[the chicago chair incident]

Sarah and I broke up again. It was like the 5th time that year, and it was only early July. 3 days after Independence day to be exact. We were supposed to go up north to Traverse City, in the pinky finger of Michigan where most of my mother’s family lives. Her side was having the annual family reunion and I was going to bring my yuppie, fashionable, curvy, annoying, shoppaholic girlfriend. I don’t know that she was, really, ever my girlfriend. I mean we agreed to be in a committed relationship, but she made me hate myself so much for just being a crabby, judgmental complainer. We have a saying in Michigan between friends, “we complain a lot, because there is a lot to complain about.” But no dice. That wasn’t allowed. I mustn’t get annoyed with the fact that people are fucking retarded, and I don’t really like to waste my time with meaningless conversation about reality TV and sweaters. I was getting ready to head into work when I got the call.

“We need to talk”

“About what Sarah? Did you buy too many clothes again and max out your credit card?”

“Don’t be a dick” she responded.

I knew the end, again, was near, we reached our month and a half anniversary since the last time we broke up, when I freaked out, ran into the woods, and by woods I mean our rich friends parents beach house, to where I drank myself stupid, ate an entire pack of pep-to, and shit black for two days. We of course then got back together. I don’t know why. I was lonely and she… I think liked the idea of having a “metal” boyfriend or whatever label I got branded with because of my beard, tattoos and musical interests. It’s like that whole women secretly wanting to fix the bad boy ideal, that James Dean bullshit. Not that I was a bad boy, or needed to be fixed, as much as she just didn’t really love me, as much as she thought it would just be cool to date me. I just liked to smell her.

“I think we need to break up” she said.

“Again? Why? what the hell did I do this time?”

“It was what you don’t do” she said”

“Huh? What I don’t do? What the fuck don’t I do?”

“You don’t do anything”. “You whine and complain about your photography work. You complain about your job, which I got you.” she continued.

“Yes Sarah, you got me a job at a restaurant. Thanks. Also thanks for giving me heads up that you’ve fucked every dude that works there. That’s bullshit.” I snarled.

“Oh get over it, it’s in the past.” She responded, as usual.

“Right. Except I have to work with them. It’s kind of gross. I don’t bring around chicks I've fucked, and rubbed them in your face. That’s rude.”

“Whatever. We are breaking up. I can’t deal with your shit anymore. I can’t deal with you sitting around not doing anything and complaining about it as the world passes you by. You are so talented and not doing shit about it. This is over for good.”

All I could muster was, “Well thank you for dumping me right before I have to go to work.”

“Fuck you, everything is always about you isn’t it? She snapped. I could tell she was really getting pissed.

“Well, I am an only child. I don’t know any better.” I responded, while pouring myself a drink.

“No, you are an idiot, I have to go. This is over.” She lashed.

Then she hung up.

I made myself a drink, vodka and lemonade. It kind of tasted like Comet Cleanser, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to feel anything but what I was feeling. I threw up my heart into the toilet before I left, and headed out the door. It was about a 25 minute walk to the shitty restaurant, back in this shitty town, she so politely got me a job at.

I met Sarah on the internet…more or less. I had moved to Georgia from Michigan about a year and half before this latest break up. I had to get out of Michigan, it was killing me being there, and I needed a change of pace, so I packed up and moved to Athens, GA, to play in a band there. From Ann Arbor to Athens. From one stupid college town full of trust fund kids than can afford to sit around and not have jobs, and live the American Dream of not working, partying all the time, and making shitty art and passing it off as genius. Because really, what the fuck did they have to worry about? Isn’t that it? The American Dream? To have rich parents, so they pay for everything and you don’t have worry about shit? I don’t know, but I hated Georgia. The people were nice, and it was very cheap, but not for me. It’s the type of place people go to be lazy, because you can afford to be lazy. Too slow of a pace for myself. I had been talking with some friends, and they mentioned that this woman Sarah, thought I was adorable, which I am of course. Me being the lonely hopeless romantic that I was, naturally fell in love with her without knowing so much as to what she even looked like. They gave me her contact info, and we started a correspondence, and planned to go on a date when I was home for thanksgiving. Ironically enough, the first time I talked to her, another woman I had a very troubled and masochistic past with, was in Atlanta visiting me for Halloween.

Creepy Karla and I have a wicked love / hate relationship. I think that more than likely we will end up killing each other. Seriously. I think that one of us will get the taste of blood and go all the way and actually kill the other one, play in their blood, and then get famous for writing about it just like Issei Sagawa. However on this trip, she wasn’t really putting out, because knowing her, she was pissed at whatever of her various boyfriends she had, and ran away for a few days to come and blue-ball me. Insecurities make people do hilarious things. So I was delighted to get an email from this new prospect of love and happiness. A strong, yet delicate Princess, who will magically whisk me away and make me forget all my problems. She said something cute, and I wrote back something charming, and Creepy Karla was straightening her hair talking about what bar we were going to go to first, because that’s pretty much all we do, is drink and eat Mexican food, which I'm not complaining about because I love both, but I also really wanted to bone her, but that apparently wasn’t happening, so I had to divert my attention elsewhere.

A few weeks later I was home for thanksgiving and I met up with Sarah for our blind date. She wore this soft Robert Englund looking sweater, and smelled amazing. Her eyes were so soft. I walked up the steps to her front porch and instantly fell in love with her. She gave me a hug and I knew I was in trouble. She even bought me dinner, so I had an immediate stiffy. That was probably the most enjoyable date I ever had with her. It was all down hill from there. We hung out for a few days, and the hooks in each other were set. It was young love. It was adventurous. It was completely not capable of working. Within 2 weeks of being back in Georgia, Sarah informed me that she had vacation time that she needed to eat up, and that she was going to drive down to Athens, help me pack up my shit, and move me back to Michigan because I was so miserable, and she wanted to help. She even told me I could live with her, and she would help me find a job. I apparently found my dream mom… I mean girlfriend. Two days before my birthday, she arrived. She looked different than I remember, but she was still adorable and had this smile that just killed me. The kind that just makes me feel helpless and like I am five, waiting for her to pick me up and kiss me on the forehead. The kind that makes me scared to even talk for fear of saying to wrong thing, and her leave me. The kind of smile that could literally make my dick fall off, look up at me, laugh and run away screaming “you will never be a real man!”. They were pouty lips, and just the right length. They weren’t too thick, and not too thin. They were soft against my lips and were always so warm. It was all she needed to get whatever she wanted. I'm pretty sure she made it through college by just smiling at her male professors. Not that she was dumb, she was smart, and wrote exceptionally well, and was incredibly organized, but fuck all that. All she did was have to smile and dudes would do anything for her, and now she was here to move me back do the dirty glove, the place a year before I was so desperate to leave. Now I was going back, to face “reality” with this woman, whom I barely knew, and was heads over heels for. Someone whom I’d know for only 2 months, and had spent less than a collective of 48 hours with. But fuck it. It felt right. It felt like I was leaving Georgia, because I was.

I think the guilt of her rescuing me played a big part in my feeling like I had to be with her. I hated pretty much everything she did, and said. I hated her ideas, I hated her interests. I hated her opinions. I hated her taste in film, and music. I hated that everything I was into she pretended to be into. I hated that she didn’t want to do anything I was into, even though she pretended she cared. (redundant I know.) She dressed well though, and has a great sense of fashion, but what the fuck does that mean when one’s personality is based solely on projecting an image for others to “buy” or think you have. She’s one of those people who takes a degenerate such as myself, and figures out a way to market and sell this drunk rock and roll lifestyle to a bunch of other white, yuppies who are too scared to actually participate in a world that might not be approved by the head of rich white people, whomever the fuck that is. Be it her dad, or her boss, or the snobs she hangs out with, or even God. Even though… I'm pretty sure God is ok with rock and roll, and could really be stoked about people getting together and enjoying each other, I mean we are human, and that’s what separates us from running with the animals. That’s the whole point right? Besides, this seems way more positive, than shopping, or anything about capitalism in general. But you know, a nice pair of $500 jeans or $1000 shoes are way more wholesome than going to the Irock on the eastside of Detroit to watch some metal bands with “weird names” play and share their love of mythology, mysticism and the wonders of the universe over a couple of beers. It’s not the people that question who get paid, it’s the people that don’t question. People like myself are so busy thinking about shit, that we don’t have the attention to realize we could get rich off just being ourselves. However, people like Sarah, they know that because they don’t have any original thoughts, they can just throw 40 years of core tattoo history on a t-shirt and sell it to some fucking Guido from Long Island, or Jersey. But man, could she fuck. And she could get under my skin. I’ve never met anyone in my life that I loathed being around so much, but couldn’t stand to be apart from. I don’t know if it was love, or loneliness or that she just smelled so good that I couldn’t get her scent off me. All I know is it was a lose / lose situation and our plane was going down in flames rapidly, and repeatedly. We broke up the first time right around Valentines day. I spaced on this day, because I was busy mailing cemetery flowers, and a fake dead baby in a zip lock bag full of blood, to creepy Karla. That was one of the more romantic things I’ve ever done. I was also distracted because this cute Russian Jew chick I am old old friends with, got me really stoned and took me to this erotic art show in Detroit were she had some work on display and then surprised me with a pint of jack daniels and a desired to make me her Valentine. Valerie is amazing. She’s like the type of chick that you almost shouldn’t like because she looks like she’s 15, and you feel almost like a pervert for looking at her, even though she was pushing 25. She calls you daddy and always is whispering dirty stuff in your ear, while emanating her sweet vanilla scent. I did the “right” thing, and told her I had to go, and that I’d have to take a rain check. This of course, unintentionally sunk my hooks into her hard. I bailed and went over to Sarah’s to make a game plan on how to handle Valentines day. I was stoned and fell asleep watching Rambo.

“Sometimes I wake up and I don't know where I am. And I don't talk to anybody. Sometimes, a day. Sometimes, a week. Can't put it out of my mind.” I awoke to “It’s a Long Road” by Dan Hill blasting out of the TV. Fuccck! I thought. I'm gonna have to make dinner soon before she gets home from work. But what you have to realize is, that in Detroit, you cant just “go to a grocery store” because…well there aren’t any. Because there isn’t anything. Anywhere. Because its Detroit, and only fucking retards live downtown, or white people who want to say they live there, in-between getting their cars stolen every other week in the name in hipster blindness. Needless to say, after driving around for and hour and a half, and not getting anywhere, she called and said she was on her way home. I however, I had a back up plan. I really thought I did an ok job by suggesting we go to the bar we went to on our first date. This was not so romantic to her as she called me out on my bullshit attempt to rectify the situation after I promised her I would make dinner.

“I heard Sarah dumped you?” Cole, my surrogate little sister said calling to check up on me.

“yeah she did.” I melodramatically responded

“but then she got back together with you after you took her out for fried chicken and waffles?!” she laughed with question.

“yep!!!!!!” I laughed aloud.

“you are the only person I know that can win a girl back with fried chicken” Cole said, with that slight sarcasm, that indicates, though I can’t see her over the phone, I know she is shaking her head.

“thanks Cole. I do what I can”. I replied, proud of myself. Proud that, Yes, I took my yiuppie ex- girlfriend out to a friend chicken dinner, and she decided that I wasn’t so bad after all.

That lasted about a month before shit went down again, and my puppy dog head needed to be petted, and now here I was walking to work, pounding vodka as fast as I could. It was hot out and unbearably humid. Michigan is always soo humid. Not like Georgia, were it’s so hot alight. It gets so hot that it doesn’t even seem humid. Michigan is just shitty mosquito humid. I was trying to not break down because of the again break up, when I passed a tree. A tree that has never done anything to me, however it was there and so was my first, to meet against the trunk, and I yelled fuck! Because punching trees solves nothing. All in all, I'm not sure what I thought I’d gain with Sarah. Maybe it was because I liked the idea of having a responsible, hot, classy girlfriend with no personality or impulsions, someone who is completely driven by money and social status. Maybe deep down inside I lusted for that too. However, that conflicted with my whole ethics of “fuck the system” or whatever bullshit ideal I had of what counter culture was. I wasn’t going against the grain, I really wanted no part of the yuppies, or the punks or the hippies or whatever. I don’t really think any of them are right. I just want to see the world and meet the occasional people I meet and live my life from day to day as my mortality allows. That’s not a lot to ask for.

I walked into the kitchen of the restaurant I worked at. Matt, Sarah’s ex, who was the also the night manager was standing there.

“OH HI MATT” I yelled across the kitchen.

“are you drunk?” he politely asked.

“FUCK YEAH I AM! Can I bum a cigarette? “ I shot back.

“uhhh…I guess…you don’t smoke.” He said looking me up and down.

“Give me a fucking cigarette Matt.” I said, lowering my face, but still looking forward into his eyes.

He handed over a smoke, and I lit it in the kitchen, he just stared at me longer.

“what the hell is wrong with you?” he asked.

I just stared back him, probably looking like I was ready to slice his throat.

“oh…did Sarah dump you again?” he asked.

With out saying anything, I smiled, turned around and headed back out the door. But not before punching my fist through the drywall adjacent to the door.

“How drunk are you?” he slowly said, obviously not wanting to deal with me.

“Matt….I am a host at this piece of shit bar and grill. My girlfriend just dumped me. We are like you know, equals or something. I can work. I'm not like Tim who keeps a pint of vodka in his wait apron because He's trying to drink his gay away.” I spat back.

“Hey man, I’m really sorry, I know how much she means to you. That really sucks. Is there anything I can do? Maybe you should take the night off.” He said.

“MAYBE YOU SHOULD TAKE THE NIGHT OFF!!!” I yelled back at him.

Rick, a band mate of mine, and co-worker, walked upon our conversation and took one look at me.

