Kip didn’t know whether to be pissed or relieved to find Mitch passed out on the bedroom floor of his suite at the Four Seasons. With sheer stubborn and selfish abandon, the rockstar packed ordered a car, and made a reservation under an ancient alias, just to piss off his security. With hours before he boarded his flight to Aruba, an exasperated Kip paced the garbage-laden hotel suite with his iPhone to his ear as Mitch laid passed out on the bed where he had dropped him a few minutes before. Strewn with pizza boxes and take-out cartons, beer, and vodka bottles, Kip tried to pick up as quickly as possible after dialing his girlfriend’s phone for the third time, hoping she’d pick up this time instead of ignoring his calls. Chances are, she was maneuvering rolling luggage in the subway where there was little to no cell service.
Finally, he set down the phone on the marble-topped kitchen bar and sorted through the mess in the front room of the suite. Putting the dishes in the sink and filling up the trashcan as quickly as possible, Kip rushed about the suite, collecting Mitch’s clothes and shoes, which were buried under the garbage with his wallet. Even his guitar was on the floor and its face. When Kip lifted it to put it in its case, a dried piece of pizza was stuck to the frets. Kip went in search of anything to clean the frets off the guitar's neck, finding spray and paper towels under the sink.
“Bro, what the fuck is wrong with you?” Barked kip, wiping the frets and strings of the Les Paul. No reply. Did he really expect one? Mitch was passed out. He had been tying one on more than usual since his mother’s passing, but what he did in the past week beat all of the shenanigans of their lives.
He carried the clothes into the bedroom where he had found Mitch faced down on the floor when he arrived with hotel security, paying him off not to call the squad.
Kip found Mitch’s suitcase full of wrinkled dirty clothes. He had no time to do laundry for him, so he found the cleanest possible and shoved the rest into the suitcase, and shut it.
“What a fucking mess you are!” Bellowed kip. “Wake up, you need a shower!”
Mitch didn’t respond to kip who grew more impatient. He grabbed the guitar case and found condom wrappers.
“Had a couple of honeys, eh?” Asked kip seeing the spent rubbers about the bed. Kip grabbed paper towels and pitched them into the trash as if he was picking up dog shit. Under the bed, he saw the first empty orange pill vial. “Fucking Kramer!”
He found Mitch’s dead cell phone and plugged it into the charger by the bed. As it turned on he saw all of his notifications. No one else. Just him. Fuck, he was becoming forgettable. Even his friends didn’t care. He was the last one. His bond was more than a lifetime of friendship and twenty years of employment. Even Kip had his limits though and taking off the way Mitch did, made him want to resign completely and leave Mitch altogether. He would never forgive himself if he did that.
“Mitch, wake up!” Barked Kip again. “Let’s go, you need a shower!”
Mitch stirred slightly then resumed sleeping. Kip heard his phone ring and he rushed to answer it as Mitch slept through the loud ringer, his long black curly hair a matted mess about his face, bits of vomit in it.
“No, he’s passed out! I just found him on the floor. Vicodin and Oxy vials, at least 2 dozen empty lager, and three bottles of vodka. Fuck! How can I leave him now?”
“We are going, Kip. Call someone, ” growled Lexie. “I’ll meet you there within the hour and you are leaving with me!”
“Lexie, look, I got to make a plan to get him home. I can’t just leave him here like this. Pete will never forgive me if something happens to him.”
“As if Peter Miller gives a flying fuck about either of you. Mitch cares less about you than Pete. If he did, he wouldn’t have taken off the way he had. That’s for damn sure. Has he even once acknowledged you as anything but his secret?”
“I don’t know--”
“I got to go, my train is due soon. I’ll be there in a half-hour. Be ready to leave when I arrive.”
“I will, bye.”
Kip searched the bathrooms for clean towels. Red and bronze lipstick smeared on white towels and a used thong was wadded up with dried fluids. “Had a little salt and pepper, eh?” Asked Kip aloud. “At least you cover-up.”
All over he kept finding cigarettes, ashes, and butts. Marlboro reds. The Four Seasons had a harsh policy on cigarettes and smoking in general. He would get a hefty bill for this binge and probably refused to lodge again.
Had to have been someone else smoking though. Mitch hates cigarettes and blamed his mother’s smoking for cancer that ended her twenty-five years after she quit. Kip was dumbfounded by the cigarettes everywhere. Mitch wouldn’t tolerate cigarettes in his house or his own property, calling them filthy and shaming anyone addicted to them.
While Kip was picking up empty Camel pack wrappers, he found more empty vials of Xanax, Vicodin, Oxy. Holding up the three between his long fingers in one hand, Kip shook them at him. “What the hell Bro?” Kip asked as Mitch stirred and sat up. his eyes glassy. Mitch stared at Kip and scoffed as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
“Have a party?”
“A few. What’s it to you too?” Mitch reached for the pack of cigarettes on the bedstand and a lighter and took a long draught off it.
“Oh hell no, bro, hell no. Pete will fucking kill me if you started this bad habit. Damn it, Mitch, you are going home!”
Mitch chuckled and ignored him.
“Hello to you too. Nice to see you’re among the living.”
Mitch leaned back on the headboard and took another long puff of the Camel cigarette, picking the tobacco bits off his lips. The puke didn’t seem to bother him.
“I’m calling a car and sending you home to Margie.”
