"You don't understand Dusty," Jess said, drunkenly shifting around on the couch to reach her cigarettes and sloshing her drink onto her ubiquitous white wife-beater. "It has been such a long time since I've gotten laid. I'm sick of celibacy! I'm sick of relationships! I just want a chick that'll let me fuck her!"
I recalled that it was only a month and a half since Jess had been bragging to me and our other two roommates Mandy and Emily (who were both upstairs sleeping since, unlike us, they had to be to work early) about finally getting this girl named Charlize into the sack. Charlize worked at the Zales jeweler in the mall, and Jess had been obsessed with her since, well...it was hard to keep track of Jess's obsessions.
Still, Charlize was probably the last pussy she'd had since that relationship went from Charlize being "the only person who really *sees* me" to her being "that drunk slut with a fake tan and an eating disorder" in just about a week's time. Jess had only noticeably stopped being a sullen bitch about her break up in the past couple days.
Dusty kept laughing at Jess being drunk. "What's so funny?"
"Just hearing you come out and say 'I need some pussy.' I mean, that's not something you hear chicks say regularly."
"Well," Jess said, lighting her cigarette and tossing the lighter on the Pizza Hut box no one had bothered to throw away since the weekend. "It's the truth."
"No, no, I'm not talking shit," Dusty said. "I totally understand. It's been awhile for me too. I could use some pussy as well."
I also doubted Dusty's definition of "awhile" since he had just broken up with his last girlfriend less than a month ago as well. Dusty, with his three-gauge plugs in his ears and blue and yellow flame tattoo creeping up his neck, he might have always worn a Hot Topic hoodie with the unfortunate phrase "Pimp in Training" on it, but his M.O. was serial monogamy. In the half a year I'd known him up to that point, he'd already been in more relationships than I could count on one hand, all of which had ended badly. He always rebounded quickly to move onto his next conquest.
"I'll third that guys," I said, not wanting to be left out. "I'm going through a dry-spell myself."
"How long has it been for you?" Dusty asked.
"Seven months," I lied. It was actually closer to a year, but I didn't want to come off as too pathetic.
"That's rough," Jess said. "I'd lose my mind if I had to go seven months."
We sat in silence until the commercial break ended. Eminem started doing a concert for the spring break crowd. By principle of him being on MTV, I hated Eminem, so I started talking. "There is no reason for the three of us to not be getting laid. I mean we're all young, fairly attractive, and not socially retarded. We should be getting laid any time we want. The only thing keeping us back is insecurity. Socially imposed insecurity."
"Yeah," Jess said. "Maybe all we need is encouragement. Like a contest or something."
"Kinda like they had on American Pie?" Dusty said to Jess. This may have been a subtle dig since Jess had been making us watch her DVD of American Pie she bought at Costco more-or-less non-stop for the past week.
"Yeah, like the one they had on American Pie," Jess said. "But I think the winner needs to get something. A prize or something."
"Wouldn't the prize be getting laid?" Dusty said.
"That incentive is always there," Jess said, flicking her ash at the ashtray on the table; she missed. "The winner needs to gain materially."
For the first time that night, we ignored the TV to sort out the particulars of this fledgling "contest". Since we were drunk, it took longer than it should have to come up with how it would work out; among the three of us, the first one to get laid would receive a prize of their choice (not to exceed thirty dollars) from the other two. This would make the potential prize somewhat substantial yet mitigate the overall cost. This would cover sex with females only, so Jess could not temporarily jump sides just to win ("Like that would happen..." she snorted at that prospect). In addition, there was a time limit of two months, to give us additional encouragement to win as fast as we could.
"Shouldn't Jess have a shorter time limit," Dusty said. "Since she's a female and it's easier for her to get laid?"
"I call bullshit on that," Jess said. "It's just as hard for girls to get girls as it is for guys to get girls. If anything, you two should have a shorter time limit since there are more straight girls than lesbians. Seriously, I should get some odds here."
"No, let's not fuck with odds or anything," I said. "Besides, your smaller pool of partners is mitigated by the fact that you just have to have lesbian sex, where we have to achieve full penetration."
"Lesbian sex is just as real as heterosexual sex dammit!"
"I'm sorry, but essentially what I'm saying is true," I said. "What you consider sex, I consider foreplay."
"Yeah," Dusty nodded in agreement. "Jess should have to get a whole fist in or use a strap-on for it to count."
Jess reached in her drink and Dusty and I got much deserved ice cubes thrown at our faces.
"Would you assholes quit with that fist fucking garbage? I don't do that," Jess hissed. "Let's just do this like we said. Are you with me?"
Dusty nodded exuberantly. "Yeah, I'm in this. For real."
"I'm in it if you're all in it," I said. We each reached forward and sealed the pact with a clink of our mugs.
I joined in this whole "contest" out of drunken bravado. If it had been about three mugs of Pepsi and cheap vodka earlier, I would have probably opted not to since the odds of me coming out as the winner were slim by any measure. Though it's true, I'm not a mutant or a social retard, I was (and to a degree, still am) painfully shy, and not the type who can pull tail out of thin air. Dusty and Jess, however, had no such problems. If anything, I was the one who most desperately needed handicapping in this contest.
I took the last watery inch of vodka from my mug in one gulp. Fuck it. Thirty bucks isn't too much to lose.
The apartment was a three-bedroom rowhouse in the Lowry Redevelopment zone, an area on the east side of Denver, sitting almost on the border of Aurora. Lowry had formerly been an Air Force base that had been decommissioned in the Clinton years and transferred to civilian use. The real estate company that purchased the base had a contract with the city to keep a certain percentage of the base as low-income housing. We were in the low-income sector, which was formerly housing for Air Force families.
For low-income housing, the area was pretty nice. There was little crime or graffiti and the people were usually cordial, even if they didn't necessarily speak English. Just a mile south of us on Quebec Street, there were half-million dollar homes being constructed. Along with the six-month lease, we also had to sign waivers explaining that we could be moved to different housing at any time should the development company decide to start construction in our area (read: demolishing the buildings we were living in, which happened just a year and a half later), as well as another form stating that we had been "advised" of the potential radon levels in the area ("It's not at dangerous levels," the leasing agent explained "But the lawyers make us include this anyway...").
I moved in on New Years Day 2000. The girls--Jess, Mandy and Emily--had been living there since the previous summer. They threw a New Year's Eve party, which consisted mostly of us watching the New Years celebrations of other time zones on TV, waiting to see if the Y2K bug was actually making society collapse. It didn't, and by the time midnight rolled around to the Mountain Time zone without anarchy ensuing, New Years felt anti-climactic. We book-ended the new century by first playing Prince's 1999 and following it up with Pulp's Disco 2000 after twelve. A few minutes after midnight, I stepped outside with a few people to smoke a joint and cheered when we heard a lone emergency siren go off nearby. The next day, completely hung over, I went down to my parent's house to get my bookshelves and dresser.
