Previously, on A Young American…
To start at the beginning, go here.
My visit to New York was short-lived, but something about it just felt right to me. Luckily I stumbled across a quaint apartment in Montclair, NJ that allowed me to have my luxurious lifestyle while simultaneously being able to see the city in all its grimy glory. Only catch was that I had to jump in on someone’s sublet who wanted to move into the city.
I returned home as a formality to pack my boxes and declare my parents’ house condemned. The drive was going to be too long to complete alone, so I enlisted the help of my friend Nolan. He was part Asian, but no one could tell. People just assumed he was a really tan white guy. His hair didn’t move a bit. It was always completely straight and looked more like a helmet. He tended to brush it with his hands when he got nervous. “Need any help?” I asked as he bent down to pick up the heaviest box in the room.
“Nah, I got it.” He managed to blurt out as he wrapped his arms around it. He was a little guy, but for what he had, he made it count pound for pound. Still, I couldn’t help but laugh when he walked up to the door and fell on his back. He pushed the box off and got up, brushing himself off and rubbing his hair.
“Maybe I do need a little bit of help.” I put my box on the truck and came back. Together we loaded his. Nolan was like the little brother I never had. I was there when he took his first shot, and I always looked out for him in the frequent fights we’d get into with people who didn’t like us mouthing off. After a quick three or four hours of loading we climbed into the truck and found ourselves on the highway. I loved the feeling of riding around in trucks and vans, being so much higher off the ground than my fellow driver. It was a little over 20 hours of driving to get to our destination, which basically meant that there was going to be an awful lot of awkward silences.
“So. I almost got arrested over the weekend.” Said Nolan.
“Oh yeah? How’d you pull that off?” Nolan wasn’t a big fan of pauses when telling a story, and I saw him take a short breath before beginning.
“Well see, me and a bunch of friends were bored and didn’t have anything to do, and one of them works at this golf course so he decided to take us down there and we could all ride around in the carts.” Nolan always used his hands to help illustrate his stories, but often he ended up just waiving them around in excitement rather than actually using them as a tool.
“So we said all right and we fuckin’ went down to the golf course and started racing around the whole area and this one idiot started beeping his horn and we were all like ‘stop fucking doing that you dumb shit’ and he was like ‘ha-ha fuck you guys’ and he wouldn’t stop, until I looked out across the road and there was a barn and they had just turned their lights on so I turned to everybody and was like ‘Hey guys I think they know what we’re doing’ and they all just shrugged it off until like twenty minutes later when the cops showed up and went to chase everybody down so I just fuckin’ ran.”
“What happened to them?” I asked, squeezing my way in.
“Well I never got a call and I haven’t talked to any of them since then so I don’t know.” I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of all Nolan’s friends sitting in interrogation, being questioned and using him as their deal maker; All of them fingering him as the mastermind behind the whole thing. Nolan laughed too, but I couldn’t tell what his reasons were.
Nolan blew his only story so quickly, we spent the next twenty-something hours of driving in awkward silences. We arrived at our destination early in the morning. Despite our lethargy, we managed to unload the truck and return it before they closed, driving my liquor-scented car back to the apartment complex. Inside we passed out in between boxes without much need for blankets or pillows. Shag carpeting was all I could ask for.
“You wanna go get something to eat?” I asked, he nodded and we drove around until we came across an all night diner. Walking inside, the place seemed a lot bigger than the ones we were used to, and it was fairly packed with people.
A middle aged woman greeted us, “Hello, boys. Just the two of you?” We nodded and she showed us to a booth.
“Your waitress will be right with you.” She said, walking away. Our waitress came by, and looked like a grown up Goth: a little pudgy, piercing in the lip, died hair, pale.
“Hey guys, what would you like?” Nolan ordered some flapjacks and I decided on the Belgian waffle and a Coke.
“Great, I’ll be right back with your drinks.” She said, walking away.
“That’s what the girl you fucked in high school is gonna look like.”
“Ew, no way!” Nolan said, “Besides I didn’t fuck her.”
“What?” I asked.
“I. Didn’t. Fuck. Her.”
“So what the hell was all that rocking in your car from?”
“She was sucking my dick.” He said. “I would have done more but you rushed me out of there so quick.”
“Hey don’t try to pin this on me. It’s not my fault you couldn’t close.” The waitress returned and handed us our beverages.
“Fuck you.” Nolan said, drinking his water.
“Hey, you mind not using that profanity.” An overweight saint had chimed into our conversation. He was sitting behind me with his girlfriend. He looked like he belonged back in Redneck City.
“I said watch your mouth in front of my girlfriend.”
“I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”
“What’d you say to me, you little punk?” He turned around and looked at me.
“No!” Frank held his hand up, interrupting his lady. “You’re a little piece of shit asshole who thinks he can come in here and run his Goddamn mouth!” I guess he wasn’t a saint, “I’ll take you outside right now and we’ll settle this. Man to boy.”
