An Economy of Words - 017: Join the Party
Join the Party
“So what you’re telling me is you don’t really care about the plight of the Iraqi people. Or the Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories. Or the African-Americans toiling in the ghetto. Or the Latino immigrants struggling to survive in the barrio. Or the. . .”
“No, asshole, what I’m trying to tell you is that I don’t dig your politics and that I’d like to enjoy myself at my friend’s party.”
“Yeah, well, comrade, when you care about social justice like I do then a lame answer like that is simply not acceptable. You need to rise up. To refuse to let the warmongering imperialists continue to have their way by resisting and saying they cannot kill innocent people in your name. Frankly, brother, the world can’t wait for you to get off your ass and actually do something. The time to act is now.”
“I ain’t your brother. Or your comrade. I believe that the enemy of my enemy is still – most likely – my enemy. And I don’t need no fucking lecture from some pimply-faced freshman telling me what I need to do in terms of my activism. I was agitating on your precious campus back when you were still listening to the Smashing Pumpkins and crapping in your plastic red diapers. Hell, I was even there the day we took over the Campanile. So fuck off already!”
“Whatever, toady, you clearly don’t care about the people.”
“You wanna talk about caring about people, answer me this then? How many people did Stalin kill? Or your pudgy guru, Mao? Millions and millions. You ever hear about the Cultural Revolution?”
“That’s just capitalist propaganda.”
“And how about the fact that the RCP long held the belief that homosexuals needed to be reprogrammed? Dude, if you don’t like gay people then you can count me out of your bullshit revolution.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably state that Kurt knows a lot of people. Seriously, he’s one of those guys that like totally gets around. And, yes, he did flirt with communism back in college. Trust me, all of his punk rocking anarcho crusty friends – including yours truly – gave him hella shit for it. But that’s just Kurt’s style, he can hang with pretty much anyone and fit in. Which is a long way of saying that, when the dude throws a party, anyone who’s anyone in the Bay Area is there to drink it up.
And that’s precisely what I was doing – or at least trying to do before I was so rudely interrupted – guzzling a forty on the porch when I saw my plumber.
“Yo, Nara, what’s up?”
“Hey, you, how’s the new toilet treating you?”
“Works like a fucking charm. How’s that Oxy?”
“Pure bliss. Which reminds me, I was messing around with some lyrics the other night and I think we may be on to something here.”
“Yeah, me too. . .”
I was soon distracted by the woman standing next to Nara. Now, I feel kinda guilty admitting such things – seeing as I’m a happily married man and everything – but this female was the single most beautiful person I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I swear, I’m not the type of asshole who stares at the ladies when I’m walking down the street, but I really couldn’t take my eyes off her.
“Oh, sorry, have you met my little sis, Calli?”
“That’s the one. Well, shee-it, I can see that y’all two artistes have a whole heck of a lot to discuss. So I’m gonna go ahead and find me the booze.”
Giggling, Nara pushed her sizeable frame past me and into the ramshackle building Kurt calls home – leaving me and her stunning sister on the porch.
“So ‘Can You Feel My Love Rug?’”
“What? Oh, the song. Yeah, I didn’t have anything to do with those lyrics. I just wrote the music.”
“Yes, really. Why? You think I’m just like a pretty face or something? Well, I hate to tell ya, buddy, but there’s more to me than that. Much more.”
“Obviously. And you’re certainly very modest about your many talents too.”
“What the fuck do you do?”
I could literally sense her growing bored and annoyed – or some combination of bored and annoyed – and, thus, contemplating walking away to find one of the myriad of people at the killer party that were far more interesting than me.
Stammering, I tried to explain myself: “Well, actually, I’ve been working on this rock opera with your sister and Randy Rebel.”
“No shit? So have you realized that Randy’s a fucking wanker yet?”
“I thought Randy was like the leader of the Rebelettes.”
“Please, fuck me! Sure, that jerk-off likes to tell people he somehow invented our group. But trust me, friend, I’m the real leader of the band. We just let him hang around and set up gigs for us since he’s like a million years old and seems to know everybody.”
“In that case, you should meet my friend, Kurt.”
“You mean the guy who lives here?”
“Yeah, me and him go way back.”
“Duh, of course I know Kurt!”
“Yeah, well, who doesn’t?”
“Man, you really think I’d go to a party where I didn’t even know whose house it was?”
“No, of course not. I’d never. . . So how did you two meet?”
“Oh, I dunno. We used to play that open mike he hosted.”
“Really? The Rebelettes played open mikes?”
“It was a slightly different group. We had another drummer. We were called the Bloody Tampons. This was before Randy supposedly discovered us.”