“oh shit, did Sarah dump you again?” he said, wincing.

“FUCK YOU RICK.” I screamed back.

“I…I'm sorry dude. “ he said quietly.

I sat down in the alley behind the restaurant.
I looked through my phone thinking of who to call.
Who to call….who to call…..who to call….





“oh hey dude….are, are you wasted?” he questioned.

“Oh shits yeah mang, I just, uh, well Sarah, shesa asas she dumped me again. You. Yoou wanna go to to Chicago this weekend?”
All I could think of, as she is always my escape plan with Sarah, is creepy Karla and her warm caress. Her crazy polish eyes. Her love for blood and horror movies and stuff that we bonded over that would gross most people out.

“uh….ok? sure. I’ve got nothing to do.” He confirmed.

I explained to him her dumping me, and how we were supposed to go to the family reunion together and blah blah. I told him to pick me up Thursday and we would rage for the weekend and I would try and get my dick wet with Creepy Karla.

I called Brad, who had moved to Chicago a few years previous, and made arrangements to crash with him. As for work… Fuck this place. I told Matt I was leaving and walked out. Fuck that job anyways. I think he was probably stoked I just left, as we didn’t get along usually, but for some reason he was strangely sympathetic. Maybe because he had been through the same shit with her before.

The rest of the week drunkenly came and went, and Phil came to pick me up for another debaucherous trip to Chicago. It was hot out, so we stocked up on water and weed. I had no idea what I wanted to come out of this weekend, other than I just needed to get away. I was running. I was running quickly, and had no intention of looking back. I just wanted her out of my head, out of my heart and out of my life. I wanted to just wake up and have her never existed. I was more upset at myself, for allowing myself to become so insecure, so weak, so childlike, that I beat myself up so much that I could barely stand. All because I wasn’t some lame dude with a steady job, a collard shirt, some frosty tip hair and a flavor-savor soul patch. I am an adult, so if I'm going to have facial hair, I'm going to have FUCKING FACIAL HAIR! Phil and I dorked out to new bands. Each one of us trading off tracks from new records we had acquired. He had just gotten divorced, and was in a weird place. While being married, and having a daughter he grew apart from his friends, and I think just needed some sort of release. Some sort of adventure. So of course we became friends, and instigators into retardation. The typical things that good friends do for each other. I had only known him a few months. We met during the memorial day retreat to Brad’s rich ass parents house, where we bonded over weed, babes and our mutual love for Richard Kern. He is a writer and is into Muy Thai. I have to say Phil has kept himself in great shape over the years, and has a temper as equally unbalanced to my own, so we are a pretty good duo of shit talk and limited patients.

We stopped at a BBQ joint a bit off the beaten path. A spot just classy enough to take the date you just met at the truck stop a few miles previous on the highway. I was trying to eat healthy and got some gay salad, which was silly. Here I am eating salad and Phil, whom is pretty ripped is pounding ribs. I sank into my half of the booth and wondered what dude Sarah was doing. I had always convinced myself she was out with other guys, all the time. This of course was not true. It was my own guilt of constantly hitting on, or banging other chicks behind her back because I secretly hated her, and that got projected on her, and some how in my head she was doing all the shit that I was really doing. It’s fucked up how people’s perceptions can get skewed when young, lonely, and desperate. We finished eating and had a brief chat with the waitress, who was considerably good looking, given we were in no where Michigan, off I-94, halfway between the yuppie college towns and Chicago, a town whose name comes from a French mutation of a Miami-Indian word meaning “skunk”. Ironic only because the town is built around a body of water that is constantly polluted, and lends itself to the shit show nature of its inhabitants, and here I am running to Chicago to escape Michigan, just like all the people who live there have, but they stayed, rather than just go to binge for a few days. Suckers. After some weed and jams, and lots of filling Phil in on all the things wrong between Sarah and I, and why I need this pilgrimage of self loathing so badly, we finally reach Brad’s apartment and unloaded our bodies from the car. It’s about 6 o’clock, and we get cleaned up for the evening. I decide I am going to shave, and be fresh, because I am going to try and get some Chicago strange. The funny thing about desperation is, when you care about how desperate you are, things never work out the way you want them do.

“Chuck is working the Police reunion show tonight” Brad says, “so he won’t meet up with us until later. Chuck is a paramedic, and was on call at the Police reunion show, incase shit went down. It’s fucked up that he is a paramedic. Chuck likes to drink. A LOT. It’s I guess comparable to the idea that David Lee Roth is a paramedic. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have complete faith in Chuck that he is great at his job, I know he is. But being friends with him… and knowing him outside of his ambulance is fucked up.

We hit up rock star dog and got some wieners. There is something to be said about hot dogs covered in a bunch of weird stuff that isn’t normally on hot dogs, and then named after bands. We then headed to start the night at Estelle’s. A step above a dive, but still good punk jukebox and decent clientele. I was trying to hold it together and not be that guy that cries about how he just got dumped and to related every single thing that happens around him to something that happened with his girlfriend.



We had a few beers and waited for the rest of the Chicago gang to get there. They were all Brad’s friends, who had become my friends over the years, and its nice to have a group of people whom you know ok enough, to just go hide and share with only what you want, but don’t need to get over the ice breaker awkwardness of so….what do you do….where are you from…. You can just hang out, and do your thing and medicate. I was trying to pace myself, but it wasn’t working. I did a shot with Brad. Then I did a shot with Drew. Then I did a shot with Phil. I wore sandals because it was hot out. That was probably a bad idea, because I kept stubbing my toes on everything. Chuck had just gotten off work and we went to the bar he was at.
There were a couple of prospects, but I couldn’t really bring myself to be social enough to get a girl to pay attention to me, and the whole “whoa is me I just got dumped please love me” routine is a slippery slope. Creepy Karla had to work, so she couldn’t come play. I began my drunken onslaught of trying to be cute via text message, which probably was more annoying than anything. I kept checking my phone ever 45 seconds to see if any girls were paying attention to my simple need for attention.

Drinks and drinks and things and things. You know how those nights are, where time slips away and no one quite knows where it goes. Change of location and people are starting to fade. Erin and Abby decide to go home. Some more beers please, and a little less past memories.

“Stop haunting me now / Cant shake you no how / just leave me alone” Billie holiday sang to me in my head. I stared out the front window of the bar, assuming that Sarah was fucking ten dudes at once, because she just happens to have that many holes.

“Maybe we should call Jess” Chuck says.

“Fuck you dude.” I reply.

Chuck and Erin moved to Chicago together a year previous to this. About the same time as another ex of mine did. Out of the kindness of my heart, I set her up with my friends, so she wouldn’t be alone. She of course fucked Chuck. Erin dumped Chuck, and there was a little bit of tension between everyone, because I choice to do something nice for someone who did nothing but waste my time, and always need me to take care of her.

I didn’t give a shit about Jess, but it did bother me that Chuck fucked her. Mostly because to him it was just another chick. But I dated her, and I had some emotional attachment to her, whether I wanted it or not, and that wasn’t going anywhere. I was secretly pissed. I was growing drunker and the monster inside me was starting to wake up. I was starting to run my mouth off. A dude at the bar bumped into me and I threw some elbow into him. “Shaaheeey waaatch it faggot” I yelled at him. He turned around as if he was going to step to me. Chuck and Phil were standing right there, and he took one look at us and apologized. I was starting to get that itch. You know like when you just need a release. Need to ease some tension. I was looking for things that weren’t there. Did that guy really just bump into me? Or did I just want to knock him out because Sarah dumped me, Chuck fucked my ex and I was just generally a miserable person?

“I think we are gonna head home, here is our house key” Brad said. He and his girlfriend were packing it in for the night.

“sayyya. I dontt thinksd we arewss gonna be outads much lateras dude.” I slur back.

“haha whatt? don’t be dumb.”

“Mee? I'm never dump. Err. Fuck you Brad.” I force out.

“ahh maybed wes should go home too" as I spit on the ground, turning to Phil.

“Ok, yeah maybe we should” he says, and we all walk outside.

It's pretty late. I would guess 3am.

A warm summer night. Me in my stupid sandals, and everyone is wasted. We head east down W. Chicago blvd and walk past The Continental. Chuck peers in the front window.

"Maybe we should get one more shot and some road beers" he announces.

My body is telling me no, but my mind. My mind is telling me yes.

"yeahh Chuck, letssss do that!" I shout.

Phil puts his head down laughing and agrees. Chuck walks up the bar and orders 3 shots of crown, and 3 bud lites. We pound the shots. I spin around. Wait… no my head spins around. Wait… no. My brain spins around. Something is spinning around. My feet haven’t moved. Ok. I’m standing in the same spot.


"Just put your beer in your pocket" Chuck instructs.

"SOKKKAY" I respond.

We walk outside and down the block The Village Pizza sign is glowing like the land of antiquity.

"WE NEED PIZZA" I scream, thinking that pizza will soak up some of the failure to keep up with life.

The lights are bright as we walk in. Almost so bright that an asshole would put sun-glasses on to look at the illuminated menu.

"HAWAIIAN PIZZA PLEASE. LOTS OF BACON!!!" I yell at the casher.
He grins and acknowledges my demand. It's late enough that the heat has died down, and it’s beautiful outside. Rather than sit inside and eat, we take our feast outside to the patio tables, right next to the parking lot. There are 3 white patio tables. Each about 6 feet across. They are all in a row. Each table has 4 wooden folding chairs. We choose the northern most table. We unsystematically chose our seats. I chose the seat closest to me, which is at the southwest edge of the table. Chuck sits to my left, however, leaving one of the wooden folding chairs in-between us. Phil sits directly across from me. If you were to section the table off, we would be making a perfect 90degree triangle. We don’t so much as utter a word as we dig into our pizza. A small group sits down at the table next to us. I am huddled over my food eating as fast as I can. The group that has now entered our pizza sanctuary consists of one beautiful dark haired female, approximately 25 years old. She is wearing a dark blue shirt showing off her midriff, has decent breasts, and sharp cheekbones. She sits down on the north east side of their table. With her, is a rather portly male, roughly the same age. He is wearing a white shirt, thin rimmed glasses, and Chicago cubs baseball cap. He with a thud, sits down heavily right next to me. Across from the portly man, there a third male, also about the same age, is at least 6"5', and ripped as fuck. This individual is huge. Tight black shirt, slicked back hair, and looks like he could be the girls boyfriend. He sits directly in-between the other two, on the south east side of their table, and is the furthest person from me. Conversation between us continues and our neighbors begin their own conversation.
Our conversation is interrupted by a burst of the fat one yelling "I don’t give a fuck where she is from, fuck Montreal, I can’t stand French Canadians."

We all look up at each other and exchange glances that speak of "why does this man hate Canada? It is so cheap and people are so friendly".

"Whaaa Whets wrong with Montreal?" I ask.

The fat man turns around and says "it’s full of French Canadians, and what the fuck do you care?"

"Well ssss sisir, I have a good friend who is FFFFrench Canadian, and sssshe is from Montreal" I smoothly respond looking him in the eye.

"Good for you. Fuck them." he responds.

My tolerance for life is wearing thin, and I look directly across the table at Phil, who is commenting to the brunette girl on how her beautiful eyes. The large ripped guy is not paying any attention while he eats. I slowly pull my pocketknife out of my right pocket as I chew on my slice. I whip out the blade and stab it into the table next to my plate, and calmly say, "You know I would never get into a fight with food on my plate."

Chuck looks at me like "what the fuck dude".

Phil acknowledges me and says "of course not"

I take the last bite of crust, slowly standing up.
The fat man behind me, looks up from his food, and our eyes meet.
Phil’s face follows my hands.
Chuck’s eyes meet mine.

I look up at the sky. It is a city midnight blue. The orange of the streetlights blind the stars, but I know that they are there.

I reach to my left and slowly pick up the folding chair.

I turn towards this fat man, who has insulted a city I've never been too. A man who has insulted a friend that I haven’t talked to in years. A man who's only existence at this moment in time, is to try and destroy any humanity I have left in my thin lonely soul.

As the chair rises above my head, Phil’s eyes bulge out of his face. Chuck slowly stands up behind me. The girls perfect lips on her perfect mouth spread open as her jaw drops. The large ripped man is still sitting. The fat man is still fat.

As I bring the chair down, there is not one thought in my head. For a second, there is no Sarah. There is no desperation. There is no strife. There is no money. There is no hunger. There is stress. There is no fleeting photography career. There is only an empty canvas, in which any thing is possible. There is clarity. There is only me. This chair.,, and this fat mans head.

The chair came down over this mans head with most likely the most amount of force my drunk young arms could initiate. The bottom right leg caught his cheek bone and blood sprayed through the air like it was a garden hose spraying water all over the sunflowers that grew in my neighbors yard back in Michigan.

I looked up as the chair left my hands and shattered into countless pieces over this innocently guilty man.

The large ripped man flew across the table. He looked like super man, with his right fist clenched flying through the air, and in one leap connected his fist with my face. He suddenly had on a cape.

I heard the brunette scream.

My knees gave out under me and I slowly fell backwards, a parking lot light blinding me from what bomb I just dropped on the pizza shop. My head hit the pavement and rattled me sober. I sat up and felt warm blood running down my right arm.

The fat man was on the ground with blood all over his face.

The girl was hysterically screaming, and still looked beautiful.
The large ripped man had Phil on the ground punching him in the head.

"WHAT THE FUCK" he yelled!

Chuck jumped through the air knocking the large ripped man off of Phil.



I bolted.
The part of my brain that has some common sense told the other part of my brain who was fucked up and sad to run.

I ran.
I ran and ran and ran.
I fell.
I rolled into the street.
One cannot run in sandals when heavily intoxicated, especially after being punched in the face.


