Paz looks like her jaw is about to drop off her head. "What! Oh my God that's so gross!" She fake wretches.
Ian winces and grabs his stomach, "Yeah, that shot was pretty ass."
Paz turns to him, "Not the shot, idiot! The whole Your Ex is a Major Ho-Bag thing!"
"Oh yeah. Well, I actually think it's kind of sad."
"Sad? SAD?! Come on, Ian, you must be ill or something. It's not sad, it's just plain amazing and gross and... I need another drink." She grabs Ian by the arm, "You're coming with me and having another, too."
Ian looks back at Ingrid and Tevon in protest as he's dragged through the cloud of dancers to the bar. Tevon shrugs and Ingrid just stands there, perfectly still and spaced out.
"What's wrong, Ingrid? You look way bad. The shot mess you up, too?" Tevon says, touching her shoulder.
"What? Oh, no. Not the shot. I'm just really upset for Ian. I mean, sure, we all want to see her fall from grace and all, but that's just sick."
"And we haven't even seen the video, yet." Tevon shakes his head with mock grief.
"And we're not going to see it! Look, just take whatshisname at face value and stop pushing Ian to see it. I'm sure you think it's really funny and all, but it's not for him."
"Ingrid. I'm shocked. Do you really think I'm trying to hurt Ian? Really, I'm just trying to be a friend."
Ingrid glares at him, "a friend! Right. So, run this by me, cuz I guess I'm confused. A friend is the type of person who makes another friend feel better by offering to show him a tape of his ex long-term girlfriend and possible fiance and some idiot getting it on? Wow, guess I'm crazy, but I really thought that was asshole material." She turns from him and walks through the crowd.
"Oh come, on Ingrid?! Man." Tevon shakes his head. It's not really bad, is it? It shows her for what she is and makes him see the truth. The truth is always the best thing. Damn, why doesn't anyone see I'm the only one being a true friend!
When Ingrid arrives, Darian is finishing pouring two shots for Paz and Ian. She pushes in between them, "One for me, too."
Ian looks back at her. "Ingrid. Have you come to save me, please?"
"No, I've come to join you." Darian finishes pouring the last shot and she distributes them out to Ian, Paz and herself.
"See, I'm not the only one with sense." Paz smiles at Ingrid. "Bottoms up, bitches."
The three of them take their shots. They're something fruity and sticky and sweet with a whole lot of kick to them. It's the kind of shot that start out like syrup and ends up like hellfire. Ian sits there reeling from it and Paz licks her lips. Excellent.
"Alright that was good. How about another." Ingrid taps her shot glass and looks at Darian.
"No problem, honey. Tonight is all about fun." He grabs a shaker and mixes up some more of the bizarre liquid. "Did Tevon tell you three the fantastic cinema I have at my disposal?" He pours another round for the three of them.
Ingrid cocks her head and glares at him. "Yes and we're not interested. We already know how sad she is and I think we can leave it at that." She takes the shot. Paz and Ian follow suit.
"Hey, no problem. Consider it done. Sorry if I offended you." Darian shrugs and sifts through his pants for his cigarettes. He shakes one from the pack and strikes a match to light it.
"Man, Ingrid. You're pretty hot when you're forceful." Paz chuckles to herself.
"Yeah yea yea," Ingrid waves her off, "hey, can I have a cigarette?" she holds out her hand and smiles at Darian.
He reaches back in his pocket and fishes out his pack again. "Sure thing, here ya go."
She takes it and lights up. The swift, smooth smoke rushes into her lungs and burns all the way down. Yeah. I do what the hell I want. My tonight is about doing what I want. Fuck this Amy drama, forget coming here for her. It's about me. Hmmm.
"What are you doing, Ingrid?!" Ian protests, "You don't smoke!"
"I do for tonight if I want to. URGGH. It's like he said," she points at Darian, who looks up, jolted back into their conversation, "it's all about the fun." She takes another huge inhale and blows it out of her nose like a dragon. And I'm miss fun girl tonight.
Ian turns away from her, "whatever."
"Oh stop, Ian. Ingrid does what she wants, she's a big girl." Paz pokes him, "Speaking of which, you're still a little too uptight. Darian, another shot, please."
"Paz, Paz, Paz, stop. I don't think any of us needs more right now." Ian tries to reason with her.
"We do if I say we do-"
"Yeah, loosen up, Ian. Just have fun. Forget her and forget being sober," Ingrid agrees.
Ian gives up, "fine, whatever."
Darian smiles at Ingrid, "See, now you're having fun." He mixes another round.
"Fine. So we get real drunk, then what? Watch The Movie?"
"No, Ian. We dance." Ingrid smiles triumphantly as the pick up their shots.
get outta my town
Paz looks like her jaw is about to drop off her head. "What! Oh my God that's so gross!" She fake wretches.
It’s like this at every one of these parties. No one is around, save for a few of the more VIP guests who want to mingle with the organizers in a more intimate fashion. Something sparks and everything starts to culminate in a summoning: the music reaches the perfect beat and loudness, the clock ticks just enough past Fashionably Late, the lights are dimmed just the right amount. Then, without any sort of sense or warning, the floodgates open and the guests come pouring in like renegade salmon.
The first wave of people gush in and struggle to get to the dance floor, hoping to have a good hour to dance in their own free space before the place becomes so crowded you have no choice but to dirty dance with those around you. The second wave of people are usually the ones who are desperately trying to weave around the ones clogging up the dance floor and get to any of the number of more private rooms to get some prime sitting space for their drug comfort.
At this moment, the party goes from stale to legendary.
It is at this amazing moment that Paz, Ingrid, Ian and Tevon enter the party. Each of them tries to look nonchalant as they scan the audience for acquaintances and scope out their spot for the night. Tevon immediately breaks through the crowd like he has a homing signal that links him directly with the In Crowd.
Paz, Ingrid and Ian stare at him, their three-man island in a sea of already drug induced bodies hopping around in a tribal trance. Their buzzes are going strong, but it’s still not really enough to make them blend with these kids. They stand on the outskirts, staring at tromping feat, undulating hips and thrashing heads, wondering why the hell they showed up here. For those who aren’t appreciative of warehouse parties, even Cuervo has his job cut out for him.
Tevon makes it to the bar and hi-fives Darian in welcoming.
“Hey Tev, welcome. Can I get you anything?”
“Just a clue, man. How’s it goin? Looks like a good turn out already.”
“Not bad, not bad.” He looks down at his Fossil watch, “God, it’s only eleven and already it’s been drama central up in this place.” He pours a shot of undetermined liquor and sets it up on the bar for Tevon.
“For real?” Tevon leans in, “What’s up?”
Darian shakes his head as he begins grabbing ingredients and pouring them into a shaker. “Dude, that Amy girl you told me about right, the slutty Gremlin one? She totally was trying to score with my ass.” It seems like he’s not even looking at what he’s putting in there, just robotically choosing ingredients.
“No way! See, man. I told you she’s a ho-bag.” Tevon takes the shot. Aaah. More of the Quervo.
“Yeah, for real. She came here tonight with Troy, too.”
Tevon looks up, “And to think, I was convinced it was only backseat love. Damn, that is too much.”
Darian is shaking the mystery drink together. “Who knows with Troy, man. Anyways, so she’s obviously rollin’ and she starts all rubbing me and doing the Please Do Me eyes and I try to tell her to quit it, but she’s not listening.”
Tevon looks at him severely, “Oh, please don’t tell me-“
“No way, man. Let me finish, you’ll love this. So, I see she’s not gonna stop, so I take her by the hand and into the Chill Out Room, where Troy is. Man, Tev, she is so blasted that she doesn’t even notice where she is or who the DJ is. So, anyways, you know that guy, Brando?”
“The Well Meaning Guy?”
“Yeah yeah, the one who’s always talking to everyone while they’re mixing and shit, him. Well, I know it’s really dark in there and all and he’s sittin’ back on some bean bag chairs, so. I tell Amy to close her eyes-“
Tevon is getting so excited that he bouncing in place, “Oh man you didn’t, you didn’t!”
“I did, man. I just pawned her off on Brando and she starts goin’ at him, getting’ all up on his jock right in front of Troy.”