On paper, the whole arrangement looked like a fucking disaster...
Never mind that the roommate I was replacing left in the midst of a ton of drama, the specifics of which being both too complicated and too retarded to recall. I only remember that there was screaming and tears between her and Jess when she came to pick up her last few boxes of belongings.
Never mind that in addition to living together, I also worked with two of them. Jess, Mandy and I all knew each other from working at the Starbucks in Park Meadows Mall in Littleton, Colorado; home of Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Jess and I were still working at the store in the mall. Mandy no longer worked at the mall store, having transferred to the new Belleview store that opened in the Denver Tech Center that December. Even before I was living there myself, the house had long been the after work drinking hole for off duty baristas from all over the town to get drunk and exchange gossip about the job. At least all three of us had the same position in the company (that of a shift supervisor) so there was no seniority issues to deal with inside the household.
Miranda, or Mandy, was the one I'd known the longest. She was the person who trained me when I first started at Starbucks. Mandy was half-black and half-white and had a strange fondness for terms like "mulatto" or "quadroon". One day when she was working with me on the espresso bar, she explained: "If you want to hit on black girls, describe them using coffee metaphors."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"First, think of how you would describe them if they were Starbucks drinks. What is the first drink you think of when you think of me?"
"Umm, a latte?"
Mandy nodded. "That works, especially since I'm light skinned. But it sounds nicer if you use a sweet drink."
"A vanilla latte?"
"Very good! A chai-tea latte or a caramel macchiato would also work. Now, what about a black girl who is darker skinned?"
"Yep. What about one with a lot of personality?"
"Umm, dark roast with Sweet N Low?"
"Leave out the Sweet N Low and you got it."
To a large extent, Mandy conformed to the hippie/Earth mother stereotype that many mixed white/black girls get stuck with. This manifested itself in a love for acoustic female singer/songwriter music, or any artist that toured with the Lilith Fair. She was working on her fifth year of an English diploma at CU Denver. Mandy also came from a great deal of money, her father being a top manager at a mutual fund. Mandy told everyone she was bisexual, though no one could ever recall her dating a boy.
Jess started working at the Park Meadows store about four months after I did, but she worked for the company before. Jess and Mandy had worked at a Starbucks out in Aurora and had ended up good friends after that. Jess actually went to the same high school I did, though we didn't know each other back then. Jess graduated in the class after mine and she was with the punk rocker crowd while I hung out with the marching band and Dungeons and Dragons set.
After high school, she'd gone to film school briefly out east, flunked out, went to culinary school, flunked out of that, became a stripper for one week before quitting after the management strongly suggested she could make alot of money on the side by urinating on businessmen. Eventually, all her options out east dried up and she had to make her way back home to Aurora.
You couldn't tell that Jess was a lesbian just by looking at her. While there are plenty of attractive lesbians out there, Jess was a sizable loss to heterosexual men everywhere. Her nose looked slightly bulged out near the bridge. She claimed it was broken in a fight between some homophobes when she was living out east. I thought it gave her face more character. Despite her obsession with Ani DiFranco, Jess didn't have the earthy, hippy-ness of Mandy. Nothing in her appearance screamed dyke, unless she was wearing her I Learned From Lesbians t-shirt she bought at the Hot Topic on the first level.
Jess is the type of lesbian who will always have a credibility problem with other lesbians. It's not just that she didn't wear the universal dyke uniform. She didn't need to since you only listen to her talk for a few minutes to suss out that she liked chicks. In fact, if you were talking about the weather, she'd try and work lesbianism into the conversation. If there were anything that would brand her permanently as a Daddy Issues Dyke, it would have to be her extreme narcissisism. Jess was an extremely polarizing person; you either hated her or apologized for her, constantly.
I rolled my third joint of the night, put in Social Distortion's White Light/White Heat/White Trash into my stereo and turned up the volume. I was the only one home, so it was a perfect time to blast some music. It was only my second day living at the house and I was busy getting stoned and unpacking at the same time. Rather than getting extremely lazy while stoned, it usually gives me a sort of manic energy. Its a manic energy that's extremely unfocused, so I flitted back and forth between alphabetizing my CD collection and deciding whether I should arrange my collection of bootleg VHS tapes by genre or director.
My room was the entire basement. Besides giving me the bulk share of the radon that may or may not have been in the soil, it also gave me privacy from the girls upstairs. None of the girls smoked weed, but I was free to do it in the house as long as I kept it downstairs. The basement used to be Jess's room until she decided to move upstairs. She kindly left her waterbed in the basement for me to use since it would have been a pain in the ass to move again (when we moved, we just left the damn thing down there). Tacked into the wooden wall that seperated the staircase from the rest of the room were pictures cut out of old Rolling Stone Magazines of Jess's three female obsessions: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gillian Anderson, and Angelina Jolie. There was also a poster of I Knew What You Did Last Summer duct taped to the concrete wall. I left them up, not having anything better to put in their place.
She also left a couple boxes of personal items. I was completely baked once my personal belongings were in order. My curiosity got ahold of me and I started snooping through the boxes. For the most part, the items within were just junk: a locker mirror, an empty CD wallet, a set of expensive water color pencils. In one, I found a journal bound in maroon cloth. Despite my better instincts, I decided to open it up somewhere in the middle...
March 29th, 1998
I FUCKING HATE MY ROOMMATE NADINE! Who ever was doing the housing assignments here is PIECE OF SHIT to have put me in the same room as this CUNT! I despise myself for not moving off-campus after freshman year. Fucking bitch actually told me she was praying for me today. The fucking nerve! That's all for today. I'm too pissed to write!
April 24th, 1998
OHMYGOD! I just saw the new preview for the X-Files movie! I have to be there opening day! Its the only movie I even want to see this summer!
August 6th, 1998
Summer break is almost over. I'm sick of Colorado. All my old friends suck. I need to write in this more. Maybe tomorrow.
August 7th, 1998
I refuse to quit smoking. I will NEVER EVER QUIT. I smoke because I don't have time to eat. I forgot to eat all day yesterday. I don't care. If I quit smoking I'll start eating too much and get fat. I'd rather slit my fucking wrists than be another obese slob. I'll write more tomorrow...
