“Jay. Jay, get up. Come on, up” a voice urged through darkness and painful throbbing in my head.
But getting up seemed like an awful idea. When I opened my eyes, more pain shot through my brain. My stomach did a dip and a roll. Everything ached, at least everything that had feeling at that moment. I felt like if I did an inventory several crucial things might indeed be missing. Light hurt my eyes and my stomach rolled over when I tried to move. I tried to right myself, wronged myself instead and lay flat.
“Oh…” I moaned. “Bad idea. Look, it’s just beginning to get light. Lemme sleep a bit more.”
“It’s just beginning to get dark. It’s five o’clock.”
“Why the hell are you waking me up at Five AM?”
“Jay it’s Five PM” the voice said. “Tuesday.”
“Tuesday?!?” That got me moving. Ohhhh…Too quick. I tried to sit up, but my head had other ideas. It felt like someone’s thumb was having drumming practice on the pain nerve centers in my head. My mouth tasted as though two ferrets had crawled down my throat and died there.
“Yes. Here drink this. It’s Gatorade” the voice cooed.
Gatorade! Thank you. Oh, sweet, liquidy, sugary goodness! The thought of my Gobi sized thirst quenched moved my arms and I gratefully drank the whole bottle, wiping the drool and backwash off my jowls with my hand and all over the comforter, (it was all I could do in this sub-human state). I opened my eyes, slowly this time, and saw Nancy’s Carpenter’s face.
Nancy is worth about three million dollars…of trouble, that is. For beneath the “come hither beauty” exterior that evokes nothing less than blind loyalty lurks a volcano of energy and a danger-seeking/troublemaking streak a mile wide. Many men have dashed themselves against the rocks for her, and I’m not just talking financially, although her monthly sushi and alcohol bills do tend to resemble small government defense budgets. I wasn't about to dash myself against those same rocks because I felt like a manure truck that jack-knifed and overturned on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at the moment.
“No, you have to get up.” She mewed. “The insurance adjuster was here a little while ago and it was a bad scene. He was muttering all sorts of ominous things like “Screw him, we’re not covering. Let him sue us.”
Insurance Adjuster? Then it came back to me. The Super Bowl! The Party! The Game. My house! Tuesday, 5PM?
“What? What the hell? Where is everybody, who won the game, where’s the insurance guy? Why was he here?” Nancy didn’t answer at first. She just looked at me, expressionless, at least for her.
“It was a very long and destructive party, Jay.”
Things began to swim into focus behind her and that’s when I saw it. The aftermath of the party: the ruins, I should say. The hammer, sharp end crashed into the shattered screen of the 44” TV, was first.
“My flatscreen” I moaned, horrified. I spotted shards of broken glass all over the floor, but they were different colors, some clear shards, some painted dark on the back.
“That’s from the mirrors and windows too” Nancy supplied, helping me into a sitting position on the coach. The floor also had about two full inches deep of ground glass, ashes, beer schwee (that’s stale spilt beer + random floor muck and debris), slices of pepperoni, cherry pits, twists of lime peel, various rinds, cigar butts, cigarette butts and various empty hand-roll cigarette envelopes, a viscous pink liquid that might once have been a pomegranate margarita and several olives skewered with those little plastic swords. Pomegranate margarita appeared to be dripping off the walls too, along with huge smeared chunks of what appeared to be decaying crumbly blue cheese. Several of the larger chunks had asparagus stalks sticking out of them like some eclectic hedgehog-shaped object d’art. Worse still, several of these mini sculptures were encrusted on every painting and picture in the living room. I looked back at Nancy and that’s when I saw the other couch missing from its usual place.
“Where’s the other couch?” I asked, adrenaline starting to coarse through my veins. My head throbbed again, reminding me not to move too fast again.
“It’s in the swimming pool. With the piano.”
“The piano?!?” That did it. “But that’s a priceless white Steinway!
“Not any more…” Nancy laughed.
I got up. Nancy raced in front of me, hand in the air and a wild look on her face.
“Jay, do not take another step” she ordered. “First off, you need shoes on your feet or your next step is the hospital. There is too much glass…even I have trouble hop-scotching around here over glass and burned compact discs. But that can wait, it’s more important that you don’t go down the stairs without help.”
“Nance, I’m a little shaky, but I think I can handle…”
“No, I don’t mean like that. I’ll take you downstairs, but when we go, we go slowly.”
