Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Better Ask Questions Before You Shoot

Let's go back to April again. The apartment warming party, where I left off, at about 4 am.

I was drunk enough to appeal to Chris' sense of macho drinking endurance. Idiotic goadings like "Can't you handle another?" and "Show me what you're worth" were uttered, I recall vaguely. We drank two or three doubleshots each of Ten High bourbon in rapid succession.

I began to fall asleep sitting up. My head teetered, then gently fell towards my shoulder as my posture melted and the couch absorbed me.

Somebody was slapping my face, gently but firmly. "Dude, your friend is going crazy, you gotta do something." My eyelids fluttered and unglued themselves, although the cobwebs sewing them shut resisted this in concert with the pulse running up and down my scalp like Bugs Bunny burrowing his was to Albequerque, constantly getting lost.

Here's what I missed: Chris and the roomie got into a bullshit arguement about something. The roomie doesn't know when to say when, when to drop it, and he probably was pointing and poking Chris is the chest while bitching him out with righteous indignation for some perceived disprespect. Chris, like a bull, began to slowly work up a head of steam. I know he stood still in the kitchen getting angrier as the roomie continued to whine his way down the hallway to the living room. Then, he moved. He charged down the hallway, swatting Megan out of his way, knocking her violently onto the floor.

The roomie had been slapping me on the cheeks. He stopped when it appeared I was down for the count, and he returned to Chris, who had now reached the living room. The roomie continued his bitchfest. "Dude, settle the fuck down. This is my house, this is fucking NOT cool, and show some fucking respect and calm down." Somebody should've told him the old maxim about catching flies with honey instead of vinegar. Alas. Chris began pushing the roomie, and as the thud of him meeting the wall reached my ears the scene came into focus.

The room was still full of people, maybe ten or eleven, all unmoving, staring, rapt and wide-eyed at the spectacle in the center of the living room.

I tell this portion of this to you as the crowd related it me, upon my return.

I leapt up from the couch, using the coffee table separating me from the two of them as a launching pad. I landed on Chris, knocking him off balance towards the wall. He definitely hadn't seen me coming in time to stop me. As he reached out for the wall to steady himself, I reached under his armpits from behind him and locked my elbows at a right angle in them. I threw myself backwards with all of my weight, and I began to scream.

He writhed and shook on top of me, trying with all his might to get loose. His problem was that, despite his massive strength, he lacks both flexibility and speed. It took all my might, but I kept him pinned above me. People told me I was screaming things like "Don't you dare touch my roomate! What the hell is wrong with you, Chris? Why are you doing this!?"

Somewhere around here my memory returns.

The stillness of the room broke. Suddenly, we were surrounded by flying feet. Feet with bad aim. Kicking him in the ribs, kicking him the head. Kicking me in the head, the neck. "Ow fuck! Watch it, that's me!" Many fled from the room, like Darren, the kitchen-pisser, who'd been mauled by Chris once before and did not want to be available as a punching bag if Chris got loose. After they realized they couldn't aim for their target with all the bouncing and struggling on the floor, the roomie knelt down and went to work with his right fist. At this point, the other three or four kickers backed off. Little Greg, a tiny little guy who ends every sentence with "...and shit", took our porcelain toothbrush holder from the bathroom counter and shattered it on Chris' temple.

It was shaped like a frog. I liked that toothbrush holder. At the time, we all thought he used a lightbulb from somewhere. It wasn't until two days later that we realized the frog was missing. But I digress.

Throughout all of this, nobody managed to knock Chris out. I was exhausted, as was Chris, and I screamed everybody out of the room. They took a lot of convincing. They went to my room. Chris settled down, but I did not let go yet. "Chris." "What?!?!?" "I'm letting you up now."

He stood there, furious, facing me, hyperventilating. I tried to reason with him, but there was not much I could say to him. He was angry with the whole world, and life had shat upon him. He began to shove me into the wall, much like my roomate, but there would be no help for me. He was crying. I tried to put my hands on his shoulder to talk to him, to calm him, but he shoved me again, yelling "Don't touch me!"

There was only one thing I could think of. "Do you want a ride home? Get your shoes." As I led the way towards the kitchen exit I could see my bedroom door cracked, and heads peered through the crack like children about to sneak out after bedtime for cookies. Little Greg now had a pan from the kitchen, which I saw gleaming. He was ready to hit a home run, but only if he got an easy pitch. It was kind of funny. Greg is tiny and couldn't weigh more than 120 pounds. At the time, though, I was in no mood for humor.

The drive home took place during the sunrise. Not much was said by Chris, but I tried to tell him that I still considered him a friend and that I felt bad about what happened. He had never landed a punch on anyone, let alone thrown one, but his physical intimidation, yelling, and pushing had terrified everyone. I told him that if I hadn't been drunk, I would've talked him down like I had in the past instead of jumping him.

Chris was like that Michael Jackson video during the ride home. His face kept morphing, swirls of white and red and purple and blue under his skin. Did I mention that he stays bald? Well his head grew during that ride. He had cauliflower head, not just ear.

I offered to try to buy him beer, but he didn't make up his mind until we reached his subdivision, at which he finally spoke. "Stop" At this point I refused. "No Chris, too late. We're here."

When I returned home everybody was relieved. They thought Chris would kill me for sure. I had a slight bloody nose, and I noticed the hole in the wall. To this day we never discovered whose head went through it. It has since been patched and painted.

We drank. Megan and I did beer bongs until noon, long after everybody else had run out of gas. We soaked the kitchen floor.

I spoke to Chris a couple times during the following week. He wanted Daria's phone number. He wanted to talk to her about what happened before she heard about it elsewhere. They're still friendly, which I'm glad about, although no romantic relationship ever grew between them. The roomie had her number and I had a hard time convincing him to let me have it for Chris. He gave it as a thanks to me. The roomie broke his hand punching that thick skull and it took three months before he recovered. Chris and I have not spoken since April. I hope he's doing well.
12:30 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


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