Thanksgiving eve, 2006. I’ve been out. Partying and partying and partying with lord knows who and for however long man measures time. Could have been with an intern or student, I don’t remember as the drinks where free and heavy, but I’m pretty sure it was a client. The type that insists. After kidnapping myself for two days, I was cutting straight through my profits and into my re-up. Never a good look for someone who litteraly lives from hand to mouth.
I needed to stop.
I needed to sleep.
I pretend to have run out of party supplies. The stranger is eager for me to leave as my promise of returning excites him like a man with stumps for hands catching a boomerang. I fix my nose. I squeeze my Jaw. I blow out my nose, my insides oblitherating the spit ball I called a napkin. I check how many cellular minutes I have on my work phone. I call my roommate to ask when he’ll be home as I have no keys. He tells me he can’t let me in.
He’s not really my roommate, I just stay on his couch.
“Yo B, you fucked up and I can’t be having this shit you brining people over my roommates guitar is broken…”
“WHAT PEOPLE?!” My jaw unhinged, trying to swallow this biter and confusing moment.
“I don’t know but the shit is busted…”
“THE ONLY TWO PEOPLE THAT I’VE HAD OVER EVER ARE MY BROTHER AND MY CONNECT. NIGGA WE SPANISH WE DON’T FUCKING TOUCH GUITARS!”
Of course we didn’t, only our entire Latin heritage is based off it.
“Look I’m not letting you in tonight we will meet later and talk about this but not now and where have you bee…”
Everything sounds like what vertigo looks like. All I hear are tumbleweeds and my night isn’t over yet. I’ve been couch surfing for several months now with how many snow baggies I can dump out being my only payment for rent. I still have the same outfit on from the Indian Summer we had on Monday. It’s now a very November Wednesday.
Connor always answers my phone calls. Especially if he thinks I owe him money or he can make an extra buck off me. We’ve known each other since the Boy’s Club days when he used to hang with my younger brother and I was their camp leader. Me and him (sort of) ran a delivery service from a loft in Brooklyn he shared with a rap group that hails from the mean streets of the Upper East Side. Yes, they were white NYC rappers who rapped about bar mitzvahs, girls in yoga pants, and punching you in the face. This loft was a man child grafitti paint inhaling frat house: always good for music, babes, booze, and drugs – and if you were lucky you could sneak a couple hours of rest in the home made studio in the back. l tossed him some cash for a small re-up and crash into a pile of Philly guts, porn DVD’s and old tour merchandise. He goes to the gym.
I wake up hours later to several grams of yak, a bunch of fresh empties and a scale. Conner has always been my Allstate insurance guy whenever I needed him. A fact I took advantage more of than I ever took responsibility for anything I did. I take a quick shower, find something decent to wear that only smells like a half a pack of cigarettes and go back out into the party of a job that I do to exist. Hopping from cab to cab, running in and out of every bar or club with another roll of twenty dollar bills crammed sloppily into a cheap leather wallet with Velcro on it. Everything I take for granted bores me. I no longer say good bye and just walk out on people mid conversations. I am purely the poetry of social garbage. I go from being a dance floor vampire to turning into a DUI victim in need of a blood transfusion. I don’t even want to do any more coke nor do I want to give anymore away. I don’t want to go anywhere anymore.
I’m sick. Or tired. Of everything.
I call Connor again.
He tells me I can’t stay.
“Not again…” I tell myself as I cringe in a nauseating humiliation.
“Alex said you took his weed from the studio, and you also took some chicks hoodie…”
Alex was one third of the rap group and a key holder to the loft I was squatting in. This was the 2nd time in 2 days where I was accused of something when I was “innocent”. Have I been that fucked up? How long was my drug binge? Where is my phone that I’m holding? HAVE YOU SEEN THE WIRE?! Where the fuck am I going to stay?! WHY CAN’T I FOCUS?!!!
When I was young, my mother would discipline me whenever I crossed the line. If I was guilty, I never showed pain or cried when being spanked – which of course intensified the beatings. But if I was innocent, the tears ran before my mother could even raise the Canal Street cheap leather belt.
“Wait what? Me steal from…what the fuck are you talking about???”
Nothing that came out of my mouth made sense.
“Now I do admit about the weed, just a little that was left on a table at the studio I meant to leave money for more with a note the night I took it, but I’m a complete idiot when I’m high I forgot but, but, but, not only did I give money to get more I sparked one up with him I swear like I even went as far as clipping it so that the “victim” of my “malicious” act could enjoy it with his paramour or whatever bitch he’s fucking with his crooked dick and I figured that was enough to make it evennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.”
“Later O…” The beep that followed Connor hanging up on me stung like a giant killer bee and pool water after a belly flop. After several months the missing female hoodie would turn into a male v neck sweater to a jacket. Till This day I’m not sure if Alex even knows what he lost. I’m standing outside of somewhere in South Williamsburg waiting for a cab to no where. The pool water starts to taste like rain. It is now raining.
7:00 am Thanksgiving morning. I. Have. No. Where. To. Go.