After she made surly quotation marks with her svelte fingers, she opened her purse and lit an organic American Spirit.
“Do you want a cigarette?’”
“No thanks. I don’t smoke. You know, that shit’ll kill ya.”
“So? What do you have to live for?”
And, with that charming rhetorical flourish, she blew a cloud of smoke in my face and marched past me into the party proper – before I even got around to asking her if she’d help write some tunes for the rock opera.
For once in my adult life when I glanced up to respond to being called, ‘bro,’ it was my actual flesh and blood brother speaking to me.
“Chip? What are you doing here?”
“Kyle told me to come by and pick up my Phish tickets.”
“I said that Kyle said if I met him here, he’d hook me up with some dope-ass seats to catch Phish down at Shoreline.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
“No, if he was kidding you, he’d say did you hear that Cheney died?”
“Kathy? What the. . . What on earth are you doing here?”
“What do you mean what am I doing here? It’s a Kurt party. Everyone’s fucking here. So where’s the wife?”
“I dunno. At home probably. And will you please not tell the Cheney joke. Like ever. That’s something special between me and her. Plus, you didn’t even do it right.”
“Really? Cause she told me she was gonna be here and I kinda like need to talk to her.”
“Well, there is this thing called cell phone technology, perhaps you’ve heard of it?”
“You want to use my iPhone, babe? I got Bluetooth.”
Flashing his fancy gadgets like he was James fucking Bond, Chip was clearly shitfaced.
“No thanks, Chippy. I don’t want to wake her if she’s not feeling well.”
“Chippy, what the. . . Wait a second, how do you two know each other?”
“Actually, I think you introduced us at that barbeque you guys had when you first moved into your house. But we just hooked up again in the backyard. Isn’t that right, Chippy?”
Witnessing my wife’s BFF drape her flimsy arms around my stocky brother, I realized that Kathy too was hammered – even before she half whispered / half slurred into my ear: “You haven’t seen that human hemorrhoid, Blake, around have you?”
“I haven’t seen anyone besides Nara, her sister, and that commie bastard over there.”
“None of your fucking business, Chip. What are you doing here anyway?”
“I was just wondering what the fuck you’re doing here. I mean, don’t you have a wife and kid back at mom’s?”
As Kathy took a noticeable step backwards, my dickhead sibling countered: “We’re not married. And ma’s watching the baby tonight so I could get out for once. What with work and everything, we decided that I needed to blow off some steam.”
“Man, you really shouldn’t let mom do all that work. After all, it is your responsibility.”
“Excuse me, chode-boy, please don’t tell me that my drug addicted fake artist stupid cunt of a kid brother – who hasn’t had a real job in his entire life – is lecturing me on responsibility!”
Feeling the testosterone in the air, Kathy wisely ducked back into the party – muttering: “Um, yeah, well, I guess I’ll see y’all later.”
“Now look what you’ve done, punk. You ruined my chances.”
“No, Chip, you ruined your chances.”
“I said that you fucked up all by yourself. I mean, first of all, you have a wife and kid.”
“I keep telling you, bro, we never got married.”
“Secondly, that’s my wife’s best friend. Sure, she’s fucking annoying as all hell, but still. Why you gotta screw around with that shit?”
“Are you high? I mean, why wouldn’t I wanna screw around with that shit? Have you seen her, bro? She’s fucking hot!”
“She’s also pretty much a slut.”
“In that case, I’ve got even more reason to be pissed at you.”
“Man, when the fuck are you gonna grow up?”
“When the fuck are you gonna grow up?”
“Whoa, Lydia, check it out! It’s like my two favorite bros.”
And the hits just keep on coming.
“Hey, Kyle. Hey, Lydia. Whatchy’all doin here?”
“Oh, I dunno. Maybe it’s a Kurt party and maybe I’ve gotta hook my main man up with some red hot Phish tix. What the fuck do you think I’m doing here, faggot?”
“Wow, thanks, K-Rod!”
“No problemo, Chipster.”
“So how much do I owe you?”
“Nada. Dude, that shit’s on the house. After everything you’ve done for me, I could never repay the Chipinator.”
As my oldest friend and stupidest sibling embraced, I wanted desperately to flee. To run back home and hold my wife. Or, at least, go find Kurt and say, “Hi.” Or, at the very fucking least, pop up to the liquor store on Telegraph and get me a fresh forty.
“And who’s this beautiful creature?”
“Sorry, dude. This is like my lady, Lydia.”
“Nice to meet you, Lydia. Any chance you brought friends?”
“Kinda sorta. They’re coming with Scooter.”
“You’ll definitely have to introduce me. Face to face.”