I ran some more.
I finally lost my breath and collapse, at what I thought was a safe distance away. I crawled behind a dumpster in someone's backyard. I could hear the police. I could hear the dogs. I could hear the search helicopter.


The noise of the pursuit was making me deaf.

My cell phone rang.
I in astonishment pulled it out of my pocket, unbroken.
The caller ID said "Phil Day"

"Hell, hello?" I said.

"WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?" he laughed into the phone.

"Youuauah dddddon’t understandsss Phil!! PHILL it’sssss aaah casssss of Sarah. Whyyyyy won’t ssssshe love me? Whyssss she she she beeeing so meannnn?!"

"WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?" he screamed at me.

"IIIIIIIII am a sosssssorry Phil. It’ssssss casssss ooof Sarah! She makes me so so so sad" I said.

"FUCK HER" he yelled.

"Chuck, Chuck proooobably already did" I responded.

"DUDE WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?!" he asked again.

"I......I dont knowww. I'mmmma behindddd a dumpsterrrrr."

"Stay there. We are coming to find you."

"Okay." I laid down. I was probably lying on used condoms, and needles or some discharged baby, anything the gross streets of Chicago barfed and swept behind this dumpster. Anything at this point was better than jail.

I don’t know how Phil and Chuck found me, but they did.
The pulled me up and dusted me off, in that way that only happens in cartoons. I was fading in an out.

"Let me see your arm" Chuck said.

He pulled a few long bandages out of his cargo shorts pocket he happened to have on him from working the Police show, and fixed up my arm.

“Imma soo soo soo sorry” I slurred.

Phil had a black eye. Chuck had some small cuts on his face.

“It’s because of her!!!..................I’m so so sorry guys…….I don’t wanna go to jail!!!” I wailed.

Phil was dying laughing.

“Whaaaaaaasssssssss soo funny?” I trembled.

“You smashed a chair over that dudes head, for NO reason. That other dude supermaned the table, punched you out, and the next thing we know you are GONE.”

“I’mmmmm sooo sooo sorry” I cried.

“Shut up” yelled Phil.

“Listen” he explained “So the big dude has me on the ground punching me, and we just kind of at the same time are like….wait….why are we fighting?” and the dude gets off me and is all like ‘ where did your bro go?’

Chuck butts in “we were just like, dude! didn’t even know that dude!!!, we met him at the bar, and he wanted pizza, and we wanted pizza, so we came and got pizza together, and now we are beating the shit out of each other because of some dude that we didn’t know, that took off running.”

“Whaaat?” I said, trying to understand what he was saying.

“I was just like, FUCK THAT” Chuck continued, “We were all like, we are gonna find that kid and kick the shit out of him, because he got us in this shit?”

“Wait wait wait wait.” I stammered “You told the big dude that you didn’t know me, and that I wanted pizza?”

“Yeah” Chuck and Phil said together.

“Why?” I asked.
“So he wouldn’t come find you and pound the shit out of you for breaking a chair over his friends head!” Chuck yelled.

“I’m so so sorry guys” I said in tears. “It’s all because of Sarah. I'm so sorry. I just lost it.”

“Shut up,” barked Phil. “I haven’t gotten to punch a dude in a long time”.

“But you have a black eye” I said.

“Who gives a shit!!! That was the most fun I've had in a long time!” Phil yelled, triumphant that some adventure finally came his way.

“But…but but…” I stammered.

“No buts. That shit was hilarious. You seemed so calm, and in a flash you fucking smashed that dude over the head!” Chuck laughed.

“Wait…is he ok?!” I was trying hard not to burst into tears.
“well… I mean, you fucked him up, and broke his glasses. About another inch up his cheek bone and you would have stuck the chair leg through is eye, and he’d probably be blind.”

I started balling.

“It’s all because of Sarah!” I cried. “I'm so so sorry!”

“Dude! Stop!” Phil said grabbing me.

“Look. You bolted. They were wasted. We are wasted. The cops didn’t come. You got away. That dude will be ok. We had fun. You had fun…..well you didn’t have fun. But seriously, that was the craziest shit I've seen in a long time.”

The birds began chirping.
The sun was rising.
I’ve seen more sun rises in Chicago than anywhere else in the world.
It was a very mild Thursday night, in the middle of October. Thursday as anyone who has been to college, or is now just a burn out, is the beginning of the four-day party weekend. This particular Thursday was my buddy Kyle’s 30th birthday. Lauren, the girl I was dating at the time, also one of the few that I have nothing bad to say about, who is now a school teacher educating the prepubescent scum of Flint Michigan, came into town for the celebration and we got Burritos from the new Burrito spot that just opened, thus prepping my stomach for the hell I would later deliver to my liver. We arrived at our friend’s swanky Ann Arbor loft, and pounded these Mexican treats as we discussed the ticket situation. We were to attend a rock show in Detroit, to which everyone but me had tickets for the show in Detroit we were all to attend. My buddy Jake informed me he was on the guest list, and I could be his guest, so he was going to ride with us to Detroit. Earlier in the day, I had worked at the shitty one-hour photolab, which was located inside the Midwest’s famous 24-hour thrifty acre goods megastore, to which I had months before, figured out a nice little scam to steal liquor, specifically my current favorite, Royal Canadian blended whiskey. In the photolab, there are certain items that have a fluxating price, such as digital prints. These items are all listed under a general register scan code, in which, when scanned, the clerk enters the price, thus one could charge whatever they wanted for the item. This is quite common at many retail outlets, as it saves time programming the computers. Now if you scan this barcode before you scan other items (such as whiskey), and then don’t enter a price, the computer not proceed to the next screen, however, the receipt will advance, and visually to the security cameras, it appears to be a legit sale. After all items one wishes to acquire, are entered, the clerk can enter whatever price the buyer agrees to pay, such as a quarter. One now has a receipt, and with the slight of hand, can walk right out the door with receipt (which no one checks) and be on their way, as most the greeters are retired, can’t read, or stoned. This night was another usual whiskey scam night, and I had in tow, a fifth of Royal Canadian, and was ready to rage. Our other friends gathered, including Ben, who was on a week leave from the Navy, Kyle’s younger cage fighting brother Owen, as well as their sister and her husband, and then Jake, Lauren and myself. My favorite drink combination was mixing Canadian whiskey, with Faygo Red Pop. Faygo has now become synonymous with the Insane Clown Posse, who have unfortunately given the Detroit soda company a bad image to anyone outside of the Metro Detroit area, because they are possibly the worst thing to ever happen to American culture. Worse than the Bush family. Worse than cocaine. Worse than making weed illegal and racially blaming Mexicans and Blacks as the reason behind it. However, this was my drink, and at the time, I fucking loved that shit. It was also kind of hilarious because it turned your mouth red and kind of looked like one had a mouthful of blood. We all piled into the car, and I as a young man, began to pound my Faygo-Whiskey. The drive to Detroit takes a little over a half an hour, and in this time I drank the most of my bottle, and was starting to get awesome. We arrived at the Magic Stick, found parking and made our way to the bar. We all did a celebratory whiskey shot, and went next door to the Majestic Theatre for the show. Jake of course was not on the guest list, and he and I were kind of fucked as everyone else had tickets. An awesome moment of genius swept over me.

“Lauren, how bad do you really want to go to this show?” I asked.

“Well…I mean, I guess I don’t really care, I just got a tickets because that’s what we were doing for the birthday…”

I cut her off, “ We could make some money on this.”

“Okay, I guess so” she replied.
“So I can sell these?..... I mean we could pay for the rest of the night with this…..”
“Okay okay” she huffed.

I grabbed the tickets out of her hand and went outside to the growing line of dorks.


This whiskey was starting to take a hold of me and I was feeling great. I was going to take Detroit by horns and destroy it. I heard a voice behind me call my name.

I turned around. It was this girl that lived in Ann Arbor. I was NOT friends with her. I knew her strictly through someone else, because she sold weed. We went to a party at her house one night and took everything we could grab and stuffed it into her washing machine and turned it on full blast. We also rolled a downed telephone pole up onto her front porch (that was a five man effort.) I don’t believe she knew I had anything to do with these acts, considering she wanted to now buy these concert tickets.

“How much do you want for them?” she politely asked.
“$80 bucks…” she trailed off looking for a deal.
“SOLD!!!!!!!!!” I screamed and grabbed the money out of her hand.
“HAAAVEA FUN GIRL!” I yelled as I ran off.
I met Lauren back in the bar, and she inquired as to how much I made.
“I just got $80 bucks baby girl” I replied, ecstatic.
“WHAT!?, I only paid ten bucks each for those.” She said.
“I guess we win.” I said.

Kyle and everyone else we were with found out how much I had sold the tickets for and decided they would also sell theirs, pocket the cash and put it towards the night. I have no idea how much everyone cashed in, but I know the night paid for itself. There is a bowling alley at the Magic Stick, and we decided to just go bowling and drink instead. We ran into a few other friends at the bar, and shots were done. Tequila to be exact. Why be specific? Because it is one of the last things I clearly remember. There were three shot glasses lined up. All of tequila. I did all three.




I then pounded a 22oz of rolling rock, and we started to bowl.
I am amazing when I am drunk bowling, except I have this problem where I like to throw the ball really high.
REALLY high.
A few frames in, the security guy at the bar came over to warn me that I was throwing the ball too high and needed to settle down.
“ILL TELL YOU WHEN TO SETTLE DOWN!” I yelled back him.
Kyle grabbed me and told me to shut up. I bowled my turn, and the security guy came over once again and gave me my last warning to cool out. Ben suggested more shots, and we went to the bar.

“WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” he screamed into the face of some sad looking emo kid at the top of his lungs.

Ben ordered the shots, and another round of beers. We all did our shots. We went back to the lines, and it was Ben’s turn to bowl. He got done and I felt that, even though he was in the Navy now, I could take him out, and so I tackled him from behind. He countered this and got me in some sort of wizard hold. I mustered the strength to flip him over, and was on top of him just long enough to feel the disruption in my stomach tell me to knock it off. I was just about to yell “uncle” when something came forcefully raging from my gut, up my throat, out of my mouth and onto Bens face. He pushed me off from him, and with a shocked look began laughing and screaming that he was going to kill me. Everyone else in the bar was starting at us. I came too and realized I had just spit up a bit of barf on his face. I quickly apologized and got him napkins from the bar. He laughed it off, and was a good sport (thank god, because he really could have killed me) and punched me and told me it was my turn to bowl. The ball was orange. The DJ was playing the Dead Kennedy’s. Holiday in Cambodia. My stomach felt like Cambodia. It was turning, and turning and turning and turning for the worst. The burrito I had eaten earlier was still in Burrito form in my gut, and did not want to be there anymore. I grabbed the bowling ball and walked up to the lane. I concentrated hard. I was reminding myself not to throw the ball too high. I was telling myself that I wasn’t going to throw up. I was telling myself that I wasn’t going to throw the ball high. I was telling myself I wasn’t going to throw up, I wasn’t going to throw up, keep the ball on the lane, don’t throw up the ball high. I took a deep breath and moved forward, the motion of me pulling my arm back before I launched the ball the down the lane was too much, and as I brought the ball forward to release it, I pulled it up close to my face, as is one’s reacting to projecting vomit. The entire burrito infused with Faygo red pop and whiskey came out at once, all over this beautiful orange bowling ball. I shook my head and let the ball go down the lane. I blacked out. The entire bar spun. I felt a hand on my shoulder. It wasn’t a familiar hand. It was an authoritive hand. I turned around to see a figure wearing yellow (the security shirts of the stick) grabbing me, and informing me that I had to leave. I tried to break away. He grabbed my arm and dragged me towards the front door, and pushed me outside. I wasn’t exactly sure as to what was going on, as much as in an instant, I knew what I had to do.

I removed my pants, pulled my dick out, and waved it around to everyone. There was an orange Corvette parked outside of the bar. I ran over and started humping the car.

Lauren ran outside after me and got me to put my pants back on, and told everyone she was going to take me for a walk. I didn’t want to go for a walk. I was on a rampage. I was going to take on the city of Detroit. I broke free from her and ran into the show we were supposed to go too. I tried to force my way through the door, and security grabbed me and threw me back out into the street, and I just took off running. I didn’t know where I was running too but I was determined to walk the night. The dark surrounded me, and I was suddenly not in control of my body.

The damp grass felt cool against my face. It was soft, and inviting, and made me feel at home, like I was someplace more comfortable. I could see orange lights above me that seemed to be spinning, I tried to reach for them, but I couldn’t move. There were strange figures above me. They looked human, but their faces were distorted, and they all seemed to be shaped unlike anyone I had seen before. There were about five of them. I felt a hand running its fingers through my hair. This was a nice place. The figures began to speak, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying, it seemed like some sort of moon language.

Panic set in.
Where was I?

I heard one of the creatures say my name. It told me to arise, and come to them.
“I can’t move” I said, “I am paralyzed”, not only with fear of what I believed to be experiencing, but also because I really couldn’t.
“Yes, yes you can” the soft voice spoke.
I slowly stood up, trying to wipe the sleep from my eyes. I began to focus when I heard a familiar voice.

I felt a hand touch my face, and I came too. It was Lauren, petting me like a baby needing attention to know that it is alive.

My eyes fully open, I felt a fist hit my arm.

I fully came too, and realized I was in the grass, in the area in front of the parking structure behind the magic stick.

“What the fuck” I yelled.
“You all like took off and shit”, Owen explained, “they kicked you out after you barfed on the ball, and you ran outside and took your pants off and then took off running down the block, and we’ve been looking for you for like an hour and shit.” He explained.

“Oh….”, which is all I could bring myself to say. “Uh, who…..who won bbowwwwling?”

“We should probably get him home” Lauren said.

The darkness surrounded me again.

