New Year’s Eve, 1996 By: Sean McCallum Every man hath two birth-days: two days, at least, in every year, which set him upon revolving the lapse of time as it affects his mortal duration. The one is that which in an especial manner he termeth his. In the gradual desuetude of old observances, this custom of solemnizing our proper birth-day hath nearly passed away, or is left to children, who reflect nothing at all about the matter, nor understand any thing in it beyond cake and orange. But the birth of a New Year is of an interest too wide to be pretermitted by king or cobbler. No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. - Charles Lamb, 1821. New Year's Eve, 1996. I was sixteen years old, and embedded in the horns of a dilemma. I had been dating Allison Mandrel for about three months, so it must have been getting pretty serious. I thought this because I was an idiot, and because three months was a hell of a long time when you were sixteen years old. That, and I was allowed to get into her pants on a fairly consistent basis. And although there hadn't been any sex yet, I was close. I was under the impression that “man” had some kind of instinct, dating back to times when men had to rely on those instincts, that let him know that his reproductive juices should prepare for utilization, because those juices would be needed shortly. Somehow I felt my juices would be needed New Year's Eve. I was almost positive that that would be the night where I would take that proverbial step into manhood, thereby expressing my animalistic right, achieving my natural destiny. I was going to engage in the act which simultaneously reassures us, as human beings, of the superiority of our civilization, while reminding us that we are truly beasts at our very core. I could feel it in my bones, in my loins, pulsating through my veins, I could sense it, could smell it in the air. Also, I had bought Allison this really expensive necklace for Christmas, so I figured that she pretty much had to. I was going to get laid. I figured that I was in like Errol Flynn. So this was my dilemma: Allison Mandrel went to the Catholic high school, which meant that she had her own group of Catholic high school friends. My friends and I all went to the Public high school. At this time, a couple of my buddies were dating friends of Allison's, and this was in fact how myself and Allison became acquainted, a fact which is little more than an inconsequentiality. In light of the successes of these relationships, there were plenty of other kilt- wearing, single Catholic schoolgirls anxious to meet my equally single, sometimes-kilt-wearing Public school friends. Now, under normal circumstances, this is nothing more than a triviality, an inconvenience. However, New Year's Eve, 1996 was anything but a triviality; these were not normal circumstances. Trying to organize what the hell you're doing for New Year's is difficult a task enough. The fact that you're sixteen years old, the basis of your every decision lies somewhere within the dichotomy of getting drunk with your friends and getting some action from your girlfriend, and that that decision itself is fuelled by sheer adolescent stupidity, complicates matters. Throw into the equation the idea of two completely foreign groups of friends, from two different high schools, all, not necessarily wanting, but necessarily needing, to party together for the first time, and what you have is a predicament which looks despairing on even its most optimistic of days. “Impossible”. That's what they said. “Hopeless”. They said that it couldn't be done, that we should just give up. We should make alternate plans. Our girls said that we could see our “buddies” any other night, that it was important for us, “as a couple” to spend those special first moments of the year together. Our buddies, naturally, said to “Fuck those bitches you whipped little pussies! You guys can get laid whenever you want. You’re partying with the boys on New Years!” All seemed lost; the night, the party, the beer, the music, the dancing, the broads, the boys, “Auld Lang Syne”, all of it, gone. It was six o'clock, December 31st. There were two groups of people, and now there were two parties planned. One of the girls from the Catholic school had decided that morning that she would have a “few” friends over, seeing as her parents were going out for the evening, and that she hadn’t yet heard anything planned from our side. “Nothing big” she said; thirty people tops. Drink some wine, eat some hors d’oeuvre, embrace at midnight, and then slowly disperse into the quiet night, maybe a few people hook up for some customary New Year's romance. The ratio would be great. 16 girls, anywhere from 10 - 14 guys. Under no circumstances would anyone from White Pines be allowed at her party. This was, obviously, where Allison was going. The night before, Dale Kliner had decided that he'd have all of the lads over for New Year's, seeing as his parents were split up and he simply didn't give a fuck. “Nothing big”, he said; seventy people tops. A couple’a kegs, a texas mickey, you know, just the boys from the football team and a couple’a skanky broads. Drink alotta beer, listen to some tunes, go fucking crazy at midnight in the living room, champagne sprayed all over the walls and curtains, wind up passed out on the kitchen floor in a pile of your own vomit. The ratio would not be quite so good. 50 or so guys, anywhere from 12 - 15 broads. Sounded pretty good, right? After all, Kliner was a pretty easygoing guy, and maybe he wouldn’t mind having a few of the Holy Mary people over for his shaker. But there was a problem; Kliner hated everyone who attended Holy Mary. He was a captain on our football team, and absolutely despised the thought of socializing with any members of our cross-town rivals. They had given us a spanking in the division finals that year, and had kept us from going to state the year before when they beat us by a God damned point. Kliner hated Holy Mary Catholic High School, and under no circumstances would he have any of its “cocksucker” students enter his house. He didn't care if any of them played for their fucking “cocksucking” Crusaders team or not. Fuck 'em. They weren't welcome. And that's how things stood at six o'clock. The situation looked hopeless. Something needed to be done. As the day progressed without word of an impending merger, no sniff of any kind of solution, no glimmer of hope on the horizon, it became clear to me that if anything were going to get done, it would be left up to me to get it done. To this day, I am certain that the guys on the football team would have been content drinking themselves into oblivion in the company of their own testosterone and stories of battle on the field. I am also quite certain that the girls would have been content to drink their wine and sit around in their pajamas playing truth or dare after midnight. I, however, was not content with these scenarios. And the thought of girls in their pajamas was enough to prompt me to immediate action. Kliner, as has been well documented, was a tough son of a bitch; however, it was also a well known fact that he held a soft spot in his heart for Allison Mandrel; the very girl to which I was betrothed, in a manner of speaking, for the night. So I came up with a plan; convince Allison to convince Kliner that it is he that she wants, and that the only way that their love can be realized is by her seeing him that very night. And since there was no possible way for all of Kliner's friends to come to the girl’s planned little shindig, the only way it could possibly happen was if Kliner were to invite Allison's friends over to his place for the party. Besides, he'd already bought the kegs, and it would only be, you know, “a few of my friends, because, well, the girls are really anxious to meet all of the guys on the team; you play quarterback, right?” So simple. So perfect. So…effective. By 6:45, the word was out that the bender was on. Kliner's. Tonight. New Year's Eve, 1996. Fuckin' right. I remember beads of hot water running down my chest as I stepped from the shower, the steam in the room sucked out the open window like the smoke inhaled by