Watching my elder brother make the disgusting motion whereby he thrust his tongue through his fingers in some sort of mock tribute to cunnilingus, I seriously considered punching him.
But then, Kathy came running down the steps, hollering: “Fuck you, you stingy motherfucking cheating piece of shit. How dare you make out with some cheap rockabetty whore right in front of me?”
Oddly, it wasn’t Blake who came a running out the front door after her. Instead, it was our host.
“Hey, Kurt,” everyone shouted in more or less unison. Well, everyone besides my worthless brother, who was eagerly pursuing a weeping Kathy down the street.
“Oh, hey there, wassup? Anyone know what’s the 411 with that loon?”
Before I could even try to explain, Kurt added: “Kyle, is that you? What the fuck are you doing at my house? My house! I thought I told you, in no uncertain terms, that I never wanted to see your ugly fucking face ever again.”
Picking up a baseball bat, Kurt stepped menacingly towards us.
“Whatever, dude, why don’t you fuck me up the ass with a wooden spoon?”
“Oh, I will, you motherfuckin lard-ass. I will. . .”
“C’mon, guys, can’t we work out our differences without resorting to violence?”
Honestly, this is what I really said. Though, truthfully, I probably wouldn’t have minded it too much if Kurt took a swing at the mighty K-Rod. Or that commie bastard. Or even Chip. Though, not Lydia, she’s started to grow on me.
Still, Kurt looked as if he’d done a few lines and, as much as I love the guy, he tends to get completely out of control when he’s coked up. And I didn’t want to have to go back to the Emergency Room. Not tonight I didn’t.
“Kurt, there you are! I’ve been looking all over for you.”
As if the porch could get any more crowded, Calli now joined us and proceeded to stick her tongue halfway down our host’s throat.
The next thing I know, Lydia was like lunging at Calli – screeching: “You! You dirty cunt! I fucking hate you and everything you stand for!”
Stunned, Kurt started swinging the bat wildly and, somehow in all the confusion, nailed me in the nose.
Blood gushing out of my nostrils, I crumbled onto the filthy porch – kinda feeling like I’d probably got what I deserved for my earlier transgressions. As they say, instant karma’s gonna get you. Right in the ass.
While I tentatively tried to stand back up, Kyle and Lydia were dashing off into the moonless night and Kurt, having dropped his weapon, was tending to Calli’s superficial injuries.
And that’s about when Nara re-emerged from the house.
“Hey, you, what’re you doing on the ground? So, anyway, I was wondering if you like maybe had some more of that shit on you. Cause, man alive, my head’s killing me.”
Steadying myself, I mumbled: “Yeah, I know how that feels.”
Swiping the turquoise scarf off Kurt’s neck, I shoved it up against my bloody nose and added: “Thanks for the party, man. See you around, maybe.”
When I finally made it back home – after a wobbly walk through the streets of Berkeley (at one point, I think that even I saw Scooter filling his SUV up at a gas station where a large man with a work jacket declaring, “Walter,” was angrily washing his windows) – my wife was sitting on the sofa waiting for me.
“And where the hell have you been?”
“I needed to go out.”
“Holy shit! What happened to your face?”
Collapsing on the couch next to her, I explained: “Kurt hit me with a bat.”
“Why on earth would Kurt doing something like that?”
“I think he was trying to hit Kyle.”
Inspecting my face and determining that I’d likely sustained no lasting damage, my wife soon changed course: “So you went to the party without me?”
“What do you mean by ‘kinda?’”
“Well, I never actually made it inside.”
“Why? Were you kicking it on the porch with all the smokers?”
“No, not really. I dunno, I guess I just got distracted or something.”
“So were you also distracted when you forgot to wake me up and take me with you?”
“Then what were you thinking?”
“Nothing really. I just figured that you hadn’t been feeling well so it was better to let you sleep than to disturb you.”
“But I told you that I really wanted to go. That I needed to talk with Kathy.”
“We do have a phone.”
“Wrong again, boyo. They turned it off today.”
“See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I’m so sick of all this shit!”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Just that I’m feeling overwhelmed and depressed again.”
“Do you think perhaps it might have something to do with all them pills?”
“Maybe. Or the simple fact that our life fucking sucks.”
“And your solution to that problem is to ditch me, get wasted, and fight with your friends? That’s such macho bullshit.”
“I’m sorry. Like I said, I thought it was best to let you sleep.”
“Then why didn’t you just stay home with me?”
“Cause I needed to go out and clear my head a little bit. You know, it’s like the Minutemen said, I figured that maybe partying would help.”
“And did it?”
“Did partying help clear your head?”
“Nope, it just made me bleed my own blood.”