As per usual at the time, I found myself at another party at Cal’s. He doesn’t live there anymore, but that’s besides the point. The girl I was seeing at the time and I waltz through the sunken front door into a sea of arms and denim. It was the early fall if I’m not mistaken, but I easily could be.
The living room was turned into a large lounge-anywhere cave of crossed-leggers and lay-overs and lean-ons and the odd stander-upper. Voyaging downstairs to the basement, the smell of weed is hazy and a boy I had met a few parties ago was making out lines of a powder on the back of a David Bowie vinyl.
“Want one?”, he asks with hopeful eyes.
“What is it?”, I go.
Two years ago, a friend of mine named Andrzej called me up one night. Now, being Polish, most of his friends were Polish, their parties were Polish, his meals were Polish, and he knew every Polish person in the city somehow by name. Intriguing, actually now that I think about it.
Anyways, he called me up asking if I wanted to come to his friend’s birthday party tonight. Well, he actually said his friends name, but I’m not going to attempt to spell it. It took me long enough to say let along spell Andzrej’s (awnd•zhrey). I’m a little weary, but I think I had a bit of grounds. Let me tell you about the last party we went to together first.
It was for Andzrej’s birthday. I walked in and they’re talking about soccer. I go into the next room and they’re watching soccer on television. I keep walking and the next room is huddled around four guys- playing soccer on Xbox 360. The girls were way too flirty, and the kegs were Heineken. So, that was that.
I decide to accept, and he comes and picks me up and we drive to his friend’s house first, and we move as a train of cars to Andrzej’s apartment on the sixth floor. We go up in a few groups to his place, and just as we’re getting to his floor…
Pump Up The Volume trailer from 1992
Directed by Allan Moyle. Oh, and Christian Slater stars in it.
The portion of my face you can see cut-out by my jet black swoop-in-the-front-teased-in-the-back mop is full of piercings. There’s a spike poking out from my upper ear where my industrial impales my cartilage. It’s 2006 and the pockets of my skinny jeans are full of oily, unforgiving teenage angst- except for the back left, which is where a triangle of bandana pokes out.
Some friends of mine who happened to be my piercist, a tattoo artist working in the same shop, and their bookkeeper, caught wind that I had never had a beer before. Unknowingly to me this was completely unacceptable by their standards, but you know what? I didn’t like beer then. I thought it was disgusting, as mostly everyone else I knew did. Beer.
By the time I know what’s happening, I’m being snuck into a local bar that looked more like a punk show*. My arms stuck to the table making that sound that masking tape makes when you unroll it. The chili cheese fries arrive with four mysterious pints. The only information I had on them was a number: 50. I take a sip, my nose hairs curling from the fermented smell. Ten chili fries later, that were practically half-chewed by my hand trying to get them into my mouth faster, I am not a happy boy. I choke it down over the course of an hour-and-a-half we’re there for. Walking to one of their cars, my piercist pulls out a