Biblical Apples

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Chapter 3: Peter 5:8

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

“The spinning disc extracts sound from the lifeless hallway air, hissing as it slices through it and sounding something like ‘thunk’ as it hits the flesh of an extended hand,” a tall, skinny, bushy brown-haired male narrated in his best Howard Cosell.

“So, Wordman, how the fuck was your summer?” Andy, a thickly-built, black-haired male, took a sip of beer and hurled the Frisbee back down the hallway.

“You know, Y.A., I spent most of it here trying to get caught up. I went home on the weekends and did some bar hopping with the guys in the neighborhood.” He flung the Frisbee back and scored a perfect strike, knocking down all ten of the stacked beer cans.

“WOW!” Andy’s exclamation was drawn out into something that could best be described as a foghorn. “You haven’t been practicing this shit, have you?”

“Well, you might say I’ve been having them set up and knocking them down.”

“You’re funny, but you’re not going to beat me!” Andy laughed as he set the cans in place. He reached back, spun his body like a discus thrower, and hurled the Frisbee with a demonstrative grunt just as Carol Frazier, the resident advisor, was entering from the stairwell. The Frisbee hit her solidly on the left hemisphere of her behind, its aborted flight announced by something sounding like ‘wonk’ as it landed at her feet.

“Owwwww,” she screamed then instinctively bent down to retrieve the Frisbee.

“Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!” The skinny wordsmith evoked Cosell once again, pointing at his accomplice. “He did it!”

Carol looked in the direction of the finger. “Andy, are you ever going to grow up?” Then, she looked at the accuser. “Really, Mike? You needed the summer just to become a junior, but apparently, you need more time to stop acting like a little kid.” She fixed alternating gazes on them, big brown eyes unblinking, arms folded.

“WOW!” Andy blared. “I’m sorry.” He took a sip of beer and asked, “Are you okay?” Belying any notion of contriteness, the okay portion traveled on the breath of a belch. Then he jumped up and came down karate chopping the air, adding, “Hi yah!”

“It looks like I’m going to have a long year.” Carol rolled her eyes, and she stepped over some beer cans as she made her way through the lobby toward her room, squeezing in some additional sentiments to measure her journey. “Maybe you guys could put some clothes on since you’re out in public.” She took in their black gym shorts and white tank tops. “I guess that with it being first day back your undies are at least clean.”

“Hey, these are gym clothes!” Mike explained, adding a trademark “she-could- go-all-the-way,” right before he heard her door close loudly.

The Frisbee flingers had followed her path as it went through the dividing ground of the lobby area, the snapping echo of the door closing stilling their voices, fluorescent lights humming until Andy spoke again. “Hey, I still think she really likes you.”

“Yeah, and it looks like I scored some points with her just now. I think she’s been going out with someone.” His expression lost its animation. He looked downward at the well-traveled carpeting, a paisley background for his thoughts. “This whole summer I’ve been seeing her coming back from somewhere dressed all classy and shit. Those black boots coming out of that skirt were hot!” He dug into his gym shorts and made an adjustment.

“They had an article about her in the school paper. “She’s a black belt in judo and still competes. Maybe you should let her just beat your ass." Andy started searching in the vicinity of the beer cans.

“I’m not sure that she’d need me to let her. Y.A., have you ever really taken a close look? She’s got a beautiful body, but it’s strong as hell!" Mike noticed Andy surveying the floor. "Hey, what are you looking for?”

"Carol took the Frisbee! WOW!"

Suite 619 A and B shared a Jack and Jill bathroom, so a visit usually meant going through the bathroom. Mike picked up a few cans that Andy couldn’t tuck away, and as he walked back toward the suite, he paused to look at the comic strip taped to Andy’s door, 619B, courtesy of Hustler magazine, that had a policeman hunched over the Easter Bunny that had been mugged, guts hanging out of its mouth, and a caption reading, “Nobody respects tradition anymore.”

“Man, I just saw that you put that comic strip back up?” Mike announced when he entered. “All the shit you and John got for that, and you put it back up? Hey, where is Eggs anyway?”