Between these short entries were the occasional page of poetry which ranged in tone from the eat-a-bunch-of-sleeping-pills lovelorn to extreme aggro-vapidness. Only about half of the journal was filled, petering out somewhere around the beginning of 1999. I already felt sleazy about reading someone else's diary, so I put it back in the box, put the lid back on and stuffed it in the corner with the rest of her stuff.
The Social Distortion CD was close to over, and I'd done all the work I was going to do on my room for the night. I decided it was time to eat some dinner and watch a videotape. Tetsuo: The Iron Man felt like good dinner-watching material...
The stairs to the basement led up to the kitchen. The kitchen was Queequeg's room. Queequeg was a nine month-old beagle bitch that Jess bought when she moved into the apartment. I thought it was unusual to name a dog after the harpooner in Moby Dick, but her impulse was less literary than that; Queequeg was the name of Scully's dog that gets eaten by a swamp monster in a third season episode of the X-Files. Jess's obsession with Gillian Anderson was strong.
Unfortunately, the apartment had no fenced in yard, so Queequeg had to be kept inside the house. She was confined to the kitchen with a baby gate. I gave her a quick scratch behind the ears and she watched while I rifled through the cabinets looking for a cookie sheet I could bake a frozen pizza on. After searching everywhere, I finally found one covered in dust in the back (apparently, the girls weren't much for cooking at home). After washing it off in the sink, I opened up the pizza, put it on the sheet and left it up on the counter.
That's when I heard a sound like water dripping out of a tap behind me. I turned around and was disgusted to see Queequeg pissing all over the linoleum behind me.
"Bad dog! Baaad dog!" I scolded, but I was way too stoned to muster enough anger for the dog to take me seriously. Besides, it really wasn't the dog's fault. Jess hadn't been home all day so Queequeg never got to go on a walk. I popped the leash on her and took her outside for a second, but all she wanted to do was chase a squirrel that darted across the yard. Whatever business she needed to do, she already did on the kitchen floor, so I took her back inside. I supposed I could have cleaned it up, but I felt lazy and really didn't want to touch dog piss right before I ate. I could dance around the puddle long enough to cook a pizza.
I went back downstairs while the oven preheated and smoked some more pot. I popped Tetsuo into my TV/VCR combo and smoked while it rewound. About halfway through the credits, I decided that instead of just watching it like I'd done a million times before, I should try watching it with a CD on. It was subtitled and some industrial music would probably go well with it. I tried to think which Skinny Puppy album might go best with it when I heard a crash and a female scream upstairs. I was alarmed since I'd assumed I was the only person in the house.
Emily was upstairs, standing just on the other side of the baby gate. She still had her jacket on, so she must have just gotten home from work. "What's wrong? What's going on?" I asked.
"I'm fine," she said. "The dog just startled me."
I looked behind me into the kitchen. The crash had been the sound of Queequeg jumping on the kitchen counter and pulling the cookie sheet with my frozen pizza onto the floor so she could snack on it. What was left of my dinner was now half eaten and marinating in the puddle of dog piss on the linoleum.
"Fuuuuck!" I groaned. "BAAAAD DOG!" I yelled at Queequeg, and this time I meant it. She scampered away and cowered by the refrigerator. "Where do we keep the mop?" I asked Emily.
"It's in that closet," she rapped the door next to her with her knuckle. "But you should really make Jess clean it up. Queequeg is her responsibility. She hasn't even trained the mutt."
"No shit," I said, still glowering at the dog.
Emily sighed. "So are you the one who keeps leaving the cupboard doors open?"
In the course of searching the kitchen for a cookie sheet, I did leave all cupboard the doors open. "Yeah, probably," I said.
"It creeped me out the other day," Emily said. "It's like that scene in The Sixth Sense where the mom turns around and when she comes back into the kitchen with the dead people kid, all the doors are open," She shrugged. "I don't know. It just reminded me of that."
I was too high to come up with any sort of response, besides: "Sorry. I guess its a bad habit."
"No problem," she said. Without another word, she turned around and went upstairs to her room. Shortly after I could hear "Angry Johnny" by Poe start playing on her stereo. I couldn't tell if she was truly upset about the cupboard doors (if she was, it would be a pretty stupid thing to be upset about). It was hard to get a read on Emily period. Of my three roommates, I knew Emily the least. She was the only one of us who didn't work for Starbucks. She was also the only one of us who didn't like girls. She had a big-eyed pixieish look and dressed like a pseudo-raver. Though I'd met her before I lived there, I really hadn't talked with her much. In fact, that short conversation was probably the most we'd spoken together up to that point.
Though I had no intention to clean up Queequeg's piss, I figured I shouldn't leave my pizza melting on the floor. After wrapping my hands in about half-a-roll of paper towels, I picked up the piss-soaked pizza and transferred it to the trashcan. Queequeg watched sheepishly while I cleaned up. When I was done washing my hands in the sink, I went over and scratched her behind the ears some more to show her I wasn't mad at her. Softie that I am, I can't sustain any anger towards dogs, even ones that force me to drive to Burger King for dinner.
When the opportunity to move into a house with three attractive young ladies first landed in my lap, I knew the minefield I was heading into. The first thing I resolved was that I wouldn't under any circumstances try and make a move on any of them. I would act like a perfect gentleman and respect the limits of our relationship to be merely that of "roommate". Living with them, I began to know them more intimately than most people and I had to remember not to mistake that for any true connection.
Still, though I'm a gentleman, I'm hardly a eunuch. I had to constantly rationalize reasons not to get *too* attracted to any of them, lest the whole thing some crumbling down. Though it would be pointless to hit on Jess because of her sexual orientation, I still would be leery of hitting on Jess even if that weren't a factor. Her untrained dog or work drama aside, it was hard enough to be Jess's friend. I could imagine being in a relationship with her would be suicide.
Mandy was a more difficult situation. She said she was bisexual so there were no hang-ups there. In addition to that, one time the summer before I'd gone on an impromptu road trip with her to Kansas just for the fuck of it. During that middle of the night trip, she had frankly (and uncomfortably) informed me she'd be willing to have sex with me. Since I figured she just said it just to pump up my abysmally low self-esteem, I never followed up on her offer and she never offered it again. Even so, my feelings towards her were platonic, and living with her made that the most sensible choice.
Through working with Jess and Mandy, I could always settle my urges by reminding myself that there's a friendship there that I shouldn't jeopardize. With Emily, I had no such pretext. The first month I lived in the house, we hardly spoke to each other unless it had to do with some "house" business. Through the layer of aloofness that surrounded her, I would detect occasional flashes of hostility or contempt directed towards me. That was also probably why Emily was the one of my roommates I had the biggest crush on.
