Due to the nature of this writing, it is advised you do not read this if violence, drugs, or obscene language offends you.
I squinted as I stepped off of the school bus. The sun engulfed my view as I pulled my hand to shade my eyes. I turned around to say goodbye to Mandy.
“See you tomorrow.” I said as I headed in the opposite direction.
“Bye!” She said.
April had arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska. The temperature was actually above freezing for once! The weather was a warm 54 degrees, and all I needed was my light Adidas jacket to keep me warm. Breakup had already come and gone during the first two weeks of April. The only remaining sign of a harsh, cruel winter was the piles of snow stacked up in the corners of parking lots and apartment complexes.
I etched the snake-like sidewalk to my apartment building in Sophie Plaza. I adjusted my backpack and began for the door into my apartment building.
“Hey!” I heard a guy say.
I hesitated and investigated the direction of where the voice came from. The voice came from the bottom balcony located directly under mine. I feared the voice, yet I walked over to chat. My fear was relinquished when I saw a familiar face.
“Hey… wassup?” I said.
The guy I saw was a person I met a few weeks ago. I was playing basketball outside when he and his friends came out to play with me. We played for a while and they said they were going to snag some smokes from the local Fred Meyer store located a half-mile from our apartment complex. They invited me to come and I did. We had a clean getaway and we all went separate ways.
“Hey dude, you remember that fifth I was tellin’ you about?” He said.
I remembered him telling me that he would sell me a fifth of Vodka for like ten bucks if I needed it. I had never gotten drunk before, so I was reluctant.
“Yeah…” I said gathering my thoughts, “… You still wanna sell me it?”
He smiled. “Shit yeah. Me and my friends are trying to gather up some cash and smokes.”
I thought about it. Should I ask? Screw it… I will.
“How big is a fifth?” I said.
He walked inside the balcony door and two other guys came out that I had recognized from the basketball game. They pulled out a clear plastic container with a clear liquid that was three quarters full.
“Holy shit, that’s a fifth?” I said out loud marveling the size of the container.
“You sure you wanna sell it to this dude for ten bucks?” One of them said.
“Well it’s worth more than that, but it should be down to ten bucks about now.” The guy replied.
I pulled out ten bucks that I had in my back pocket. I gave the guy the ten bucks and he gave me the vodka.
“Don’t be stupid and drink all that shit at once.” The guy said.
I agreed and I headed for the door to go inside my apartment building. I decided there was no way in hell I could drink all this by myself. I turned around and approached them at the balcony.
“You guys wanna come up and drink this with me?”
The guy looked at me.
“Dude, it’s your ten bucks man. Do whatever the fuck you want with it.”
“Come on up. I don’t care.” I replied.
“Aight, but we’re gonna hit the store for smokes first.” The guy said.
I reached into my Adidas jacket and pulled out four 25-packs of cigarettes that I had stolen earlier from a Super Valu across from our school. “I don’t think you guys have to worry about that.”
“Holy shit!” The guy said, “This dude’s loaded.”
“So come on up.” I said.
“OK, we’ll be up in a few.”
I walked inside my building and climbed the stairs to the second floor. I reached inside my pocket for my keys and walked into my apartment, #9. I set the vodka down on the table and put my bag into my bedroom. I opened my balcony door and walked out onto it and absorbed the cool, moist air. I heard the loud banging of people climbing stairs and soon I heard a knock at the door. I walked inside and opened the door.
“Sup?” I said welcoming them.
“Sup partner.” One of the guys said.
“I know you guys and everything, but I don’t know your names.”
The guy I talked to on the balcony introduced himself, “I’m Ches, this guy’s Larry, and this dude’s Robert.”
“Cool. You guys ready?”
“Hell yeah, let’s get rollin’,” Ches said.
I reached into my cabinet and pulled out four cups. We went into the living room. They sat on the long couch and I sat on the loveseat. I twisted off the cap on the vodka and inhaled.
“Ahhhh!” I said covering my nose. “What the fuck?!”
“Poor a cup dude.” Ches said smiling.
“Nah! Don’t! You can’ t drink that shit straight… You got any OJ?” Larry said.
I thought about it for a minute and remembered my dad probably had some Sunny D. in the fridge. I got up and pulled out a half-full 64 oz. container of Sunny D. Orange Juice.
