Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Short Story

I’m pleased with the state of my party, even if I’m a little concerned about the potential destruction of the few nice things that me and my housemates didn’t hide away prior to tonight. That doesn’t matter though, because the party is going strong. No resuscitation necessary.
“Do you know them?” Kate asks, her hand gesturing towards this small group of guys wearing football jerseys and helmets, chatting away with the well-endowed Anna, her witch’s hat askew, ready to fall from her head at any moment, not that she’d care.
I shake my head, but am without concern. The group has brought a box of 40s, which they’ve left open and accessible on the dinner table; these are classy party-crashers, people who know how to stay within the good graces of the people they don’t even know.
Kate stares on at the group, her arms crossed, her chin puffing in and out like she’s chewing on something. She’s jealous of Anna, as far as I can tell. The only guy that’s paying Kate attention, myself, is pretty gay.
There comes a succession of thumps from the staircase followed by a mixture of laughter and cheers.
“Yes. Yes. God, Yes.”
My heart quickens. My mind burns with the image of the fifty-dollar Jimmy Buffet glass parrot that hangs above the stairway.
I come to the base, where Andy stands. A massive bed sheet, fitted into a toga, hangs off his massive blubbery frame like an overstretched skin layer. Andy is pumping both fists in the air. His round face is flushed from his continuous laughter, mixed in with a few excited screams. Andy does not get invited to parties much, as one can tell by the rather inappropriate toga costume. Despite this, I can tell that he’s not just desperately trying to fulfill his idealized frat-boy college lifestyle. His upward gaze, fixated on two figures at the top of the carpeted stairway, tells that he’s excited about what’s about to take place.
At the top of the stairway, Joey and Derek are taking positions. Joey, a five foot nothing dressed as a hillbilly, presses his bare feet into Derek, one after the other. Derek is lying belly down, body rigid, his eyes too wide for his own good. Joey, now positioned upon Derek’s spine, grips the banisters of the stairway. His expression is flat, giving the impression of total concentration. He begins to sway back and forth, like he’s about to push off into a bobsled race. I watch with fixated horror, unable to bring myself to stop what might just turn out to be awesome if nothing remains destroyed.
What follows is exactly as I suspected. Joey sways backwards one more time, digs his heels into Derek’s back, and pulls forward. It’s something of an incredible sight as the two of them surge forward: Joey actually manages to keep balanced halfway down. Derek finally breaks, groaning loudly as he doubles up beneath Joey. The two of them spill forward, miraculously missing the glass parrot that I have forgotten about.
Joey collides with me, and we fall into Andy’s massive frame, slamming him into the wall. We bounce off of him and stumble forward, missing the banister pole by mere inches. My knee manages to connect with the bottom step, stings, and remains sore for the rest of the night.
Derek is lodged on the lower half of the stairway. One arm dangles from the right banister, keeping him aloft as rubs his back. His laughter is interlaced with coughing. I’m surprised to see him pull himself up, his legs still functioning.
Joey has escaped paralysis as well, pushing himself to his feet. As I rise, Joey runs towards the crowd staring towards us.
“We did it, yuh-yeah.”
He jumps up and down as he pushes his way through people, a maniac laugh pouring from his throat. The disgusted faces of the crowd pull away from Joey as spins around amongst them. Kate suddenly appears from the kitchen, pushing her way towards him, her arm stretched upward and above the crowd, clutching a massive paper towel roll. I factor in the clues and look down to see a small pool of blood a few feet in front of me. Joey, I conclude, did not miss the banister after all.
All the while, Andy remains slouched against the wall, his face wringed and his hands frantically rubbing his neck. Yet he continues his cheer, albeit a whisper.
“Yes. Never ever can that be topped. So awesome.”
The groan emerges from him without warning, loud and guttural. Joey may not feel his pain, but I’m satisfied to see Andy is fully aware of his. The mental picture of mashed Funyuns pressing upwards from his stomach and stinging his esophagus is a pleasing picture.
Derek has descended from the staircase, joining me as we watch Andy rub his face and groan.
I notice him, and he looks back at me, smiling, saying nothing.
He’s come to the party dressed, quite literally, as himself. He’s gone out and purchased some blank white shirt, upon which “Derek #1 Alfonso” is scribbled in black marker. The lettering has already become slightly smeared.
His mask, however, is what truly achieves the comedic effect I’m sure Derek was working for. A cardboard mask has been carefully cut out to achieve the shape of his head, which it’s strapped onto with cheap elastic bands. There are holes for his eyes and his mouth in accordance to the blown-up paper image of his face, pasted on. The mask doesn’t line up with his face, and I assume he continues to wear it off the side of his head so it can be quickly thrown on for photo opportunities. It’s not as funny as it is frightening. Seeing it stirs up the emotions that’d occur when wandering through some abandoned basement, and coming across a leathery mask of a friend’s facial skin.
His grin withstanding, Derek hangs his arm off my shoulder, while his other hand snatches my limp hand, which he proceeds to shake as if we were greeting each other for the last time.
His breath is cheap vodka and cranberries.
“Sorry about that,” Derek says, and with a clap on the back, he steps away, avoids the smatter of blood, and walks towards the crowd.
I watch him go, then look back at Andy, who has stopped groaning, but is merely breathing loudly as he continues to rub his neck. I make a mental note to find a trashcan and place it between his open legs. He won’t be able to move from that spot for the rest of the night, making him a prime target for bullying from whomever. I leave him there.

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