Andy pointed and put his index finger to his lips. “Shush; you don’t want to wake him up.”

To the room’s right, a long frame was stretched out on the bottom bunk bed, snoring. The mouth had some saliva drooling out of the left side. Andy turned around and added, “But I do!” He then did a cartoonish tip-toe prance toward this new target, placed his rear end as close to the face as possible, and let out a long, high-pitched fart. The unwitting recipient wriggled his nose a few times while regaining consciousness.

“Fucking A!” John Carver emerged from his sleep, waving his hand over his face. “Y.A., you bitch! You got payback coming for sure.” He sat up abruptly and lunged at a laughing Andy, who in anticipation of this, got out of harm’s way. Then, he noticed Mike and said loudly, “Word, what the fuck? Good to see you, man!”

His attention now directed toward his visitor, he stood up, his six-eight frame supported by size-16 feet, and slapped hands with Mike. He went to the door and flicked the lock shut. The sound of the tumbler triggered a rigid attentiveness in the other two who watched like dogs awaiting a handout.

Aware of their eyes fixed upon him, working up-and-down and side-to-side in their sockets, guided by the puppet strings of his movements, John went to his desk, just beyond the foot of the bed, and reached into the bottom right drawer, pulling out a small strongbox. He took a key chain from atop his desk, located the strongbox key, opened it up, and revealed his baggie and a foot-long carved wooden pipe, all with the deference of a maitre d’ presenting the bottle of wine. The bowl portion was the size of a shot glass, and he began packing it as though it were a suitcase destined for a long trip. Holding closed the hole at the pipe’s end, he took a lighter to the bowl, the vacuum of his lungs coaxing the fire through, the ignited contents crackling, a first line of smoke emerging from both sides of his mouth and curling upward like a handlebar mustache.

“To higher education,” he said with the tone of a benediction, taking a long drag and passing it to Mike who occupied his perch on a small couch squeezed in against the wall opposite the bunk bed and adjacent to Andy’s desk.

“I thought you were going to retire the Monster.” Mike examined the ornately-carved pipe before taking a drag.

“Not yet, Word; it’s going to make some guest appearances this year, especially when I can pack it with some good shit like this.”

“So the legend lives on.” Mike continued admiring the pipe. “Hey, I never noticed this before, but it looks like the Monster has some hieroglyphic shit on it.”

“Yeah, it’s got an ancient Egyptian motif, and if you think about it, how else can you explain the pyramids. Those fuckers had to have been high to create something like that.”

“I guess,” Mike held in the smoke and formed his words, croaking out, “Man, this is some good shit!”

“It’s Hawaiian, Maui Wow Wee.”

Mike passed the pipe, and Andy took a hit, held it in for a few seconds, let it out his nose, and then curled his lip to cradle the exiting smoke before sniffing it back into his nostrils for another round. With this effort he broke into a coughing fit. “Fuck me,” he said hoarsely between hacks. The fit became so severe that it had Andy gasping for air at one point, and his face was turning red. His left fist covered his mouth while the right hand became a precarious perch for the pipe, moving up and down in a hammer-like fashion.

“Hey, Y.A., you okay?” John quickly grabbed the pipe and watched as Andy’s face grew a dark purple.

“Damn,” Mike grew alarmed, “are we going to need to call rescue for you?” Then, seeing the color returning to Andy's face, Howard Cosell re-emerged, narrating the coughing frenzy. “Could this be the end, a fitting demise, a testimony to the perils of life on the outer fringes?”

In a space between hacks, Andy forced down some water and managed to utter out a grainy, “I’m fine, and this is some good shit.” He pawed at tears that had formed in the corners of his eyes. Then fully composed, he boomed, “WOW WEE. Maui WOW WEE. WOW! I think I just coughed up a hairball.”

