Pokey and Aurie were trying to sweat me out. They weren’t about to leave me alone with her. Not as long as they each thought they had a crack. It was getting late, Sunday night, and everybody had work in the morning. Or at least I did, and that’s all that mattered. The shitty bottle of wine they brought was long gone, and now everybody was subsisting off my largess. My Sunday beer. It was killing me.
Go home you lousy leeches. Go home and vaporize into non-existence. Just fold into some passing parallel dimension. Hang out in quantum possibility for an aeon or three. My beer is almost all gone because of you two fucks.
“Whose ready for another beer?” I asked, getting up.
“I’ll take another one,” everybody said. Everybody in the entire world. I winced, but my back was turned.
“Some more of my beer, coming right up!” I announced. A little pissiness leaked through the pants of my facade. I was hamstrung. I couldn’t call these two couch mushrooms out as blood-suckers in front of the chick. Not so early in the seduction process. I would look like a petty alcoholic. She’d get to see that part of me later. Hopefully much. This was no time to sandwich board it.
Besides, they might make a case for being Even-Steven because of the Two Buck Chuck they spotted earlier. Like that counts. I hate wine.
I looked at my watch. 33 more minutes before Owl Liquors closed. The rail was coming down. Should I just drive to the store now? I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to wind up having to spot a whole new party package myself, and with the arrival of lots more beer, I’ll never get rid of the Toad Stool Twins. I can try to wait them out a little longer. I’ll give them sixteen more minutes. I rolled my shoulders and cracked my neck.
“I really have to pee!” Bobbi informed us. Well alright. She pushed herself out of her lotus, brushed the cracker crumbs off her jeans and walked to the bathroom through our little dude triangle.
“Excuse me, guys.”
We all checked her out. Nice butt-cheekage. Two big melons straining the seams of her jeans. Our shifty eyes caught each other looking so we turned away.
“Yeah, she is.”
Bobbi had moved to Santa Fe from Providence, Rhode Island, which made her kind of exotic. She was a little crunchy, and a little grungy. She was Crungey or Grutchy. No make-up, air-dried hair, torn jeans and thrift store sweater type. She did sport a personal Kryptonite in the form of cat glasses, and you can tell beneath all the woodsy, wholesome burlap and denim, she had a burlesque stripper’s body dying to get out. That was not going to happen with three dudes sitting around drinking beer. I’m sure it happens, but not in the dimensions that I tend to frequent.
“So you guys have to get up early for a landscaping gig tomorrow? Or, are you free to party on?”
They looked at each other.
“We don’t do landscaping,” Pokey said.
“That’s right, ” I said, looking at my watch. Eleven more precious minutes left. We heard the toilet flush, and looked at each other. Uh-oh. I could tell they were both in it to win it. I just better go get some beer now. This is going to be a long night.
She came out and smiled at us. She went back to her pillow, sat down, and crossed her legs.
Is it even worth it? She’ll just wind up hating you anyway. Everything winds up rotting. This whole game is rigged against us. Death is our only true relief.
“Are you okay?” she asked me.
“Oh yeah, I was just wondering if maybe I should make another beer run.”
Everyone agreed that was a great idea. Yes? Great idea? Not so great that anybody reached for their wallet. Fuck it. I break. Lost this battle, but the war rages on. Double down on victory in the Kursk salient.
I got up. My death ray was in full effect as I looked at the two urchins avoiding my eyes. Can’t penetrate into their souls if they don’t look. Sneaky fuckers.
“Be right back, guys.”
“Let’s burble some herbal,” one of them said, as I closed the door behind me.
I walked out to my car. No muffler. The roar set off car alarms when I drove past. Sometimes, like now, it felt good. Sometimes it was just embarrassing. The clerks at Owl used to laugh about hearing me all the way from Maynard. Ha-ha. I pay your rent. Show a little respect. A little awe.
I drove up to the window. It was the old lady. She looked like an apple doll.
“EEEEEEEE! Crazy huero is here! We were talking that we could hear you–”
“A case of MGD bottles, and two 40s of Old English. Throw in a shot of Dark Eyes, tambien…por favor!”
I had no time for idle chit-chat. Those two back there are probably filling her in on all kinds of information she hadn’t received clearance on. Homo Todd’s Halloween party, The St. John’s Incident, any number of open mike nights, the Dread Zeppelin show, Soul Asylum at UNM. Just a whole bunch of information she didn’t need to process just yet.
I didn’t mean to, but I peeled out from the window. The tires were bald enough. They didn’t need the abuse. Like anything did. It just seemed like when I got uptight, I would naturally scatter that shit wherever I doth roam.
My roaming took me on to St. Francis then a right up Alameda. I cracked one open and murdered half. Threw the cap out the window, and killed the rest. Tucked the empty under my seat, and hand signaled a left turn. I fished a butt out of the ashtray and sparked it. I was feeling a little better.
I was grateful that the State of New Mexico had come to it’s senses about allowing package liquor sold on Sundays. When I heard it was official, you would’ve thought it was V.J. Day by the way I rejoiced. Jumping up and down and punching the air kind of joy. For a long time, you couldn’t buy booze from a store on Sundays. Just at a bar. If you’re already passing up meals to keep the lights on, the extra financial burden of getting your grog on a Sunday, because you drank up your stash on Saturday, could be just the thing that upsets the household budget, and severely restricts how much beer Father can purchase for the rest of the week.