“AHHH!!! SWEET! You are my ultimate HERO, Darian!” Troy is clapping in amusement.
“Oh yeah, well it doesn’t stop there. So, Troy is all mixin’ and doesn’t notice what’s going on or anything, until, that is, Amy’s had a couple of minutes with Brando.” He stops and pours out four shots, slowly and perfectly.
“And??? Don’t leave me hanging, here!”
Darian looks up, loving the tension. “Let’s just say that the two of them were sans pants and lookin’ like somethin’ off Animal Planet.”
“What! No, way!”
“I kid you not. They were slammin’ right there in the open. I’m probably gonna have to throw those bean bags away.”
Tevon is clutching his sides, nearly dying of laughter. “And??? What did Troy do?”
Darian pours himself a shot of the substance and takes it. “He just kept on mixin’, he didn’t care. What can I say, he’s a professional.” He leans in to Tevon, “Not to mention, it’s not like he’s not gonna get any tonight. You should see her, man. She’s like some hopped up Energizer Bunny.”
“Oh, shit man, that is too good. I wish I could have been there to see it.” He’s laughed so hard that he has tears in his eyes.
Darian smiles at him. “You wanna?”
Tevon pauses, “Wanna what? See it?”
Darian nods, “Yep. You know we got surveillance cameras on all the rooms. Can’t really trust ravers, you know.”
Tevon rubs his hands together. “Dude. Totally sweet. Hey, just let me go tell my peoples so they can see. They’re cool to come too, right?”
Darian nods again, “You know it. And here,” he pushes the four shots at him, “Take these two, compliments of El Capitan.”
“You are the best, Darian, the king.”
Darian opens his arms, shrugging. “What can I say, I aim to please.”
Tevon walks away with the shots, hustling as much as he can. Oh man Oh man Oh man, I can’t wait.
He finally weaves back through the dancers to the three companions. They look at him wearily as he hands them the shots.
“Hey guys, boy do I have a great story for you.” He smiles impishly and takes the shot.
The foursome decide to stop by Subway and get a few subs to eat in the car, rather than try to scrounge around the party for food. It is a truly dangerous thing to show up hungry to a party, as a couple of different and dangerous scenarios may come to fruition.
For instance- you may find yourself forgetting to eat entirely which, paired with drinking and any of a number of drugs, may cause you to create a churning, hellish cocktail in your stomach which will only be relieved by vomiting on a stranger’s shoes and mussing your hair. Or, you could become one of those statistic kids that they do 60 Minutes features on who takes too much ecstasy and ends up drinking themselves to a young and tragic death (which will fuel the Bush Administration’s Drug War even further and thus, screw your generation).
Or, perhaps, an even worse situation befalls you- you trust whatever food happens to make its way into the party by outside sources. Though it seems an enchanting and community building experience, a party potluck can be a serious threat to your health. Mainly, this is because the only people who smuggle food into parties happen to a) not wash their nasty dreadlocks for months at a time or b) think that marijuana is truly the best flavor enhancer next to cumin (which may not be so bad, unless you’re already halfway into the first treacherous aforementioned situation..) or c) think that food shared in a community sense should be both spiritually and phsycially “cleansing” and therefore will have you partying in the porta johns all night.
Either way, it is truly frowned upon and generally a part of pure Darwinian preservation to consume all needed sustenance before said party and not at it.
Thankfully for Tevon, Paz, Ingrid and Ian, Baltimore has one of the most concentrated Subways-per-square-mile ratios in the country. It’s the mecca of Jared, the Once Fat Man from Baltimore who slimmed down. It’s a staple of Potheads (due to its vegetarian options and fresh quality), Frat Boys like it for its large portions and meaty meatballs, even Rich Chicks love it for its slummin’ charm mixed with low fat options. Plus, you’re assured that type of employees who act like you’re inconveniencing them by simply breathing and killing their soul by daring to ask for service (a trait that makes every Baltimoron feel at home. Seriously, we are easily scared by kind and effiecient service. This can be clearly proven by the lack of Starbucks in our town. First off, their coffee absolutely sucks major ass and any of a number of our Independently owned coffee shops run circles around it. However, the true nail-on-the-head, so to speak, is that their employees are CONSTANTLY cheerful and gracious. That’s just creepy. Baltimorons view this behavior to be evident of corporate brainwashing and therefore evil. I agree). For these reasons, Subway has become an ingrained response in the minds of Baltimore’s inhabitants. It is the salivation to the ringing bell.
Tevon holds the door open as Paz, Ingrid and Ian file in like zombies and stand in front of the queue. Paz is the first to step up. The girl behind the station is totally ignoring her, talking on her cell phone.
“-yeah well, so I told that bitch that she better get her damn eyes checked, cuz I know she ain’t that ignaint to be hittin’ on mah man right in front in me.”
Her co-worker looks at her, “Oh shit?! You talkin’ bout Taikwonda? That slut be up on your man?”
The other subway lady looks at her and nodds.
“Damn,” her co-worker exclaims, “That triflin’ tramp don’t ever learn, do she?”
Paz clears her throat and looks at her expectantly. Cell phones are such a curse to humanity. I mean, it’s bad enough that I have to hear this shit on Jerry Springer all the time. Damn, lady, get some fucking class and put the damn phone down. Rrrrrr, why do we come here???
The lady looks up at her and continues, “Well, ya see, that’s just the thing. She knows he’s my baby daddy and she don’t even cur. So I just walked up to her and tapped her on her nasty shoulder and when she spun around I grabbed her by her loose-ass weave and shook her silly… CUZ NO ONE FUCKIN’ MESSES WITH MY SHIT GURL!” She threw up her hands and began laughing, triumphantly.
“Excuse me, ma’am.” Paz says, raising her voice. Ian, Ingrid and Tevon are chuckling under their breath.
The lady stops laughing and turns to look at the four of them. Paz stares back defiantly. What? Right? Sorry to break up your phone call and actually make you do your job. The other three try to repress their smiles and laughs.
The lady rolls her eyes, “Sorry, gurl, but I’m gonna have to call you back.” She listens on the line for a few moments, “yeah, I know, for real, gurl. Aight. Peace.” She hangs up her cell phone and turns her attention back to Paz. With the greatest effort to mock professionalism, she says, “Welcome to Subway, MISS. How may I help you today?”
Paz bites her lip bitch. She plays back with fake cordiality, “Yes, I would like a Veggie Patty, eight inch, with lettuce..”
Ingrid turns from the scene and stares out the window, watching traffic until her turn.
Tevon taps Ian on the back, “So, man. I think we got to get you laid tonight. Preferably right in front of Amy. What you think?”
Ian chuckles, “Yeah, sounds great. Just one thing though- how many girls should it be. One, two, eighteen?”
“As many as you want, my friend. You just let me know what you need and I shall get it for you.”
“Thanks, Tev. You’re a true friend.”
Tevon puffs out his chest, graciously. “I know man, just doin’ what I can.” He laughs under his breath, “but seriously, man. She needs to learn her lesson.”
Ian turns back to him, “And just how do you suggest we do that?”
“Hmmm,” Tevon puts his hand on his chin and strokes his non-existant beard in contemplation, “we could get her really trashed and set her up with Well-Meaning Boy.”
“Oh god, I don’t think I really hate her that much.”
“Um, Red Onions, Green Peppers and Provolone, please.” Ingrid says, then turns back to them, “You guys really are too much. We can joke as much as we want about sticking it to Amy, but, in the end, it’s just not worth it.”
Tev looks at her, skeptically. ”Oh come on. You know you think we should take her out, too.”
“Well, yeah. I would like to see her suffer a bit, but that’s just a selfish emotion. I think it would totally be better to take the moral high ground on this one.”
“EX-CUSE me, MISS. Anything else?” the lady asks, annoyed.
Ingrid turns back to her, “Oil, Vinegar, Salt and Pepper, please.”
The lady rolls her eyes and continues assembling the sandwich. Paz comes back to join the conversation with her plastic bag in tow.
“I think Tevon is right, here.” Paz says, matter-of-factly.
“What? You agree with Tev? Am I running a fever?” Ian looks stunned and feigns checking his temperature.
