This is an unedited excerpt of the first story from my Don’t try this at home short story collection. Slovenian stories are almost done, and this is an attempt of my writing in English. In a month or so Slovenian version will be ready to get published and will be awailable for free in eBook format, and by the end of the year Slovenian paperback and English eBook will hopefully be published …
Same old shit every night … Dad drags himself back home drunk as a skunk, leans on the doorbell shouting for the whole block to hear, that his majesty’s arrived, and when mom finally lets him in, he attacks her and she strikes back and then they both jump on me … I couldn’t survive another weekend in the nuthouse …
Open the door, old sack, I know everything for fuck’s sake! Open it!!!
Stop shouting, old fool, you want to wake everybody? What do you know? What do you know?!
Everything, godamnit! Open the door!!!
Dad’s serious about that, and he stresses every word with a kick to the door, so it’s a wonder that the door is still in one piece.
Hold it, I ask Mickey. His little hands hold the cardboard box, in which I had obviously stuffed more than it can hold, and I byte off two pieces of adhesive tape and apply them over the flaps.
Wha-hat’s in the bo-box?
My life, Mickey … I pat his head. My whole life.
What am I supposed to say? That I packed and I’m going, ’cause I can’t stand those two idiots and I’m leaving him all alone in this nuthouse? Thank god he doesn’t get it yet, but they’ll fuck him soon enough as they had fucked Ray – omnia vincit amor!
Open the door before I say knife or I’ll break the fucking door and then I’ll break you and your bastard!!!
Your bastard is me … Twenty years ago: stormy night, dad had a pint too much after work so he’s zigzagging his van from one edge of the road to the other, his eye-lids heavy, he falls asleep just for a sec … Then the van rolls off the road, lands upside down in the gutter and dad earns a severe brain concussion. If he gets a shot too much, he makes a circus like the one you are witnessing right now.
What was left of the van is not worth mentioning at the beginning of my story.
Couple of weeks at the intensive care was more than enough for mom to get to know the doctor, who took care of dad. To really get to know him, if you know what I mean.
Okay, it is clear, that she did – whatever she did – only want to make sure that dad was having a swell time, while lying in a hospital bed: she was coming every day to spoil him with little gifts, “’cause the doc won’t mind at all!” … But what dad didn’t know – and HE couldn’t mind at all – was the fact, that mom had started spoiling the doc, too, first before or after the visit, then couple of times a day … And couple of times at night. Hence her bastard.
She even went that far to give me his name – Carl – and kept telling everyone, that “he’s going to be a doctor when he grows up”.
Dad is bitter by the fact that it’s all true, and whats even worse, that everyone knows it … His drinking budies, his boss, his friends, his enemies, and the withering waitresses he enjoys now and then: So, how’s YOUR little Charlie? Is he still such a good kid? Is he really goin’ to be a doctor when he grows up?
Is he fuck, I’m telling them – I fucked ’em all. I went drawing for three days to pass the exam at the Academy of Arts instead of Medicine, and I passed, ’cause I always wanted to be a painter.
There’s ringing at the door again, and shouting and kicking, and I grab my box and wink at Mickey.
Come on, open the door! He’ll wake up the whole neighbourhood! Cut the shit!!
Mom and dad sing synchronously WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP?! I wish they were always so tuned … At that moment dad starts grunting outside, which means I am going to have to be careful not to dive into something disgusting as I’ll try to get out – and mom thunders as a tank into my room.
Watch your mouth, mister! You’d better study! You didn’t pass a single exam this year!
Mom, the semester began three months ago, okay?
I park the box carefully on my desk and reach slowly for the adhesive tape.
I don’t give a fuck! You should study or get a job!!! It’s up to you!
I unroll the tape and put it between the teeth.
Or enlist in the army! Dad adds.
O come on, I didn’t ask! You’re not even my dad, for fuck’s sake, so quit bugging me!
Now mom gets crazy and starts waving her hand around my head.
How do you speak in front of the kid, ha?!
The tape curls in my hands so I take another half a meter, byte it off and wrap it around her mouth. As she tries to free herself, I slip into the hall, but she gets rid of the tape way before I can step into my sneakers, and her fists start drumming on my back.
Everything is YOUR fault! We only fight because of you!! Plus you spoiled Mickey!!!
I didn’t spoil anyone! Mickey’s just got something you haven’t – BRAIN!
Don’t fucking insult my kid! At list I know I am his father!
I’m not sure whether I should laugh or cry, but at least I got my sneakers on. I turn my back at mom, hold my box with my knee and unlock the door.
Just go, I’ll lock you out, you’ll see, you goddamn …
Don’t you get it, mom? I’m going, no need to lock me out, ‘CAUSE I’M NOT COMIG BACK! Hold on, Mickey, bye!
