Hello, Im the new ambassador! Go to hell! I hate you all, personally.
I am not sincere, even when I say I’m not.
My mother has a bulge in her pants. It’s just her cell phone, but it’s pressed right against her crotch so it looks like she’s been walking around the house with a giant boner. Plus she’s really pissed, so she’s screaming and pacing. Screaming, pacing, pointing fingers, and sporting a big faux-erection.
She keeps repeating the words “I’m so late. I am so late .”
She’s looking at me.
“Mom, what the fuck were you doing all this time?”
Her face drops and she’s like, “Watch your mouth Pete.”
“Watch the time bitch. You always bitch about how late you are but you always sleep until the last minute like a retard.”
“Peter Christopher Rhodes, do not talk to me like that. I am your mother for Christ’s sake.” She says.
I roll my eyes and look up at her, she catches my eye and I can’t help but laugh at the way she looks there in her disheveled black dress with her hair in curlers. She starts laughing too and we’re giggling like crazy, because even though she can be kind of retarded she has a good sense of humor about it so it’s just somehow o.k. I yell at her all the time but she doesn’t really care.
“Mom, o.k, I love you but you need to get the fuck out of here.” I say after about two minutes of intense laughter.
“I’m going, I’m going.” She replies. “I’m gone, bye honey.”
“Bye mom have a good time.” I say.
“Kiss kiss.” She says, before she’s actually gone.
My mom is funny shit. She sleeps all day unless she has something to do, like to go to a party. Then she waits until the very last minute before throwing on some clothes and stumbling out the door still half asleep, and she drives to wherever she’s going like that.
Sometimes you might point out to her something she was doing that was strange and she would kind of scrunch up her face and smile at you sideways, rolling her eyes. It’s all very funny shit.
The phone rings. It’s my dad and he wants to know how things are, how mom’s been and asking me if I want to come out to see him in Connecticut next month. I kind of want to go… but I probably won’t.
“You psyched to come out and see your old man eh?” Is what he says to me. I’m only half listening to him. I’m trying to think of a good excuse.
“Yeah, dad I’m psyched.”
“Get a little manly influence in your life.”
“Ok, dad.” I say.
“She coddles you. She’s turning my son into a pussy. I worry about that Peter.”
“I know you do dad.”
We talk a little more and then he gives me the brush off. Maybe he has to be somewhere, but the real reason why he has to hang up now is probably that he’s tired of the conversation.
I decide to go into town, see what’s going on, maybe buy some cigarettes. I’m so bored.
It’s late and the sidewalk is getting closer to my face at the rate of an exhausted man falling, the sidewalk connects and my chin takes the full force of the blow but it’s not a knock-out, not a fall from the feet really because I fell to my knees mid-fall. I think I’m going to black out, but I can see the front door and I can almost feel the leather couch on my chest. I go to one knee and from there the slow agonizing process of re-rising begins. Despite the fall and the jaw rattling meeting of my face and the ground I’m comfortable and I don’t want to move, but being found on the ground in front of her house could be bad for my image perception and I slowly make it to the door lumbering and swaying with the rhythm of some faraway pendulum only I can see. I run my hand over the blue painted wood around the key slot because it’s smooth and it’s not painful, it doesn’t hurt anyone to do so and it feels good to touch something right now. The door is unlocked which I think for a moment is an odd thing for a door to be at this time of the night, but it’s good for my purposes, truth be told I hadn’t planned for the likely fact that the door wouldn’t be open and I chalk it up to luck and press on the door. It sticks a little and doesn’t immediately open, but my inertia continues to push my body forward and I strike the golden doorknocker decoration with the crest of my forehead and bounce off onto the brick steps backwards and once again find myself connecting with the ground headfirst. This time I don’t drop to any knees and the force is full feet to ground power. I don’t get up immediately and finding myself in the perfect position to look at the stars I do so. I can see what I think could be Orions belt, and the little and big dipper and the bear and the north star too. I see Saturn and I see Jupiter and Venus and I see Rao, the red Sun of Krypton. I can see asteroids in full high definition detail colliding with the intelligent life holding planet Rex of the Alpha centurai system and even though it’s a broad view I see every burning tree and every building in every city falling down and the fire hydrants of the alien cities bursting like water balloons. I see London with people eating fish and chips and saying things like “Bloody ‘ell!” I see France and the people smoking thin fancy cigarettes, wearing berets and criticizing art movies about paint drying on a sad clowns face and saying “bonjour monsieur”. I see Ned Corrigan’s underpants. Ned was in my second grade class and one time I tricked him into eating a black crayon. I see it all in the sky and it’s way too engrossing so I open my eyes and I rub the back of my head, stumble in the door and walk in without closing it. I find the couch and I collapse.
