Previously, on A Young American…
To start at the beginning, go here.
My father always said that there were two types of people in the world: those who wanted to keep it spinning, and those who wanted to stop it. Cogs and rusty wheels. He claimed celebrities, politicians, poets, etc. Were the latter. They want the world to stop and stare at them in awe, wonder or fear. I was none of the above, but at times it felt I still fit into that category. Except that night. The night Britney ended it. The night she broke me, I just wanted to sink into my hole. I just wanted to forget everyone and everything.
I drank and I drove.
I drove for a long time. I drove until I ran the tank empty, upon which I called the AAA number given to me by the Enterprise associate and had them bring out some gas. The guy must’ve felt my frustration, because no small talk was made. He filled me with five gallons and I nodded a thank you to him. I pulled a small bottle from under the seat. I drank from it.
I screamed, spewing toxic liquid all over my steering wheel. I lost my best friend and my girlfriend. We walked away for no reason at all. I swerved my way back home, parking on the grass outside my house. The last thing I remember for a long while was walking inside my door at the piss-stained crack of dawn. My home quickly turned into a rock ‘n roll haven. No one came by, and I didn’t ask anyone to.
Most days over the next week I woke up in my own home, and alone. Some days, however I awakened to an early morning sun hitting at a slightly different angle than I was used to. In mornings such as those I often found an insignificant other passed out somewhere within arm’s reach, and I hopped in a cab home, scrubbing menstrual blood out from under my fingernails before pouring myself a heaping scotch.
Other times I awoke and checked my computer’s search history to find everything from backpage prostitution ads to craigslist casual encounters. Judging by frequent texts to Janis she could tell I was in sloppy shape, and often denied requests for some “play time”. I would’ve been embarrassed had I not had a fifth of vodka on my nightstand. My phone broke halfway through the escapades, so I abandoned it.
One hazy morning I heard a knock at the door. I didn’t answer it, but the sound alarmed me. Someone was checking up on me. Or it was Girl Scout cookie season again. I sobered up that morning. As my mind became clear it simultaneously became flooded.
Memories filled it like a time lapsed rain gauge: Embarrassing images of a strange woman’s red lips lit by blinking lights spilling over the dance floor. A vivid white bathroom stall with a lady bent over in front of me, pulling the sanitation paper dispenser while I tighten my grip on her hips.
A twinkling streetlight off in the distance as a girl bounces on top of me in the back seat of a Chevrolet, scratching the roof with her fingernails.
I need a drink.
But there was nothing. Then the other memories rushed back. Drunken conversations with Janis that push to an uncomfortable attempt at phone sex. The random girl I wink at in the bar whose boyfriend tells me to shoot it someone else’s way in a condescending fashion. Wide-eyed woman whom I say, “Hello, I love you.” To which she responds with the classic “I’ll be right back.” And disappears. The polite four-hour conversation I have with some girl who invites me for more drinks at another place only to touch my shoulder gently and say in a soft, fuck you voice. “But I have to be honest. I have a boyfriend.”
I really, really need a drink.
I didn’t move. Maybe my body had enough of my self-destruction and wouldn’t comply. Maybe I was afraid whoever had knocked was still out there. Maybe I simply feared the sun’s effect on my eyes. Speculations for therapists I refused to pay for. The fact remained that on the seventh day, I rested. I stayed in bed as my headache rose and the sun lowered. When the night came I slept. At five in the morning I got up to take a long piss. The moonlight was as bright as a giant Exxon sign that lit my Jungleland of a bedroom.
Liquor bottles lay whole and empty across my floor. So what the fuck was stabbing my feet? I bent down. Various bits of jewelry littered the rug. I pulled the pointy part of an earring out of my heel. I sat on the bed and wiped my face of the cold sweat, staring at it. I had the shakes.
The sight of all this trash made me exhausted and I fell asleep again. By the second day of recovery my mind was now both sober and hangover free. First thing I did was order a topless maid service. She arrived within two hours. Rules were explicitly given that I could do and say whatever I wanted as long as I didn’t touch her.
She let me jerk off and talked dirty to me while she picked up my trash. Three hours later I tipped her generously and she gave me a card, claiming she wanted to be phoned the next time I partied. I never saw her again. I’d had more than enough of this stupid backwards town.
What was once a source of soul-sucking complacency became a waking from a coma to a pillow inches from my face. I shat, shaved, showered and self-stimulated. That afternoon I looked online at some of the best areas in the country to live. I wasn’t a beach person, and the northwest had too many trees and huggers. Chicago looked promising, but why settle for second best? The only problem of New York was the living expenses, and that wasn’t applicable to me. I booked a flight that night and left the house, realizing the car I rented was still sitting in front and didn’t look well enough to return. A strange blue scuff streaked along the passenger side door. The roof was dented and the inside reeked of Jack. Looked like I was the proud new owner of a beat up old corvette. Wouldn’t Prince be proud?