Tuesday, April 06, 2010

On the Quay on New Year’s Day

Category: Short Story

  The cold, foggy glass door slid open with a painful squeak, jolting Mickey upright on the sofa in the living room, where he’d been lying in dazed, half-moronic repose.  He craned his head to identify his guest.

He saw Stu slide the door closed and stamp his feet on the rug, flinging crumbled packs of snow around the floor.  Stu walked towards the living room, his extraordinarily tall frame stooped a little to avoid contact with the tarnished chandelier and the low hanging molding above the doorways.  His head shook in short, violent bursts as he walked, shedding moisture from his shaggy mess of hair.

“What’s up?” he said, stepping into the living room.

“Nothin, brother.  Just hanging out.  Want to smoke?” Mickey asked rather rhetorically as he dropped his feet to the ground and slowly rose from the sofa.

“You have weed?  Absolutely.”

With Mickey leading the way, the pair walked into the kitchen.  Mickey’s blood-shot eyes and drooping face suggested a complete inability to function, but nonetheless his hands moved with delicate precision over the sink.  He blew through a short, round metal socket, pressed into the center of a plastic bottle cap.  He removed a plastic bag from his pocket and started to place little green buds into the socket.

“How was your New Year’s?” Stu asked, leaning against the counter-top in wait.

Mickey shrugged.

“Pretty low-key.  Went skiing with the family.  Fun, though.  And no trouble, which was a nice change of pace.”

Mickey filled a plastic bottle with water, twisted the cap on tightly, and held a flame to the end of the socket.  At that very instant, he removed the thumb of his opposite hand from the base of the bottle, allowing a stream of water to burst through a pre-made hole. As the water poured out and the flame bit at the socket, a dense cloud of brownish-gray smoke filled the bottle.  When all the water had drained, he slowly unscrewed the cap and handed the bottle to Stu.  Stu bent his head down, put his mouth over the bottle, and sucked in all the smoke.  After a few seconds, he released the smoke from his lungs and began a violent fit of coughing.

Without a moment’s waste, Mickey began to repeat the procedure.

“So, I had an interesting New Year’s,” Stu said once his coughing had died down.

“Yeah?” Mickey asked with a slight turn of his head, still fiddling with the contraption in the sink basin.  “What happened?”

“Okay, well this is kind of a long story.”

“I got all the time in the world, brother.”

“Okay, so I’m at my boy Smitty’s house…”


“SMITTYYYYY,” Mickey cried with mocking enthusiasm.


“Shut up.  Okay, so I’m at Smitty’s house…”


“This is New Year’s Eve?”

“No.  This is, like, three days before it.”

Mickey nodded.

“Okay, so I’m at my boy Smitty’s house, and we’re all just sitting around drinking and talking about what to do for New Year’s.  We talked about going to Chicago, but we did that last year.  We talked about going to Toronto or Windsor, but nobody wanted to make the drive.

“So we’re trying to figure out what to do, and then Smitty’s mom says, ‘Why don’t you guys have a party at the boathouse?’  Smitty’s loaded, and they have this incredible boathouse like right on the water down at the yacht club.  So, she says, like, ‘Just don’t break anything and don’t let anyone drive or try to go into the water, and it’ll be fine.’

“So we’re like, ‘Great, okay.  This is going to be awesome.’  So the day before New Year’s Eve, we get about…” Stu tilted his head toward the ceiling with a wry, calculating smile.

“...About enough booze to kill a small town.  Like six handles, a keg, a bottle of Everclear—a stupid amount of booze.”

Mickey nodded and grinned as he uncapped the bottle and inhaled a thick cloud of smoke.

“Okay, so New Year’s Eve, ” Stu continued, “We have all this booze at this incredible house, right on the water next to this marina where these million dollar yachts are docked.  And there’s like…maybe ten guys and like seven or eight girls.  We’re just sitting around, pretty early on, just like listening to music and drinking—pre-gaming.  But I’m just hammered.  Like as drunk as I’ve ever been.  And it’s like…eleven o’clock.”

Mickey chuckled and began to repeat the process.

“So, at some point, this girl that I dated in high school asks me to go into this bedroom to, like, ‘talk’ or something—I don’t know.”

“Is this Rachel?”

“No.  Some girl I dated like freshman year.  I don’t even know why she was there. So anyways, she starts talking to me, and I couldn’t even tell you what she said.  I was like staring at her, but just not comprehending any words that came out of her mouth.  You know?”

Mickey chuckled and offered Stu the smoke-filled bottle.  After a shorter , throatier spasm of coughs, Stu resumed the tale.

“Okay, where was I?  Oh, right.  So I’m sitting there listening to this chick talk about God-knows-what, and I’m just completely hammered.  All of the sudden, I stand up and rip my shirt off, and say ‘Screw this.’  So I go back out into the living room and just party.”