“Oh, shut up! Yes, I do agree with Tevon here. Amy has done so much ill shit to you that it is only karmic that we do something.”
“God, can we please just get off this conversation!” Ian turns away angry.
The lady is staring at him expectantly. “Um hi, sorry. Could I get an Italian Cold-cut on Asiago Cheese bread…”
Tevon shrugs at Paz, “Why is it like we’re the only ones with brains tonight?”
“I dunno. Well, I guess it’s just up to us then. I say we get a bunch of fish blood and chum and go all Carrie on her.”
Tevon smiles devilishly, “Oh, yes! That would be so sweet on so many levels.”
“Oh stop guys, that’s just gross.” Ingrid says, walking over with her bag.
Paz turns and looks at her, “do you have any better ideas?”
Ingrid, “Yes. We leave her alone and just bitch about her behind her back.”
Paz grunts, “that is what we ALWAYS do. No, forget that. We’ll just drug her and sell her to the Amish.”
“Yeah, if all else fails we can always blame the Amish.” Tevon nods in agreement with Paz.
“Ahem. Sir, are you getting anything?” The lady says in Tevon’s direction.
“Yes, ma’am, I am patronizing you today…” Tevon says, with a plastic grin on his face.
Ian wanders back over, his meal paid for. “Maybe we really shouldn’t go tonight.”
Paz stares him down, “Oh, please. You know you want to go anyways, it’ll be part of the healing process. Besides, I really want to see her work. I think it’ll be so Avant-Garde or something.” Paz smiles impishly.
Tevon finishes his order and turns to them, “guys, guys. Let’s not fight. This shall all be made better after we eat and I introduce you to my friend Jose in the car.”
By 10:30 Troy and Amy have arrived at the party and are barely starting to feel it. They enter like red-carpet royalty. Troy is one of the higher-eschelon DJs of the scene and he walks in with the kind of suave self-assuredness that is befitting to this stature. Amy is casually following just a bit behind him, trying to seem uninterested and unimpressed.
Darian walks over from the bar section, “Hey Troy, welcome.” He spreads out his arms to usher them into the space.
Troy strides up to him and puts his DJ bag down. “Wussup Darian, ma man.”
Troy then turns to Amy, “Hey, Amy. How about I show you to your space upstairs. You can check to make sure we hung everything right.” Her offers his hand and she takes it, then he turns to Troy. “You can set up in the Chill-Out room if you want. Jimmy’ll show you where.” He points to Jimmy, who is now manning the bar area.
“Sure thing, ma man, sure thing.” Darian says, then he turns to Amy and slithers his hand on her ass. “I’ll check with you later, girl.” He smiles and walks away.
Amy shudders and looks at Darian. He raises his eyebrows at her, then turns away and walks towards the stairs. We all make our own choices, poor baby. Being a DJs girl must be some tough shit.
Amy follows him up the stairs and into a room that, by stark comparison to the other rooms, is bright and sterile. It is her gallery space and her work is arranged on the walls with an amazing amount of care and proficiency. She walks around and inspects how her prints have been organized and handled.
She turns back to Darian, who is still in the doorway. “Did you set this up yourself?”
She turns back and continues walking around. “Impressive. I’m really impressed.” It’s starting to hit her.
Darian leans on the doorway. “Well, thanks. I guess that Art History class must’ve paid off.”
Amy giggles and begins to pet her crossed arms. “Yes, yes it has. Thank you so much, I think this will be,” she inhales and exhales, “great.”
Darian looks at her, puzzled. “I’m sure it will be.”
Amy walks back to him, trying to remain composed. Damn stuff. I’m gonna be a total ass soon. But it will be nice, really nice. Soft and nice and sweet. She grabs Darian’s hand and kisses it. “You have done an amazing job. Thank you.”
Darian shakes his head a bit at her definitely on something. Eh, won’t we all be by the end of it. “No problem, Amy. I’m thankful that you offered your work to this space. It’s really gonna give the party another level.”
“You think so?” She smiles at him. “Thanks. Really, thanks. I’m very appreciative.” She strokes his face and smiles. He totally is mesmerized by me. I’m beautiful and he thinks so too and I am pretty and I know he thinks I’m pretty too because he’s pretty and we’re nice. Man, this shit is good. He’s good. And pretty.
Darian stares at her in his haze and smiles. Troy always pills them and brings them out like love-starved angels. He’s so into these vapid chicks. Guess they’re easier to fool.
Amy giggles again, “So, you wanna show me around the rest of the party?”
“Sure thing.” He steps back from her and takes her hand. “How about we check out the Chill-Out room. Troy should be setting up in there.” He begins to lead her out of the room.
She follows him, “No, no. I’m tired of being around Troy. Besides, he’s a big boy, he can handle tonight without me for a little while.” She stops in her tracks. She smiles dreamily and says, “I would much rather you show me around.”
Darian stares at her. Right. Man, she is trashed. He stares her up and down. Not too bad, though. “Amy, I gotta get back down there. People are gonna start showing up soon and I’m kind of the host, if you know what I mean.”
Amy puts on her pouting face and stares up at him with pouting eyes, “Please? I promise, after you can go and ignore me all night.”
“I dunno, Amy.”
She pulls him close to her, “Please. Just show me around?”
Damn. She is so messed up. Not like Troy will care or anything. And she is pretty hot. “Alright. What do you want me to show you?”
Amy smiles and rubs his hand on her hip. This feels nice and electric. He’ll do whatever I want because I’m pretty and he’s pretty and this is yummy and nice and mmmmm yeah great. “Show me the room with no one in it.”
Darian sighs. Ah well, not a bad way to start a night. He grabs her hand and leads her down the hall.
The four of them are packed into Tevon's Saturn, zooming downtown to the warehouse party. There is an silent acceptance that Tevon instinctively knows where everything is in Baltimore, so there are none of the normal conversations of, "Hey is this the right place?" or "Did we just pass the street it's on?" in this car. Instead, Tevon and Paz are arguing in the front seat while Ian and Ingrid stare out of their respective windows.
Concrete. Pothole. Smooth Asphault.
It's neat how you can feel the different textures of the road while you're sitting in a car. The sounds change too. From the bizarre grinding of traveling over grating to the constant fluidity of going over a Newly Paved Road. The Newly Paved Roads are the sweetest. They sound like fresh paint being rolled onto a wall, only on a constant loop. It's even better when you're going over a bumpy, messed up road with all the toppings: potholes, grating, debris, only to finally reach the Newly Paved Roads. It's like finishing a marathon or something. Ingrid is jolted from her thought by Paz and Tevon's escalated argument. What now?
"That is so not true! Journey is a perfectly good band and should be considered Classic Rock!"
"What? Tevon are you sure you're actually breathing and living? Journey?! Please! I mean, come on! They're just another cheesy Butt-Rock joke band that people listen to for kicks and eccentricity cred."
"Not true, Paz. Not true."
"Ok. Fine. Then actually name a Journey song that is worth listening to- and I don't mean for silly factor or the 'bitchin guitar riff' in the middle." Paz looks at him defiantly.
"Alright." he pauses, "Here we go. How about 'Separate Ways'? It combined amazing vocals, awesome synth work and good work."
Paz laughs uncontrollably, "Did you see the video for that? You've so got to be kidding me! And the lyrics are not all that good. " She turns to look at the window, still chuckling.
"Oh like you know any of the lyrics, anyways."
Paz gives him an icy stare. "Well, it's very nice of you to assume me to be a horribly un-informed music lover, but I actually do know the lyrics to that song."
"Oh sure, sure. Then by all mean, let's hear them."
"You wanna challenge me so much then-"
Ian drifts away again. I am going to see her tonight and that's going to be pretty weird. It's only the third time in two weeks. Already I don't really know what I saw in her for so long. Funny how people screwing you over can give you the glorious ability to dissect them like a seventh grade frog down to simpler parts. How could I have loved her for her vapid lust of designer clothes, even when she professed to be a vegetarian and talked so much about wanting to join the AmeriCorps one day? Why did I see how fucked up that was? How was she always so untouchable to me? I'm an idiot, a dime-store idiot. Hi, my name is Ian and you can walk all over me you fake, stupid, ignorant piece of evil devil and keep me from better people that I could of been dating all along. Hi, I'm Ian. Why don't you convince me that studying Music is a really horrible idea and instead tell me that I need to find something 'profitable and life expanding' to do with my life and Hi, let me believe it. Please take me away from my friends and convince me that I'm above them, that we're above them. Tell me what a bitch Paz is and how Ingrid is always trying to sleep with me and Tevon is really gay and in love with me and I should just forget them. Do I have to go tonight? Maybe Tev will turn around. He looks up at Tevon.