The feeling of jeans rubbing up against my face.
The smell of pot.
The sounds of laughter and “The Red Sea” by ISIS invaded my senses, as my cloudy brain slowly pieced together that I was lying down, and in some sort of a moving box.

“YOU SMELL LIKE SHIT” I heard someone yell.

“HE WONT STOP FARTING” came another voice.

I felt a hand touch my face. It was familiar and I recognized the scent. It was Lauren. Good old Lauren. She was a good caretaker. I came out of my fog, and was able to look up at her. My face was buried in her lap, and everything was moving faster than I could process.

“DUDE STOP FARTING”, Jake yelled as I felt a fist to my arm.

“Whaa whaaaa uhhh?” I kind of asked.

“Smells like that burrito is making it’s way out” Lauren spoke softly. She was my savior right now.

The car stopped. Everyone got out. I tried to sit up. I kind of rolled off Lauren, and she told me to stay in the car. There was an orange glow outside of the car. Ben had one of those hip hybrid third Reich looking jeep things. You know the ones where you can round up Jews and help the environment at the same time. I awoke to everyone piling back into the car. Another girls voice rang “I’ll see you guys later, thanks for stopping by.” I heard a dog bark. Little did I know, that this voice would soon be the source of many problems in my life a year or so down the line. We left this place, and continued back to Ann Arbor. My world flipped over, and luckily, because the left side of my brain must like me more than the right side FACT CHECK, and sent a signal to the rest of my body to shut down before my stomach could belt out “BRAINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN, THERE ARE SOME MEXICIAN TERRORISTS (find another word) DOWN HERE, AND THEY ARE HAVING A CILVIL WAR. I THINK THE TEQUILA IS ABOUT TO SEIOUSLY FUCK UP THE BURRITO. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! SEND HELP!”
But my brain new this was coming, and pulled the plug on my consciousness before stomachs message could arrive, and I passed out hard.
We finally arrived, and by finally I woke up and we were back in Ann Arbor, outside of the 8 Ball Saloon, a place at this point in my life, I spent more time at, than my own home. I could see the sign, and tried to hop out of the car as soon as it stopped.
“OHHHH YEAHHH 8 BALLLL, LETS DO SHOOOOOTTSS” I yelled, as my legs, which obviously were still on civil war lock down, didn’t get the message from brain, and buckled underneath me. I tumbled to the ground laying face up, a position that I have been in more than once outside of this particular bar.

“Ohhhh no we don’t. You are done dude,” Lauren commanded.

Lauren and Ben scooped me up, and tossed me helplessly into the backseat of his assault vehicle. He drove us back to her friend Annie’s house, and helped Lauren carry me into Annie’s living room where they dropped me on the floor, and I stayed for the remainder of the night. Her carpet was soft against my face. A little boo boo kitty cat rubbed against my hand. This right here, I thought, this is all right.

“WAKE UP!” I heard Lauren say, as she nudged me with her foot. “We are going to eat.”

“Whaaaa….what time is it?” I stammered.

“About 9:15am” she replied.
“Why the shit are we awake?” I asked.
“Well not all of us sleep all day” she sneered.

I used all my strength to pull myself off the floor, and get to the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and looked into the mirror.

“I HATE YOU”, I yelled at my reflection.

We piled into Lauren’s car, and went to this diner, that used to be where Iggy Pop sold drugs in the 70’s. Now it’s just this yuppie fake ass Greek place. We were seated and all I could muster to say was “I need water.”
I looked at the menu. Crappy photos of gross food decorated the pages. Everything looked like barf. Everything sounded terrible.
I ordered toast. That seemed safe, and I needed to get something into my belly full of hell.
Lauren and Annie laughed at my plight, and I sank into the booth as far as I could, trying to disappear and meditate on something besides wanting to die.
I took a bite of toast and looked across the diner. There was one other family eating, with two little girls. Our waitress was kind of hot, and I was doing my best to keep my shit together. I took a sip of water and felt the first gurgle.


The call was made; I knew what was to come. I slowly stood up and locked eyes with Lauren. She smiled and I turned and started to float across the diner.
Only 15 more feet I thought. Hold it together…. you can do it.


I started walking faster and then it came.
The first wave, so so slowly made its way up from my stomach, through my esophagus and crept into the back of my mouth. I was almost to the bathroom and didn’t want to inconvenience the wait staff, so once the vomit entered my mouth, I clenched my teeth, and held it.
I got to the bathroom and almost knocked the door down. I made it to the first stall I came to, and let loose. Barf came out of my mouth, my nose, my eyes and possibly my ears. It splashed on the toilet seat, the bowl, and the floor. The sound of liquid meeting solid, was deafening. Adrenaline set in, and I was sweating like a beast. My face was beet red, and the vomit would not stop. I had throw up all over my shoes, and my shirt. I look like it came straight out of a stab wound in my gut, rather than out of my mouth. I finally got control over my body, and was able to take a deep breath and hold the intruders back. Then round two. Except this was an orange alert from my intestine. Apparently the stomach was forced to shut down, and the passage to my mouth cut off, so there was only one other escape hatch for this war to be flushed. There was no way for me to clean off the toilet in time before this second reversal bomb was to be set off, so I ran to the next, and only other stall. I threw down my pants, and in a gymnastic like move mounted the toilet bowl. The burrito/tequila blended mix, shot out of me like a fire hose, and relief started to finally set in. With this sweet relief came the clearing of my nostrils, as my senses began to chill out, which meant that I could smell the fluid from my battle. The smell of this cleared the passage of the collapsed stomach and forced a last ditch effort to rid it of all that was unholy. I grabbed a wastebasket and pulled it close to me, squirting from both ends, almost in tears from the burning, and how funny this actually was. It’s good to have a sense of humor about pain. Within my panic to relieve myself of all that was destroying my insides, I didn’t realize I hadn’t shut the stall door. That’s when I heard the sound of screams. Two high pitched, ear shattering screams of terror. Since I had not shut the door, I could see the young spirits who witnessed the shock of their lives, and that’s when it hit me that not only was I covered in vomit, shitting my ass off in this crappy overpriced yuppie diner, but I had also gone in the women’s room, as the young girls whom I had seen eating their breakfast of scrambie eggs and sausage links, were now staring me in the face. I slammed the door, and grabbed a fist full of toilet paper, trying viciously to clean myself up as fast as possible. I ran to the sink and stuck my face under the facet, scrubbing all the puke off my face. Thankfully the young girls hadn’t stuck around to gawk like adults would, enjoying the misery of a fallen contemporary. Once I was as presentable as possible, I burst threw the door, and beelined it to the entrance, not making eye contact with anyone. I saw Lauren and Annie outside.
“You realize you went in the women’s room right?” Lauren choked on her own laughter.
“Yeah…I got it.” I set out of breath and dehydrated.
“What time is it?” I asked.
“About 10:30”.
“Shit I have to be to work at Noon. Can you drive me home?”
“Yeah dude, of course.”
Lauren is a good one.
[amazing grace]

“But dude, seriously, Hank Stanier was so good in Helmet”
Dave barked at me, as I was trying to decide why haphazard outfit might draw some female attention to me. Sarah and I had been broken up for about a month, and I was pretty fucked up but trying to just plow threw any females I could, which was none because I was too pathetic to actually bring my self together to deliver “game” or whatever the shit that means, and I had kind of started sleeping with this Jew chick, which was nice and she was fun, but totally insane (as Jewish chicks are) and I hadn’t really decided if I was into her, or she was just a good distraction.

“Yeah dude. I get it. That guy is great” I called out from my refrigerator size bedroom.

“SERIOUSLY” he yelled back “duuuuuude, probably one of my favorite drummers ever”.

We were going to the blind pig to see Battles, which had the drummer from Helmet, and a dude from Don Cab. Who did in fact rule hard.

For one reason or another my roommate at the time had a huge JUG of raspberry vodka. Amy, whom I liked to call “little panda” because she was cute and Asian and little, had taken me in, after Sarah dumped me for the 20th time and Nikki my former roommate confessed her love to me after we accidentally got wasted and fucked for like a week straight, because Sarah was being a bitch and I wasn’t living up to her expectations as an “artist boyfriend” or whatever. Nikki had texted me after we got done fooling around one night “I love you”, to which I immediately deleted. It kind of scared the shit out of me, because she had become like my best friend sister type. We had slept together once a few years before that by accident. What had happened was, Jen my on again off again girlfriend at the time was being insanely dramatic and throwing a temper tantrum, because she probably ran out of the SoCo she had snuck into the bar in her purse, and I got pissed, and left the bar we were at and I went over to Nikki’s, because I was trying to lurk up on her roommate Dana. The funny thing about this was that Jen’s car got stolen that night, and while I was laying into Nikki, because Dana wasn’t home and I don’t think she was into me anyways, and Nikki was drunk and well…it just happened. Jen called me about 35 times wasted trying to get me to help her go to the police and report it stolen. I came too the next morning and didn’t bother calling her back. They found it a few days later with some minor dings and a few empty packs of Newport’s, a bottle of Hennessey, and a Dirty Glove Entertainment Mix CD on the dashboard. Nikki and I never spoke of this night, but a few years later we lived together and once again, we both need a warm body. She ended up getting a job in Georgia, and with a few weeks notice informed me that she was over me, and was moving and that I had to find a new place to live. I had been working with Amy at a terrible “Americana” restaurant. I don’t even know what that means. White people food? Made from the blood of slaughtered Indians? Amy lived in the bottom half of a house, it was small and cozy and she had this cat, that was the fattest cat I’ve ever seen, and we sat around a lot and smoked spiffs and watched TV, and she listened to me bitch. She was good company, and I actually really enjoyed living with her. Plus we hadn’t gotten drunk and fucked yet, which I think had I not moved out two months later, was bound to happen. Sarah and her were good friends, so that would have been hilarious, and not the first time.

“This raspberry vodka is fucking great” Dave yelled, using his high voice, which meant he was excited. I looked in the mirror one last time and made sure my hair looked right. My beard just scruffy enough to look like I didn’t give a shit, but really I just wanted someone to sleep next to, and the final touch, a splash of colonge, because you know chicks totally love Battles, and dudes that smell good?

I was feeling a bit drunk, and Dave was excited and I was trying to figure out if I should pound another drink or just go to the show. I had packed my camera earlier but had to recheck the bag 3 more times before we left.

This night we were responsible and walked to the blind pig, because it really wasn’t THAT cold out yet, or that far, and I knew we were gonna get hammered.

“But not TOO hammered Dave, because tomorrow is my Dads birthday” I said.

“Dude. I have a tattoo appointment at like 1pm tomorrow so I’m going to take it easy.” He replied.

I remember being on the side of the stage, photographing the band, and I remember then being in the back of the bar, cheers-ing Dave on how awesome we were, and how everyone else could fuck off because we really were the best people I knew.

I woke up and was still drunk. I had on a brown cardigan, which I hadn’t had on the night before. Dave wasn’t on our couch anymore and as soon as I got my thoughts together I saw he had called my phone. I called him back and he told me that he had left like an hour ago and was on his way to his tattoo appointment.

I heard a car pull into our driveway.
It was my parents.
I ran outside and told them to give me just a minute.
I was still really drunk.

We were going to an old car museum in Indiana, which actually seemed fun, and my parents are pretty hilarious.

Dave called me to tell me that he got to his tattoo appointment, in which he was working on his sleeves and was supposed to have shading on his inner lower arms done, and as soon as the dude touched the needle to Dave’s skin he started crying because he was so hung over and it hurt so bad. I was dying laughing and my folks didn’t understand why this was so funny, but I was still kind of drunk and was trying to explain that Dave was crying because he was hung over and wasted and everything was so funny and painful and my head was spinning and then Sarah wouldn’t respond to all the drunk texts that I sent her and I finally called her and yelled at her and then my Dad got pissed and told me the hang up the phone, so I rolled down the window and I threw my phone out the window as far as I could. He slammed on the breaks and told me to get out of the car.


He told me I needed to cool down. Which I suppose he was right, and I was being an asshole, and it was his birthday.
After my little episode, I found my phone, which incredibly was still in tact, and the rest of the day, though I was hung-over, was very enjoyable and I had a good old time with my parents.

We were driving back to Ann Arbor, and it was dusk and the deer were starting to wake up and mill about. Hank called me, and asked what I was doing.

“Heading back to Ann Arbor, it’s my dads birthday and we went to Indiana to some car museum” I explained.

“That’s pretty sweet” Hank replied, “What are you doing tonight?”

“I donno man, I’m pretty hung over, why whats up?” I replied.

“Well I need a wingman. This stripper wants me to come hang out with her and I don’t really want to go alone. If you come with me, I got your drinks and shit”.

I just started giggling, as situations like this always turn out one way, and one way only. HILARIOUS. So of course I wanted to go.

“Where is the titty bar?” I asked

“Uh…. downriver…. Southgate….” he trailed off.

“HAHA. Who do you know at titty bar in Southgate?!”

“Listen man, it doesn’t matter. Do you wanna go or not?”

“Yeah man, of course. I gotta go home and shower. I’ll be over in like 2 hours.”


I sat there for a moment in deep contemplation about what Hank had just told me. A stripper. Downriver. This should be great. I was pretty excited. And sank into my seat and laughed to myself.

Downriver is the worst place in Michigan. If you are from the east coast, then it’s kind of like northern New Jersey. Not like the nice pretty part that is away from everything. But like the shitty industrial wasteland part Bruce Springsteen is always crying about. Downriver is all strip malls and white trash. Everyone is about 20 years behind, and honestly don’t give a fuck. It’s about as far into the “Deep South” as you can get without leaving the state. It’s basically Alabama, but in Michigan. The place we were going was all Chaldean. Chaldeans are like Arabs, but they love Dragons and titties and getting fucked up. They are modern gypsies, but got into the pussy and drug market. They own all the gas stations, and 7-11s. They drive “low riders” and do everything that one would associate with rap or gangster culture, but they in fact, despise black people more than any other culture, because they know that there is no money to be made off from them. Why do I know this? I had a bar regular for a long time who was Chaldean, and he explained it all to me. He wanted to make sure I got it right. They are basically hustlers and prey on dumb white people.