The walk to the door was a painful and nightmarish excursion into the bowels of despair. Everywhere was destruction of an order of magnitude only five consecutive years worth of Super Bowl parties could dream up, surely not one night. You know that old expression “if you put an infinite number of monkeys in a room with an infinite number of typewriters, you’ll eventually get Hamlet?” Well B*%$sh#@. You’ll get what my house looked like.
Nancy lead me around through my own personal hell like she was an attractive version of Virgil doing the same for Dante…only I felt I wasn’t coming back from my trip to hell like Virgil did.
She was right about the staircase. When I opened the door, which was hanging on one hinge, I saw the first six risers descend…and that was it. A rope was tied to the door and dangled off into space near the bottom of the first floor.
“You sawed the bottom stairs off with a chain saw and threw them on the bonfire.” I think it was the throbbing in my head that made me momentarily forget “bonfire” for the moment.
“Chain saw?!? What chain saw?”
“The one you had Chuck Cordova bring over. The one that’s now sticking out of the keyboard of the piano.” There was a pause.
“Which is in the swimming pool?” I asked with mounting panic.
“Right. Along with the couch.”
“Oh, yeah…the couch.” I continued hopelessly.
The climb down the rope to the foyer was a nightmare. It looked like a ravaged avocado farm got in a fight with a blighted vineyard and an exploded distillery tried to break it up.
The chandelier was in a shattered, dented pile on the foyer floor. Innumerable bottles of alcohol lay in shards on the bar…apparently victims of my automatic air rifle.
“People were getting a real kick out of you shooting bottles until somebody noticed that if we didn’t stop you, you’d blast all the alcohol” Nancy explained. “Well we couldn’t have that, but people were having too much fun watching you laughing maniacally and raving like a demented Goldfinger shooting at James Bond. That’s when somebody got the idea of raiding other Super Bowl parties for supplies.”
I just blinked at her. “Raiding other Super Bowl parties?” I shrieked.
“Yeah. They started attacking the other Super Bowl parties like a hipster pirate brigade. They’d roll up on parties, snarling and screaming and cranking loud music and they’d kick the snot out of everyone and just take extra rations of martini olives, nacho cheese, guac, crackers, boneless ribs, tequila, port wine, whatever they could find. Then they’d go running off screaming ‘later, chumps!’ and laughing.
“Why didn’t they get arrested or get their ass kicked?”
“Nobody could get a clear shot at them. They kept lurching around drunkenly - and therefore quite erratically and unpredictably - around the city.”
We went outside, preparing to make our way to the backyard when I noticed the street was a sea of golf balls. Golf balls lined both gutters at least ten deep. Every time a car passed more balls collided with tires and sprayed in every conceivable direction. A few straggled toward me and I picked them up, reading their logos. “Blackstone Country Club,” “Crystal Downs,” “Talking Stick” they read.
“These are from my golf ball collection!” I looked at Nancy for an explanation. “What are they doing here?”
“You had us take them out to Chuck Cordova’s car; all 2,000 balls. Somehow, you got them in his car wedged up against the door. Then you sent him out to the car to get a CD. Well when he opened the door, (click here, have your speakers turned up (http://www.metacafe.com/watch/42105/golf_balls/)
I couldn’t help but laugh at this. “Then what happened?”
“The cops came and ticketed him for littering. $750. Chuck was furious. He was halfway up the rope and coming to kick your ass when you started…what else…firing air rifle at him and chasing him down Metropolitan Ave. You could have hurt him, you know.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t hurt Chuck, he’s been my friend for 20 years.” I paused. “I might have shot a little “J” into his thigh or something, but I’d never hurt him.”
“Well I’m sure he’s getting the last laugh now. Never mind the golf balls, have you noticed the antenna on the roof?”
“I don’t have an antenna on the roof.”
“You do now” she said, pointing.
I followed her finger with my gaze and sure enough, sitting there embedded…indeed stuck into the roof was a makeshift antenna. For a moment I froze in horror. My stomach bottomed out as I saw pieces of broken, twisted metal at on end of some pieces, grooved faces on others and rounded, solid ends on still others. Then, heedless of any caution, completely enveloped in panic, I clambered up on the roof, ignoring Nancy’s protestations and the ever increasing throbbing in my head. I felt the bile rising in my stomach as I reached the “antenna” and made out the words at one end of a broken piece of twisted wreckage.
