The alarm went off at five thirty in the evening. I hit the snooze button, stretched out, and lay there looking at the alarm clock. I tried to focus on the number to get the haze out of my eyes, and awaken my intellect. Why was the alarm set for five thirty? Gradually it came to me; my girlfriend had free tickets to a concert and invited me to go with her and a couple of her friends. I tried to remember what time I had to be ready. I knew it was earlier than normal, as per the concert. She was usually to my place around seven thirty on Saturday nights. Oh shit! Was I to be ready by six?!
I jumped up in a panic. I just take short naps on Saturdays after my part time job, because the start time is much earlier than my full time job. I had to shower, shave, and be drunk enough to not spend too much at the Tacoma Dome! I grabbed what was left of the box wine and rushed into the bathroom. I took off my clothes and got into the shower with the box wine. I lifted the box up, put the nozzle to my mouth, and turned it. The wine trickled down my throat for thirty seconds straight. One more tilt for good measure. I grabbed a quick shower and hopped out. I quickly dried off, got dressed, and poured a glass of wine. Then I found my pack of smokes. There were just two left. Fuck! I’d have to get more before the concert.
I texted Zantha to ask when they were picking me up. There was no response. I drank more wine and finished my smoke. Still no word. The window was open and she always parks right in front of my window. I could always tell when she arrived. I sat drinking the wine rapidly. I’d never been to a major concert before, and so I was excited. Around six thirty she texted that they were on the way. I responded about the smokes, that we needed to stop at the bottom of the hill. I refilled my glass and lit my last smoke. Twenty minutes later she texted back, saying I should walk down the hill and buy the smokes. They’d pick me up near the main road to the freeway.
I poured my wine into a Styrofoam cup and headed down the hill. It was a bright and beautiful day, and plenty of attractive women were everywhere and wore revealing clothes. I walked quickly but carefully as I sipped my wine. In three minutes, I was at the store. I dropped the cup in the trash, rushed in, bought two packs of smokes, and rushed out. I quickly lit a smoke once outside, and rushed toward the main drag. A white Accord swerved in front of me, and I saw Zantha in the back. I rushed over to the other back door, dropping my smoke on the way.
I leaned over and kissed her. She tasted like vodka, a taste I am rather fond of. Her top was so very nice, as it revealed her great breasts and wonderous curves. Her skirt flowed beautifully, and suggested the prizes that were hidden underneath. Her long hair flowed magically, and accented an expression of fun and mischief. A devilish grin capped a perfect start to a great evening.
In the passenger seat sat Dora, Zantha’s close friend. She was excited too, sitting there in more conservative clothes. She was all smiles and laughs, and conveyed a great evening that sat ahead. The driver was a friend of Zantha’s that I hadn’t met, Chad. His hair was very short. He appeared very straight laced, but drove aggressively and seemed to be trying very hard to seem like a happening dude. I faced the outside window to roll my eyes without being noticed.
Zantha pulled out a bottle of lemon lime soda and took a big gulp, then passed it to me. It was mostly vodka. I took a big gulp. The vodka burned so very well. Then she handed it to Dora. After Dora took several gulps, it came back to Zantha. Chad didn’t drink. Ever. My old boss told me to never trust anyone who didn’t drink. I was about to find out why.
Chad couldn’t drive. He veered in and out of lanes on the busy freeway and rode bumpers all the way south. If someone had treated me that way on the freeway, I’d have kicked their ass. He complained that we would miss the opening act, even as his ticket was free. I struggled to hear him, but every time I did, I wished I hadn’t.
After a while, Zantha asked him about his going on E harmony to find himself a woman. He responded enthusiastically. Just to see what I was dealing with, I pointed out that e harmony was headed by a radical religious man who hated gays and tried to indoctrinate people. As I somehow knew he would, Chad asserted that all marriage is Christian. Sigh. I argued, he argued. The two women shut down the debate before it started. I chugged more vodka. We rolled on.
As predicted, Chad got lost. We asked directions, and they helped. We arrived near the Dome, parked, and rushed to make a train to the Dome. The train came, we got on, and the packed train rolled to within blocks of the Dome. We rushed to the dome as I smoked. We got in quickly, tracked down our seats, and settled in, just in time for a few more sets before a break in the music.
