Saturday, April 01, 2006


When I was 19 years old, my parents, much to their later regret, made good on their promise to make me get my own apartment, a one-bedroom walk up at the corner of Hall and van Zandt. After egregious misbehavior on the part of my first housemate Kevin "The Mantis" MacIntyre, which included crashing my car, and egregious misbehavior on my own part, which including attaching threatening notes to Kevin's pillow with a 12-inch French knife, I found myself sharing the apartment with my sister's ex-boyfriend Rob and his best friend Eric, both from south-central Florida. Rob was the gregarious one, and would talk your ear off; he was also severly dyslexic and could barely spell his own name. Eric was his opposite, a voracious reader who spoke in single syllables, if at all. I never learned their last names.

The three of us were dishwashers and general kitchen drones in Newport's food service underclass. Eric and Rob worked at Mudville Pub. I worked at Scattones. We were all metalheads, with hair down to our shoulderblades. Well, Eric and I at least. Rob was half-Filipino, and his hair grew out big and kinky. He tried to bleach it blonde, and ended up with a giant orange afro, which led Eric to call him Ronald McDonald. For his part, Rob pointed out Eric's resemblance to the three-eyed fish from the Simpsons and called him Catfish. Shawn Kelley took a shit in our toilet one night, left a smear on the seat and successfully blamed me, so Eric and Rob called me Shitstain. Good times, great oldies.

The three of us shared one bedroom, and on the rare occasion that someone got lucky the other two had to sleep in the living room, which was the only spotless room oin the apartment because Eric would wake up at 5:00 AM and clean up completely while scavenging for roaches (the butt end of joints, not the household pests) and other scraps of weed. This arrangement worked out pretty well until Bobby Francis moved in. He'd been the captain of our wrestling team in high school, but was a total drughead like the rest of us. He began hanging out with us, and eventually moved into our living room. We weren't complaining: anything to help on the rent. And Bobby was an assistant manager at Pizza Hut, and had an actual salary!

If anyone was getting laid at 527 van Zandt, it was Bobby. Two weeks after he began hanging out with us, he nailed Rob's ex-girlfriend before my sister, Dayna deShaw. There were no hard feelings, and we all laughed our asses off when Bobby admitted he'd earned his red wings with her. Later that week while Bobby was at work, Eric decorated our ceiling fan with tampons and sheets, both stained with ketchup, in commemoration of the event, which would have been funny except Bobby came home with Dayna that night, and then something else hit the fan.

A few weeks after the red wings incident, the runaway girls showed up. I can't remember all of their names, but they were escapees from a rehab/ state school for girls. For a couple of days, Shannon, Chelsea, and the other two stayed in our living room, and no one was getting any action except for one girl who we had learned about earlier, before the runaways moved in: Grain.

Bobby hadn't come home one night, and when we saw him in the morning, he confirmed what we already knew: the sonuvabitch had gotten lucky again. "Dudes," he said, "dudes, I am so fuckin' tired, but let me tell you, I just got SO. FUCKING. LAID!!! Aaagh, holy shit!"

And he proceeded to tell us about Grain, this cute hippy chick he'd met the night before downtown, how she was from out of town, and how they'd gotten a hotel room. "All night long man, all night LONG," he shouted.

Eric looked at me and rolled his eyes jealously. "Man, y'all awways get somfin," he mumbled as he passed me a joint rolled from the last night's leftovers.

"Holy fuck," Bobby continued, shaking his head. "I'm so tired, and I have to get to work, but last night? Oh my God, it was totally worth it. You guys'll meet her later this week. I really like her. She's so cool."

He brought Grain home that night actually, banishing the three of us to the bedroom later that evening so he could nail her again. On our sofa.

Two days after that, Bobby woke us up at 5:00 in the morning, screaming from the bathroom. "GAAAAH! Ohshitohshitohshit it burns!" he cried, "I can't even fucking pee, oh my god." Eric and Rob began laughing.

"You gotta, you gotta go doctor," Eric drawled between howls of laughter. "You done got vee-dee, you done got vee-dee!"

"No, no fucking way," Bobby protested, but his face was that specific shade of green that says I've screwed up royally. He called in sick to work and headed to the hospital.

He returned home five hours later, his face the color of cigarette ashes, looking like a man who had come face to face with own mortality.

"What happened?" Rob asked. "Do ya got veedee?"

"No- yes- almo-- that bitch gave me chlamydia," Bobby yelled.

"Cla-what?" asked Eric. "What's that?"

"Chlamydia," Bobby said. "I never heard of it either. It's what you get before you get full-blown syphilis."

"What'd they do, give ya shot in the ass or somfin?" Eric asked. Bobby shuddered.

"No man. It's a lot worse. Dudes," he said, "always, ALWAYS wear condoms. You don't want to go through what I just did.

"Ok, so the doctor took some blood, an' then they told me I had chlamydia. They gave me a shot in the arm, some antibiotic shit.

"And then they had me lay down on this gurney that had handles, like bike handles, on either side. And they put a strap around my waist. Hold onto the handles, the nurse told me, and don't look down.

"And then took my dick in her hand, and said it would only take a minute,

And then before I even had a chance to get ready, the doctor stuck a q-tip down my dickhole, swirled it around, and pulled it out.

"And then they sent me home."

Rob, Eric, and I sat there on the sofa, our jaws gaping open like speculums, our eyes wide, horrified, stunned into absolute silence. This was the first any of us had heard of the q-tip.

"Dude, it was like a firecracker going off in my eyeballs," Bobby said. "I never felt anything that painful ever, I mean it went allt he wya dow to the bottom!"

"Shut up shut up shut up," we all yelled clutching our groins. Rob looked like he was going to puke.

"Well, I gotta get going to work," Bobby said wearily, rubbing his forehead. "What a fucking day." We all hugged Bobby in sympathy, muttering commiserations. Rob and I followed him out the door, headed off to our own jobs.

I arrived home at 2:30 AM to chaos. The sofa had been overturned, the lounge char was upside down in a corner, underneath a brand new crack inthe cheap wood panelling. Rob sat on one end of the room, glaring at Eric. "What the FUCK were you thinking, man?" he yelled. "You saw how mad he got last time!"

"I'uz just jokin'," Eric mushmouthed. "I dunno, I din't think he's agone git mad."

Rob turned to me and spat, "We have to pay more rent now, because Bobby moved out, cus of Eric," and he glared across the room again.

"I thought it'uz funny," Eric muttered in his defense. "It IS funny, it is," and he pointed to the ceiling fan.

It was decorated with q-tips and condoms.

Bobby never came back, and when I got an email from him last year, it was the first I'd heard from him in almost 15 years. He had joined the airforce shortly thereafter, and moved to Alaska.


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