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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Warpaint And Gratitude

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Here's the third of five columns I wrote a few months ago for the alcoholics' website.

Never once did I consider the notion that my very best friends would do something like this to me. Not even in my ugliest moment of paranoia did I believe they would look at my prone, drunken, snoring body and think to themselves, "I should vandalize him."

I remember a party about two years ago. My friend invited thirty people to his house, drank a fifth of vodka and several beers, and by midnight, hobbled off to his room to sleep it off. Most of his guests weren’t even there yet.

I kept an eye on the scene. I made sure nobody kicked over his television, threw his potted plants out the windows, ate his cats, or urinated in his refrigerator. I played the stern yet benevolent host while my buddy farted, wheezed, and snored the night away in bed.

At three in the morning I saw two girls rummaging through the junk drawer. I eyed them suspiciously and approached them with stealth from behind. When they seized the thick black permanent marker, held it aloft, giggled, and then bolted down the hallway, I knew trouble was brewing. I followed them.

I stopped them just in time. If it wasn’t for my diligence, my friend would’ve awoken with dicks drawn on his cheeks, FAGGOT written on his forehead, and mayonnaise all over the crotch of his pants. I prevented a disaster for him, and I almost needed violence to stop those girls. They recruited others, prankster friends with makeup kits and art supplies, and together they tried to storm his room. It ended with this:

"For the last time, NO! I already said no several times. Back the fuck off or I WILL HURT YOU. I will punch a man wearing glasses, and I will punch a girl. If you make me. Don’t make me. Now: OUT! Get the fuck out of this room."

That did it. Little did I know that not only would my protection go unappreciated, but the very friend I saved would one day splash my passed out face with zombie makeup. Yes, he knew I saved him that night. Plenty of folks, including me, told him all about it. That’s why I was so shocked to wake up like this last Sunday morning:

(rubbing my face) "Ohhhh... fuck. I need some water."

(noticing the slippery slickness on my face) "What the…"

(looking at my hands, seeing red, black, and white, comprehension dawning slowly) "Why is this…"

I sat up and looked around. Two of my buddies, including the one I saved, were smiling ear to ear and looking guilty.

I stood up. They backed up. "Who did this? You?"

"Yeah, sorry dude, but it was funny."

He began walking away. I wasn’t letting him off with a weak bullshit apology like that. Oh no. I was furious. No apologies would satisfy me. Real consequences were necessary. I would not tolerate such humiliation. Ever.

I stomped up behind him, grabbed him by the shoulder, spun him around, and planted my fist square on his jaw. He went down. Who else? I looked around. There was the accomplice.

"You too? Did you help?"

"Not really."

"That means a little. You fucking fuck."

I tried to punch him in the face, too, but my aim was a little off. I punched him in the neck. He grabbed a stool and prepared to swing it. I charged.

"Whatcha gonna do with that? Huh? Show me? Come on! Try me. Please, please try me."

He set it down and raised his hands.

"Nothing, man. Maybe I deserved that." His neck was red for hours.

"In my own house. Goddamn you assholes. If this ever happens again, I fucking promise your fingers will be broken. I’ll kick your fucking ribs in until they puncture your vital organs. Do you understand?"

"I’m sorry. Really."

"Me too."

"Fuck both of you. I don’t need your sorries, cause I already took ‘em out of your fucking faces. Do you understand my warning? I will employ brutal violence. Are we clear?"

In silence, they nodded.

12:41 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


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