I remember that I couldn’t think of a single reason to go to school and that after I dropped out I didn’t miss it, and how dropping out is how I met Bob, that Sunday night at the movies, how he looked so kind and how he said nothing but nice things to me all the time. I remember way back when I was happy, and how the neighborhood kids would all congregate outside my house every night and me and my sisters would talk with them and we’d all make jokes and play games like kickball and smear the queer. We’d never seem to get bored and I wonder when I lost the ability to entertain myself.
I remember how things seemed to be going so well for once, and how Bob gradually got stoned more and more often, how he got drunk almost every afternoon until I realized one day while I was driving that I couldn’t remember exactly when the last time I saw him sober actually was.
Sophomore year, cutting class with Laurie Heder and smoking joints in her car and listening to bouncy rap music, or trip hop. It seemed nice at the time but it was sad too, Laurie would sometimes say things like “I really just want to chill out for my whole life.”
I remember Laurie telling me about Luke dying, how his heart just stopped beating, how he just overdid it, and how she ran when it happened.
“I was scared.” She told me when I asked her why she ran. “All that methadone…” she added, but she didn’t sound sad.
“It’s ok. There was probably nothing you could do.” I said.
“Yeah. There wasn’t much…that I could do.” She said as she lit her cigarette.
I remember finding Bob shooting up in my bathroom, and not caring that much because he was passed out so much of the time that it didn’t seem like it really mattered that much, it didn’t really change anything. People coming and going, buying ecstasy and cocaine which Bob deals to some of his friends. How I eventually started meeting people in parking lots to sell them Bob’s drugs and keeping most of the money because Bob wouldn’t have noticed anyway in a million years.
“You know…I love you.” Bob would say sometimes when he was awake, usually sniffing constantly, a crust of blood ever present over his nostril, glassy eyes hidden behind wrap around sunglasses.
“I love you too.” I would usually say, but sometimes I would just smile at him and try to seem motherly because he seemed so helpless.
I’m not sure at first where I am when I wake up, the only thing I can see is the salt and pepper color carpet and the leg of a table about three inches from my face, but I smell something lemony and I remember that I’m in Hannah’s living room and I pretty quickly get up and make for the kitchen to see if she’s there, trying to remember if she said her parents are away this week or next week.
“Joe? You awake?”
I turn towards where I think the voice is coming from and I’m going to call out except I’m real thirsty and dehydrated and I keep walking towards the kitchen instead, thinking of the Tropicana boxed orange juice waiting on the shelf inside of the refrigerator door and when I get to it I drink it from the carton and I drink all of it.
I hear light footsteps and I quickly put the box down and make like I’m going for the cupboard with the glasses in it. She appears in the doorway and she’s wearing pajama bottoms and a purple shirt with the word’s “Yes, I am Easy.” shooting across it at a perky angle. “Hey, babe.” I say.
She walks over to me and kisses me, and it carries over into a light hug and I laugh a little and push her away softly. “Wanna get breakfast?” she asks.
I pause and think about the ten other things I would rather do this morning. I can’t really think of an excuse but I ask a question more important to me instead of attempting to change the subject.
“Do you have any coke left?” I say concentrating on looking for a glass, genuinely perplexed that they aren’t where I remembered them being.
“Uh yeah, but like Joe it’s nine in the morning.” She tries to act like she’s maybe offended but she’s smiling a little at the corners and she loves this question, and more importantly has forgotten about breakfast.
I smile back more fully and I raise an eyebrow, looking bad and cool. “Well, can I like… have some?”
“ I guess. Get a spoon though; you can’t do lines in here. ”
That wasn’t what I had in mind, honestly I just want the coke, I don’t want to do it now, but I can’t help but be curious about the “no lines” rule.
“Why? I mean… it’s ok but like… why can’t we?” I ask her, maybe a little hostile.
