Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fisting, Theft, Semantics

[every voice, every note, every wave of displaced air, together, disharmonious unity, repeated without meter, an affront to the orderly universe, physics fisted by Chaos' spiked glove, destroying the womb of reason...]

What the hell is that sound? Geoff tried to open his eyes, blinking away the crust of sleep, unable to move, sleep still governing his limbs, disabling them. The vestiges of his subconscious' nightly cleaning echoing in his mind, he was unable to properly label this disturbance, this sound, that rudely woke him.

Thud. Scrape. Long pause. Thud.

Geoff reached for his phone to check the time. His eyes refused to focus. It felt early. Or late, depending on one's perspective. Geoff viewed four o'clock in the morning as a beginning, his roommate saw it as an end. Apparently, this end seemed to have something to do with lifting very heavy things and dropping them, then dragging them down the hall.

Thud. Shuffle. Pause. BOOM.

"What the fuck!?", Geoff yelled, swinging his legs to the floor. His back screamed at him to slow down.

Thud. Scrape.

"What the hell is going on?", Geoff yelled, nearly tearing the door from its hinge. His eyes tried to focus on the view through his bedroom door, something wasn't right, the hallway wasn't grey before. And it didn't move very slightly toward one end of the house. He was almost sure of this.

"Hey, you think you could push from the other end? This fucker is heavy.", Jinx's muffled voice emanated from somewhere beyond the new, moving hallway.

"What...why are you...doing whatever it is you are doing?! It's four o'clock in the morning!", Geoff placed a hand on the wall that seemed to have appeared sometime in the night and was now preventing him from leaving his room.

"Just a sec." There was a sound like someone trying to squeeze through a small space, some grunting, occasional bouts of swearing.

"I'll push it over to let you out. Gimme a second." The new wall began to move very slightly faster, finally revealing Jinx at one end, leather and sweat and insanity.

"Morning, sunshine! Now, if you could give me a hand, I think we can get it through the door.", Jinx panted.

"What IS it?", Geoff asked, his mind finally clawing its way from his dreams, "And why, pray tell, must it move down the hallway at four in the morning?"

"It's a large metal cabinet and if it doesn't move down the hallway, you won't be able to get out of your room and that will make you cranky, and if you are cranky, I will have to hit you with something heavy. Like a large metal cabinet.", Jinx leaned against the hallway wall, catching his breath, eying the enormous cabinet, gauging whether it would, in fact, fit through.

"Where the hell did you get it?", Geoff asked.

"Found it."

"You found it."

"Yes."

"Where?"

"Behind a building."

"So you stole it, not found it."

Jinx waved a dismissive hand, "Semantics. That is for the philosophers to figure out. I need someplace to put my stuff. This cabinet only had a couple of things in it. It was made to hold a bunch of stuff. I have a bunch of stuff and no place to put it. Ergo, it was made for me. And since it was made for me, I felt my room is a better place to keep it than behind some fuel station."

"But this thing is huge! It will take up your whole room! I mean...Wait! What 'fuel station'?", Geoff hoped the answer wouldn't be...

"I dunno. The one over on First St. I think that's the name of the road. It's got a couple of pumps out front, but no sign."

"Mother of Christ! That's the city fuel warehouse! That is where the POLICE CARS go to fill up!"

"Shit! See, that is what is wrong with this country! A perfectly good object, purchased with our tax dollars, sits, unused, behind a building.", Jinx shook his head, "Fucking terrible."

Geoff tried to speak, but failed. His brain could not process the overwhelming combination of disbelief, surreality, anger, and fear that bashed him in the metaphorical groin area.

"W-w-w-w...er, you...wha..."

"Listen, I am gonna go get some smokes. You obviously need a little time to wake up before you can help. You need anything?", Jinx asked, wiping his hands on his pants.

"Yeah, could you kidnap a little girl on the way back? And pick up some crack, too. Since you are trying to get us both arrested, you might as well just pile on the charges.", Geoff shook his head and squeezed through to the hallway, intent on making some coffee immediately.


                                                       **********


The cabinet did, in fact, finally settle into a place in Jinx's room, but not without having to remove the door from the hinges and tear off half the molding. Geoff had decided, sometime between glances out the window to check for the inevitable tactical assault squad, that rather than argue with Jinx, it would just be easier to get the damn cabinet into his room and pretend it wasn't there.

Geoff had forgotten that he had told Jinx they would go out for drinks. Now he deeply regretted saying anything at all. Jinx, for his part, was gearing up for a night out, asking about the number of women that might frequent this or that bar, bemoaning having to listen to what he referred to as "MTV Bullshit music", and generally helping Geoff develop some remarkable ulcers.

He just doesn't give a shit, Geoff thought. He is completely self-destructive. I am going to have to start a bail-money fund. Still, he liked the kid. I mean, at very least, life with Jinx is unlikely to be boring.

"What time are we gonna go out? I just need a bit of a nap before we leave.", Jinx asked, using a butter knife to remove some gum from his boot sole.

"Shit, I don't know. Probably ten or so. No one even starts going out until then." And if there is a large group of people, it is at least statistically less likely we will get thrown out or arrested, Geoff mused.

After a fitful nap and some food, the two roommates got dressed to go out. They looked somewhat ridiculous together: a kid in leather with Elmer's Glue in his hair, and a forty-something guy in shorts and a bowling shirt. They looked like a Coen Brothers' film, or a Hunter S. Thompson book, if either of those had listened to Minor Threat.

