The Visitors

“Is there any way we could talk you in to coming down here instead? We're both having crappy days and don't really feel like coming up there.”
“Oh, is this because Laura lost to Radar the Weather Dog in the fan vote for Bowling Green's favorite TV personality?”
“No, she's having relationship problems and I just don't feel very well.”
“Oh. Well no, come up here anyway, we'll have more fun.”

Two of my friends from high school, Kalena and Laura, were coming up to hang out since it'd been quite a while since I'd seen them. The last time being on Kalena's birthday when we rode around in an obnoxious 'party bus' which was an old firetruck that we stood on while it blasted music to the disdain of everyone on the street. That night Laura had the flu so she literally stood in one spot on the bus with her arms crossed. The only time she moved is when the bus had to stop and everyone went crashing to the floor.

Once they made it up we set out for food because Laura was hungry. The plans were pretty grand in theory. We were gonna meet up with another friend from high school, Ben, go to a baseball game, then head to the casino for a night of gambling. Before though, we thought we'd get some sort of alcohol to have a drink before we go. We made it to Mid City Mall and sent Laura to McDonald's so she could eat her emotions. Kalena and I headed to the liquor store to find something to get the night going.

After lurking in the store for approximately ten minutes we left empty handed because nothing really stood out to us. Also we felt really uncomfortable because the store was the size of a small bedroom and there was no one in there other than us and the cashier. At this point we stood by the car waiting for Laura to return. Cars flew by us on all sides as we stood there. Finally Laura came skulking back with a couple of cheeseburgers. Rather than get in the car and leave though, we stayed in the parking lot because we were waiting for Ben to call so we could go pick him up. There was no point in going back to my house then getting back in the car and leaving and going somewhere else. Well that was my logic anyway. A few minutes passed and we stood in the parking lot as Laura ate her cheeseburgers. Man do I know how to show visitors a good time.

We picked up Ben and headed to the game. On the way Laura explained her relationship woes to the group...

“He only calls me like once a day and when he does we only talk for a few minutes. He doesn't really give me any attention and I feel like he doesn't like me almost. I mean, sometimes I go days without seeing him and it just really bothers me.”

We responded with...

“Well what did he say? Is he mad at you or something?

Then she informed us...

“I haven't talked to him about it.”

And then we said...

“WHAT!? Are you serious? You're laying around crying and being depressed about how bad things are going with your boyfriend, meanwhile he's cruising around Bowling Green thinking everything's solid? That makes no sense.”

She rebutted with...

Nothing. Though, at this point she decided to drop the bomb on us that in the depression of her day, she carelessly forgot to bring her ID with her.

We made it to the game and snuck Laura beer. Oh to be 17 again. At that point though I was buying tickets to movies for friends who couldn't get into the ones rated R. Maybe it was the sun, or maybe it was us, but whatever it was Laura finally started to cheer up. So cheery in fact that she felt that some photo ops needed to happen. She took one of, Kalena, Ben, and me and said 'Oh that's a good one.' Kalena took the camera and her expression read otherwise.

“This is a horrible picture. I look like I'm posing for my senior picture, Ben looks like he's a King being painted, and Jared looks like a hunchback.”

After the game we went back to my place to decide what to do next. 'Just go without me,' Laura insisted on several occasions. She was apparently under the impression that we were in an apocalyptic movie and she was performing a heroic act. But we weren't, and we didn't. So the night ended around 10 PM, 9:30 for Laura.

The Seventeenth of March

“Oh I'm so chill when I drink. I just like to relax, have a good time, hang out, you know? Hey look at at these pictures of me on facebook. Here we're at a bar, we had so much fun that night. Oh, and this girl that's passed out, I don't know her, but do you remember that girl that has the big case going to trial because of her multiple DUI's? Well that's her, and she was at the bar we were at, and it was just such a chill night and she was there, so we all started taking pictures around her, and it was so much fun. Did I mention how chill I am when I drink?”

I'd never been to the local St. Patrick's day parade and since it ventured down the street adjacent to my apartment, I thought I'd check it out. Brittany Pike, the 'chill' girl whose antics in life require that she be referred to not only by her first name, but her surname as well, accompanied me to the festivity.

The streets were packed with people on all sides so I had to stand behind Brittany Pike who had positioned herself on the front row in order to get as much as stuff as she could. Once we had established ourselves and let everyone know we weren't moving, the parade got underway, and by parade, I mean drunk people of all ages transporting themselves down the street using various means.

As the beads and other useless items that we all desperately hope to catch flew from the street the competition began. Brittany Pike began hurling herself at every time that came within a four foot radius of her. Her hair became more disheveled and her face more red. After ten minutes or so she finally turned around to me and asked to change spots. Her lack of success at getting items had started to take a hit on her self esteem.

Once we switched I finally understood what she was talking about. I felt the pressure to be extremely quick and not only get as much crap as I could, but get so much that I humiliate everyone around me, including the children. The only thing standing in my way was that all of the other people lining the streets had the exact same goal in mind. They were also more uninhibited than I was because they were either children, or inebriated adults.