“You never clean anything up, and what if we don’t like get it all and my mom’s chopping meat and it gets all mixed in and she freaks out and her mouth goes numb. I could like, SO not pass a drug test right now.”
I look away a little pretending to process this. “I… guess that could happen…”
Then pausing only for a second I make a play for what I want, what I REALLY want.
“I’m kind of in a hurry anyway baby. Just let me have the bag, I’ll like… you know I’ll… we can do it later I just need something to do today while I’m studying, like a boost.”
I think she knows that studying is not on the agenda today, and sleeping more at my house is, but she agrees and I get the ziplock and we talk more and I think she wants to have sex, but I just want to leave really, and I get out of there in ten minutes.
I’m at the Brass Monkey, this ratty little club in Wogren, but I can’t drink or anything because they stamped us. I’m here with Jonny Hatiroule, Kristen Church, Stephanie Green, Joe Moore, and Hannah Tepes. The music is actually oppressively loud and I’m not enjoying the whole experience but I’m laughing anyway, listening to Kristen and Hannah go on about which girls they know who are the biggest sluts and comparing handbags and so on and so forth. Hannah keeps whispering things in Joe’s ear, Joe barely registering her presence, periodically sniffing and wiping his nose, his eyes drifting here and there following the patterns of the lights sweeping across the walls.
“Joe, are you carrying?” I blurt out suddenly.
He snaps into focus and smiles at me, looking more at my forehead then my eyes and flicks a piece of imaginary lint off his shoulder.
“What’s up now?” he asks.
“Drugs. Do you have any?” I say more clearly this time.
“Umm…yeah. Yeah, I have coke in my car.” He says nodding and smiling like he finally gets what’s going on.
There’s a short lull where his smile never leaves his face and his eyes wander off towards the light show again. I sigh and shrug, a little exasperated.
“Do you want to do some then?”
“Yeah, sure lets go man.” He answers brushing Hannah off his lap and getting up.
Stephanie who hadn’t noticed our exchange, having been too wrapped up in her riveting discussion about the merits of pre-ripped designer jeans, suddenly jerks her head our way and asks, “Hey, where you going?”
“To my car for a sec.” Joe answers.
“Don’t worry… you’re cool tonight.” Joe answers smiling.
“Joe wants to show me a song he downloaded.” I say.
“They’re going to do drugs Stephanie.” Hannah pipes up.
Stephanie’s eyes narrow a little, a smug grin planted firmly on her lips. “Very…subtle.”
I laugh a little, partly because Stephanie has admittedly good comedic timing, but mostly because she’s easily the best looking girl I know and I wouldn’t mind having sex with her again. I fucked her three weeks ago on a couch in Kevin Sanderson’s living room, when we were both drunk from about fifty Keystone Lights.
“Men only.” I say.
“No, it’s cool…she can come.” Joe says laughing still, with a look in his eye that I find troubling.
“Men only? Seriously? You two are such fags.” Stephanie says.
“Well…it’s not men only anymore is it?” I counter.
“I’m not going out there to be raped by you two.” She says and Jonny visibly cringes at her words, looking away, his mouth twisted into a nervous grin.
“What about Jonny? doesn’t he belong in you special man club?” Kristen says, swinging her arm around him, pouting her lips.
“No.” Joe says immediately. “What’s wrong with you?”
We get out to Joe’s car and even though I’m pretty sure he drove Hannah here, and it means that I have to leave Stephanie, we decide that we’re done with the Brass Monkey, and we drive away. He hands me the bag and a spoon from the glove compartment and I scoop out a massive amount of coke and shovel it into my nose.
“Holy Christ.” I say, tilting my head back.
“Yeah huh?” He replies.
“Where to?” He asks, tuning the radio settling on a song called, I think, Flathead.
I decide that I want to get home and take a shower so we get to my house and Joe waits downstairs while I do so.
I decide to take the bottle of rum I hide in my closet into the bathroom with me and I reach out every so often and take a swig, being careful not to get any of the showers water into the bottle. The result being that I’m considerably drunk by the time I turn the water off, and combined with the cocaine I’m feeling pretty good, a little paranoid, but still undeniably good.