“And this is…like not even midnight?”

“Right.  It’s maybe eleven-thirty.  So I’m out there partying with no shirt, and eventually I was wearing nothing but my boxers.  I don’t remember the next few hours, but at some point the guys decided they needed to take me home.”

“Jesus Christ.”

“Yeah, I know.  So this dude drives me home, and I don’t even know him.  He’s my boy Rosenfeld’s friend from school—”


“ROSENFELDDDDD!” Mickey cried in the same exaggerated tone as before.

“Shut up.  So this dude drives me home and like props me up against the door, rings the doorbell, and bounces.  So my mom comes to the door and finds me there, and she’s all worried.  She tries to put me to bed, but I’m just like hammered and being loud and telling her I’m fine, blah, blah, blah.

“She keeps trying to put me to bed, but I tell her I just want to watch TV.  So I go down to the basement, and I’m like roaming around and bumping into things.  Finally, she goes to bed, and she tells me not to leave and just to sit and watch TV.

“And, she actually made a smart move.  Before she went to bed, she took my keys, but I didn’t know that.  So eventually, I decide she’s asleep, so I go down and get into my car.  I can’t believe I did that.”

Stu shuddered and forced nervous laughter.

“So I get in my car, and I’m like ‘Where the hell are my keys?’  So I look around for them and can’t find them.  Then, like maybe ten minutes later, I’m back in the car, and again I realize I can’t find my keys.”

Mickey laughed and turned away from the sink, now focusing more on the tale than the contraption.

“So, I get out of the car, and I’m like ‘Screw it, I’ll walk.’  And, by the way, we had gotten hit with, like, a blizzard that night.  So I walk all the way back to Smitty’s boat house in almost a foot of snow, wearing just a button-down, jeans, and sneakers.”

Mickey doubled over in laughter.

“And, by the way, the yacht club is almost two miles away.  So I walk all the way there, and my mom calls me.  She’s freaking out, like: ‘Stuart! Where are you? I’m coming to get you!’ and I say ‘No, Mom, it’s okay, just go to bed I’m fine.  Rachel came and picked me up. She’s sober she hasn’t been drinking.  We’re just talking I’m fine.’ So my mom’s eventually like, ‘Okay, I was so worried.  All I could see were your giant footprints in the snow!’”

The last sentence came out in broken bits amidst Stu’s heavy laughter, and Mickey quickly joined him.  Stu composed himself after a moment and continued.

“So I get to Smitty’s, and it’s like…four thirty in the morning.  I find my boy Haboian—”


“HABOIANNNNN!” Mickey howled between intense laughter.

“Shut up.  So I find my boy Haboian and we decide to walk around the house and see what’s up.  This is where it really gets good.”

Mickey raised his brow, his interest piqued by the promise.

“So we like climb over bodies in the living room, and we go upstairs.  We open the door to the first bedroom, and there’s a little, perfectly circular pile of puke in like the exact center of the floor.  And Rosenfeld is sitting in a wooden arm-chair, perfectly up-right, dead asleep.”

Mickey gasped for air as he laughed.

“We open the door to the second room, and this dude I don’t know is completely naked on the bed, licking this girl’s asshole.”

“Jesus Christ!”

“Then, as I open the door to the third room, it hits a body on the ground.  I stick my head in and see another completely naked girl lying on the floor, wide-awake but not moving.  Just staring at up at me.  I look over to the left, in the bathroom, and one of Rosenfeld’s friends from school is sitting on the toilet, cutting up lines of coke on this nice, like antique mirror.”

Mickey finally dropped the bottle in the sink and placed his hand against the counter for support while he laughed.

“So, in the morning, the dude that dropped me off at home comes downstairs and finds me laying on the living room floor with some girl I barely know, on top of a bunch of stuffed animals, using two North Face jackets as blankets.  I wake up to him standing over me just looking so confused.  It was hilarious.  He was like ‘What the hell are you doing here?  I brought you home!  How the hell did you get back here?’”

“Wow.  That’s unbelievable.  What did your parents have to say?”

Stu shrugged and made a pained expression.

“I basically went home and slept until Monday.  Monday morning, my mom came in and sat down on my bed.  She was like ‘Stuart, do we need to have a talk, or is it all…’ you know.  She thinks like I have a problem or something.”

Again, he shrugged and rolled his eyes.

“You know how it is.”

Mickey shook his head and laughed once more as he sparked another round.  He inhaled deeply, holding the smoke in until he had prepared the contraption for yet another round.  He exhaled, unscrewed the cap, and handed the smoke-filled bottle to Stu.  Stu bent low to wrap his lips around the mouthpiece.  When he’d exhaled, the pair walked back into the living room, where they sprawled out on the sofas and watched TV, awaiting the other arrivals.


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