Ran When Parked
For being 135 pounds soaking wet, I feel like I can hold my liquor pretty well. It might just be the Irish in me. It might just be because I’m an asshole.
Was that banging on the door? “Oh shit”…“Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit, that’s him” She screams, freezing mid thrust. “That’s him!” I roll off of her and onto the floor with a grunt, pulling up my pants. “Where’s my shirt?” I grumble. “I don’t know! Just let me up!” her voice changes from a sharp bark to a venomous hiss. The footsteps are now starting to stumble up the stairs. I find my shirt stuck between her and the covers. “No can do babe, I really gotta split.” The footsteps were still coming closer, I could tell her emotional train ride was rapidly approaching its final stop at the border. The one that separates the neighboring countries of Pissed-onesia and Panick-istan. Full speed ahead. There’s nothing else I can really do at this point except put my shirt back on. “You look great babe. He’ll love it. Call me later okay?” The fear in her eyes dims. She blinks. Her jungle green irises were now brightly glowing with amusement instead of panic. By the time I’m halfway out the window she’s relaxed and looks comfortable again. I blow her a kiss and finish what I hope looked like a Jason Bourne style escape out of the window, seconds before her boyfriend busts into the room.
I’m not going to lie. The idea of him finding Maddie wearing nothing but whipped-cream and green fuzzy handcuffs while stuck to the bed tickled me as pretty damn funny. He probably was, no he definitely was too dumb to realize what had happened during his absence. Maddie had always been a quick thinker and a natural liar. This combination had made her kind of a shitty girlfriend, but a great fling. Her preppy boyfriend would eat up whatever explanation she came up with. I wasn’t lying when I said she looked great. She really did. Honestly, the sexual sort of predicament he walked into probably was distraction enough. Maddie should be able distract her man and cover my tracks with no problems. That is, as long as I remain unseen.
Maintaining stealth after the initial exit is often the biggest obstacle with getting away from this type of situation. People get careless once the immediate danger is behind them. All it takes is a curious neighbor to say something, or a sideways glance out of the window by her boyfriend and I’d be busted. On the ground I stay below the window line and follow the edge of the house around to the front yard. Hopefully this extra caution is unnecessary. Maddie plays on a higher field than most and has about as much experience as I do with this sort of thing, if not more. I’ve found many women to be natural liars, and many boyfriends to be shamefully gullible. It’s pretty funny how paranoid they are about checking text messages, Facebook messages, or even Instagram posts when they suspect their significant other is cheating. They never bother to look at that “recent calls” list. Every phone has one, it’s far from being a new feature. People just forget that in the modern world, an actual phone call is almost as clandestine as it gets. Even if Maddie’s boyfriend checked her recent calls, it would just show an answered phone call with a random number. She knows better than to leave my contact information in her phone. Unless her boy-scout, dipshit of a boyfriend has some type of FBI connections or something, he’ll never know who called or what was said. That is, if he even bothers to check at all.
I make it to my car unnoticed. Sliding into the driver seat I pray reverently to the ancient gods of carburetors and cold starts. It would be mighty embarrassing if Maddie and Douchebag went for a walk and saw me still sitting here in my car, still trying to start it. None of my cylinders fire on the first try. I fucking hate winter time around here. Whispering sweet nothings to the ignition and feathering the throttle, I try again. Sputtering at first, my all American block eventually comes to life. Soon it is kicking, screaming and backfiring up into the intake as I pull away. I reach down into my pocket and feel around. My reaching fingers come up empty. I can’t believe I forgot my fucking lighter back there.
Forgettable anywhere, desired everywhere. That should be the Bic slogan. Underneath it they should display the full rainbow of colors available at every gas station counter. A bic lighter falls into the unique position of being one of the most desired items that also happens to be completely disposable and forgettable. A rare market with both a high supply and a high demand. Shared sacredly in circles of the closest friends, but also passed lightly between complete strangers. A lighter transcends social class and barriers. If you need a light, you need a light. You’ll ask a drunk, you’ll ask your ex, you’ll ask your boss. No fucks given.