I got to Hanks, and he was finishing getting ready, and by getting ready I mean he was feverishly cleaning his kitchen. “BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR” he made the birdcall noise that we greet each other with, as I walked up the stairs into the front studio room / kitchen area. Hank lived in this great loft above this shitty sports bar in Ann Arbor. I’ll put it to you this way; the beer taps came out of a wall that was covered with fire truck metal…FIRE TRUCK METAL IN A BAR. This obviously attracted an amazing clientele, who love high fives and Golden Tee. Hank was in the midst of spraying down the island counter with Comet Cleanser (name spray) for the second time, a ritual he must par take in before leaving his nest.

“SUP” he yelled really getting the scrubbing pad into any of the cracks that might somehow exist on the marble isle. His face was bright red from cleaning.

“Ughh…hung-over. Hung out with the folks today for my dads birthday” I forced out.

“THAT’S PRETTY SWEET,” he yelled back at me. Dropping the cleaning supplies running through the main studio room into his front bedroom, which overlooked Washington St. One of his windows was opening, I assume for ventilation.

“CHEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS” he screamed out the window at some unsuspecting douche bag college kids, probably wasted from watching football all day.

He turned around from the window and looked me straight in the eye and softly said “CHEDDDAR BRATS” to me. Just loud enough to hear the intensity in his voice.


He gave me this creepy smile that he does and ran back into the kitchen to finish “getting ready”.

“You got any weed?” I asked.

“IVE GOT CHEDDDDDAR BRATTTTTTTTTTTSSSSS”. He screamed, back to scrubbing.

I just looked at him, too tired to play games. I walked over to his sacred Red Bull mini fridge he had on next to his regular fridge and took out a little can of poison.

“For real…you got any weed?” I asked again.


I cut him off.

“It’s in the Egyptian looking trinket holder on the coffee table isn’t it?” I asked.

“CHEDDDDDDDDDDDDDARRRRRRRR BRATTTSSSSSSSSS” he yelled at me. I assumed this was a yes, and my assumptions were right.

“So how’d you meet this chicky poo?” I asked as I packed up a bowl.

“OHHHH well she’s a real special one.” He said sarcastically. “WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”


He continued.

“Well she was a cocktail waitress at Bazookies in Detroit, and I drunkenly gave he my phone number, and she wont stop texting me to come hangout with her so I finally said I would if it would get her to shut the fuck up and leave me alone.” He explained.

“Wait…so is she a stripper or a waitress?” I asked confused, taking another hit from the bowl.

“OHHH well, she graduated from being a cocktail waitress, got fired from Bazookies, and now is stripping at this shit hole in Southgate.” He responded, just finishing up his last minute touches on the eventual “kitchen clean before we leave the apartment” ritual.

“so we are really going to Southgate……”

“HELLLL YEAH WE ARE!” he yelled in his native hillbilly voice.

“Haha. Ok dude. I’m down.”

I finished the bowl, and he finished…. doing whatever it was that he had to do in order to walk out into the world and we were off.

I was pretty stoned, and getting sleepy. I had grabbed another Red Bull and pounded it…. but I was starting to fade. It was early too, only about 10PM.

As I previously mentioned, Southgate is like the worst place in the world. In fact the last time I had even ventured down to this shit hole, was to see Necrophagist, this German death metal band. And I only went because it was there first tour in the US ever, and they were playing this shitty DIY thrift shop / coffee house / “punk” venue. One of those all in one places that is ran by a bunch of rich 19 year old girls with shitty tattoos, so they can shed their cheerleader past and fit in or whatever. It was more like a small middle school gym, complete with snack bar, literally run by the mothers of the hipsters involved. The sound was terrible, but it was cool to see the band somewhere really small.

We finally arrived at the titty bar and I was pretty stoned, and feeling a bit sluggish, so my thought processes wasn’t really on par. We walked through the front door, the titty bar smell punching you in the face. Boobs, money, tequila, despair.

“Coat please” the girl at the door said.

“Huh? pay her dude” I said to Hank, turning towards him. After all, he did say tonight was on him, and I’m not trying to be a dick or anything but, I have a rule where I spend as little money at titty bars as possible.

“Coat PLEASE” the girl said to me again, obviously annoyed.

“HANK” I yelled.
He turned around.

“GIVE HER YOUR COAT” he yelled at me.

“I DON’T WANT TO GIVE HER MY COAT,” I yelled back at him. I was annoyed at the idea of having to give my coat to anyone, not that I had anything to hide, but I have bad posture, and oftentimes like to use my coat as a pillow to lean against.

“You have to check your coat. It’s a titty bar not fucking Denny’s” he spat back at me.

“I’ve never had to check my coat at a titty bar!” I exclaimed.

“That’s because you lived and Georgia and all the bars are full of N-“

“Is there a problem?” the girl asked, rapping her two-inch nails on the front desk.

“No” Hank shot me a look. “Give her your coat so we can go drink.”

“FINE. This is fucking ridiculous. We are in fucking Southgate.” I was pissed.

I gave her my coat. She thanked me and we headed in.
The music was terrible and loud, and there were Chaldean dudes everywhere. The landing strip was in the middle of the room, and tables surrounded it were like harbor ports on whore island shore. The first thing I noticed was that around the upper part of the walls, surrounding the whole room, there were TV’s playing the music video for whatever clicks and whistles “rap” song was playing. A novel idea. If I get bored of looking at naked chicks, I can just watch overproduced Hype Williams fisheye rip off videos. Cool I thought.

I was still pretty hung over, and feeling weird because of the pot I smoked, and the red bull I drank. Never a good combination weed and coffee, or weed and red bull, it’s an instant clusterfuck to your senses and mental ability to process anything. We walked past the landing strip and made our way to the bar. The girl dancing was busted and fit in perfectly for where we were.

Hank ordered us two vodka sodas and we parked it at the bar, with the room in full view.

“Ill be right back, I gotta go find this chick,” he said. “Stay HERE.”

Like I was going to go anywhere.
I was sitting there sipping my drink admiring how douchy everyone in the bar was.

A few songs passed and Hank came back with Amber.

“Amber this is Justin, Justin this is Amber”. (We always use fake names when we are out, always starting with “J”, I don’t know why, but it started years ago. It’s a good way to cover one’s tracks...maybe because J names are common and easy to remember?”

“Amber! what a lovely name, how original, I’ve never met a stripper named Amber before!” I exclaimed.

“Aww your so sweet honey”, she learned over and kissed me on the cheek.

This girl was ugly as fuck.
It took a lot to keep from laughing.

I looked at Hank, and he made this scrunching face thing that he does when he’s pissed, I could tell he was grinding his teeth.

Now, I’ve been friends with this dude for a long time. I consider him about, as close to being a brother as one can get. He’s had my back through a lot. This being said, I am not afraid to admit, that he’s a good-looking dude, as we both are, and picking up chicks was never a problem. In fact I’ve always been impressed with how hot some of these chicks were, so the fact that this chick was so busted kind of blew my mind. Not only blew my mind, but was incredibly entertaining. She was your typical run of the mill molested mall punk attending psych classes at local community college turned stripper. In fact almost so cookie cutter it was amazing.

“It’s time for patron!” she squealed.

I CANNOT drink Tequila. But I agreed, and she ordered us shots, of course on Hanks tab.

I was still pretty out of if, and trying to get my head straight. Hank was chatting this chick up, and I was just sitting there sipping my drink watching the girl dancing on stage. She was pretty thick blonde, fake tits and had decent moves, dancing to some shitty song that sounded familiar, I have forcefully overheard. I sank as far back into my bar stool as possible, looking up at one of the video screens, which was like a crown around the place. As I watched a familiar face came on the screen. Shirtless, white trash Mohawk…and then DIMEBAG?

I quickly sat up in my chair, and the first riff of “Cowboys from Hell” dropped and the girl began to move.

I JUMPED out of my chair. Hank burst out laughing.

If there is one thing that gets me going no matter how tired, drunk stoned, it’s Pantera. They are like drinking a pot of coffee.


Hank’s had shot out and give me some singles and the next thing I knew those two huge fake boobs were smashed against my face.

“WERE TAKING OVER THIS TOWN” Phil Anselmo screamed, and I had, never at least this day, or hour rather been more happy, because he was right, we ARE taking over this town.

Back and forth against my face the boobs slapped me, and I giggled to myself, as I never actually thought I would be in Southgate with Pantera playing and boobs bouncing off my nose. That was exactly what I needed to revive myself from my sluggish attitude. I went back to the bar, where uggo and Hank were still talking.

“I NEED MORE TEQUILA,” I yelled. The stripper got the bartenders attention, and she and I did another shot.

I was sitting back in my barstool, Hank was a few feet away, the stripper in-between us. She had on this shitty black corset, and a very high skirt. High enough that, while sitting, you could see her panties and that ripped area that connects the vagina to the buttocks was well exposed. I was pretty pumped from the girl dancing to Pantera, and kind of finally getting drunk. I suggested another shot. We did those and I was finally at the point of “having fun”.

I kept staring her panties, wondering what her vagina looked like, and then laughed to myself as I saw protruding from her vaginal area / inner thigh area I guess, a tattoo of a musical bars… a treble clef, with musical notes on it.

“So hey baby girl, what’s that tattoo of? The musical notes? Is that the riff from Cemetery Gates?” I asked.

Hank burst out laughing, almost spitting his drink on her.

“Ahh whaaat?” she asked? “Cemetery What?”

“Cemetery Gates. Is that the guitar squeal?” I responded, offended.

Hank leaned over and informed her that this was a Pantera song.

“Ohhh no silly, haha” she said trying to playing cute, which she WASN’T.

She perked up, and held her head high, and as confidently as she could look me in the eye.

“They are the notes to Amazing Grace…”


“But it’s like totally an important song. It’s like so beautiful and like spiritual and stuff….”

“BUT YOU’RE A STRIPPER” I laughed again, more amazed by hearing this than I really should have been. “So wait…. you have Amazing Grace basically tattooed on your pussy…. and that’s spiritual? Why not your arm? Or your neck? That’s like getting Jesus’ face tattooed on your vagina. I mean people pay for you to wave it in their face….”


The poor retarded stripper looked incredibly confused. She didn’t really see the problem with any of this.

“I need another drink”, I turned to the bar waving down the bartender.
“Vodka soda, shot of Makers, and a Patrone shot for Amazing Grace over here….”

“So what do you dance to?” I asked trying to change the conversation.

“Ummm well like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, ummmmm I love the Beatles” she said.

“I bet you do,” I said,
“Cheers” we did our shots.

“Do you take song requests?” I asked, totally pissed about this Amazing Grace thing, or I was just drunk and ready to start shit.

“I donno. Never really had anyone ask.”

“Well…. I’m not sure how you could possibly strip to the Beatles…but could I make some song requests?”

“Oh…well for sure!”

“How do I do that?” I asked.

“Oh you gotta talk to Markie up there in the DJ booth, he puts on all the like music for us girls to like dance to….”

Hank knew where this was headed and took a bar stool, shaking his head laughing taking a big sip of his Vodka Redbull.

“So can you like introduce me to Markie?” I asked.

“Yeah…I’m like up next to dance anyways, so like I’ll take you to him….”

“Yeah…. So do it.”

She took me by the hand, and led me to the DJ booth, which was I guess cute, but also disgusting because who knew how many dicks that hand had been on already tonight, it was like a dick high five.

“Oh hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeee Markie!” she said in a stupid voice.

“Hey Tulip, come give daddy some sugar” he said, reaching out for her.

I looked up into the booth.

“HOLY SHIT” thought.
Markie, the strip club DJ, was kind of the most amazing person I’ve ever seen. This dude was about 6”2’, 300 pounds, black trench coat, hair pulled back into a ponytail that reached almost his ass, and was missing his two front lower incisors, and his upper left canine. He had a few days stubble of a beard, and a flavor savor that seemed to start from inside his mouth. He had a hair lip that seemed to not be corrected properly and had a pretty great southern draw. He also had on these black sunglasses that probably had some awesome name like “Lazer” or something that wrapped around his head, some shit you would need if you were gonna like play volleyball in 1988 or ride a crotch rocket, now.

“Markie, I'mmm about to um like dance next, and this cutie right here wanted to make some requests….”

“Hey dude I’m James….”

“I thought your name was Justin…” she butt in

“It is…. Justin James…you uh…know JJ….” I blurted out.

“What can I uh do for ya boy?” he asked.

I ecstatically explained; “Well you just played Pantera, so I figured you were a metal head and I wanted to make some song requests…. you know…. help you have a better night by listening to some sick jams….”

“BOOOOOY, I’ve been DJing here for 13 years. I DON’T HAVE GOOD NIGHTS” his voice booming like he had been waiting all day to yell at someone.

Tulip or whatever the fuck her name giggled.
I just kind of stood there trying to understand why he had been working there for 13 years. Was it maybe because half these strippers were probably his daughters…? Or cocaine?

“Well boy…. what is it…. what are you DYING to hear….” Markie asked.

“Well…. could I hear Black No. 1, by Type-O negative”.

“Ah…a classic” he said.

“Cool thanks man…and also could I-”

“Two request?!” he jumped in.

“Well I…”

“Boy you are pushing it….” He said annoyed.