a university freshman taking a hit from the bong. I remember moving naked towards the window to take in the cool of the early evening winter air. From the lit bathroom the sky outside seemed void of stars. But the outside utter darkness was comforting; the nothingness interrupted only by the pale shading of snow covered rooftops and the sound of a train somewhere off in the otherwise still distance. I remember that the cold felt good deep within my body. The steam seemed to instinctively revolve around me, magnetically, gravitationally, and I was vaguely aware of being part of some kind of moment; of existing in some type of reality that I was unaccustomed to; a faint recognition of being part of something living, something perpetual, something cyclical. But the epiphany vanished as quickly as it appeared, and with subliminal traces of parataxis, my thoughts were almost instantaneously overwhelmed by visions of beer-soaked, scantily clad teenaged girls and dripping- drunken adolescent boys, all sloshed together, some ancient apothecary’s secret brew, jumping maniacal and brutish to thumping, crashing, penetrating sounds, the remnants of some ancestral ritual. New Year's. What was it that was so great about New Year’s in high school? What was it that made it so important? Keg parties and cheerleaders and testosterone at it's best and worst? Maybe. But a lot of the guys that I had grown up with seemed to be going in different directions at that time. I guess that’s the way things get in high school. A lot of the guys had grown accustomed to getting baked in the back seats of cars parked in behind the high school, drinking 40's of malt liquor on a Tuesday night. A lot of the other guys were playing football and working out and having unprotected sex with random women. And then there was Danny and his dirtbag friends that spent most of their time skating and hanging around at punk rock shows. And then Billy was getting all serious about school, talking about Princeton and Cornell, PSAT's and portfolios. And then there was Allison and her friends, and I had to at least make a marginal attempt to try to fit in with them, as painful as that might have been. Sixteen can be a brutally tough time. Nobody knows what the fuck is going on in their own lives, let alone those of their friends. And those who claim that they do are either delusional or full of shit. The only thing that you can do is to get up every morning and put on your shirt and go do your thing. And it may seem depressing and redundant and meaningless at times, but there’s really nothing else you can do. You have to keep moving and doing in some way because, if you don’t, then you’re not really doing anything at all. And I guess you’re not really living at all either. But it’s funny, you know? Because no matter how fucked up everything got with different groups of friends, different interests, different directions, different girls, things somehow always managed to stay mostly the same between us. Between us really close friends, anyways. I remember someone telling me that when he first went away to university, he came back home to visit after being away for just three weeks; and returning home, even after such a short period of time, he knew exactly which friends of his would be close to him for the rest of his life. And it seemed like, even at that young, fucked up age, we already knew that we were the ones who would be those perpetual friends to each other. We always managed, always, somehow, miraculously, thankfully, always, to stay close. Everyone seemed to know that we’d always, always be there for one another. And maybe that’s why we feel, to this day, the same way about each other as we did when we were nine years old. But not the same; we became stronger, better, more solid, more stable. And even though we didn’t know who we were then, we knew where we were. And sometimes that can be better than knowing who you are. Because if you know where you are, it doesn’t matter who you are, because you’re at home. There are certain moments during New Year’s that act as a kind of a microcosm for the way that all of us lads had grown up together. On New Year’s, it is understood that a different set of rules exist. And although it is not “anything goes”, it often does not need to be said what those alternate rules are. Nobody is black or white or rich or poor. Everybody is black and white and rich and poor. Nobody gives a fuck where you’re from, or what you do, or what you’ve done. All of those extraneous factors which so often divide and disconnect people are rendered meaningless for seemingly serendipitous instances. You embrace total strangers without giving it a second thought. You dance like an idiot to terrible music without damage to any previous ill-gotten reputation. You hit on that girl who would otherwise be comically out of your league. You have profound, life-altering conversations with people you will never remember. Things are different on New Year’s, and if observed at the right moment, all can appear right in the world. It was one of those parties that defines your entire high school existence. Looking back in advanced years, sitting on the swinging porch, your wife in the kitchen fixing supper, the sun setting beyond the distant hill, a cool glass of iced tea in your hand, it is parties like New Year's 1996 that you will remember. I got to Kliner's place at about 8:30, the house already beginning to fill in. In deciding to upgrade the party to full blown bender status, Kliner had gone out and picked up two more kegs, bringing the total to five. He had two pumps, so upon my arrival, there were, without question, two kegs tapped. The Texas mickey of Canadian Club Whiskey, an eighteenth birthday gift of Kliner’s from his cousin up in Sault Ste. Marie, loomed impending on the kitchen counter. As is the case with any party where there is a smorgasbord of consumable alcohol (and make no mistake about it, when you are in high school, five kegs and three liters of Whiskey constitutes a smorgasbord), the first patrons to arrive were males. A large quantity of males. A large quantity of testosterone fueled, chest thumping, only-there-to-get-pissed-fuck-and-fight males. The stereo was blaring something by “Rage Against The Machine”, and the house, quickly filling with smoke, reeked of teenaged male fermentation. It was the perfect environment in which to get wasted. My general train of thought in those (sometimes not quite so) memorable hours leading up to, and just slightly after, the stroke of midnight, went something like this: Somebody, anybody, hands me a plastic cup filled with foamy warm beer and I make my way around the kitchen, high-fiving and hand-shaking every guy I’ve ever played ball with, and some that I haven’t, getting tapped on the ass by some offensive linemen, and by some who aren’t, and generally soaking in the festive mood. It’s New Year's for Christ’s sake. My beer, as bad as it tastes, goes down easy. Too easy. Somebody, anybody, hands me another. Stories begin being told. The stories that Sweet-Legs Nate tells. Stories of glory; those of which legends are made. The game against Kennedy high. That pick that you returned for six. That fucking hit that HIV's laid on that “cocksucker” from Sacred Heart. You know the drill. Another beer is handed to me. I turn around, and the kitchen has many more people in it than it had ten minutes ago. In walks McFarlane. What's goin' on, buddy? There's a drinking game going on at the kitchen table with a pyramid of cards turned face down. I don't like the looks of that. Stay away if you want to stay awake. The Captains begin handing out shots of whiskey. I am part of the team, and naturally have no choice but to take one with my comrades. It tastes awful, and burns the entire way down, but no spits. No problem. The front door opens. More people walk in. The front door opens again. More people. Again. More people. Another beer. The front door opens again. This time it stays open. In walks Sal and Maulcak. The party is beginning. Some girls show up. Sluts from our school. Dressed to kill. “Is this a fuckin' pimp 'n' ho party?” I hear someone ask. People laugh. Especially me. I am