Matt may have been my first friend. Unfortunately he was also my first enemy. For some strange reason we bounced back and forth all throughout day care. Playground tussles one day, sleepovers at his farm the next. The pendulum settled eventually when I got my first official job at Sonic. This was after I had completely altered my personality from my freshman year. No one knew the new me, and Sonic was the high school job to have. All the cool kids worked there, including Matt.
I quickly made a name for myself with frequent cartoonish falls that would make John Ritter proud and grotesque sexual acts that would make a rock ‘n roller wince, hence earning the nickname Captain Ahab. Matt himself fell victim to that perfect comedic timing with me once. Every month we had employee meetings where many things would be discussed, including employee of the month. Matt was a veteran at this establishment so the night before our ritual meeting I asked him if he’d ever had the pleasure of being crowned prince. “Hell no!” He spun around in dramatic fashion, “I don’t suck enough dick around here for that shit!” Apparently he had himself a busy night, because the next morning his name was called and he was handed his gift card, well deserved.
Later on, far after I had been fired from Sonic for taking two chicken strips (which I put back, uneaten) and after I had been kicked out of my parents’ apartment we were at a small party. Brian, Matt, Ed, Pat, and various other friends were hanging around and drinking. I was spectating. We decided to drive around the town for a bit, and I informed them that my old house which we got evicted from was purchased by the neighbor. He was planning on tearing it down and expanding his backyard. They asked if I could still get inside. When I told them yes we immediately headed that direction. We didn’t even need to discuss what was going to happen. The vehicle was full of high school football players slightly inebriated on a few too many beers.
We were going to demolish that fucking place.
It didn’t get more punk rock than that night. We busted our way into the house and unleashed fury, fire and Christmas Wallpaper. People tore doors off their hinges and took turns ramming them in an attempt to snap them in half. We ripped wall lights down and threw the decorative coverings at the thick glass sliding door. It exploded in a giant web, but didn’t fall apart. Fragmented moonlight sprinkled through it into the darkness of this place that was once my home.
I think back to it now, and automatically set the night to a Clash greatest hits record. The basement was pitch black, but I remembered where the wall mirror was. The floor was soaking wet from the severe leak we had that my mother had multiple plumbers come by and claim they fixed. I took the bat that was brought and swung blindly, ears blowing up with the sound of twinkling stars and pieces of compressed silver, chloride, copper and paint flew all around in a chaotic fashion. Upstairs Pat had found a roll of leftover christmas wallpaper in the closet he’d ripped off. He used it to beat down the ceiling fan. Ed and someone else took the fridge and loaded it up in their truck for college purposes. When the splintering wood and crashing glass faded away into the night we all stood for a moment, reveling in the fact that we had just let loose in a fashion we, nay everyone, only dreamed about as children. We did something not many get the chance to do, and we suffered zero consequences from it.
I love to think about that night. The utter chaos and destruction is a beautiful shimmering memory, and my first real date ended in that destroyed house. Ironically it’s not the night that make me think of Matt. What makes me think of Matt is a fryer. Distinctly because, while working at Sonic, I had an enemy who just happened to be the manager. She pissed me off beyond belief one day and as a form of revenge I filled a route 44 cup with water, walking back toward the break room and dropping it in its entirety into the last fryer in the line. Matt was standing right next to it, not paying attention. When the fryer popped, sizzled and boiled over all across the ground Matt turned and clutches his chest. I had practically given him a heart attack. He didn’t even see it coming.
If I ever end up a dead end cook in a kitchen again, you can bet I’ll be drinking on the job. That won’t bode well for me one night, however, on the count of my excessive bottom barrel whiskey will take the best of me one night, hovering over the deep fat fryer meant for Onion Rings and Chicken Strips, and I will pass out. It wouldn’t matter if my face dipped into the oil, burning away my eyeballs, bubbling my lips and exploding my teeth like popcorn, or I fall back and sear my cheek on the stove behind me, because I won’t feel any of it. The only thing I’ll feel is victory over that bitch of a boss way back when I almost gave Matt a heart attack.