With his brain catching the first wave of the Hawaiian, Mike regarded his two hosts with great appreciation for their uniqueness. Andy Krekorian was a six-foot, 250 pound behemoth, who according to John Carver had not fully-evolved. His chest was a black carpet, as was his back. His beard blackened his face even after he shaved and appeared to start under his eye sockets that held eyes that seemed to be perpetually laughing. His thick eyebrows almost joined his hairline, leaving him with little forehead space. Cactus-like protrusions of hair even sprouted out of the borders of his ears and his nostrils.

John was a lanky giant with a conservative wavy-brown hairstyle that dipped over the middle of his ears. The girls on the floor shared the thought that he and Mike, who stood about six-five, could be brothers. Both had similar physiques, mustaches, and blue eyes, but John’s eyes generally were slit-like and bloodshot. Briefly putting down the pipe on his desk, and feeling the spirit of the occasion, he made an offering. “Hey, anybody want some eggs?” He pulled up his gym shorts and revealed his testicles. He deftly jiggled each a few times before retiring them, his presentation so precisely choreographed that his balls became worthy of a velvet display tray in a store selling only the finest jewelry.

At this point, Mike had grown transfixed and developed a blank stare that concerned his companions. John’s nuts had just become two planets absorbed by the black hole of his Adidas.

“Hey, Y.A.,” John had noticed, “I think Word just lost his shit. Word, you all right, man?”

Mike’s attention focused on the big water pitcher that his hosts used to quench such occasions. He wanted to request that it be passed his way, but couldn’t remember the word ‘pitcher’ and didn’t think of using the word ‘water’, so he pointed and simply asked, “Pass the good stuff, please.”

John and Andy began laughing loudly, but they understood.

“Hey, Word,” John asked after their laughter ceased, “did Nose show up yet?” Waiting for a response for a few seconds, he asked again. “Word, did your roommate show up yet?”

Taking exception to the lack of a response, Andy got up from his desk chair, went up to Mike’s face, bent down, and exploded with, “WHY? WOW! WEE-WOW!”

John’s laughing delight at this restored some awareness to Mike, and he contemplated for a few moments. “The guy’s shit is in the room. He’s all moved in, but I haven’t seen him yet. Most of the time he’s out chasing the girls. Probably found some freshman to help move in. You know he’s majoring in human resources development.” He laughed, and his momentary departure was forgotten.

“Hey, let’s get some music going,” John said, and he pulled out Steely Dan’s Can’t Buy a Thrill. An array of electronics was pressed into the space under the window, a receiver, a turntable, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, a cassette deck, two monolithic floor speakers, and a portable television, all somehow arranged on and around a coffee table. He dusted off the album and cued it, and the trio remained speechless, listening to the needle on vinyl faintly fizzing and popping.

Once the second song began playing, there was a quick little knock on the door and a soft, melodic voice sang outside. “I’m a fool to do your dirty work, oh yeah. I don’t wanna’ do your dirty work no more.”

“Water J!” John yelled out. “It’s Water J!” He treated the last vowel with a falsetto voice and tripped slightly as he went for the door. He opened it to see another wall in the person of James Waters whose back was now turned as he was looking at something down the hall. Turning around, he proceeded to enter the room and bumped his forehead on the door jam.

“Shit! Fuck!” he yelled as he ducked to get in and began laughing. “Par-tay!” he said loudly. “Par-tay!”

Mike looked at the shoes extending from James’s blue jeans. “Water, when the fuck are you going to stop wearing those platform shoes?” He got up to slap hands.

“Yeah, and what’s up with the hair?” John asked. “You got a ’fro like Billy Preston. Y.A., get me that magazine off my desk and the tape measure.” James cooperated by leaning up against the wall as John placed the magazine at the top of his Afro, being careful not to push it down, and marked the spot with his pencil. He then took out the tape measure.

“Fuckin’ A!” he read the tale of the tape. “Water, with those three-inch platforms and your big ass ’fro, you are one Tutsi Motherfucker!”

“How tall is he?” Andy asked.

“Seven-feet, four inches, give or take maybe a foot."