“Could you possibly play Creeping Death by Metallica…”

“Ah shit. That’s Ride The Lightening isn’t it?” he responded, seemingly relieved that I picked a good jam, and a long jam.

“GODDAMN RIDE THE LIGHTENING! That one is right here to me” as he pounded his fist into where I guess his trench coat heart would be. Maybe he fathered some of these girls to it?

“I’ll see what I can do boy….” He said shutting the door to the DJ booth.

“I love Markie, he’s so funny…” Amber Tulip retard giggled.

“I have to go get ready” she kissed me on the cheek and ran off.

I went back to the bar and took my seat next to Hank.

“SUPPPPPPP” he greeted me.

“SUPPPPPPPPP. I just met the most AMAZING DJ EVER” and told him about Markie.

“That’s pretty sweeeeet” Hank replied.

I took my seat, ordered another drink and we waited for Amber to take the stage, or pole, or whatever the landing strip is called.

“So what did you request?” Hank asked

“It’s a surprise. Consider it a present.” We both had this thing where we once wasted, loved to listen to Type O negative.


Peter Steel’s face flashes on the video screens and the intro bass line drops. His mouth opens and his deep voice slowly utters. “I went looking for trouble…. and boy I found her………….She like’s the dark…” his sharp word pronunciation, like a razor.

Hank who had just taken a sip of his second vodka Redbull, spit out his drink out upon hearing this, and turned to me.

“SERIOUSLY?!” he burst out laughing.


“You really got him to play Type O?”

“Well it’s fucking playing isn’t it!!!!!”

Amber struggled to find the beat, and struggled to do some sort of sexy dance, or whatever it was she was trying to do wiggling around up there like a fish out of water in the desert. It was clear she wasn’t a professional dancer yet… those off Broadway dreams still a sour limelight away.

Strippers are usually born one of two ways (or both):

“When I grow up I want to be a professional dancer.” But, in living color hasn’t been on the air in 15 years


“My step father raped me and now I go to community college for psychology, and this is to help pay my tuition.”

This girl seemed like the latter due to her skill level, and one would just assume, especially after the comments made about the “Amazing Grace” vagina tattoo, that due to some poor male role model, some hope was lost on her face at some point in time.

She stumbled her way through the song, a long one at that, and smiled at ever attentive eye watching her, making sure each one of them knew she was only looking at them, and each one of them thinking about new locations to open 7/11s

“I can’t believe you got that dude to play that,” Hank said.

“Oh just wait….” I said as the song ended

I took a sip of my drink.

James Hetfield walks across the stage now on the TV screens. He raises his fist in the air and addresses the crowd with the infamous stupid “metal horn” hand gesture. Which I personally think is fucking gay. The rest of the band follows. Since there was never a music video for “Creeping Death”, the DJ had the recorded audio synced up with a live performance.
Amber looked up at the screen, and seemed really confused. While everyone else had been dancing to T-Pain and a host of other “rappers” who are probably completely irrelevant by the time of this writing, she seemed to probably be wondering why she was being tortured like this, or more than likely, she really had no idea what was going on.


The opening riff was fantastic. Lars shitty drumming barely keeping time. She moved to the left. She moved to the right. She dropped to the floor and tried to do some spinning move that I’m not sure…what it was... almost like retard break dancing? The rest of the band kicked in.

Hank was dying laughing, leaning over to me yelling, “it’s time for shots” in my ear. This must have been special, because he is not one to usually do shots. Now, as terrible as a dancer as Amber was, she really did give it her all to keep up with this song, which I must admit, I think would be hard for most talented strippers. She made it about three quarters of the way through the song to “DIE BY MY HAND, I CREEP ACROSS THE LAND, KILLING FIRST BORN….” when the DJ cut her, and the song off. The lackluster crowd seemed relieved.

“WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” we screamed from the bar, all the liquor inside of me taking hold.
“WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I’MMMMA CREEEEPING DEAAAAAAAAAAAAAATH” I yelled, slightly, oh so slightly mocking Hetfields shitty new vocals, since apparently cutting your hair makes you sing like a pussy.

She glanced over at us, I’m not sure because she thought we were seriously cheering her on, or she realized we were mocking her, but regardless, I was finally having a good time. I got up to piss, and when I came back from the bathroom there was Amber sitting on Hanks lap, with two more shots of Patrone.

“Oh my god! I love those songs” she giggled.


“I’m like so glad you like picked them, my boyfriend like totally loves that one um…. band that one…. Type B Negative band.” She slurred.

Dirty stripper liar.
Plus. You do NOT have a boyfriend.

“Type O negative?” I respond, as my eyebrows rose.

“Ya…. whateves, CHEERS! Hahahaha”

She raised her glass to me, and pounds her like…. I want to say 5th or 6th shot of tequila since we’ve been there. I commend her on this. I cant handle that shit, and she has since out drank me, however, I am not getting paid to take my clothes off for creepy dudes such as myself, and if I was, that would be a bazar paradox that I don’t have the balls to write about.

Amber then smoothly rolled off Hanks lap, and onto the floor. We quickly helped her up, not wanting to draw attention to ourselves.
She kissed him on the cheek.

“Weeeee shoouullddd do anotherrr shot!!!!” she screamed.

Hank and I looked at each other, and nodded.

Hank got the shots. Amber said something to me. I have no idea what the fuck she said. At this point for Hank, since it was on his dime, it was the game of lets see how drunk we can get Amber and myself.

“IIIIIIIIIIIII LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEE TEQUIIIIIIILAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” she yelled putting her tits in my face. Which would seem enjoyable, but it wasn’t. It was actually kind of obnoxious, especially considering how big the tits on the girl dancing to Pantera were, and you know…she was dancing to Pantera, NOT trying to hustle me.

It was shaping out to be a good night.
Hank left me with his credit card and instructed me to “take care of it”

Amber grabbed him by the hand and took him to the back.

I was now alone to soak in the night.
Some girl danced, and some song was on and some girl asked me if I wanted a dance, and I thought about putting it on Hanks card, but he’s too good of a friend, and I’m sure he wouldn’t have actually cared, because Sarah and I had broken up again for the 50th time that year about a month before this, but I have at least somewhat of a moral compass and the chick was kind of busted and I was pretty much waiting for the Pantera chick to come around, but I think maybe she got off work early or something because I didn’t see her around after she got done blowing my mind, and I did get her boobs in my face to “Cowboys from Hell” so I wasn’t that bummed out.

I kind of spaced out for a while, so I’m not sure how long Hank was gone.

“DUDE, we gotta bail.”

“Huh?” I looked up at him, WASTED.

“WE HAVE TO GO NOW” he instructed.


“You pay the tab?” he asked.


“Then lets get the fuck out of here” he yelled at me.

He grabbed my arm and pulled me out of my chair, got me my coat, and we were out there door.





“WHAT HAPPENED?!” I asked.

As we get into the car, he is part laughing part hysterical.

“WHAT HAPPENED?” I asked again.

“So…she starts giving me a dance…and is the worst dancer ever, not to mention she’s HAMMER drunk. So she’s trying her hardest to give me a dance, and I am being polite and pretending to like it, then she goes to unzip my pants and has my dick out, and just falls over. Like flat on her face falls over.”


“Yeah dude. So she falls over, and like cuts her face on something, and then is all like ohhhh can I come home with you? And starts telling me some tragic shit about living with her step dad or something and my dick is just hanging out, and she’s on the floor, and she starts dry heaving…”


“Yeah…so she’s like on the floor and I tell her to go get her stuff and we are gonna leave….”

“So wait…she’s”

“Yeah she went to go get her shit, and I bailed.”

“Wow, you think she’s gonna be bummed out?”

“No way dude, she’s a stripper, this is the nicest thing a guy has probably ever done for her.”
[are you serious? I am using my high voice,
because I am serious]

It was early October, and I was working another security job… ANOTHER security job. Security jobs were easy. I sat and read and got paid to watch college girls, and educate myself on whatever text chose to make a home in my backpack. At the time I was reading a Katherine Ramsland book called “the forensics of vampires”, which was a scientific exploration into vampirism and its history in literature and in “real life”. For this particular nighttime waste of doing something productive with my life, I sat in a parking lot booth and made sure that all the low riders and “suspicious people” who all happen to be from Florida didn’t come into the freshman dorm parking lot without the correct parking tag. I was counting down the hours before I could get the fuck out of there and go home and sleep for a few hours before Brian and I took off for Chicago.

Brian had just moved back from France. His college girlfriend was French, so he said fuck it, and went back to France with her after they graduated from Michigan State. They broke up. She got knocked up by another dude, he bailed, and had just moved back to the states. He had a Construction Management job set up in Chicago, and rather than twiddle his dick in Ann Arbor listening to all the trust fund kids from Long Island talk about the different ways they spend their lawyer mommies and daddies money, he, like myself had to get the fuck out of dodge. Where is dodge? I don’t know, but if its half as bad as Ann Arbor, then I don’t blame all the cowboys for wanting to leave and go to Mexico, where at least tequila and women are plentiful, cheap and there is no capitalism. One could lose themself forever if they weren’t careful. So Chicago it was. I always felt like Chicago was Michigan’s asshole. It was close enough to go home, and had enough of whatever anyone wanted, but was really just a close escape for everyone that didn’t have the balls to move to New York or LA. The winters are fucking freezing, and the summers are muy calente, as I hear every time we go to La Quebrada in Humbolt Park.
3am finally rolled around and I closed the gate to the parking lot and went home. I had a beer and made myself a sandwich. I was dating this vegetarian chick, so I was eating a lot of this fake meat bullshit that I thought was healthy, but really just tasted like crap and left me always slightly less than full. I got to bed and tossed and turned. I couldn’t sleep. I was staring at the ceiling for hours. I was thinking about all the shit that was wrong in my life. I was thinking about how someday there would be a blond girl that would just love me for being the semi decent asshole that I was. I really had the potential to love, and give myself to someone, but dating chicks based on the music they listen to someone how wasn’t working. Surprise.
Brian called at 10am. I'm pretty sure I never fell asleep. He said he’d be over in a few minutes. I packed up my camera gear and made sure I had a couple of black shirts in my bag, made some eggs with left over fake meat sloppy Joe on the side. Brian showed up, and we were off. The drive to Chicago is always a weird one. It can take 3.5 hours, or 7, depending on traffic. Brian as usual had rolled a couple spliffs, which was a good start, and we got some road Burger King. I figured smoking would knock me out, and I could sleep on the way to the Fart Windy City. Now the thing about me and weed is, weed doesn’t make me sleepy. With me it works completely the opposite. Weed is the thing that makes me hyper, and HAVE to do something. I cant sit still. I have to be doing something. I tried to sleep. My mind was again racing. Everything that I could be thinking about, I was all at once. Brian was high as shit rapping along to Gravediggaz, and I was fixed on watching I-94 pass by, hoping the scenery would put me to sleep.

We hit the skyline and I came to. I hadn’t slept, but I was stoned and just trying to figure out how I was going to make it through the night. Brian and I were crashing with our friend Drew, he was finishing his Masters in Philosophy at De Paul universtiy and lived uptown. We rolled into his spot and he had a bowl waiting for us. I figured maybe if I smoked some more pot I’d be able to crash for a little while. Once again I was wrong. Brian and Drew shot the shit, and caught up while I rested my eyes and tried to relax my brain. It seems like every time I come to Chicago there is a lack of sleep that somehow is the cornerstone for whatever debaucherous thing that ends up happening. Brian kicks me and says we have to go. I grab my camera bag and make sure I have everything so I can switch autopilot on once we get to the venue.

Drew gave us, I thought, pretty specific directions to get to the train, and then to the venue. I was too tired to make any of my own choices so I was following Brian at this point. Brian of course, knows everything, and for the most part I trust his judgment, but after we have circled around the block for the 3rd time, I ask him if he has any fucking clue where we are, or where we are going. Now, I am going to date this a bit, by saying this was in the “good old days” when people had to know shit, and GPS phones didn’t exist, and when people were lost, they were fucking lost. All of this takes about 45 minutes. 45 minutes of walking in circles in some shitty ass neighborhood in Chicago, the asshole of the Midwest. Brian insists that the Redline is at our next right. We turn the corner and see the first freak out of the day. A black woman standing on the corner throwing shit into the street.


There was no one else around.

We were stoned, so naturally this was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. At least so far that day.

I was starting to really fade, and I popped in the liquor store, because in the Midwest we don’t have “bodegas” they are liquor stores, because they all sell liquor, cigarettes, condoms and calling cards etc. Life’s little essentials. I didn’t start drinking coffee until I moved to New York, so I bought two large monster energy drinks, and came back out to see the shit show in the street. I'm not sure what the shit Monster Energy Drink is supposed to be. It’s “tangerine” flavored, which I assume means that some hairy ass swamp creature in Florida ate a bunch of tangerines, and pissed this crap into a can. Now, the reason they use swamp monsters is because they have a ton of fucking energy, hence why we cant catch them or Bigfoot, because those motherfuckers are fast. However, one smart swamp monster, who’s name is probably chip or Todd, he decided to cash in his over abundance of energy, mix it with some sugar and other gross shit, and sell it to stupid people, who don’t sleep, smoke pot, and then have to try and function. Bigfoot on wall-street.

Brian informs me he found the train. We watched the lady on the corner yell at the invisible child protective services for a few more minutes while I pounded my monster piss, and we were off.

The house of blues Chicago, is somewhere in some lame yuppie neighborhood downtown. I think it’s by the “Wilco towers” somewhere by the un-magnificent mile. We figure it’s like a 20 minute train ride down to this Disney owned shit hole, so we might as well get comfy. I crack open my second Monster tall boy, when a fine young African man boards the train, he had a fire in his eye and zest for life. It made me happy to see a man so ecstatic about riding a train…Within in minutes he was pressing the emergency intercom button.


