He drove us back to Lana’s place, and his place now that he had asked for Lana’s hand. My opportunity to actually feel the alcohol I consumed instead of slight blips of taste. My chance to brag and regale and unwind from unwinding. My chance to slow down. My expectations were delusional. When we arrived, Paul was seated in the single seat couch, otherwise known as a chair and ottoman, playing Mass Effect 2. Paul was a glorious nerd of massive wit and eternal kindness. He could cuddle his son one minute, work his ass off another and bust a very gross joke the next, all while getting all 95 achievements in Red Dead Redemption. Paul was a giant kid. A thirty-something bic-ed loveable kid. Immediately, Adrian gives me a Hops Rising beer. Bitter, dark but 9% alcohol and locally brewed. A good start.
We watch Paul bust through the plethora of talking in the game, waiting for Lana to return. Soon, Orange and Rex came in. I had met both of them once or twice. I never met any of these brothers-in-arms much. I was happy to see them. Orange was a DJ and had just come back from a birthday party. A great looking woman, her friends and her daughters. He was dressed in a crisp white shirt, black suit jacket, black tie; the formal ten. Always with a smile, he recounts the story of his night. The woman is pointing out everyone there. Orange saw two drop dead, boner inducing women, mouth slightly opened. The birthday girls leans over to him and says “And those two are my daughters. They’re off limits.” My first thought was he should of went for them anyway, but a good man knows that pay trumps women, especially the disposable kind. A lightweight redhead became extremely enamored with him during the night. She “guns” were used, over and over and over, until she tipped over. An ex even shows and he has to escort her out. “I’m working,” he said. I listen closely.
It became my turn to tell my story. I should of felt overwhelmed. I should have been overshadowed by Orange. I’d heard several of his stories, but I was still high off the simple things I had done. It was basic game. It was below basic. The men I read on the net – Dagonet, Willy Wonka, Roosh, Roissy – that was their light breakfast, if they felt like it. But, for me, it was the start. It was winning the playoffs, even if it was the pee wee leagues. I was happy. That’s all that mattered. I went into the story. Lana returned, hands full of bags and clothes. Quickly, after hearing the conversation, she backed me up. “She had great tits.” We went into the kitchen. Paul broke out his smooth, licorice tasting Columbian liquor. We all shot and talked. We all told stories. Rex about the gray-haired hippie lady he drunkenly hit on. His band mates watched from a distance and laughed as she tried to pick him as he desperately tried to find a polite out. Orange talked about giant clits. I told a very short version of a girl I worked with at Denny’s and fucked twice after I quit, both times in public parks. Without the shots, the laughs and the barbs between us all, I may have remembered how half the time her dog cockblocked me. It didn’t matter. It was the best time I’d had in a very, very long time.
It rolled around five and Orange had already went home. I was pretty drunk and I had to get up early enough to make it to my relatives in California at a decent hour. We all had a last smoke and went to sleep. Only Orange was sober enough to drive home. The rest of us scattered around the condo. I got about five hours of rest before Paul woke me up as he promised, the sound of coffee being made and I enthusiastically took a cup. I could feel the Columbian devil water still in me, but I had no choice. All my shit was in the car. All the shit I thought I needed. All the shit I thought I didn’t have the balls to throw away. Things I may do or may want. It was all things. The Exs storage closet held enough require five of my cars, if you packed it tight. I gave a handshake to Paul and we said our goodbyes as he went off to work. Then, as requested, I knocked on Lana and Adrian’s door. They came down and Lana gave me a giant hug, wishing me the best and headed back up to sleep. Graveyard shifts. Adrian went outside for a smoke and I joined. We talked for a bit about the trip and smaller things. I only had half my cigarette. I needed to space them out if I was going to make this habit last an entire carton. We shook and I left. Some Marylin Manson on the stereo.
I felt excited. I felt ready. I hit the road and realized I was still drunk. The intoxication fell off around southern Utah where I stopped for Gatorade and a smoke. I pondered on what Kay had told me about an hour earlier. The Red Cross in Tuscaloosa was slow and inefficient with the tens of thousands of volunteers helping. I had taken over the conversation. I wanted to expose it. I know people. Benefit of big family. I went on and on and on. Then, when I gave her a word, she reminded me that the problems happened days ago, not currently. All she wanted to do was vent about the past problems. I jumped on it like I jump on a lot of things. Like ideas. Like feelings. Like my marriage. It was a kick to the ego. One needed. The humbling ying to the alpha yang.
At the station, after pondering, surrounded by new condos in the middle of the parches desert, a jackrabbit burst out of the brush and stopped dead in the middle of a clearing no more than 20 feet away from me. I stared at it for several moments. It didn’t move. For years, I had tried to hunt jackrabbit in Utah, the only animal you can kill without a permit due to its massive population. I was told they were everywhere. I had even seen them on hikes. Yet, every time I took my .22 with me to hunt, they were never there. Any rabbit I did see either was too far, ran at an insane speed directly left or right, or popped up when I was out of ammo. Now, for whatever reason, God or whomever had decided to taunt me a dumbass rabbit, as he did with a drunk girl. It was at this time I concluded that it was God’s plan to prank me as much as he could, and that I needed to start pranking his ass back in whatever way I could.
It took 11 hours to get to southern California from northern Utah. Traffic jams from Vegas straight into the Valley. Agriculture checkpoints 100 miles in the California border. Dumbasses galore. I was home, again. God pulled another prank on me while I was stuck on I-15 with thousands of others: Osama bin Laden got capped. I had thought about that moment for many, many years. I wanted to be at a bar, or at home with family and friends, or be able to be able to join in the celebration. Fucker died while I was squinting into the brake lights of some soccer mom’s minivan, waiting for my turn to look at a pulled over sports car. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Why couldn’t it have been yesterday? Why couldn’t it have been with Seasons’ tits in my hand? If anything would of pushed me to take her into the bathroom that night and carve my name into her thighs with my dick, it would have been that. Even goths hate terrorists. I called my mom about it, she being a political person. Her reaction was, as I used to be, as Spike was, a downer. It didn’t matter. Who cares if he’s dead? I cared. I was happy. Some people need to die, no matter what. Its in male genetics to murder our enemies. The yang returned. Embrace the animal. The nature of man. Quit fucking downing yourself. I turned on Queen and belted my cracking voice.
When I got to my uncle’s place I was drunk on fatigue. It took me three hours to fall asleep. Something still wasn’t right. My mind still having insane thoughts at insane speeds like it did in Utah. I popped a Xanax, knowing it was the second to last one, knowing that if I was addicted it would be a very bad thing to run out. I didn’t want to be. This was supposed to be a rest. Something still wasn’t kosher, but I pushed it away. I just wanted to sleep. Sleep was short. Sleep was restless. The only thing that still ran well was the ego.
The finale, tomorrow.