James laughed at himself, and his Afro bobbed as he took a few steps toward John’s desk and grabbed the Monster. “Boy, give the Negro a light!" He took the last few drags from what remained in the bowl, and handed it to John, Stevie Wonder’s sunglasses imaging off his t-shirt as he untucked it and sank his length into the brown bean bag that rested against the wall framing the foyer.

“Hey, Water,” Mike asked, “you ever take a close look at the Monster? Looks like it has some ancient Egyptian carvings on it.”

Lower lip folding outward, head nodding, James contemplated the question as he watched John in action, then turned back toward Mike. “Well, according to my history classes, those ancient Egyptians might have been black, and in between the hieroglyphic shit, they probably carved some pipes to pack with some good shit. Brothers be some skilled motherfuckers!"

“Yeah, but do you have an explanation for the pyramids?” Andy joined the conversation.

“Not right now, I’m still waiting on Eggs to provide some inspiration.” His eyes laser focused on John’s preparations.

“You know, I’ll be turning twenty-one in November, and this will be the first winter I can remember without basketball.” John positioned the lighter. “I was the only one into sports, and that got me the most attention from my dad.” He fired up the bowl, took a long hit, and passed the pipe to Andy.

“What about your brothers and your sister?” Mike filled the pause. “What did they do to keep busy?”

“Boy scouts, girl scouts, Jennifer got in some dance, and both my little brothers have been in academic clubs. Those things kept my mom busy, but Dad and me was special.” John’s marble-sized pupils appeared to be looking inward. “League ball, AAU, middle school, high school, summer camps, Dad was always there to see me get my 20 and 10.” He crossed his legs and began massaging his right ankle. “And then this shit happened!” He had raised his voice at this point which startled his audience and then began moving the fingers of both hands along his crossed calf, eyes closed, head moving to the jazzy sound of the album.

“What the fuck you doing?” James asked.

“I’m playing piano, Water, now that I got the time and all. What do you guys think?”

“You’re a regular Elton, John,” Mike laughed.


“Well, what about you, Word. You got some game. Why didn’t you walk on or something?”

Mike took a hit and formed a smoke ring, a moving hoop until it broke apart, and then he spoke, looking past his audience, the heel of his right foot tapping into the rug. “I didn’t really have that support to push me, you know. My mom made a few games, but my dad couldn’t be bothered after he had attended a bad game. Mom made excuses saying that Dad was too emotionally involved and couldn’t stand to see us lose or see me struggle. Anytime I picked up a ball when I was younger, my dad used to say, ‘You sure that’s something you want to do?’ It wasn’t a real confidence builder, so I stopped playing organized ball after junior high.” He looked at his Pumas. “My dad just wasn’t around a whole lot. He just didn’t make the time.”

“Yeah, yeah, pass the pipe, White Boy,” James demanded. “You ain’t got no ass; you can’t box out, but at least you had a Daddy at home.”

He had seen the light from the kitchen filtering under his door at 2:00 a.m. The house was small enough to make loud whispering purposeless.

“It’s 2:00 in the morning. I thought you might be dead somewhere!” His mother’s words were followed by a loud sniff. “You couldn’t pick up the phone and call me to at least let me know where you were?”

“It was late; I didn’t want to wake you up.” The accent thick so that W’s sounded like V’s.

At thirteen, he was old enough to make an appearance. “Dad, why are you wearing your sunglasses?”

“Vhat? Eeet’s brrright outside.” His balance was righted with a heavy hand on the dinette chair, lopsided grin, all precipitating his mother’s about face toward the bedroom, head down, trying to hide the tears.

Variations of the scene had played out dating back to when he was five-years-old, sometimes a card game with the cronies from the old country, sometimes a blue collar boilermaker night with the boys from the factory, sometimes the voice of another woman on the phone inquiring of his whereabouts, not identifying herself, times where his mother cried, times that could have been better spent, times where he really didn’t have a daddy at home.

Mike’s ruminations were embedded deeply enough to run in fast-forward with company and to play in slow motion when he was alone. This particular one was a precursor to the bad one he tucked away, and as he felt its presence lurking, he struggled to return to the conversation at-hand, re-entering the hazy world where John was keeping the theme moving forward.