“You can call a car, but I’m not going,” murmured Mitch pulling the stuck hair from his face. Mitch stood up and the cigarette dangled from his mouth as he reached for the bottle of vodka with a few sips left in it. Kip reached for the cigarette and dropped it in the bottle in his hand. “Get in the shower. You’re a fucking mess.”
“Don’t bother with the car. I’m staying here,” said Mitch, moving the hair from his face.
“Why? This place stinks. You need a shower and clean clothes.”
“It hurts to sit for that long to ride home.”
“I’ll order you a stretch limo and give you a fresh bottle of vodka for your ride home for two and a half hours.”
“Why? You can’t leave me!”
“This is my two weeks off. You know this. Lexie and I are going to Aruba. You are to go home to Margie and Rocco and Andy--”
“Yes, Mitch! You need to go home.”
“I don’t want to--”
“I don’t get you--”
“I just want to die--”
“I’ll call the squad myself if you say that again.”
“I’ll go be with Mama.”
“Not at your own hand, you won’t.”
“I can’t take the pain anymore.”
Kip dialed Andy’s cell. “Damn it, Blake, pick up!” He got Andy’s voicemail. “Mitch is at the Four Seasons in Manhattan under Ed Bentley. Go figure, he hasn’t used that one in a decade. He’s now threatening suicide after taking off on me for three days. I’m leaving here in an hour for Aruba. Get your ass off the slopes and come get him!”
He left the same message for Rocco. Paulie and Joey were in Toronto still and wouldn’t be home until Friday, and he had already left a message at Alex’s office in numerous voicemails.
Kip’s phone rang and it was Lexie, earlier than he expected, and Mitch still wasn’t cleaned up yet.
“What room?” asked Lexie instead of hello.
“1813,” he replied and hung up.
“You need to go home,” said Kip to Mitch.
He picked up the trash from the front room and stuffed it into the small trashcan that was overflowing. When she knocked on the door, Kip walked to it and held the door slightly ajar to his bronze beauty. Her chocolate drop eyes framed in amber glasses and purple eye shadow.
“He’s awake,” said Kip. “Do not start with him.”
“Fine, whatever,” she replied, as he opened the door for her entry. As lithe Lexie entered, Kip took the two suitcases and set them aside. He reached for her and drew in her soft puffy lips as he kissed her and pulled her petite frame up to him until she tapped his hard bicep to release her. Kip softly set her down as she patted his six-pack.
“Jesus--” she said, seeing the mess.
I know it.”
Mitch stumbled out into the living room, trying to find another bottle with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
“You are out of your fucking gourd,” said Kip. “You fucking hate cigarettes.”
“Hey Mitch,” said Lexie. He nodded at her. “Why not go home to the Poconos? You’ll feel better at home. Where Margie can spoil you, and Andy can hang out and go skiing with you.”
“Because I don’t want to go home. I like it fine here. As I was telling your boyfriend, I’m not going.”
“The hell you aren’t. For two years now, we have been trying to get away. We have had this vacation set up now for six months. We are leaving here in fifteen minutes so we can make it to JFK to catch our flight.”
Mitch said nothing and Lexie dialed her phone for a car service. “I’d like to order a car,” she said, “as soon as possible. We’re in Manhattan, and going to the Poconos. Two hours? That’s the soonest? Yes, I need a limo where one could lie down in it.” Mitch snorted and took another draught before Kip stole it from him and doused it with water from the kitchen sink.
“Good, good, the name is Mitch--”
“Ed Bentley!” barked Mitch and Kip in unison.
“Sorry, Ed Bentley, he’s at the Four Seasons in Manhattan.”
“Right, a credit card?”
“I’m not going! Cancel it!”
“We are leaving in 11 minutes.”
Kip had both of Mitch’s suitcases packed with the dirty clothes and had found a not-so-dirty shirt, a pair of jeans that were still acceptable, the last pair of clean underwear and socks. He found his wallet and cell phone charger and put them with Mitch’s cell phone in the bedroom. He took the two bags and put one of his with Mitch’s to go back to the Poconos with Mitch when he decided to go.
“You ready?” Kip asked Lexie.
“Ready when you are,” she replied.
Kip picked up his suitcase by its handle and held open the door for Lexie to wheel her own out of the penthouse suite.
“Kip, don’t go--” said Mitch.
“I’m leaving, Mitch. You need to go home.”
“I can’t stay here and watch you destroy what’s left of you any longer. I love you, man.”
“If you love me, you’ll stay.”
Lexie set her suitcase in the hall and took Kips’ and put it there with her own.
“I love you too much to stay. Go home and clean up. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.”
“Let’s go, Kip,” she said, taking his hand and pulling him towards the door.
“Shut up--” barked Mitch.
“Don’t you tell her to shut up!”
“Bye,” said Kip walking out and shut the door behind them. They no sooner stepped away from the door when Mitch threw an empty bottle at the door and it shattered all over the floor.
Kip sat despondently on the subway ride to JFK. He texted Andy and Rocco and still, there was no reply.
“You did the right thing, Babe,” Lexie said, hooking her arm into his. Kip shook his head and bit his lip.
“No, I probably just killed the only family I had left.”
“Stop, you did no such thing.”
“I should call Pete.”
“So call him.”
Kip called and got Pete’s voicemail, listening to the rancid old man’s message for the third time that week. It pissed him off that he could call and for help, and not a single one of them responded. It was clear to Kip that no one wanted to handle Mitch or take him off his hands just so he could get away for a couple of days. He should just quit and move to the Bronx with Lexie.