Chapter 1 of 3: Roses
If the dynamics of alcohol were different, there wouldn't be a need for Alcoholics Anonymous. If people were to experience the hangover and the nausea and the vomiting before the 'buzz', it would have been deemed worthless hundreds of years ago.
I woke up in a daze in my own bed for the first time in a while. Between the poison ivy I got from passing out in the woods off of a major road and some kind of embedded glass in my right elbow from God knows where, the last thing I needed was a hangover.
The girl of my dreams passed by me yesterday; we didn't even make eye contact. As much as I felt I should turn and follow, all I could manage was to stare at her receeding ass. I forgot to stop walking and walked straight into a non-perfect girl, spilling the contents of her binder all over the ground.
"Oh Jesus, sorry about that," I stammered as I attempted to help her clean it up. What started out as a mistake turned into a disaster whe, buffeted by the wind, several loose leafs fluttered away down an adjacent hill.
"It's alright," she said through her teeth, "it was only my essay." I'm pretty sure she was cursing under her breath each time she bent over to grab a sheet.
What a sarcastic bitch, I wonder if she's single.
I grabbed the last paper at the bottom of the hill and saw it was the title sheet. "Bukowski and Existentialism." Unoriginal, but at least she had good taste. Her name was Rose Beckwith, unless she'd stolen the document.
"I'm sorry, Rose," I said glancing at the sheet and then smiling back at her. "Can I make it up to you somehow?"
"You could try watching where you're fucking going next time," she accosted while turning to walk away.
To be honest I wasn't so sure whether I wanted to fuck her or slug her. Perhaps both, if she's into that kind of thing. One thing was certain, though: I had to find out more about her. I'm not above borderline harassment and stalking. I caught up with my own train of thought only after she'd gotten about 15 yards away.
"Now wait just a goddamn minute,"" I yelled while closing the gap. "I said I was sorry and I wanna make it up to you."
She never took her gaze off the path directly in front of her when she replied, "like how?"
"I hadn't thought that far ahead yet. Why don't we just start with introductions first. My name's Ricky."
"As you already deduced, I'm Rose."
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Rose."
"Trust me, the pleasure is all yours."
I may just be love her now. She maintained her sassy demeanor during the small talk, only making me want her more. Finally I made some ground:
"Just so you know, Bukowski wasn't an existentialist. He was a nihilist."
"Is. He's still alive. And also you're wrong."
"Do you even know what an existentialist is?"
"Yes, I consider myself to be one. Do you even know what a nihilist is?"
"Yes, I consider myself to be one." She finally smiled and slowed down.
After several years of smoking, you come to know your natural enemy: the steady incline. It didn't really occur to me how bad the effects of such a hobby were until about half way through my smoking career when I began to start driving two blocks to pick up alcohol and, obviously, tobacco. I can't even remember the last time I went running.
I lit up a cigarette while continuing to walk with her.
"You smoke?" She asked with condescension.
"You don't?" Equally condescending.
"Only when I'm drunk."
"...Me too," I replied, glancing at my clock. 1 PM.
After a few moments of silence she at last gave me an indication of interest.
"So, how old are you?"
"19 and some change. Yourself?"
"20. What's your major?"
"English, but I'm the only English major who's not allowed to take any English courses."
"How'd you manage that?"
"It's too long a story for this short a walk, so let's just say that I got caught up in the system."
We finally reached her dorm and said goodbyes and exchanged phone numbers. I sauntered off back to my off-campus housing and settled down for a nap. All I could think about was Rose, and strangely enough, the physics of golfball trajectory.
I wanted to call her the second after getting her number, to ensure it was real. I couldn't just let this angry, bitter bitch get away from me. Sleep came, and in my dreams I kept thinking how my original dream girl had to have set me up for this. Serendipity might not be the word, but it sure sounds like it.
Chapter 2: Broken Laws
I awoke to the sight of my roommate, Sleepy, hovering over me with his face no more than a foot from me. I recoiled and he continued to just stare at me for a while before turning around and walking to the kitchen silently. After the initial shock, I got up and walked in.
One strange thing about the nature of drinking is the time in which it always takes place. All but the most brutal alcoholics will wait until the evening to begin their weekend escapades, when it should be blatantly obvious that the early day is the very best time to do your binging. When you have a hangover the next day, the headache is amplified when you're in the sun. Your eyes never seem to adjust and the sun blanketing you just makes you angry as hell. The headache makes you almost useless to all but the most trivial of tasks. And let's not get into trying to stomach food.