feeling dy-no-mite on a nite like this. More people show up, among them, a group of the grade- nine dirties. Lord love the grade-nine dirties. They instinctively migrate to the football team like the monarchs of Angangueo. Soon the sliding doors in the kitchen are opened. It's getting hot in here. The living room is beginning to fill with people. The TV is on, I'm not sure if anyone is watching it, but they're showing “Die Hard” on one of the cable movie channels. More people walk in. The front door is still open as Gordie and Billy Fretz walk in. I am on my fifth beer, I think, and I greet my buddies with a big fucking hug. “It's good to fuckin' see you guys. Go get yourselves some beers.” I haven't seen much of Kliner yet. He shook my hand and went off with some guys I don't know that well. I'm not sure if he's avoiding me because of the whole Allison thing. If so, that's pretty funny. I'll let him in on it tomorrow when we come to help clean up. We’ll have a caesar and a laugh about it. More people. “THE FIRST KEG IS DONE!” Everybody cheers. Tap another. More people, some girls that I don't really recognize, maybe they're from Holy Mary. They’re pretty hot, but they have a couple guys with them. Maybe they feel out of place. I grab them some beers. What the hell? It’s New Year’s. In the kitchen. Get talking to Sal, Gordie, Fretz and Maulcak. “Where the fuck is Fat Ronnie and the Rat?”. “They're grabbin’ some weed for later. They'll be by with Dunner and The Pin and the broads”. Fuckin' Eh. Another beer. “You wanna do some shots?” Sal asks. “What the fuck, it's fuckin' New Year's”. Pass me some C.C. 10:00. I'm smashed. More people. Front door still open. Sliding-glass back door open. People in the dining room. In walks Allison Mandrel. Lookin' Fiiiiine. “What's up, baby”, I slobber on her. She looks pissed off. Girls get like that when they see you having a good time. She's brought some friends with her. Many friends with her, actually. I notice this as they keep filing into the kitchen. Thirty of them, I'd say. Maybe less. Probably more. Some girls, she's brought with her, but many guys. Many more guys than I know, than I expected. Many more guys who play on the Holy Mary Crusaders football team than I expected. Aw, what the hell, it's fuckin' New Year's, right? Another beer. KEG'S DONE!. Cheers. Tap another. Go for a walk around. People hanging out on the stairs going up. Line for the bathroom. Door's still open. Lots of drugs being smoked on the front porch. What is this fucking music? Somebody drops a pint glass in the front hall. Most people cheer and then laugh. Some girl freaks out and runs for something to clean it up with. “Bitch” I thought I heard someone say. I step outside. Cold air is good. Still snowing outside as more cars pull up. There are a couple of cars parked on the lawn. I take a haul off a joint from some dude I've never seen before. I begin coughing uncontrollably as they laugh uncontrollably. I take a sip of my beer and throw the plastic cup onto a shrub. Up the driveway walk Fat Ronnie, Donnie Dunner, The Pin Man, The Rat, Big Hairy Vo and their brigade of women; girlfriends, and hopefully some that are single, for the party's sake. Hugs. Hugs for everyone. Handshakes are futile at this time. The time is 10:26. Fucked. Fuck I need to piss. Line at the bathroom too long. Walk to the side of the house. Will it ever stop snowing? Piss in a snow drift, attempting to write my name. The “J” and the “O” get finished, look pretty good too, but the “H” is giving me troubles. End the rest of my name by doing a big swirly circle thing, and piss all over my dangling belt in the process. Fuck. Laugh aloud to myself and almost fall down as I walk around to the backyard. People smoking butts outside on the deck. Somebody throws a snowball that goes through the wide open kitchen sliding-glass door. This is funny. Some people cheer. Some people inside yell “What the Fuck!?!...” and throw empty vodka bottles at suspected perpetrators. This is also funny. People are daring each other to run across the frozen pool. People run across the frozen pool. Funny. I am cold. Go inside. The house is a million degrees. Stuffy. Smoky. Loud. Party. KEG'S DONE!. Cheers. How many are left...2. Only two kegs left. Need more beer. Grab a half drank beer off the kitchen counter and drink it while I wait in line to get another. Talk to some people I don't know very well about stuff I'm not interested in very much, but feel somehow closer to them when I’m finished. A girl is doing a strip tease on one of the kitchen table chairs. I think she's in the ninth grade. First time drinking. Braces. Pretty ugly. But not fat, just ugly. I kind of feel sorry for her. Kind of. She falls off the chair and crashes onto the floor. Her strawberry cooler bottle smashes all around people's feet. I no longer feel sorry for her. She is funny, not pathetic. I point at her and laugh, and then go over to talk to her. Good ice breaker. She is a figure skater and this is her first time drinking. “How did I know?” she wants to know. I know many things. Many things about her. Many things about many people. I am psychic sometimes. And extremely well hung (I lie, but she is younger and drunker, and will believe anything I tell her). She gets me one of her berry vodka drinks because I have run out of beer. Tastes like shit, but I will drink anything at this point. Used beer. Chick drinks. Body-temperature whiskey. Cleaning products. Drunk is good. Did somebody say whiskey? Let’s do a shot. Let’s do two shots. These ones hurt a little. I feel the watery-spit come from the bottom of my tongue at the back of my jaw, sliding along the sides of my tongue and underneath my tongue, and the watery-spit makes a pool under my tongue at the front, seeping through my front bottom teeth, and I have to close my eyes for a second and think good thoughts. I wish this ugly girl would shut the fuck up so I could think my good thoughts and make the watery-spit pool go away from under my tongue. I tilt my head back and swallow. It’s all gone. I am better. Maybe she's not so ugly. And she has such a nice voice, and such interesting things to say. I introduce her to Gordie and Sal. The figure skater's name is...fuck. She's a figure skater, and she's cool. I can't remember her name. I can’t remember if she told me her name. Tanya she says. “TAAAWWWNNNS” we all yell. We yell this because Skinner once dated a girl named TAAAWWWNNNS, and we sometimes make fun of him for it. Then we laugh for too long. Fretz brings me a beer. I chug my berry drink and talk to the figure skater about some people that we both don’t know or care about. Do you know Sandy Chalmers. "Ohhmygod" she shrieks. She does. Some other names are mentioned. Allison emerges from the crowd to where me and the figure skater are standing, leaning on the counter, right by the dishwasher, talking very close; I may or may not have my arm around her. I may or may not be staring at her “rack”. Allison glares at me. I'm used to it. She does it a lot. Especially when other girls are around. Or my friends are around. Or I'm drunk. When I’m having a good time, generally; that’s when she glares at me. She walks away. She does this a lot too. Me and the figure skater keep talking about things. I can't remember what. You know, stuff. The figure skater tries to kiss me. I stop her. I tell her that the satanic bitch who gave her the dirty look is my girlfriend. I tell her that my girlfriend would kill us both if anything happened. Fuck. Where did this conscience come from? She says that's too bad, and then walks away. A girl wanted to make out with me, and I said no. That is a first. I must not be drunk enough. I steal Fretzy’s beer from out of his hand while he talks about capitalism with some girl who will not make out with him tonight. He calls me an asshole. Sometimes I can be an asshole, but not really. But more importantly, I think that I must be in love because I didn’t make out with the figure skater. I must be in love with Allison. I have had a revelation. I should go tell her how I feel right away. Right after I get another beer because Fretzy’s beer is almost gone. This time the beer is cold. The