The chaos that ensued should have been indicative of what was to happen for the remainder of the day. One man lost control of the go-cart, yes the go-cart he was driving at maybe 4 miles per hour, and slammed into some pedestrians that had to be taken to the hospital. I later found out that I had a friend that knew the victims. (They're fine by the way.) Later a guy was on the roof of a building and throwing crap down on to the people below. Once he saw that authorities were on their way to apprehend him he started performing karate chops in mid air as if to say 'bring it on'. At that point I turned to ask if Brittany Pike if she had witnessed this. When I turned back around and pointed to where he was, he was no longer there. He vanished... like a ninja.

Later that night, a newly single Beth, decided to go to a bar with us. Usually I'm not crazy about going to bars and stuff, especially on a Tuesday, but when I passed the Irish area of town around four in the afternoon it was littered with people all decked out in their green attire and I immediately felt jealous and left out. Brittany Pike lived up to her statements about being chill and relaxed when going out. At least for the first eight minutes of the walk there. Somehow in that time she went from completely sober to a drunken mess.

Once in Flanagan's Brittany Pike nabbed a cigarette from somewhere, and started smoking/stumbling her way through the bar. At one point she slammed into some guy which caused the cigarette to fall out of her mouth and on the ground. She pushed the guy she walked into him and kind of yelled at him for it, then later explained this was her method for getting drinks. If only the night had ended there I would have been been. Annoyed, yet fine. But no. Brittany Pike later managed to get into an altercation with some other guy who actually pushed her, which caused Beth to pounce like a puma out of no where and punch him. At this point I grabbed Brittany Pike and pushed her out of the bar to the house.

She passed out quickly on my couch to my relief so I started doing laundry for whatever reason. When she awoke the next morning she had no recollection of the previous night's events.

“You were awful, you are the furthest thing from chill when you drink. You picked up some cigarette that had been stepped on and put it on your mouth, how gross is that? And then you kept getting into arguments with people and sneaking drinks. You were too much to handle, and I was only closely babysitting because if you got beat up and had to go to the hospital I would have to take you. I'm never going out with you again. You wanna go to McDonald's? Ok, after that you need to go.”

The Commute

Ms. Wardle said she would make her boyfriend by the pizza for her.

The day was coming to a close as she battled the evening rush hour. There weren't many things to do for the rest of the day other than sleep and eat. Beth Wardle would do the sleeping and the eating with the assist from her boyfriend. She called him to inform him of his duties that he would be expected to perform but rather than him answering the phone at her home, her sister did.

Her sister visited frequently so it was no surprise that she answered her phone, in fact, Ms. Wardle would have preferred to have her sister deliver the news rather than herself. Before ending the call Beth jokingly told her sister that they should to have sex so a child could be conceived using a majority of the same genes. Beth was unable to bear another child but yearned for another. She turned off the phone and continued the journey home.

She laughed to herself as she sat on the highway. Her joke had been a hit with both her boyfriend and her sister. They had always found ways of amusing one another, and that is what kept their relationship so fresh. They laughed at this joke just as they had laughed at all of her others. This one even more so than the others. Maybe a little too much in fact.

Could they have been forcing those laughs because Beth had said something that rang too close to comfort for them? Had an affair been going on behind her back this whole time? Her sister was closer than anyone else besides herself. In fact, Beth's sister often reminded her that it was his birthday and she needed to obtain a present for him. Her sister must have planned this. She gave Beth little notice of the birthday so she had to scramble to give a good gift. Beth's feelings were constantly hurt when he used her sister's gift, an IPOD, more often than her own, a copy of the book Love Me or I'll Kill You. He'd always been a fan of the true crime section, so why did this book not entertain him in the way all the other true crime books did?

Beth picked the phone back up and called the house again. Her boyfriend answered this time sounding distant, like his mind was elsewhere.
“I was joking you know!”
“The two of you better not be having sex!”
“What? What are you talking about? Crazy.”
“Am I?”
With that she hung up the phone and picked up the speed in her car, weaving in and out of traffic. She was going to get there and catch them in the act. Beth's mission had never been more clear in her life. This must be the reason that her sister always enjoyed showing Beth's baby picture to everyone. She knew Beth hated it. Her mother had left her hair undone and let her rub all over her face to create a monstrous looking child. Her mother must have been in on it too! All of these facts were coming together and Beth felt like an animal in a cage waiting to be unleashed.

Beth pulled up to the house and stormed to the door. Throwing it open so hard that the springs nearly maxed themselves out. When she stepped inside her boyfriend and sister were playing Mario. She walked over to her boyfriend and proclaimed “I knew it!” as she slapped him across the face.