However, despite the fact that she was the one most accessible to me by all objective standards (being a fully heterosexual girl with no awkward friendships to undo) getting to hooked on Emily also had it's twists. For one thing, she was raised in a strict Mormon household. It didn't seem like much of her religious upbringing stuck. Like the rest of us in the house, she chain-smoked and could drink hard liquor, nor did she have any problem with doing things on Sunday. When I was seven, I'd lived in Pocatello, Idaho, a town with a very large Mormon population. My first Cub Scout troop had been a Mormon one, so I was somewhat keen to their ways. Being an atheist, I didn't have any Christian sectarian problems with them either.
Traces of Emily's upbringing still came out. She was eminently disdainful towards the Theory of Evolution. When we were watching the news one day, a segment on Darwinism came up and she snorted in contempt. "What kind of idiot thinks we evolved from monkeys?" she said to no one in particular. She was also still a virgin at age twenty, and seemed set to save herself until marriage. While that's not too bizarre an occurence in this chaste decade, it was strange she'd be living with hyper-sexual girls like Jess and Mandy, who were always bragging about three-ways they'd had when they were fourteen.
Still, I put the idea of hooking up with Mandy or Emily strictly in the futile category and went on with my life, and they weren't my only options. I'd been hanging out with this goth chick named Lisa I met in my creative writing workshop the semester before. We'd stayed in touch after the semester and were hitting the clubs together regularly. There seemed to be possibilities there that would be much more drama free than hooking up within the household.
One of the most fundamental rules of tripping is to avoid mirrors at all costs. You will get sucked into it like Narcissus staring into the pond. Back in Boulder, I'd spent literally hours in the dorm bathroom tripping acid (I don't think I ever lived that one down). Psychedelics are such an introverted drug in the first place that it's natural that looking at one's self in a mirror complements the experience. It's not about vanity. It's about seeing how the internal experience changes the external. Oh, and I wouldn't advise playing with a butterfly knife while doing it either.
I got sucked into the still vortex of my full length mirror that night. I was tripping on ecstacy, or whatever was passing for ecstacy those days. Dusty and I had been at a rather disappointing rave earlier that night. It had been at this space called The Root, which sat conspicuously in the middle of University Hill and had been the source of most of my more disappointing rave experiences. That time had been especially bad since they made us throw out our cigarettes and lighters (Boulder's smoking ban now covered supposedly underground parties) and searched everybody insanely before going in. We even had to take off our shoes, which was not trivial for me since I was wearing fifteen hole paratrooper boots that night. I also had to make a trip back to the car to stash my wallet chain. We had to take our first pills before we even went inside so we could avoid getting them confiscated. Anyway, the whole situation was so lame that we stayed only an hour and a half before coming back to my place to take our second pills. At least in my basement, we could smoke as much as we wanted to.
I could feel the second pill kicking in as I stood in front of the mirror, feeling the body rush rise in my chest. I flicked open Dusty's butterfly knife he let me play with while he loaded a bowl of weed on my couch.
"You want to hit this?" he said, holding the pipe out me. I didn't say a word. I was too entranced by the mirror. And the knife.
"Yo, Dave," he insisted. "Step away from the mirror and hit this shit..."
I snapped out of my trance and went back towards the couch. I flicked my knife closed and tossed it next to him before smoking some of the weed. With all the E coursing through me, the weed didn't do much except relax me a little. I needed it. The way my jaw was grinding, it felt like my head was gonna split in two. I handed it back to him and went over to the stereo. "What you wanna listen to? Chemical Brothers?"
"Sure," he said, taking a deep hit off the glass pipe. "Anything but that Transglobalnation shit."
I popped in Surrender, put it on repeat and went back to the couch.
Dusty handed the pipe back to me. "Dude, I'm sorry I puked on you back at the party."
I cocked my eyebrow. "You didn't really puke on me," I said. "It's more like you puked *at* me. You only got a little on my shoe. It's no big deal."
"You looked angry," Dusty said. "You looked like you wanted to kill me."
I coughed. My lungs were suffering tonight from too much weed and too many cigarettes. "Naw. I wasn't pissed. I might have been surprised and maybe a bit concerned. But I didn't want to kill you."
"Okay," he said, as I handed the pipe back to him, but he didn't look convinced. I've heard from others that my "surprised" face can look like a rictus of rage to those who don't know better, and Dusty had a sort of paranoid personality about such things.
I met Dusty when he started working at Starbucks around Thanksgiving. He transferred to Park Meadows from the Castle Rock store to help bolster up our crew with experienced hands for the holiday season. Since we were both stoners, we immediately bonded over our mutual love of the leaf. On nights we closed together, we'd regularly sit out in his beat up old Civic (with 420 stickers conspicuously plastered all over the bumper which always made me nervous) smoking bowls.
Dusty originally hailed from Dallas, Texas. He used to have a coke and speed habit, which eventually got him tossed out of his parents' house. He lived on the streets, jumping from one tin-foil lined tweaker squat to another for a few years before he eventually got his folks to spring for a rehab program camp up in Montana. Finally clean, he reconnected with his family who had by then moved to Colorado, but he didn't move in with them. Dusty shared a studio apartment in Castle Rock with a tweaker who worked the register at McDonald's. Despite his living arrangements, Dusty managed to stay clean (or at least, mostly clean).
"So when's your last day at the store?" he asked.
"Thursday," I said. "They're making me finish out this week's schedule."
Being sick of the mall, I requested a transfer to the Belleview store where Mandy worked several month ago. While it didn't get processed in time to save me from one last holiday shopping season at Park Meadows, I finally heard that the paperwork on my transfer had gone through (more likely, the managers were sick enough of my bullshit to gladly pawn me off on another store). Perhaps a change of setting would lighten my mood.
"I heard the people there are pretty cool," Dusty said. He tapped the ash out of the pipe into a Dr. Pepper can I'd been using for an ashtray. "Amy says it's pretty laid back on the weekends, which should be nice for you."
"Yeah. I fuckin' hate weekends at the mall."
Amy was one of Dusty's long line of ex-girlfriends. In fact, she was the primary reason Dusty transferred from the Castle Rock store. Amy was a hippie/Deadhead/Phish phollower (which explained the dancing bear sticker on Dusty's bumper, even though his tastes ran more towards techno and Metallica. Dusty, ever the insecure romantic, couldn't bear to work with her every day. Amy, I'm sure, was probably also glad to not have him making a scene whenever they were in the same room. I guess his transfer solved all that.