keg has been outside for the night. Cold is good. Beer is good. This cold beer is good. There is a loud crash in the front hallway. Yelling. Screaming. Many people empty out from the kitchen to the front hall. Mostly guys empty out of the kitchen to the front hall. There is a fight. There has been a fight. I have missed a fight. The fight was between Troy Doherty and some football player “cocksucker” from Holy Mary. Troy plays for our football team. He takes football very seriously. He is pissed. He is steamed. There is a cut above his eye. People try to kick the football player from Holy Mary out of the party. They are not very effective. Troy Doherty has a cut above his eye and he is swearing uncontrollably. Some guys put him in the laundry room to let him “cool off”, alone. This is a bad idea, I think. There is a loud thud in the laundry room. There is a loud crash in the laundry room. Broken glass. Putting Troy Doherty in the laundry room alone to “cool off” was a bad idea. They open the laundry room door. There is a hole in the wall. The glass window in the door leading outside is broken. Troy Doherty now has a cut on his hand to go along with the cut above his eye. This is kind of funny. Some guys take him outside to let him get some air. Some other guys are talking to the football player from Holy Mary, trying to make everything “cool”. Some girls are crying. I laugh to myself, and then to everyone else, pointing at the “funnyness” of this scene, of this whole thing. People fighting inside when it is snowing outside and it is New Year's and there are many people from two different schools here and I am drunk. I am very drunk. Most people think I am crazy for laughing at a time like this. Some other people realize that this whole thing is funny also, and begin laughing with me. Soon we are laughing so hard that we have to lean on one another as we laugh and point and laugh. Some girl tells us to fuck off. We laugh even more. One guy from Holy Mary is laughing so hard that he begins to roll on the floor. Many people have left their shoes on in Kliner's house. Many people have dragged into this house lots of snow and mud that was on their shoes at the time they came into the house. A great deal of brown slush and mud and water is all over the floor of Kliner's house. The guy from Holy Mary is rolling on the brown slush and mud on Kliner’s floor. I am laughing so much that my stomach hurts, like I just did a thousand sit-ups. No! A million sit-ups. My plastic cup of beer drops from my hand and lands on the floor. I laugh even harder. Fuck this is some funny shit. Fuck this is a good time. I go into the kitchen to get another beer. The line is not so big because everyone wants to see what happened with the fight between Troy Doherty and the “cocksucker” guy from Holy Mary. I get a beer. Allison walks in. I tell her that I am sorry for talking to that girl. I tell her that I am sorry for everything. I don’t know what, but just everything I ever did wrong. I am sorry for sometimes being an asshole. And then I tell her that I love her. I tell her this because I am drunk, and because I think I might get laid, and because I think this might help, and maybe even a little because I think that I mean it too. She smiles, and then I try to make out with her. I kiss her for a few seconds, and then she says that she has to go see how her friends are doing. They don't know many people here. I tell her that I will see her later, and give her a wink. I smack her ass as she walks by because I am extremely drunk and feel that this behaviour is acceptable. Encouraged, actually. I am the man. I will get laid tonight. I love Allison Mandrel. I walk into the living room. The Rat is sitting on the couch, rolling a joint. I flop down beside him, put my arm around his shoulder, and speak with my face not far from his. I think that I made him spill some of his weed. I think that I am spitting on him as I talk, but I don’t care. Me and the Rat are great friends. Maybe even best friends. I tell him that I love Allison Mandrel. I tell him, if he can keep a secret, I will probably sleep with her tonight. The Rat is very proud of me. He was Allison's boyfriend for awhile before he got a better one. The Rat never got to get laid by Allison Mandrel. I will get laid by Allison Mandrel tonight though, I tell him. Fat Ronnie and Richie French sit down on the couch with us. Most of the people in this room are girls. Most of the people in this room are girls who are dancing to a shitty song by Cindy Lauper that only girls dance to. Only girls and Skinner. Skinner is the worst dancer in the world. “Do you have a cramp?” This is what a girl asked him one time when he was dancing like he is dancing now. How he dances always. We look at the girls. Many of them are hot. Dressed like sluts for New Year's. Some are bending over in our faces, others are shaking their breasts in our faces, others are girating their hips in front of our faces. The Rat stops rolling his joint. He cannot concentrate at a time like this, he says. We look at Skinner. We laugh at Skinner. He is the worst dancer in the world. He is the only person who is drunker than I am. I know this because when Skinner gets very drunk, he develops something called “The Stare”. This is a look that Skinner gets on his face when he is very drunk, a look that tells girls “stay away from me because I am very drunk and will try to make out with you. And I am a very bad dancer”. We think that Skinner looks like a child molester when he gets “The Stare”, and we make fun of him for it. Peter File we sometimes call him. Skinner gets mad when we call him Peter File the child molester. It is funny. It is even more funny when he gets mad but all he can say is “Yurfuckinogly...yuknotha.....nyysfuckinhare” because he is so drunk. When Skinner gets “The Stare”, it is not long before he passes out. When Skinner passes out after he gets “The Stare”, he is unable to wake up for anything. This can be fun. Sometimes people write things on his face in permanent marker after Skinner passes out after getting “The Stare”. Things like “I love fat Chicks”, or “I love Dick”, or “I love Satan, 666”. This can be funny. Sometimes Skinner pisses all over himself and the floor and everything after he has passes out after getting “The Stare”. This can be even funnier. Skinner the pisser. Skinner is a good guy. We love Skinner. Especially at parties. Especially when Skinner dances. Skinner is a bad dancer. Pretty soon Megan is sitting on my lap. Megan is a very pretty girl. Megan has very large breasts. I think that for every drink that Megan has, she takes off one article of clothing. This is a good thing. We like to give Megan drinks. She is wearing just a bra and her skirt and her “fuck me!” boots right now. That means that she has had five drinks tonight. She is missing her hat, her boa, her sweater thing, her tank top, and her nylons. Pretty soon she will be naked. I like naked chicks. Especially naked chicks like Megan. One time Sal put his bottle of beer in Megan's cleavage and walked around the party using her as his personal beverage storage unit. She had only had three drinks at that point because she still had her tank top on. It was very funny. It was very arousing. Megan is very “hot”. I don’t think that Megan will ever make out with me. But she is very fun to look at. Where is Allison? I need to take a walk around. Someone tells me that it is 11:42. KEG'S DONE! I need another beer. People are swarming the keg because it is the last one. I join the group and wait in an orderly fashion like everyone else. “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON UP THERE!” “THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT”. “WE NEED MORE FUCKING BEER!” “WHO'S FUCKING HOUSE IS THIS?”