Saturday, November 20, 2010

Neighbors v. 3

We arrived at school on a Sunday, a flood of six-hundred freshmen breaking on the stone campus like waves, rising through the dormitories. The first few weeks were spent standing in doorways and introducing ourselves, making conversation with people who would never become friends.  My roommate and I knew each other from summer camp, and it was hard not to just stay in our room with the few girls we'd befriended, watching things unfold through the frame of our door.  They would say my name and I would look at the skyscraper heels shuffling past or the stumbling lax bro, and know the insult biting into their tongues.

At first we never saw people going into the dorm room next door, just people leaving.  One, then a little while later two more, then another, like clowns quitting a clown car in a constant, implausible stream.  It seemed like every boy in our hall crowded around that room, boys with names that blurred between similar faces and boys that ignored us after they realized we wouldn't giggle at everything they said.
It wasn't until the second weekend that we figured out who actually lived there, two boys we renamed Babyface and Crazyfuck.  We had left a party early because we couldn't get to the keg, and they were drinking alone.  We sat on the black futon and looked around.  The room was a mess, with boxes of Cheeze-Its, bags of Combos and clothes scattered on every surface.  A poster of Kim Kardashian hung on their wall.  She arched her back, presenting herself to the camera.  Every boy's room we'd been in so far had the same poster.
We talked about drinking and they finally offered us Vladimir vodka, which we shot with no chaser, even though my roommate hated Vlad.  I still don't know if we grasped for alcohol because we knew we had it in common or because it was all we had in common.  Crazyfuck and I talked about his poster (Kim belonged to Babyface)--a catalog of mixed drinks, a challenge.  He said by the end of the year he wanted to drink every one.  Crazyfuck was sweet-looking, if a little simple.  Tall but shaped like a boy not a man, short-cut blond hair, flushed cheeks that invited great-aunts to pinch them.  Eyes heavily lidded from being drunk all the time.  
I told him the ones I'd already drank, reaching on my toes to touch the higher ones.  Jack and Coke and Rum and Coke and High-school Screwdrivers.  Daiquiris, margaritas, sangria and cerveza on our trip to Mexico, when I'd been free to order from the resort bar and go to local clubs.  If they’d been the other type of guys I’d have talked about Lebron James.  My roommate and Babyface made stilted conversation in between taking reprieves in their phones and Facebooks.  Babyface was built just like Crazyfuck, but with curly brown hair and a soft, protruding bottom lip.  {MORE CHARACTER FROM YOUR SKETCH}
After a while Crazyfuck took off down the hall on his skateboard.  Babyface rolled his eyes at us then chased after him.  We left, because for college boys they were pretty dumb, and weren't paying enough attention to us.
Later, we heard the Head Resident down the hallway calling, "Hey!  Stop, skateboarding!”
Crazyfuck rode into our view. “What?” 
We stopped playing Playstation and watched the exchange from our futon.  We were a little tipsy from the Vlad and I was eating Frosted Mini-Wheats, pulling the most sugary ones from the box and putting them into my mouth. 
The HR stopped in front of our doorway and jabbed her finger toward the skateboard, so close she had to smell the alcohol on him.  “No sports in the hallway,” she said.
“Skateboarding isn’t a sport,” he said.
“I’m going to have to write you up.”
He started arguing with her.  It was two in the morning, she hadn’t realized he was wasted yet, and he was fighting her on a minor write-up.  The HR was getting pissed, saying “Well I’m sorry.”  Whenever she tried to walk away we hissed at him, “Take the win, take the win!” but he just kept getting louder and louder and whinier, until he might’ve been crying and we ducked our heads and closed the door, afraid of being busted by association.

The boys could be interesting, entertaining, but they were always running off, chasing after something we didn’t know, conversations hanging, unfinished.

 They started coming over randomly, at three in the morning after our suburban campus was dead and everyone who was coming home were passed out in their beds.  I think they liked us because we didn't flirt with them, we entertained their drunken ramblings and drank as much as they did.  They would bring 40’s--Crazyfuck loved 40’s--and we would share our vodka, and tell them we were better drinkers.  It was possible we were all alcoholics that year.

There were four of them, Babyface, Crazyfuck, Cutie Pie and Earrings.  They were best friends and they all came to college together—Babyface said Crazyfuck was the mastermind, but Crazyfuck just shook his head.  Babyface said a lot of things that made Crazyfuck just shake his head.
They were from the same high school, the same small town in Jersey.  Half of them had Italian last names.  Some of this was figured out from Facebook and some from asking questions.  They were good at fielding questions, sitting on our orange futon, telling us about their lives.  Earrings had a girlfriend back home who he would never, ever cheat on.  Babyface had a girl back home who he sort of wanted to date, who he used to date, who he loved as much as a drunk, handsy baby could.  They had slept together, but he looked me in the eye and made sure I knew that it had only been with one girl, the one girl. 

When he climbed into my bed, they had started dating again.  You have a girlfriend, I said.
No, no, no, he said.  She's cool with this.  I just can't have sex, he said, sliding his hands down my back and under my tights.  I tensed into him.  He bit my bottom lip.  I told him to turn off the light.  He pulled me on top.
I did not like him the most.

Crazyfuck freaked out sometimes.  We would hear him screaming down the hall, shuffling, bodies hitting, strain, somebody holding somebody back.  "Just take him to my room!"
“Let me go let me fucking go!  I’m going to fucking kill him!”
“Calm down be quiet!”
“Just take him to the room!”
“Jesus fuck I’m going to fucking kill you!”
All night my body rattled as he punched and threw things at my wall. 

Crazyfuck was slightly drunk and waving around an ID he found.  He and I were arguing about returning it.  He was pretending to be an RA.
“You don’t want to make him mad,” Cutie Pie joked, sitting at my desk.  He had a pretty face.  He might have been the nicest.
"Oh, I know how he gets when he's mad.  I sleep there--" I pointed to my bed, pressed up against our shared wall, “so when he freaks out and starts throwing things at the wall, I hear it all night long.”
Crazyfuck looked up.  In the light of my room, his eyes were dark, my face reflecting in his pupils. He wanted me to understand him.  “It’s not the wall, it’s what’s between.”
We were silent, locked in for a minute.  He knew I knew that parallel to me in the room next door was Babyface’s bed.  Crazyfuck was letting me in, giving me something serious and honest and strange, and I wondered why. 


  1. - Need more of Babyface's character. Right now there's not enough of narrator or BF, especially BF. You're focusing on CF because of the end, but BF is equally important. If he wasn't why include him?

    - Also, CF's description needs to be more organic. Right now, we get stuff about him, but we don't get a sense of him. We need to know him, not just know about him.

  2. - Other boys may be throw away.

    - When you get them more full and incorporated, look at the other girls. I want these two parallel groups for a reason. What reason? Because such a big part of the freshman thing is finding a group and clinging to it. The breaking out, standing on your own is part of growing up.

  3. - Not every scene has to be one of them and the boys....I don't think...

    - Maybe I need to go back and trace the college experience. That'll give me something to write and help the story focus kind of. Plus, I can always subtract if the college evolution is too obvious.