When I was in college, long before I was domesticated by Jen, we used to throw amazing parties in my apartment. It is hard to believe that this was over ten years ago I mean 7 because I was legally drinking. These parties were much more Animal House instead of the Full House type that my brothers and I partake in these days. When I think party, I think of bottles of cheap liquor, multiple kegs of beer, and a night that ends with new friends sleeping on my floor in various states of disarray. Well, not friends really but more like strangers who never made it home.
One such evening, we bought a keg of beer and put it in a kiddy-pool in my kitchen. We mounted ice along the keg inside the kiddy-pool in order to keep the beer cold. Then we turned up the music, opened the doors, and people from the apartment complex and surrounding towns and villages made their trek to pay homage to the beer gods. Some of my friends came from Tallahassee (only four hours away) and others came from Tampa (two hours hence). It was one of those nights that are almost magical in the way everyone goes from goofy drunk to hammered out of their minds and I was not an exception. I don’t remember much about it except a few highlights that you really could not forget even if you tried.
This walk describes most of what you need to know in order to understand the magnitude of the sheer decadence in my apartment on this particular evening (I am not even sure this is the worst but it is the one I feel like writing about for now).
You still call it ‘waking up’ when you snap out of a drunken blackness I suppose.
So I awoke. I recall feeling a bit of pain as if I had slept funny, in a position unnatural for sleep. I assume I had been sleeping twisted like a pretzel and doing a hand stand simultaneously. My bedroom was all of 4 feet by 6 feet and I had a closet cubby instead of an actual closet. I used it as a nook to place all my soiled laundry etc. Well as I stood up thinking, “What the hell happened”, something stirred in my pile of laundry. I fell backwards, startled, and then inched over to the pile of moving cloth and jean. Underneath, a layer of my clothes was my friend Craig who must have collapsed there. I was just glad he hadn’t decided to spoon me.
Shaking my head, I opened my bedroom door and stepped over another friend who had taken a sweater of mine and used it as a pillow and fell asleep between my door and the stairwell that led to the oasis of water I needed somewhere near my kitchen sink. I stepped over him and a stench of sour beer hit my nostril like a squirt gun blast of water.
I remember, vividly, grabbing a hold of the railing that lined my spiral stairway and trying to open my mouth. It stuck together like two ice cubes but without the cool winter freshness. As I turned the first twist downward, another person was asleep on the landing, a precursor to the half dozen strangers passed out in my living room.
I saw a piece of paper on the floor near the front door and slalomed through the bodies to pick it up. I picked it up and suddenly had a flash to the night before.
“We have had complaints of loud music and underage drinking.” Stern face.
“That’s ridiculous we are just hanging out.” Conscious of beer musk.
The citation for noise must have come from a very lenient cop. I put it on the fridge with a magnet after I had navigated the morgue-like living room and then I went to get a cup of water.
My friend Edgeworth was asleep, his head on the kiddy pool. He rolled over as I stood over him with my cup of water and I could hear his skin peel backward from the plastic of the pool. It made a squeak and then tearing sound that made me wonder exactly how many skin cells were left behind. A dash of sunlight landed across his eyes and he blinked them open into a squint with considerable difficulty.
“You thirsty?” I asked.
He didn’t say a word. He just rolled his Irish frame around and looked at the kiddy-pool. It had become a black mud of old beer and a melted ice pool of filth. He stared at it and I thought he would be sick. His hands slipped and he went into the water up to his wrists.
“I’ll get you a towel”.
When I turned back around he had the sludge cupped into his hands and he was lapping it up.
When the water was gone, coffee-ground remains of filth settled into his palm and he wiped his hand across his face leaving a brown smudge. I almost hurled, but I was thirsty more, and poured myself another cup of water and watched as he settled down for more sleep. I stumbled back upstairs and went to sleep and woke up sometime around three in the afternoon.
And grabbed a Natty-Lite.