One passed out on the sofa; one dancing like a fool, his shirt off; one clutching the remote for dear life as the Cartoon Network flashes across a big screen TV; and the other, the youngest in this rotten bunch sitting in the corner of the living room nursing a beer patiently waiting for his turn, biding his time.
“What the fuck am I doing here?” I mumble as the center of our attention, a big loud drunk woman, hops onto her dining room table with a Japanese Kitana sword, strips off her blouse and begins to gyrate to an old Van Halen tune cranking from a real nice sound system. Hot for teacher indeed. 1:30 in the morning and blasting with total disregard to the neighbors in the surrounding complex.
At first, before I got here, it was just me she wanted at this dive in Pasadena on East Colorado Boulevard. Blurry-eyed, very much so. It was she and I holding hands and walking toward the exit when she says, “Let’s get some more boys, make this a real fuckin’ party.”
Right there I should have walked, but since I was drunker than normal—and that’s saying something—and because I wanted to take the next step in a Bukowski shoe, I say, “Okay, cool.”
So I’m careening down California Boulevard near Cal Tech. The woman is next to me, while an ex-con, it turns out, sits in the back. They’re exchanging DUI stories. This after we picked up a case of beer from 7-11.
“You know,” Ex-Con says, “I can go to jail just by riding in the back seat here. Parole violation.”
“Interesting,” I say and lock eyes with him in the rearview mirror. The woman is singing and hopping on her seat.
“Ain’t gonna happen tonight, bro,” I say, “I’m the best drunk driver in the city.”
“Yeah, yeah,” the woman cuts in, “Sure you are. Just shut up and get us back to my place. And remember, we’re gonna party up. That’s it. I’m not fucking anybody tonight!”
We both nod our heads emphatically and wave our hands in front of us as if that was the furthest thing from our corrupted minds.
We get to her place. Nice joint, doesn’t look like the apartment of a drunk: clean and well lit, tastefully furnished.
The stereo goes on. Beers get packed into her fridge. Ex-Con darts for the can and is out minutes later. “I think I broke your toilet,” he tells the woman. I’m sitting in a chair drinking beer that tastes like crap because I hate drinking beer this late in the career. If you’re going to drink, then drink goddammit.
But I have to take it easy here. Need some of your senses if dealing with a con and a drunken woman. Nothing, I repeat, nothing, is worse than a woman who can’t handle her booze. Also, I might have to perform if the need arose, so there’s that.
“What do you mean you broke my toilet?” the woman screams. They both charge down the hall. More screams fill the air. Denials are offered. I’m called to double check the damage. And yes, sure enough, about a fourth of the right rim has been broken off. Smashed into pieces which lay in the bottom of the bowl.
“How the fuck did you do this?” the woman cries.
“I wasn’t doing anything, I just took a piss.”
“Bullshit,” I say, pointing at his steel-toed hiking boots. “Look at your shoes. Man, you’re so fucked up you probably put your foot up for balance and stomped on the thing.”
“Oh, right. I guess I did that.” He looks down, like a child who just wet his bed for the third night in a row.
“You sonuvabitch!” The woman lays into Ex-Con with a terrible screech, which was bold, I thought. Risky actually. “You’re gonna pay me for this I swear to God! I just cleaned the fucking bathroom today! Look at it! Look at it! How could you motherfucker? I just cleaned today!”
It goes on like that while I stumble back to the living room to finish my beer. Then, I don’t know how long after, two men appear at the woman’s open sliding door. They walk in with 12-packs. Stud Boy and his buddy, 400 Pound Black Dude.
We measure each other up quickly, nobody looking for a fight. Only one thing we were sniffing around for, and we were going to be gentlemen about it. So we quietly acknowledge each other’s presence but pretend the other guys aren’t there.
The woman and Ex-Con come squabbling back into the room and she suddenly drops the scary voice. “Hey guys! It’s about time! Now we can dance!”
Ex-Con goes to the sofa, already defeated. More beers put into the fridge. Stud Boy comes out of the kitchen with his shirt unbuttoned, dancing. 400 Pound Black Dude goes to a recliner and grabs the remote. Cartoon Channel pops on with no sound.
Immediately the woman joins Stud Boy.
“All right!” she yells and kicks out her thick legs and feet. “Come here you man!” She spins around and starts grinding into Stud Boy’s crotch. “Yeah, a real man! Dance for me bitch!” And Stud Boy, with a vacant and smirking face, obliges.
I get up for another beer I don’t want. When I come back out of the dark kitchen the woman is tossing around a wacky straw island hat. “Here,” she throws it at 400 Pound- Black Dude who’s still sitting on the recliner flipping channels, but keeps coming back to cartoons. “Put it on! Dance with us! Come on!”
400 Pound Black Dude takes the skewed hat off his head, says, “I don’t think so,” and tosses it back to the woman.
Great, it’s a circus and I have to perform. Okay, fine, at least let me see where this goes. “Give it to me,” I say.
“All right, another man!” She tosses it at me. “Put it on and dance, bitch!”
I do, with all the grace of a drunken monkey, and for a few eternal minutes she’s digging it. She whoops and hollers and punches the air. Stud Boy gets pissed and stomps off for another beer. Then the woman leaves the room. Thinking this is my chance, I dart after her.
She’s lying on her bed, her feet on the floor, and she’s drumming the air, grooving to whatever metal tune is now bellowing through the apartment. I stand at her doorway, notice a cute, short cocktail dress hanging on the closet door.
“This is my bedroom,” she says, finally noticing me. “It’s a mess, I didn’t have time to clean it. Do you like it?”
