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Monday, October 5, 2015

Michael FUCKING Jordan


Basketball.  

Five men try and get a ball into a cylinder ten feet above the ground.  This is a Mayan blood sport handed down to us from forgotten gods.  Humans work together to jostle, smash and shove their way to the hoop as the opposition tries to incapacitate the holder of the ball.  But like any violent conflict, amazing dramas are played out.  

Since dating Kym, I have watched A LOT of basketball.  The Warriors are her team but Michael Jordan is her hero.  To listen to Kym talk about him you would think he is a god that can walk on air.  And she loudly asserts this during The Game.  

"Damn Payton!  Jordan lit you up like you're standing still son!" taunts the obnoxious girl with braided green hair tied in tight knots against her scalp.  "Fucking peanut-headed motherfucker!"

"Hey Payton's from Oakland" chides Melo.  

Melo loves basketball too.  Kym, Autumn and Melo all used to play basketball in high school.  This game rekindles the aggressive, competitive jock within them.  They actually care who wins.

"East bay!" says Kym grabbing the bong.  She takes a massive rip and hands it to Autumn.  "Oaktown represent!  But you're still going down!"

"How was that not an offensive foul?" complains Autumn cracking her gum.

"Haha!" mocks Kym at the replay which clearly shows Autumn is right but the referees do nothing.  

Autumn stares at Kym through narrow, irked eyes.  She's not used to crazy, coked-out, cartoon-flavored Kym.  This is an acquired taste.  

"Wow that's gonna be a long plane ride home for the LOSERS" smirks Kym as she lights a cigarette.  

"Kym I love your nails" smiles Autumn sweetly as she snaps her gum.  "My grandma likes that color too."

Kym's fingernails and toenails are Chicago Bulls blood red.  Not her usual choice.  Last night when she trailed her hand down my chest I grew fixated on her nails.  They looked so normal sexy.  Like the Playboy magazine women I saw as a kid.  

"Aww thanks" says Kym suddenly lunging her head at Autumn and stopping an inch away from her face.  Autumns stares back amused.  "And I love that flannel Autumn.  Hey!  Do they make those for girls?"

"Heh heh" chuckles Dev who has been watching Kym and Autumn instead of the game.

"Well I gotta take a shit" announces Jason.

Jason's indifferent to the game and brewing animosity between Autumn and Kym.  He grabs one of Kym's Cosmopolitan magazines off the table.

"Anyone gotta pee?  Trust me..."

Game 6 of the 1996 NBA Finals.  Chicago Bulls vs Seattle SuperSonics.  Earlier we were at the park watching the Beastie Boy's Free Tibet concert.  Kym and Melo insisted leaving after the Red Hot Chili Peppers for The Game.  A lot of beer is going down with bumps of coke.  Kym and I ate some oxy because we ran out of H this morning.  Kym's pretending it's no big deal but I know she can feel it.  I feel it.  That vortex in my center.  The blackhole sucking in the dragon's desire.  So we eat oxy, do bumps and drink.  

Dev and Melo met us at the park during Beck.  Kym had a thermos of coffee.  Dev showed up with hardboiled eggs and I bought a thumbnail of hash from a hippie named Detour.  We ate eggs, sipped coffee and zoned out on the 100,000 people wandering our park.  Then Autumn appeared.  

"Saw your stripes" she said squeezing my arm.  

Kym dyed my hair black with thick, red streaks.  I felt her winding up so I whispered: Jason.  Obviously this is a Jason thing.  Autumn has a bag of croissants from Jason's bakery.  She hands them out but Kym refuses.  Just stares at Autumn who ignores her.  Great.  I smoke hash with Melo and ignore them both.    

Jason starts his shift at 2am.  He works alone and often has friends drop by.  That was me before Kym.  Now his bakery friend is Autumn.  Hanging with Jason while he mixes dough is a drugfest of coke, espresso shots, weed and punk music tapes blasted from a staticky boombox.  No one cares as long as he fills the orders and the first racks are ready by 5am.  

Autumn sits on the couch next to Kym in her black tights, boots, flannel and ugly hat that looks like a crumpled, brown paper bag made of cloth.  Autumn is from Seattle and trash talking with Kym while cracking her gum.  She keeps sucking gum through her teeth making three or four rapid-fire pops.  After an hour of this, I wish she would just smoke cigarettes like the rest of us.

"Oh fuck Jordan!" groans Autumn as she cracks another string of bubbles.  "And Pippen?  Horse faced has-been!  Sonics dominated the last two games.  They got momentum."

"True" agrees Melo.  "Last two games were all Sonics."

"Payton and Kemp are on fire!  This is going 7 games" assures Autumn as we watch highlights from the series backed by NBC's insane, heavy metal music.

"Bitch please" scoffs Kym.  Autumn whips around annoyed but Kym keeps going.  "Jordan's DUE.  This ends tonight.  He's Michael FUCKING Jordan!  Game over!"

