I. They Use It On Horses
Friday night, bad trip on K.
A South African guy proffered two fat Everests of it on the tip of his bike key and I killed them both. Let’s go dance, someone said. I wanted to but it felt like I was a walking paraplegic. My feet felt like nothing, like prosthetics. I couldn’t push myself off the bar. If I’d fallen into a kiddie pool I’d have drowned. I also couldn’t talk. To organize a sentence felt like trying to solve a crossword on shit I’ve never studied. My dick was dead too. I paid 300,000 VND to turn into an unfuckable mannequin. I tried to act like everything about the trip was great and interesting but I was actually furious.
Who invented drugs? We don’t need them. Have you ever been drunk? It’s really great. Why get weirder than that.
The night’s a scratch. Fuck you all, I’m out.
After the spell broke I went back out and saw the ex at the market. We ignored each other. She was with friends, and I was ashamed because of the Rubicon I’d crossed earlier in the night. Actually that’s not true. I just didn’t want to exchange pleasantries.
I’d seen her the day before. We’d had to team up and play hardball with the realtor of our old place over a lease clause. We lost, and had to pay more. Vietnamese can be slimy weasels when there’s money on the line. I’m saying that as if they’re the only ones who are like that. I know they’re not, because everyone in the world is like that. But I was angry enough that I needed a racist stereotype to process the loss.
When he left we fucked raw on the couch because well, what did you think was going to happen. Did things we never had before. She put on a show. We dove into new levels of filth. It was hotter, because we don’t own each other anymore.
We’re cool now. I love myself and being alone more than anything and anyone. But she’s the one I’d call if I were dying. When she finds a better version of me, I’ll say that that previous line was sarcastic.
III. Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting
Saturday night I put up 700 words on the manuscript and threw on a suit. At the party an Italian kid mixed up a jar of glitter and water and poured it all over my jacket and tie and pocket square. If you’re friends with someone, maybe this is acceptable, maybe. Maybe. But we’d never met before. So this was as acceptable as 9/11.
I tossed my beer in his face, he danced back and threw his vodka in my eyes. Vodka really burns when it hits your eyes. Who knew. I couldn’t see but I broke for him anyway. In movies when something like this happens, everyone opens their mouths and stares. In real life this happens too. I got my right fist ready but his friend got in my way. Laughing about the whole thing. As if what I was doing was just ridiculous and unfounded.
These guys won. That’s the genius of glitter. It’s so silly and twinkly that you can only lose if you retaliate for it. And plus, I can’t fight. I’m from New Hampshire; I’m as white and soft as cream cheese. So I definitely can’t fight two people at once. I let it go, because I had to. Be cool and be the bigger man, said the pussy within, the voice of the guy who can’t fight.
I made a crack about how handsome I looked in glitter. They said something back, but it was funnier than what I said, so I don’t want to write it here. They won.
So I walked over to the pool and listened to my buddy’s fuck story from that morning. Pretended to listen. Stood there pretending to listen for ten minutes. The emotion wasn’t ebbing.
I gotta get another drink, I said, and went back to the bar. Came up on the Italian from his blind spot as he was making a circle of beautiful cosmopolitans laugh. He’s a funny, handsome, popular kid. He gets away with everything. But he’s a foot shorter than me. Be the bigger man, my inner voice said again. Well I am the bigger man.
I was going to sucker punch him in the back of the head but I didn’t think I’d be able to hit hard enough to drop him. Instead I clamped his shoulders. Got a wide stance and launched him with everything I had. I tried to put him in orbit. He was gone. Tripping and stomping and staggering, arms flopping and slapping cups loose as he hit knots of people. He ended up all the way back where I’d just been. Bounced off my buddy, who was still telling his fuck story.
You want a drug, try giving someone a righteous hit. Everything went movie-party quiet again, and what I said was perfect: You were in my way, Luigi.
He charged back. I stood ready to pop him with the right. Never done it before, but this was a good time to start. Then his buddy railroaded in from the side, got a fistful of my tie and another on my throat. Caught me off-balance and jacked me back into the bar. The Cuervo bottles tinkled into each other and I wanted to grab one to lay flat into his temple. I wanted to hit him so hard his brain shot out his other ear like a cyst popping.
I didn’t have time for that because I saw an opening; I grabbed at his neck to get a nice choke on him, but I missed and got only collar, fumbled, tried to shove him back but didn’t have the footing for it. By then the first kid was almost back on me. Then the birthday girl was there, breaking it up, telling me: You ruined my party. I don’t know who the fuck you are, but you’re an asshole, leave my fucking house.
I did ruin her party. I wanted to fight. I wanted to break tables. I wanted to see teeth sprinkled among glass shards. But then again — you don’t go 9/11 on an American and expect a picnic after. I hate Cheney and Rumsfeld and the whole gang. But now I’ve been in their loafers.
The Italian kid was restrained and screaming at me. Too angry to use English. The cool Milano sheen was gone. I winked at him and said: Have a good night, little boy.
I walked out, still in a movie, feeling fifty eyes on my back as I straightened my jacket. I was so glad I’d had the cinematic presence to actually wink. I don’t always get things right. But sometimes I accidentally get them perfect.
Fuck. Wait, no. It actually would have been perfect if I’d winked and said have a good night, little boy in Italian. Wait, no! It would have been 1000% perfect if I’d winked and said have a good night, princess in Italian.
Whatever, life is a first draft. Let it go.
I kickstarted and roared off on the bike, found a dark gap between streetlights, killed a street beer. Drew the phone and got the link on another spot.
IV. Slicker Than Your Average
Occasionally, years of random hobbies and interests culminate in a brief flash of glory. That’s what happened at this next party I rode to.
You might be surprised by this, but being 6’7” and in a tailored suit covered in glitter gets you a lot of attention at a party. It was me and one other guy. And fifteen feminists. And not the green-hair kind. The pretty kind, with shaved armpits.
You want attention from fifteen feminists, try being the visual manifestation of the patriarchy when they’re drunk and have their axes out. I got sniped from all sides with barbs about male privilege, and white male privilege, and white male American privilege. It was Californication-level banter, in both speed and content. It was P90x for the wit. You handle the battle like this: every time someone digs at you, you agree with them, and then amplify it with a better joke. I’ve had fun things happen before, but this was beyond fun. He has an undentable ego, said one girl, when she thought I couldn’t hear.
3:00 am and I was under siege at the dining room table, five of them screaming at me because I said I wasn’t going to vote. And because I also said that Hillary was not the same thing as Jesus. I had an answer for everything. Years of mainlining political and historical trivia paid off fully and absolutely. I have never stood on top of Everest. But I’m pretty sure that proving a woman wrong while making her blush at the same time is better.
The dust settled. One of them had the eye-fuck on point and said: that suit is a very good look on you. I wanted to do it, wanted to begin pre-coital negotiations. But it was politically and strategically impossible. I’d already tagged another girl in the room, a little while back. If I hurt her then she’d stop inviting me to shit like this. You can’t have everything.
What’s the moral of the story. Basically, be a tall handsome college-educated white male. Basically, nothing you can be proud of in 2016. Unless you’re proud on a blog no one reads, which is what I do. I’m really cool.