I wink at him over mom’s shoulder and he waves back, standing there as a statue, which breaks my heart … I force my way past dad into the hall – without diving into his puke, mom still shouting (Where? Don’t you see what time it is? The only people going out now are punks! It’s all your fault, Joe, you let him do anything and you took him to the pub!!), but I just turn my head and run down the stairs, their barking slowly fading …
My 1974 Beetle is waiting outside – I open the door and throw my box on the passenger seat, sit behind the wheel and turn the key …
The plan was simple – 1. to obtain the driving license (checked), 2. pass the exam at the art academy (checked) and get properly laid with my girlfriend till the end of the year, or the world is going to end. There are only three day left …
I park on the student campus, which has already been decorated for weeks, and the holiday atmosphere is – although there’s no sign of the snow – at it’s peak. I head to the entrance to Shawna’s block. There’s a whistle up there and I see a bag full of water falling toward me. I manage to move away from the explosion with a dance turn, but I’m wet to my knees anyway, which is enough to enlighten the guys upstairs’ mood.
The stairs are sprinkled with fire-extinguisher, so it’s obviously going to be fun tonight. When I march into the shared kitchen, everything goes silent just like in a movie. I scan the scene – there’s the Philosopher at the table holding a guitar and hugging his fat girlfriend, the couple I never met sits at the opposite side, and Roberta (called Big Bertha for her massive ass and tits) behind the cooker. There’s an untouched beer box under the table.
Hi, how are you, Immigrant?
I am called the Immigrant, ’cause I spend more time here than most of the students – according to my box, they’ll need to rethink my nickname, I guess …
I’ll be back, Philosopher. I wink at him and take a beer from under the table without putting down my box.
The kitchen leads to the hall with rooms on both sides. I stop at the door to Shawna’s room and take a deep breath. As my elbow is approaches the handle, the door opens and a guy with sunglasses appears. I’m not sure which one of us looks more stupid. We both try to squeeze through – me into the room, him into the hall. He points a finger at me.
If you say so.
I put my box on the table, but I’m not trusting this guy, although he’s offering his hand. I shake his hand.
Popeye, he says. Don’t panic – I need to piss, I’ll be back!
Even if you won’t …
Shawna sits on her bed with a cute redhead. She stands up and gives me a hug.
Charlie – this is Eve, Popeye’s girlfriend.
Eve … she says. I shake her hand wearing an idiot’s smile, unable to take my eyes off of her.
POPEYE’S girlfriend, Shawna categorically repeats.
As long as you’re not Olive .. I hug my Shawna. I need to talk to you.
Popeye enters the room, and Eve jumps up and takes him by the hand. Hey, hun, let’s check the … scene!
They leave the room. I open the bottle with my car key and sit on the bed next to her. I take her hand.
Listen, I wanted to ask you, if I could spend a few nights here … Maybe a week. It’s saturday tomorrow, and …
It’s saturday tomorrow and Bertha’s going to spend the weekend here.
Really? Why’s that?
She met a guy couple of days ago. They’re going out tomorrow, and then they’ll sleep here.
A guy? Big Bertha? I thought she was more into women …?
Charlie! Don’t call her Big Bertha. Se shuts my mouth with a finger. Plus if the girl doesn’t like YOU, it doesn’t mean she’s a lesbian!
Jeana stands up, gives me a kiss, and produces a pajama and a towel from the closet. She slides her crotch over the edge of the door, lifts her leg and throws the head back seductively …
I’m taking the shower … Don’t go anywhere! She puckers her lips and sends me a kiss over the room by air-mail.
We met couple of months ago at the students’ party. Part of the dance hall was taken over by some boring guys and chicks, who were more or less just hanging around with their boring drinks. Most folks had occupied the bar. Couple of friends I’d stumbled upon were trying to force me with their empty coups, which must have meant that it was my turn to get our next round of drinks. Well, I had just become an art student – at least I could do was get another three beers. Trying to find the way to the bar our eyes met for the first time. She looked down, but I kept recording her, until she disappeared in the hall, showing three fingers to the girl behind the bar – Three WHAT?
I formed the horns on my head with my fingers, which resulted in three brand new beers landing in front of me. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a handful of coins, hoping it was just enough, and picked up three cups and headed back to my companeros, where I didn’t even bother to clink the cups with them – not just because they were plastic, but because my radar was already trying to locate the object of my affection in the crowd that had formed on the dance floor in the meantime. She had some friends around her and in a guy dropped on his knees, literally. I stepped closer, leaned on the wall and took a sip from my beer. When she looked at me I turned my head as if looking for someone – which I was in a way – and the guy still kneeled and waved his hands as an orangutan. Well, that was a disgrace for my sex. I sipped the rest of my beer, put the cup down on the floor and walked over to her to end this tragic comedy.
Hey, I’d like to dance with you, when you’re free!
I SAID I’D LIKE TO DANCE WITH YOU WHEN YOU’RE FREE?!
I AM FREE1
WHAT ABOUT THAT?! I point my finger at the winking monkey on the floor.
I HAVE NO IDEA, SOMEONE SET THIS UP TO ME! She shrugged and I hugged her – the guy on his knees crawled away, while the two of us – although the music is loud and fast – slowly dance into the morning, when the cleaning ladies throw us out …