I’m in a ditch by the side of a suburban street, on my stomach and vomiting into a puddle of puke that was already there. I’m only wearing underwear that it smells like I’ve soiled and I’m shivering in the morning cold and covered in dew. An attractive, clean-looking woman is holding a boy’s hand as they walk on the sidewalk at the top of the ditch, probably on their way to school.
The little boy points at me and says, “Look Mom, it’s one of those creeps.”
She says, “Don’t look at him. Just keep walking.”
I want to stand up and say, “I’m not a creep!” but realize I’m staring at the woman’s ass as she walks down the sidewalk—can’t seem to focus on anything else—and know she’s right.
I drag myself out of the ditch and try to orient myself. I’m only a couple of blocks from home. That’s good. Maybe I can get home and take a shower before I have to go to work. I don’t even know what day it is. I figure it’s a week day or why else would that woman be walking her kid to school but I don’t know that. They could have been going anywhere but, nevertheless, I feel a certainty that they were going to school. Pre-school or kindergarten. Something easy and not even a whole day. Then I think that kid’s a real loser. There’s no reason for a kid not to be in school at least 8 to 10 hours a day.
I’m still just standing there. I have to force myself to move. My whole body hurts. My stomach heaves again before I finally move on.
I’m walking up my porch steps and I see Brandon Henson standing with his back to the door staring out into space. At first I don’t realize it’s him because his hair is shoulder-length and orange and he kind of looks like Owen Wilson. I can’t remember if he looked like Owen Wilson in high school or not. But I didn’t know who Owen Wilson was in high school so that comparison would have been extremely prescient, if not impossible. I approach him for a hearty greeting and he backs away as much as he can until he realizes it’s me, or at least that who I am is mostly unclothed and totally unthreatening.
“Brandon Henson! Man, it’s been forever! Dude, you look just like Owen Wilson except your hair is longer and it’s orange! Where the hell ya been! You look so fucking European! Mainly because of the way you’re standing...and the cut of your jeans. Hardly anyone wears jeans like that here!”
He places a hand on my shoulder and says, “Calm down, man. How’s it going?”
“Great! Awesome! Totally battle axe!” But inside... I don’t know.
I don’t know what he’s talking about but he’s pointing at my chest and at first I fight the urge to look down because I think maybe he’s just playing that trick where you get somebody to look at something you’ve spilled on your chest and then they... what is it they do? Hook your chin or something? But I’m not wearing a shirt and my chest really really hurts so I look down and see the bloody pentagram carved into the skin. Not knowing what else to say, I mutter, “Oh, thanks.”
“Where are your clothes, man? It’s kind of chilly. Not even summer yet.”
I have horrible flashbacks from the night before and don’t have any way of putting these things I saw and took part in into words. I break down. Brandon pats me on the back and says, “It’s okay, man. Let’s go inside. Let’s get you into the shower or something. Smells like maybe you’ve shit yourself. Do you care if I smoke some hash?”
I shake my head and we go into the house. The door isn’t locked and a pungent stink wafts out. But now that Brandon has pointed out my stink I can’t think of anything except showering. I go upstairs, Brandon right behind me. I notice Buddy is back in bed, wearing only a t-shirt that says: BILDRUNGSROMAN in gothic letters. Brandon follows me into the shower and I take off my underwear and he strips down and then says maybe he would rather take a bath so we run the water and smoke some hash while the tub fills.