Bridgeport

By Jennifer Kaciuba

Natalie, Mike, and I had just been hanging out on the corner of some inter- section in Bridgeport. There was a park there and more than likely we would be there, just hanging out, drinking, doing whatever we always did. It was only a few blocks from Natalie’s house on 51st and Halsted. She lived right by Sox Park in Bridgeport. It was the only house in the sur- rounding miles because every fucking way you looked you came across a meat packing place, one of those places were they take the cows, pigs, and whatever other animals they fashioned into small, packaged wrapped, chunks of good ole fashion meat. The smell of slaughter smelled ripe and especially pungent on tremendously scorching days. It made me want to drop kick cute animals and jump off of buildings. The way that we saw it was that during the summer there was nothing better to do than heckle kids at the park, drink forty ounces of beer, or smoke a little bud.

          And this day at the park was no different. We sat around at the tiny park amongst a bunch of murder factories, hill billie racist assholes, and rich people. Bridgeport was always so diverse, I guess. We sat in the seats that became assigned for us in the summer. Natalie sat on the tire swing. She always sat there because she said she liked to spin. But in all honesty I think it was because of that one story she told me that night when we drank too much Jaeger together. She told me that her brother used to tell her to jump on the tire swing and she’d have the best time of her life but every time, Natalie’s dumbass would fall into the trick and be- fore you knew it, she was face down, on the ground crying and bleeding over her brother’s ability to deceive her, once again. Natalie just always sat there but really, I think it was some fucked up way she conquered her fear of the terrifying tire swing.

Mike laid on the slide. He’d put his head down the slide from the top and squiggled down the metal slide until his shirt would rise up and his flesh would cause the squeaking sound against the metal to make him stop and then he’d just sit there. He’d lie there and bask in the sun like some fuck- ing lobster until he got too hot. I was literally astonished that his skin and the metal slide didn’t liquefy together and become glue that held Mike down, kept him there, to burn alive under the sun.

I always sat on the picnic bench or the concrete wall that bordered the small park. I always sat close enough to Mike and Natalie but far enough away from the actual play ground so that any children that were actually going to play wouldn’t be affected by my continuous chain smoking. I smoked a lot because it was just something I always done. My ma always smoked in the house and I guess I just grew accustomed to smoke. I liked to breathe it, smell it, and rinse myself in it, so I chain-smoked.

          Everyday we sat at this small park. We would wake up from Natalie’s house and walk over and just sit and wait for it to get dark. We never wanted to do anything when it was light out cause we never wanted to get in trouble. Natalie lived a few blocks down from the cop station as well, so cops drove around the area more than any other kind of car. They would gawk at us from head to toe as they passed the park to make sure we weren’t doing something damaging. Their cars always slowed down as they drove past us. Plus, no one was ever able to go on runs during the daytime so; we would just hang out and laze around in the sun.

          We would wait for dusk to fall on us and then would stand up and walk the street. We would stroll around the blocks wondering whom we would run into first. There was Tino and he was our alcohol guy. He was some strange looking guy with a face that looked like he just had gotten carved out of wood and I should fill him up with punch to make him my very own Tiki glass. His whole body was covered up with tattoos. There wasn’t a single piece of skin un-inked except for maybe his face but the bits and pieces that showed because they were not covered by clothing was concealed with tattoos. His arms, legs, hands, and neck, were all a disguise of tattoos he could never take off. He was a crooked son of a bitch and was in some gang in Canary Ville. He shot our friends house that lived at 45th and Union and was always seen beating the shit out of his girlfriend. He was an asshole and someone you didn’t want to mess with but he was the man that was able to get us alcohol.

          Then there was Ray or Mousey. The nickname didn’t mean anything cooler than he was literally like a mouse. He never talked but he always had some ridiculous hook ups. He hung out with some of the bad kids and that was okay with us, we never hung out with him. He was more or less our dealer and that was it.

On this particular day, we walked around and ran into Ray and his girl Brittany. Apparently, it was going to be a smoking night. It was a hot summer night and that was just ideal weather for smoking. We got our usual twenty sack from him.

          “Aight guys, this shits new, I never gave it to you”. Ray tried to talk hard. It was funny to see a petite kid in oversized gangster clothes sell us weed. It was hard to contain the laughter but we needed our hookup. “This shit right here, it’s my buddy’s special blend. It’s got like three mixes of shit. It’s fuckin blue, look at this shit”. Ray opened up the small saran rap piece he wrapped it in and handed it too Natalie. She held the baggie in her hand and inhaled it deeply. She was our weed bloodhound; she had the nose to sniff out skank verse chronic.

