Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Sketchy Bill 19: The Wit and Wisdom of Sketchy Bill, Or How I Hugged A Naked Man

Bill held forth from his bathtub for the better part of an hour. He spoke and gestured grandly, which caused a lot of water and suds to slop out on the floor, but what he said made a lot of sense. His point, in general, was that I'd let him, as a friend, down. He'd trusted me, more than most people he'd known for much longer. He'd told me things he'd never told anyone, apparently, and while I'd helped him through a bad time in the preceding months, ultimately I, like everyone else, had let him down.

(I felt like pointing out that this is exactly what I'd told him the night before, that everyone will eventually let you down in some capacity sooner or later. I refrained.)

Next, and this eased my mind a bit, he talked about how much he liked me and how he felt like I had a lot to offer the world, if I would just sit down and Do Something With My Life. This meant a) the ecstasy was kicking in and b) he probably wasn't going to have me killed, since he was talking about my future and all.

He talked about how important friendship was, and how I didn't try hard enough to show my friends they had my respect and love. Which is true, in some cases, and I thought that was pretty canny of him. Finally, he said, I didn't have enough discipline, which is definitely true, but rather worrisome to hear in this situation.

He began to sort of drift around and repeat himself, which was another encouraging sign that he was losing focus on How Jeff Had Failed Him. In turn, my mind drifted off, as I sat crosslegged in this man's opulent bathroom. And it finally occurred to me.

Why hadn't the bastard used his garage door opener to get inside? I knew it worked, I'd seen it work the night before. Later, I asked Nefertiti, and she couldn't help. She had asked at the time, she thought, but he ignored her. Possibly in order to make myself feel better, I've decided in the intervening years that all this would have been avoidable if he'd just punched the button on his visor, instead of worrying so much about his only housekey. But then, if that had happened, this wouldn't be much of a story, I guess.

Bill was winding up again, in a rather unnerving way, and edging back into a mixture of "you gotta respect your friends" and "you're an asshole if you don't write more." Thankfully, Nefertiti came in at that point and, much to my relief, told him that "Mike and Rusty" had arrived.

Before I could think, Bill had lunged, wet and completely nude, from the tub. He waved one hand at Nef, sort of a "go take care of 'em" gesture, then grabbed me by both shoulders. I was, of course, rather uncomfortable with this, but his pupils were completely blown by this point, and that reminded me of how red sparks had appeared to spray from them not too long ago, so I let it ride. Bill said "I love you, brother," and gave me a big, wet, hug. Naked. For a lot longer than I felt good about, actually. Then he stalked past me into the bedroom, gesturing for me to follow him. Gingerley, I followed, with one eye always on the exit. I wasn't too pleased that half again the dose of ecstasy that had made me puke less than 48 hours ago couldn't even be found anywhere in my system, no matter how hard I looked.

Anyway, Bill had donned a silk dressing gown (yes, it probably looked about like you are picturing it) and started digging through his desk drawers. After a few minutes, he began thrusting loose pages of books at me, which after a few I realized were the pages of Bukowski's Love is a Dog From Hell, which I'd given him out in the desert a few months previously.

This was also rather encouraging--or maybe the (e) was finally kicking in. Yep, that was it, because I began thinking that whatever else Bill might be, he really just wanted to fit in. And here he was, cursed with all this money and power, so incapable of understanding humanity that he had to import me, of all people, to explain it to him. And, in the end, I'd been right.

The rest of the evening is pretty spotty. The guys downstairs were the owners of whatever club I'd recently fled. One of them, Rusty, was obviously gay, and very angry at someone (I'm pretty sure it was Mike). As a result, he didn't do much of anything except sit and sulk the rest of the night, and even refused my very generous offer of an ecstasy pill in favor of burning holes in Mike's back. I tried to be friendly, folks, but it just wasn't to be.

Mike and Bill kept disappearing somewhere, until I got smart and tagged along, at which point I discovered them snorting big rails of coke off of the bathroom counter. This being slightly more fun that sitting around talking at Rusty, who had this annoying habit of smirking and looking away whenever I said anything, I hung out in there for a bit.

