Passion and Apathy

Wake up naked, alone, under a cosmos of faintly glowing star stickers. I am in Betsy’s bed. My bad. But where is she? The dog is over there, so she’s not out for a walk. What time is it? Six in the morning? Hell. I hear her now through the wall. She’s sitting in the kitchen and talking to a couple of guys. Is the party still happening? My head hurts. Her loud, drunken voice is unbearable. Who says you can never really go home?

What are your plans for the future, she asks the first guy. He is going to be a rap star. He also wants to make clear the fact that he was a fan of the band Korn way before they became popular and were stigmatized as a loser band. A lot of people make fun of him for liking Korn, he says, but they are too quick to judge. He needs fifty dollars to get back to Portland, Maine. Once in Portland, he hopes, he will be able to get an ID so that he can come back to Boston and be admitted to a shelter. He thinks he has a connection at one of the clubs here in town for some kind of job. Betsy must’ve found him sleeping on the street by South Station. She’s never been to Portland, she says. There is one bus at noon and one at five, he says.

The other guy seems to be more on the level. Bob is his name. He works at Benjamin Franklin Press, making copies. Betsy is not interested in hearing any more of his story. She has become annoyed that no-one is asking her questions about her life, her passions.

This sucks, I say to the dog. Ajax, this sucks. I wish I hadn’t woken up. I wish I hadn’t have woken up to this scene, more specifically. I wish, most of all, that my head wasn’t spinning now and that I didn’t have to piss. But I did, and it is, and I do, so I throw on the blanket, summon the dog for protection and steel myself as best I can for the freak-show I am about to witness. I wish I had just gone home after the bars had closed. I wish that wishing could make it so; and what a wonderful world this would be.

They are drinking rum and cokes. The smell of the rum reminds me of all that Jameson’s I so quickly consumed earlier. It also puts me in touch with the fact that my insides are rotting. The two guys seem relatively sober. They are young, probably in their early twenties, and look bewildered at what they are doing in this crazy loft with this crazy black-eyed girl. Betsy is whacked way-the-fuck out. The dog trots to her side and assumes guard duty; his gaze fixes on the Korn fan. Good boy, Ajax.

My presence seems natural enough, as I am announced as the naked ex-boyfriend. I am not to be worried about, according to Betsy, lady of the house, patron saint of the fucked.

Having relieved myself and been sent back to bed with a kiss, the show goes on. This isn’t too dangerous, I tell myself. Betsy is on such a rant now that I wouldn’t be surprised if the guys made up excuses and left. Plus, Ajax would bring severe violence unto any fool who laid an unsolicited hand on his Mamma. If her voice wasn’t so grating on my nerves, and if my head wasn’t spinning, I’d probably fall back asleep. As it is, I’m doomed to listen.

Bob apologizes for having stumbled into Betsy in a compromising position earlier. Ooh. I wish I didn’t hear that. He was just going around blowing out the candles, he says. Betsy has become obsessed with the Korn fan. You are so cute, she keeps saying. Uh oh. Things get quiet and I space out a little until she says something about how she is not doing a three-way in that dirty little room. If her ex-boyfriend weren’t in her bed, she says, they could use it. But he is. I am. It’s not until Korn asks if he can take off Betsy’s clothes that I finally start freaking out. No, she says in that smashed, naughty voice. But you can take off my shoes.

By the time I am dressed and attempting to break things up, Betsy is sitting on Korn’s lap with her arms wrapped around his head. Bob is sitting about a foot away. I think we should go, Bob says to Korn. No, I think you should go, Betsy says to me. You’re making me feel guilty.

Just don’t put the dog away, I reply.

Have fun, I say to everyone as I leave. Good luck. Outside it is cold and windy, but the sky is beautiful and I can’t wait to crank tunes when I get home.

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