Maddie busts into the bathroom snarling something and punches me in the arm. I drop my beer onto the floor. “What the fuck you crazy bitch!” I manage to giggle as I push her off of me. “Way to leave me the other night you asshole.” She says, now giggling too. We stand there in a puddle of Coors, just holding each other and laughing. “I don’t see what the big deal is, your man probably liked finding you like that, a regular damsel in distress.” She grins a little, but tries to hide it. “Yeah I had to tell him I like to tie myself up when he’s not around. He was too stupid and horny to wonder how I managed to get myself into that position and why the window was open. Didn’t even ask who’s lighter, grinder, bud and condoms were left on the nightstand.” Now it’s my turn to grin, “So that’s where I left all that shit, I’ve been looking everywhere!” I say with mock surprise, soaking it in sarcasm. “How the fuck did you even get in here?”
“You left your key too dumbass.”
“Guess it’s starting to look like you just have a thing for dumb guys huh?” I snap back, only half joking. She catches the dig and ends our embrace. Only half joking herself, she replies “He’s nice and smart and funny. A regular sweetheart. Something you wouldn’t know about.”
The watered down, economically packaged, four cylinder options of muscle cars from the 1980s were easily forgotten. The cars looked good when parked and that’s about it. Their owners proudly post the usual generic statements in their craigslist ads. Optimistically, they try to turn their problem into profit. ”Only 4th owner!”, “Can be tagged historic!” or possibly the worst, the dreaded “Ran when parked!” These cars make great lawn art and terrible transportation. A piece of Americana rusting away in the flowerbed. Their flaws only become apparent with use. Kind of like me.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll be there with my date” I say before hanging up the phone. The problem is, I don’t actually have a date. Arenacross is coming to town this weekend and that’s a big fucking deal. Every motor-sports fan from miles around marks their calendar and spends their hard earned money on front row seats. Despite years of contrary evidence, most fans still believe that the smell of burnt clutch, fresh dirt, and exhaust drops panties. Like any respectable sporting event, AMSOIL Arenacross is an excuse to day-drink. A reason to start your morning with a Miller in addition to your Marlboro. It’s the Super Bowl, the Wimbledon, the Daytona 500 for dirt bikes, and I can’t believe I don’t have a fucking date.
Slide to unlock. New Message. Add contacts.
I swore I’d never do this again but Arenacross is a desperate time and that calls for desperate measures. I begin to type the dreaded message. This has to be the absolute worst way to get a date. Group chat roulette instantly burns bridges with any ex capable of a re-kindling a healthy relationship. While it has a high rate of success, it only yields the most unstable results. I hope the damage is worth it. Here’s how it works:
- Start a group-chat with any possible date.
(Yes, this includes ex-girlfiend(s))
- Type out the message.
(It needs to be simultaneously vague but direct. Leave little room for interpretation.)
- Proofread Step 2.
(Makes SURE the message comes across as if you only meant to text ONE of them.)
- Hit send and let your self-esteem plummet.
I type out “Hey do you want to come to Arenacross with me? I can pick you up.” That should do it. We’ve got spark, let’s watch the past burn. Any girl actually worth dating will immediately leave the group chat. The rest will argue amongst themselves about who I meant to text and probably send me direct messages about how terrible I am, how they hope I die and so on. By the end of it, one possible option will remain. That’s the brilliance of the plan. All the work is done for you. The remaining candidate will probably send a snapchat saying she’ll go, decorated in hearts and other romantic emoji’s. To her, it’s like I asked her with flowers, chocolates and a necklace instead of through a gladiatorial texting match. A cyber-coliseum of smashed feelings and ruined relationships. I snap the lucky winner back. “Fuck yeah! Wear something tight!”