We lit up some cigarettes and sat around listening to music. I was lost staring at the lamp while Dusty walked around the room, pacing to let his joints loosen up. He stopped at my bookshelf and browsed it for a good five minutes. "Wow. You've got a lot of books."
I suddenly realized my cigarette was burning down to my knuckle. A column of ash spilled onto my pants as I leaned forward to drop the butt in the Dr. Pepper can. "I got a lot of shit, period. It's a pain lugging it around everywhere."
"No, seriously. You've got a fuckin' library here," he said, pulling my copy of 1984 I'd had since middle school off the shelf and thumbing the pages. "You read all of these?"
"Most of them," I said, suddenly wanting another cigarette. I went up to the bookshelf next to him. "There's a bunch I haven't gotten to though. I gotta quit playing so much Nintendo."
"I really need to read more," Dusty said. "The problem is, I just don't know where to start. I mean, I've read a bunch of Tom Clancy and Stephen King and stuff, but I don't know about any of the classics."
"You should start with the one in your hand," I said, pointing at 1984.
"I've already read this," he said, putting it back on the shelf. "I don't think I've read any of these other ones."
"Ever read any Hemingway?"
Dusty shook his head. "No. He any good?"
"Yep. Maybe a little dry sometimes. I know," I reached up on the shelf and got my copy of Crime and Punishment. I stuck it in Dusty's hands. "That is a fucking awesome book. I loved it back in high school. It's not too hard to read, but it's incredible."
"What's it about?"
"This outsider who commits a murder thinking he's a superman or such. The whole book is about him wrestling with guilt. It's really dark and psychological; I think you'd like it."
Dusty turned the book over in his hands. "That sounds interesting. I don't read very fast. You mind if I hold onto it for awhile?"
"Take it as long as you need to," I said.
"Dude, it *will* take me a long time," Dusty said, thumbing through the pages. "I'm not a genius like you. It's gonna take me a long time to get through something like this."
"I'm not a genius."
"Hell yeah, you are," Dusty said, giving my shoulder a squeeze (which set off a wave of nerves that made my spine shudder...yeah, I was tripping balls). "Trust me, a dumbshit doesn't read a whole shelf of books like these. I can count the number of books I read last year on my hands, and they were nothing like these."
"Well, thanks man," I said. It always made me uncomfortable when Dusty tried to pump up my intellectual vanity at the expense his own. Intelligence-wise, I only consider myself above-average, and I wonder about that sometimes since I've never met a person who didn't think they had above-average intelligence (besides, if I was so fuckin' smart why was I working on my sixth year of college?) Dusty was no dumbshit, but his flattery barely concealed a jealous and resentful core.
Then again, maybe I was reading too much into things. Maybe reading too much Dostoyevsky gave me a contrarian view of human nature. Perhaps it was better to just take things at face value and lighten up. At least, that's what the ecstacy was telling me.
"Let's watch a movie," I said. "You ever seen Eraserhead?"
"Dave," Lisa said into my ear so she could be heard above the industrial music blasting through the club's sound system. "We need to talk."
I knew this moment was coming. I'd been steeling myself for it for days. The last round of betting was over and it was time to show cars and I knew mine weren't good. I fingered the stirrer straw in my gin and tonic, the booze glowing like it was radioactive in the black lights. I didn't even feel like drinking that night. The drink was just a prop; something I could occupy my hands with instead of fidgeting in my pockets.
Lisa lead me to a semi-private area of the club. It was ten-thirty on a Thursday night and the place was only sparsely filled with goth scene regulars who were bored and wanted to drink on a weeknight. Evil Dead 2 was playing on the row of television sets above the bar. I watched Bruce Campbell fight with his possessed hand while I waited for it.
"I read your note," Lisa said simply.
Yes, the note. The technique I used to show my true feelings to girls since I was seventeen. The first time it was bad poetry and came with a bouquet of roses, left on the girl's VW bug in the school parking lot. I was so lame, I couldn't even bring myself to put my name on it. I ended up signing it "A Secret Admirer" and probably made the chick think she had a stalker. Of course, nothing came of it.
The second time I tried, I did put my name to it. It was again bad poetry and came with a single rose instead of a bouquet. I left it infront of the girl in question's family's doorstep. I thought it was terribly romantic and it worked that one time, leading to about two months worth of makeout sessions before she saw I was really just a douche and broke up with me via email back when breaking up via email was a pretty cold blooded thing to do.
Lisa was the third time. This time it wasn't bad poetry and came with no flowers. I left it quickly on the windshield of her pickup in the parking garage at the Auraria campus. I had given up any notion that the note technique was anything other than pathetic by that point. I chose to do it that way anyway because I don't trust things to come out of my mouth the way I mean them. I prefer the written word, where such things can be contemplated, drafted, and edited.
Nothing followed her statement, so I blubbered out "So...what do you think?" (Situations like this is why I prefer to write things out).
"I've always thought of you as a friend."
And there...it was done. I nodded and said, "Okay." Then I think I gave a fake smile or something that was supposed to be a smile but likely came out more as a grimace.
"Okay," Lisa said, and that was the last that was ever spoken about the subject.
The situation was mutually awkward, so we both walked away. She went over to the back where her friends were playing pool and wandered off to the dance floor in the next room. I contemplated yet another friendship likely destroyed while "Non-Stop Violence" by Apoptygma Berzerk artlessly faded into "Standing" by VNV Nation in the DJ booth (the DJ really liked to rape the futurepop back then). I lit a Marlboro light and took down half of my glowing gin and tonic in two gulps. I stared at the half empty plastic cup instead of the overweight guy dressed like the Gary Oldman version of Dracula trying to move in the florid gothdance style in front of me. I killed the rest of my drink in one last gulp and tossed the cup in the trashcan behind me. I finished smoking my cigarette wondering if I should get another...
Of course I'd need another, and probably another after that, but drinking them here was probably an exercise in masochism. I went back to the pool table and went up to Lisa. "I think I'm gonna take off. I didn't sleep at all last night and I gotta work in the morning," I lied (I actually didn't have to be at work until one).
"I'll see you later, sweetie," she said.
She gave me a hug right before I stepped away, probably as her way of saying "No hard feelings?" The feelings weren't hard; they were just empty, which was something I'd become accustomed to by that point. The door guy told me to "Have a good night," as I left the club not twenty minutes after I'd first arrived. I crossed 13th Street. to the lot where I was parked, wondering if I should find another bar or just go home. I opted for just going home.
It took a little under ten minutes to drive back to the base and I listened to OK Computer on the CD player which felt totally appropriate. When I stepped into the house, the girls were, as usual, sitting in the living room watching TV.
"You're back early," Mandy said.
"It was boring," I said. "There was no one there."