And that makes Father cross. Hostage-takey kind of cross.
But those Dark Ages were behind us now. We were moving into a brave new world. I looked over to all the beer and smiled. My happy bunch of beer.
I parked the car and cracked another one. Might as well get a few under my belt to fortify me for battle. I sized up my chances. The trolls kind of came as a set, and women hate to break up a set. I knew that much. Advantage me. However, they were more from the same tribe. That woodland, Kashi-crunching, outdoorsy knit cap wearing, hacky-sack kicking peoples. Advantage them.
They were easy-going and mellow. I was hateful and dangerous. Pretty even there.
They had weed, although I never actually saw it. Advantage them. I had lots of beer, although they’d never actually see it. Advantage me. Big advantage. Okay. I win. I tucked the empty under.
I grabbed a six-pack to bring in. Six beers between four people. Heh-heh. A party-spoiler if there was ever one invented. I couldn’t pull it off with people who knew me well. They’d see me walk through the door with a six and know I was hoarding. But if these people really knew me, I wouldn’t have to go through this charade.
The whole night had been a charade for me. I had been as fake as an electric fireplace. A faux-finished one. Sitting there, trying to nod my head in all the appropriate parts of the conversation, when I would have rather just stared, slightly slack-jawed and entirely not interested. It was grueling.
Pokey had been talking about his idea for Judo trading cards. God, what a stupid idea. I had already heard part of this brainstorm before. Typical late-night, unrealistic pipe-dream ambition caper. Who the fuck cares enough about Judo, besides Pokey, to get into collecting trading cards about that shit?
I took Judo as a kid. Pretty worthless as a martial art. Unless you go to a bar where everyone wears the pajamas and agrees to only flip each other in a fight. If some ass-hole grabs your chick’s ass, you could go over there, bow, grip each other by the pajama lapels and start waltzing around the dance floor looking for an opportunity to roll him over your hip like a jitterbug dancer. Then Judo wouldn’t be worthless. Other than that…
I had to act supportive. Couldn’t just piss all over his Rose Parade. Really wanted to though.
“That sounds like a great idea. Everybody loves Judo, so everybody would love Judo trading cards. I hope you will buy me a beer or four to replace the ones you drank tonight when you become a millionaire.”
Ha-ha-ha. We all laugh together. Ha-ha-ha. We’re all friendly friends. Ha-ha-ha.
I cracked open another beer. I’ll go back in right after this one. Not too eager for another earful of Aurie’s conspiracy theories, and the inevitable buzz-kill that results from believing some of them. Sure most of them you could shuck aside, but if a dude just keeps coming at you with them, like that’s his thing, and he is very eager to share his personal nightmare with you, eventually he’s going to spin one out that you find yourself believing. Especially if your stoned. We’re losing the war for Man to the Lizard People, being one that rang true to yours truly.
Holy shit. He’s right! It’s them. From Reptilis Reticula or some shit. Bush for sure. Others? Too many to list. What can I do to overthrow them? I have trouble holding down a day job. Oh yeah. We are fucked.
I call it Fear Tripping. Get yourself on a course of thought that leads from one scary thought to another, but always slightly scarier. Amp that bitch up. See if you can get your teeth to sweat with fear. The thing I’ve found about scary thoughts, is that there are always other ones that reinforce them. Once you go down that alley you’re doomed. All you can do is stop thinking. Meditation is one way. I had another.
It started to get clinky under my car seat as I stuck number four under. One more, and I’ll go in. I snapped off the top.
I wondered how long Bobbi would be my girlfriend. She seemed like a three-to-six month. Stable enough to make it work for awhile, and then too stable to make it work anymore after that. Those are a little rougher to bounce out of. By then there’s enough history to pull out the long knives. You’re not going to scoot out without getting shived a few times with The Dagger of Ugly. She seemed like a nice girl, but that doesn’t mean shit in a break up. I’ve watched Gaia Goddesses and Moon Mothers turn into Medusas once they smelled the funk.
Works with animals? Helps the poor? Teaches children? Christian? New Age? Green? Rainbow? Doesn’t matter. Hurt them and they all go wolverine. God bless them for that. Most dangerous animals will leave you alone if not provoked. Why did I keep poking at them with my stick?
Well okay. Yeah.
But is that really a good enough excuse? Bobbi seemed like a really nice girl. Nice enough not to deserve the likes of someone like me.
It was that last thought that did it. I started the car up, and backed out of the car port. I had this moment of clarity. Or at least as clear as a moment you can have after 7-8 beers. I didn’t need to get involved. Just because she was attractive, and I was bored and “lonely.” I didn’t need to insinuate myself into her life, and then feel bad for doing it in the first place. I wasn’t up for the guilt this time.
I’ll hold out for somebody equally traumatized by life. That way we’ll be even when everything goes to shit. I’ll let the two trolls fight over her. It was an ever so small inching towards something resembling a conscience. An emotional troglodyte’s first evolutionary movement towards a sentient bi-pedal existence.
I turned onto St. Francis. They’re going to be wondering what happened to me. Hell, I was wondering what just happened to me. I wrote it off as just saving myself a six-pack, but it felt like more.
A cop climbed up behind me. The no muffler. He had to be hearing it all the way in his bone marrow. I was going to jail. Going to have to wake up Marko for bail. He followed me all the way down Cerrillos, but turned off on Baca. Only in Santa. Maybe my karma was getting a little better. I aimed my car for home. I had work in the morning.