I swing by the house to pick Jamie up on the big day. As I pull into the driveway my stomach drops and my hair stands on end. There seems to be a build-up of static electricity and the street seems eerily quiet. Goosebumps breakout. The lights are already on and the door is propped open. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt this sensation. It only means one thing, her dad is up.
Jamie’s dad is batshit crazy. I think he still hates me simply because I ride Japanese bikes. He’s a diehard Harley disciple, the kind that wears nothing but Carhartt and ripped Levi’s covered in Harley-Davidson™© logos and fake grease stains. I don’t think he’s ever actually turned a wrench on anything. He couldn’t tell the difference between a sparkplug and a dipstick. He’ll look you straight in the eye and say something stupid though, usually along the lines of: “There ain’t no replacement for displacement.” or “A little bit of coke in the blunt is the best shit.” Then he’ll ramble about hating his no-good wife and daughter. He conveniently forgets that back when Jamie and I were dating I cleaned his carb and adjusted his valves for him after he let his bike sit all winter, yet he always remembers to tell me he still doesn’t like me.
It’s 9am and he’s on his 3rd beer. Jamie tries to slip past him make her way to the curb safely. She’s looking fine in her Monster Energy tube top and short shorts. Unfortunately, her dad notices me “Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” he growls at her and starts to take a swing. Jamie side steps out of striking distance with practiced ease. “It’s Arenacross this weekend, Dad.” Sudden realization dawns across his hardened face. He slowly lights his Newport and inhales with sudden force before violently blurting out, “Well fuck me, I thought that was next weekend.” His words fall like heavy punches, loud enough to wake the neighbors. Only the smell of menthols and the sound of his breathing fill the silence that follows.
As soon as I walk in the door I can tell my dad is pissed. He’s in his usual position, leaned over the kitchen table, empty bottles scattered around, lights off with the TV on. It’s eerie how this same scene has been replaying itself over and over again my whole life. I know what’s coming and brace myself. “Where the hell were you?” he growls, standing up and kicking his chair to the ground. “Where the fuck does it look like I’ve been?” I say, as I crack the cap on my Coors Lite and throw my bike on the kitchen tiles. He slams his bottle against the wall and flips the lights on, “The skate park? Aren’t you ever going to grow up? You’ve got school work.” He says it like he actually played some part in me finishing high school and staying in college. Like he knows what it’s like to do homework all night after sanding and taping cars for ten hours. Like he even knows what classes I’m taking. But he doesn’t know, and I doubt he ever will. Despite how it appears, what always pushes me over the edge is his ignorance, not his rage.
There’s no fucking rhyme or reason to when my parents decide to actually be parents. I almost failed out of high school because I was balls deep in parties, girls and BMX but they never did shit. Never said shit. I knew I was never going to be able to go away to college. To live in a dorm. To become lifelong friends with a roommate. To “find myself.” I might be missing out, I might not be. I’ve come to terms with that.
What I can’t come to terms with is my fucking parents. Why tonight of all nights, my dad thinks I have homework to do. He’s about 5 years too late on that one. Why coming home sober around 9 p.m. bothers him so much when half the time I’m not done drinking until 5 a.m., stumbling upstairs, slamming doors and puking. Good morning world! The moments they pick to instill discipline or life lessons never makes sense. They’re always far too late. What makes even less sense is how deep down, I still want to make them proud. I stayed in school this long for them. I go to class every day for them. I take notes for them. I study for tests for them. If I can stick it out for another two years I’ll be the first male to get a college degree in my family. I want to amount to more than them, but I’m still doing it for them.
I’m twenty years old this month. Yeah, I’m single. Yeah, I work two jobs. Yeah, I go to school. Yeah, I hate it. Yep, I still live with my parents. They don’t do shit for me except let me sleep here. They never have and probably never will. But I’m trying to do better. To be something better. Someone better. Go ahead and judge me. Fuck you.