Bars in New Bern, North Carolina are very unlike those in DC or New York or even Atlanta. The liquor laws in North Carolina prevent an establishment from serving "hard liquor" unless they are either a private club or at least fifty percent of their income needs to come from food sales. Hence, most watering holes tend to be attached to restaurants, filling up with drunks and desperate lovers as the diners file out, a shift change at the Social Factory. The bible belt seems to think if it pretends to be wholesome and upright, the rest of the world will ignore its hypocrisy. In the meantime, what of the poor drunks and barflies?

Geoff introduced Jinx to his friends and acquaintances as his roommate, rather than his friend. He wasn't sure if a friendship could develop between people separated by so much age and experience. He liked the kid, sure, but friends have a common understanding, some idea of where the other is coming from. That is hard to come by with a chasm twenty years wide.

At first, as most evenings in bars tend to begin, everyone made small talk, asked after each others' families, commented on how good the others look. Everyone except Jinx, that is. He preferred to shout unnerving things at the assembled crowd such as "Where the white women at!?" and "Do you like pants? I really like pants!". Seemed to make many people nervous and piss off others.

"Hey, roomie! Tell this girl about my excellent ass! I know you watch me shower, you sick fuck!", Jinx screamed, then exploded in a fit of cackling.

"Where the hell did you find this retard, dude?", Kevin, Geoff's old neighbor, asked him, surreptitiously.

"Ah, well, I don't really even know, come to think of it. He just sort of appeared when I needed a roommate. Showed up at a coffee place and started talking to me.", Geoff replied, somewhat sheepishly.

"He's kind of an ass, man.", Kevin said, eying the manic punk.

Kevin's opinion notwithstanding, people seemed to warm up to Jinx as the night wore on. He had been aggressively trying to convince a couple of ladies that taking their clothes off and slapping him around with a length of rubber hose would be a fantastic way to end the evening. As the drink flowed, the group loosened up, inhibitions melting away with every emptied glass and not a little influenced by Jinx's erratic but extremely entertaining behavior.

Nearly every question Geoff fielded was about this lunatic he had brought along. Some scandalized, some curious, some even seemingly enthralled. Geoff glanced over to where is roommate was holding forth in time to see him cram his face between the ample tits of a recent divorcee, who giggled and feigned distress. From this vantage, Jinx seemed like a force of nature or the embodiment of some lascivious and maniacal Roman demigod, a mash-up of Priapus and Bacchus on a serious, unrelenting bender.

Around one o'clock things took a bit of a nasty turn. Jinx had chosen to bite the neck of a young lady (cough) who had not come alone. Her inamorata took exception to this behavior and said so, loudly, whereupon Jinx smashed a pint glass on his head. Chaos, inevitably, ensued.

Several young men, presumably the poor guy's friends, attempted to show Jinx exactly how much they disagreed with his behavior, but Jinx only whooped with seeming glee and bit an arm that had snaked around his neck. Uninvolved parties scattered, making way for the mayhem, pushing tables and chairs everywhere.

"FUCK.", Geoff shouted. For the moment, his psychotic roommate was holding his own but the tide would quickly turn. Geoff waded into the melee, shouting for everyone to calm down. Unfortunately, his protests where misunderstood. A well placed fist landed on the side of Geoff's head.

It had been years since someone had punched him, years since he felt that kind of anger, that fear-tinged rage. But he felt it then. Boy, did he feel it then. Many years of frustration, a sexless marriage, unfulfilled potential, disgust with society, with people, welled up quickly and threatened to overflow. A second punch, or maybe a kick, landed on his right-side floating ribs. The pain was intense.

Geoff exploded. Really exploded. A sound like a roaring animal echoed through the bar. Where there had been a tangled mass of bodies a moment before, there was a sudden space, in the middle of which stood Geoff, teeth bared in a snarl, eyes wide and crazed. He grabbed a nearby combatant, a thirty-something guy, gripping him around the waist and head-butted him, his aim not as accurate as he would have liked. He drew his head back up to reveal a cut over his eye. Jinx seemed to be charging at him, wildly, but at the last moment brushed by him and tackled another who had been about to punch Geoff.

Less than a minute later, it was all over. The bouncers had thrown everyone out and a few patrons had separated the two sides. Geoff leaned against the building pressing a cool pint glass against his swollen eye. Jinx ambled over and leaned alongside him.

"You fucking idiot.", Geoff said, somewhat quietly, gathering breath.

Jinx grinned and winced as the split lip he had earned split further. "Yeah, but it was a shit-ton of fun, wasn't it?"

Geoff glanced sharply at the grinning, still wild-eyed lunatic next to him. He said nothing for a bloated second. Then he laughed, softly.

"Yeah, I guess it was, a little. You prick.", he laughed louder.

Jinx clapped him on the shoulder, "Let's go, you old bastard. You're gonna need some extra sleep tonight."

The pair walked toward the main street to hail a cab. From behind them, someone shouted garbled obscenities. Without looking back, Jinx stuck his arm straight in the air, middle finger raised.

Jesus. I am gonna need better insurance, Geoff mused.

[reality's fabric, settled, somewhat, for an unknown time, smoothed itself, wrinkles receding from our arbitrary center, a wave of Chaos, off to render its gifts to another, distant locale. The center remains tense, vigilant, a moment exists in every space, but space is undisturbed by time's unruly, churlish game. It waits.]




2 comments:

  1. Like a modern day Bukowski. I digg it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, wow. That is high fucking praise, of which I am noot worthy. But thanks nonetheless. There is a lot more to come.

    ReplyDelete