"- though we touched and went our separate ways." Paz finished triumphantly.
"Ok, ok. So you totally know the words to that song and I bow to you, oh mystifying mistress." He smiles at her.
"Ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaa! I am good. So, anyways, they still suck."
Tevon's anger is renewed, "What?! You can't tell me you know all the words and spoke them so passionately and you still-"
I've got to see her again. It'll cement all this. I have to cement all of this. She has to see that I'm over it and together and that she's a vapid fucking fool for hurting me and giving me up. Wait. I don't want to help her why do I still want to help her why do I care if she ever finds out what a horrible person she is???!! Amy just needs to go away or disappear or get knocked up by some stupid DJ, that's all I care about.
"Well maybe I do like Journey a little bit, but that doesn't make them Classic Rock." Paz looks away.
"See see! Now we're getting past your happy-go-hipster exterior to the truth! You LOVE Journey and I mean LOVE."
Paz turns back towards him, trying to contain a smile, "I do not! Stop it! I said they're not bad."
"Not bad equals LOVE. You LOVE-"
The sound of browsing vinyl is truly delicious. For some people, its luscious SLIP FLIP SLIP FLIP is a sound that rivals even that of the crashing of tides or the rustling of leaves. It's like a lover's sigh or the cool, clean sound of money being counted.
For Paz, it puts her in a state of clean meditation, more powerful than a thousand monks throat-singing in tandem. The combination of this noise with the very real tactility of plastic slip covers over the paper encasing the records that makes it religion. Instead of incense, she has the musty and beautiful perfume of freshly pressed vinyl and printer's ink. Every time she gets a moment to be truly alone in this space she is transformed into the thirsty and half starved pilgrim that stumbles finally into the promise land.
At this moment she is in a state of trance, not really looking for anything in particular. She's already been here for a half hour, though it only seems like a couple of minutes to her. Paz could care less whether either Ingrid or Ian came to find her at this point.
Flip Slip Flip Slip Flip Slip Flip Slip Flip Slip Flip Slip Flip Slip Flip Slip.
In Soundgarden, the vinyl section is also a place where the truly empowere hipster is safe. Shielded and protected by the lack of trendy and pop releases, any hipster can look through whatever section of records they wanted without any of their peers discovering them looking through their guilty pleasures (Paz has a hidden passion for Justin Timberlake and Ashlee Simpson, a love which, though shared by most hipsters, is never really discussed. Bubblegum hits are kind of like the abusive father of the hipster's music tastes).
Flip Slip Flip Sl- Paz pauses from her spell and listens to the tune pumping out of the store speakers:
You say it's coming, do you know when…
It's not very often that Paz ever breaks her browsing stride, but this time it's different. She stands there, fingers frozen in their half-flipping pose as she follows every note, drools over every syllable:
All of my thoughts are closing in, they might be wrong they might begin…
With a sudden momentum, she propels herself to the front counter where the Curly Haired Boy is bobbing his head and pricing Cds.
“Hey, what's on right now?”
He looks up from his work, sporting a look of annoyance (this pretty much comes with the territory at any independent record store- you always have to be inconvenienced by doing your job). “It’s Folksongs for the Afterlife,” he points to the very obvious “Now Playing” rack that is prominently displaying the album right in front of Paz's face.
“Oh. Thanks. They’re really great.” Damn. I sounded way too interested there. Man, there goes my Indy cred.
This time he doesn't look up from his task, “I know. They’re totally NYC, but underground. Not like that played-out Interpol.”
“Have you seen them live?”
Curly Haired Boy lets out a little scoff under his breath, “Yeah, right. They're so beyond touring right now. It's like I said, right now they're totally underground. It's just some chick that writes all of the lyrics and music and has some people to back her. I mean, they’re into it to, but it's all her. No industry bullshit.”
Paz sighs and walks away to go look for the “F” section, mouthing No Industry Bullshit. She weaves in and out of the salivating tourists, the disaffected Indies and the bored Locals. He was probably one of those total retards all through school. I bet he totally was one of those kids that wore tie-dye shirts with big stupid raccoons or howling wolves with American Indian catch phrases about the environment on them. And now, perfectly, just because he never got laid when he should have, he finds it the best payment to the world to exploit his uber-nerdiness onto the rest of us by being a complete and utter jack-ass, even when confronted by someone who wants to be nice to him! Argh! It’s a circle of violence, that’s what it is. Did I just pass the “F”s? Yeah, I totally did. Damn.
She turns around and begins to retrace her steps.
“Jesus! Man, Tevon, you’re like some creepy stalker. How long have you been there?”
“Long enough, senorita. Find anything good?”
She grabs the Folksongs for the Afterlife CD and holds it up to him. “Yeah, actually. You should hear these guys. No wait- on second thought, they’re not bellicose, guitar-smashing angry boy music.” Paz smiles with satisfaction as she snatches it out of his hands and walks away.
“Jerk! Just because you don't appreciate Rush like a sentient being, doesn't mean I can't stoop down to understand your beautiful, satiny chick rock. Damn, speaking of which. I gotta find something while I'm here.”
“What is that, pray tell? Last time I checked, they didn’t really have a full stock of Warrant here.”
“Har har har. Are you done here, or will you wait up?”
Paz rolls her eyes in mock exasperation, “Fine! Idiot!” She smiles and goes towards the counter to face the Curly Haired Boy. Damn, why is it that he is like the ONLY one working right now.
She drops the CD on the counter and doesn't even make eye contact with him. Instead, she rifles through her bag, looking for her wallet. He snickers at her and continues to ring up her purchase in silence. Paz looks over at Tevon, who is shamelessly looking through the country section. Blasphemy. How can he do that. I mean, unless he’s looking for Johnny Cash, he’s crazy to be seen there. Someone might think he’s actually hoping for Shania Twain. Ugck!
Tevon looks back up at her and does a “What?” look. Then he picks an album out of the section and proceeds to come to the counter. Paz finishes her purchase and turns to watch Tevon hand his selection to the Curly Haired Boy, waiting to see him be mercilessly grilled for his faux pas choice.
The Curly Haired Boy looks up at Tevon, incredulously. Here it comes. “Dar Williams?”
“Yeah, I love her earlier work.” Tevon responds.
“But you didn't have a copy of Mortal City?” The Curly Haired Boy looks shocked.
“I did, but I totally scratched the hell out of it. I couldn’t do without it, so here I am.”
Paz is staring at the scene, totally stunned beyond belief. What? This is not making any sense! Rrrrrrgghghh…! Maybe he's gay and thinks Tevon is like sex candy. That must be it. Either that, or it’s just male bullshit. They always think they are the only sex that can truly love music on more than a mundane level.
“Totally understandable. Hey, have you seen her live?”
“A ton of times.” Tevon says.
“She is incredible. It’s amazing how such a small gal can wail so hard.”
“For real man.” Tevon finishes paying. “Well, check you later.”
“Alright man, later. Enjoy!” The Curly Haired Boy smiles and waves at Tevon as he turns to leave.
Tevon walks past Paz, who does not move, then turns back to her, “What?”
“Errrgh! Nothing.” She brushes by him and stomps out the door.
The wind swirls Ingrid’s hair as the sit at the Pier. The Pier, though a nice place to sit and contemplate on normal days of the week, is now a buzz with couples trying to get away from the crowded clubs. Ian and Ingrid have been staring at them as they make goo goo faces at each other or hold hands and just stare out at sea. One of their favorites games has always been people watching together. He’s the only person who really can appreciate it on the same level as Ingrid.
“Oh man, look at the mullet on that guy. It’s like he really BELIEVES in it, you know?” Ian says.
“Yeah, for real. It looks like he passionately cares for that thing.”
“You know he goes to some stylist that has probably coiffed his mullet for the past fifteen years.”