The answer, it would seem, is that you should do your drinking when you wake up, or soon thereafter, and continue through until the middle of the day. Then a nap to recover, and the hangover lasts into the night. The next morning you wake up and you're ready to do it again. If people weren't so fucking judgemental this would be more commonplace.
Ryan, aka Sleepy, has been my best friend for several years. In all the time I've known him, I've never been able to understand his eating habits. When I walked in, he was eating a bowl of cereal with no milk, while holding a half-gallon of 2% on his lap. After each subsequent spoonful, he would wash it down with a swig of milk. He won't tell me why he does it, just that he does and will continue, which I can respect. I might add that he eats chips and dip oddly too - by spooning the salsa under his tongue and then putting the chips in and chewing.
I asked him what he was doing tonight and he replied that he was going to some kind of house party a couple blocks down. There would supposedly be a few kegs and jungle juice, which I would not be opposed to at all. I offered my company and he accepted. I was secretly planning to invite the girl, even though I had the sneaking suspicion that she would turn her nose up at it. She was probably too good for it anyway.
After eating a meal of ramen and stuffing some plain pieces of white bread down my throat, I began my 5 PM ritual. A single beer first, then a mixed drink. After that, depending on the situation, I'll try to make a 2 beers for every mix drink rule, to slow myself down. Beer, in all its glory, is too slow for me. Liquor, however, catches up with you very quickly when not monitored properly. I also tend to take down about two cigarettes for every drink.
I gave Rose a call and was torn between what I wanted her to do. Sometimes I call just to get a machine, because then it at least shows some effort on my part. Other times, I genuinely want to talk. If she doesnt pick up, I can't really fuck it up.
She didn't answer and I hung up after listening to her message up to the last second. "Hey this is Rose, I'm probably not next to my phone...or I am and I don't want to talk to you. Leave a message if you feel like it." There was something disconcerting about the intricacy of the message. I couldn't decide if she was joking or if she was serious.
My next call was to my supplier of weed. The short and stalky John was one of the worst dealers I'd ever met, in terms of flakiness. I now the old adage of "no less than 15 minutes late" but I think he took it too far. I'm talking about close to 2 hours of wait after the original deadline. However, he was usually apologetic and would hook up the bag a bit. He may also have some kind of mancrush on me, as he constantly made physical contact during his conversations with me, much in the way you do when flirting with a girl. Things such as the hand over hand and the shoulder brush. It didn't bother me so much, but you'd have to pay for my enema the next day in order to get me to go drinking with him.
After a curt discussion, I walked to 7-11 to get cigarettes and money for drugs. Unfortunately it came to my attention that my account was overdrawn by about 75 dollars. I wouldn't be getting any checks for the next 2 months. Fuck, I guessed it would be just a beer night, again.
Walking back I saw the house we would be partying at, and it appeared to be in the late stages of planning for the night. They had moved some tables onto the front porch and the trash cans were being brought into the living room - as I saw through the window in passing - by a few girls. It's somewhat unusual for a house of girls to have a flyer advertised house party as they tend to like everything to be neat. However, they're never above coming to a party at my house and throwing up in my shower. Bitches.
With the prospect of slumming for the next two months on my mind, I made a mixed drink at my house and began to clean my dirty-ass up. Rose still hadn't called me. Ryan was blasting Tech N9ne upstairs and, I assumed, was getting his gameface on. As quiet as he usually is, he changes into a whole different and awesome person when drinking. It's like if you could make the music of Metallica into the shape of a 6'4 170 pound guy.
After a few more drinks, I was starting to feel better about my chances of surviving the night. Ryan was pregaming with me, but when all is said and done, the pregame starts to look more like a normal person's whole four quarters, and overtime. We finished a fifth of rum and a twelve pack in the space of 4 hours, and at 9 we were ready to rock. Rose still hadn't called back, and I began to doubt the chances of it happening. Maybe she was genuinely just a cold hard bitch and that she was brushing me off. I still wanted to entertain the notion of a romantic-comedy type relationship where I get her to open her heart and her legs, hopefully simultaneously.
We got to the party easily enough and went in through the back. It was already an hour in so it had a good amount of people. I handed the woman at the door half of my remaining wealth, or five dollars. The trick to partying is to remain in constant sight of the keg, as though it'll disappear if you turn your back. We played two rounds of beer pong and retired from the table undefeated in favor of mingling with the throng of people.
