the hole in the wall.
The New Rules for the J-Hole Bachelor.
Rule #1 – Never apologize.
Rule #2 – Especially to Stephen.
Rule #3 – There are exceptions to Rule #1
Rule #4 – Bouncers DO have memories.
(expect more of this.)
I promised myself I would start writing more through this blog.
Been missing ‘the Dash’ a bit and reminiscing all the stupid shit we did growing up.
I’ll get that later, though.
Friday night was perfect. Smoked duck dinner with all the fixins. Beautiful women and candlelight. Pinot and rum. Said goodbye to the boardroom. Played ‘Bucket.’ Did NOT get sharpied. I think.
‘The hole in the wall’
We had all found our way to the other side of town and were playing beer pong with Bud Light and Coors Light in the basement of a classmate’s. I had dropped off Erikas and Flounder and gone with my fake ID to the nearest gas station to buy more beer for the exponentially growing party. By the time I came back there were two dozen more people standing outside of a cramped dank area with a soaked ping-pong table and Sportscenter on the television. It was early spring, Tiger Woods was winning some golf tournament and all the country club boys stood around telling each other how the rest of the tournament would play out. It was more fun for them to say the word “nigger,” like they heard their fathers say all the time, than actually pay attention to the play. I eventually was able to convince the hostess to allow Erikas and I to go upstairs to take warm vodka shots from an off-name brand plastic hip flask taken from my dad’s house. Erikas and I stood there in the dark kitchen trying to communicate with his broken English and my own burning mouth. Flounder joined us, taking a break from the beer pong table and leaned on Erikas grabbing the flask away from him and drunkenly slurring about basketball and “fuch-jing shhit!” We all laughed at our teenage selves.
In that ridiculous Lilly Pulitzer-inspired kitchen was a fishtank with two goldfish watching us make a mockery of modern legal consumption laws. Their orange and gold scales flashing against the water and reflections from the nearby bathroom lights. Flounder was able to come up with some of the more entertaining schemes and moronic plans of anyone in the group. While Bone had the best ideas, Flounder could hash brilliantly painless fun after just three screwdrivers. Turning to Erikas, his eyes grew huge and then turned angry. “Erikas, you’re going to eat that fucking goldfish or you have to go back to Russia!” he said.
I choked on the vodka on my mouth and after gathering my composure I said, “He’s from Lithuania, you fucking idiot.”
“Shut the fuck up.” Flounder was determined to see this happen and grabbed the 6 foot 11 inch Eastern block import by the back of his neck and walked him over to the fishtank. “You see. That one right fucking there. You’re gonna eat him, or I’m gonna take your green card,” Flounder informed.
“He’s on a visa,” I said.
“I’ll take your fucking money too! Bitch!” Flounder threatened as he slurred through this campaign.
Erikas bent all the way over and peered into the fishbowl. Each of the fish were at least 4 inches long. He looked at me and then back at Flounder. “This one, here?” he asked.
“Yeah, that one, fucking grab it!” Flounder was starting to position most of his body weight forward and his eyes were gazing past where he was directing his speech. He was drunk and using the pent up frustration of an over-expecting and bullying father to influence his dominance over this “foreigner.” Years later we would learn not to let Flounder drink bourbon.
Erikas took a free throw shooters stance and reached his massive right hand into the fish bowl grabbing the goldfish in one clean motion. Before Flounder and I could even take in a deep breath of air he had put the goldfish in his mouth, tail flapping out between his lips, and swallowed it whole with a jerking motion as if he was choking down a horsepill without any water.
His eyes began watering and he exhaled. Flounder fell to the floor laughing and then tried to pull himself back up with the kitchen island, but slipped on the now wet tiles covered in water from Erikas’ dripping hand. I too began laughing histarically and handed Erikas the rest of the vodka saying, “Need a chaser?”
He slugged a huge gulp and looked me in the eye, “In Lithuania, this no problem. We eat goldfish ev’ryday. Is good for sex.”
By this time Flounder was making more noise than we were supposed to be and we heard footsteps coming up from the basement. The hostess, Anna, came around the corner into the dark kitchen, not turning on the lights for fear the neighbors might know she was having a party while her parents were gone.
“What the fuck are you guys doing. What the fuck is the matter with you?” she said looking down at Flounder who had abandoned his attempts to get up from the floor.
“He ate it. He fucking ate it!” Flounder said through high-pitch crying laughs.
Looking around the kitchen, seeing our general positioning, Erikas wet hand and general look of guilt, it took a surprisingly short time for her to put it together. She wiggled around Erikas and peered into the fish bowl.
“Where’s my other fish!?! Did you eat my fucking goldfish?” she yelled at Erikas.
“Is good for sex!” Flounder roared as he was now standing and leaning again on the kitchen island.
“Guys! I won those at the fair!” she pleaded.
“Is OK. I get new fish. Bigger fish,” Erikas offered.
“eat the other one! Eat the other one too!” Flounder yelled. Once again, a brilliant idea.
“NO!” Anna was starting to giggle at the absurdity.
Erikas handed her the vodka bottle and she looked at me.