Everyone on the train rolled their eyes. I thought to myself, “OH MAN, this dude is totally right, we are going totally slow because we are on the racist train!”. Fuck..

I don’t like uppers. I hate uppers actually. I hate cocaine. I hate caffeine. I hate anything that isn’t whiskey or pot actually. Now the fact that I haven’t slept in 2 days, am stoned and all jacked on Monster, I feel quite like shit, and the fact that this man is calling the train “racist” is something that I really don’t have the ability to deal with at this point.

This gentleman must have sensed our semi amusement with him, and began to stare us down. He his eyes pierced my hazy brain, and I looked at him, locking eyes with his. Brian began to laugh, and the dude yelled “ WHAT YALL STARING AT CRACKA” !?.

Brian of course being a simple man of reason, responded with “I’m just pissed at this racist ass train, dog”.

“DOG. WHO YOU CALLING DOG” the black man screamed.

At this point the train screeched to a halt. A voice came over the PA informing this man that he must exit the train or the police would be called. He smashed his fist into the intercom button, and yell at the driver “FUCK YALL. YALL PULL ME OFF THIS MOTHER FUCKER. I'M LATE AS FUCK YOU FUCKING RACIST”.

Now, what I find to be so amusing about situations of people running behind, and taking public transportation is that by taking transportation one automatically gives up ones right to complain about the speed of this transportation. As Murphy’s law states “when a motherfucker is late, don’t take the train”. So the fact that this asshole is yelling at the conductor, is not going to speed up anything, but TV has somehow fed the word the idea that we are all entitled to whatever the fuck we want, whenever the fuck we want it. After a intercom battle, this fine specimen of human trash exited the train in a huff and we finally were on our way, and as irony would have it, the conductor apologized for the delay, and floored it, going twice as fast as he had been traveling.
We arrived just before show time at the House of Blues Chicago, and as luck would have it, the guest list got fucked up, and we are were not on it. Luckily, the Record label I was shooting for is located in California, and was 3 hours behind our Midwest time, and my favorite record industry PR contact was still in her office, and after a quick phone call informing her that Mickey Mouse fucked shit up again, the list was straightened out, I grabbed my photo pass, and Brian and I headed straight for the venue bar. To our surprise the bartender, as they always seem to be in expensive corporate venues, was, how we shall say, super fucking hot. 5”6’ with great curves, pouty lips, and eyes that could burn a hole through your heart, not to mention that you could smell her from across the room. We parked at the bar, and I shot gunned another disgusting energy drink. As I mentioned before, I don’t like uppers. I hate cocaine. I hate anything that makes my mind operate at a speed 10 times faster than my body. My body at this point was saying to me “you are fucking retarded. Go to bed.” But I couldn’t. There was too much adventure to be had, and honestly the altered state of sleep deprivation is way more fucked up than any drug, and its all natural. Brian stayed at the bar and began his usual ritual of pick up lines and flirtatious diarrhea I’ve witnessed a million times before. I took my place in front of the stage and slapped myself together. The band came out and I went to work. Thunder rang and riffs cut apart the front row. Kids began to bleed and their spleens leaked onto the floor. The rock and roll Gods masturbated metal history into the faces of everyone there too ignorant to understand what they were seeing. Three songs and out, the usual rule for photographing bigger venues, and I joined Brian back at the bar. He had according to him, made some headway with the bartender. I was trying my hardest to keep it together. Everything was moving in half time. My brain was 2 steps behind. I did another shot hoping that the aged Bourbon would lend its wisdom to my slushy brain. The band played on, and the young crowd there to see the hip headliner looked confused. I was getting older. The kids kept getting younger and less interested in history and more interested in looking like they belonged to something. I grabbed another beer and went back up to sit on the barrier between the younglings and the stage, as the opener (who I was really there to shoot) was finishing. I sat down. I rested my eyes for a second. Things began to spin. My stomach turned. My body went numb. I don’t know how long I was out, but I was awoken by the first heavy chord that was played. I jumped up and got into position. I began shooting, and snapped back to reality. I was on autopilot by this point, and let my years of shooting bands guide me through the first three songs. I again headed back to the bar to see Brian, pounding drinks and continuing the battle to woo the bartender. I did another shot and rested my head on the bar. I just needed a little…..

“ITS TIME TO GO ASSHOLE”, I heard Brian’s booming voice. I looked up and the show was over. My head was cloudy, and he was paying the tab.

“NINTY FUCKING DOLLARS FOR OUR TAB!” he screamed. The bartender was like “Yeah dude, you guys drank a lot”. I could tell that he was pissed and that flirting with her didn’t get us a hook up. I grabbed and told him “fuck it” the night is young, and I was starting to get a second wind.

Andrew, another friend of ours that lived in Chicago met us at the end of the show, and we all piled back onto the Redline uptown to meet Drew at some bar. I ran into a liquor store and grabbed a Mountain Dew, as I don’t drink coffee. All the sugar in my system was raging and I was ready to party. I was fully awake and ready to lurk the bars of Chicago. The sky was clear, and the air crisp. It was fall, and the city lights seemed brighter than usual. We met Drew and walked into the bar. It was like every “sports” bar I’ve ever been to. Shitty music, tons of jager, and what New Yorkers refer to as “bridge and tunnel” dudes, but in the Midwest we just called fucking douche bags. I have zero tolerance for these popped collar pieces of shit.
We grab some drinks and scored a table as far away from the robot date rapers as possible.

4 dudes sitting at a table in a shitty Chicago frat bar. 2 of them photographers. One of them a construction manager. 3 with beards, tattoos, black shirts, and chucks, the other, a fairly clean cut but still out of place philosopher. 2 blonde girls with a tray of beers and shots slowly approach. They circle around like vultures and make their decent. The runway seems clear and there is no cloud cover, the wind is calm and a touchdown seems to have a 95% chance of going well.

Blonde girl #1 says “hi boys, we bought you some drinks”
Blonde girl #2 “yeah you guys look like totally interesting, can we join you?”

I laugh. I laugh loudly. I get a slight boner. And I laugh some more. I didn’t really laugh out loud, because frankly that’s rude, and I want as many free drinks from these chicks as I can get. It’s not often women approach me with beer because I'm “interesting looking”, so I wanted to take full advantage of this inverted social taboo. Everyone gave each other the same look, and we thank the girls and invited them to sit with us. I of course, being a photographer immediately scored “oooh you are so creative” points with blonde girl #1. It’s amazing how much attention having read books and knowing the names of people who have put those little pictures on the wall can get you. Blonde girl #2 was no so impressed, and talked with my buddies.

The girls bought us a few more drinks, and Andrew left. Mindless conversation and flirtation was causing my head to spin and I continued to pound drinks to in order to think straight. Blonde # 2 must have come to sense our sarcasm in conversation and decided it was time for her and her partner to leave and lurk some dudes elsewhere, where they might be appreciated for being uneducated well dressed baby holes.

She stood up and proclaimed “uh…its like time to go”
Blonde # 1 said, “nah I think I'm gonna stay, these boys are cute and soooooooooooooooo interesting!”

Blonde girl # 2 looked pissed and huffed.

“We aren’t going to rape her” I said looking up at her.

“WHAT?!” she said, appalled

“We aren’t going to rape her, darling” I said. “She’s safer with us than these other assholes in the bar, I can assure you of that. We may be creepy or interesting looking to you, and part of some subculture you cant relate to in your precious little blonde bubble. But we are the only not shitty dudes in this bar, and we will take care of her”.

And I meant what I said. Because we look different, we of course are the shitty dudes, and hell, you know we all like to fuck and drink just like the douche bags at the bar, however, somehow in our self taught punk rock education, we learned to respect those around us, and frankly to take care of one another, because with out that, what have you got? Some slick talking asshole with a collared shirt trying to take advantage of the ignorance of others. And yeah, you know what? I am gonna let this chick buy me as many beers as she wants, but I want to get drunk, not laid. I’d much rather stick my dick into something I can talk to the next day. Maybe I’m just getting old.

Blonde girl 1 laughed, and told her friend she would be fine, and that she would call #2 later. We all said by to Barbie and decided to head to a different bar. Blonde girl #1 wanted to play darts, and we wanted her to be happy, so we obliged and went to a dive around the corner.

Corona buckets for $10. Darts. Jukebox. Ok, lets do this.
The amazing thing about alcohol, is when you haven’t slept in days, how much it works to your advantage of keeping you awake, rather than putting you down, and I was really starting to warm up.
We pumped the jukebox full of quarters and had a soundtrack for debauchery ready. I removed my shirt and we began the first round of Cricket, as the Rime of the ancient mariner blasted. I hadn’t been this happy in a while. Maybe it was the booze mixed with lithium and lack of sleep. Maybe it was that this blonde girl was buying me drinks and paid more attention to the bullshit that came out of my mouth than the whore I was currently sleeping next to back home, or maybe it was because I knew this night just couldn’t get any more weird.

“So you guys are like really from Detroit?”


“Isn’t it dangerous there?”

“Yes…..where are you from?”

“Oh, I'm from Henderson, Nevada.”

“Haha, oh man. That place is terrifying, I was just there on tour” I responded. “fucking desert people. What a bunch of fucking weirdoes.”

“Where is that?” Brian asked.

“Suburb of Vegas. Fake people. fake personalities. Tons of money.”

“oh so she’s rich?”


I lost count of how many corona buckets we went through, all I know is I was broke, and promised to love this chick forever if she kept the drinks coming.
It became very apparent to us, that it was the point in the night were Blonde girl #1 was playing the “which one of you is going home with me” game. Brian and I after discussing this quickly, gave each other the “not it” high five.


“I'm all out” he replied.

“Me too” chirped in Drew.

“Shit…..where can we get more?” I said.

Brian immediately responded “I bet those Mexicans outside smoking would know…I mean they are Mexicans, of course they know where to get drugs”.

“Right Brian…of course”.

I follow him outside, and he starts talking to the three men smoking. Brian also knows enough Spanish from working in construction for so long, to ask them where to get weed. They instruct us to go up to the corner, make a left, and wait in the parking lot, and eventually a gold Ford Taurus would stop by. At the time, in my drunken fatigue, this seemed like a totally reasonable idea. We ditched Drew at the bar with Blonde girl #1 and started walking. We discussed the evening thus far, and how funny shit had been, and how we just ditched Drew with this chick, and how awesome we were. We get to the corner and make a left. We see the parking lot the dudes in front of the bar were talking about, and head that way. The lights from the Super Market are blinding, and illuminate the parking lot. It smells like city, like real city, not college town Michigan. We are standing there about 10 minutes smoking cigarettes and talking about past chicks, and just about every other thing that can pop in ones mind at 4am after being up for 2 days and drinking a pretty lethal amount of booze.

A gold Taurus drives by slowly checking us out, then turns the corner and speeds away.

“MOTHER FUCKER!” Brian yells.

We wait a few more minutes to see if they come back, and sure enough they do.

They slow down and approach us.

The driver, a black male around the same age as us, rolls down his window and Brian yells

The driver yells back “OH HELL NO”


The driver agrees to Brian’s point and instructs us to get in the back seat. We get in the car, with the moon blightly illuminating the world hanging above us. We continue to push the limits of the night.

“Do you have any cash?” Brian quickly asks me.
“Huh? No dude.” I respond.

“Shit. Yo my man, can you take us to an ATM, we don’t have any money.” Brian says.

“OH HELL NO” the driver says again.

Brian soothes him my telling him there is an ATM in the parking lot of the super market. He gets out and goes to the ATM. I am alone with no shirt on in the back seat of this dudes car, when I notice that there is a 20 some year old female passed out in the passenger seat. I look out the window. Brian is at the ATM. The driver turns and looks at me and my half naked self.

“Where you stay at?” he says.

“Detroit.” I respond.

“Detroit? You ain't from Detroit nigga.” He yells back.

“Fuck yeah I am.”

“HAHA.” He laughs. “Where at?”

Using my quick wit to reference one of my favorite underground Detroit rap groups I tell him “The east side. You know by the Chedda Boyz”.

“You know the mother fucking Chedda Boyz?”

“uhhhh yeah. I’ve done some photo work with them”. (I haven’t really.)

“OH SHIT. YOU A PHOTOGRAPHER?, maybe you can take some flicks of me and my boo up here” he says. “That shit sounds ill.”

“Oh yeah man, no problem, that would be great.” I respond calmly, thankful that I dropped some cred to get this dudes respect…or something? What is happening.

By this time Brian opening the car door to get back in, which he slams loudly. The chick in the passenger seat is awoken by this, and sits up quickly, takes one look at us and screams;

“Chill baby! They cool” he responds.

“Yeah baby we cool. No worries, we know you're boy” Brian smoothly buts in.

“Oh for real….well ok. That’s cool. That nigga without his shirt on is kinda cute.”

Relief washes over me in an awesome wave.

Deondre puts the car into gear, and we head to…..I have no idea where we are heading too, but I assume they have weed.

The chick in the front seat asks us if we want to listen to some jams.
How polite I think to myself, and respond “yeah that’s cool.”.

She presses the play button on the car stereo. The bass kicks in and punches me in the face. I come to and recognize the lyrics “Party in the city where the heat is on All night on the beach till the break of dawn Welcome to Miami (bienvenido a Miami)”

Brian and I look at each other.
We are both trying not to burst out laughing.

We are in the back seat of a car, in Chicago, at 4am, wasted, going to buy drugs with some random black people that picked us up in a parking lot, and they are listening to Will Smith?

NO ONE listens to Will Smith. Especially black drug dealers in a shitty Chicago neighborhood.

“My boy right here knows Jada, he shot photographs of her a few months ago” Brian boasts.

I roll my eyes and sink further into the backseat.