Before I knew it, it was close to 1 AM and the scene had died down. A plus to having the party at a girl's house is that they sure as hell aren't leaving when the keg is kicked. I really had to pee, but the bathroom had a line that would take about 10 minutes to get through. I politely asked one of the residents "where the fuck is the other bathroom" and she directed me to go upstairs.
In the upstairs bathroom, it was evident that they hadn't planned on having people use it. Hairsprays, make up, an electric razor(what the fuck?
), and various scented candles were strewn about on the porcelain counters and on the toilet top. I released the floodgates and moaned in satisfaction. Girls have asked me why guys sound so relieved when urinating, and I've always rationalized that we do it for the same reasons girls moan during unsatisfactory sex. It's not that it's necessary or that it feels that good, but mostly to let anyone else know that they are feeling something.
I walked out and, in passing, saw that one of the doors to a bedroom wasn't padlocked shut. Instantly and drunkenly, I decided to knock. When my knuckle hit the door, it swung open widely and showed a tidy little room with no one in it. I turned around and looked over my back toward the stairs and saw no one coming, so I decided to take a look around inside.
First I noted that her bed was freshly made and that her computer was on idle. I checked out the door again to see if anyone was coming and then shut the door to just a crack before going to sit at her desk. I don't know why I decided to use her computer, but I turned it on and checked her AIM message: "home for the weekend, call or leave one". Real nice of her roommates to leave the girl's door unlocked, especially when people like me are around.
I stood up and began to stuff anything of value into my pocket. First I grabbed the iPod, then some - what appeared to be - gold jewelry. I shuffled around in her sock drawer and found the Holy Grail, a big fat bag of pot. In the pocket it went, and I also noticed she had a rather large vibrator hidden in the back corner. I wasn't sure why, but I took it and, with my drunken strangth, snapped the thing in half. It's much better for all of mankind that girls don't have objects that can get them off. Vibrators especially, since a man can never hope to duplicate the vibrations.
All told, I had what I estimated to be about 400 dollars worth of stuff. I went to her computer and changed her away message to: "i stole all your gear, nigga". I wasn't sure why, but it seemed like the only logical thing to do.
I proceeded to go briskly down the stairs, careful to not let all the jewelry clank and I descended the steps. I told Ryan it was time to go and he agreed. It was only after we got back to the house and I laid out all the stuff on the kitchen table that I noticed something.
The back of the girl's iPod was engraved "Julia Beckwith"
Chapter 3: Stalking
There's an interesting and usually overlooked aspect of the change in social responsibility that can be observed between high school girls and college girls. The age and physical maturity are similar, as most reach their peak of development by the age of 16. THe change is in their behavior in sexual situations, such as booty calls. High school girls are unsure of their role in life yet and teeter between guilt, shame, and planned euphoria.
College girls, however, are a different breed. A year in college for most girls will entail many hook-ups, pregnancy scares, and, let's be honest, fake and real rape. The fact of the matter is that when isolated among a group of their peers, girls find themselves becoming more and more comfortable with casual hook-ups. Where in high school, a girl would have se and then feel bad or avoid the boy for a while, college girls can make a routine out of it.
How many people can have a last name Beckwith? It seems pretty common, no strange letters or pronounciations. And yet I had a feeling in my gut that there was a connection. What's the most likely of two daughters born close together to be the quiet, artistic type? The second child. If she was indeed the relative, I suspected she was older by a year or two, and probably athletic.
I discussed the possibilities with Sleepy the next afternoon over a few bongloads. He was being optimistic and saying that in a school of 4500 there had to be a few same last names. Then he made an interesting point:
"So what, fuck both of them. She sounds like a bitch and well I bet her sister is a ho, too."
"Damn," I replied, digesting the wisdom.
"Serious business dude. Just go sell the shit at the pawn shop and be done with it. Just don't do the same shit you always do where you allude to it so much she suspects you."
I nodded and lit a cigarette. The problem with being in on, or orchestrating something, in secret, is that you almost want to tell the victim. It's like how serial killers leave increasingly obvious clues: they want to be caught.
I suck at keeping secrets, too. I peed in my girlfriend's bed once and just barely managed to squirm my way out of it. A couple months later she moved out of her house and offered to give me her old mattress. I finally told her the story and she gave me a big 'fuck you'. It didn't help that I was almost on the floor laughing when I told her.
I contemplated what to do for the next hour or two, trying to calculate the next logical move. I decided that I was to go to the library to look up their names in the campus directory. I didn't have Facebook at the time and felt like playing the part of Magnum PI. Only of course, instead of stopping criminals I'm trying to cover my own ass.