“It’s going to be harder to explain why one is missing than if two were…” I rationalized.
Anna looked around at the three of us. Flounder was wiping the tears from his face.
“Fine,” Anna said.
Erikas was already putting his hand into the fish bowl and caught the second one with the same fluid motion as the first. Before Anna could say “How did you catch that so fast,” the fish was in his mouth, tail between lips and he had gulped it down in one swallow.
Flounder fell to the floor again and Anna stood laughing and staring at the enormous goldfish-eating giant in her kitchen. He took back the vodka and chased the second of the fair prizes.
“In my country, is no problem.” He explained to anna, wiping the water from his eyes.
We heard footsteps, and this time it was Lindsey coming around the corner. Flounder was laughing too hard to get up and admire her perfectly round ass in a ridiculously tiny skirt. Erikas and I both stood staring at her silhouette accented by the bathroom light in the kitchen doorway.
“He just ate my fucking goldfish!” Anna shared with Lindsey.
“Which one?” Lindsey asked.
“Both of them!”
Lindsey came into the kitchen and leaned over to see the empty bowl. Flounder was up and we all ran our eyes over her long volleyball sculpted legs as she stretched over the kitchen island in the now over-crowded kitchen.
“Didn’t you get those at the fair?”
“Yeah.” Anna was very amused by now.
Soon there were more people trying to come up the stairs and Lindsey, Anna’s best friend, had to police them back down. Flounder and I gathered ourselves and listened as Anna went around another corner, Erikas following close behind.
“What are you doing? No, Im not going to make out with you! You just ate my fucking goldfish!” was the last thing I heard from Anna before closing the door to the basement.
Back downstairs, Jay and Bone had taken command of the beer pong table and Brian was still arguing the validity of Tiger’s racial heritage. Flounder and I explained the ridiculous story to anyone that would listen. Most people asked if there were any more goldfish.
I left soon after taking Erikas to crash on my couch. Flounder stayed and said the cops came and the party was broken up.
The next night we were at my dad’s house closer to all of our homes. The side lot was full with SUVs and sweet sixteen beamers. We stood around on the back porch listening to god-awful 80s music provided by Deez from his most recent “Panty Dropper Mix” and of course, played beer pong. Erikas came by with Flounder once we were well inebriated and I found him a stash of vodka to drink. He appeared stressed and soon was drunk.
Joker had already surrendered his keys, something no one had forced or asked him to do, and was on a personal mission to ruin himself. He stood at the edge of the party drinking Bud Lights and smoking Camel Lights. His huge eyes drifted around the party and he caught each passer by with an insult or “fuck you.” No one really talked to him other than to defend the drunken insult he passed their way.
Erikas had already developed an animosity for Joker, who was by far, the least intelligent and most bigoted of our group. His parents were racists. He was racist. It was the south and they knew nothing better than to maintain the tradition of convincing themselves that they were simply better than “niggers, spicks and imports.”
Before long, Joker singled-out Erikas for his taunting. “Hey Lurch, you big fucking goof, how many free throws did you miss this year? Do you not keep score playing basketball in the USSR?” Erikas began to steam and soon was walking in Joker’s direction before Jay, Flounder and I cut him off.
“Joke. Chill.” Flounder said.
“What? I’m just chatting with the Commi! Come on you big goof!” Joker answered.
Erikas slammed his beer down and lunged towards Joker, Flounder, Jay and I barely restraining him.
Joker’s face turned and he realized he was no match the near 7-footer. He stepped back and his eyes grew even bigger. His face lost color and he said softly “look man I’m just kidding.” Joker was a true fucking idiot.
“C’mon Erikas. I think there’s some more vodka inside.” Erikas grunted loudly and turned around to go back inside. He turned back and pointed over our shoulders and yelled something in Russian at Joker who was standing completely by himself at the end of the deck.
I ushered Erikas upstairs into my brother’s room, away from the party. He paced around the room with a bright red face mumbling Russian to himself. “Joker is fool! He not understand me! I hit him and make him understand me!”
“Hey, it’s cool man. He’s just joking,” I tried to calm Erikas.
“Is not joke! I not joke!” I reached out a bottle of vodka I had grabbed on the way up towards him.
He turned and growled loudly then swung at the wall, puncturing the sheetrock and leaving a massive hole behind. I froze and Erikas yelled again in Russian.
“Damn dude.” Flounder was standing behind me in the doorway and had seen Erikas punch the wall.
Joker came up behind him and Erikas stopped and stared at him. “Look man, I’m sorry. I really am…” Joker said.
“I not joke!” Erikas yelled at him.
“Oh I know man, I know. I just…” Joker couldn’t put a sentence together for fear. None of us would have stopped Erikas from attacking Joker this time.
“LEAVE!” Erikas yelled at him.
“Look, Erikas…” Joker pleaded again.
“Shut the fuck up, dude,” Flounder said as he pushed Joker out the doorway and down the stairs.
Erikas paced around some more as I tried to talk him down. Soon, Flounder came back upstairs. “Erikas, you wanna go home, man?”