“Ping Eye” it read - a single red dot where the iris would be located.
It was my vintage golf clubs, every last one of them. Even the two extra sets, broken and twisted into oblivion.
The rest of the journey didn’t matter, for I was numb by now. We saw the burned out circle of the bonfire which not only claimed the couch and stairs, but several pictures, 1000 Grateful Dead tapes (cassettes, thank goodness) and one old refrigerator. The piano (with the chainsaw embedded in the keyboard) and couch were indeed in the pool, along with the waterbed (frame, mattress, sheets and all), four palm trees (minus the leaves, they were in the bathtub), every martini and margarita glass I owned and two laptops. Broken keys from the piano littered the lawn and pool bottom.
“How did I get the piano in there?” I asked, looking at Nancy. “Why didn’t you stop me?”
“You made me help you.”
“Help me?! Why on Earth would you help me?”
“There was no arguing with you” she said, frustrated. “None at all. You were totally insistent about it. Look, you want me to pay for half of the piano? I don’t have the money. I can’t pay.”
There was no argument to be made. Game, set, match, Nancy.
Happily, I was able to make some positive use of my pent up aggression. I found a pup tent containing two hippie stragglers still parked on my lawn. After I ripped it down, exposing them in mid-toke, they mumbled something about my “not being as cool as other people said” in a drug-addled fog.
“I BEG YOUR MINISCULE PARDON?!?” I roared, looking forward to finally being able to open up an industrial sized can of whoop-ass. Then I ripped down one thick arm of a birch tree, announced “I’M GOING TO BEAT ON YOUR KIDNEYS WITH BRANCHES,” and swung a ferocious R7 driver swing, hitting smelly hippie #1 exactly where I had threatened. Pie-eyed with horror, he let loose a pitiful howl of pain and with the whimper of a frightened animal, scampered ungainly on all fours trying to escape.
The effect was comical. Watching hippies try to run is almost as much fun as watching models eat pasta.
I nailed smelly hippie #2 in the meaty part of his right side, but the blow broke the branch and by the time I had “reloaded” with lumber, they were off my lawn. Something else had gotten my attention anyway.
A lone figure, bound and gagged…with duct tape…sat taped to a chair in the middle of the lawn. As we got closer, I saw it was my best friend, Rafi Cabrera. My stomach lurched again, trying to escape from my body. My eyes swam. Nancy, inexplicably, was sniggering to herself, trying but failing to hide it from me.
“I find nothing remotely funny about it. He’s gonna kill me!”
“No…you’re good on this one. It’s me he’s mad at.”
“MMM! MMMMM MMMMMM MMMM MMMMM MMM!” said Rafi, red in the face.
“You? Why?” I said, ignoring Rafi.
She just grinned a disarming, wry grin.
“M’M MMMMM MMMM MMM. MMMMM MMMMMM MMMM MMM MM MMM’MM M MMMM MMM!”
“You did this?!” I said, not believing it. She just shrugged and smiled. There wasn’t the least bit of remorse.
“Why did you tape him to a chair with duct tape?!”
“Because he wouldn’t shut up” she shot back. “All day it was THEJETSTHEJETSTHEJETSTHEJETSTHEJETSJAMESFARRIORTHE
“OK! OK! Enough.” I said, my head beginning to hurt. She was absolutely right. Rafi kept struggling and whining.
“Why did you leave him out here for two days?” I asked.
“MMMM! MMMM’M MMMM M MMMMM MMMM!”
Nancy shrugged again and looked at me, putting her hands in the pockets of her jogging jacket. “It’s a lot quieter this way.”
“MMMM! MMM MMMMMM MMMMM MMMMMM MM M’M MMMMM MMMM MMMM MMM!”
“Shh!” I said gesturing at Rafi to be silent. “Be quiet a second.”
I thought for a minute, rubbing my goatee as I worked out the next move.
“You’re right. It is a lot quieter this way. C’mon, this mess will still be here when we get back. Let’s go get some Greek food in Astoria.”
“MMMM MMM! MMM’MM M MMMMMMM MMMM MMM!” Rafi protested.
But we left. Food would soften both blows…not just the damage to the house, but the sports psychology damage too. For as we left the house, we walked over the portion of the lawn on which I had poured bleach. The grass, now forever dead had letters ten feet tall written across it. I took one look at its message, before sighing and shaking my head sadly. The message burned back at me, before I turned away in disgust. It read: