Monday, November 29, 2010

"Vacation, pt.2"

This week's entry is a sequel to a piece I wrote back in August (new window) that I originally meant to write immediately after the first, but time got away from me and the sequel never materialized. In case you're wondering, I intend on writing a part 3 also. That'll be in the works as soon as I can crank it out.

"Vacation, part 2"
November 2010- Aaron Matthew Smith

“This is stupid,” Roger said.
“It is not,” Allison argued. “I know you paid for dance lessons and I feel bad that you didn’t get to use ‘em.” She stood across from him on the wooden deck on the back of the beach house. The sun had set an hour ago, dying the whole scene midnight blue, though the moon provided plenty of light to see by. “I know you like dancing.”
“You’re not supposed to know that,” Roger muttered.
“Shut up. We danced to ‘Under the Sea’ on my Little Mermaid tape when we were kids, remember? You had more fun than I did. Now come on, show me.”
“There isn’t any music,” Roger argued, gesturing with the hand holding his beer, sloshing some out onto the deck.
“Will you just teach me how to dance already?” Allison teased, taking the beer from him and setting it next to her own collection of empty bottles.
“Okay, okay. Fine. Here, put your hand on my shoulder,” Roger said, taking a careful step closer to Allison. He placed one hand on her waist. She obligingly put one hand on his shoulder and allowed her other to be taken in his free hand. “Okay, now when you feel me move, you move too, okay?”
“Ooh baby,” Allison laughed, snorting.
“Okay, forget it,” Roger said, which only made Allison laugh harder.
“No, no, I’ll be serious, I promise. I promise.” She snorted again, then cleared her throat and tried to stand up straight, though she couldn’t hide the little drunk grin on her face.
Roger noticed the grin, and the familiarity of it made him smile. He hadn’t smiled like that when he and Jamie were together.
He started to move, and she let him lead. He moved the two of them around in a light circle on the wooden deck just like he’d learned months ago. His flip flop caught a time or two on the uneven wood, but even despite that and the beer he was a pretty good dancer.
After a revolution or two, Allison started to get the hang of it and leaned in to Roger, laying her head on his shoulder. She could hear his heart speed up, and it made her smile.
“What was going to be your and Jamie’s first dance song?” She asked.
“Save the last dance for me,” Roger said.
“I hate that song,” Allison said.
“I chose it,” Roger said.
“I hate it now too.”
For a moment, Allison didn’t know how to respond. Then she started snorting again, and before she could stop herself she was laughing out loud, leaning on her old friend entirely. Roger couldn’t help it- Al’s laugh was infectious, and soon he was laughing too.
“Who needs her?” Allison said after catching her breath.
“Eh, I didn’t want to marry her anyway,” Roger said, and almost believed his own lie. “Screw her.”
“Screw her!” Allison bellowed, thrusting one fist into the air. Her flip flop suddenly caught on an uneven plank and she stumbled, kicking over several empty bottles. Roger caught her around the waist and nearly fell himself, which just started Allison laughing all over again.
Roger hoisted her back to her feet, cradling her around the shoulders with both arms. She looked up into his face, her warm brown eyes huge in the moonlight. Her laughter vanished suddenly, for a moment she simply looked into his eyes. In the next, their lips met. Her lips were larger than his and he felt briefly like she was going to drool on him, and their teeth clacked gently. Nobody’s ideal first kiss, but Roger didn’t care. They kissed for a long minute, slowly finding a rhythm like they had when dancing moments earlier.
The kiss could have lasted for a minute or an hour; Roger couldn’t tell. But when it finally ended and he pulled away from Allison, his best friend, and when he looked down into her huge brown eyes and she smiled up at him, a huge weight felt like it had been lifted from his shoulders.
“I love you,” he mumbled.
Allison’s brow slowly furrowed, and the cold feeling that Roger had felt in his stomach many times that night returned with a spiteful passion.
“What?” She said.
“Uh,” Roger said, lifting Allison fully to her feet. She stood on her own and took a step back from him.
“I…uh, Roger,” Allison said, averting her eyes and tugging a strand of straight brown hair behind her ear.
“No, I, forget it. I’m drunk.” Roger said.
“No, no, Roger, it’s just that…” Allison wanted desperately to say something, but the beer kept her from forming a coherent thought. “I love you too, I mean, but… you’ve been hurt, really badly, and I just…”
“No, no, it’s okay. It’s my fault, I should’ve… I mean, I shouldn’t have…yeah,” Roger stammered. “Oh, look, we’re out of beer. I’ll go get us some more.” And he turned and walked inside, his shoulder colliding with the sliding glass door as he staggered inside.
Allison looked at their cooler. It had at least half a dozen beers floating in the ice water.
“Crap,” Allison mumbled to herself, plopping back down on the worn deck chair. Why’d she have to say that? Of course she loved Roger. She’d loved him since they were kids. There hadn’t been a day when he and Jamie were together that she hadn’t wanted to slap him across the face and say ‘What are you doing with a girl like that!? But he’d genuinely loved Jamie, once upon a time. And he was hurt. The last thing Allison wanted was to be a rebound fling. She wanted to be there for him… but not like that.
She looked through the sliding glass door, which Roger hadn’t closed behind him. The door to the fridge was standing open, but Roger was nowhere in sight. He’d done this ever since they were kids. He was hurt and embarrassed, so he was hiding by himself somewhere.
“Crap,” Allison said again. “Why couldn’t I have just lied to him?”

