Terminal Sunsets Interlude
Mark drops me off at my mom’s house. The house is empty and it smells like potpourri inside. On the counter is a note; really a list of things to do while she’s out of town: feed the dog; water the plants; things like that. My mom has also left three numbers that I can get in touch with her at if I need to. Below the “Love Mom” is a P.S. that reads “no parties.”
I crumble the note and pour myself a drink. I call Timmy but no one answers the phone. I realize it doesn’t matter, though, because my mom’s car is still in the driveway. She’s taken her keys, but that doesn’t matter because I’ve made myself several sets of copies.
I walk into the den, sit down and turn on the TV. On the news is this newswoman reporting live from Endymion parade route.
“Although the parade doesn’t start until later tonight, as you can see, the revelers have already landed on the scene,’ she says as the camera pans over the crowd. I switch it to MTV and Madonna is on and that doesn’t help to ease my tension.
It’s windy outside and I can hear trees brushing against the French windows and pine cones falling on the roof. The house s fairly large and can get spooky sometimes. Although the house is old, I think it must still be settling or something because it creaks and moans and makes other odd noises.
I go take a shower and when I get out and walk back into my bedroom, Timmy is sitting there on my bed.
“Nice knock,” I tell him.
“I rang the doorbell for like ten minutes,” he mutters. “What are you doing, beating off in the shower.”
“You know it baby,” I kid, letting the towel drop as I dig in my closet for a pair of underwear.
“Shit, I wish you’d tell me before you do that.”
“Do what?” I ask.
“Oh, sorry,” I say, slipping on a pair of jeans .
He lights a joint and passes it to me.
“So what’s on the agenda tonight?” he asks.
“This is pretty smooth shit. Where’d you get it?”
“Martin got it for me. What are we doing tonight?”
“I guess the same thing we do every night, Go out, get loaded. I don’t know. Why?”
“I was just wondering dude,” he tells me. “You don’t have to have a tantrum about it.”
“I’m not having a tantrum dude. But just think about it for a minute. What else is there to do? Nothing. I wish there was something else but there isn’t. I’m open to suggestions.”
“Chill out. Why are you acting like a dick?”
“I’m not,” I tell him, continuing my rant. “I’m just saying there’s nothing to do but go out. We could go out in the city, which is basically the same thing, but just with a little more variety.”
“Whatever,” he mutters.
I let it drop and sit on my bed.
“What are you doing?” Timmy asks.
“Sitting down. Is that allright with you?”
“I thought we were going to do something.”
“We are,” I tell him. “We’re going to smoke another joint.”
“I shouldn’t,” he says. “especially after the way you’ve been acting.”
“How have I been acting?” I ask, exasperated.
“All weird. What’s the story?”
“I don’t like Mardi Gras,” I tell him.
“Why because of that dude you knew, the dude that got run over by the train?”
“That’s part of it,” I begin.
“Fuck dude, get over it. He’s probably better off not living here. Earth is fucked.”
I mull this over and it’s a pretty valid point, so I can’t say too much else in reply.
“That’s pretty deep,” I finally say. “No future in time travel is there?”
“Never mind,” I tell him, as he takes a big hit off the joint, holds it and exhales.
——– ——- ——–
At my mom’s house later, a few people have come over and the movie Under Cover gets put into the VCR. The story line is pretty lame. It’s about a narc infiltrating a high school. The cool thing about this movie, though, is that a lot of it was shot on location here, in and around Slidell.
For example, the bridge that they show in the opening of the movie is the Interstate 10 bridge that leads into New Orleans, the bridge that can be clearly seen from The Point, in Eden Isles. The high school the movie is shot at is the high school that I went to. In one scene, there’s this restaurant that they show. That restaurant is really a restaurant located at the end of Rat’s Nest Road, out by the lake.
It’s strange to know where all these places really are.
—– ——- ——-
Everyone leaves my house at around five in the morning. A bunch of people have sort of been in and out all night, myself included. I left, for a couple hours, to find Martin to get some blow for this girl that lives at Donald’s.
Donald left earlier to for a few hours, to go to the city. He just got back. His car door is open and his radio is on. Professor Longhair comes on the radio, the opening strains, whistles actually, of “Come to the Mardi Gras.”
Donald is still nursing a hurricane from Pat O’Briens and is wearing a Dr. Seuss hat, the big floppy one that the Cat in the Hat wore.
He, along with Martin, Timmy Billy and a few girls are standing in my driveway.
“So what do we do now?” somebody, maybe Donald, asks.
“I go home,” Martin says, bowing enigmatically and begins walking down the sidewalk, his trench coat flapping in the breeze behind him as he vanishes into the morning fog.
“We’re going to cruise too,” Donald says, leaning over and kissing one of the girls standing next to him deeply.
This other girl, with short brown hair nudges Donald and he clears his throat and tells me, “Oh, by the way Trevor, this is Terri.”
“Asshole,” she hisses to him before turning back to me. She smiles nervously at me. She’s the girl I got the coke for.
“Would you mind if I hung out here with you for a couple days?” she asks me.
“Days” I repeat, a little hesitantly.