          “It smells good, we’ll take your word”. She handed him the twenty dollars and jammed the weed into her front pocket.

          “Later Ray”. And then he would walk away without any other words. That was all it took, there was no reason to attempt to actually engage in conversation with your dealer. We wanted his weed, not his words.

The three of us went back to Natalie’s and sat in her backyard. We couldn’t smoke it until much later. Her dad worked as a paramedic and whenever he came home the fat ass would knock out on the couch. Sometime when Na- talie and I would get drunk for fun we’d scream loud as we could in her dad’s face and he would never even move a muscle. So waiting for him to pass out on the couch was a better plan than hearing him bitch at us for getting high on his back porch.

          Natalie’s mom was crazy. Not only was she crazy but also she was the loudest angriest pot-smoking mother I had ever come in contact with. She lived in the upstairs of the house, diagonally down the hall from Natalie’s room. Her mom had her own little set up. Half the upstairs was her mother’s apart-ment because even though her mom and dad were divorced, neither of them thought about moving out. She looked like a crack head. Her black hair was always scraggly and thin. It looked like hay that had been burnt and crispy from a fire. Her teeth were always crooked and it bothered me that she didn’t get that shit fixed. Her voice was scary, it was old and raspy from the years of Newport’s she swallowed down in an angry inhale from the lack of care Natalie’s dad showed her.

She scared me because the only time I really talked to her was when she would tell us to smoke in Natalie’s bedroom not the whole house or when she was too lazy to walk down the stairs and you would hear her screaming from her bedroom for someone to get her a fucking bowl of ice cream. She made me panic all the time. I nearly had an anxiety attack each time I would set foot into Natalie’s house.

          She didn’t care what we did which is probably the only reason we re- ally did half of what we did. She knew we drank and smoked in her backyard and she could care less. It was cool but it scared me. I was positive that one day, she would snap and we would get yelled and screamed at about smok- ing in her overly sized backyard. The fear stayed in the back of my mind be- cause there was never a time I could remember us not doing what we did in Natalie’s backyard.

          We watched the day turn into darkness and when we heard the front door close, giving us the cue that Natalie’s dad had in fact been home, we began to get everything ready.

Natalie was the ringleader, the one with the most skill in this department. She would take the bag, open it, pour it out onto the table and pick out all the seeds and stems while Mike and I huddled around her, holding out our cell phones, to make sure that she had as much light as possible. Natalie was careful at breaking up our weed. I imagined her like a tiny weed ballerina but without the shoes and the tutu and shit. She was vigilant and swift with what she did. Her boney fingers would look like a tiny group of worker ants trying to get enough leaves to feed the whole aunt hill. How she learned the secrets she knew, I’d never find out.

          “Alright,Mike,yougotthepapers”?Mike handed her a Swisher Sweet cigar.

          “Damn it Mike, take the fuckin tobacco out”. Mike took the cigar back and stood off the porch of Natalie’s house. He carefully cork screwed the cigar back and forth, right and then left, so that the tobacco that was perfectly packed into it was getting lose and eventually falling out into a little hill of to- bacco on Natalie’s lawn.

          “Here”. Mike handed Natalie the empty cigar.

          “Fuckin strawberry, why didn’t you get grape”?

          “Natalie why don’t you go get shit yourself”.

“Hey, guys, shut up”. I hated when they would start to fight, it would make my high a million times worse. I realize that we weren’t even smoking yet but this means that my high would ultimately start out bad and I didn’t want it to be because of these two assholes.

Natalie broke up all our bud and carefully put it into the cigar paper. While she rolled it back up her tiny fingers looked like a cigarette roller. When she licked the brown paper to seal the cigar closed I wondered what it tasted like. I thought maybe that’s why she wanted grape and not straw- berry. She took her lighter after she clicked it and lightly lit the whole thing on fire. She lit it just enough that it was sealed closed. I looked at her while she held our blunt in the air. The luminosity in her eyes that reflected the moonlight showed that Natalie was proud.

          She took the blunt, held it up to her face, took her lighter, and wrapped her fingers around it and with her thumb set off the round circle to ignite the spark. She sucked in, her mouth making this tiny o shape and once again her eyes glimmered, but it was a different glimmer, Natalie was pleased.