Mandy nodded in acknowledgement but didn't add anything.
"Do we have some booze?" I asked.
Without looking at me, Jess raised a re-used Big Gulp cup. "Just this. There's a pitcher of it in the fridge."
"What is it?"
"Some Natural Light we had left over from last weekend mixed with lime Kool-Aid."
I looked at her like: what the fuck?
"Don't worry," Emily said. "It tastes a lot better than it sounds."
So I stepped over Queequeg's babygate into the kitchen and fetched myself a cup of their concoction. Queequeg had shit on the floor again, but I was starting to get used to stepping around her little turds. I took a sip of the Kool Aid/beer and Emily was partially right. It was strange, but not undrinkable. It was alcoholic which was the primary thing I was looking for anyway. I joined them back in the living room and lit a cigarette. Jackass was on.
"That's fucking foul," Jess said. "You couldn't pay me enough to swim in raw sewage."
"No shit," I croaked. The girls found that really funny. They'd been drinking longer than I had.
"Exaaactly," Mandy said. "No shit."
"Speaking of shit," Emily said to Jess. "You planning on doing anything about the surprise Queequeg left in the kitchen?"
"Like I told you earlier," Jess hissed. "I'll take care of it." The atmosphere in the room chilled a bit after that.
When Jackass ended, Em went up to bed which put Jess in a lighter mood. "You all want to watch Buffy? " she asked.
Mandy shrugged. She looked really either really tired or really wasted. "Whatever..."
So we watched one of her episodes of Buffy she had recorded on tape. It was the one where Angel kills Ms. Calendar and I couldn't really keep up with what was going on since I'd never seen the show before. It was a pretty depressing episode though.
I poured another cup from the pitcher and smoked almost the rest of my pack of cigarettes. Mandy, who was close to falling asleep on the couch, excused herself before it was over to go to bed. When the show was over, Jess went to bed herself. By that time, it was one in the morning and I wasn't tired so I figured I'd stay up and watch Springer at two. I drank the rest of the pitcher and still wasn't drunk, so I took last half of a bottle of Black Velvet I had stashed in my room and started drinking from that. Within an hour I was wasted and ignored the TV in favor of fucking around with the magnetic poetry on the fridge while Queequeg watched. They had the Starbucks edition magnetic poetry and erotic version mixed together and I drank whiskey straight while coming up with phrases like "my extra-foamy pussy drips wet espresso" and thought it was hilarious. I continued on that way until I eventually passed out on the floor.
The sun was starting to come up when I came to a few hours later with a splitting headache (it was a textbook case of "beer before liquor/never sicker"). Queequeg was asleep on her blanket next to the sink. Besides the turd she'd left earlier, she added a drying puddle of piss on the linoleum I had passed out on. I was horrified to see that the cuff of my shirt was actually soaked in Queequeg's urine.
That was what finally pushed my lurching stomach over the edge and got me to run downstairs to the basement and spray vomit all over the laundry sink.
Transferring from the Park Meadows store to the Belleview store was nice just because it was a change of pace. You didn't have to deal with the hordes of kids ordering frappacinos with their parent-issued platinum cards. On the other hand, you had to deal with stressed out yuppies from the Denver Tech Center in the waning days of Internet Bubble. Such people, of course, like to take the stress of their work day out on any customer service worker under their command. One day, some crazed yuppie actually threw a cellphone at a barista because the store ran out of soy milk, and that was just the most extreme example of a customer freak out. People can get frightening when you are what's between them and their caffeine fix.
Another thing that was an adjustment from Park Meadows was that my new store opened so much earlier than the mall. Back at the mall, we opened at nine in the morning, which meant you could sleep in a bit. The regular stores all open at five on weekdays, meaning that we had to be there by 4:30 am to start prepping the open. The only advantage to that was you could put in a full eight hours by one o'clock and have the rest of your afternoon free; not that you felt like doing much besides taking a nap after getting up at four in the morning.
I shuffled home around noon after doing a busy weekday opening shift, my clothes covered in the requisite coffee grime and stains that came with the job. You could get a caffiene buzz just off my shirt alone. I went down to my blissfully dark basement, planning on taking a nap when I saw shredded black plastic strewn all over the floor. It was the remains of a Blockbuster Video box, the one that the copy of Command & Conquer 64 I rented the other night came in. Knowing immediately what happened from the toothmarks dimpling the plastic, I took what remained of the box and marched back up the stairs.
"Queequeg!" I yelled at the already cowering dog. I waved the shredded box in front of her before giving her light smack on the nose. "BAD DOG! BAD DOGGIE!" I felt ridiculous yelling at a dog that didn't understand anything I was saying. Even the light smack I gave her made me feel bad. God I'm such a pussy when it comes to the bitches...
Feeling tired and stupid, I went back downstairs to sulk. I plugged the cartridge in my Nintendo 64 and was relieved it still worked. I just hoped Blockbuster wouldn't charge me for the box being all fucked up.
This was all partially my fault. Though Jess hadn't done much to train Queequeg, she did train her enough that she didn't come down to the basement, even if the door was open. I fucked that up one weekend when we threw a party and everyone in my room wanted to play with the dog. I was predictably drunk so I allowed the dog down to the basement. Apparently, letting her down that one time was enough to erase all of Jess's training. Now I had to be careful to leave my door closed every time I left, lest she come down and tear things up. Besides the Blockbuster box, I'd already lost my copy of Huckleberry Finn and The Plague by Camus that I'd barely started reading.
Worse, besides figuring she was now allowed in the basement, Queequeg also thought she was allowed to shit in the basement as well. I had the unpleasant experience of stepping in one of her turds while I was walking around my room in socks. She had left three surprises in my room up to that point. At least Queequeg refrained from pissing in my room as well.
Since Jess never walked the dog, I took it upon myself to start doing it, but it was pointless. I'd walk around the base with her for hours, but Queg never did her business. I'd pause at every fire-hydrant I could find, but she'd just sniff it and do nothing. Then I'd put her back in the kitchen and within a half-hour she'd have pissed all over the floor again. Mandy, Emily, and I started formed a consensus and began to hint strongly to Jessica that the dog needed to spend more time outside.
There was no fence around the house, so we had to bury a spike in the front yard and chain Queequeg to it. It worked fine for the first week, until the neighborhood association left us a nasty note when the gardeners came by to mow the lawns and there was a dog there impeding their progress. We could only keep Queequeg outside when we were home, but there was someone home often enough that we figured she could get her day's quota of pissing and shitting done in the great outdoors instead of where we cooked the food. That in the end proved to be problematic as well.