Sunday, November 21, 2010


First things first:
You: “Aaron! It’s been a while since you posted anything. What’s the deal man?”
Me: “I’ve had my hands full for the last month or so.”
You: “Seriously, that’s your excuse? What could you have been doing that’s kept you so busy?”
Me: “I proposed to my girlfriend, and she said yes.”
You: “Oh.”
Me: “Yeah.”
You: “Wedding fever, huh?”
Me: “Pretty much.”
Okay, I’m overdramatizing a little bit. I did get engaged at the end of October, and it’s been good so far. She’s handled pretty much everything (the venue, the preacher, tracking down a reception area, etc). The only thing I’ve had to do so far is pick out a first dance song (“Baby You’ve Got What It Takes”, Michael Buble’) but it’s still been a hectic process.

That said, what I have today isn’t a new short story (been trying to wrap up another novel idea recently), more of an observation. Yesterday my brother and I were in a book store when a handful of children ran by, screaming something at their mother.
My brother: “Man, kids are just like drunks.”
Me: “…that’s pretty good. Can I blog about that?”
Him: “Sure, as long as you don’t make any money off of it.”
Me: “Don’t worry, it’s a blog.”
(Seriously, I can’t even figure out how to make anything off of these stupid banner ads)

But he was right; the similarities between drunks and children are strikingly similar.

  1. Short attention span. Many people have found themselves in the following situation: That one friend gets drunk and decides what a great idea it would be to discuss the time in fifth grade when you puked on yourself on the school bus (or another similarly uncomfortable topic). If you’ve encountered this situation before, you’ve likely discovered that the easiest way to put an end to the awkward situation is to change the topic. For instance, you could bait your political friend into the fiendish nature of free-market capitalism. Just be sure to not inadvertently pick another topic that leads to another awkward conversation. 
Similarly, children can easily be distracted from one topic to another. Parents swear by this technique. Kids don’t want to eat their vegetables? Misdirect their attention to the cake at the end of the meal, and they’ll destroy those peas. The drunker the individual is, the more childlike they may become; as such, it’ll take less and less effort to distract them from the potential party-stopper.

If he or she is drunk enough, a set of jangling keys may suffice.

  1. Commentary on anything and everything. One of the easiest ways to distract the drunk friend featured in comparison one is to point out something- anything, really- in the environment. Your drunk friend will no doubt have a story or opinion one way or another on said object or situation. Beware, however; your friend is very likely to instead speak about the most noticeable qualities of the biggest, meanest-looking guy at the bar. If your buddy ever utters, “A Harley-Davidson jacket? Harleys are for wimps! I’ll say it to all eight of you!”, best to leave them to their own devices and clean up the mess afterward. 
If you have children, you have no doubt encountered “Mommy, look at this!”, “Why does that guy walk funny?” or “What does ‘combustible’ mean?”, you know that  everything in a child’s field of vision is interesting enough to verbally comment about at one hundred and forty decibels. Worth noting is how often this similarity coincides with the third comparison…

  1. Shouting. This one is obvious. If you’ve ever been around the drunk girl who honestly thinks “This song is about me!” or that guy who will “Totally kick your ass at beer pong!”, you know that some people cannot control the volume of their voices when drinks are involved. Why is that, anyway? I speculate that the alcohol adds a kind of white noise that they think they have to shout over in order to be heard. Eventually though, the white noise turns to a test pattern at the end of the night when there’s nothing else to see. 
Everything that a child sees is worthy of your immediate and undivided attention. And if you ignore him or her, you must not have heard them the first time and require a louder reiteration. If you did not find what he or she had to say funny, or interesting, or spiritually and metaphysically enlightening, you did not hear them correctly and the process must begin anew, continuing to increase in volume until the situation has passed or their attention befalls something else (refer to comparison 1).

Is my comparison unfair and one-sided? Of course it is. That’s my attempt at comedy. It’s a joke. I’m joking. I love kids and I’ve taken care of my share of intoxicated people (and been taken care of a time or two as well), so please hold the angry e-mails. It’s just comedy.