“Hit this, you have got to fucking hit this dude”. I looked at Natalie; smoke cascaded down her chin then down her neck, making a waterfall as it melted into her purple shirt. She held out her right hand holding the per- fectly rolled joint. Her fingers formed together creating the okay symbol with her two fingers.

          “Don’t be a bitch.” She looked at me with deer eyes, the kind that had been stopped in headlights. After one hit her pupils had become di- lated so bad that the white in her eyes swam into the black. Her eyes were one color, and blended in with the dark sky. I leaned forward to grab the rolled up brown blunt in front of me. I made my fingers in the shape of a v, the way I do when I smoke a cigarette. I placed it perfectly in-between my first finger and middle finger. I put the end with the hole for inhaling up to my mouth and as I breathed in I watched the bright fire ember at the other end of the blunt incinerate. I imagined every one of my brain cells popping like balloons with every igniting drag I took. My eyes widened and I wanted to breathe it in again longer, hold the air in my lungs longer. I didn’t want the feeling, or the taste to leave my body. I wanted to hold on to it all at that very moment.

“Asshole, pass it here.” Puff puff pass was the name of the game. Mike looked at me with a fire in his eyes. He reached out for the joint and I obliged. He sat on the white lawn chair right next me. With his body half bent his arm seemed longer than it should have really been. In this moon- light, his body looked like it had expanded to some extreme lengths. I closed my eyes to hand it to him and imagined Gumby sitting there unwinding comfortably while he kicked back his head and crossed his two green legs, right over left, overlapping at the ankles, putting one of his arms behind his head the other holding the joint, getting blazed as hell with the rest of us.

          “Good ass shit right? Fuck Jess, tell me that isn’t some good ass shit”. Natalie was hung up on the fact that her twenty dollars was put to good use. She went on and on, beating the same dead horse about the quality weed we had just bought a few hours before.

After Mike hit it, it went back to Natalie. She inhaled again; her pupils would ripple like a puddle after each hit she took. Then it went back to me.

          I took the blunt and held it again; I ripped it longer this time. The weed stayed captive in my throat, I was not going to let it go. I exhaled the cloud of smoke then inhaled it back in. I looked like I had eaten smoke, I felt like a dragon. I hit it again and held it deep and safe in the bottom of my lungs. I locked it away, I didn’t want it set free. Then an earthquake of sound and feeling jolted my entire body. I began to feel an eruption at the pit of my lungs. I coughed and coughed until I couldn’t breathe. I started to have a coughing fit. I put my head in my arms and held the weed out to Mike still coughing.

          “ I told you it’s some powerful shit”. When I looked up from coughing Natalie was no longer sitting in the circle. Her back was turned around and she was concentrated on something.

          “Uhm, dude, what are you looking at”?

          “Look at this tree”. She said to me as she reached her arm behind her and when she felt Mike carefully place the blunt in her hands, she abruptly snatched back her arm as if someone might have stolen it.

          “It looks like a tree”.

“No, no, look, it’s talking, Jess. Jess, the fucking tree is talking”. She took another two hits off the blunt. The blunt was quickly turning into nothing. The three of us were going at it faster than ever before. I took the blunt from Natalie and put it in my mouth.

          “You are fucking crazy”.

          “No I’m not, look”. She pointed her hand out. Her skinny arms and fingers made me jump. She looked like a skeleton. I looked at her face after I saw her arms and she was still Natalie. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief as to what this shit was doing to us.

          I looked at the tree once again and noticed that suddenly it looked a little more alive than it usually does. It shook like a dog would when getting out of water. When it was done shaking, it looked at us. Its eyes were not really eyes at all, just hollowed out holes in the green leaves of the tree. One eye appeared and then right after it another one. It slowly created its self. Then the mouth came. It leisurely came out beneath the green face. It started at the left corner and then branches and leaves and green began to sink in like they had the eyes and once it was done it smiled at us.

          “Holy shit”. I was in disbelief as I passed Mike the blunt without even turning around.

          “Mister tree, if the sun like makes light and warmth, then why does- n’t the moon do the same thing”? Natalie asked her question then set her head back. She stretched out her legs, crossed her legs at the ankle and lay back, resting on her palms that were flattened pancakes on the porch outside. She began nodding in agreement with the tree. I shook my head. I looked at the tree and just saw it nodding and smiling at me. I didn’t hear it talk. I rubbed my eyes and looked at Natalie. She was smoking the blunt again.