I was watching Ricki Lake with Jess one afternoon (the guests were there confronting people who bullied them in high school or something lame like that) and we had Queequeg chained up outside. Everything was going fine until Jess looked out the window and saw a bunch of kids from the neighborhood standing around, tossing some of the twigs that were littered around the yard to the dog, trying to get it to play fetch. Jess bounded outside and started screaming at the kids. "Get out of here! Leave my dog alone you little shits!"
The kids shuffled off, muttering insults in Spanish as they walked away. Jess slammed the door as she came back inside and plopped back on the couch, sulking as usual. "What was that all about?" I asked.
"They were teasing the dog," she said, never taking her eyes off the TV.
"Teasing? It looked more like they were *playing* with her..."
"They were not trying to play with her!" Jess said, turning to face me. "I had to run those same kids off the other day for the same shit. They were making faces and weird noises towards her. You don't do that to another person's pet, *ever*."
I rolled my eyes. "Whatever. You know those kids are just gonna egg the house if you keep freaking out on them."
"If they do that, we'll call the cops," she stated plainly. "I know where those brats live."
There was never a point in debating Jess, especially when her temper was running high. Fortunately, the house didn't get egged. I also stopped keeping the dog outside shortly after Jess's blow-up. I'd lived there only four months and was already resigned to the kitchen being Queequeg's little sewer.
The politics of living in a house with three girls pretty much dictated that one person was going to be on the outs with the rest of us at any one time. One person was going to be the subject of most of the gossip and the focus of most of the irritation. Jess was that person at the moment, mostly because of her near refusal to take care of Queequeg and her habit of throwing hissy fits whenever the subject of the dog came up.
When I first moved in, Mandy was the one on the outs with everybody. For the first month, hardly anyone saw her around the house. The rumor was she was shacking up with a new girlfriend, but a rumor was all that was. It turned out she was sleeping back at her parents' house most nights instead of sleeping there. In our brief encounters for that period, no one could wheedle out the reason why she was doing that. But by the time Mandy was finally coming home again regularly, everyone's attention had shifted to Emily, who had suddenly quit her job at the medical billing office and spent most of an entire month on the couch watching TV and not looking for work. This was bothersome since the only one of us with a trust fund was Mandy.
"What's the deal with that?" I asked Mandy one afternoon at work. "I mean, she's been out of a job for weeks now. Where does she get her money?"
"She doesn't have any money," Mandy said, pouring another box of frappacino mix into the double-strength coffee pitcher. "You don't see her going out anywhere and she hardly ever eats. The only thing she spends any money on is cigarettes."
That didn't really comfort me. "What about the rent? How's she gonna make that?"
Mandy tossed the empty box of frappacino mix into the trash and shrugged. "Guess we'll find out on Thursday..."
Thursday came and went and Emily must have either borrowed the money from someone since we didn't have to cover her rent. Shortly afterwards, she went back to her job and the house outcast role went to Jess and her dog.
Being the sole male in this equation, I figured I was exempt from all this feminine jockeying for social power. I thought of myself as being in the role of courtier; seeming neutral while playing the sides against each other. Of course, I'm not nearly as clever as I think I am, and while I never got the impression that I was the primary subject of house gossip, that doesn't mean I wasn't. I was probably just too dumb to know otherwise.
By the time I was done doing my grocery shopping, the light sprinkling of rain had turned into a deluge of rain mixed with snow. I hauled ass across the King Soopers parking lot, with puddles of slush soaking the cuffs of my pants. The day before had been sunny and warm; hot actually. I had leave my hoodie in the car when I went to class, believing that we'd seen the last snow of the year until October. Still, April in Colorado always finds a way to screw you weatherwise.
It wasn't more than ten blocks from Krameria Street to the apartment and it wasn't cold enough for the roads to freeze over, so the drive was merely wet and muddy instead of slippery. I was glad that I didn't waste the money running the car through the auto-wash the day before.
Jess's blue Focus was parked out on the curb. No one had been there when I left an hour before, so she must have just gotten home. I parked behind her and dashed across the yard to the door, hoping she'd left the door unlocked, but no such luck. I fumbled around with my grocery bags and keys and finally got inside. I stamped my shoes on the floor mat to get the excess water off me and squeaked across the hardwood floors towards the kitchen. Jess was there doing dishes while Queequeg looked on. One of the girls must have gotten on her ass about the dog again because the puddle of urine that had been on the floor when I left was no longer there.
"Hey," I said as I carefully stepped over the baby gate and plopped my bags on the counter.
"Hey," she repeated back to me quietly.
I started putting my purchases away. I'd been low on cash the last week and had to spend the last four days living on a diet of Spicy V8, peanuts, and cocktail olives. Now I could add hot dogs, Pasta-Roni, and hummus to the mix. "I got some more tea," I said as I stuffed the box in the cupboard with boxes of green and peppermint we'd lifted from work. "It's just Lipton's, but I figure we could make some sun tea with it."
"Sun tea..." Jess said, glancing out the window. The precipitation was becoming more snow than rain now. I was glad to be indoors. "Maybe tomorrow."
"How was work?"
"It was okay. It was dead. You?"
"Camille called off sick again, but we had enough people to cover her," I said, putting the last of my cans in the cupboard and being sure to shut it. "She needs to stop doing ecstacy every other night. I'd burn out if I did as much as she does."
"No doubt," Jess agreed.
I started heading towards the door to the basement, planning to put an hour into Ocarina of Time before making dinner when Jess said, "Dave...I got a question."
"What is it?"
"Last night, did you...you know with, you know?"
I was wondering when that particular elephant was going to be addressed. "Yeah, I....yeah."
"Fuck," she muttered. "I was worried when you two went downstairs. When we heard the noise, I was like 'dammit, I lost.'"
"Yeah, she was kinda noisy."
"So what do you want for your prize?"
I shrugged. "A DVD would be cool," I said. I got a player for Christmas and was busy building up my library.
"Okay," she said. "Can it wait 'till the next payday? I just had to pay my insurance, so I'm low on money."
"Yeah," I said. "No rush." I went downstairs, flopped on the waterbed and switched the N64 on.
I supposed I should have been bouncing off the walls over this. Not only had I broken my year long period of forced celibacy, but I'd won a contest that I'd given myself long odds for emerging victorious. But instead of feeling like the king of the world, I felt pretty embarrassed.
I'll start at the beginning...