"Kemp and Payton-"

"Kemp sucks donkey dick-"

"Hey!" scolds Melo.  "Easy.  I can't hear the game."

Autumn and Kym both glare at Melo for a second, harrumph and lean back into the couch in unison just as Jason comes back from the bathroom rubbing his gut.  He plops back on the couch and lets out a huge bear yawn.  As he stretches, Autumn wraps her arms around his neck, snuggles into his chest, looks up and kisses him.  

Well this is a new thing.  These two have definitely gotten together but the public displays just started.  Kym rolls her eyes.  Dev is no longer paying attention and reading something called Grimoire of Honorius.  Melo stares intently at the TV and shouts at some injustice.  Jason looks happy.  His hand slides down Autumn's back to her hip.  Then he notices Kym.  

"Jesus!  You look like a Baseball Fury."

"Yeah got a bat?" smirks Kym.

"Baseball Furies are silent" chirps Dev from behind her book.

"Oh fuck off Devika!" grins Kym snatching my cigarette a moment before it touches my lips.

Kym's wearing her red, Michael Jordan jersey.  The iconic #23 mixes curiously with black eyeliner smeared across her eyes.  It looks artsy vicious with the spiked collar around her throat, silver bracelets and green hair.  Kym says Dennis Rodman inspired her look.  Rodman's the guy on the Bulls with rainbow hair.  He's known for being obnoxious and getting under people's skin...yeah.  

Kym jumps up to yell and I watch her bend over in her tiny, ripped jean shorts.  A Misfit patch sewn on her ass stares back at me.  Then she jumps up and down screaming at the referee.  Her clompy, black boots shake the whole house.

"Oh my god he so FUCKING flopped!" she complains.  
 
Cocaine, beer and Kym is loud.  I sigh, light another cigarette and look around.  Only Dev is interesting.  She wears Kym's old black cocktail dress.  On Kym it was short and revealing but on Dev it's a full length black gown that makes her look elegant and grim.  She sits crosslegged in front of three lit candles that surround a jar.  Dangling in the jar is a piece of string tied to a shell.  She senses me and she looks up.  

"What's that?" I ask.

"I'm trying to catch ghosts."

I fake smile and look away.  Yeah that's normal. On TV, a man named Marv Albert paints a dramatic conflict.  His voice and delivery is infectious.  No wonder my friends sit on the edge of their seats screaming like insane people.  

"Dude" interrupts Jason.

I look at him.  Flour spots cover his Holiday in Cambodia t-shirt.  Jase's raccoon eyes are bloodshot from a long night.  I can smell baked bread and cinnamon as he leans over Autumn to speak.    

"The power bill is off" he says.

I feel one of my eyebrows rising and stop it before Kym notices.  Roommate code.  Come with me and get high.

"Show me" I say getting up.

In Jason's room we can hear the game heating up.  Autumn shrieks victoriously while Kym and Melo groan.  Someone throws something violently against the wall.

"Fucking Kym" says Jason shaking his head.  He pours cocaine into the ceramic mortar and pestle I swiped from lab.  He looks at me.

"Oxy?"

"Yeah" I say fishing some out of my pocket.  Jason crushes them in the bowl.  

"From Autumn" says Jason holding up a dime bag of crumbly, beige powder.  He hands me my bag and I feel JOY.  The Game, the free concert, my life with my friends are all good things but man...I have been dying for this fucking bag.  The weight is pleasing.  Even with Kym, it's two and half days of the perfect life.  

"Powder?" I ask.  

"Seattle China.  It's serious" says Jason adding some to the bowl.  He grinds it in.  "So just a little.  For reals dude.  Warn Kym.  This stuff puts me on my ass."

Jase chops out six lines on his Bark at the Moon CD.  The mix of coke, smack and oxy make it look like dirty coke.  We rail three lines each...and my brain is stabbed with icicles as demons grab my body and chain it to the floor.  My ghost HEAVES and I swoon with the tilting room.  I catch myself before I fall over.  Holy shit Jase was right.  The nod approaches...then the coke marches in.  Mixed with oxy it would have been enough but enter the dragon.  And the dragon ROARS.  My limbs are weighed down by surreal gravity as I slow motion walk back to the couch.  Something happened on TV and Kym is doing a crazy dance.  She leaps over the coffee table and high fives Melo who is pumping his fist and yelling like a madman.

"You see that shit?!  Rodman with a no look to Michael FUCKING Jordan!" yells Kym.

I make my way to the couch and Kym stops shouting and looks at me.  She instantly perceives I'm wrecked and makes me high five her.  I feel like a fat little kid getting picked on in PE again.  Jason lies at Autumn's feet like a dog.  His bloodshot eyes are glistening slits gazing vacantly at the TV.  Autumn stonily stares at the game with her arms crossed across her flannel.  Her team is losing in the other team's arena.  The crowd screams for blood.   

"Oh hey babe" says Kym chugging her beer and belching loudly in my ear.  "You figure out the-", and she suddenly slams her elbow into my ribs.  "-bills?"

