Steaks and Chicken

The slanted light makes its way through the eucalyptus trees, teasing me as it dances steadily across my sheet-less mattress, tunneling through my river of lifeless hair and finally jumping vengefully upon my eyelids until forced to open. What seems to be a hangover hits me like molasses, I shut my eyes tight only to open them again, catching sight of the time blinking authoritatively from my alarm clock. It’s seven-fucking-thirty AM, shit. I’m still drunk. The hangover hasn’t even begun to begin. I force my eyelids shut and burrow into the blankets I had been too incompetent to configure the night before, hoping to return to wherever I was before my rude awakening. Knowing that one more conscious thought will force me to begin my day as a somewhat functioning human being.
Then I hear it. One, two, three, hesitant knocks on my door. I groan.
“Dwaaaayne. Nooooooo, leave me aloooone.” A dark-haired head pokes, faking caution, into my room. Body follows. I bolt upright, twisting my face into an expression of crazy and frazzled and drunk and surprise, his shock melts into mirror expression. I jump out of bed with sudden and short-lasting energy that hits me with the spins again.
“Im huuuuuungrrrry,” he moans.
“Im druunnnnnkk, and in painnn. What the hell did we do last night?” We were dancing now, shaking our ankles back and forth, flailing to internal rhythms. He dives into my inflated duvet, and goes limp. I follow and beat him with feeble fists.
“Dwaaayne, get off my goddamn bed!” He sits upright again.
“Let’s go to Man-deeeeeeeess!”
“Yea, c’mon.”
“Ugghh, I dunno if I can eat right now, I feel a little… sick.”
“No trust me, the food’ll make you half sick, so you can only eat it if you’re already a little sick. You’re halfway there already so it can only do good, right?”
“Yea, maybe the two will cancel each other out.” I laugh at his logic and collapse into a groan, dramatically clutching my head. “But, I cannnn’ttt. I’m too drunk. It hurts to moooovvvve.”
“Come onnnn,” he’s whining now. “You’ve never been there before. And I’m HUNGRY.”
“Fine, fine, let me throw on some clothes.”
Three minutes later I fall out of my bedroom, in a version of what I was wearing the night before, a distinct eau-de-Budweiser wafting off me in plumes. My face crusty with sleep and my hair matted in a half dread, but we’re going to Mandie’s and it sure as hell doesn’t matter what we look like. I hear Dwayne futzing around in my bathroom.
“C’mon! Stop primping! I’m trying to eat and be back in bed before the drunk wears off and the hangover hits and all this goddamn waiting around is sobering me up!” My complaint crescendos and ends in an affected pant. He throws open the door, pursed lips pulled to one side, topped by a raised eyebrow, his “disapproving” face. He eyes me, chuckles to himself, pats his pockets for his car keys and pushes me out the door. I drag my feet just to piss him off.
I climb in to his Subaru, head pressed into leather upholstery, knee propped on dashboard. The early sun sharpens Colorado Boulevard and the blue skies are bluer than any I recall seeing in New York all summer, where tropical storms and humidity now characterize July and August.
We pull into the parking lot of the low-riding diner boasting “Steaks and Chicken.” Sprinkled among the shiny yellow and orange booths, businessmen multitask, demanding coffee refills while simultaneously scrutinizing the LA Times with intent. Dwayne and I choose a booth in the corner, consumed by giggles as we sink into it, realizing that we look exactly like what we are, wasted college students. Its a terrifying thought to think that maybe, one day, we’ll be sporting business attire looking down our noses at trashy twenty-years-olds sucking down O.J. in 1950s-style diners. Unlikely.
“So, Apparently, I’m banned from the York now…” Dwayne breaks the silence.
“What?! What do you mean ‘apparently’? You either are or you aren’t, what did you do?”
He laughs to himself. “The bartender caught me trying to steal silverware!!”
“Hahhaaaa, oh my god, no way!”
“Yea… I figured we could use it.”
“Dwayne, we don’t even need silverware, Lila bought a shit-ton. What happened?”
“Well, I was right in front of the bar… I was at the bar… oh no, it was in the back bar. It was the bar BACK.”
“Oh GOD!” He coughs in dismay. “Um. We were at a table…”
“I thought you were at the bar back.”
“I’m going back to the reason why I got a little riled up. We were at the table… I was outside smoking a cigarette, and I came back to the table. I order a drink and this guy comes by… I was chatting with Stacey or something… anyways, this guy comes by and goes ‘It looks like my six-year-old niece was at this table.’ And I was like ‘You’re lucky I didn’t bring my crayons.’ So he wipes off the table… and I spill some of my drink on accident. There’s some silverware behind us, and I figure the house needs silverware. So I put some forks and knives in my pockets. I go back to the bar to order another drink, the guy makes it, I go to pay and he says ‘Uhh, I’m going to need what’s in your pockets first.’ I go ‘what?’ ‘Your pockets,’ he says. ‘Oh okay.’ So I handed him the contents, drank my drink and left…”
“Oh my god!!” I laugh like a barnyard animal, attracting judging eyes that peek from behind newsprint shields. “You were being such a klepto last night! At one point I was at the bar and you came up to me with handfuls of coasters, DEMANDING I open my purse! You threw them all in there! At least you got away with something!”
“Yeaaa…” He downcast his eyes and then laughs. I am laughing hard. Professionals around us slurp hard on coffee, ears holding fast to the ping ping of silverware to teeth.

Steaks and Chicken


Joined November 2007

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