The night before I'd gone to ladies night at a club called The Snakepit to meet with some friends I still kept in touch with from Boulder. I wasn't planning on picking anyone up, mostly I was just going to get wasted and maybe dance like an idiot to the pretty decent retro-eighties set the DJ's played there. My "friends" of course, end up ditching me to snort coke at their house (and don't even have the decency to invite me) and I was stuck being the pathetic, single guy at the club, the stink of desperation wafting off my like a thousand cigarettes.
So I slammed gin and tonics until I didn't care. Usually I get sick before I get truly drunk, but that night my stomach didn't revolt at the massive amounts of liquor I poured into it. I was in a nearly Buddhist state of I Do Not Give A Fuck. I didn't give a fuck that I accidently put a cigarette butt in someone's drink. I didn't give a fuck that I sloshed some of my drink on someone's coat fake-fur lined coat. I didn't give a fuck that I ended up dancing with a group of fags to Erasure (one of them asked me my name, but I politely blew him off--no, not that way; I wasn't that drunk).
The bar cut off free drinks for ladies at midnight and almost immediately there was an exodus for the door. It was around that time that a girl struck up a conversation with me. She didn't seem to mind my drunkness; if anything, she was more drunk than me. She said her name was Rhonda, and she looked a couple years younger than me. Rhonda had on a lot of that annoying glitter that chicks used to like to sprinkle on themselves and gets over all your stuff for days after. Our conversation touched on the cheery topics of why her friends suck, how she despises people who order anchovies on their pizza (she worked at Pizza Hut), and how much she hates that Third Eye Blind song they constantly played on the radio. I don't know how we got on the topic, but at some point she mentions that she thinks she has post-traumatic stress disorder from being gang-raped when she was fifteen.
That, however, doesn't stop Rhonda from suggesting I take her to my place (her place is out of the question since she has to share her studio apartment with a gay guy who keeps stiffing her on the electrical bill). If I wasn't so desperate to get laid, I probably would have turned her down, because Rhonda was extremely ugly. She had acne all over her face, which resembled a bloated rat. Her body might have been okay if she'd lost thirty pounds. As it was, it most certainly didn't go with the tight sweater and short skirt she was wearing. By the conversation we had above, I can't say that she had all that much personality to make up for her physical shortcomings.
Now I'm sure this all sounds pretty conceited, after all I'm not exactly the world's most handsome or charming man. I certainly don't wish any ill will upon Rhonda (hence, for the purposes of this narrative, "Rhonda" is not her real name). Still, if I'd met Rhonda sober, the girl's face would have taken the curl out of my pubic hair. But after a night of heavy drinking and a year of forced celibacy, it was on.
I finished my cigarette while she finished her Long Island Iced Tea and we left the club to go look for my car. Unfortunately, I was so wasted I forget where I parked. Rhonda could barely walk and fell twice while we trudged around the block, looking for my way home. After fifteen minutes we finally found my car. We made a quick stop at 7-11 to get some condoms and more cigarettes. Somehow I managed to drive the rest of the way back to Lowry without getting a DUI.
As I pulled up to the apartment, I noticed the lights were still on in the living room and my roommates were all still up watching TV. Fuck. I'd rather them not see the heifer I brought home. Luckily, there was also an outside door leading into the kitchen that I could use. From there, the two of us could slip into the basement (hopefully) unnoticed.
Rhonda tripped again on the sidewalk as we headed towards the kitchen. Since we hardly ever used the kitchen door to go in and out, I had to fiddle with the lock for a second before I could manage to slide the deadbolt open. Queequeg, of course, heard us and started barking. Shit! Though she was used to the sight and smell of me, she was unfamiliar with Rhonda. I quickly started petting her and whispering, "Good dog...everything's okay...good doggie."
"That's not gonna bite me, is it?" Rhonda blurted out.
Mandy yelled out from the living room. "Dave, is that you?"
I looked around the corner and let out a sheepish, "Yeah."
"Who are you there with?"
I was busted. Rhonda came around the corner and drunkenly waved to them. "Hi."
"Well don't just hide over there," Jess said. "Introduce us."
So I headed into the living room, the dignity that alcohol had so blissfully unburdened me from was now coming back in a crushing wave. I had to help Rhonda over Queequeg's baby gate, but luckily for me she didn't fall over again.
I nearly winced when Emily said wryly, "Shame on you Dave. Trying to sneak a girl past us."
I sighed, "Everybody, this is Rhonda. Rhonda, this is Mandy, Emily and Jess."
"How are y'all doin'?" Rhonda said, then she looked at me. "How do you all know each other?"
"They're just my roommates," I stammered. "And I work with two of them."
"Awesome," she drowsily nodded.
"So how do you know Dave?" Mandy said.
Before Rhonda could say anything, I answered, "She's just...a friend I ran into tonight. We were just going to, you know, hang out here for a little bit. Show her where I'm living now."
"Well, if you're hanging out," Jess said, pointing towards the bottle of Jack Daniels and the two liter of Coke on the coffee table. "Would you like a drink?"
I shook my head and was going to say "No. I'm fine, but thank you. Perhaps some other time," and then try and crawl into a hole and die, but Rhonda blurted out, "Hell yes!" before I could stop her.
"I don't think we have any cups out here. They're all in the kitchen."
"I'll get them," I sighed. Again, I went over the baby gate and fetched two tumblers while Queequeg looked on quietly. Oh Queequeg, why do I get so mad at you? You may do nothing but eat and shit, but unlike me or any other human, you don't have the capacity to judge or even the notion of shame in you. You shit on the floor for Christsake, who would you be to judge? I gave her a quick pet on the head and went back to the living room.
I handed the glasses to Mandy and she poured us two Jack and Cokes. I barely drank mine, but Rhonda slammed hers and asked for another. The five of us made awkward, idle chit-chat for about ten minutes. When Rhonda was done with her second Jack and Coke, I said to her "So, I've got some weed downstairs. You want to smoke up?"
The girls giggled at my typical stoner attempt to extricate myself. Rhonda said, "Ohh yes, I could really, reallly use some pot right now."
"Good," I turned to my roommates. "Well, I'll see you all later," and started gently guiding Rhonda towards the basement.
"Goodnight Dave," they said in unison just we turned the corner into the kitchen.
I didn't have any weed downstairs, but lucky for me Rhonda was too drunk to remember I mentioned it. We started making out and made our way over to the bed pretty quickly. She might have been pretty ugly, and I wasn't much in the mood any more. Still, I was twelve months away from my last pussy and I managed to get the job done. Rhonda may not have been much in the looks department, but she was pretty good in bed until I realized she had passed out. Then I felt even more guilty fucking her so I pulled out, jerked off into a dirty sock, and played Goldeneye for a couple of hours. I managed to get the "Infinite Ammo" cheat that night.
To be continued...