“I think I’ll sit in my seat and enjoy the food.”
“Well then you better watch your fucking mouth.” Spit flew out and hit me in the face. I wiped it away.
“Yes sir.” I said sarcastically. He turned around.
“Piece of shit.” He muttered as he continued ingesting his eggs. We got our food delivered to us and dug in.
“Mm, this is fucking fantastic!” I exclaimed.
I heard silverware hit the table behind me, and a soft whisper from his better third, “Don’t. Let’s just go.” Followed by the two of them standing up and heading out.
Nolan quickly swallowed his food and shouted, “You have a fucking great night sir!” I hung my head in a combination of embarrassment and laughter. Frank turned around and marched up to us.
“You think you guys are a couple of hard-asses, huh? Well, how about I call my cousin down here and we settle this outside?”
“As long as you can promise two things,” I said, “One: I finish my meal first, and Two: your cousin’s not packing any of that inbred retard strength.”
“You son of a bitch!” He took a swing at me and I ducked just in time for his fist to smash up against the back of the wooden booth. I heard a slight crack, but it turned out to be the wood, not his knuckles.
“Fuck!” He screamed, holding his fist. A manager made himself known.
“Sir, you’re going to have to leave.” He turned to us, “You guys too.”
“What?” I shouted.
“You guys are all causing a disturbance. Now get out.”
“You do realize that by kicking all of us out you’re just taking the fight outside.” I said.
He bent over and got in my face. Luckily for him I was sober, “I don’t give a shit what you guys do, as long as it’s off of my property.” Nolan had already stood up. I grabbed my glass and threw the soda in his face. He snatched my arm and “escorted” me out the door.
“I don’t ever wanna see you back here again!” He sprayed coke everywhere as he shouted. I lit up my cigarette and we walked over to the car.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going?” It was that fat bastard saint. We turned around. “I thought you wanted to finish this?” He said, arms spread out.
“Well, I clearly said I wanted to finish my meal, but you didn’t let that happen. But I’d be willing to make a little exception, seeing as how that manager was almost as big of an asshole as you.” I flicked my cigarette in his direction. He dodged out of the way as if it were a bullet.
“Fine, my cousin’s on his way,” he said, “Let’s see how far he is.” I walked up to him as he pulled out his phone.
“I think it’s only fair that if I make an exception on my rules that you make an exception on yours.” I said, knocking the phone out of his hand. He grabbed me and threw me into the trashcans. I should’ve known he was the one with the retard strength. He started to walk over to me, but Nolan ran up and kicked him in the back of the leg. His right knee buckled as he hit the ground. His girlfriend screamed as he fell. I hobbled up to my feet and kicked his stomach. I bent down and grabbed his face, aiming it toward mine.
“This fight’s over, you understand? I’d love to beat your face in some more, but I’m just not feeling up to it right now.” He nodded as I stood back up.
“Let’s go.” I told Nolan. He started walking toward the car and when I followed, the fat ass grabbed my ankle and pulled me down, climbing on top of me.
“The fight’s over when I say it’s over!”
“Frank, just stop!” The girlfriend screamed. Frank ignored her and started punching me in the face, cheeks, nose and ears.
My arms were buried under his enormous weight and I felt my organs flatten. Nolan jumped on his back, but only made it worse. Frank shook him off fairly easily. Blood sprayed in all directions, and I may have heard my nose break, but I couldn’t be sure. I then heard a loud thunk and Frank fell on me. His dead weight was so much worse than the punches. I couldn’t breathe. Nolan came up and pushed him off of me. I coughed and gasped for air, then spit whatever blood was left in my mouth. The side of Frank’s head was bleeding, and Nolan carried me over to the passenger side of the car. We got in and drove off, with his girlfriend shrieking just as a truck pulled into the parking lot. I leaned against the window as Nolan drove back to the apartment. “What a first night, huh?” I coughed.
“Holy shit that was crazy.” Nolan said, patting his head. “You think they’ll call the cops?”
“I don’t know. Maybe not. As long as Frank’s still alive. What happened, anyway?”
“I threw the cell phone at him and it hit him right in the head, I guess.” I tried to laugh, but it hurt too much. When we got home Nolan helped me out and up to the front of the building. We took the elevator to the second floor and I stepped in the shower with my clothes on. I sat down in the tub and ran the water while getting undressed. It didn’t take long for my clothes to get soaked, but I didn’t care. I touched my nose. It hurt quite a bit, but it wasn’t broken.
The hot water running down my face burned like hell, but it felt refreshing. When I looked down and saw the blood run down the drain it made me think of that time Janis died her hair red. I watched my bodily fluids swirl down the drain for as long as I could before my exhaustion got the better of me and it all went black.