The receptionist showed me the way through the stacks of books to a section just to the side of the entrance. She pulled a small phonebook-sized stack of paper and handed it to me.
"That's everyone and their home addresses. You can't make any xerox copies with it and I have to inspect whatever records you make," she almost glowered at me.
"So that people don't take down other people's information for use in advertising or spamming."
I found the Beckwiths, and promptly began taking pictures of the campus directory on my camera phone.
They were sisters, two years apart. Julia was the eldest, at 22, and Rose was as she said 20. Julia participated in girls field hockey and was on the tennis team. 2 for 2 on the predictions.
Rose was not in any honors courses aside from literature and some kind of ethnobotany class. It was interesting to note how every accomplishment was on the personalized sheet for each student. I had to find mine.
Turning to the back, I looked up my name. There were no activity photos, no extra credits or internships. No sports awards or honorable mentions. The only merit I had was for writing an opinion column in the student-run newspaper, which I only managed to write three entries for (despite popular demand). I didn't leave much of a footprint here, luckily.
With the information in hand, I left the librarian in the dust when she piped up that she wanted to check my pockets. I might as well have lit up a cigarette at that point I was feeling like such a rebel.
Well I lit one up when i was safely away from any fire hazards and proceeded to walk back to my house. After uploading the photo onto my computer I read the information more carefully. I wasn't sure where I was going with this, but I had time to think about it on the way up to the pawn shop.
Inside the shop was a cotchety old man with a poker visor that made me feel as though I'd walked into a dramatic movie set. He greeted me with a nod and I proceeded to dump the stuff on the counter in front of him.
"Where'd you get this from, young man?"
"My ex moved away and left her stuff," I replied dismissively.
"...That's where everyone gets their jewelry nowadays," he said eyeing the bling. "Well, most of this is fake, except for these two," holding up a ring and a bracelet that had a few diamond studs on them.
"I'll give you 235 for the two of 'em."
"Or I can call the police and tell them that I found the guy that robbed Julia Beckwith, the student director's daughter." He gave me the biggest shiteating grin as he leaned his elbows onto the table and looked up at me.
"...235 sounds good."
He took out the cash and handed it to me, but I hardly noticed because of the shock of that statement. I thought about it, why hadn't I noticed the link. The director was a jerk-off that never helped me to do anything. Of course he never did anything against me, except now he was vicariously blackmailing me out of 50 dollars in precious stones.
I took the rest of the stuff and then turned back to him, "How much for an iPod?"
"Let me see it," he said while I shuffled around my pockets and produced the 1st generation. He took one look at the engraving before tossing it at me. "You're dumber than you look, aren't you? Now, get out."
I had enough money to last me for a couple weeks, longer if I could win some poker games in the nights coming. I also had what amounted to a very trendy paperweight.
My next course of action was to get home and imbibe some alcohol. Too much thinking today and with little return aside from the beginnings of a scheme I hadn't fully thought out yet. I was about two drinks deep when Rose called me for the first time since I got her number.
"Hello?" I said after being siezed in a coughing fit when I saw the caller.
"Hey, Ricky, this is Rose."
"Oh, hey! How are you?" I was trying to be cheery.
"I'm okay, just bothered."
"By what?" I crossed my fingers.
"Well my sister had a party, and some dude robbed her."
"Holy shit, what did they take?"
I zoned out during the listing of what she had, mostly because I could see most of the items on my desk in front of me. I knew she wasn't accusing me, and I know there's no evidence or motive that would point in my direction. Still, I was thrust into some sort of existential panic, and I found my heart beating rapidly and I couldn't compose my sentences right.
"Are you okay? You sound funny."
"Oh, y-yeah I'm fine. Just kind of stoned."
"Yeah, they stole her bag of weed too."
"Was it good stuff?" I already knew the answer.
"Yeah, it was..." She trailed off and I wiped some sweat off my brow.
The conversation carried on for some time before I calmed myself down and got down to brass tacks. I asked her what she was doing tonight and if she wanted to get together. She was amicable but remained steadfast in wanting to stay in her dorm tonight. I alwas enjoyed the simple pleasure you get from having sex inside of a confined area where neighbors and roommates are in earshot. Perhaps it's also the triumphant walk out of the girl's floor where your hair is all disheveled but you've still got the spring in your step. Perhaps it's stepping outside of the dorm to smoke a cigarette and smelling the scent of her inside when you go to put the cig in your mouth, and inevitably recoiling before laughing. I liked dorm hook-ups.