“Y.A. went through the same thing in high school, only he played football. After my ankle got fucked up, he told me what happened. He had a scholarship to Northwestern all lined up, and then he tore up his knee. All-State First Team in Florida for two years, but he doesn’t talk about it, right Y.A.?” John looked at his roommate who was re-lighting the pipe.

Andy let the smoke plume out of his nose and caught it for a second pass. He looked at the others, pivoting his head, and blared out a plaster cracking, “BUT WHY?”

James’s body shook. “Why the fuck does he do that shit? Y’all some crazy motherfuckers.”

Andy remembered the ankle-to-hip cast and the withered leg, and it made him sad. He mechanically took another hit and imagined the smoke traversing his airways until he thought of his coughing fit and possibly dying that way. And then there was Water J’s question, a chance to think of something happy. His mind drifted to the stout body, kind face, and expressive eyes of his mother as she pushed the swing and provided the sound effects, emitting a shrill WEEEEE on the way up, and a deep voiced WOW on his return, his seven-year-old twin sisters providing some back-up vocals. He smiled broadly at the memory of the chunky little boy mimicking the sounds, nervously giggling, shock of hair closing and opening the curtains to his life.

“Hello! You going to pass the pipe or not. Guys, look at Y.A.!”

The laughter returned Andy to present circumstances where he felt the tightness of his grin and the humility of the moment.

“So, Water,” John restored order and began packing another bowl, “what were you looking at down the hall?”

James’s baby-faced smile and twinkling eyes gave him a benign look, and as he spoke he always appeared to be on the verge of laughing. “Well, looks like me and Frankie got a couple of crazy ass people as roommates this year. I got stuck with this dude named Fred. Think he might be a Klan member.”

“Come on, man,” Mike laughed. “Why don’t you and Frankie just room together and let those guys bunk up?”

James took a long hit off the pipe and handed it to Mike. “Shit, Nigga. Sheeeit! Me and Frankie are cool, but I probably would beat his ass living with him in the same room, but I just got outvoted, and that’s what I was looking at down the hall.”

“What are you talking about?” Andy cut in.

“Well, the white boys decided that we should all sleep in one room, so they’re attaching the bunk beds, and they’re moving one desk, so three are in the sleeping room. They’re doing some shit with screwdrivers, a drill, and wrenches now. Told them they could do what the fuck they want, but I get one of the top bunks.”

“What’s the plan for the other room?” John asked.

“It’s going to be a study room. At least that’s what we’ll call it.” James re-positioned himself on the bean bag and kneaded his crotch, smiling, head pivoting, assessing the reactions to his cliffhanger statement.

“You’ve lost me Water,” Mike admitted. “What do you mean by that’s what you’ll call it?”

“Well, the one desk will hold a full liquor bar behind the sliding partitions. There’s a futon, a stereo, and a shag rug that Frankie brought. It’s also got a bean bag. Under that desk, they got a small fridge that they’re stocking with Colt 45’s, and the liquor cabinet’s got some Grand Marnier. That’s how they got my ass on-board.”

Mike began shaking his head. “Two things; one is does Carol know about this, and the other is are you out of your mind?” He yelled out the last part.

James smiled as he regarded the questions. “Don’t believe there’s anything saying we can’t do this, and I plan on being the one getting the most use out of that study room.”

“Hey, are they going to be taking reservations or anything to use it?” John asked.

“You’d have to ask Frankie.”

“Hey, so who is the other roommate?” Andy asked after he took a conservative hit and passed the pipe.

With this question, James put down his head and began shaking it from side-to-side. “He is one scary-ass white dude. Turns out he just got out of prison and is 31-years-old. Calls hisself Little John. Looks like all he did in the joint was lift weights and get tattoos. Motherfucker looks older than 31. One of his tats is a swastika. He saw me looking at it and told me that he had to get it to survive in the joint. I damn near turned white when I saw this dude.”

