This is a story I remembered while writing the post Fishing For Spite. It wasn’t relevant to that post, so I left it out and decided to make it its own little episode.
One evening, I came home to Prozac Nation through the private door of my mirrored, pink-walled, former salon of a room and was met by the unwelcome but familiar sounds of a very loud party. Oh, lovely. These would be our housemate Chris’ friends, that wasn’t a question. His friends were nice enough, but they partied a lot and with a variety of both legal and illegal means. I walked in through the door connecting my room with the living room and saw that the house was only a few busted lightbulbs and exposed wall studs away from being completely trashed in the traditional sense.
Varieties of smoke melted together into a milky, cataract-filtered lens, cans and bottles (empty and not) lay where they were dropped and anything that could conceivably be used as an ashtray already had been. Here and there (oh, and over there!), a few bodies lay near-motionless save for their glassy-eyes that took a full 3-minutes to complete a single blink. Outside, more people partied on the back patio. Most of these faces were new to me as being Chris’ friends and, oh neat!, a few of those new faces called some friends over. Hey strangers, please feel free and invite over whomever you want to our home. Family visiting from out of town? Bring ‘em by! After all, that’s why we’re here!
The worst part was that Chris, the one whose party I was standing knee deep in, was missing. No one knew where he was, not guy-trying-desperately-to-stay-upright-in-the-chair, not dude-considering-going-to-sleep-in-the-ficus, nobody. So, in a far less interesting version of Henry Morton Stanley searching for David Livingstone, I went on a Chris hunt. However, my “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” would be replaced by “Chris, what the $%*&?!”
I went toward his room, located at the far end of the hall, but stopped at the sound of goth music coming from Frank’s room. I knocked and said it was me. “Come in, Mike, but shut the door,” Frank said.
Inside, Frank and our only female housemate, M, were sitting on the bed, nervously smoking cigarettes and looking like two kids waiting for their parents at the lost and found. I asked where Chris was. “He’s in his room,” Frank said.
“He passed out an hour ago,” M added.
“Why the hell are all these people still here, then?” I asked.
“They won’t leave,” M said.
“Did you ask?”
“Yeah, but they didn’t listen.”
“I’m not sure what it was,” Frank said, “but some of ‘em were snorting something. Might’ve been PCP, it didn’t smell like Speed.” I took Frank’s word for this, since Speed had been part of a balanced diet of Frank’s younger days, along with cigarettes and generic soda.
“So, then, just call the cops.”
” ‘Cause we’d get arrested,” M said. “It’s our house, so any drugs are automatically our drugs, that’s what the cops’ll say.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not actually gonna happen.”
“Maybe, but I’m not taking that risk,” M said. “I can’t go to jail, I have my abortion appointment on Wednesday.”
“Oh, of course,” I said. “Because, otherwise, you’d dance yourself into the cell like Ginger Rogers.”
“You know what I mean.” To which I replied with an apologetic smile.
I was annoyed. It wasn’t my responsibility to babysit a bunch of tweekers pushing some imaginary boundaries of ‘badass-itude’. No, that responsibility went to the guy who may or may not have passed out in his needle exchange of a bedroom.
I stood and looked down at my housemates. Frank and M were obviously nervous and unsettled by the asshole invasion that caught us all off guard. They were made to feel nervous and unsettled…in their own house! Mild-mannered me quickly became pissed off and protective.
I knocked…, okay, I pounded, but Chris didn’t respond. I swung open his door and there the apple of some mother’s eye lay face down on his bed. I shook him, hit him with a pillow and shouted into his ear. No response. Nothing. He was a snoring, drooling, somewhat pasty shell of a human being totally incapable of anything vertical. Before leaving, I balled up one of his shirts and placed it under his forehead insuring that, when he finally did wake up between tomorrow and the following week, he would have one hell of a stiff neck.
Chris was passed out, Frank and M were cowering and the orgy of idiots showed no signs of slowing down. All I wanted was to go to sleep. Goddammit…
I took a deep breath and felt myself become very calm, collected and cognizant.
I went out the sliding glass door to the storage shed, meeting the gazes of several members of the Back Patio Bumblers along the way and instantly sizing them up. I opened the storage unit, found what I needed and walked back onto the patio. Composed, and with a baseball bat resting on my shoulder, I said casually, “The party’s over. You need to go.”
A quick succession of ’Of course‘s, ‘Sure thing, man‘s and ‘Yeah, no problem‘s were very accomodating. So far, so good.
Next, I headed into the hornet’s nest (assuming the nest was filled with hornets whacked out on crank, Jose Cuervo and a false sense of a thug lifestyle accomplished).
I approached one of Chris’ friends that I actually recognized. His smile of recognition was met by my calm voice, cold eyes and my good friend Mr. Batty from Louisville. “Chris passed out. You need to leave.”
“Yeah, we’re probably gonna take off pretty soon.”
He looked at me for a few moments, then it dawned on him that I might actually be upset. Huh. “Oh, dude, if we ate some of your food, we’ll pay…”
“Listen to me, get these people out of here. If you don’t do it, I will.”
I could see the realization on his face and assumed his blood alcohol level dropped .02 percent. He quickly turned around and said, “Yo, listen up! We gotta go. Party’s over. We need to leave.” A few grumbles met him, but he reiterated, “We need to leave. Let’s go, let’s go.”
Within five or so minutes, all that was left was me. Well, that and a whole lot of cleaning Chris had waiting for him whenever the hell he woke up.
M and Frank were thankful and relieved and, as it turned out, actually kind of impressed.
Yup. Not bad for someone who, as a kid, struck out in T-ball. Twice.