My Life With Todd
I had taken two subways, two commuter trains, and a cab to his girlfriend's house to pick Beaves up and bring him to the Verizon store. Somewhere between Los Angeles on winter break and New York, I had lost the battery to the phone I was hand-delivering him. The Verizon store didn't have the battery we needed and offered to order it. We walked to IHOP, but when he took my phone to profusely call and harass Terry, I threw $40 on the table and ran out, sprinting down Northern Blvd. toward Roslyn. He followed after me, shouting, "Where are you going? " He threatened to throw my phone and I didn't turn around. When he caught up, he was saying, "Where are we going?"
His lifestyle, he explained, as a regularly-housed homeless teen, required that he smoked pot. People he understood to not be "real friends" would pick him up if he was paying for his spot in the car, which would be driven somewhere remote. In there, kids who lived with their parents would have a place to smoke. It is a situation with all of the bearings of when he and three friends were arrested a year and a half ago. The addition was that now he would regularly need to ask his auto-mates if they wanted to have a sleepover. Still, I was begging him to change his habits.
He used my phone until he found a party and a person to pick him up, and we parted on you're-my-sibling-and-I-love-you terms. I met up with the Russian Nesting Doll and we went into Manhattan. I very much needed a drink.
Around 1 a.m., Russian Nesting Doll and I left the Johnson's and started heading toward our respective commuter rails. It was then that I got a call from a Long Island number. I suspected that there was a level of infamy involved, but regardless, Beaves was unable to find a place to sleep. He blamed it on me, as I had taken him from his girlfriend's house hours earlier, where he probably would have been able to sleep.
HIs girlfriend's parents set a rule a while ago, sometime after Beaves was fired from a job he had with his girlfriend's dad, that he was not allowed to sleep there. They said it was because he sleeps too late everyday. I went to Penn Station and waited for him. We met up at 2:20 a.m. and took a black cab up to Purchase [$100].
The next day, I had a class at 2:30 p.m. I ran errands in the morning, and when I got back to my Purchase apartment in the early afternoon, he was still sleeping on the floor. We got lunch together and a lot of people saw us. [Recently I've noticed an influx of Bape worn on campus and I wholly attribute it to him.] I left my class early on some lie and later-broken promise, and we left for Manhattan together. I was going to see Clipse and I offered to buy him a ticket. He graciously declined. I haven't seen him since.
"Why is your show competing with Josh's show?" Todd P asked Joe the intern.
"It's not. Mine's a last-minute surprise party for some girl."
Josh the intern put together a show with The Fugue and So So Modern at SIlent Barn for last Friday. Joe the intern was, as usual, curating a bill headlined by Le Rug. Todd P had not organized a show because Saturday night was his enourmous Lightning Bolt with Barr and Ecstatic Sunshine show at 3rd Ward. On his night off, he was helping the interns pick out the right amount of booze to sell at their intern-tended, collapsable-table bars.
"Todd made me lay in the trunk," shouted Josh the intern from a short distance, his unibrow and mis-angled front teeth visible, "and I was sitting on a can of anti-freeze, and it was spraying up the car. And he barely cracked the windows--TODD, WHY WERE YOU TRYING TO SUFFICATE ME?"
In Todd P's defense, he had opened the windows. In Josh the intern's, Todd P started playing Neil Young really loudly to torture him.
The car was parked in front of Monster Island, Todd P's Williamsburg building of practice spaces, and I got into the trunk to hand off thirty-racks of PBR. When everyone had turned around to bring alcohol inside or carry speakers out, I tried to step out of the car. My Bean boots got caught on some rubber overhang of the trunk and I fell to the street. It hurt terribly and it's embarassing to fall out of a car but nobody saw it happen, so when they returned I had to pretend nothing had changed.
I worked at Josh the intern's show, collecting money and stamping wrists. Todd P drove me to it and stayed for the evening. He received a call from Joe the intern; cops had broken up his birthday show.
"I feel a little less irresponsible, though," Joe the intern told us the next day in front of 3rd Ward, "because apparently there was a six year old's birthday party in that neighborhood last week and the cops broke that up, too."