“I’m gonna go piss, skip me”. I stood up to go to the bathroom. My legs felt like Jell-O and I imagined myself made out of rubber. My feet felt heavy, like they were being weighed down to the grown. The wooden porch be- came spongy like they are at parks and Chucky Cheese so that when a child falls, they don’t completely hurt themselves. I bounced from the porch to the back door. I was on the moon. Then it all stopped.

          The back door from Natalie’s porch to the house was in this dark area that they used as a crawlspace. I had used this door so many times and wasn’t afraid but for some reason, this darkness was more dim than usual. I came to a stop as soon as the door was in front of me. I couldn’t walk in. There was something that was making me unable to get into the house.

I looked up in front of me and I saw it. Shinning through the darkness was a white crooked row of square pieces. They were perfectly assembled in a line; none of them were a bit out of place. I stepped back a minute. Then above the glowing row, a sudden oval shape started to glimmer. It came in slowly. Then it was a complete egg shaped oval right above the row of white. Then there was another oval only a few inches away from the first one. The line of white began curving upwards and in front of me stood a smile. A floating and radiant smiling face stared at me. My mouth fell to the floor. I didn’t move. I tried to go through it but couldn’t seem to face this monster. I gave up. I ran back to where Natalie and Mike were sitting.

          Natalie handed me the weed as I lay on the wooden porch with my arms over my head, hiding my eyes.

          “Don’t fucking go in there”. Smoke came out of my mouth at the same time with my words.

          “What the hell”. Mike must not have been like we were. He just kept lying back in the lawn chair and staring up into the sky.

          “I’m serious. Natalie there is something in your fucking crawlspace”.

          “Jess, calm down”. Mike was the only one able to talk to me. Natalie was focused on her tree and the way she looked, you could tell she wasn’t going to stop staring anytime soon.

          “No man, fuck, there is something in there”.

          “You’re just high, shut up”. I closed my eyes completely; I knew Mike wouldn’t have believed me even if I told him about what had just happened. Mike always watched out for us, but never gave a shit about what we actually were saying.

          I lay on the porch. I covered my face with my arms. Underneath my arms I kept my eyes shut tight. They were so tight that a crowbar could not even budge them open. Suddenly my world began spinning. My eyes were closed my splashes of red and orange and white and blue were being splattered all over the inside of my eyelids. I couldn’t hear anything. Every-thing was silent. I couldn’t tell if Natalie was still conversing with her new tree friend and I could never tell when Mike was fucked up. I was fucked up. I was blazed.

          The colors wouldn’t stop splatting and began flinging at my eyelids. A million color bombs had just been dropped from the sky and into my eyes. I couldn’t hear and the only thing I could smell was the burnt out smell of a blunt being passed between us three. I tasted grape. But it wasn’t a good grape taste. It was burnt and well done. I had cottonmouth and every time I would spit, it would fly away. My spit had become those weeds that you are supposed to blow on to make wishes. Every time I spit I imagined another wish blowing away.

In the silence I started to hear a voice. The voice seemed far away but at the same time right at my face, in my ear. It was muffled. It sounded strange, like a whisper of a child. I clinched my fists. The whirling colors in my eyes split like the red sea for Moses and in the middle of them came a black figure. It was nothing but an outline shape of a human being. It started far away but with every breath I took it would get closer. I would breathe in and it would move it’s right leg. I would breathe out and its left leg would follow right after. I held my breath and it stopped moving. The dark figure stood completely still. I held my breath then I felt the over beat- ing of my heart. My heart was out of control. It was on a roller coaster of my organs and intestines. It’s overbeating nearly came out of my chest. I had to breathe again.

          As I took small steps, the figure came closer. It was at my eyes and then a voice inside my head whispered words to me. My eyes shot open. I looked around and saw the same scene I saw before I closed them. Na- talie was sitting on the railing of the porch talking to the tree. Mike was still reclined.

I crept up to Mike carefully and silently. His face was facing away from me. I put my two hands on the side of his chair and rested my chin right by his ear.

          “Mike”. I whispered.

          “Jesus Christ Jess what the hell are you doing”? I felt tears weld up in my eyes. I felt them resting there but they were not going to fall. I just opened my eyes up wider and stared at Mike.

          “Uh, Jess you alright”? I looked at him harder. I squinted my eyes a little bit then widened them back up again. I didn’t say anything to him. I raised my hand up to my mouth. I raised my index finger up and kept the rest of my fingers crumpled up, close to my palm.