Ingrid laughs, “Yep. He’s probably broken up with women that don’t hold his mullet in as high esteem as he does.”
“He probably would kill anyone if they cut it.” The Mullet Man suddenly looks back in their direction , making the two hold their breath in a “oh my god did he hear us???” way. Then, as he turns back around, Ian and Ingrid laugh until they feel like they're dying. After their chuckling dies down, there’s a silence as they both stare out at the bridge.
“Oh man, Ian, this is fun. I’ve missed this with you.”
“Yeah, me too. Sorry we haven’t hung out like this in a really long time.”
“It's cool.” Ingrid says, rifling through her bag for a cigarette.
“No it's not. Look, Ingrid, I'm sorry, I really am. Amy was all weird about us hanging out and all, but that doesn’t mean I should of let her stop me from hanging with you.”
Ingrid pauses mid light, “She didn't want us to hang out? Like ME, specifically? Why?”
“Well,” he stares into space, “she was convinced that you were trying to get in my pants. Or that I was trying to get into yours, or something. I dunno. You were just a really weird issue for her, I guess.” Ian shrugs.
Ingrid lights her cigarette, “Jesus, that is so typical of her. You and I have known each other for, like, a million years. Plus, she was dating you forever, so what does she care?”
“I know I know. I didn't say it made sense.” Ian stares at his feet and begins kicking his shoes together.
Ingrid takes a long inhale and breathes out slowly. Like some magnificent dragon. She watches the smoke curl up and dissolve like old fireworks into the air.
They sit and stare out again, silent for a few minutes except for Ingrid's slow and steady inhale/exhale. The haze around the Domino Sugar sign is ever watchful and glassy, even against a clear sky.
Finally, Ingrid finishes her cigarette and turns to Ian, “What time is it now?”
He shrugs and checks his watch. “Nine thirthy, just about.”
“Just about? You’re looking at your watch.” Ingrid makes a face at him.
“Ok, fine. It's about nine thirty two and fifty three seconds.”
“Hmmm.” She rubs her nose, “Ya think we should go find Paz and figure out where the Tevon is?”
Ian laughs, “Why, so I can go to this totally awesome warehouse party?”
“Yeah, cuz I know you're dying to go.” She pushes him, “Stop being such a retard and get up. I'm tired of sitting here. Besides, I don't think I can silence my attraction to the Mullet Man any longer.”
She gets up and pulls on Ian's hoodie until he rises stumbles to his feet. Ingrid turns from him and begins walking back towards Thames Street. Ian pauses and looks at her. Man, tonight is gonna be one interesting time.
Amy is standing in her walk-in closet, browsing methodically down row after row of shoes. She is sorting through color, type and image with the stocisim of a seasoned reasearcher- iron cold objectivity and pure, smooth rational thought. For Amy, choosing which shoes she will wear is a very important and delicate situation that can be likened to choosing a husband or inspecting a car before driving it off the lot.
pink sling-back Manolo Blahnik, red kitten-heel Jimmy Choo, black kitten-heel Knock Off But A Pretty Damn Good One Jimmy Choo, lime green pointy toed flat Christian Dior, burgundy faux snakeskin loafer Pradas with matching bag...
It sometimes takes her an hour to find just the right pair. Sometimes, it's like a breeze of perfect inspiration in a dry spell and she instantly snatches them off the shelf and heads out the door. Today is one of the slower days for her. She's wearing black semi-flared carpi pants and an open backed sari-silk tank top with gold chains to hold it together. It's a lusciously devious appropriation of ethnic clothing coutured to fit her half-japanese, neo-hippy image. However, since the outfit is so deliberate and complicated, she must shoes which are equally deep and intricate (without being gawdy). The wrong shoes could throw off her style completely and give those around her the idea that she is not a socially conscious and sophisticatedly worldly being. God forbid someone think she's a tawdry tangle of random frou-frou elements or, even worse, a Vogue Magazine drop-out.
It needs to look Indian without saying "Look at me, I'm doing the Indian thing." Or maybe I shouldn't do anything else Indian but the top- Man, there goes the Belly Chain Idea. Hrm. I guess I could scrap the Belly Chain Idea and maybe throw in some Victorian Style jewelry. But then I'm mixing in the whole Victorian/English idea in there and the English really oppressed the Indian people for a while and I don't want to seem like I support that whole Dyer Massacre thing or Ugh the East India Company. No no no that's bad. Maybe I should just wear a locket so I look sentimental. But then people might think I'm still with Ian. That wouldn't so much matter if he showed up looking good tonight, but, knowing how long it's been since I ditched his ass, he's probably all scruffy and nasty and not even in a hot post 12 monkeys kind of way. Maybe I should just wear my olive green tweed H&M jacket with my gold Emmanuel Ungaro sandals. Yes! That's it.
She dashes over and snatches the sandals up, then turns to rifle through her clothing until she finds her olive green tweed H&M jacket. With her spoils found, she sits on the edge of her bed and slips each gold Emmanuel Ungaro sandal on- first left (slip, buckle) then right (slip, buckle) and stands up to look in her full-length mirror. This is the sans-jacket me. Not bad. Flirty and slap-dash, yet clean and coiffed. She then grabs her olive green tweed H&M jacket and slides in each arm- first left, then right, then tie the belt and adjust the faux flower on the lapel. Perfect. Amy is now polished and ready for battle. Gotta make him know what he lost for being a loser.
She then walks back to the closet and randomly chooses a Triple Five Soul shoulder bag it's the random accents that make an outfit go beyond fashion to truly individual and throws her keys, make-up and cell phone inside. Amy then crosses back to the mirror to double-check herself and then turn on her heel to stride out of her apartment like a panther on the prowl.
Amy closes the door to her new place and walks down the old, creaky stairs and out the front door. Her apartment is ancient looking and shabby from the outside, which is exactly how she likes it. His car is sitting there out on St. Paul street just waiting for her, bass pounding the pavement beneath it. She smiles casually and takes her time walking over before opening the door and stepping into the car. Shedding old skin sure feels good.
A million elements must be correctly balanced for a warehouse party to be a true success. Firstly, you have to make sure that the space is big enough to fit everyone without being so big that it looks like no one is at your party. Then, you have to clean it so up so it doesn't like like a total hell hole, while still making sure that it looks appropriately grungy and exposed (everyone is into "exposed" architecture lately... it's like a nice, pretty-polished hovel... so Starbucks). You have to segregate the space into its own micro-spaces that each serve a different function and cater to all of your different types of guests: the Dancefloor for the ravers/excito-goths, the pillow and blacklight infested Chill-Out Space for the E-tards, the Down-tempo room for the pseudo-intellectuals, hipsters and people who actually like good music, the Dungeony Industrial room for the true Goths and Neo-Cyberpunks, the Bar for, well, everyone and the stark Art Gallery room for the scenesters to all pretend like they're here for some aura expanding reason that has nothing to do with getting drunk.
When all that is decided, the fun part comes of outfitting all of these areas to fit the needs of all of the aforementioned groups: pillows for sitting, whips for hitting, candy for wearing, water and beer and vodka and red bull and everything else for drinking. Drapes must be hung for effect, drapes in some rooms must be taken down for minimalist effect, blacklights must be added and strobes as well. If you're lucky, you can spring for a fog or foam machine and really make it a lovely time that will be well esteemed.
Then, oddly enough, one of the last things to be done is choosing the talent and the art to be shown. It's usually a friend of a friend as the opening dj in any of the rooms and then, with the right saavy you should snare at least one or two high-end local favorites to come (but not too many, because that's way too close to corporate MTV tour for this type of scene). Then you figure out where they are gonna spin and what type of goodies you have to stock for them and then, finally, you promote them.
Then, if you're Darian and your party is supposed to culminate in exactly two hours from now, you do what you must- get stoned. Because the worst thing that could possibly happen would be for the host to seem actually concerned with any of the running of his party. You have to look flawless and effortless.
Darian is meditating on the slow-loop of a bong gurgle as he inhales and holds-
Love ya Love ya Love ya Love ya Love ya Love ya Love ya Love ya Love ya
and lets go. He passes it on to Jimmy who does the nod of silent comeraderie and then takes his turn. He inhales, holds, releases. Then he sets it down and turns to Darian.