I rape my phonebook down to the last entry looking for a place to crash but it’s 2006 and Apple still haven’t invented the emoji for crickets. After exhausting every possibility imaginable, I give up and decide to call my ex girlfriend with the weird boobs and the one bedroom she recently kicked me out of. I know this is a mistake. But It’s cold. And I’m wet. So I will totaly fight the brutal honesty about the current direction of my life for a warm place to stay. I will have a side of my pathetic excuse of a “pride” with my Thanksgiving dinner. I take the train from one part of Brooklyn, into Manhattan, and all the way over to her apartment back in the leather patches on your sports coat with a job in finance part of Brooklyn. I call her from a corner deli right outside her place. My socks are wet dishrags and my fingertips are new born baby wrinkled. I should have called before this two hour trip without a canoe. The rain pushed a flood down Fulton. The beating of the storm on the apsalt was even and precise.
After several rings she answers.
I would love to elaborate on the phone exchange with decorative details and lavish romanticisms. Maybe even paint the thunder of our discussion with 4 letter insults and bar room compliments. But no. Just picture the rain and a Wes Anderson type silence that was louder than the indie music playing in the background. Now picture me on the corner. steam rising from the heavy rain. Watching her walk some Owen Wilson type she had just met at the bar – that was probably decorated in deer antlers – out of her house. Now cue the sad hipster indie rock wailing as she slowly came to me.
I asked her one question.
“What did you tell the boy get him to leave?”
She said she told him she had a friend who needed help.
Now imagine microphone feedback, piercing the air and giving you a sharp migraine as your hands blindly try to the block the source of the sound. This is what I felt when she said that.. Deaf, surrounded by noise.
I was drunk, homeless, and alone…
In front of her apartment.
A month after she kicked me out.
For the same exact thing.
I wasn’t partying all that hard that night, besides the bottles I ingested like a famished bum at a food pantry. Smelling like cheap booze is not exactly frowned upon in a Hispanic family. I was fairly coherent and, to my wilted knowledge, was completely able to fufill the day’s appointments.
Until I stared into her eyes.
I looked so deep into her eyes – behind her iris and into the thoughts she had back when she was a child filled with fear and wonder. I trembled like I was about to sneeze the years biggest, most epic, sneeze. I dug furiously in my tiny 5th jean pocket. I pulled out a full baggie and ripped it open with my sabertooh teeth and with one swift motion I snorted an entire 50 dollar bag of coke on the corner of Clinton ave & I’m Fuckedville. My palms were wet so the coke clumped up in my nose, looking like I was trying to shove snowballs in them. I felt what was the opposite of whatever Spider Man felt when his Spidey senses went off. My eyes went flash bulb bloodshot red as my throat tried to swallow my tongue and the face that came along with it. As brutal as that bump was, it wasn’t as bad as the emotions I was trying to lion tame with a bloody steak and no whip at that precise moment.
Her response was a Cover Girl look of not impressed. As much as she wanted to shove me into a cannon and launch me out of Clinton Hill she couldn’t. She couldn’t tell if the water in my eyes were the crocodile tears of a funtioning and conviving junkie or a drowning broken heart. I didn’t even know, and she didn’t want to take the chance. She takes a deep breath and puts out her hand.
And I go.
To her place.
To commit suicide.
We drink, We fight, we make up, we have sex, we order food. We are both in no condition to do anything. We drank everything in her cabinets, including the cooking wine. She cancels everything for me. Then questions why as she hates me. I’m just a parasite on a burner phone, she says. She kicks me out. Then drags me back. I can’t tell if she wants to save me or excorcise her charity as a fuck you. I hate it all. I hate what I’ve become. A victim of my self sustaining circumstances. I should have never came.
We fuck again. I feel worst.
My best friend – who is dating the stupid guitar guy roommate goon at the time – still hasn’t called me. This is a break in tradition that is giving me anxiety, as we’ve done this every year since Jesus decided he wasn’t much of a fan of carpentry. I assume she has taken my shitty roommate’s side and has evicted me. My mother – who I thought hated me – calls me repeatedly and I ignore every single one while researching nonsense on Myspace. She’s reaching out to me and I won’t let her as I fear the judgement that will Trojan horse it’s way into my life as motherly love. My son – who lives in New Jersey and I rarely get to see – is at my mothers house. My entire family is there – but because I’m an emotional drug addled wreck I can’t go. I wouldn’t dare in this condition. My mother decides to torture me by describing the feast of every morsel in my dreams to me and leaving it on my voicemail. I don’t call back. I curl up into a ball instead. Why am I like this? What am I doing? WHY DONT I HAVE ANY CONTROL?!
I feel shame for the first time in forever.
I smell shame.
Then I pop up in a panic and run to the kitchen. Our meal for the day, a $40 Domino’s order, gets burnt while I was trying to keep it warm in the oven. What I thought was 15 minutes turned out to be several hours. We where both so high neither of us noticed the 3 fire alarms going off like an ambulance convention and the scared upstairs neighbors banging on our ceiling.
The only thing that survived is the chicken pebbles, nuggets or whatever they are called.
I laughed hysterically.
And I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m talking hearty Italian mobster after killing off all of his enemies laughter. The burnt nuggets reminded me of my ex girlfriends weird tits, which would bounce in different directions whenever we had sex. Imagine oranges in 2 separate pairs of socks with one bouncing back and forth and the other in a circle.
And for the 1st time that Thanksgiving week I genuinely smiled, and swore of oranges forever.