. These are some things I hear from the patiently waiting line people. The Pin Man walks over and pours me some beer out of his pitcher. God Bless The Pin Man. He says there are a ton of people in the basement. A ton of people? That is a lot of people. A lot of heavy people, I guess, if there’s a ton of them. I am an idiot. Let's go to the basement, I say. First we do a shot, but I don’t know if it burns or hurts because I can’t feel much right now. We go to the basement. It is very difficult to see when walking down the stairs to the basement because there is so much marijuana being smoked down there. I accidentally kick someone on my way down the stairs. “What the fuck?” they ask. I am drunk. I keep walking. Me and The Pin Man walk to a circle of people huddled in the corner. Most of these people are the friends who like to sit in the back seats of cars in parking lots, smoking weed. Tonight they are standing in the corner of a basement smoking weed. They ask me if a want a “super”. I say that I would indeed like a “super”, but no “meany greeny's” please. They laugh. They know that I do not smoke marijuana very often, and they know that a “meany greeny” super will “fuck me up”. Dunner gives me the first super. It isn't so bad, and I only cough for about 30 seconds. The joint gets passed around, and Ozzy taps me on the shoulder. He blows me a super. Ozzy has blown me the king of all “meany greeny” supers. Ozzy is an asshole, but we love him for it. I cough for a long time. I feel like I will puke. I am still coughing, and I think I just coughed up some blood. I drink some beer to cool my throat. It does not help much. I tell them I have to go upstairs to find...and then I mumble something, I don't know what, and walk away. I bump into one of Allison's friends and spill her drink on her. “I szzorra” I try to say. I am “fucked up”. She calls me a “drunken asshole”. I guess I’m just an assehole. I walk up the stairs and bump into the wall on my way up. I make my way into the family room. There is a million people in the family room. “It is almost midnight”, someone says. I am “so fucked” I say to no one. I say to everyone. No one can hear. It is too hot. There are too many people to be in this room. The floor will cave in and crush the pot smokers in the basement. I laugh about this. Fucking crushed meany greenies. “Ha Ha” I try to say, but I only mumble. People push in every direction. My drink is spilled all over me, all over the person in front of me. My plastic cup is crushed. It falls on the ground. I think the carpet used to be white. Or maybe an off white. More of a cream I think. But now it is the colour of filth and spilt shit. “Ha Ha” I manage to say. “JOHNNY!” I hear someone yell. I look up and there is Maulcak. “Heeee!” he says. “You're fucked!” he says. “You can barely keep your eyes open!” he says. “Have some of my whiskey!” he says. “It’s good shit!” he says. “Imported!” he says. I smile because I cannot speak right now. I am too fucked. I drink some of his whiskey. Maulcak pulls me to where he and Gordie and Fretz and Sal are standing. They all laugh at me. They tell me to “look over at fat Ronnie”. Fat Ronnie is making out with some fat chick from Holy Mary. I laugh at this. It is funny when Fat Ronnie makes out with fat chicks. Fat Ronnie isn't even fat, but the chicks he makes out with are. People are mostly saying things like “YAAAAAA!” and “WHEEEEW!” and “YEEEEEE!”. They are saying this, but they are yelling it too. It is about the only thing I can still say, so I start saying it. Pretty soon people are counting “TWELVE....ELEVEN....TEN....NINE.....EIGHT...”. What the fuck is going on? I think to myself, and then I realize that it is almost New Year's. I also begin counting: “SEVEN....SIX.....FIVE..... FOUR.....THREE...” At “THREE”, things start happening. People start jumping. People start yelling. I can't hear the rest of the numbers, so I don't know when New Year's is. There is a lot of pushing. People are hugging. People are hugging me. There is beer flying in the air. Wood corks from champagne bottles are flying. I think one hit someone in the head. The CD wall unit gets knocked off the wall. Champagne is spraying everywhere. “We Won The Word Series!” someone says. “Ha Ha” I say. Just like the World Series. Gordie kisses me while Sal hugs me. The champagne is spraying on the curtains. I laugh, and then say “WheeeewhappyFUCKINNEWYEARZZ” and then start grabbing people to hug. I start grabbing people to hug that I don't know. People are swaying back and forth and singing that song that nobody knows the words to and they only sing on New Year's. There is white stuff falling from above, like snow. But we are inside. Skinner hugs me and tells me that he loves me. I want to kiss girls though, not guys. But I like these guys, so I kiss some of them. But no tongue. I am “fucked”, but not that fucked. Megan kisses me, but no tongue. She is “fucked”, but not that fucked. She is still hot, though. I hug other girls and try to kiss them, but I don't remember who they are. I kiss the girl Fat Ronnie was making out with and then I laugh. It is hot in this room and it smells like the mosh pit at the Green Day concert. Someone decides to crowd surf and he is kicking people in the head by accident. He also kicks the light fixture off the ceiling. Some girls scream because they find this scary. Most people find this funny. Someone hands me a champagne bottle. I put my thumb over the hole and shake it. It sprays everywhere, and it is like I just won the World Series. I grab Fretz and pour champagne over his head like he had just won the World Series too. He says “Wheeeew!” and that “that fucking stings” and “I feel like I just won the World Series!”. I take a sip of the champagne and drop the bottle on the floor. Oops. People are yelling and hugging and kissing and spraying beer and champagne and wine and fruity drinks all over the walls and curtains and carpet. It is a fun and messy mish-mash pile of people crashing and crushing into everything when the girl starts to scream. Still people jump and elbow and I think I just got kicked in the back but it could be that guy's head plowing into me as he falls from the top of the pile. Cross-check to the back, that’s what it feels like; head first into the boards. Into my back. Dirty. “Don't ever hit from behind”, says Mike Bossy. I bend over to help up the guy who just hit me from behind and someone falls on my back. Some one was crowd surfing. Someone didn't do their part to hold that asshole up. That asshole crowd surfer just fell on my back. Both of us, along with the guy who's head smashed into my back, are on the floor. All three of us. A mish-mash of drunken bodies crumpled on the floor, arms and legs are everywhere, going in every direction. My clothes are sopping up the blackened filth from the carpet. “Fuckinshh...” is all I can say, but I think I can think a little better now. Some girl is still screaming, but nobody notices and nobody cares. The stereo is blasting a song by Queen, and people are still celebrating something, but I can’t really figure out what because we haven't done any thing. I help the guy up who has fallen on my back. The crowd surfer. “Happy Fuckin’ New Year’s!” He says. We are celebrating New Year’s. “Hap yafuck’‘Nyears” I say, and then I hug him like he scored a goal. He is looking at his hand. Looking at it like it has hypnotized him. When he holds it up, it is covered in blood. The blood is not dripping, but running down his arm. “Oh Shit” I say, and then someone else grabs him and takes him somewhere where they will clean it and stitch it and send him on his way. Not to worry. That girl is still screaming, but it doesn’t matter because a girl has grabbed me and has started doing some kind of dance with me. Some kind of ritual fertility dance, I think, that’ s what this strange girl is doing with me. Grinding her hips against me as she looks at me like she wants to take a bite out of my neck. A cobra. She must be drunk. Or maybe someone gave her some spanish fly. Or some ecstacy. She is playing with my hair and still looking at me funny. Then she has my finger in her mouth. She is sucking my finger, but probably thinking about something else. Maybe one of those candy-sucker-rings. And she is smiling, and she moves her hands from my head to my chest, and she is caressing it and rubbing it, and who is this fucking girl anyways?. And now she has put her hands under my shirt, and she is scratching her fingernails against my stomach because I am the man, that’s why. That must be it, and my god, I must be fucking wasted. And