"I think so. I dunno, can one ever really be ready?" He takes the bong with a sage-like reverance and hits it again.
"Word. Man, that's so true."
He exhales hhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa and sighs, sinking back into the velvety Pier One pillows and closes his eyes. I have always loved the Chill-Out Room.
"Hey girl, man you're smokin'." He leans over to Amy and begins to creep his hand un her knee to rest on her thigh. An unidentifiable trance anthem is blaring in the background.
"Thanks." Smokin'? Where do guys get this shit?
He smiles at her lasciviously, "De nada, babygirl. I'm just telling it like it is."
Amy smiles back through lipgloss plumped lips. "Cut it out with the babygirl shit or I'm out of here so fast, ok?" She takes his hand off her thigh and shoves him away from her.
"Chill out girl, damn. I'm just playing with you." He smiles and reaches in his pocket and produces a bag full of pills. "I got a present for your big night."
Amy looks at him incredulously and shakes her head, "You sure know how to treat a lady. Please, there is no way I'm doing one of those around you."
"Why not? These are some primo shit. Only the best for my Amy. " She looks out the window, and rolls her eyes. "Oh, Come on, girl. I promise I'll be good." He puts his hands up and mocks an innocent look.
Amy stares him down. Ever since that party I've had half the boys in Baltimore drooling over me. At first it was kind of cute, but now this shit is too much. "Look, I just don't think I'm in the mood to party tonight, ok? So cut it out. Can we just GO?"
"Pshh, fine." He turns from her and opens the bag and takes out a pill. Reaching over her, he takes a water bottle from the passenger floor and stares back at her. "This shit is probably too much for a little girl like you to handle, anyways. Wouldn't want you crashing on me." He smiles at her and gulps the pill and washes it down in one swift motion.
Amy sneers at him, "Pill me up, bitch."
I can't believe her, it's like she thrives on emotionally torturing me.
Ian sits there after hanging up the phone, his earlier episode of pie-induced happiness washed away from his being. Paz and Ingrid stare at him, in that really uncomfortable way that says "Man I guess we should say something but what do we say and how do we say it correctly and not make him cry" kind of way. Ian looks like a sea wall that was hastily constructed and has just been told that a big ass hurricane from off the cost of Jamaica is headed right for him. Paz elbows Ingrid and gives her the Hey, you're totally the sensitive and tactful one- you do it! kind of glance.
"Ian? What's up? What did Tev have to say?"
"Well," he sighs. "Let's see, here. Tev was in my bed and he just got woken up by a very annoyed Amy-"
"What the hell was she doing there???" Paz blurts.
"I don't know, Paz! Seeing as how she seems to be the Queen of Tact lately, who would've guessed!!? I mean, she keeps coming into our old place to get her mail and I dunno, I guess to scoff at me in my bachelor hell or whatever."
"I thought you told her the last time that you didn't want her in your place anymore! Seriously, after what she did! I mean, come on. Urrrgh!" Ingrid flops back in her chair.
"Yea well, maybe if Amy actually had a soul or anything, things would be different."
"Wait wait wait- She woke up Tevon? What's he doing sleeping in your place?" Paz says.
"He got kicked out of the house again. So I'm letting him crash in our old bed. It's not like I want to sleep in it anymore, anyways."
He sits back and begin to half-heartedly sip his coffee, which is now unappetizingly cold. Paz takes out a pen and begins doodling on her napkin while Ingrid gets up out of her seat.
"Well, this is total suck. I'm going to the bathroom," she leaves sighing.
Paz looks up from her sketching and grabs Ian's hand.
"You know Ian, nothing really cures heartbreak like some sweet couture revenge." Paz smiles impishly.
"What do you mean?" Ian stares her incredulously.
"Well. I seem to remember the last time I was forced to hang out with your crazy ex that she wouldn't shut up about this warehouse party her work was being shown in tonight."
"Yeah. Why the hell do I care?"
"Because, idiot. We could go to said party and you and Ingrid could, well, act as a new hot item just to get her back."
"That's ridiculous, Paz. Man, you call yourself a Buddhist and you're into ill shit like that?"
"Oh come on, this is SO karma and you know it. Look, I'm sure Ingrid won't mind," Paz shoots him a saucy look, "and you KNOW it will totally drive Amy nuts. Besides, Morrissey would totally approve."
"I don't think so," Ian tries to avert his eyes from her.
"Oh, please. You know the whole deal with her! She thinks she still owns you like some sick little puppy-dog, she always has! So, I think it is the perfectly wonderful and Karmic thing to do to show her that you're completely over her triflin' ass."
"Maybe. I dunno."
Paz smiles, "Yesssss! You know you're so in on it. I am so good at this sort of thing, it's like I should charge or something."
"Um, right. Hey Paz- one thing.."
"Since when have you said "triflin'"??" Ian stares at her with mock curiousity.
"Oh sod off. So, are we in or out??"
Ingrid return from the bathroom and sits down. "In on what?"
The three of them are walking down the bumpy cobblestone streets. Well, it's more like Ian and Paz are walking together while Ingrid is angrily tromping ahead of them. Ian and Paz give each other guilty looks as the try to keep up pace with her (but everyone knows that a truly pissed-off woman gains about ten velocity points over those who irked her).
Oh, Grrrrrrr. I can't believe this shit. Yeah, real nice. I go to the bathroom for five minutes and they wanna whore me out like some mail-order geisha. I can understand Paz thinking something like that up, because, well, she's pretty wicked on the inside. But Ian? He's never like that, at least not to me. Jerks jerks jerks jerks jerks jerks jerks jerks jerks jerks jerks jerks jerks...
Ian ups his pace and touches her shoulder. "Look, Ingrid, I'm sorry. It was a really stupid idea and Paz and I are megaJerks."Ingrid turns on her heel and stops dead in her tracks, staring him down. Ian nearly bumps into her as he stops inches from her face. "I never would of expected this from you. That's not who I thought you are." Ingrid stands there waiting for his answer.
"Oh come on, Ingrid. It was my plan so be mad at me. But if you think you have any right to be mad at me, then you should have your head checked, because you know that I have good plans. Not to mention, I'm not saying you have to make out with him or anything! It's just like pretending to get back at her-" Paz says.
"I don't want to "get back at her," ok? Well, maybe I do a little, but it's just not right I mean. And it's Ian and I and, "she looks back at Ian, "Can you honestly say that you can pretend to be attracted to me???"
Ha! He's been doing more than pretend for the whole afternoon. Grrrr. Stupid friends.
Ian blushes and looks away, staring at his Converse-wrapped feet and the smooth round rocks in the street. "Yeah, I guess," Ingrid looks slightly irritated at this and he catches himself, "of course, Ingrid. You're super hot and a wonderful all around lady." What? I totally just sounded like I'm at some retirement community. Lady?? What? Idiot.
Ingrid stares at him a moment and then turns on her heel again and continues to walk towards the Pier. Paz and Ian spring back into action, chasing her coattails again. Paz smacks Ian on the arm and gives him the "Why you so stupid??" face. He shrugs and walks faster, finally coming neck-and-neck with her. "Come on, Ingrid. Stop, wait a second. I said I'm sorry, I was just explaining."
Paz stops. "Look, you two can keep fighting about this. I'm going to Soundgarden to chill out for a while. Once you get over this nonsense, come and find me." She turns and starts to walk away.
Ingrid and Ian both stop walking and turn to each other, annoyed. They see Paz get swallowed up by the night as she walks away and disappears into the crowd. Ian grabs Ingrid and pulls her close to him.
"Look, Ingrid. You're one of my best friends and I don't want you to be angry. Please, everything just sucks so much right now and you're mad at me now and that sucks even more so please just forgive me?"
She sighs and settles into the hug. "I do, I do, it's ok." He's warm and he smells like the all around comfort that is Ian to her. She pulls away and starts to walk back down the Pier.
He's the guy that's always at everyone's party, you know him. The one who you talk to a random acquaintance about and your conversation might go something like this:
So, what did you do the other night?
I was at this awesome Rave on Saturday night.
Really, sweet. Was anyone cool there?
Oh man the place was packed. My friend Tevon was there, he's cool.