          “Shhhh”. I put my index finger up to my mouth and ordered him to be quiet.

          “What the fuck are you doing”.

          “Shhh”. I did it again. He didn’t get it, he couldn’t talk or else the dark figure would get him next. My ears were ringing. There were daggers in my ribcage. My whole body was hurting. I wanted to look down to see if I was covered in bruises but I couldn’t take my eyes off of Mike.

“You can’t sleep or you’ll die”. My ribcage began a throbbing pain. My bones felt like if I touched them they were going to turn to dust. My knees were shaking and my whole body felt like it was going to start convulsing.

          “What the hell Jess”.

          “Promise you won’t go to sleep”?

 

         “Jess what are you…”

“I SAID PROMISE”!

         “Alright fuck I promise”. I took my head off his chair and crawled back to the spot I was laying and lay down again. I covered my face again but this time I laid on my stomach. I was face planted into the porch and unable to move. My body was a stone at the bottom of the river. I wasn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon.

         My body felt like it was being shook. With each back and forth grab I felt my face feel like it was being scraped against the wood. I imagined that when I stood up, a pool of blood would be a mark to where my face would be. I kept getting pushed back and forth, back and forth.

         “Shit shit shit SHIT Jess get up”. It was a muffled sound. It sounded familiar. It was Natalie’s voice. Though I heard it, I didn’t comprehend it.

         “Mike what the fuck are we going to do”?

         “Carry her”.

         “Ah Jess seriously? My dad will be up soon you have to get the fuck off my porch”.

         “Just grab her by one arm Natalie”.

         “Fuck fine”.

         I felt like a crane, one of those construction cranes that carry the large parts of metal to make the buildings, was lifting me up. I felt pinching un-derneath both of my armpits. I opened my eyes and Mike and Natalie were hoisting me up and carrying me. They were my personal crutches. I opened my eyes as they carried the top of my body while my legs and feet dragged on the ground. My bare feet must have looked blackened with dirt and distress from the summer and now bloody from this unwilling trip. I kept my head down but opened my eyes. I closed them once I realized we were going into her house. The scary area that I couldn’t walk through hadn’t any creature in it.

         The dark dismal place seemed empty. I closed my eyes as they dragged my feet through the area that just hours ago had seemed haunted to me. I opened them at the last second, just to see if I had literally gone crazy. I looked around and saw nothing. I turned my head around. I felt like an owl. As my friends powerfully dragged my feet against the crawlspace floor, my head did a complete 360 to once again glance into the darkness. And I saw it again. The huge face that I had seen earlier starred at me. It’s face crinkled and crunched until one of its egg shaped eyes winked at me. “HOLY FUCK, did you see that? Do you fucking see that?”

         “Jess shut the hell up. Fuck shut up”. I didn’t understand why she told me to shut up, we all knew that a fucking tornado could come through this house and her father would never even wake up.

“No, I’m serious, look, behind you, do you see it? It’s there, it’s still there”. They turned around and I wasn’t completely sure if it was just to humor me so I would shut up or if they were a slight bit curious to see if they could see a single thing. Their heads both turned back and they took a glimpse at the dark.

         “Seriously Jess”?

         “Yeah it’s right there”. I pointed my finger hoping they could see the strange mysterious face that stood right in front of me. It was making faces, opening its mouth and closing it again, winking and squinting. Finally it stared at me and looked as if someone had thrown it’s head back to make it laugh because it’s eyes were so squinted they were nearly closed and it’s mouth was as open as wide as it could possibly get and in my head I heard laughing.

         “Fuck do you at least hear that”?

         “Jess shut the fuck up, you’re insane”. I shut my mouth. No one would have believed me anyways. I didn’t really get why Natalie could sit there and have a conversation with a fucking tree and that was okay but if I saw or did something abnormal I was just insane.

         They took me through the living room. I heard her dad’s snoring and felt that it was necessary to scream. I went to open my mouth and nothing came out. Someone had crawled inside of my body and turned off my voice because now, I no longer had one. They dragged me up the stairs. With each stair Natalie would nearly drop me. It amazed me that this tiny frame could carry me. It made me nervous that she would actually drop me. But then I thought that as she let me go, I would avalanche down the stairs like a million little pebbles, each part of my body separating itself, bouncing rapidly, possibly being able to wake her father up. I danced and shook around as they carried me under my two arms to try and shake free, I wanted to cascade down the stairs. Instead they dragged me all the way to Natalie’s bedroom and threw me on the bed.