“OH FOR REALLLL?!” the chick up front says.

“Yeah, she’s got this metal band, they were on tour with friends of ours back in Detroit”

“Oh I heard about that shit. Like that loud evil shit ya’ll white mother fuckers be getting into. All like growlin and shit. That shits crazy”

“Yeah, that’s the shit we down with you know. You got any Pac up there?” Brian asks.

I’m doing everything I can to keep my shit together. Either I am so fucked up that I'm making all this up in my head, or I'm having the most fucked up day ever.

We pull up to a stop sign. Deondre puts the car in park, and asks for Brian’s money, then instructs his chick to go into the apartment building across the street, and “get that shit”.

We are sitting in the car shooting the shit. Brian asking the dude a million questions, living out his fantasy of some gangster shit or something that he dreamed about in yuppie Catholic High School while smoking pot and listening to NWA tapes. While we are sitting there waiting for baby girl to get back, a barely dressed, attractive-at-4am-when-wasted-in-Chicago white chick comes walking across the street and passes in front of the car we are in.

Brian rolls down his window and yells “hey baby, where you going?!”

She turns around and walks towards his window.

“Hey girl, you wanna come hang with us” he says.


Brian jerks his head and looks at me and mouths “what the fuck”.

“Uhh Deondre…uhhh I don’t have it. I promise tomorrow baby, tomorrow.” The white girl says.

“BITCH, that’s what you said yesterday!” he yells at her.

“I know, give just a little more time” she says.

Chairmen of the board popped in my head. “GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME” I sang to myself.

“I told you yesterday to have my shit” Deondre spat back at her.
Just as he was about to raise his fist at her, she backed quickly away from the car.

The black chick who went to get our weed open the car door and screamed “WHO DIS WHITE BITCH DEONDRE?! YOU FUCKING AROUND ON ME AGAIN” and began to slap him.

“give me just a little more time, and our love will surely grow” I kept singing, trying not to laugh, bewildered that this was unfolding in front of me.

“Nahhh baby it’s cool, I called her over here” Brian once again calmly said to the chick in the front. “I was just try’n to get some for me and my boy back here you know!?”

“For real?” she demanded.

“Yeahhh baby” I jumped in, “My girl just dumped me and he was trying to get me some pussy you know? I been real sad lately.”

“Aww, you so sweet. Lookin out for your nigga like that” she said.

“Yeah, ain't that some shit” Deondre said. Nigga was just lookin out and you all gonna blame some shit up on this nigga.

“Aww, boo you know I just get all crazy thinking about you with some other bitches.”

“It’s all good baby” Deondre said. “Where y'all stay at” turning to us, and handing Brian two small baggies.

Brian gave him the cross streets a couple of blocks from Drew's apartment.

Our drug dealer, out of the kindness of his heart, decided to give us a ride home. What a nice guy. We thank Deondre and his boo for their hospitality, and got out of the car.

“Holy shit” I said.
“Dude, he gave us a ride home!”

We were laughing about the last 20 minutes, when I asked Brian how much weed we got.

The street light made an orange cast across Brian’s face. His black shirt didn’t reflect any light as he slowly brought out his hand and held it close to my face…

I looked down into his hands and said “What the fuck is that?”

“That is crack cocaine son!”. “We just bought crack from black people who listen to Will Smith”.

I didn’t know what to say. I sat down on the ground and put my head between my legs and began to cry. These were not tears of sadness. These were tears of rapture. The fact that this was the single most funny moment in my depressed, sad pathetic life. This moment could never ever happen again. I realized how special this moment was, and the bond I now had with my friend. We were now brothers. It felt something like that of when soldiers return from war, and all they have is each other, because anyone else could not simply understand the complexity of their kinship.

Brian was also in tears. We hugged. And laughed, because we just bought crack.

We were a couple of blocks from Drew's house, and like little kids finding a dead rat, we couldn’t want to get home and tell our friend of our adventure.

We got to Drew's building, and rang his buzzer.

Nothing. No response.

We buzzed again. Again, no response. I tried his cell phone.

Right outside of Drew’s building there was a carriage lamp post about 5 feet high. Brian for years participated in muy thai training, and decided to punch the lamp. Lamps are made of glass. Skin is tender. Glass rips skin.

“FUCK” he yelled.

I burst out laughing. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” I yelled.

“I DON’T KNOW” he said.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” I yelled again.

“I DON’T KNOW” he said again.

“DUDE, lets try Drew again”. I said.

Brian walked into the atrium, and pressed Drew’s buzzer. However, this time Brian was dripping blood all over everything. It was running down his arm. He wiped in on the front door. He wiped it on all the walls. He wiped it all over the buzzer. He was wasted, and bleeding, and the alcohol thinned out his blood, so he was bleeding much faster than normal.

We sat on the stoop to the building, and waited. We tried calling again, and again, and finally after about 20 minutes he picked up. It was now about 6am. He met us at the building door in his boxers, and immediately yelled at Brian.

“What the fuck dude, why are you bleeding?! You are getting blood all over everything!” He screamed.

We walked up the stairs to his apartment.
Drew lived in a studio apartment, and slept on a mattress on the floor. When we walked in, Blonde girl #1 was passed out on his bed, in her underwear.

“Did you fuck her” Brian immediately asked, flinging blood everywhere.

“Maybe” he said.

Brian went to the kitchen area and poured himself a glass of water, not bothering to wipe the blood off his arm.

I was filling Drew in on what happened, when Brian walked over to the chicks corpse sprawled on Drew’s mattress, and spit water on her back and screamed “Bitch, wake up!”.

At this point, there was blood all over the hardwood floor. There was blood all over Brian and I had blood on me as well. Drew decided to put on some jams, and we got down to some Raekwon. The girl sat up and saw me moon dancing through the blood on the floor, saw the blood all over everything and screamed. She screamed that scream that would earn her some cash in an old Hershell Gordon Lewis film.

“Drew, what the fuck. Get me out of here, what the hell is going on?!” she yelled at him.

“Baby, I don’t know, chill out, it’s cool.”

“No you fucking piece of shit” she continued “there is blood everywhere, what the fuck is going on?!”

Drew got Brian to go in the bathroom and wash off his arm. It was 6am Chicago time, which meant it was 7am Michigan time. It was Tuesday, so all of our ‘professional friends’ back home were getting up for work. Drunk dialing time it was.

Drew finally got Blonde girl #1 to go back to sleep.

Brian said he was going outside to have a cigarette.
I laid down in a corner of the apartment I had claimed for myself, and passed out. Finally. After 2 days of being awake I could sleep for a few hours.

Drew woke me up about noon. The chick was gone, thank God.
I asked him where Brian was.

“I don’t know dude” he said, “I fell asleep, and he never came back”.

We tried to call Brian. No answer.
We debated what to do, and decided it was best if we went and got breakfast and continued to call him.

We pounded some eggs, and OJ to regain our strength after the night before.

When we returned back to Drew’s, Brian was sitting on his stoop.

“Where the fuck have you been?” he yelled at us.

“Where the fuck have YOU been” we asked.

“I went for a cigarette and started walking. I kept walking, and then got lost, so I decided to take the train back. But I got on the wrong train and ended up down by Comisky Park on the south side.” He told us.

“So you’ve been riding around for the last 5 hours on the fucking train?” Drew asked.

“Yeah basically.”

[Cochella, 2005. Or, how I learned not to go to
the desert with an ex-girlfriend]

I woke up under a palm tree to a booming voice asking me if I was ok. At this time I couldn’t understand his words, as they were like a fist to my skull, shattering my thoughts. I pulled myself together and asked a painful “Huh?!”, as I had to squint my eyes to see the creature in front of me the voice belonged to. He asked again. “Sir, are you ok?” and informs me that I cannot sleep in the parking lot.
There is a strange sound far off in the distance. I concentrate hard, but can’t make it out. There sun is blinding.
“Ding” I hear.
Then again.
“Ding ding.”
“What the fuck” I think to myself.
“Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding”.

My vision is starting to adjust, and I finally make out the flashing lights of a casino. My head is pounding. Did I get in a fight? If feels as if someone smashed my face into a brick wall. My gut is rotten, and I feel like I am going to shit myself. My skin is burning and I have no idea where I am, other than, I am apparently in a casino parking lot.

“I don’t gamble” I responded to the voice.
“That’s great sir, but you can’t sleep here. Do you need any help?” the voice responded. I recognized his outfit. Highway patrol.

“No officer, I am ok. I would love some eggs if you have any though.” This was all I could say. I mean, it would be great if cops carried food around with them, so when they see hung-over assholes such as myself in the desert, they can approach us with breakfast.

“No sir, I do not have any eggs. Please be on your way” he responded.

“Ok, thanks.” Acknowledging his stupidity of not having eggs. “You really should carry eggs with you. Though.” He didn’t say anything and walked away. I pulled myself up as best I could, and crawled back to the car a few feet from me. My ex- Lindsey was in the drivers see, hunched over the wheel, with drool hanging down the side of her face. The sky was bright blue. Blue unlike that of our home state of Michigan. Maybe it was because we were in the desert, but this was the bluest sky I’ve ever seen. I tap Lindsey arm and try to wake her up. She is not having anything to do with me right now. God knows what we got into a fight about. The great thing about alcohol is that I wont remember a thing she yelled at me for. The air was so clean, and it just felt great to be able to breathe. All I could think was that death at this moment didn’t seem so bad. My lugs expanded and contracted, and the oxygen was really flowing to my brain. I was starting to come alive. I pulled my shit together and made my way slowly to the casino and found a bathroom hidden amongst all the flashing lights and “DINGDINGDINGDINGDINGS”. The noise from all the people hoping for a little bit of luck was raping my eardrums and crushing my dehydrated soul. I’ve never been so excited to splash water on my face in my entire life. I cleaned up and exported all the guts I had left in me, from any orifice that would allow passage, and parked myself at a slot machine. I am not a gambler. Maybe because I'm too broke most of the, maybe because I’d rather spend my money on booze. At least that way adventure beyond sitting in a chair with all the other losers might present itself.

Lindsey made her way into the casino and approached me a with a glaze over her eyes not to uncommon for me to see at whatever hour it is that we are returning to planet earth. This moment has happened many times betweens us, however the location is always changing.

“Where the fuck are we?” she asks confused.

“I have no idea. I'm gonna be stoked if we are still in California. Besides, you were the one that was driving.” I respond, laughing.

“Well, we aren’t dead, so fuck it. I need food NOW” she demanded.

The last thing I remember was the hot chick, the blonde one, from that TV show the OC, was stumbling around, being all hot and shit, and fell down right in front of us. I can’t wait to find a bathroom to jerk off to the thought of that later.

“I can’t wait to jerk off to the thought of that hot chick from the OC” I muttered.

“Gross, don’t be an ass” Lindsey scolded me.

I secretly lived to piss her off. There is just something so fun about knowing that everything I say and do, just annoys the shit out of her. We make our way back to the car, and find signs back to the highway. 25 miles. 25 MILES BACK INDIO. How did we drive for 25 miles into the desert and find a casino parking lot to sleep in? This will forever be a great mystery in my life. It’s really fucking hot out. It’s 8:15am according to the car clock, and the temperature is already well over 100 degrees. Who the hell has a music festival in the desert, and why am I even here? I hate shit like this. 12$ beers. 9$ hot dogs, and a bunch of lame kids pretending to “totally love the sick vibes” or whatever dumb slang people say to blog about. Blog blog blog blog blog blog. I hate that word.

I am pretty sure I am going to barf. At least all the drinks were free, so if I do throw up, I can throw up knowing I didn’t waste any money. Lindsey quickly reminded me how I fit a bottle of Jagermister in my pants while making out with a photographer friend of mine as to distract the bartender. She shot that Nirvana photograph of them sitting on the bed in a hotel in Seattle, right before they blew up, when she was like 20. I still don’t know her real age.

Lindsey and I found a diner and we ordered a ton of food. I pounded some eggs and like 15 waters, and found a cheap motel down the street. It was one of those shitty fleabag joints that have a pool with no water in it. We are in the fucking desert and the pool has no water. It was like something out of a movie. I couldn’t even make this shit up. We checked in, and I filled the bathtub with cold water and slipped in. I tried to jerk off to the thought of the OC chick falling down, but was still drunk and Lindsey kept popping her head in wanting to talk. I though about just fucking her, but passing out seemed more productive than putting my head back in the noose, not knowing how tall the tree was. I was awoken to my cell phone ringing. My buddy Frank, whom was one of the people we had come to this shit show with, wanted to know where his rental car was. I assured him it was fine. I guess in our drunken haste to leave whatever after show party we were at, we forgot to inform him that we were taking his car, and that I also forgot to tell him that I had stolen his keys and slipped into the night. All I could say was, fuck the desert, and fuck music festivals. I couldn’t wait to get back to LA and try and get with this chick, Sheri. I had met her a year or so before at a bar in Detroit. She was visiting some friends, and they came to see my band. I fell off of a table and the headstock of my guitar smashed me in the face and almost broke my nose. It looked awesome, and she started calling me right after that.

Back to reality. We met up with our friends and returned the car. I scored a VIP pass and cashed out on a couch under a mist machine. $150 to come lay on a couch in the desert under a mist machine. What a waste of fucking money! Lindsey got us some beers and wondered if I was ever going to get away from her. The last day finally ended and we all piled back into the car. It was like a clown car. 7 people in this Taurus. 3 pairs of ex couples, and Mexican Carlos, who was this wigger kid I went to high school with. After we graduated he discovered Black Flag and got a bunch of tattoos. We didn’t really talk, but he was a friend of other friends. A few months later Carlos and I both slept with Frank’s ex girlfriend, and Lindsey finally stopped talking to me for few years. She’s a lawyer now. I hate Los Angeles.