I walked back over to the loveseat and sat down. I twisted off the cap to the Sunny D. and filled my cup a quarter full.
“Nah, you wanna fill that shit up dogg.” Robert said. I filled it up till the cup was three quarters full of orange juice. I looked in their direction and with eye contact Ches said it was all right. I took the bottle of vodka and filled the rest of the cup with it. I stirred the glass with my finger and licked my finger. The awful taste of alcohol mixed with orange juice could be tasted all over my tongue.
“Go for it guys.” I said as I handed the bottle of vodka to Ches.
I stared at the glass filled with the runny orange liquid. The awful smell of what smelled like rubbing alcohol swarmed my nose. I stared into the glass and I thought to myself, “I’m supposed to drink this?”
“You gonna stare at it all day?” Robert said.
Fuck it! I can do it!
I opened my mouth and emptied the glass into my mouth until my mouth was full. I felt my gag reflex kick in, but I fought it. I downed the mouth-full and I felt the back of my throat start to burn uncontrollably. My lungs began to give in as I exhaled loudly in a wet cough. My eyes began to water and my nose began to run. My face turned red as one of the guys stood up and patted my back.
“That shit is nasty!” I said coughing uncontrollably. I eventually regained myself and looked at the now three-quarters full glass. “I have to drink the rest of that?” I thought to myself. The guys had already poured themselves a glass and the fifth of vodka was halfway gone. I didn’t feel alone in my dismay as I watched the other guys gasp for air as they took drinks out of their cups.
We eventually finished off our cups, and I was becoming disoriented. I felt like there was a thousand pounds on my shoulder so I rested back and watched the ceiling start to move slowly clockwise.
“You alright?” Ches said.
“I don’t know.” I said smiling.
“Hey, can I get one of your smokes?” Ches asked.
“Oh yeah!” I said excitedly. I pulled out three packs of cigarettes from my Adidas jacket, which I still had on. I tossed a pack at each person.
“Shit man, thanks!” Larry said.
“Dude, how much we owe you for that shit?” Robert asked.
“Don’t worry about it.” I said in my dazed state.
“Wanna come out with us for a smoke?” Ches asked.
“Sure.” I said without hesitating.
I got up and walked out onto my balcony and pulled out a cigarette from my Adidas jacket. “Got a light?” I asked.
Ches pulled out his Zippo and lit my cigarette for me.
“Thanks,” I said as I inhaled deeply.
“This your first time getting drunk?” Ches asked.
“Can you tell I’m drunk?” I said as I rested my head on the railing.
“Yeah, you look pretty shitfaced.” Ches said.
“I haven’t drank that much though!” I said in a slur.
He laughed and we both flicked our cigarettes down onto the grass below.
“Let’s go grab another glass.” Ches said.
Oh crap! I can’t handle another glass. One glass messed me up enough!
We finished our second glass of Vodka mixed with orange juice. I was totally unaware of what I was saying or seeing. I could only concentrate on the ceiling and how my stomach was doing hula-hoops.
“What’s wrong?” Robert said.
“I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round.” I said in pain. “I need to take a piss.”
I got up and fell loudly on the ground. I started laughing uncontrollably. I eventually crawled into the bathroom and used the counter to pull myself up. After finishing I went back into the living room.
“Do you want another glass?” Larry asked laughing to himself.
“Nah… You guys can have the rest.”
“You sure?” Larry asked.
“Yeah.” I said completely competent in my decision.
“You feeling sick?” Ches said.
“Kinda.” I replied.
“You have any bread, macaroni and cheese, or spaghetti?” Ches said.
“Yeah!” I said. I got up and pulled a box of macaroni and cheese out of the cabinet. We proceeded to cook and eat a whole serving of macaroni and cheese.
“What’s the macaroni supposed to do?” I asked as I was eating.
“It’s supposed to sober you up faster.” Ches said.
The guys finished up their plates and stood up. “Dude, we’re gonna go back to our place. Feel free to join us later, aight?”
“Ok.” I said laying back in the loveseat. I heard the door slam and I got up and began to wash all the dishes. As I was finishing up the dishes, I heard the door rattle followed by the sound of my step-mom coming home from work.
“Oh crap!” I thought to myself.
I tried to play it off like I was sober. “Hey Del!” I said in the straightest voice I could muster.