Toweling off in front of the mirror, brushing my teeth, throwing on a pair of jeans and an Adidas shirt, I’m thinking about Stephanie and what she looks like naked, remembering her body against me, the way she bites her lip and lets out occasional laughs when she fucks. I make a note to call her later tonight and to bring the bottle of rum if she wants to hang out. I’m so turned on by her that by the time I get downstairs my boner is sticking out pushing painfully against the inside of my jeans, easily visible.
“Let’s go to…” Joe starts when he see’s me.
I wait for him to finish the sentence but this doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen anytime soon so I finish it for him. “Let’s see what Hannah’s up to.”
“…Er…why?” he asks, looking suspicious, probably thinking that I’m about to rape him.
“Good reasons, I promise there must be good reasons for it.” I say.
He eventually, very reluctantly agrees and calls Hannah. “Hey, babe.” He says.
He’s nodding in a rhythm like theres a techno song playing, clearly not listening.
“Yeah, well…no we had to go. Well, there was…an emergency.” He says.
“I’m mouthing the words “what are you talking about” at him and he see’s me and arches his eyebrows and changes the direction of his excuse.
“No, it’s cool now babe. No…Yeah, it’s…taken care of.”
“That was really awesome.” I say sarcastically.
“So… what’s going on?” Joe continues, ignoring me. “Uh huh. Pete and me are going to stop by then. Ok…yeah, love you to.” And he hangs up.
“Let’s go.” He says.
We get there and everyone is sitting down in a circle. There are five people and they’re looking solemn and reverent. Stephanie is looking at me now, her eyes are red and it looks like she had been crying. I’m trying to think of something that I did wrong, something that would make her this upset. Did I get her pregnant? Oh shit what if I got her pregnant?
“Peter. Oh my god.” She says.
Oh fuck. She’s pregnant. I knocked a girl up. Will she get an abortion? Please Christ I’m begging you, let her have an abortion.
“Peter, Luke Vashon died.”
Oh thank you fucking Jesus.
I’m so happy that I’m not going to be a father, that I almost forget for a second that somebody has died, but I recover quickly enough. “How…did it happen? I mean…fuck.” I say.
I remember Luke but I didn’t know him that well. I think he did something weird with his hair a couple of times, that’s what sticks out the most to me. He was a little obnoxious and kind of arrogant, but I guess he was a good guy. It is sad that he’s dead, and for a second I just mourn him a little, going through a kind of mental slide show of my Luke Vashon memories.
“Last month I think.” She says.
Fuck, I didn’t know he was dead for a month. He’s been dead four weeks and I didn’t have any idea.
“What’d he take?” I ask.
“I can’t believe… you didn’t know this?” Hannah says. “I thought you knew.”
“No.” I say. “I hadn’t heard anything.”
“Oh my god it’s… so sad.” Stephanie is saying, hugging me now. Her tits feel amazing against my chest. I try to ignore the screaming urge I have to fuck this girl so that I can comfort her, but it’s pretty much an impossible task. I try to look as sympathetic as I can, but I can’t take my eyes off her tits.
“It’s Allright. It’ll be ok.” I say sincerely. That combination of words is amazing for a girl to hear if it sounds like you mean it. She breaks into tears now, still trying to be strong but she just can’t hold it together, and she’s hugging me so tightly that I’m having trouble breathing.
“It’s ok. It’s ok. Just cry.”
She finishes wailing about ten minutes later and just the two of us are sitting in Hannah’s parents’ bedroom, consoling each other. She wipes her nose with her arm but grins sheepishly while she’s doing it, laughing even though she’s still sad.
“C’mon that’s funny.” She says.
“God, I’m sorry. I just couldn’t stop crying you know. I mean I know you didn’t know him that well… neither did I really…” She says.
“I know.” I say. “I know.”
“Thank you for…you know.”
She starts kissing my neck now, and I’m flashing images of gold medals and blue ribbons in my mind. Confetti cannons are going off, victory horns and cannons firing, flashing symbols of victory. I’m just leaned back and relaxed, biting my lower lip and enjoying every second of this.
“You know.” I say, whispering in her ear. “I have a bottle of rum in my car.”
“Good.” She says. “That’s good.”
“I just…wanted you to know that.” I say.
“Yes… I’m glad… I know.” She says. She’s not listening to me, which is a huge turn on for some reason.