“They let somebody in here who’s that fucking old?” John asked.

Mike considered the possibilities.“This is going to be interesting to see how all this plays out."

“Only a fool would say that,” James deftly wove in some a cappella to cut into the conversation. “Hey, Yard Ape, pass the pipe.”

“Here you go,” Andy said, this time passing up on a hit. “What about this Fred guy?”

“Well, seems like Fred don’t say much and has one-word answers for any type of conversations. Likes to read comic books. Probably won’t be getting no pussy, so that’s one less for the study room. He was in the bathroom with Wonder Woman early this afternoon, and he was in there for a while.”

“That’s fucked up,” John used his falsetto.

“WOW,” Andy blared.

The group sat quietly, passing time, passing the pipe. About 10 minutes had elapsed when James broke the silence. “Ahhh, ain’t no place like home.” He closed his eyes, clasped his hands behind his head, sank even further into the bean bag, and reiterated, “Ain’t no place like home.”

“You’re losing me, Dorothy,” John laughed.

“Three squares, warm bed, no sirens, no gunshots,” James offered. “Them cafeteria ladies know a hungry black boy when they see one. Plenty of seconds. Reminds me of elementary school.”

“You’re all over the place, James.” Mike attempted to make sense out of the ramblings.

“Every Friday afternoon,” James continued. “Every Friday afternoon, they’d let us out five minutes early to go to the cafeteria and take whatever we could get, leftover pizza, PB and J, apples, bananas, little cereal boxes. It was a po’ people’s pinata. Got into my first fight over Lucky Charms in first grade. I loved that little leprechaun motherfucker. I’ve seen some rainbows in the hood; just too scared to find out what’s at the end of them.”

Another silence settled on the group with a heaviness like rain-drenched clothing until John spoke, brow furling up. “Water, when is your brother getting out?”

“He’s got a hearing coming up, but I don’t want to talk about that shit now.”

“That’s cool. So how have you managed to stay out of trouble?”

James's eyes looked upward, his lips pursed. “I don’t carry no roscoe. I don’t take what ain’t mine. I take what I can get. I take what I can get. My moms preached that to me after every Sunday service. Good lady. Might be making a game or two now that I’ll be in the rotation.” He passed a glance at John’s ankle. “Raised two black boys on her own. Did her best. Tries to find the time. Gets to see one boy on the court and the other in the court.” He looked away from his audience.

“Water J,” Andy handed over the pipe, “what are you going to do once you get your degree?”

James seemed to look inward momentarily, took a long drag and let out the smoke. “Gonna exhale, Bro. Gonna exhale. Hey, thanks for the par-tay. Give me some skin. I got to get back to the crib.” He got up to slap hands with the group. “Y’all white folk talk too much.” He got up, opened the door, and this time he ducked as he headed out and down the hall to inspect his situation.

“Hey, guys, I could hang here all night, but I’ve got an early class tomorrow. Trying to get off to a good start.” Mike lifted his long frame off the couch.

John clenched the pipe and pointed the stem at Mike. “I think there’s another hit in here. Why don’t you take it, so it doesn’t go to waste.” He picked up the lighter.

Mike took a hit for the cause and slapped hands with his friends.

“Hey, before you go, Word, can you give us a few lines?” John asked.

Looking at the two, Mike precipitated with some verbiage from his clouded-over brain, parting prose.

“On the sixth floor, there’s a joke on the door.

Far bigger are the jokes inside.

A quick little knock, a flick of the lock,

The tradition of getting fried.”

“Man, you’ve got to write that shit down for me!” John demanded. “Hey, man, see you tomorrow.”

Merging through the bathroom and back at his room, Mike found his roommate Kurt Newman perched on his bed and talking to Carol Frazier who occupied the other bed, his. He acknowledged Kurt by nodding and then took in Carol, his eyes traveling a familiar road. The long pony-tailed brunette was all of six-feet tall. Her big brown eyes regarded him regarding her as he scanned downward, stopping at her impossibly perfect breasts putting the hills on a white Hillview University t-shirt, lifting it enough to expose the delicately defined midriff and tan skin. He continued downward to gather in her long sinewy legs cascading from her cutoff jean shorts. Her casual evening dorm attire did not stop her from going about some business prior to the first day of the fall semester.

