The kitchen countertop overflowed with bottles of hard alcohol and unopened bags of red cups. The lunatics flailed their limbs wildly, dancing in the center of the main floor. Two games of beer pong were underway in the room’s corner. The scene in its entirety looked like a facsimile of 48 hours ago. Of course the music – that pervasive thump-thumping – sounded the same. Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 11
Nathan continued laughing maniacally as Ojas crawled back into bed, promising to wake up in an hour. We returned to the living room where Phillipa and Shelly were sipping on their lattes on the same couch as before.
“Did y’all hear about Carl’s stingray incident?” Shelly asked with an ironic southern accent. “Apparently he’s in surgery now. Doctors say they’re doing all they can to keep him alive.” There was playfulness beneath her somber tone, but Nathan’s gullible frame of mind succumbed all-too easily, and his bliss transmogrified into mournful despondency. He looked pleadingly toward Shelly, hanging on her every word. Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 10
I woke up early to vomit in the toilet for an hour. As my system cleansed itself, a strange out-of-body sensation overtook me. I was looking down upon and within myself to a chorus of faraway voices squawking sadistically at the sight of the sad primate hunched over a toilet in Mission Beach, San Diego, inexplicably alive. Back in the room everyone was asleep. It was only ten o’clock. I dug through Arnold’s backpack and gobbled up some of his weed brownie crumbs to help with the stomachache. I took a shower and found Ojas on the porch, sitting atop the trusty wicker bench and clutching his temples in a way that reeked of pure misery, not to mention the actual odor of vomit and stale vodka emanating from his person. I offered up a cigarette. Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 9
Everything was soon out of control. The dregs and miscreants of Southern California were infiltrating our house. Mitch stood atop a chair on the porch, scouting out potential customers on the boardwalk, directing them to the Drug Den. Mandy, meanwhile, was selling their inventory upstairs. I was impressed by their business model, all-the-while praying for my possessions, which were tucked in the closet of our unlocked bedroom. I then spotted Arnold at the other end of the room and waved at him, standing on my tip-toes to see over the swarm of strangers. Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 8
I was bored and kinda sad too. I don’t know if it was Saturday or Sunday. I can tell you it was February. I remember thinking: “It’s hot as hell for February.” Really, it was those exact words. I know this because I also remember thinking: “I bet folks in hell are made to wear big puffy coats,” which I know I thought at one point because I see myself wearing a big puffy coat, and I can feel my hairy torso prickling with sweat as I hurry across the street and down the dirt-smeared stairwell, into a cramped, stuffy subway car where I say to myself, “I bet folks in hell are made to wear big puffy coats and ride back and forth on cramped, stuffy subway cars until the end of time.”
Arnold grabbed his skim-board from our room as we descended from the Drug Den. I found a spare board on the porch sitting underneath a table. The dogged California sun was tiring, beginning its descent and bathing the mackerel sky in a pale yellow coating. A local teenage boy was shouting into his phone, sitting on the boardwalk barrier with one foot above sand, the other above pavement, straddling the wide cement bannister as if it were a horse. The beach was uncrowded and serene as Arnold proved to himself and the world that he was an excellent skim-boarder. Watching him float atop the water – effortlessly elegant, yet endlessly silly in his sombrero – he seemed like one of Kerouac’s goofy water bugs zipping across pond surfaces in Big Sur Valley, just playing in the water ’till the end of time. Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 7
Alicia was only eleven when a nightmare rose within her. Days and weeks would pass, sometimes months and years, but the nightmare never left. In fact, two days before Alicia’s eighty-eighth birthday (incidentally, a week before she passed away) her nightmare returned after an eleven-year absence. The old woman was startled to wake in the dead of night, though no longer scared. Continue reading A Long Life