Part I: Reality Bites
Remix and Schitz stumbled into my apartment, interrupting my bong hit. I gagged trying to stand up too fast, choked and fell back to the couch. Smoke streamed from my nostrils. I looked like a lobotomized dragon.
I wanted to appear tough and stoic, so I tried staring Remix down. But they’d let in the light. My eyes burned, and I came off squinty.
Remix passed through the beaded doorway to el baño, his exit followed by a cascade of plastic fringe. The sound always reminded me of soda being poured out of a two-liter bottle.
A DVD menu from a season of Law & Order: Super Special Victims Unit was stuck on a loop. Ominous dunh dunh chords chimed periodically.
Schitz collapsed against a wall. He leaned at a sharp angle, on the verge of falling, his body forming the hypotenuse of a wall-floor-Schitz triangle. Dribbles of drool ran down his face. A stiff BTU from the AC might’ve knocked him over.
Schitz was my friend, maybe my last friend. So, drawing on my indomitable will, I peeled myself off the couch to make sure he didn’t choke on his tongue. His arms were limp. I led him to a La-Z-Boy and tossed a blanket on him. His peepers were blank. Totally checked out. Schitz was gone-zo.
“Dude, what did you take?” I asked.
The sound of the bathroom beads parting preceded Remix’s reappearance. I spun - too quickly. I came close to falling, but instead I rode the momentum towards Remix and screamed, “Remix! You hipster piece of trash. Get out!”
He chuckled. Remix was a terrible excuse for a human being. Even though he was friends with my little brother, he’d had a bad stutter when he was a kid and I’d never forgiven him for it. He wore Harry Potter glasses, jean shorts that ended above his knees, and a Bear Bryant fedora the way toolbags often do.
We shared no intellectual admiration for each other á la Professor Moriarty vs. Sherlock Holmes. There was no banter or witty parlance between us. I decked him across the face as hard as I could. He fell.
“What did you give Schitz?” I screamed. “I swear if he is having a bad trip I will dedicate the rest of my life to training pigeons to poop on your car.”
Remix drove a Prius.
He threw something at me from the ground. A baggie full of weed hit me in the chest. Something was wrong with it, though. Too much mass. Weed was just the substrate to another substance that weighed the bag down.
“I didn’t give him anything,” he said. “He took it. Just like you will. Just like Julia will. Just like Rick and all the rest.”
I flinched at the sound of Julia’s name, and then I flipped out at the sound of Rick’s name. I ran hard, picked up the bong by its lip and swung it like a sword - watch out Grendel, here comes Beawoulf! - and smashed the bottom of the bong on Remix’s head. Glass shattered and tiny shards obeyed immutable laws of physics that governed sharp objects to hide in hard to reach places for future foot stabbings. Remix collapsed to the floor. Bong water covered his head. I knelt down and put two fingers on his forehead.
“With this bongal baptism, I hereby banish your douchebag demons.” I made a vow to deposit his hat in the nearest toilet and/or garbage can.
I didn’t like leaving Schitz with Remix. I didn’t like that they were both so messed up. I didn’t like that Remix had mentioned Julia and Rick. I didn’t like the dearth of dignity in contemporary society. I didn’t like hippies and the demise of character and integrity, but I was already too late for work to do anything about it.