“How come it smells like alcohol in here?” She said accusingly.
“I don’t smell anything.” I said innocently.
Without another word, she walked into her room and closed the door. I knew that she knew, but in my state I denied it. I finished cleaning the dishes and went into my room.
I can’t be in here. My step-mom knows I’ve been drinking, and when my dad gets home, he’s gonna be mad. I have to get out of here. I can’t be in this house with her.
I got up and staggered quietly to my step-mom’s room. I pried open her door and told her I was going to be back in a few hours. She said OK and I walked out of my apartment. I hugged the railing down the stairs and walked over to the guys apartment, E-3. I knocked and knocked, and finally a heavyset guy answered.
“Is Ches, Larry, or Robert home?” I asked.
“Robert, oh… he and some friends took off for the ice-cream place.” He said.
“Did they just leave?” I said.
“Yeah… they said they’d be back in a few if you wanna wait.”
I walked down the corridor inside my apartment building to the back exit. I walked out the door and saw the three guys walking in the distance.
“Hey!!!” I screamed.
They turned around and they saw me. I ran over them (Can you imagine what I looked like running drunk as hell?).
“What are you doing?” Robert asked.
“My step-mom came home. I knew I was in deep shit so I had to get out of there.”
“Cool…” Ches said reluctantly.
We walked out of my apartment complex to a deserted patch of real estate full of bushes and dirt paths. A chain-linked fence separated us from a road where cars darted back and forth.
“Where you guys going?” I asked.
“We’re going to Meyers.” Robert said.
“Oh, the dude said you were going to the ice cream shop.”
“Yeah, we might hit that later.” Robert said.
I observed Ches and Larry walk ahead of Robert and I. Robert kept looking around to see if any cars were around. I knew something was up.
“You fight much?” Robert asked.
“Fuck no… I can’t fight for shit.”
“I’m sure you can… why don’t you hit me?” Robert said.
I felt the adrenaline pump into my veins. I tried to play it off.
“Why would I hit you? You ain’t done shit to me.”
Robert pushed me into the chain-link fence. “Now I just did something to you. Now defend yourself pussy!”
I shook my head, “I ain’t gonna fight.”
Robert got into a fighting stance and hit me across my right cheek. I felt my face thrust to the left.
I threw a punch at Robert defending myself and ended up on the ground.
“Get his smokes!” Robert said as he began kicking my head. I felt my hood of my Adidas jacket surround my face as I covered my head with my arms. The three continued to kick me in my back, legs, face; everywhere.
Why are they doing this? When are they going to stop? It has to stop sometime. When are they going to stop?
And finally, they did stop. They ran away down the dirt path and darted out of view. I just layed there bleeding, drunk, and beat-up. I closed my eyes and blacked out. I woke up in the same spot from the sound of a nearby car screeching. I gathered my thoughts and staggered up to my feet.
I definitely can’t go home now. I’m drunk and beat-up. I will get killed if I go home in this condition. My dad and step-mom would never let me hear the end of this. Where can I go?
I staggered to the out-skirts of my apartment complex and looked at the menacing tower. The chain-link fence that separated our apartment complex from another was the only way to my friend Jeremiah’s house. I figured Jeremiah probably could help me. I blacked out again, and woke up laying down on the other side of the fence.
How the hell did I get over that fence?
I got up and walked through the other apartment complex. Tears began to pour from my eyes as the events that occurred finally sunk into my head. I crossed the street and approached my friend Jeremiah’s house. I knocked on the door and Jeremiah answered. His eyes shot out of his forehead about 20 feet as the look of terror screamed across his face.
“Dude, I gotta get you out of here! If my dad sees you he’ll kill me!”
“I’m can’t go home!” I screamed crying. “I thought they were my friends!!!”
Just as I finished my sentence, Jeremiah’s dad pulled into the driveway. His dad took one look at me and assisted me into the house. He led me into the bathroom and I cleaned up. I looked at my Adidas jacket. Damn blood got on my hood! (It’s still there to this day!)
I walked outside and looked at Jeremiah’s dad. “Are you mad at me?” I asked.
“No, I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at the people who did this to you.” He said. “Rest on that couch and take these.” He gave me some aspirin.
Hours later Jeremiah woke me up. “Ron, let’s go. We gotta get out of here.”
“Ok.” I said as we walked out of the house.