, you effen know everyone.  “

“Everybody needs tires, right?”  Effen DC.  Had to admire his consistency.

I told him, “I already know enough people.  Not looking for any more friends.  You three miserable effs are enough for me.”

It was true.  I hated going to things where I had to meet new people.  Stuff at my kids’ school, parties for my wife’s work.  I’d always end up in a conversation about the weather or some tv show I didn’t watch.  Often in those situations I’d end up sending wry texts to Terry, who could sympathize.  The funny part was I’m actually super charming when I want to be.  I’m not socially awkward either.  Just a bit of a misanthrope maybe.  Or aloof.  Sometimes I think if I lost everything I could go live in a shack in the woods like a hermit. 

Dinner was good, as predicted.  Semi-private table at a high-dollar steakhouse courtesy of DC.  Effen DC.  Earlier I said he sold tires, which understates it.  He actually owns seven tire stores across the metroplex.  Says he’s going to own a G4 one day so we can jet around and get into high jinks anywhere we want.  Sounds like a plan to me.

After they’ve cleared the main plates, Terry starts telling this story about when he was in high school.

“My buddy Mike used to hang around with these girls from the next town over, trying to get laid.  He’d been so unlucky in our neighborhood that I guess he thought he’d have a better chance somewhere else.  Anyway, this one Saturday night – we were seniors, it was after the season was over – he called and said we had to come over to this one girl’s house.  Said her mom was buying booze and pizza and that we should all come.

“We had this kid from Finland, an exchange student, staying in our town.  Name was Timo.  He’d played on the team with us and was a pretty cool guy. Had a wicked shot on him.  Scored a few pretty sick goals that year.  It was entertaining to listen to him talk in his version of English, the way he understood the language but not exactly how to say things.  I was hanging out with Timo and this other kid, Denny, when Mike called and so we all headed over there.

“When we got there, a few other guys from our school were there, plus about six girls from the other town.  And then there was the mom.  They were in the kitchen all crowded around the table in the corner.  Sure enough there were beers everywhere.  A few pizzas too.”

DC interrupted: “Jesus. This really happen?”

“Of course it did.  The weird thing was it was mostly like the normal way we’d spend a Saturday, at somebody who’s parents were away’s house, drinking booze and just hanging out.  Only this time the mom was home and it was her party, sort of.  I found out later that she was recently divorced and that when her daughter turned 18, they started to pal around all the time.  She’d take them to bars and get her kid hammered and they’d pick up guys. “

Allan’s turn.  “So disturbing.”

I jumped in.  “Sounds like the plot of an 80s coming of age movie if you ask me.”

Terry continued.  “Anyway, I couldn’t get into it.  It just felt wrong.  There we all are, playing drinking games and hitting on girls, and at the center of it is some lady that was literally old enough to be our moms.  She was hitting on the boys, too, asking to feel guy’s muscles and drinking white wine.  Apparently she was even trying to get one guy to show her his cock.”

Allan:  “No!”

Me:  “Holy crap.”

DC: “Did he do it?”  Effen DC.

“Timo got right into it, sat down at the table and started chatting away with the old divorced mom.  I think for him it wasn’t that big of a deal for different generations to be getting smashed together.  Maybe that’s the benefit of a culture that doesn’t place age restrictions on alcohol, just treat it like it’s a normal part of everyday life.  But this kid Brian was flipping out. He had been there a while and so he was a bit buzzed.  Him and I instantly connected about how wrong it was, so we go out into the living room to talk about it.  And it’s one of those rooms that’s been decorated in a pseudo-Colonial style.  Fake spinning wheel in the corner, copper bedpan over the fire place, tankards on the mantel.  It had these blue silk curtains on all the windows, and this matching blue pile carpet. 

“So Brian was really disturbed.  He was from a big Catholic family, 13 kids total. The littlest kid, Chris, didn’t even have his own bedroom.  He just had a suitcase he’d take with him around the house and sleep in whichever bed was empty.You could tell that Brian thought the whole thing was morally wrong, you know?  So he’s telling me how messed up it is and that somebody should do something, and I asked, ‘Like what, call the cops?’  And he looked at me like I was retarded and he said, ‘No, man, that would get us in trouble.’  So I said back, ‘What do you mean?’  And he says ‘I’ll show you.’

“Now I’m wondering what the hell he’s going to do and he goes over to the corner of the room, behind the fake spinning wheel and angles himself into the corner where the curtains meet the wall.

“And I’m still confused about what he’s doing until all of the sudden I hear that unmistakable sound and see this stain start to darken the curtains and a puddle forming on the carpet in front of him.”

We all sat there dumbfounded, taking it in.

Allan didn’t seem to get it: “What was making the puddle?”

Terry looked at him a second.  “He was pissing on the curtains.”

DC:  “Wow.  That’s awesome.”  Effen DC!

“It felt appropriate, so I joined in.  We started going around the house, pissing in things.  Shampoo bottle, the laundry hamper.  Brian even pissed in her dresser drawer.”

Allan: “That’s totally dysfunctional.  I can’t believe it.”

Me:  “Effen lighten up, would you?  This was like twenty five years ago.”

Allan: “You shouldn’t have even been there in the first place.  You should have just left.”

Knowing Allan, that’s what he would have done.  Though I doubt he would’ve been invited in the first place.