The Babysitters

“Ross was always my favorite.”
“Really? Ross was like third or fourth for me depending on the season. Phoebe held the top spot the entire time though?”
“She wasn't very smart though.”
“Lauren, she just had a different way of thinking, I wouldn't classify it as dumb. Joey was dumb.”
“Awwww, I love Joey.”
“Well he does add to the ensemble quite well, but he's unfortunately my least favorite of everyone.”
“I think Phoebe might be my least favorite actually.”
“WHAT!? She was the funniest person on the show. When she was pregnant she was hilarious.”
“Rachel was pretty funny when she was pregnant too.”
“Later on we should watch some episodes.”
“Yeah we should. I really like the episode where the girls go to the strip club with Chandler.”
“I think my favorite is...”

At roughly that same moment the tree limb Caliyah, (the seven year old daughter of Beth, who Lauren and I were entrusted to watch while Beth was at work and not stare idly at other children play while discussing Friends,) was standing on snapped and she was dangling from a branch crying. Rather than state her favorite episode Lauren snapped back into babysitting mode and ran to save the helpless child hovering inches off the ground.

Instead of letting that ruin our day, we decided to rent one of the classic Disney movies so Caliyah could get wrapped up in the wonder like we would in nostalgia. I was pushing for The Sword and the Stone or Robin Hood, while Lauren liked the idea of getting Sleeping Beauty or Beauty and the Beast. Caliyah on the other hand was all about a Bratz movie but we refused to listen. After some serious negotiations we finally settled on Robin Hood, and left satisfied.
“Alright, let's go,” and Lauren led the way out of the bustling movie store. She followed that up with “Oh my god, Caliyah!”
Once Lauren ran back inside and retrieved Caliyah we headed to the car.
“I'll race you to the car,” Caliyah proposed. Lauren started to say 'absolutely not,' but mid statement I sprinted across the parking lot. My heart was racing as I looked back with a smile. I was determined to win and no one could stand in my way. When my hand touched the trunk a surge of energy poured through my veins. When I turned to see the look of disappointment on their faces I was greeted by a different look on Lauren's. Though she scolded me for participating, I basked in the glory of my victory all the way home.

At the house we started to settle down as I put in the movie and Caliyah and Lauren played with one of those fortune telling paper things. It's where you say a number, and the person with their index finger and thumb in the cleverly folded paper, moves the areas back and forth said amount of times and this all continues until you have your fortune told. I turn the movie on and Caliyah lays in the floor with her value pack of twizzlers and Lauren comes to sit by me.
“I'm really freaked out,” she tells me.
“Well I know it's stupid, but the one I picked said 'you die'”
“Oh, that is kind of creepy.”
“Yeah especially considering the other options were, 'you become president, you get a barbie, and you go to Disney world.”
“Well still, it's just a kid, the death prediction was probably the last thing she could think of, I wouldn't worry about it.”
“Well I know I shouldn't be creeped out, but I can't help it. I'm really anxious.”
"It's just a stupid fortune. You've gotta calm down."
"You wouldn't be saying that if it had been you that picked it."
"You're right."

The Pilot

The dogs were fighting. The tension that we had created had spilled over to them. Phrases like, "Get off of me," and "Just stay away from me were repeated throughout the night. It even made it to the point that we were questioning who we were. Hate never made its way out of anyones mouth, but we knew that it was there. I hated her for not believing in us, and she hated me for not giving up. The hate was only temporary, but it existed. It was there. After what seemed like countless hours and dogfights I finally gave in, I couldn't bring myself to do it anymore. I handed the controller to Beth's boyfriend so he and Beth's daughter could defeat Koopa, and in turn, the game.

I crossed my arms bitterly and hoped they would lose. And when Mario and Toad continued to fall into the lava, just as they had done with me, satisfaction replaced the bitterness. Did I realize it was petty to feel that way about a video game I was playing with a nine year old? Of course. At that moment however, I chose to be bitter rather than sensible.

When the game had finally been conquered, without the help of me or the nine year old, Beth and I set out for donuts at Krispy Kreme. This desire developed through watching The Real World: DC's episode about a girl's battle with an eating disorder. Once the donut transaction had been placed I was surprised to discover that our journey was not over. Beth felt nachos from Taco Bell would perfectly compliment her raspberry filled donut.

While waiting in line behind the other cars craving Grade D beef, I decided I couldn't hold out any longer and had to eat some of my donut. However, at the moment the donut advanced towards my mouth, the line moved and we made our way to the first window. The look the cashier gave us was both bewilderment and pity. Her expression made it clear that she was thinking 'Damn, aren't donuts enough for you?'

Later that evening I went to the restroom and when I returned, Beth was cleaning up her living room that we had trashed through all the Wii playing and food binging. It was at this moment that she confessed to something that had clearly been weighing on her heavily. She told me that not only had she taken part in the 'Taco Bell Win $1000 Survey,' she had also been denied a second entry into the sweepstakes because she had maxed out the number of times Taco Bell allows someone to enter in a six month period. With that in mind, our night ended and I walked over to the door and grabbed it by the edge to pull it open, because the doorknow had fallen off, and walked to my car and headed home.