If I hadn't anesthetized myself that would have hurt.  After a slight delay, I gasp.  Ow.  

"Ok, ok" I say sliding her the bag.  "Just a bump.  Tiny one Kym.  It's heavy.  Ok?" I say looking into sea blue eyes.

"Hmm" she says weighing my words and scrutinizing my moronic stupor.  She hands the bag back.  "Then later babe.  I don't wanna miss The Game."

Wow.  Basketball is powerful.  I can't think of anything I'd rather do than heroin.  Little moments of self-control like this are like rays of sunshine.  If Kym can do it for basketball, I can do it for something...right?

And the Bulls just start to beat the hell out of the Sonics.  Autumn watches in disbelief as her home team unravels.  The end is nigh.  And Kym is a gracious victor.

"Yeah!  Told you girl!" she points at Autumn while doing a booty dance across the room.  "But good game.  Do you know what happened Autumn?  Let me explain.  Michael FUCKING Jordan happened!"  

Melo lights a finger fat joint of green bud as the media interviews Michael FUCKING Jordan.  We pass it around and the intensity of our past sins spark up again.  Six beers becomes seven, the cocaine stops numbing our highs and the world crushes in.  Fuck I am starving.

"Let's go eat" I hear myself say softly. Man I am high. My meat is on autopilot and it needs food to continue. Sadly I know if I push the ball forward, gravity will deliver it and I can meekly grab onto Kym and enjoy the ride.

"Hear hear!" agrees Dev slamming her book shut and blowing out the candles.  "It's Sunday.  $6.50 buffet at Sues."

"Oh hell yeah" agrees Kym.  

I love Sues.  An Indian restaurant within walking distance.  Sue treats us like royalty though we stumble in drunk and high like crazed beasts.  Great service.  Within seconds of sitting a basket of fresh naan bread appears with a galaxy of yogurts, chutneys and sauces.  Water and coffee cups for Sue's amazing amphetamine tea.  After gorging yourself on Indian buffet you slip into the Indian food coma.  A dreamy, masala bliss.  You could sit there forever...but Sue runs a restaurant.  So the chai tea she serves is an upper.  I have no idea what's in it but it wakes you the fuck up and you can stumble home, back to school or work.  All for $6.50 plus tip.
         
"Wait what?" yawns Autumn.  Even her yawns ends with a Pop! Crack! of gum.  "I like Whoo! Whoo! Whoo! Indian food.  Like fry bread or jerky.  But I don't like that dot-head, curry Thank you very much! - Indian food."

Melo laughs.  Dev looks peeved.  Kym stares at Autumn like dried human shit on the sidewalk.  I grin and look at Jason who is unfazed.  How can Jason let that go?  I'll tell you how.  That pug nosed girl fucks him.  A lot is forgiven when someone touches your penis.

"Jason let's get American food ok?" whines Autumn.  "Like the diner."

Jason nods serenely.  "Yeah ok.  You hungry now?"

"Yes.  I'm gonna use the bathroom and we can go" smiles Autumn.

She disappears down the hall.

"We'll catch up with you guys later" yawns Jason.  "Where are you going tonight?"

"Maybe Slims?  Some of the bands from the Free Tibet thing will be playing."

As we debate where to go, I give Melo hash and coke and he rolls another joint and sticks it in Kym's bong.  We smoke and talk as Kym puts on her Rancid tape.  Then she goes into our bedroom to look at her face which is already perfect but she's a girl.  I know from the bedroom, she will go into the bathroom for the better light and check one last time in the hall mirror.  At every place we visit with a mirror you will find Kym in front of it.  I don't get it but I certainly don't mess with it.  

After awhile Jason yawns.  I'm so hungry I can smell korma and vindaloo in my empty skull.  Dev makes Melo go check on Autumn because she wants to pee before we go.  I hear him knocking on the bathroom door.  Then he comes back.

"Jase.  That girl nodded out on the can."

We all look.  Awkward.  Autumn is slumped over the toilet with her tights around her ankles, head in her lap and both arms dangle to the floor.  Looks like she fixed up, cleaned up, sat for a piss and lights out.  

"Let's shave off one of her eyebrows" smiles Kym maliciously.

"One?" asks Melo.

"Yeah so she has to shave the other one herself."

"Man that's fucked up" says Melo shaking his head.

"I know right?" giggles Kym.

Jason and Dev get her off the toilet.  She woke up for a second and seemed lucid as Dev yanked up her tights.

"I what?"

"You nodded on the toilet" says Dev.

"Oh.  Ok."

And she was out again.  Jason dumped her on his bed.  I rolled her on her side and Kym steals a piece of gum from her purse.

"Ok Indian" says Jason looking around.

We nod and grab our coats and file out the door.  Though summer is technically here, the nights are still freezing when the bay breeze slips in.  Indian food is perfect.  Heavy, filling and dreamy.   

"I don't like that girl" says Kym popping in the gum and gnashing it.