“It looks fine to me, sweetie.” I step into the room. “I like that dress you got over there,” I whisper.
“What? Now I suppose you want me to put it on so I could get your little dick hard, right? Right?”
“Um, no. I was…”
“I know what you were trying to do, you motherfucker! Now get back out there with the rest of them, you pig! I’ll be out in a second.”
Good idea, I think. Must keep the drunk going; at least that, God, at least fucking that.
I go out and see Ex-Con slinking out the sliding door with two beers in his hand. The others don’t pay him any mind, but he pauses long enough to give me a parting glance then exits in a hurry. I have to chuckle. Probably knows enough to get out when the getting’s good. I have to sit and rest my eyes.
When I open my eyes after I guess fifteen-twenty minutes I’m on the sofa. Japanese anime is blaring. I hate that shit. The music is off. 400 Pound Black Dude has stayed put. Not once did he get up or have a drink. Where are Stud Boy and the woman though? I hear muffled whispers coming from the dark kitchen. Dammit.
400 Pound Black Dude looks at me. Shrugs his shoulders, I return the gesture. Fuck it. Might as well. Wouldn’t be the first time. So I get up, and good God I’m woozy, dizzy, faint, need food, get my balance, and I stumble into the kitchen.
Stud Boy has the woman pressed against the sink. Or maybe it’s the other way around. And they’re chatting. That drunk, almost-ready-to-close, moving-in-for-some-action banal senseless chatter that doesn’t mean anything at this point because the only thing you’re thinking is, well, you’re not thinking at this juncture are you?
The animal is king here.
So to be the asshole, I step between them. Stud Boy and the woman don’t get pissed, they step apart, let me pass, and I go to the fridge and grab another beer. They continue to fast talk, I think he’s trying to convince her to fuck; she wants to but is resisting.
I crack my beer and lean against the sink to watch and listen. They’re about 5 ¾ inches from me. I see their lips moving as they banter, but it’s dark, the only light coming from the living room.
“Can you believe this fucker?” the woman says to me and leans back on the sink. Stud Boy presses an impressive hard-on into her. He doesn’t look at me.
“You think you know how to fuck, fucker?” She nearly spits at him. “You know what to do? You think you can make me feel good again?”
“Come on, sweetie,” he slurs.
“I asked you a question, fucker! Answer me! Answerme!” She hits him on the chest. “Answer me!”
“Yes, baby, I’ll make you feel real good.”
“Oh yeah, you fuck? You fuck! You fuck! Here then!” And the woman unzips her jeans and yanks them down to her knees. She’s not wearing panties. “Come on then fucker! Come on!” It is a quick, vulgar, shocking gesture.
Stud Boy can’t believe his luck as he drops to his knees and goes down on her.
Now, I’m standing there. The woman is cursing still, bucking, she’s growling, almost angry with herself because she isn’t gay and has to get a man and/or men to do this for her.
So, I figure, what the hell. Three’s company, you know? I drop to my knees, turn the happy couple to the side and approach the woman from the rear.
It goes for a few seconds, the three of us, then: “Get off me!” She shoves Stud Boy who is unbalanced and falls back; pants down, a wet erection bobbing in the cold stuffiness of a narrow kitchen.
“You motherfucker!” she shouts at Stud Boy as she re-fastens her pants. “Get the fuck out! Get the fuck out! Everybody get the fuck out!”
“But I brought beers,” Stud Boy whines while gathering himself.
“Then get your beers and get the fuck outta my house!” She shakes her head. Rubs her temples. “I’m getting a headache,” she finally whispers.
400 Pound Black Dude steps into the kitchen: “What’s up?”
“Everybody just leave, okay? Take your friend with you,” and she points at Stud Boy raiding the fridge, stuffing bottles back into a box.
“All right, you heard the lady, time to go,” 400 Pound Black Dude announces, and he and Stud Boy shuffle out of the kitchen and into the night. I step around the woman to leave myself, real quiet; she’s looking down, rubbing her forehead. She says, “I didn’t say you.”
“I have to pee first,” and she pads out of the kitchen.
I look at my watch: 3am. Not bad. Be done by 3:30. Then, head over to Carl’s Jr. for a six-dollar burger with cheese. No onions, please. Then, take the Five Freeway Route home. Get in by 4:30. Perfect.
“GODDAMMIT!” I hear from the bathroom. “That motherfucker!” The woman stomps back into the living room. “You know what that asshole did to my toilet?” Her face is red. Veins are pulsing in her neck. “He…he…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” She belts it out. “I’ve had it! That’s it! I’m sorry. You have to go now.”
I’m like, what? You mean if it wasn’t for what that jackass did I’d be sharing the night with this woman? That sonuvabitch!
“I’m sorry to leave you high and dry tonight, but…”
And then I give up too. Fuck it. “Okay, baby, I’ll say good night then.” She walks me to the door. I turn. “Can I at least have a kiss on the lips? I want to know what I’ll be missing.”
She looks like she wants to cry at that but shakes it off and immediately comes to me. Her kiss is warm and soft and needy, as is mine, and all too brief. “That’s not even trying,” she waves. “You be careful. Watch out for the cops.”
The woman shuts the door, pulls the curtain, I spin around, and promptly fall off her porch and onto her driveway. I hear a snap when I go one way and my left foot goes the other.
I come to an hour later laying face down on oily asphalt. Reeking of booze, cigarettes, and other foul matter. I stand to walk, feel a horrific pain but brush it off as just another sprained ankle.
The next day my left foot looks like something you’d find on a deformed Hobbit. Go to the doctor: hairline fracture of the ankle and shin. Four weeks in a boot-cast.
Goddammit. I need a girlfriend.