That afternoon I had woken up on Patty the non-intern's couch in Bushwick to six voicemails and three kinds of hangover. Everyone but her docile pet rabbit was still asleep [the kid-friendly bunny was making weird sounds sucking water] so I went outside to call Aelfie. There were four or five hours until I had to be at 3rd Ward. My hair was wash-now greasy so I asked if it would be O.K. to use her shower in a little bit.
"You can borrow clothes, too."
"Really? Oh, I probably don't need to."
"I can lend you a pair of underwear..."
"Now you're talkin'."
I went back inside and slept for another hour or two. Patty the non-intern, her boyfriend, and her friend from Emerson woke me up and we got really excellent Mexican food at a place that charged $3 for quesadillas whether they had steak, chicken and avacados, or nothing but cheese in them. After that, I walked to Aelfie's apartment.
When I got there, she didn't pick up her phone. I would've rang the bell but the bell doesn't work. I would've gone into Asian Taco and asked to use their backyard to sneak in but I only speak English. I would have showered in Patty the non-intern's bathroom but I don't know her that well and was already extremely gracious for the couch and blanket. I had an hour and a half to go and I wasn't looking any cleaner. I walked to a dollar store and bought a travel size bottle of Head & Shoulders, a box of moist naps, and a liquid eyeliner [$3]. I went nextdoor to McDonald's and bought an m&m McFlurry [$2.35] and asked the girl at the register to unlock the Customers Only restroom. I waited 5 mintues before she opened it for me, but I assured her that apologies were unnecessary. The one-person bathroom had a sink and a mirror and there wasn't very much water on the floor, so I put my head under the faucet and washed my hair. I ran out as soon as I finished, still dripping.
I also still needed to change my clothes. I checked out a store called "Da Closet," that Owen and I had always made fun of. I bought a LRG shirt [$50] in XXL that had a series of animals from the African plains lining the bottom and a slogan, "live a wild life."
I walked to 3rd Ward from there. Having gone out with wet hair in the semi-cold, I was beginning to lose feeling in most of my fingers. Todd P's car drove by with a honk and Josh the intern yelled a misfitting slur out the window. I met them at the loading dock and helped them pull large speakers from the back of his car. Between heavy lifts, I put my near-dead fingers on the hair-heated portion of my neck.
"Alaina, are you O.K.?" asked Todd P.
"I have frosbite!"
"Oh, it's not frosbite."
"Look! My hands are turning yellow. And the nails are purple."
He enveloped my icy digits with his hands to gage how much I was overreacting.
["Can't you see that I'm in love with you!" I yelled, retelling the moment to friends. "How can you tease me like that!"]
A truck delivering juice bottles showed up when we hadn't finished unpacking our car, and we had to move out of the way. The car wasn't blocking anything, but it became necessary that the boys bring everything we had taken out to 3rd Ward's third floor.
"Alaina, guard the car."
I made phone calls while they were gone. When they came back, Todd P told Joe the intern and Josh the intern to jump on his car to frighten me. I could see them approaching in the rear-view mirror, so I ended the call I was in, thinking that I had to return to work. The crash Joe the intern and Josh the intern made when they charged the car lead me to think something terrible had happened; and I was almost right. When Josh the intern, who wears a XXXL, landed on the bumper, it fell right off. An empty rat's nest fell to the ground.
"You know, whenever people say things like, oh that car's a piece of shit, it's gonna break down, it's gonna blow up, it doesn't have a bumper," Todd P said, "I say, Fuck you! It made it to Texas!"
The Lightning Bolt show was crazy. The temperature and humidity of the space rose significantly and quickly. The interns and non-interns serving as Crowd Control found themselves in the headlocks of crazed fans. In the middle of their set, two firetrucks and the police showed up. We all ripped off our newly-spray painted TODD P STAFF t-shirts and put huge wads of sweaty $10 into our back pockets, frantically looking for Todd P. The 3rd Ward bar hid every semblence of having sold anything, too. Fully costumed officers of safety and the law stalked around, looking at every lit cigarette and full trash can.