DC:  “So then what?”

“So me and Brian and Timo and a couple of other guys left a little while later.  Never heard whether the divorced mom found out about the piss everywhere.  But Mike never ended up getting laid out of the whole thing.”

After we’d paid the check, DC got us a cab and we went to the bar at the five-star hotel that had just opened up.  I was pretty hammered by then – I think we all were.  It was dead at the bar so we just had one drink and then decided to jump another cab and head home.  As we were waiting in the hotel lobby, one of the bellboys caught my eye.  He smirked and then made some comment to another one of the bellboys.  I was too far away to hear it, but just drunk enough to be certain he was talking about us.

“Something funny, Ace?”

“Sir?”

“You’re laughing.  Something funny?”

DC and Terry and Allan were outside getting in a cab and so they didn’t notice what was happening between me and this D-bag of a bellboy.

“No sir, not sure what you mean.”

“You and your buddy there making fun of us?”

Again another smirk on his face, another side comment to the other bellboy.

“What was that?  Didn’t catch that?”

“Sir, why don’t you join your friends.  It looks like they’re waiting for you.”

Under normal circumstances, that would’ve been a perfectly rational thing to do.  But I knew this effen d-bag was making fun of us, and I wasn’t going to let it die.  Terry saw what was happening and came inside.  He gently grabbed my elbow and tried to guide me outside.

“Terry, this effball is making fun of us.  That’s bullcrap.”

I clocked the kids nametag.

“Scottie, you shouldn’t talk to your guests like that.”

Scottie still hadn’t actually done anything to me, but in my altered state that didn’t matter.  I just knew, you know?

“Now, sir, I think you should get in the effing cab and eff off or I’m going to call the police.”  Only he didn’t say ‘eff’.  He said the full enchilada.

So now I was ready to pull his head off of his shoulders, and Terry knew it.  “C’mon, man, let’s go.  It’s not worth it.”

I fixed Scottie with my best hard ass stare.  Probably looked like a complete idiot, but I was feeling it.  My Irish was up, as the saying goes.  Though I’m not Irish.

“What do you weigh, Scottie?  One thirty five, one forty?  You think you and your smart mouth can stand up to the full force of my one eighty?  Because that’s about to happen if you don’t apologize right now.”

Now Terry was standing between us, and since he’s being calm and talking me down, Scottie seemed to get what was happening.  He didn’t say anything, and Terry managed to get me into the cab.  As we pulled away, I shot Scottie a bird.  Mother eff.

Allan jumped all over me.

“What the hell was that about? Why do you always have to do that, man?  That kid was just minding his business and trying to make an honest buck.  This is just like on the bus after the ballgame.  That guy didn’t say anything out of line, either.”

DC jumped right in.  “You know you could get fired for something like that?  If that kid takes a poke at you or you swing on him and the police show up, you’re done.  You’re career is over.”

Terry tried to defend me.  “Yeah, but it didn’t get to that point, and that kid was being a bit of a dick about the whole thing.”

“Plus I’m all heart.”  That’s all I could come up with.

DC wasn’t letting it die.  “All heart?  What the hell does that mean?  Jesus, I’m getting sick of this happening every time we go out.”

Allan agreed.  “As soon as I saw what was going on, I told DC, ‘Not again.’”

The “all-heart” comment didn’t seem to capture what I was after.

“No, I mean, I’m a passionate guy and get fired up about stuff.  It’s what makes me good at stuff, good at my job, good husband.  I’m a good friend, aren’t I?”

Nobody said anything to that, so I tried again.

“Seriously, you know I’ve got all of your backs if the shit ever goes down.”

DC was riding in the front next to the driver.  He turned all the way around to face me.

“What do you mean if the shit goes down?  We’re all respectable citizens.  We just celebrated your 44th birthday for chrissakes.”

He had a point.  Effen DC. 

So I apologized.  We got to the next bar and went inside.  I promptly passed out on the leather sofa in the cocktail lounge.

They woke me up and we were in a cab headed home.

We dropped Terry off first and then I was next.  I had forgotten my house keys so I called her to let her know I’d be home soon.  No answer.

“Shit, fellas, she didn’t answer.  I hope I don’t have to sleep outside.  Too cold for that.”

I was half joking, “That actually happened to a kid I knew.  Named Brian Scavolini.

“Kid had gotten wasted and lost his house keys.  He was afraid of getting in trouble, so instead of knocking to wake somebody up, he decided to sleep on the porch.  It was like March or April when this happened.”

DC and Allan didn’t really seem to be listening, so I started to talk to the cab driver.  I was looking at his eyes in the rearview mirror, and every once in a while he’d look at me to show he was listening.

“He started out sitting up against the wall near the door, but at some point he fell over.  Then he ended up face down.  It got pretty cold that night and there was a frost.  As he was laying there, passed out, his forehead actually froze to the concrete of the porch.  He woke up the next morning, and not realizing he was frozen to the ground, he sat up.  Ripped all this skin off of his face, from the bridge of his nose up over one eye to his hairline.  Had to go the ER to get it taken care of.  Had this giant scab over the whole thing for what seemed like months.”

After a beat, the guys reacted.

Allan:  “That really happen?”

DC:  “Of course it did.  And they called him Scabby from that point on.” 

Effen DC.  He’d heard the story before.

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 J.C. Black. All rights reserved.

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