Later that night we’re drunk and naked sitting in my car. She’s smoking a cigarette, letting the smoke curl over her upper lip. “You know… my neighbor raped me when I was eight.” She says.
I don’t know what to say to this so I just say, “I know. I know, it’s ok.”
I’m dreaming but I don’t know it and I’m in a little grey room. In the gray room that I’ve been in for a year and a half. I guess you can’t die, because I haven’t eaten anything literally the entire time, and I haven’t drank anything either. I sleep, and sometimes I think maybe someone comes in during these intervals and intravenously nourishes me, but I’ve faked unconsciousness to see if this might be true and nothing happened. If this is how I’m still alive they are incredibly good at knowing when someone is faking sleep, and I’ve yet to discover the point of entry they use for their needles.
I don’t know where I’m from or where I am. It’s so much that I woke up here one day, one moment I was just here, and before that, it’s like I never existed. I could be a robot that was turned on at exactly the time I became aware of this room.
Today again I tried to look for a way out of the room. I searched the same walls again looking for a loose brick or something, I tried to smash the door down, but the solid oak again proved to be stronger than my flesh body. And that’s it, theres not really much else in the room, theres no bed, no windows, nothing except a door and walls.
Again because to me my acceptance of the situation, my lack of anxiety at the situation, arouses interest in the back of my brain and leans me toward the robot scenario, that I’m an automaton programmed to live in a dank grey room placed in said room and simply turned on for the hell of it. I know that a fire of some sort should be burning in me screaming to get out and run free and not waste away in this dungeon. I don’t waste away. It’s so simple and easy to accept because it’s such a simple situation with no variables, it’s the same day after day, and again somewhere deeper in me I know the boredom should have me crawling at the walls and writing crazed haikus at the ends of my bloody fingerprints in smears on the grey concrete, but that seems like an awfully painful exercise in futility. I’m the only one here to read them and the amount of blood it would take to paint over any mistakes would cause a lot of undue discomfort.
I never think it’s a dream, I’ve never tried to pinch myself to wake up, the sheer reality of the hard cement that surrounds me, is hard to deny. Aside from the occasional token escape attempt I’ve really started to accept that I may spend the rest of my life in this room. Maybe it would be best to slip into unreality to concoct a fantasy life and go crazy just to relieve the monotony, but I’ve tried to go crazy and my mind just snaps back into focus when over and over I quickly run out of things to look at and I can only keep my eyes shut for so long and really this is the first time I’ve thought deeply about any of this and now I just wish I could go blind, but I don’t know if I can stand the pain of putting out my own eyes. Why is this room so well lit? Who’s paying the fucking electric bill? What’s going on in here? I’ve never questioned it as much as now, I mean I always wondered where I was and who I was but it doesn’t matter that much when you have nobody to talk to.
I seem to only be what or who I am in relation to a well-lit grey room. Now the questions won’t stop coming, not the one’s I’ve always had, not how have I survived this long, how have I not starved, or the ones I had at first, but questions that I’ve fended off as long as I could. Will I ever get out of here? Is there even anyone left out there? The lights inside me, the spark that wouldn’t light, now it’s starting to strike the flint and I think I want it to stay dead, I want this limp horrible endless one room life to be bearable and the only way I can do that is to be a .. lifeless ..glassy eyed… robot.
And as soon as I remembered that I can seemingly live here with no food or water, a necessity, that if I just wait long enough and it doesn’t seem like I’ll die that maybe someday I can leave, I relax. I curl up in a corner and I dream of what’s on the other side of the door, except in my dream it’s just another grey room with a room full of rotting corpses stacked three bodies high and across from them is another person trapped just like me except they have to deal with that awful smell and I wake up and I realize my situation could be worse, but I still wish I had a ham radio or something.
I wake up for real now and I’m Joe Moore again, I’m strangely calm, and I think about writing “complete psycho” on my wall in big letters with a black marker. The feeling passes and I get up instead, go brush my teeth, I’m still thinking about the dream and the grey room, realizing now that the walls were so much higher than I should have thought was possible but that dream world was operating with it’s own rules and it’s content is fading but the fact that it “could be so much worse” lingers in my chest. I brush and brush but I can’t get the taste of ham out of my mouth, I think it means something but if it did I’m just not sure.