“Yes,” he said in somewhat of an ashamed tone. He patted me on the shoulder and said something in Russian looking back over at the hole in the wall. He handed me the bottle of vodka, but I insisted that he keep it.
Flounder and Erikas left out the front door avoiding the rest of the party and I watched them drive off around the corner. When they were gone from sight, I went back inside, grabbing Deez and Jay and rushing up the stairs. We stood in my brother’s room marveling at the 16-inch diameter hole in the wall.
“That would have broken his nose,” Deez said.
“No way,” Jay said. “he would have punched right over him!”
“True. That thing is at least six and a half feet off the ground,” I said.
Eventually we ran out of beer and went back downstairs. By midnight everyone was drunk enough to go home or get a ride to a friends’ house and we shut things down. Joker had disappeared long ago, but his car was still in the side lot. Deez crashed in my brother’s room.
The next morning Deez and I sat watching Sportscenter snacking on Gatorade and Chex Mix; a staple at my dad’s places. “Dude, your dad makes the best fucking chex mix.” Deez said with crumbs dripping out of his mouth.
“Yeah, I know,” I answered.
“When’s he coming back?” Deez asked.
“shit. What are you going to tell him about the hole in the wall?” Deez said.
“I dunno. I’ll come up with something.” I replied.
“Blame it on your brother,” which wasn’t a bad idea.
“He’s with dad,” I said.
“What happened to Joker?” Deez asked.
“I don’t know. His car is still out there.” I informed.
“What a fucking idiot…” Deez said.
“Alright. I’m gonna go burn another panty dropper and then get out of here. Some bitch took my last copy.” Deez planned.
Deez went upstairs and sat at my computer, his station for creating his 80s mixtapes. I went around the house gathering beer cans, cups and ping pong balls. I saw Joker’s car drive off as I cleared the porch.
Deez left and I laid back down on the couch. It was a Saturday and we would be graduating soon. Most of us already knew what college we would be going to and had gotten into as much trouble as we could.
I woke up to dad and my brother coming into the house. “Smells like you had a party,” Dad said.
There’s was no way to clean up the scent of spilt beers. I had done a little more cleaning (sweeping and mopping the kitchen) than I usually do; another clear indication that I had people over.
“No cops?” Dad asked.
“No cops,” I said.
“That’s a surprise. How many people were over here?” he asked.
“I dunno, like, a dozen.” It was at least sixty.
I had been drinking all night long and wasn’t even hung over. My young and fresh liver was at the height of its capabilities. Dad and I were coaching my brother’s basketball team at the YMCA later that day. Dad had brought in a bag full of groceries and was starting to make gumbo for us to have for dinner that night.
We hung out and played ping pong, watched TV and ate more chex mix. Davis went up to his room to change into his uniform and grab his basketball shoes. When he couldn’t find his jersey, he called Dad up to help him. I wasn’t paying attention and before long I heard dad’s voice say, “Tyler…” in a what’s this hole in the wall tone of voice. I drug my feet up the stairs and went into Davis’ room where dad stood next to the hole staring at me disapprovingly. Davis was standing next to him staring up at it with his head cocked sideways.
“What’s this hole in the wall?” Dad asked.
“Deez told me to blame it on Davis.” I said.
“Fuck Deez.” Davis said.
“Watch your mouth” Dad said as he flicked Davis on the ear. “What happened, really.” He was clearly getting pissed.
“Joker pissed off Erikas and Erikas punched the wall when I brought him up here to calm him down.” I explained.
“Erikas? Who’s Erikas?” he asked.
“Our power-forward this past year, the exchange student from Lithuania,” I answered.
“The seven-foot guy?” Dad asked.
Dad turned and looked in amazement at the hole in the wall. “Man, he really is tall,” he said.
I could tell that dad realized the uniquety of this hole and he began to lighten up. “So he just jabbed at the wall?” Dad asked.
“Yeah, he wasn’t even reaching upward. That’s about where his chin is,” I answered.
“How you gonna fix it?” Davis piped in as he tied his shoelaces on the end of the bed where Deez slept. Deez hadn’t bothered to make the bed up when he left. I looked at Dad for an answer.
“We’ll figure it out later. Let’s get going,” he said.
We gathered our things and headed off for the Y, still chatting about the hole on the way. “So Joker was pissing off Erikas?” Dad continued.
“You know how he is.”
“That punch would have knocked him out,” Dad theorized.
“Joker’s not that tall,” I said.
The next week Dad brought home an antique amputation board, the kind used before modern medicine to give the blood somewhere to drain, with a rooster awkwardly painted on it. We hung it over the hole, a good foot above the rest of the posters and pictures around the room. Deez was burning extra Panty Dropper copies to take with us to beach week. Dad got a copy, as well.
“I still can’t believe he punched a hole in the wall that high up,” dad said. “Is he going with you guys?”
“Fuck yeah,” Deez said. “Somebody has to keep Joker in check.”
“You should have seen him eat both of Anna’s goldfish the night before,” I said.
“So that’s why there were two goldfish in puddle of puke in my bathroom…” Dad said.
“Is good for sex!” Deez yelled down the stairs loading another CD into the computer.