that girl is still screaming, but I don't care any more because this girl is doing things to me that I'm not even sure what. And she starts to undo my belt, right here, in the living room, in the mosh pit, in the middle of New Year's, this girl that I don't even know who she is, this girl is ripping my belt out of my pants, and I'm not even stopping her, although I'm not encouraging her because I have a girl friend, but I don’t know where she is, and I don’t care where she is, I don't care. And this girl is taking off her shirt, and she is now in her bra, and, holy shit, this girl is in her fucking bra and dancing with me in front of everybody, and they are starting to notice, and they are forming a circle around us like we are the spotlight first dance at the wedding. And they are cheering. They are cheering for us. They are cheering for me. I think that more than anything they are cheering for this girl because she is in her bra and now she is down on her knees, and she has ripped my pants down, and it is a good thing that I am wearing my cool boxer shorts that I got for Christmas from Allison, and everybody is cheering, and I am still dancing really cool to this music, and Sal gives me a hi-five and hands me a bottle of rolling rock which I drink in one giant slug, much to the delight of the onlooking crowd, and then I spray the last sip in the air like I'm Stone Cold Steve Fucking Austin, and people cheer more, and then I rip my shirt off and flex, and the guys on the football team are laughing at me, but maybe they are laughing with me because I am the life of the party. I am the King. And the girl, still I don’t know who she is, looks up and gives me the eyes that tell me: “I am going to suck your dick right here in front of everyone, and I am going to make you a fucking legend!”. And I remember someone telling me about that look that girls give in porno movies, and I think this is that look. And I look down at her and give her the eyes that tell her: “I am fucking wasted and will therefore let you do whatever the hell you want”. And then the music stops. And when the music stops, the cheering stops. And the girl who is on her knees, she stops doing whatever it is that she was about to do. I stop “dancing”. People stop banging into each other and they stop jumping up and down. They stop spraying liquids all over the house. Drunken couples stop making out, and arguing football players “shut the fuck up!”. Everything stops, except for the screaming. And when we turn around, we see a girl in the fetal position on the dirty wet floor. I don’t know how long she's been there for, but I know that she keeps screaming, and she is still screaming, and the high pitch noise sounds like a dog whistle to dogs, but screeching train brakes to people. Everything is quiet and uncomfortable except for that loud shrieking noise. Her hair is knotted and dripping with muddy slushy goo, and her outfit is tattered and stained; violated. It is not white anymore. And she keeps screaming, and people keep not-moving, except for me, because I have to pull up my pants and look for my belt. And we watch. And the screaming slowly turns into a whispering, breathing whimper of sobs, like when you’re a little kid and you stop crying, but you can’t stop sucking in that jerky air. And a girl brings her water in a glass and we stand around like a bunch of fucking idiots. People whisper, wonder who she is, where she came from, what happened to her. Somebody says something really funny, I don’t know what, and everybody tries real hard not to laugh, and someone punches the funny guy in the arm and tells him to “shut the fuck up”, and then he stops making jokes. And then the ambulance comes. And the ambulance guys are in the house. And you don’t get this everyday at a New Year’s party. And still no one says anything. I think someone takes a picture of the emergency guys in their uniforms because maybe it will be funny later on. Dale Kliner comes from somewhere and tries to explain to the ambulance guys what has happened. He is not very good at explaining things. The ambulance guys take the girl away on the stretcher, and they tell us that it is broken ribs. That she was crushed. That we were “irresponsible”, and that we “should all be ashamed of ourselves”. We wish the ambulance guys a “Happy New Year's”, and even when Dale closes the front door, even then, still nobody knows what to do. People are looking around, waiting, like at a junior high dance, for someone, anyone, to do something, anything. Maybe someone can find my shirt for me. We need someone to tell us what to do. We need direction. Maybe we need a leader. So when Sal pushed play on Dale's step-father's CD player, and Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came crashing through the silence like a brick through a storefront window, our fate had been sealed. The burst shook the walls and the windows and the house with the thunder of noise and sound and the something, anything, our adolescent fervour maybe, our teenaged agnst, our fucking sweat and our fucking shaking, the blood pumping through our fucking bodies, our fucking screaming, our wild, unbound, unrestrained yyyyYYYYYEEEEUUUUUWWW!!!. Load up on guns and bring your friends It's fun to lose and to pretend She's over bored and self assured Oh no, I know a dirty word We were fucking pissed off and ecstatic and furiously manic and violently alive with vigour and feeling and emotion. And for those three minutes we lost ourselves as individuals, time ceasing to exist, nothing mattering, nothing: not your girlfriend, not the football team, not the empty kegs, not the New fucking Year, not the screaming girl, not the dirty house or the fight you got into with your parents on your way out the door, not your grades, not your friends, not that motherfucker you wanted to kill two hours ago. Nothing. With the lights out, it's less dangerous Here we are now, entertain us I feel stupid and contagious Here we are now, entertain us A mulatto An albino A mosquito My libido Nothing. Nothing mattered in those moments, because we became something else. I'm worse at what I do best And for this gift I feel blessed Our little group has always been And always will until the end We lost everything we had ever known or believed in, everything we’d ever felt or seen or read, and we became a ravenous mob of chaotic noise and riot, feeling the music and the people and the group like it were something living and acting and reacting of it’s own accord. This was different from the everyday New Year’s fun. Maybe we could never be the same. And I forget just why I taste Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile I found it hard, it was hard to find Oh well, whatever, nevermind I'm not sure during which part of the song it was, but at some point in that mindless, furious frenzy, somebody picked up the last keg and threw it through the living room wall: right through the fucking wall. Under most circumstances, this would have yanked the needle off the record, and the crowd would have stopped in their tracks, breathing a collective “oh fuck!”. But these were not most circumstances. And somewhere in Kurt Cobain's painful and gut churning screams of denial, it occurred to me that this house didn't stand a fucking chance. When the empty keg went through the wall, things somehow, instantaneously, inalterably, changed. What, only moments ago, had been sheer emotional exhilaration, a vibrant and breathing oneness, was now nothing more than complete anarchy. Some of us were trying to preserve the well being of the house, while the others were interested in its complete and utter destruction. Holy Mary Crusaders seeking to destroy, White Pines Destroyers looking to protect. Bottles were thrown in every direction; at the ceiling, at the walls, at the floor, at people. I would imagine that girls were probably screaming, but their cries were drained by the raging sounds of “Welcome To The Jungle”, which somebody, fittingly, had thrown on the Kliner family stereo. The couches were being turned over and the pillows ripped open. People were air guitaring on the dining room table while dodging projectile vodka cooler bottles. Some dude was swinging from the chandelier in the front hallway screaming “MOTHAFUCKAS GOTTA RECOGNIZE!”