pizza – booth – college – restore – collection
rip – Buffalo wings – chiffon – butcher – display
He threw up the pizza and Buffalo wings he had eaten only an hour ago. The meaty morsels were still largely intact, although their original appearance was butchered by the bile and alcohol in his stomach; the bowl showed a pale and soupy version of how they were pictured on the menu at the grill where he had dinned alone. There was a banging on the bathroom door and he heard the voices of college girls on the other side. How did it come to this? Not the night — his life. He flushed the toilet that was no more sullied by his sloshy deposit than it was from merely existing in a student house. Then he washed his flush face and neck in the sink and took out the old black film canister from his pocket and shook it to hear its contents. Two left, he thought. And he peeled the lid off. Banging at the door, electronic music vibrating through his feet. He swallowed the small pills and looked in the mirror. His body hummed, it faded away. He saw his scruff was messy; a brown beard that showed his unwelcome age, eyes so sunken it looked like he was sleep walking. And he was not behind those eyes.
Downstairs, the kids that rented the place had set up a discarded restaurant booth in the living room. It was ripped and leaning, but they had restored its stability with plywood. It was holding the youth and life of ten partygoers, sitting in the seats, on the table and the backrests. Behind it, the hosts had their collection of female wrestling posters on display. Zach floated through the rooms, gathering the looks of disgust he had grown accustomed to during his new Friday night hobby. Until his body bumped into a boy he knew was varsity by his chiffon detailed sweater and by his size.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” The rower said — Zach could read his sweater now. “This guy’s like thirty. Get the fuck out of here, man.”
But Zach just floated. He knew what came next when he woke familiarly on the front lawn with a sore jaw and swollen bloodied cheek, before the sun was up.