The Dome was huge! Mountains and valleys of people filled from end to end. There were older people, teenagers, and all in between. Many brought young children, which was appalling. There were many attractive women, but few to none had a body like Zantha. Her ass would make any guy drool!
The stage seemed tiny from where we sat. I grew bored with the rap group that was on stage, so I offered to get Zantha and me a cup of wine. She nodded agreement, and I went out to the stand. The older plump woman behind the stand asserted that I could only buy one cup of wine at a time, so they could ensure that no one underage got alcohol. I bought one cup and returned to Zantha and her ass.
We made short work of the cup. I would have gone back for more wine, but Zantha was dancing, and her hot ass was wriggling right in front of me. That was better than wine, so I sat there watching. The music ended a bit too early though, so we all piled out to get wine. Chad took off to scout chicks. Who knows, I thought, maybe he’ll meet someone as fake and stupid as he is. God knows there are plenty out there.
The three of us stood in line. Dora asked Zantha were the hell she found that guy. Those were my sentiments exactly. Dora was doing my work. Zantha told a rather lame story, the issue died out a bit. Before long, we ordered wine and returned to our seats for the main act. I finished my wine and got another cup before the show began. Chad was nowhere to be found. Maybe someone else got annoyed by him and was less kind than I was. I smiled about the possibility until I realized there was no ride home if something did happen to him. The music started. It was pretty catchy, and I found myself dancing with Zantha instead of watching her hot ass. Around the fourth song, Chad showed up. Shit.
I grabbed another cup of wine, then another. By then I was really into everything and having a great time, with one exception. I needed to smoke. I asked the old women at the wine stand where I could smoke. They began telling stories about when there were areas to smoke. That didn’t do me any good at all. I asked the young janitor. He advised me to smoke in the bathroom. I decided to hold it. Surely the concert can’t last that long.
Twenty minutes later, I had to smoke. I told Zantha about the whole thing, and that I was gonna smoke in the bathroom. She nodded, and said to text if I got kicked out. I walked to the bathroom. There was no one in there. I lit up a smoke and inhaled. Ahhhh! I smoked as fast as I could. The cigarette was almost done when a loud knock struck the stall door.
“Come on out! Open up! Now!”
I tossed the smoke in the toilet and flushed. I opened the door. There stood two fat security guards. They were pissed.
“Why’d you do it?! Why you smoking in the bathroom? Where’s your ticket? Come on. Outside!”
We walked out the door and stood in the hallway. There was a considerable crowd. The loudest security guard was the fattest. He held a full, but open bottle of beer, and waved it at me as he scolded.
“Come on, tell me why you did it. You knew goddamned well you can’t smoke in the bathroom. Why’d you do it?”
“There’s nowhere else to smoke. I looked everywhere.”
“Ok, that’s it! Where’s your ticket?”
“In my coat, on my seat, beside my girlfriend.” I interrupted.
“Ok, motherfucker, let’s go get your coat and your ticket! You gonna be a tough smart ass, I’m throwing your ass out! Where’s your fucking ticket?!”
As he yelled that, he waved the beer bottle at me a few times too many. I realized I could stun them by taking the beer. That thought was all I needed. I grabbed the beer from his hand and ran through the crowd. It was like defensive linemen chasing Barry Sanders. They were too fat to get through the crowd. My thin body went right through. In ten seconds, I lost them. When I reached another section, I went in, climbed thirty feet of stairs to the top. I took a moment to catch my breath, and then chugged the bottle. I sat the now empty bottle down and calmly weaved my way back to my seat.
Zantha was still dancing. Sweat was rolling off her. I sat down for a while and watched that hot ass again. Then I got up and danced. I wanted another cup of wine, but was afraid of being kicked out, so I just danced. Before I knew it, the concert was over, and people were spilling out. I told Zantha what happened with security, but I doubt she believed me.
Eventually we made it outside, and I lit a smoke. We hustled down the street, as Chad excitedly rambled about nothing to anyone who’d listen. It was actually a little entertaining at that point. Maybe I was wrong about him. After all, Zantha had seen something in him. What that might have been was anyone’s guess.
When we had parked, I remembered it to have been north. I was sure of it. Chad insisted we board the south train. I questioned him.
“Does it loop around, then? We are parked north. This train goes south.”
“No. It doesn’t loop at all. It’s the right direction.” He scoffed.
