|Jay and Gabriel were soon spending time together as if no bad history had ever passed between them. They were best friends reunited.
They told me shit that they didn't want to throw in each other's faces. Games required by male ego and friendships are beyond my understanding. I'm a good listener, and they sure had stories to tell.
They were both at the edge of seventeen now. Gabriel three months passed the magical turning of age, and buying his own Camels.
Jay didn't have any money at all. He bummed smokes. Gabriel told me that, not long after I had come to the same realization. Cigarattes sure did go fast when Jay was around.
"He could buy his own cigarettes legally in another week--if he had any money." Gabriel and I joked in front of him. He looked down and drew a big drag on the end of the cigarette.
Jay told me, in confidence, that Gabriel never apologized, or said anything, about fucking Jay's old girlfriend in Jay's own bed.
Tessie did have a way of getting what she wanted. They had both been mad at Jay that day.
Gabriel didn't have to tell me all the story. The rest of it showed in Jay's thin face.
"I told the dude I still had feelings for her. Now, he's back in my life like nothing never happened. That's cold. She's a bitch now anyhow." Jay could have a philosophical streak, if he ever just finished his thoughts out loud.
One Wednesday evening, when I had already begun an early reflection on the appropriate state of the art of making screwdrivers, the two stopped by with a little ganga and no place to smoke it.
Thinking only slightly about my consumption of vodka, I invited to guys in to hang out until I had to leave to meet my date for the evening.
Anxiety over the date was what had initiated the drinking. I don't claim it to be a good excuse, but I usually need one to start drinking binge style again.
I remember throwing up a lot in the old days. I count and measure my drinks these days, and seldom overindulge.
I decided the fun I wasn't remembering, couldn't be worth the physical toll the next morning. But, I was anxious over the date, and the guys teased me.
I passed the smoke, and went to the kitchen to measure my third.
The guys were content with Gatorade, after Jay got one stiff shot of vodka. He said it had to do with the hair of the dog. He guys' laugh in unison spoke volumes. Though it had been months since they'd spoken, two weeks later they were acting as if no time had passed. They were still flicking their bics at each other.
"No fire allowed." I gave them my best glare.
We moved our seating into the computer room, and the guys were soon involved in games I wasn't interested in. I excused myself to patrol time delay damage on my make-up.
Jay and Gabriel laughed in the backgound, and I reapplied every step of the make-up process, waiting for the phone to ring.
I finished my third drink in two hours, and went to watch the guys play.
"Hey, Ms. Shelton, you want me to make that drink for you? Jay took the glass from my hand and walked out of the room towards the kitchen.
"I watched him make a few drinks at the club he's been going to. The bartender lets him do it, sometimes when there aren't many people around." Gabriel had a reassuring look on his face.
"Did you know he's been in the karaoke contest there for the past three Wednesdays? I could never do that." Gabriel, as a larger person, preferred to stay in the background.
"Here, Ms. Shelton, is the perfect screwdriver," Jay said handing me the glass, contained nicely by a folded paper napkin.
I sipped at my drink as the conversation turned to karaoke, and another left-handed cigarette was lit and passed.
"The DJ told me I would've won last week if I done a song from Creed. I sound just like the dude, with the microphone and all. I got the moves."
"I know it really feels good when everybody claps at the end," I interjected.
"I won second place last week, and this is the night." Jay was getting an idea.
Gabriel chimed in, "Yeah Dude, we could go up there tonight." They both looked at me.
"How is your drink Ms. Shelton?" asked Jay, the ever attendant bartender.
I realized I had hardly touched it, and took a swig to improve any doubts he had about his drink making ability.
"The drink is fine, thank you. Is there a dart board at this club you go to?" The clock was still ticking on an unreceived phone call, eating into my ego.
"What am I thinking! I'm not taking you two under age dudes into a bar, although I think I'm ready for a change of drink." I continued screwdriver sipping.
"No, it's not like that, really. We go in there all the time. We just drink water. We play pool." Gabriel may have spoken the truth.
But Jay had already told me that someone had bought him nine shots, laid out on the bar, and that he finished them, laughing. I forgot, at that particular point in time, any information that would keep me from getting out of the house, and away from a phone that seemed deceased of audio titalation.
"Would you be embarrassed to go out with me? I'm old. Look at what I have on. I could change. Would you be embarassed to go out with me? We wouldn't even have to act like we were together, at least at first. You said they do have a dart board?" My brain was already ready to go.
No, they assured me, I couldn't possibly embarrass them. I told them they'd never seen me drunk, and left the room to change clothes.
"Do I look somewhere between a hooker and just a pretty woman, more on the classy side, if you know what I mean?" They agreed I looked fine, if not F-I-N-E.
"Ms. Shelton, just finish your drink and we'll go," Jay told me, ready to go to the car.
"Drink, drink, drink . . . ," and like one entranced by a sophomoric "Animal House" unison chant, I killed the largely remaining drink, set the glass in the sink, and grabbed my purse and keys and we walked to the car.
After making a convenience store stop for smokes, I relenquished the keys to someone who knew where we were going. I sat in the cramped back seat.
"That guy was flirting with me, dudes. He gave me this lighter. Did you see that?"
They had indeed seen it, and already fed me as much gratis as I could milk out of them about it. I wasn't used to being openly flirted with.
They had their heads, and voices, into a song on the radio. I sat back and enjoyed the ride, having no concept of the directions we were going. After all, it was night. There are things to see on the street at night when you're not the one driving.
I remember pulling into the parking lot. I remember ordering a drink. I remember seeing darts. And I remember falling down right in front of the stage when I tried to sit my ass in the chair. I remember Gabriel got me up. And I remember eating brownies at my house before they left for the night.
I was sick for 16 hours...and finally got out of bed very hung over in the middle of the next afternoon.
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