Some factors working against me right now were my steadily rising BAC, as well as a correlated drop in my inhibitions. I wish I could blame my drunken persona on my next move, but no matter how I look at it, I still think it was the best decision. I slid the iPod in my cargo pocket and started my walk to her dorm.
All of my planning had led to this most idiotic of plans. My conscious said I should try to get the iPod back to her relative, even though the fact that it would just appear in her room later inexplicably would be more than suspect. I was still going over strategy in my mind when I arrived at her dorm and phoned her to let me in.
She came outside and almost fell down the stairs. I lunged forward to grab her while she laughed like a god damn idiot. Sht stumbled back and then leaned against the doorway. I swear she sounded sober on the phone.
"What's up, are you drunk?" I was more amazed than anything that she'd be this done by 8 PM on a Saturday.
"No no no-well...no no," she giggled and leaned back and forth along the wall. "You see," she said while pointing at me with one finger, "I only had about three GOOOOD drinks. But my roommate has all these....cream canist - whip em's!"
"Whippets?" I said with a crooked eyebrow.
"Yes! That is the one..." she said trailing off and leaning her head into the light. He lips were blue. "Would you like one?"
With that she led me in and slowly regained her composure, working off the asphyxiation of the drug and getting her balance back. By the time we got to her room, she almost had dignity in her step. Once inside I see her roommate sitting indian style around a common floor between the two beds. She had two cans of whipped cream and what seemed to be an assortment of painkillers. I only recognized one yellow pill as being Percocet 10/350, which meant she had the goods.
So, not only is the student director's one daughter a big pothead and possible chronic masturbating man-hater, his other daughter was a senseless pill popper and multi-user. Some drugs shouldnt be mixed if you're doing wither in excess, like alcohol and painkillers. Despite my own personal wisdom, I accepted the roommate's offer of the small yellow pill, which I tossed in my mouth and chewed without a drink to look macho.
Rose was a pretty interesting girl, but she just kept on becoming less of a masterpiece as the night wore on. She became very stereotypical in that you could predict her views on anything based on what I already knew (existentialism, liberal, drug addict, past boyfriends). Towards the end all I could think about was how acceptable it would be to just slap her and leave. But, inevitably the roommate passed out in a drugged stupor and we got down to what we both had on our mind.
She stripped off my pants and in doing so reminded me that I still had the iPod in the cargo hold. I used the planning of my escape as a visual image to keep myself from getting too excited, even though the percocet did just fine as a numbing force. After about 15 minutes I finished and rolled off her. She moaned something or other to me before falling asleep on my chest.
I was stuck for about half an hour before she rolled off me and curled up more comfortably away from me. I took the opportunity and got up, pulled my pants on, and went to grab my shoes. The roommate's pills were all over the floor and it was almost a bread-crumb trail up to her desk where there was a set of prescription bottles. I stole all of them and fled.
Fuck this girl, fuck her roommate, and fuck this iPod.
As I was mouthing that last part I passed by a lost and found box. I absent-mindedly tossed the iPod into the crate and sauntered off.
The next morning I woke up to the constant ringing of my cellphone. I reached over and turned it off and fell back asleep. Several hours later I got up and checked my messages.
"Hey, this is Rose. Look, I don't know who you think you are, but stealing all those pills was not cool. If you return them then I won't call the police on you. Call me back when you get this."
Hahaha! She's going to call the police on me, huh? I'd love to hear them explain that one to the cops. Not to mention the fact that she doesn't know my last name or where I live.
Two weeks later I decided on a whim to pick up the bulletin for the college. Basically a gossip section that is extended for 12 pages and given out in the cafeteria. On the front page in the right bottom corner a phrase caught my eye:
"Student expelled for theft of iPod"
I flipped to the page and read this:
Student Director's Daughter gets iPod back, student expelled
Julia Beckwith's room was robbed when she went home for the weekend after her friends decided to throw an out-of-control party. And while many of these thefts go unsolved, Julia was able to recover her favorite music player thanks to her younger sister.
Rose Beckwith says she first noticed the suspect, Alissa Williams, using an iPod shortly after the robbery when she hadn't had it before.
"It made me suspicious so I asked her about it and she told me some lie. So, I reported her to the campus police and they took it from her." The campus police then escorted Williams off campus for questioning about the robbery.
The Student Director and father of the two, John Beckwith, had this to say; "We cannot tolerate people stealing from other people in our small community. I am going to do my best to get to the bottom of this, but until then she is on probation and will not be allowed to attend class on this campus."
Alissa hasn't been reached for comment.
I laughed heartily before smoking a bowl of Julia's chronic.