No shit! I hung out with Tevon on Saturday?! Are you sure it was THIS Saturday.
Yeah man. But hey, that's Tevon for you. The guy is like everywhere.
Tevon loves being that guy. He lives for the fact that he is Mr. Social Calendar. He's pretty much always on his cell phone, arranging this or that event or calling up any of a number of happy swingin' gals (and sometimes guys) that he might have a hankering to spend some less formal time with. He also likes being the guy that everyone thinks has drugs on him at all times (even though he really isn't a dealer... most of the time). Tevon lives and breathes for messages on his cell phone and at home on his answering machine and emails in his account and IMs on his computer. There's definitely one Tevon that loves being that guy.
The only person who really ever sees the other Tevon is Ian. They keep their little guise of getting wasted and watching cheap skin flicks, but there, nestled under what they tell their friends about, is the real Tevon. The Tevon who tells Ian about how tired he is of running around clubs, trying to find the love of his life only to stumble into countless wrongs under the sheets. The Tevon who feels himself getting too old to be out until 4am on a weekday and dreams of having someone to snuggle with and read books next to until they fall asleep by ten. The Tevon who is tired of random contractual IT work. The Tevon who wants to be a professor who struggles to get by on meager pay but can sleep at night with the satisfaction that comes from being respected and giving.
It is this Tevon that, all kidding aside, really wants to kick Amy's ass. Because Ian had a chance for all of those dreams that he values and she destroyed it. Because, no matter how much Tevon got annoyed at her holier-than-thou vegetarian bullshit and vapid love of fashion and elitisim, he saw Ian and he saw Amy and he thought that she might be the thing that makes Ian smile at night and fall asleep by ten. Ian had always been Tevon's best friend and damnit if he didn't deserve that. Plus, if it could happen for Ian, it could happen for him. Amy destroyed all of that because she was a weakling and a cheat and a liar and a plastic and that's what really makes him mad.
It's making him fume now as he's driving to pick up Ian and Paz and Ingrid for the party. He doesn't want to say anything to Ian again, he's heard enough. But he does want to see Amy suffer. Paz is always talking her head off about karma. Well, there ought to be some for a girl like that. The kind of girl that murders souls and does it with an air of entitlement. People like that deserve to hurt inside. Or maybe just get a punch bowl overturned on their head. Tevon laugh out loud at this. Man, whatever.
Tonight'll be something. He's gonna go out and have fun and I'm gonna make sure Amy's there to see it.
Tevon turns onto Broadway and his newfound excitement makes him roll down his windows and crank up his tunes...
Breathe the pressure. Come play my game, I'll test ya.
This place is really kind of boring if you don't have anyone around to be amusing. Grrrr I am so fun when I have back-up. Not only did I have the fun today of getting in a car accident and marring my beautiful Christalmobile, but now I'm stranded in suck. This is just no fun and it's so no fun that I hate it and- Ingrid!
Ingrid walks in through the old creaky front door, sending a woosh of the beautiful weather in with her. Following close on her heels was Ian looking, well, a bit rough in his obviously expired pants and his stained wife-beater and flannel combo.
Man, someone should give him a shower and a clue. I mean, yeah, Amy is a total ass and he has every right to be hurt and all after what she did to him, but seriously! I mean, come on, honey! He's never gonna get past that jerky Amy and find a new hot and not slutty girl unless he bathes once in a while.
Ingrid waves and Ian kind of shrugs as they walk up to the second level to sit with her.
"Hey Paz! How are you holding up after the crash fiasco? Any better than when I called you before?"
Paz shrugs and stirs her coffee. "Yeah, I guess so. I'm being a much better buddhist and trying to not imagine my big fat Docs in that Topknot girl's backside." Paz stands up and opens her arms, making her "poor baby" face, "Come 'ere Ian." He wanders into her embrace and glances back at Ingrid with an annoyed face.
"I'm sorry," Ingrid mouths.
"I can't believe that stupid tramp had the nerve to get her jollies off in my driveway. Yuck! I mean, really, I'm-"
"Sorry, I know. Everyone's sorry and I appreciate your concern, but I'm doing this whole trying-to-get-past-it thing lately, so-"
"Trying to get past it?" Paz says, tossing herself back down onto the chair, "I didn't know `getting past it' involved you and Tevin getting wasted every night at your old place watching Whore of the Rings."
"It's Lord of the G-Strings for your information, Paz, and it's not my fault that Tev is a good friend and understands that I just don't want to keep talking about it." Ian says, sitting down, "The way I see it is like this: YES, Amy is a stupid ho-bag and not at all the loving, caring, socially and emotionally conscious little positive-scout that I thought I wanted to live with and marry. However, it's not gonna get any better if I replay that night over and over in my head until I want to bash my head in with a rusty spoon-"
"Sorry to interrupt the love-fest here, but I'm dying for coffee. Can we please get off this subject for a second and chill out? What do you want Ian? Pie and coffee?"
"Yeah," Ian sighs. "Get me Pecan and remember, you promised to get me the top-shelf pie." He looks at her with mock seriousness and lets a little smile float onto his face.
"No problem, Mr. Grumpy," she smiled back. "I'll go get us a round of yummies and, I swear, I want none of this crappy conversation to be going on when I get back!" She pokes Ian and he feigns being hurt. "That includes you too, Paz. I did not spend my Saturday in a Hipster and Tourist Hell Sandwich to listen to you two bitch all afternoon!" Ingrid struts away to the counter.
Insert uncomfortable pause here as Paz stares down Ian.
"Yes?" he says.
"What the hell was that?"
"What do you mean?"
"I saw that. Man, it doesn't take long does it."
"What do you mean, Paz??"
"You just caught Amy re-defining Expander two weeks ago and you're already all reboundy onto Ingrid?? I mean, Jesus, what ever happened to a mourning period?" I am definitely a very smart and poignant Buddhist.
"Wait a minute! First of all, way to win the prize Miss Vulgarity! Second, I didn't call her, she called me! And there is SO nothing going on here, Paz." Damn girls.
"Oh, ohhhh-kay. Sure, little buddy." Paz sighs, "Have fun on the denial bus, Ian. All I'm saying here is that you rebound on her and I'll totally kick your ass, you dig." Paz pinches his cheeks and ends with a playful slap. "Ooh, she's coming back, new topic. So, I hear you're starting to like rock music now..."
Ingrid returns and sets his pie plate in front of him with a ceramic thud. Paz and Ian look up at her as she sets down his coffee and her own.
"Nothing, Ingrid," Paz smiles. "We were just playing like nice children. Oh and Ian was talking to me about how much he loves Foreigner and Ratt now."
"I do not like either Foreigner or Ratt, jerkface. It's some band that Tev gave me a tape of to get out my aggression and YES, I do like it."
"Alright you two just stop!" Ingrid sighs, "Man, why did I think this was a good idea?"
Paz rolls her eyes as Ian shoves a gigantic forkful of pie in his mouth. Ingrid stirs in her cream and tears open a pack of Sugar in the Raw.
"Anyways, is hot Jimmy working today? He always seems to make things great in the world," Ingrid sighed and looked towards the counter, propping her head in her hands dreamily.
"No, you sod, and thanks for reminding me!" Paz says, faking a pout. "He's probably off with some immensely hot girl who is totally a bass player in a band and has That Cute Indy Haircut."
"You guys are such saps," Ian says, shoving more pie in his mouth. "If it wasn't for this pie, there would be absolutely no dealing with this conversation. Mmmm Pie."
Ingrid pushes Ian, "You dork. Ok. So, what are we going to do with our day? I mean, coffee and pie and sketching and witty banter and cigarettes aside- we need something to do that doesn't involve moping and certainly has nothing to do with the harbor or here or anywhere in Baltimore. So, who's up for an adventure?"
"I dunno, I'm supposed to meet up with Tev tonight-"
"Oh boo! Tev can come on our adventure too. It'll be like a nice sanity break for both of your livers," Paz says, smiling.
"Come on Ian, please! You know I can't stand to hang out with Paz alone,"
"Bitch!" Paz laughs and gulps down the rest of her coffee, letting the sugary sludge slide onto her tongue.
Before Ian can argue his phone rings.
