I am 21. I’m playing chess with a guy I just met, the younger brother of someone my friend is dating. The clock shows 3:22am. I’m definitely drunk, but not in any one of the ways you aim for when you make the initial decision to start drinking. I was earlier, about an hour ago, when my friend and I were hanging out in his backyard, watching the fire and sitting on a log while drinking scotch that his father poured us. Then a cab picked us up then dropped us off downtown, across the street from the bar with a new name every month. Apparently he’d yelled something at a group of girls, as was not unexpected of him at any point in his life, but I didn’t hear what was said, by him or the subsequent retort from them. We quickly moved on.
However, one of their boyfriends, a very large man, did not dismiss the exchange, and he met us as we were walking onto George Street. He proceeded to punch my friend in the face, breaking his nose. He then turned to me and asked if I was with the guy on the ground, now in convulsions. I took a deep breath and admitted that I was, then prepared myself for the inevitable punch in the jaw that came swiftly.
Once I arose from the ground in a daze, several of my friends walked by and saw me standing over my friend as he was bleeding from his face. They briefly thought I was the one who caused it, and if I had my senses I would have pretended I did, for a laugh at least.
The clock shows 3:23am. I need to get the hell out of here. I’m drinking a beer to help with the pain. The Pineapple Bang relationship does not translate to alcohol. I walk home.
The next day I’m with Peter and his girlfriend, playing the relationship tester Scrabble. As the game goes on, with Ashli falling far behind both of us, Peter plays the word ‘gleek’. Ashli challenges it and starts reaching for the dictionary, but I say, “There’s no point in challenging that one. It’s real.”
“Well what does it mean?” she asks.
Peter relays that it’s a verb meaning to push a liquid out of the bottom of your tongue, a skill some people, like Tang, have. Ashli is frustrated but moves on.
On her next turn, she plays ‘TV’, on a triple word score. Peter and I look at each other, trying to telepathically decide who’s going to be the one to tell her. I step up. “Uh, TV is an abbreviation. It doesn’t count.”
Ashli, infuriated, knocks the board off the table, pieces flying everywhere, and she storms out of the room.
Peter and I stare intently at each other, as if to remind the other person, “Don’t laugh. Do not laugh.”