“But we are parked up there.”
“It doesn’t loop. It’s the right train.”
He walked away, scoffing like a ten year old.
“Ok, Zantha. I don’t know this town that well. I hope he knows where he’s going.”
I needed wine and more smokes. Ideally we could go to a decent restaurant for ok food and decent wine, and where I could smoke outside. The train arrived, heading south. We piled on the crowded craft, and went south. I watched intently. We travelled south four blocks, and LOOPED AROUND. We were heading north within minutes. I caught Zantha’s eye, and shook my head. I leaned down and whispered.
“Can’t get a straight answer from that guy.”
We arrived at our station, finally, and got off the train. Chad skipped ahead, prancing and singing. I calculated the time until we either arrived at my place or at a restaurant. I needed wine and smoke, and was getting hungry, not to mention annoyed at Chad. He was like an eight year old, and yet propped himself up as being charge. I was sickened, but tried to remain positive for fear of ruining the evening. Besides, in short order, Zantha would be at my place, drinking wine and laughing. It would all be alright.
We piled in Chad’s Accord and took off. Immediately Chad put on bad rap music and energetically danced and sang. Then he cranked it up to ear piercing levels. The lyrics sucked. If I had a dime for every time they said “Ho,” “Whore,” or Bitch,” I’d have retired. Chad skipped songs, and pointed out all the ones he wanted us to think were his faves. He had a captive audience, and showed no mercy. He drove erratically and talked tough. I rolled my eyes as he show cased himself as the cock of the walk.
Any other situation with anyone else, and I’d have either told him to shut up or actually smacked him, but this was Zantha’s friend. I calculated how long the torture would last. It was just too long. I turned my attention to Zantha, kissing and licking her shoulder. Chad angrily turned on the dome light, and my eyes felt punched.
“I CAN’T STAND THE SOUND OF KISSING! STOP IT!”
I faced away from Zantha to hide my expression of sheer hatred. My anger was boiling! It was alarmingly close to my punching Chad right where he sat. That piece of fucking shit pulls that?! It took everything I had to not hit the fucker right then and there. I resolved this only by promising myself that I would someday get to beat the shit out of him, when Zantha wouldn’t know about it.
The torture continued. I kept quiet, for fear of showing my anger. Chad kept showcasing himself; what he liked, what he thought, the music that moved him, where he liked to eat, the time he dared to lick someone’s nipple in public (but it was dark, you see?). On and on and on. Dora and Zantha laughed at many things he said. I was ready to puke.
Then they talked of going to a restaurant. FUCK! Don’t get me wrong, I was hungry too, but enough was enough. I mentioned to Zantha that we could go to my place, with the intention of the two of us going somewhere decent. She declined, stating that she was very hungry. I was stuck.
Chad exited the freeway, and took the longest route possible to restaurants in the international district. HIS fave restaurants were there, he claimed. Finally he parked the car. We piled out and began searching for a place to eat. Chad was pointing to his “faves,” and relating stories to each place. None were believable. I could feel the scowl on my face, so I kept quiet.
Finally they picked a Chinese place. We went in, and I could see it was a bad restaurant. Then again, I thought it was my mood, so I got up from my seat right away, and went to smoke and reset my mood. I walked outside and lit a cigarette. The area was a shithole, and angry homeless guys were everywhere. I knew them well, and knew better than to be in such an area. Nonetheless, they were better company than Chad.
A guy came up and demanded a cigarette.
“Sorry. Had to bum this one.”
“Oh, I see. It’s because I’m black. You’d give one to a white guy..”
“Don’t pull that with me. I had to bum this one. I don’t have any more.”
He grabbed the cigarette and ran off. Fuck! Now I had to face Chad. Fuck! I walked in and went to the table. The three of them sat looking at menus. There was no menu for me. Great. I sat down and tried to reset my mood. I wondered if someone might notice I had no menu. No one did. I looked off Dora’s, reading upside down and making a point of it. The wait staff was too busy for me to get their attention. Anyway, cashew chicken is usually a good bet.
The waiter came over and we ordered. I was amazed Chad allowed the ladies to order first. How noble. Immediately after the orders went in, Chad began yacking about himself. Ugh! As the other three of us grew silent, Chad made a plea;
“You two have each other, and Dora has someone to go home to. I have no one. This is it for me.”