She opens the door that's squeeked for the last three years and will probably squeek until the cochroaches overrun the world. It smells like Ian's sweat, cheap Scotch and meat. The pheramones of masculinity gone unchecked by a feminine presence. It's odd how years of delicate pruning and hygeine lessons can be erased in a few weeks with the right attitude and a dedication to rebel against showers.
The worst part of this is getting stuff out, it always is. Ugchh..., I bet all of my clothes are covered in a meaty film. This is so disgusting. Screw you, Ian, you petty ass.
The last two times she's come back here to take things to her "new place", Ian's thrown a huge fit about it-
She waded in through a random assortment of clothes that had obviously been shed upon entering the apartment every night and the land-mines of shoes and take-out boxes that made their once pristine home look like a Double Dare obstacle course. Hopping between the only blank spots in the floor to the table, she picked up the a stale bowl that was sitting on top of her mail and brushed the debris onto the floor.
Fleet Credit Card, Ms. Magazine, Car Inspection Notice, bills, bills, bills...
She shoved them all in her tote bag and began another series of hops over to the refrigerator. Morbid curiousity about the science experiment that is Ian on his own takes over all of her common sense as she opens the door.
Nothing has changed. The refrigerator is like some bizarre still life. Everything is exactly as it was before they went out to Paz's that night: the pad thai noodles they ordered out are still in their chinese take-out box, her soy milk is still hiding in the back, her PowerBars are stacked in the side door, her tofu is half eaten in a Ziploc bag. It's as if this is his one, sad little museum to what used to be the "favorite couple" in their little scene of friends. Well, the order hasn't been touched, but the state of decay has definitely increased.
Ian, you always imagined yourself to be some kind of poet. Like you do these things "by accident" that just end up being metaphors. Rotting food equals rotting love and your poor broken little heart. Ugggchhh. Poseur.
She closes the fridge and hops out of the kitchen, on for the next and last of the mysteries to be explored... The bedroom door is closed and seems to be tingling with the mysetry that the fridge entails: will she find it oddly preserved?
Knowing Ian, he's probably urinated all over it to christen it with his new, ever-so-cute bachelor scent. Ha. Loser.
She pushes open the door with a chuckle, then stops dead in her tracks.
It feels like she's running from Michael Myers in some b-grade horror film, the way she's sprinting out of Barnes and Noble. She collapses onto a bench outside and catches her breath while laughing to herself.
It's actually pretty funny. It's like I'm in my own little movie. Escape from the Killer Bookstore. The bookstore that sucks souls and belches dollars. The brick-armored monster that is pregnant with a Starbucks and infested with neo-hipsters.
Ingrid pulls her messenger bag over her head and rifles past her random receipts and checkbook to find her lipgloss. Rolling it over her lips, she searches around the landscape for someone to people-watch (sort of like being on a Nature show, only with mullets and Louis Vuitton bags and drunk guys and sluts). She enjoys being her own little freelance Anthropologist.
Wow. Is that woman really serious about loving those spandex pants? Yikes.
She slips her lipgloss back in her bag and proceeds to pull out her sketchbook (this is a very necessary tool for ANYONE living in a city. It helps you to look hot, intelligent and artistic all at once). Ingrid begins drawing contours of pidgeons and people on the peddle-boats.
Hmmmm... Pidgeon Peddle-boats. Sounds like a great band name to me.
Her short attention span mingled with the instinctive jolt that screams, "Dear god girl!!! You were running to get away from these people a minute ago" causes her to dig for her cell phone to see who's about and where the heck she can go that isn't the harbor.
Alysa, no, Amy, bitch!, Billy, Brando, Carl, all dumb and boys, Eli, maybe, no, no, no, at work still, no, no, Ian... hmmm. I should probably get to him before Tevon does. A week and a half straight of Canadian Mist and soft-core has got to be damaging for the soul...
Send. Rinnng....... Rinnng.... Rinn-
"Hey girl, whassup!!" She can barely hear him over the thudding music in the background.
"Uh, hey, Ian. Um, what are you listening to??? Are you ok?"
"What??! Oh... um, it's some band Tev likes. It rocks."
"I thought you hated that stuff. Are you sure you're feeling well?"
"Yeah... I can't really listen to techno yet." He drums a solor out. Bless hands-free.
"Oh. Sorry. Anyways, what are you doing right now?"
"Nothing really, just driving. Why?"
"Well... I just got off work and I really need someone to rescue me. Oh and I think that Paz should be done knitting. Will you please please please come pick me up and take me to the Grind??? It'll be good for ya."
"I dunno, Ingrid. All you two do is sit and sulk and do that Surreal Writing stuff. I think I kind of need to be alone, anyways." Oh shit that was my turn.
"Come on. I'll buy you some pie and coffee. Please, I swear we won't do any of that Exquisite Corpse stuff. Pleeeeeeeeease???"
God. I guess it's better than the alternative. It's either this or go home and wonder whether to watch Skinamax or true to squint through the scrambled Spice channel. Man, Ingrid is so good at making me do things when I just want to die.
"Yesssssssss! You're the best Ian ever!"
"I know, I know, cut it out. I'll be there but it's gonna take me like thirty minutes."
"No problem, I'll just sit her and watch the chuckleheads."
"And I sure as hell better get some primo pie out of this. I'm talkin Dangerously Delicious, like top shelf stuff"
"You got it"
"Later," he hangs up and smiles. It's the first one he's had in days.
******************************"Tevon, what the hell are you doing in my bed??!!"
"Wha?" he stirs into reality. "Oh. It's you, Amy... Sorry, I didn't recognize you with your clothes on."
"Ha ha ha. Funny. God, you're lying all over my silk sheets and stinking them up with your booze breath!"
"Excuse me, mistress. I didn't realize you could have your cheatin' ass kicked out of an apartment and still claim everything in it to be yours. My mistake," he chuckles. Pow! All beef juicy burn, Vega-Bitch!
"Just get up. Ew... and put some pants on!" She sneers as she walk over to his nasty pants and throws them at his face.
Tevon catches them and begins to prop himself up on the bed. "Damn Amy. I thought you preferred your men with their pants off. Oh and preferably slammin' you in the back of a Gremlin."
"Screw You!" she tears the pink sheet (fair trade material, of course) off the bed as Tevon rolls onto the floor. Amy then wads it up in a makeshift ball and shoves it under her arm, storming out of the apartment.
Tevon calls after her, "Sorry baby girl, but I don't think I'm up for a ride today!"
She slams the door and silence fills the apartment once again. Tevon reaches for his phone.
Just as she's about to take her black apron off, a middle-aged man walks up and puts a book onto the counter. Great. Another once nerd turned Metrosexual. They're like nasty little Elvis Costello parasites. Ah. Milan Kundera and a free copy of Radar, all face-up for me to oggle and care. How sweet.
"Is this all for you today, Sir?"
"Yeah," he sighs, "I've got to get running. We're filming and I'm a half hour late."
Oh dear sweet god, he's one of those. He's just waiting for me to ask it. I'm not going to.
"Yeah, I'm working on The Wire. I promised myself I would never come down here on a Saturday, what with all the people down at the Aquarium, but I'm completely out of lit." Eeeew! He really just said that didn't he??? Lit! What a perv.
"It'll be thriteen seventy-five." He reaches out and pulls out his Platinum Visa card and smiles, benevolently.
She ignores him and taps his credit card on the register as she waits for the amount to clear.
Through the tapping he continues to stare at her, looking for any small trace of interest.
"Ingrid. That's a lovely name. It reminds me of Ingrid Bergman. Never heard that one before. Have you ever seen any of her works? Though most people think Casablanca is her best film, I'm rather parital to Stromboli myself. Have you ever seen Stromboli?"
"No." She hands him the pen to sign. Dear god I'm going to run out of here soooo fast.
"Oh. Pity. I suggest you rent it sometime."
She smiled indulgently at him and handed him his receipt along with his bag.
"I"ll just have to do that. Have a nice day, sir." This place is like poison.
He shot her a tres European, "Ciao," and walked out of the store, trying his best to look busy and suave at the same time. Ingrid tore off her apron and ran outside, dodging another onslaught of customers as the rushed the counter.