July 08, 2003

Beyond Mere Chemical Enhancement

The bedroom door opens and Jake comes back followed by the two people who just showed up outside: the mop-haired quiet one from the Civic last night and another guy with a shaved head who shuffles along with terrible posture. They shiver a bit as they join us all in the crowded room, and Jake ducks in the closet to get the little pipe and baggie he’s hidden inside a drawer. Voices murmur and laugh in the low light and I can hear two people making out on the other side of the room. Jake emerges again and steps over the long, powerful legs of the two girl volleyball players and winks at them, but they just glare back at him in annoyed acknowledgement. He shrugs to himself and turns around back to his guests.

The motor-mouth from the Civic is talking to the girl next to him (his girlfriend, I think) about the other girl Hannah I saw last night on the hill. He says he was in sixth period with her when she started freaking out yesterday afternoon, and as he does so looks for validation from the mop-haired guy (who was there too), gets it, and rolls on about how it’s kind of a bummer but not all that surprising and I want to tell him it’s not like that, that she was assaulted, but then that’s exactly what he says next before getting cut off, gently but forcefully, by the girl’s friend, another chick who’s leaning heavily on Cody (who should be more uncomfortable but he’s not) and who says she doesn’t want to hear about this stuff right now and Josh can we please talk about something else?

Jake begins to pass the pipe around, first to the volleyball players, as Josh says okay and then zips off on a tangent about how he’s never masturbated before, which gets the precise reaction he thought it would and pauses while the others groan, for the moment forgetting about Hannah and wherever she is and whatever might be going on with her.

A sandy-blond guy to Josh’ right, another guy from the Civic, takes the pipe from the redheaded volleyball girl and before he takes a hit feels compelled to ask Josh, too loudly, if he feels like he should go take care of his novel inexperience right now and Josh says not until he’s stoned, Evan, so Evan passes him the burbler after taking a small hit and then Josh takes one too and passes it to a taller, skinnier guy who he calls Zach and who I recognize as the Civic’s driver, and he takes a bigger hit.

Cody’s trying to steer the conversation (which is still stuck on Josh’ jerking off) over to a party he’s planned at the Double Tree in Capo Beach and he’s double-checking that all these people will be there. I’m having trouble keeping quiet, so I decide to watch the pipe’s progress. By now it’s made its way from Zach to the slouching blond guy, whose name is Colin, and then to the mop-haired guy Derek, who apparently isn’t sure how it works and hasn’t been paying attention to the seven other people who’ve done it already.

The fool’s having trouble with the lighter and he’s holding up the line so Josh says for fuck’s sake, Derek, and lights it for him while he sucks weakly. Derek takes a small hit, but he’s coughing too much and clearly unhappy with himself, which no one fails to notice, and they laugh a little, but Josh decides to deflect that and while he’s up intentionally, and clumsily, steps over Cody and the girl that likes him (who protest) to go to the bathroom.

Jake’s room isn’t very small, but it’s rapidly filling up with smoke, so Derek, who’s closest to the window, staggers up and attempts to open it while Jake comes over my way, says Aaron just relax damn it, and starts digging around in the closet again, this time for a little fan that I can see but he hasn’t yet so I look the other way and don’t offer any clues when I feel him glace at me.

Cody’s still going on about the Double Tree shindig, saying he’d just come here from there, and that he’d been stocking it surreptitiously with liquor ever since, and looking around the circle of people, reminding them that they said they’d go tonight. I don’t know why, but for an instant Cody’s glance flicks back to where I am near the closet, but not at eye level, and I wonder if he even sees me as I notice him squint, focus, dismiss, and then move on around the circle again. Cody fails, however, to look in my direction again, so I guess I have to be content with that

He quickly seems to forget it, at any rate, once Josh returns from the can and plunks back down next to Evan, who asks him what took so long and Josh says, with a bit of volume, that he’s just finished masturbating for the first time in his life. Another round of groans sweeps over the room, punctuated this time by various sworn exclamations from everyone but the girl Alicia, who’s looking at Josh and scooting away as if he has the plague, while Jake attempts to shush everyone, saying his dad wouldn’t be happy to hear from the neighbors about any parties here. Some people quiet down and some say okay, sorry man, and I notice Derek’s eyes are like slits, even though a few of the others look a little more far gone than he is. The two volleyball players get up to go, saying they’ll go get some munchies to bring to the hotel thing, and everyone says bye and see you later.

Cody thinks he sees an opportunity to shake off the girl that likes him, so he makes his way out as well amid various promises to see y’all in a few and I think about following him as he drives over there, and about maybe forcing him to drive his Beemer off the road in fear, but then something clicks and I know I won’t be able to curse him out like I now desperately want to and I can’t bring myself to move from my spot on the floor. I just stay put and close my eyes, listening to the garbled gossip and jokes that people are now tossing at each other lazily, and the Tricky CD in the background is steadily helping demolish any remaining coherent, constructive thoughts, which have long gone beyond mere chemical enhancement.

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