If he were capable of conversing and not being an asshole, the plea would have worked. Then again, if that were the case, I wouldn’t have wanted to hit him as badly as I did. Who knows, it might have been a good time. However, there we were, a captive audience for the likes and character of Chad, endless, merciless. I regretted my own birth in those hours.
The food arrived and it sucked, just as I knew it would. There went thirty five dollars that could have been used for food that didn’t taste like wet laundry. I shoveled the cashew chicken, so as to not notice the blandness and terrible texture. Dora stared at hers, as in holding a disbelief as to how bad it was. Zantha ate heavily, as hers was obviously ok. Chad slowly ate at a heaping pile, being sure to drag it out as long as was humanly possible. Fuck!
I finished and went to smoke. By then I was so fucked off that I hoped the fucker that stole my cigarette came by looking for trouble. I was going to kick his ass. He didn’t though, and I finished that one without incident. After finishing the smoke, I stood outside for a while longer. There was no need to hurry back to listen to Chad showcase himself.
When I did go back, he was still taking his time eating and running his mouth. I showed pure exacerbation. I couldn’t hold it back. Zantha saw it purely. Dora saw it too. I was pissed! When the waiter came over to try to sell dessert, etc., I interrupted and asked for the check. Chad had a mouthful, and so couldn’t object. The check arrived, and I plopped money on the tray for meals for me and Zantha. Dora had her card ready. Chad sat there eating and talking and talking and talking. If looks could kill, I’d be in prison for murder.
Finally at long last, Chad finished eating! Yes! He plopped down cash. The waiter was fast, thank god, and we were cleared for takeoff. My spirits rose at the thought of the torture ending. I don’t live that far away, after all. The motley foursome finally left the restaurant and piled in the Accord. Immediately, the bad rap played, and Chad danced as he drove. At least the car was moving though.
Then my hopes were slaughtered. I should have expected it though. Chad drove through the busiest, slowest sections of the city. It was near two, closing time, and traffic sucked. People who had been in pleasant company all evening were piling out of the bars. Chad pointed to all the bars and made up stories about each one, usually about hot chicks he met in the bar, and what they did. The Accord crawled among the traffic as he bragged about the chicks he did while the rap songs spoke of “Ho’s.”
As nicely as I could muster, I spoke up;
“It’s easiest to turn right on Broad.”
Chad scowled in the rearview. He repeated his earlier plea;
“You two have each other, Dora has someone at home. I have no one.”
I bit my tongue to keep from saying “No wonder.” Chad didn’t miss a beat, going right back to reliving fantasies about chicks in those bars. When he passed Broad Street, I silently pointed. Zantha nicely pointed out that we missed Broad Street. Chad huffed;
“Ugh! I am heading up Mercer! The way we came is fast too, and we get to see more bars.”
Zantha slouched, I tried to bury my scowl, and took long deep breaths. I really wanted to beat the shit out of him! The Accord was quiet, except for Chad, of course. We made our way onto fifth eventually, and I sat up to give directions to my apartment. I spoke in direct, no bullshit tones, barely hiding my hatred of dork.
“Straight up the hill. Keep straight.”
“Turn right at the next light. Turn left at this street”
Finally, at long, long, long, long, long, long, long last, the Accord pulled into my parking lot and stopped. I jumped out and was to Zantha’s side in a fraction of a second. Zantha hugged Chad. It’s a good thing she did, as I had been seriously considering punching him.
We made into my place. Zantha sat down. I began opening a bottle of wine. Neither said anything. I poured her a glass, then poured myself one. I drank the glass down in five seconds and refilled. She sat there half dazed.
“THAT will never happen again.”
Zantha look at me in a confused daze.
“I will never be around that piece of shit ever again, Zantha. Sorry, but your friend is shit.”
“I know he’s self absorbed, but I had no idea you hated him.”
“Are you kidding? Who could stand him? How did you stand him?”
In falsetto, I replayed his words, “You two have each other and Dora had someone waiting at home. I have no one… Yeah, maybe if he could CONVERSE, but fuck!”
She chuckled. I knew I had her there. I went on to make fun of him for an hour and a bottle of wine. Then we crawled into bed and had great sex before she fell asleep. I stayed up drinking for a while longer and wanted to kick Chad’s ass. I still do.