I may have gotten a little ahead of myself yesterday. Or, to be more precise, a little around myself, as the last letter painted broad circles around all different phases of our relationship that I haven’t dealt with in that much detail yet. Let’s take a step back, shall we? Way back, in fact…
I was seventeen and everything was still, for the most part, going swimmingly. I hadn’t yet met Isadora and I was still an awkward, weird young thing, but I had just met you and my eyes were all googly and my heart all fluttery, etc.
I loved my group of friends then, Dionysus. We were inseparable, and the dozen or so of us saw each other every day and did nearly everything together. Thus, when one of us had our parents go out of town, it was typical for all of us to hang out at whichever residence that was. None of us was really cool or popular enough to put on anything like a proper high school party, so it would essentially be the same twelve kids doing the same stuff we usually did at each other’s houses, just without parents around.
Until we discovered drinking.
Now, I already described in one of my earliest letters to you how your introduction to the group caused a sort of schism that divided us into two camps (pro-getting-wasted and anti-getting-wasted), but it wasn’t an immediate occurrence and not initially as stark as it would become later on. We would all still hang out together, it’s just that some of us would get really drunk and silly and loud and others wouldn’t.
On this particular weekend, it was Wally’s parents who were out of town. Wally lived in a multi-million dollar home in a gated community right next to the beach. It was the lap of luxury for kids like us, Dionysus. The kid had a television that would raise itself out of the kitchen counter with the push of a button, for crying out loud.
So his parents were rich and, like most rich people (in my experience), had a fully stocked bar. It was a nice one, Dionysus: every kind of liquor that a seventeen year old boy couldn’t quite pronounce was on those shelves, and pronounceable or not, they looked pretty good to me.
I had been to his house a hundred times before, Dionysus, and that bourgeois booze bastion hadn’t interested me in the slightest. I don’t recall ever paying it much mind, but after I met you that first time, things changed. When I got to Wally’s house that night, it was the only thing in the house that interested me– not even that kitchen counter television contraption appealed to me then.
We somehow managed to talk Wally into letting us have some of his parents’ hooch. The understanding was that we were to only take a minimal, unnoticeable amount from each bottle (there were at least fifty if my memory serves me right) and then painstakingly and scientifically refill them to their previous levels (which we would of course have marked) with water. This would, if all went according to plan, make the fact that we had filched some spirits indistinguishable to naked eyes or taste buds.
But that minimal amount turned into quite a bit and we somehow neglected to mark the bottles with the levels so we just kind of eyeballed it and you could definitely taste the difference and there was no way his parents wouldn’t be able to and what the fuck had we done this time, Dionysus?
Although we didn’t really care by that point, because we were all far too drunk to think about things like potentially angry parents or getting into trouble or any of that nonsense; We were young and wasted and unchaperoned, Dionysus.
I remember sitting around, the twelve or so of us, and talking about how radical it would be if there were girls around. Of course, none of us had the slightest idea how to go about getting girls in the first place, so it was nary more than an adolescent pipe dream.
But liquor does make people randy, doesn’t it?
Case in point: One of my friends, who we’ll call Norman, was pretty drunk. And he wasn’t accustomed to drinking, as he came from a very uptight, very devout, and very religious family. So shit started to get weird. First he took his shirt off, which isn’t so strange I suppose, except then he started dancing around suggestively like a campy courtesan, doing cartwheels and handstands and all kinds of slick Mick Jagger jive. Which was all rather humorous, but strange nonetheless.
Eventually, one handstand didn’t quite make the mark, and he came crashing down into Wally’s parents’ glass entertainment center, sending shards crashing down all over the undoubtedly expensive designer carpet. But he just got right up, brushed himself off, saw that he didn’t have a scratch on him, danced right on up to me, and kissed me square on the mouth– then he looked at me, laughed, and danced off. No tongue, Dionysus, but still.
I am not now nor was I then a homophobe, but I was still caught off guard and would be equally caught off guard if the same thing happened today.* I don’t know whether this counts as a homosexual experience or not, but if it does, I suppose that I was the catcher, Dionysus.
I’m not one for moralizing, but I suppose the moral of the story is that either everybody is a little bit gay deep down or that alcohol makes everybody a little bit gay once in a while.
The other moral of the story is that experienced drinking adults can certainly taste the difference between expensive liquor with fancy unpronounceable names and tap water.
And the other moral of the story is that the same parents won’t buy your story that you didn’t have a party and that you broke the glass entertainment center yourself because you accidentally punched it whilst practicing for your black belt–even if you intentionally cut up your arms and hands to make it look as if you did.
Wally’s parents were always keen fellows, Dionysus.
</3 Sir Rateval Hurtlinge
P.S. The morning after was also rather humorous for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we all went to get bagels exceedingly hungover and somebody (certainly not me) had drawn a Sharpie phallus across Wally’s face, which he hadn’t noticed. When he got to the front of the line to order his bagel, the man at the register said with a smirk, “Rough night, huh?”
Wally just looked back at him confusedly: “What do you mean?”
The clerk grew suddenly serious. “You know son, maybe you shouldn’t drink so much…”
That man was absolutely right and the rest of us were absolutely pleased as piss that Wally still couldn’t figure out what was so funny while he ate his entire bagel with a crotchety crotch rocket careening across his mug.
The other interesting anecdotal bit is that that morning was late registration for our senior year of high school. As we didn’t really care about school (or at least did a hell of a job pretending like we didn’t), none of us had gone to our assigned registration appointments on previous dates. This meant that we would be picking up our class schedules and locker assignments with the other lazy senior roustabouts and most of the lower classmen.
When we arrived en masse, we were informed that all of the coveted top row senior lockers had already been taken by students who were responsible and square enough to have shown up to their assigned registration dates. The lady informed us that we would have to settle for the bottom row freshman lockers, which was a total bummer and totally beneath us (literally and figuratively).
But then the lady seemed to remember something: “Well, there are some senior lockers left, but they’re back in the hallway by the special education department…”
She trailed off as if she expected us to recoil in disgust and horror, as nobody in their right minds would want to exile themselves to the darkest social recesses of the school like that.
Except we didn’t recoil and we weren’t in our right minds and we could think of nothing more desirable than self-imposed exile to the special education hallway.
“We’ll take them!” we said in near unison as we looked at eachother with barely contained mirth.
God, I miss that special ed hallway, Dionysus.
*If it happened now, I would probably pray for tongue. I get lonely too, mate.