"O.K.," Todd P began when he found me, "I'm going to give you back some of this [money] to hold for a minute. Are you ready?"
Just as he reached into his pocket, a fire marshall turned the corner. He quickly stepped behind me and then asked for a cigarette.
And Lightning Bolt kept playing. People were beginning to stampede out but Bolt did a full, filthy set.
When they were finished, Security aggressively kicked people out. Two kids tried to ask us for refunds and we told them the truth.
"Alright then, can we like, have a t-shirt or something?"
One of them took me aside and started telling me that cops had bothered him twice earlier in the evening for drinking 40's outside. After a minute and a half of this seesaw, in light of our collective heat exhaustion, Phil the non-intern had them escorted out. Josh the intern found a box of mostly-intact cupcakes in the vein of Buttercup and Magnolia and Sugar Sweet Sunshine, and we found it appropriate to eat them. After not very long, I fell asleep on the couch I was eating them on. When I woke up, I called Aelfie. She had showed up to the show with an Ecstatic Sunshine fan, and I got them in for free. I asked her if I would be able to sleep at her house. It became apparent that she had gone in her house.
[Female] Dylan the ex-intern offered a sleepover to me. We left 3rd Ward after getting paid and found a diner that sold cigarettes. She locked her bicycle outside of it and as we came outside to retrieve it, Black Label, a gang of cyclists known for jousting, showed up. They started locking their bikes around Dylan the ex-intern's.
"Now you have to come to our party," bellowed a big, gruff, leather-plated, tattooed, pierced, aggressively facial-haired, and all-around muscular guy who had a dainty name like Clarence or Sylvester. His wobbling-drunk friend turned to me and started telling me about jousting.
"The thing is, you can't do it when you're totally wasted. If you have trouble walking, don't get on the bike. It's not gonna end well."
He didn't actually explain what bicycle jousting entailed but I assumed that two punks rode at each other with broomsticks. I reasoned, "Well, you should probably be at least a little drunk, right?"
"Last time I did it I was sober!"
"Oh, then, did you win?"
"Shit, no! I got my ass beat. Screwed up my shoulder for six months."
He probably should've been at least a little drunk.
Dylan the ex-intern and I followed the Black Label gang into the party apartment, shrugging. The flooring was uneven and there was a pipe stuck high between two walls of a hallway. The punks used it for acrobatics but, as we quickly understood, the pipe wasn't firmly attached, and everyone who tried a trick landed on his or her back. A girl in a polka dotted dress sauntered up to me with a cup of what looked like cloudy tequilla. It tasted like it, too.
"What is this?" I asked, after drinking half of it.
The party was BYOB and no stores were open in the neighborhood. Clancey gave Dylan the ex-intern a Yeungling tall boy that she shared with me, but he gave me bike-over-your-face scowls when I was drinking from it. The only boy I found attractive was so drunk that he had pissed himself and didn't have the self-control to take himself home.
We woke up in the mid-afternoon to a phone call Dylan the ex-intern got. She was meeting Patty the non-intern to do some gardening, but I awkwardly insisted to take the train back up to Purchase. I called Lil Jenny and found out that a boy I had kissed when I was boozed past the point of decision-making had turned up in Mary and Katie's apartment when she and Gregdog were sleeping in the living room. He put his head right up to her face and woke her with a start, and then proceded to wander into Katie's room and take his pants off. I would've been more embarassed but I had next-morning resolved to end our acquaintance. He had probably turned up there, although probably accidentally, because he doesn't have a legitimate residence on-campus.
I undressed to finally take a shower. I hadn't taken my pants off for three days and when I did I saw that I was covered in large bruises. Now in LA, only in shorts, everyone can see that I fell out of a car.
Last night at 9:05 [which is just past midnight on the eastern seaboard], I texted Beaves' girlfriend. I wrote, "Tell alex i say happy birthday."
He wrote back from her phone: "Thank you alainbow." Alainbow is an old family nickname.
"Tell him to call me tomorrow," I sent with automated smiley faces. He hasn't called yet.