“Mike, you reek. It's the first day back,and you're already lit." She chastised him, re-routing him from turnpike trance.

Mike remained speechless and was back to being transfixed by the talking breasts that continued to undress him.

“I tried to tell him to ease into things,” Kurt seized his opportunity, “but he can be stubborn.”

“I’ll be telling your two friends through the bathroom that they might want to open a window and put something under the door. The whole floor stinks, and with parents moving in their kids, I’ll guarantee you that I’ll be fielding some calls tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, Mike. I can party with the best of them, but there’s a time and a place and a way of doing things discretely.” Noticing his lack of eye contact, she added, “Really? I’m up here. Hello! I guess your mommy didn’t breast feed you.” She got up from Mike’s bed, passed by him closely enough to create a draft, and left through the open door.

Simply staring at the heart-shaped imprint she left on his bedspread, Mike’s glassy eyes permitted nothing more as the girly smell of Carol’s skin trailed her slowly out the door, traveling on the gentle breeze of her departure, soothing his smoke-stained nostrils, and coaxing him into a brief sobriety.

Kurt folded inward his lower lip and nodded his head. “Are you going to do something about that this year? Two fucking years, and all you do is dream about her.”

Mike further emerged from his fixation to address this point. “I think she’s been seeing somebody. Since this spring, she’s been dressing really nicely and coming back from somewhere at least a couple nights a week. Besides, Nose, most of my conversations with her are one-sided. Most of the time, she’s bitching me out or advising me. She’s not even a year older than me, and she treats me like a little kid!”

His roommate paused a moment, ran his hand through his neatly blow-dried brown hair, and rubbed his not-quite-full beard. “I think she wants to spank you. Why don’t you let her?”

“Yeah, and Y.A. told me I should just let her beat my ass. I’m telling you, she doesn’t like me.”

“And I’m telling you she does. She was over there getting wet while she was reaming you out. Trust me. The Nose knows.”

Mike watched as Kurt rose from his bed, traversed the few feet to his side of the room, got on his knees, and began smelling the area where Carol had been sitting. His nose hovered over the bedspread like a Geiger counter and emitted quick little sniffing bursts.

“There it is!” he shouted triumphantly after about 30 seconds as he pointed to a specific spot on the bedspread. “There it is!” he stated with a higher pitch. “Come over here and smell!” He invited his roommate, taking great care to not move his finger from the spot.

Now coming down from his buzz, Mike weighed the offer. “What are you, a fucking dog?”

“Yes, I am. Now come over here and smell. She left this for you!” he screamed.

“I’m not going to do that; you’re a twisted fuck!”

“No, I’m the only one in this room who believes in you.” Kurt rose from his knees and now used the finger to point at Mike.

Mike felt the sincerity of his roommate, and on the wave of another rush, he took him in closely. With the hair and beard, he became Barry Gibb, and wearing his trademark sport coat over blue jeans and shiny penny loafers, his image didn’t take well to being caught off-guard. The beard he had been trying to grow since their high school days had finally filled out enough to benefit from a comb over, but the holes in his reasoning still could benefit from spackling.

“You see this?” Kurt provided his profile and pointed to his nose. “It’s a little longer that it needs to be, and the nostrils are a little longer than normal. I’m a mutant. Superman has x-ray vision, and this, my friend, is not just a nose; it’s a proboscis!” Damn right I’m a dog. I’m a pussy hound! Now, excuse me. I’m going to use the bathroom.”

This is what my parents are paying for, Mike thought of being an only child raised on a factory worker’s salary as he listened to the sound of his roommate pissing. I got day one of two classes tomorrow, and I’m already fucked up. I’ve got to regain my focus and concentrate on important things. He took in Carol’s fading butt print one more time and then got down on his knees as if to pray.

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