“I haven’t had a drink in four weeks.” uttered tall and skinny Hansel, as he took a drag of a light cigarette. He was only halfway done with it as he put out the lit cherry in a neglected can of Natural Ice Light. He then stowed away the cigarette into an empty cigarette box that he rummaged for in the trashcan. “Cutting back on those too?” I said as I nodded my head in praise. He smiled and gave me a questionable poke on my chest. I smiled back because he knew I was proud of him, and he knew that I was proud of him. I waltzed back into the living room to join tiny little Duckie and his two beautiful friends from San Diego. He was being overtly confident in his words, and forcing me to try a mole-bowl his two stunning friends had grounded into a Jim Beam shot glass. I joked and told them I was afraid of change, and that a mole-bowl was a direct personification of that, while grabbing ahold of the bong from their slender fingers, and took a hit. They directed me to hit the bong a little faster, and to pull the bowl out and clear the bong. I regretted following their directions immediately. A mole bowl was a combination of hash and tobacco, almost like a spliff joint, but with only the direct effect filtered through the water. My lungs felt as if they had burst into flames, and I coughed and pretended to cry, only to draw out a laugh and a half. I half-heartedly waltzed into the restroom and wiped the convincing tears from my eyes.
Back in the kitchen, I spoke to Vivian who had also taken it upon herself to stop drinking because she had to, get her shit together, which I accepted with skepticism. I immediately assumed her endeavor was a direct effect of Hansel’s decision in not drinking. This only confirmed through their unspoken romance in which they both like to deny, which only exacerbates the situation. I’m a very big fan of theirs and still wish them the best. All the while the mole-bowl still singed in my esophagus, causing only brief spurts of intended conversation that graduated into coughing attacks I tried to play off as I sipped a sad can of Natural Ice Light. “Do you live here too?” asked Vivian’s Indian friend Nancy with the knee-high suede boots. “Yes, I’m the Captain of this ship.” I coughed. Their attendance was privy to my conversation with Hansel about his cigarette in which I had awoken from a nap just moments before. I gave Nancy and Vivian a tour of the apartment, making sure to show them my roommates rooms, to further glamorize my room, which was the last room in the hall upstairs. I’d always been proud of my natural kinks in interior design, and have an obsessive compulsive affinity for straight and perpendicular lines to thank for it. Everything was cubed and at right angles in my sanctuary, where smoking was allowed so long as you ashed in the proper designated areas. My aerosol can of Febreeze does nothing to discourage this. After the compliments, we went back downstairs into the rigmarole of crowded mixtures of roommates and acquaintances and laughed hearty laughs. That’s when I got the phone call from my mother whom I haven’t spoke to in months. She did not call with good news in her agenda, but with a sardonic greeting and news of my even more estranged father.