         The bed felt like it was a million clouds. I felt like I was in the sky, floating and drifting away on white balls of fluff. I imagined myself lying in a field of only cotton balls, or even cotton candy, eating every time I floated by a piece close enough to eat. I would reach down and swiftly yank at the the ground, and candy would be in my hand, I had to do it fast enough, the thing I laid on would not wait for me to pick candy. Then I realized I was fucking hungry. I was really fucking starved. I hadn’t eaten all day. It was weird because we’ve smoked so much weed that I never even get what they call the munchies anymore so feeling hungry almost felt wrong.

         “Guys”.

         “No Jess shut up”.

“No seriously, I’m fucking hungry”. They started laughing. Their laughs panicked me. Their mouths opened into two large cannons and it was just black inside of their mouths. Natalie’s voice was high pitched, she was shrieking. Mike’s voice and laughter seemed deeper than usual; I imag- ined he should be fifty instead of twenty with the way his laugh sounded. “No go to sleep Jess”. They were irritated. I looked away, faced the wall, grabbed Natalie’s Lion King blanket and closed my eyes. Everything un- derneath my eyelids was black. I turned off my brain. I tried to swallow but my throat was nothing but a desert. I wanted to spit and see the weeds disperse into Natalie’s room like they had on her porch but I wasn’t able to move my throat to gather saliva. I heard voices but familiar ones.

         “What the fuck happened to her man”? Natalie was always a little concerned for me. She secretly cared about me I knew it.

         “That shit was laced I swear”.

         I smelled their cigarette smoke and relaxed every part of my body. My muscles became less tense and my feet were not as heavy. I began breathing out of my nose and drifted off into a place that I hoped was less frightening than the one I had just been at.

I felt a shake ten minutes later. Natalie stood above me. She had her two hands on me and was jerking me back and forth.

“Get up, we got food”. I didn’t want to get up. I smelled the pizza though and without my own consent, my eyes rushed open. I turned away from the wall and lay on my stomach staring at the ceiling. Everything just wouldn’t stop spinning. It didn’t spin the way it would if I was about to throw up from drinking too much; the whole world was just lightly whirling around. It wasn’t bad enough to not be able to handle it but it made me nervous just the same.

“Give me some pizza”. I didn’t want to wait around, I just wanted to fill up my stomach and go back to sleep.

“Here”. Mike handed me a slice. The grease made the pizza shiny and even more appealing than it would be if I had eaten it earlier. I stuck the pizza in my mouth. It burnt the roof of my mouth and the back of my throat
but it was enjoyable. The burn felt like it had to happen, it made me enjoy the pizza more.

         “What the fuck was with you tonight”? Natalie was looking at me like she was some kind of mother. Her eyes stood at attention and her hands were perfectly placed on her hips. I figured in a minute she would be shaking her index finger in my face, scolding me about how irresponsible and dumb I was.

         “I don’t know”. The hot pizza made my voice strange. It was hard to talk with a mouthful of food and a spinning room.

         “You kept telling us you saw shit”.

         “Yeah and you told me not to sleep, or I was going to die. What the fuck is wrong with you”?

         “I said, I don’t know”. There accusations were annoying me. I wanted to smoke again so that in some way their annoying voices and bullshit wouldn’t bother me as much as they would just amuse me. They both looked at me, their stares were piercing my skin. Lights came out of their eyeballs to focus on me I was being interrogated. They were looking for some kind of explanation that I didn’t have. I took the pizza out of my mouth and looked up at them.

         “Jesus Christ come on. It’s not like you haven’t been all fucked up before. Natalie, you through up all over my mom’s car remember and I had to tell her that we got some shitty Mexican food and couldn’t help but throw it up, and Mike you got so fucking high one time that you stopped in the middle of the damn road and turned around because you saw a brick wall in front of you. Don’t act like you guys haven’t been fucked up. I don’t know what happened”.

         They shut up. They looked at me and nodded their heads to agree with what I had just said. We all ate our pizza with each other. Natalie started laughing; she started cackling at whatever she thought was funny. Then Mike joined in his snickering was loud and boisterous.

         “What the fuck”? I just looked at them as they laughed harder and harder. I continued to devour my pizza. They didn’t answer me; they just kept chuckling and snorting with amusement, probably about me.