. Guys, presumably Greek, were emptying the kitchen cupboards and taking turns smashing plates on the floor, amidst a chorus of “OPA!!”. A guy had ripped part of the banister support off the upstairs railing and was using it to knock high, hanging curve-bottles out of the park. Someone ran into the bathroom and had jammed an entire roll of toilet paper down the toilet and then ripped the stopper right out, and as people ran from corner to corner of the house, seeking destruction, an occasional victim would be sent sprawling heels over head in cartoon-like, banana-peel-slipping fashion into the quickly growing pool, which by this point had flooded a third of the entire ground level. A couple of guys had ripped open bags of rice and pasta and were running around the house, leaving a trail of food, followed, quick on their heels, by another guy dumping a bag of ground coffee beans into the carpet. Outside, some offensive linemen were practicing for the upcoming season by trying to knock over the wooden fence in the backyard, while quarterbacks and long-snappers busied themselves by tossing lawn furniture and marble statues deep into the corner of the ice-covered, endzone-pool. Inside, someone had gone into Kliner's mother’s bedroom and had emptied out her disturbingly provocative lingerie collection, and was entertaining himself by finding exotic places to hang it; doors, railings, light fixtures, ceiling fans, paintings, his own face. Somebody had had enough and decided they were leaving, and were warming up their car while they frantically searched inside for their friend. Somebody thought that it might be funny to get into that car and drive it through the garage door. And still outside, it continued to snow. We were doing, under the given circumstances (we were leglessly inebriated and slightly outnumbered), a commendable job of defending the house. But as you may or may not be well aware, it is much easier to wreak havoc than it is to prevent it. And considering the fact that many of our means of prevention were inadvertently causing a great deal of destruction (Sweet-Legs Nate put his hand through a window while attempting to hit a guy who was pissing on the curtains; HIV's was using the potted end of a rather large exotic plant to smash in the chandelier-swinger's ribs, thus diffusing mass quantities of dirt, leaves, and runny plant goo all over the house; big Santos had head-butted some dude and knocked two of the guys teeth out; fair enough, but those two teeth had left quite a gash in Santos’ head, and as he continued to swing violently at everything that moved, blood was spraying from his forehead with the encompassing velocity of a golf course sprinkler), by the time the police arrived, the house was in a literal state of ruins. At the moment the police came crashing into the house, myself and Nigel “The Nightmare” Navaro were working over some bastard who was throwing empty beer bottles at the bay window from inside the dining room. I can vividly remember having my hand cocked in the air as the boys in blue stormed into the room and screamed at us to freeze, trying not to give in to their natural instincts which would have been to sit back and laugh at the idiot who would be disowned for having done this to his parents’ house. Having been immersed into this fresh from the comforts of their tranquil squad cars, the spectacle must have truly been something to behold: a swelling mass of near-paralyticly drunken, underaged football players, chasing each other around a ruined house like third graders playing tag in a construction site, trying to kick the living shit out of each other while simultaneously attempting to cause and prevent more destruction to an already devastated, insurance-broker’s-nightmare-like, house. I'm not sure at which point the pepper spray was unleashed, but I remember thinking to myself that these actions would probably do wonders in helping me to sober up. I also remember thinking, maybe the next morning, that the pepper spray may have been a little much. The mere presence of any symbol of authority at a high school social gathering is enough to disperse a crowd, let alone the sight of a brigade of riot-ready police charging through where the front door used to be (it had been ripped off it's hinges and was being used as a toboggan to slide down the stairs with at this point), which in turn had caused the majority of the house to clear out. What was once easily two hundred people was now forty or fifty. Kids ran outside without jackets into the blustering snow. Some were without shoes as they tumbled, sozzled, into five foot snow drifts. Some people screamed. Others squealed with giddy laughter at the prospect of a real life police chase. People grabbed what they could on the way out. Some carried beers, sloshing as they high stepped over broken chairs in the kitchen. Others had bottles of 12 year old Scotch from Kliner's step father’s bar, tucked down the front of their pants as they snickered to themselves and walked calmly away. Some guy was carefully selecting CD's from the floor when he fell victim to an officer's billy club, butt end to the face and a bloody nose. Clearly a sign that the police meant business, people realized that there was little time to get any good stuff, and began taking things that were otherwise worthless; I guess some people just don’t like to be left out. After all, nobody should go home empty handed, right?. It’ s New Year’s for Christ’s sake! Guys took vases, plates, bars of soap from the God damned bathroom. Somebody took the TV remote, and I think I saw a girl running outside wearing somebody’s bathrobe and slippers. People were running out of the house with doilies acting like they had committed the great heist of the twentieth century. Rolls of toilet paper, cans of peas, a whole frozen turkey. Lamp shades, cowboy boots, hair brushes, encyclopedias, the thermostat, you name it, chances are it was stolen from the Kliner house. Some dude took a clock off the kitchen wall ($1.99 at Walmart, battery operated) and handed it to me, telling me to put it down my pants. I told him to fuck off, and as he made a break for the backyard, I winged the clock at him like a frizbee and clipped him in the back of the head, sending him spinning face first into the linoleum floor. As the police entered the kitchen, I left my man on the ground and began heading for the kitchen sliding-glass door, only to have my progress stopped dead by the oversized hand of a man who ripped me back by my left shoulder with such force that I landed flat on my back next to my frizbee-clock victim. I rose immediately, faced the cop, saw my life flash before my eyes, and then made a split-second decision to tell him everything I knew. I told him that I was just trying to protect the house, that I was on their side, and that I knew where the proprietor was and that I'd get him if he'd just give me a chance. The officer was obviously high, and agreed, providing that he accompany me, thus sparing me a savage beating at the hands of his fellow co-workers. “Perfect”, I said. My only problem was that I had no idea where Kliner was, and finding him promptly was the only thing keeping me from physical harm at the hands of these fine protectors of the peace, and other kinds of harm from the larger and more frightening hands, and other appendages, of my potential future cellmates. I hadn't seen Kliner in what seemed like hours. He could have been anywhere. He could be smoking weed in the basement with the rest of the guys, so high that he was oblivious to the pillaging that was taking place at the expense of his home. He could be cowering upstairs in his parents’ closet, sucking his thumb and praying for it all to end. He could be in the back of one of the cruisers, hoping for a life sentence so as having not ever to explain to his step father how he allowed his house to be violated like an eleven-year old Guatemalan boy in a public bathroom. Most likely though, he was at the bottom of the pool, his corpse frozen and blue, laughing at the complete and utter degeneration of an