I remember Bill staggering out of the kitchen and bellowing "hey you fuckin' Okie, why don't you go find Nefertiti?" Or maybe it was "bring Nefertiti to me, you fuckin' Okie!" Either way, "fuckin' Okie" became a term of affection, which I didn't really mind since I was all loaded up on (e) again. Anyway, I tromped upstairs, making more noise as I went up because I was getting worried that I wasn't finding Nef or Mike in any of the empty rooms.

Finally, I came to the bathroom I had so recently been schooled in, and (of course) the door was shut. I pushed open the door, and Mike promptly stopped it with his hand, trying to push it shut. He was staring absentmindedly at something on the floor, out of my vision. I pushed my way in, at least far enough to get my head in, and was greeted with the sight of a naked, supine Nefertiti, squirming around and rubbing what appeared to be baby oil onto her breasts. Mike was drizzling this oil onto her belly with one hand and had gone back to rubbing his (thankfully clothed) pecker with the other.

This scared the shit out of me, for obvious reasons. I'd spent a great deal of time worrying about how NOT to get killed by Bill, and here was his freakin' girlfriend cheating on him (or preparing to) in his own goddamn bathroom. I broke it up immediately, which strangely enough didn't seem to bother either of them.

Half an hour later, the two guys and I were downstairs when the bedsprings started again upstairs. Mike and I each took another ecstasy pill, and he invited me into the kitchen. In the kitchen was a fucking injection rig. This was the first injection rig I'd ever seen, and it suddenly struck me that Mike's whole laissez-faire attitude about the evening most likely had something to do with heroin. I also copped to the fact that Rusty was probably mad at Mike for just this reason.

None was offered to me, which meant I didn't have to say no to it, which I most definitely would have done. There's a cold, sort of withdrawn feeling to a person on heroin, and I didn't like it, especially as high as I was on MDMA.

Sometime after the sun came up, Bill came back down and Nefertiti left. The four of us sat around and drank beer and talked shit (mostly it was Bill talking shit to me and Rusty, but I didn't mind). I was high as fuck, and I started thinking about how long I could possibly stay this way (asking those guys didn't help--"the rest of your fucking life" was as close to a coherent answer as I got). This led to a sort of cascade effect ending with me bouncing around the house like a chicken on speed, looking for a clock (Bill having busted all the ones in that part of the house over the course of the weekend).

I'd forgotten I had a plane to catch, and I had about an hour before it took off.

And I was completely high on drugs, although my body was rapidly shutting down. Bill thought this was the funniest thing he'd ever seen, so he was kind enough to call me another cab and throw a fifty in the seat. He then dragged me back in the house for a big bear hug, a dangerously large hogleg of cocaine, and an admonition to "hurry, because you're probably going to pass out when that wears off!" Before I knew it, I was kicked out of the cab with about 10 minutes to reach my plane, with my pupils two different sizes, my nose running, and barely enough sanity to talk my way through airport security. My physical state did cause me to completely forget that I was smuggling illegal drugs over state lines, because I was more concerned with being able to board the flight at all, since I was plainly in the grip of some sort of psychosis.

All I can figure is that San Francisco International sees a lot of this sort of thing after Halloween weekend, because no one batted an eye.

Bill was right, I thought as I approached the counter. I've got enough energy to breeze through the line, hit my seat, and crash the fuck out for three or four hours. Then I noticed my flight was canceled.

Long story short (ha!), I spent the next eight or nine hours being shuttled around the southwest on various airlines, mainly because I looked so bedraggled and sad that no one wanted to have me sleeping in their terminal any longer than necessary. On the last leg, I had a woman ask to be moved because I smelled bad. I don't blame her. By that time, I was actually wishing my dismembered corpse was floating in San Francisco Bay, instead of on yet another stupid fucking airliner somewhere over the Rockies.

My original arrival time back in Oklahoma was to be 11pm--I didn't land until 3am, with work at 7:30am.

The next weekend (I slept the remainder of the week, when I wasn't working), we all gathered at my house to hear this story and take whatever drugs I had managed to secrete in my bag during the course of the weekend. After a somewhat less detailed version of what you've just read, I rummaged around in my flight bag and produced...exactly one small brown tab of (e). There was no joy in Mudville.


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