Posts Tagged ‘risk indeed’

a call for bayou justice.

21 June 2009

in youth, our bladders send a signal to our brains when they are half full; as we grow older, this signal is less emphatic, causing our brains to receive it when our bladders are almost completely full. as we age our bladders become less elastic, preventing them from holding as much liquid. due to the union of these changes, i am sometimes forced to wake in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

on one such occasion, i awoke in an unfamiliar room to see a hazy shadow in the doorway. it disappeared before i could focus, blinking my eyes to erase the film that had collected during sleep. i sat on the edge of the bed for a moment and then stood up, testing my feet on the carpeted floor, advancing slowly. from the entrance i looked left, again seeing the figure — at this point i was certain it was human — at the end of the hall. he was partially hidden behind the corner of the wall, sporadically revealing his head to see if i was still present. once in the bathroom, i quickly locked the door and washed my face in the sink in an effort to wake further.

the only scenario that seemed possible was that i had risen, by coincidence, at the exact moment someone’s boyfriend wandered into the room while looking for the bathroom himself. walking in on us, albeit by accident, gave him an intense feeling of awkwardness, so he tried to hide. the next morning i told my theory to the girl who slept through it all, the girl to whom the room belonged, and she brushed it aside, ruling that i had probably been dreaming. after all, her roommates never had guys over.

honestly, in her defense, there were a lot of loose ends: most notably (and embarrassingly), why would i lock myself in the bathroom like a chicken rather than approach the stranger? also, we had to account for my vivid, childlike imagination: that is, it wouldn’t be the first or most outlandish story i had conceived.

still, the next day, details kept filtering in, details that could never be confirmed and didn’t lead us any closer to determining fact from fiction, like, he was wearing a green or brown t-shirt, or, he had straight hair, sort of long. it wasn’t until after lunch with one of her friends, who chided her for so easily dismissing my vision, that she confided and, thus, my grasp on reality was confirmed: hey, i know who you saw.

it was someone from work who had dropped her off near her house once. they had had an abbreviated relationship that she ended. she didn’t seem shocked by this revelation, even after remembering that, while i was in the bathroom, he had sneaked back into her room, lowered the covers, and fondled her.

her friend and i were nonplussed by her relative stoicism. she appeared bothered more by our complete bewilderment than by the fact a guy had forced his way into her house in the middle of the night to touch her inappropriately. she assured us this wasn’t the case, regardless of her tone in discussing the matter, and that she planned to confront him at work.

i wish this story ended with a degree of retribution. anything, from him being hit by a car while leaving her house to his open eye being seasoned with a mix of cajun spices, would have been better than the truth. honestly, i don’t even want to type it out.

so let us pretend that he never had the opportunity to ignore her when she registered her complaint, replying that he had no idea what she was talking about. let us pretend he didn’t later apologize for his transgressions, but only because the course changed, robbing him of that chance. let us pretend, obviously, that she didn’t answer that late apology feebly, with, well, don’t intrude on anyone like that again.

let us, instead, pretend that when he returned to work the afternoon following the incident he was greeted by the large alligator statue, miraculously come alive, that balances on her hind legs in front of the restaurant. picture her draping a limb roughly across his shoulders, in the process, letting a claw or two scrape against his cheek like an omen, and escorting him to the walk-in freezer where she slowly — and excruciatingly — gnaws off his limbs.


a night with the anarchists.

24 September 2008

upon approaching the house, i phoned her, the call going staight to voice mail. i tried again and again, while circling the block, with the same results. an hour previous, i had first talked to her, she telling me she would call me back once she was drunk. i’ll be a better conversationalist, she assured. it only took her ten minutes to call again, not yet drunk, but inviting me to come over nonetheless.

it was a bad part of town, but i decided to park my car at the curb and approach the front door. i had traveled too far to pay attention to the many ominous signs (the slight rain, the burned out street lights, the homeless huddled against a wall of an abandoned building). i crossed the threshhold and pronounced her name, a girl seated on the floor turned to catch my gaze — it was her. she was playing stratego, a chess-like strategy game where the pieces are numbered, which determined the strength of the pictured soldier. her opponent looked like a pokemon trainer, only less japanese.

she apologized about her phone. it had been left somewhere, maybe the grocery store. at any rate, her girlfriend and boyfriend had gone back to look for it. please reread that last sentence. now read it again. okay, do it again. in order to live vicariously through me, at this point you should read that repeatedly for the next, lets say, ten minutes, at least, until it sinks in. i opened a beer and waited. they returned without the phone.