entire society of adolescents. I decided to stall. I told the officer that he was probably upstairs in his bedroom, trying to protect the remaining valuables that had not yet been destroyed. The officer and I began walking up the stairs, and the view from above was, for the lack of a better term, funny. I had to laugh to myself as the large man muttered something under his breath, probably along the lines of “These cocksucking-fucking-bastard-rich-kids should all be put to death”. I, for one, could not have agreed more about those cocksucking-fucking-bastard-rich-kids from Holy Mary. So up the stairs we marched, myself and the officer, in search of Dale Kliner; myself hoping to come up with some type of explanation for where Kliner was, the officer hoping that Kliner would have some type of explanation for why he would allow this type of destruction to be done to his parent’s house. My conversation with the rotund officer, a Carl Winslow lookalike upon present reflection, on the way up the stairs, went something like this: “Ya MAN, I donno wha wen wrong heer, maaan. Like, thur's ony spose a be a few us, hangin', ya-no, hav'n sum beerz, gittin lai-hey-hey-haid, YOU knowat I'M talkin'bout. Then dees FUCKIN' guyz com outta th'fuckin' blue, dees Holy Mary Muthrfuckers, yaknw? 'N the jis star reckin' th FUCKIN' place. We's jis tryn tprtect th'FUckin' plays, ya kno?” I was clearly inebriated, and judging by the officer's response (“Yeah, Yeah, just stop breathing and spitting on me”), I was not doing so well to hide it. At the top of the stairs, it dawned upon me that, not only did I know where Kliner was, but I hadn’t the faintest idea which room was his, so my confiding in the officer that “Heez probly nis roooom....y'no, bitchesnall” prior to opening the door to his sister's room, complete with canopy bed, pink floral sheets, and walls draped in Backstreet Boys posters, probably didn't bode too well for my chances of being released into my own custody after this “lending of assistance”. “I giss heez i'nothr rrroom” I mumbled, and then almost tripped over my own feet as we made our way to the next door. He's wasn’t in the linen closet either. The next room was the bathroom, and despite my Perry Mason-like effort of ripping back the shower curtain and yelling “AA HAA!!”, I did little to reveal for the officer the whereabouts of Dale Kliner. “Heesn't havinna bath, I gess” I said to the large man, laughing to myself at my ability to come up with a strong and witty recovery in this moment of unprecedented pressure. Smooth. But the big man was not amused. “Eh, did nywon nevr tellya you lukala lyke tha guy frm “Famly Matterz”?” “Yes. Don’t ever mention it again. And if you don’t find the proprietor of this house, you will spend the night in jail”. Not quite as smooth. We moved to the next door in our procession, which began to take on eerie similarities to “Alice in Wonderland”. I think that I mumbled something about a rabbit with a pocket watch, but officer Carl would have none of it. I opened the fourth door and the room was blanketed in darkness. It was quiet and still, but not the kind of quiet that comes with silence. It was the kind of quiet that you get when someone is trying not to make any noise. Both the large cop and I looked at one another, and he gave me a look which told me to “turn on the fucking light”. “Righ, riiigh- t”, I said, and began fumbling around for the light switch. I could feel my clumsy, drunken appendages knocking a framed picture off the wall, and as I tried to catch the fucking thing my hand smashed into an ill-placed shelf, knocking a pint glass full of pennies and dimes off of the ledge, crashing violently onto the hardwood floor into a pile of metal and glass. “Aw Shee-it” was all I could say to express my remorse. And then there was a voice. From the depths of the room’s darkness, I heard a voice which groggily asked me “What...who the fuck is that?” I finally found the light switch behind the towel rack. Who the fuck puts a light switch behind a towel rack and then hangs towels on it? I flicked the lights on, and there lying on the bed was one Dale Kliner, flat out on his back, hands behind his head, legs spread eagle, completely stark naked, his flacid penis drooping like a lifeless eel hanging from the side of a Nova Scotian fishing boat. Beside him was a naked girl, the proprietor of the eloquently inquiring voice, half lying, half sitting with her right arm propping her up, her left hand guarding her squinting eyes from the light, as if by shielding her eyes from the light she could somehow shield her nakedness from myself and Carl. Her hair a ruffled and scraggly mess, a look of confusion and annoyance on her face, she pissed-offedly asked “WHAT THE FUCK?!?!”. Now, it is no secret that I had consumed my fair share of alcoholic beverages over the course of that evening. And my memory, oftentimes foggy on such evenings, has been known to have befuddled me in the past. However, I will be Gad-damned if our good friend officer Carl wasn’t gawking at that naked teenaged girl. And although I may have been drunk at the time (I was clearly drunk at the time), and although I may have been caught up in the drama of the moment at the time (I was clearly caught up in the drama of the moment at the time), I could have sworn that the large officer standing beside me was nodding his head up and down, asking the sixteen year old girl “Howe YOO Dou-win?”. “Do you know who either of these people are?” asked the officer, finally regaining a sense of his authoritative position. “The naked guy with the satisfied look on his face and the spent dick is Dale Kliner. He owns the house”. “Of course...And the girl?” “That's Allison Mandrel. That's my girlfriend” Silence. And then the sound that the deliberately ineffective suppression of laughter makes. It was the type of disgusted exchange that can only exist between two men who share a common bond. Two men that have been there, have felt the pangs and pains of evil that only the most malevolent of women can produce. It is the kind of reaction that we make when there is simply nothing else to do. It is the only existing, viable reaction that we posses. A type of sinister mocking of an entire sex. Laughing, no matter how half-heartedly, at the capability that that opposite sex is endowed with, their ability to kick you in the nuts with steel-toed boots after a four-second forty-yard dash on what would otherwise be one of the greatest days of your otherwise crushingly banal life. Officer Carl’s laugh told me that he knew this drill, that he knew what was going on, and that he felt for me, he honestly and truly did, and that he knew how humiliated I was. We shared this small, conciliatory, consoling moment. Our thoughts were echoed by his seemingly redundant exclamation: “What a bitch.” “What a FUCKIN' bitch is more like it”, was all I could muster at that point. There was another momentary pause which, for me, felt like hours, and then Carl dismissed me. “You've done enough son. Get on home, and don't get into any trouble on the way” “Uh huh” was my response as I turned, trying not to look at my naked girlfriend in the bed with an equally naked Dale Kliner, and began walking slowly away. As I drudged down the stairs, I thought I heard Carl Winslow wish me a happy New Year, but I wasn’t paying much attention to him at that point. Allison Mandrel. My girlfriend. Girl that I loved. Naked. Dale Kliner. My buddy. Host of the party. Naked. My girlfriend. Laid. My buddy. Laid. Myself: standing in the doorway with a large officer of the law, staring at the two of them, my girlfriend and my buddy, lying on the bed. Naked. A very sobering experience. This was bad. This was devastating. This was worse than that. This was demolishing and degrading and demoralizing. I was pissed off. On my way through the house towards the backyard I spotted one of the empty kegs that was lying on the kitchen floor. The kitchen that belonged to the house that belonged to Dale Kliner. The house that belonged to the guy who was naked in a bed upstairs with my girlfriend. Fuck it. I picked up the empty keg and threw it through the sliding-glass door and ran all the way home.