Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Story of Thanksgiving. . .

[I was saving this story for Thanksgiving. Given that today is a friend's birthday - and our schedules leave us unable to celebrate, together - I'm posting this in hopes it entertains you. If only for a few minutes. Happy Birthday, LJ.]

Too broke to travel home, I spent my first Chicago Thanksgiving in the company of new found friends.

The greatest thing about moving to a new city is that nobody knows who you were. If done properly, you can convey the aura of someone you've always wanted to be. I'd grown tired of being the nice guy who wore his heart on his sleeve. I wanted to smother him with a pillow. I wanted to separate myself from who I was, completely. And so I played the part for over a year. At a bar one night, I mentioned that I hadn't seen my family since I moved. My friend replied, "You have a family?"

I'd done it. I created the apparition of a man with no ties. The only clue to his past was a photo that hung from his wall. A girl obscured by shadows. Beyond that, I was a crass reincarnate of Jay Gatsby. People didn't even know if or when I slept.

Come November, I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner being hosted in a friend's apartment. It was standing room only. Everyone brought some entree or side dish. Space on the kitchen counter was limited, and soon dishes were scattered across the living space. My contribution was a bottle of fine brandy and a carton of egg nog. Both of which sat squarely against the fridge. More people came, many of whom said, "(A.v.E), I've heard of you," upon introduction.

Maybe it was the undercooked turkey. Or, it could have been the warmed eggnog I was drinking. Regardless, I need a bathroom - like, now.

It's a phenomenon. You'll always be able to hear so much from within a bathroom. For fifteen minutes I sat there, able to hear every word being uttered beyond the locked door. People left. People arrived. The latter would lead to incident.

I heard one of the newly arrived make mention that there wasn't any turkey on the buffet. "That's funny," I thought. "There was still an entire half a turkey left twenty-minutes ago."

Mark, the host, informed the new diners, "There ended up being so much food, we had to put the turkey in the bathroom."

My back shot straight. Sweat began to form. I looked around. Carefully reaching out, I pulled back the shower curtain. There, in the tub, sat half of a turkey.

On cue, the doorknob jostled. Mark's voice carried. He to his surrounding, "Is someone in there?"

"I'll . . . be just a minute."

In this situation, there's no way to be cool. Gallantry and couth left, long ago. You are taking a shit next to a turkey that people are about to eat.

I clean up as quickly as I can with a lit Zippo in one hand. I struggle with the window. It's painted shut. Emerging from behind the door, I see Mark and four guests standing with plates of food. In an attempt to be polite, they file in immediately. As if the idea of a man defecating less than three feet away from their meal isn't upsetting. I leave shortly afterward.

Within a year, I would have severed nearly all connection to this entire circle.

But that's another story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the birthday treat, A.V.E. It took me way too long to realize you HADN'T stolen the turkey and brought it into the bathroom to devour in secret. Now, that would have been awesome...caught red-handed in the tub with half of a turkey leg sticking out of your mouth...