the house was full. i sat in the middle of the stratego players as if i were the referee, a beer in my hand, probably my second by this point, and a bag of tortilla chips at my feet. the boyfriend and girlfriend were there, as well as a guy who came into the room carrying a chocolate sheet cake that he had purchased for work the next morning. five minutes later, after saying that he was so stoned he pulled out a box of plastic forks and, as if to prove he wasn’t lying, ate half of it. the rest was still for work. in the next room, a thin eighteen-year-old boy was sewing an anarchist bandana (half red/half black, in case you’re as naive as me about anarchy) that he intended to wear to rock the vote (what’s that thing we’re going to? rock something. dude, what’s that thing? you know). a thin seventeen-year-old boy, who looked exactly like him and may have been his boyfriend, had to go to bed early because he traveled an hour and a half in the morning to get to high school. one of them said he had seen me before, probably at the snoop dogg concert i didn’t attend. one of them asked me if i wanted to smoke with him. when i accompanied him out to the porch, he said he only had one cigarette left but he would give me most of it. they thought i looked like dave grohl. everyone did. i drank another beer.

someone approached the open front door, limping and saying something about a cell phone. he said something about finding it on the orange couch (everyone seemed to know what he was talking about but didn’t know how it would have gotten there) and saving it from the rain fall. returning it, he waited for his reward and was eventually given two cigarettes. i should mention here that on the door leading to the porch was written, in thick black marker, you have our money, our computers, our guns, our sunglasses. next time you come back, you better pay rent. leave us the fuck alone. that’s not an exhaustive list of the items stolen, mind you: there were eight or nine things enumerated.

the final moves of stratego now played, all of us, except the sleeping seventeen year old and the cake-laden pothead, moved to the kitchen to play risk (how appropos, i thought!), another strategy game, this one concerned with building armies and conquering the world. it was here that i pointed out to the girlfriend that her clothing, a knit dress, was a peculiar choice for a hot summer night. she asked if i wanted to wear it, suggesting it would look better on me. i’d had enough beers to follow her to the bedroom where we changed.

we needed more alcohol. someone ordered two pizzas but gave the wrong address for delivery. i didn’t hide my confusion and someone quickly helped me out. the plan was to arrive just before close and ask if they had any canceled orders. apparently you can get free pizza this way. the boyfriend used to work there, he knew what he was doing. anyway, if that failed, they always had the dumpster. they mentioned the free beer store also. again, i was confused and, again, someone elucidated: it was simple, you carried an extremely large purse. they returned: the boyfriend dejected after getting ignored by his former coworkers, the girlfriend’s purse empty.

it was just me, the girl whom i had come to meet, her boyfriend, and her/their girlfriend still awake. risk sat unfinished in the kitchen. after much debate they decided to make another attempt at acquiring food and beverage. i gave them three dollars and lent them my car.

i’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question many times throughout your life: what would i do if i were alone in a bedroom with a girl while her girlfriend and boyfriend were borrowing my car to get us fast food and beer? oh, of course, you remember, you’re still wearing her girlfriend’s dress, and, honestly, it really does look better on you, a lot better, maybe if you just shaved that dave grohl beard you would be considered pretty. you’d probably take shots of everclear, in an effort to become more interesting in conversation, then, maybe, if you’re feeling ironic (you are the guy that’s been drinking pabst blue ribbon all night after all), play indie rock songs on the ukelele. it’s possible, though unlikely, you’d invite her over to the bed, ask her if she wants to kiss you. just don’t have sex with her, not while you’re wearing her girlfriend’s dress, who do you think you are. fine, roll the dice, it’s been one game after another tonight, but, hear me out, don’t fall asleep next to her. next thing you know, it’s six o’clock in the fucking morning and you’re being woken up by the boyfriend and he’s not handing you a bacon cheeseburger or thanking you for the three measly bucks. you’ve got five minutes to get out of here or i’m taking your car up the block and having it stripped, he shouts.

he leaves the room so you can change out of his girlfriend’s (actually, maybe, girlfriends’) dress and put on your own shirt and jeans and boots. you frantically search through piles of laundry and rummage through the bedclothes, finally finding your shirt wedged under the ukelele case. in the front room the girl is wrapped in a blanket, crying perhaps. the boyfriend is sitting on the far side, glaring at you, but not looking particularly intimidating. you grab your car keys from the table between them, and you want to say we’ll just say i won at risk, okay? as you stare back at him. maybe you do, even though the reality is that your pitiful troops couldn’t even hold onto south america.

when you get to your car, the doors are unlocked, the cds are scattered on the passenger-side floor, there’s a new disc in the player, and, you won’t believe this but it’s true, you heard this song earlier in the night accompanied by the strums of a ukelele. you wait until after the thirty-minute drive home to check if anything — your checkbook, your ipod, your designer clothing and shoes, your wii — is missing. it’s all there, and you have little trouble falling asleep.

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