“Please. I’ll even cook and clean. Donald has company coming in from out of town for Mardi Gras. I just need to stay for a day or two.”
“Sure,” I tell her. “Why didn’t you ask me sooner?”
“I didn’t want to impose.”
“It’s cool,” I say.
Donald and the girls get into his car and they pull off. I look at Timmy and he tells me he’s leaving too. I tell Terri she can go inside if she wants to and that I’ll be inside in a few minutes. She nods, hangs her duffel bag over her shoulder and walks into my mom’s house as I walk Timmy to his truck.
“What?” I ask. “Why are you leaving?”
“It looks like you’ve got company,” he tells me. “Lucky mother fucker. She’s cute. Nice ass. You ought to tell her nudity is a house rule.”
“No shit,” I say, nodding in agreement.
“You going to fuck her?” he asks me.
“It would be nice but I don’t see it happening.”
“Why not?” he asks me. “Didn’t you get her coke tonight?”
“Girls get horny on coke,” he says, sounding like an absolute moron.
“Oh,” I say. “Well then, maybe not tonight. Today that is. Give me some weed dude.”
“Man,” he says.
“Come on dude,” I say. “You know I’d do it for you.”
“No I don’t.”
“What?” I ask.
“As a matter of fact I know you wouldn’t. You’re a greedy bastard.’
“So greedy I bust up with you the first second I get a bag?”
He looks at me warily and tosses me the remnants of his bag and says, “here asshole. Don’t say I never gave you anything.”
“You don’t have to give it all to me.”
“It’s cool Trevor. I have another one at home.”
He starts his truck and then tells me, “If you do fuck her, I’d use some protection.”
“No future in time travel, huh bro?”
——- ——– ———-
Back in my house, I have no idea to say to this girl that is suddenly living with me. She helps me out by asking if I have some sweat pants and an old t-shirt she can wear to sleep in. I tell her I might but that it’s probably all too big for her.
“Well, let’s go see,” she says.
I lead her to my bedroom and begin sorting through my dresser.
“Those boxers should fit,” she says pointing.
I hand them to her and then find an old Talking Heads t-shirt and hand it to her too.
“Thanks. You don’t know how much I appreciate this,’ she says. “It’s sweet,” she adds and then gives me a hug and then turns around and walks into the bathroom.
I’m lightly dozing on the sofa while Terri rocks in the rocking chair.
“Hey,” I call to her. “If you want the sofa I can put some blankets out on the floor and crash there.
“Don’t worry about it,” she says.
She’s still wearing my clothes and a pair of sunglasses.
“Or you can crawl up here with me,” I tell her. “I don’t bite. Unless you want me to,” I add laughing to ease the tension. But she doesn’t seem amused.
“I don’t sleep around,” she says flatly.
“Oh. You have a boyfriend?”
“Okay,” I say, confused.
“I used to,” she informs me.
“Have a boyfriend or sleep around?”
“Both. But I like the boyfriend route better. It’s nice having someone around.
“It is. It is,” I agree my voice trailing off some. “Just having you here, even though we’re not doing anything, is pretty cool. I don’t feel so…alone.”
“You’re too sweet,’ she says. “I’m tired. I’ve been up too long. Crystal.”
“And coke,” I remind her.
“The coke,” she says excitedly. “I forgot I bought it. You want some?”
“Sure,” I say. “You want a beer?” I ask her as I get up off the sofa.
I open the fridge and grab a beer. I look around and realize there are no more left. I give her the last beer, assured that if there’s any gesture, any move that might help me get this girl into bed with me, that this is it.
I wander in, open it for her and hand it to her in a single fluid motion that surprises even me with its grace and simplicity.
“”Where’s your beer?” she asks me.
“That was the last one,” I tell her.
“Oh my god, that is so nice. That’s three checks for you buddy. You’re on the good list.”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with that,” I say.
“Here,” she says, handing me a mirror with coke on it. “Go ahead. Hit it. Cut a few lines. Nice ones. And don’t worry about the beer. We’ll get more. I may be homeless but I still have credit cards.”
“You’re not really homeless are you?” I ask her.
“Yeah, especially at home,” she says, as I roll a dollar bill up and snort the first of two big lines.
I nod, knowing the feeling, but not really knowing what she’s talking about. I do the second line and this one hits and stings right in the back of my throat and my eye begins to tear a little.
“Careful there cowboy,” she tells me.
“I’m good,” I say. “I thought you lived at Donald’s apartment.”
“I do but his brother is in town for Mardi Gras. He bought ten people with him so our little apartment is a little overpopulated.”
————– ——————- ——————
Saturday is a perfect day. I wake up at two in the afternoon to the smell of Canadian bacon. I walk into the kitchen and Terri is in there.
She’s still wearing my Talking Heads tee shirt but has lost the sweat pants. She’s only wearing panties and when she tip toes to reach plates in the cabinet or bends down to grab forks and knives out the drawers. She doesn’t hear me walk in and when she turns around she jumps a little.
Her hair is pulled back in a loose pony tail and a few strands of her bangs hang lazily down in her face. I’m sure she probably thinks that she is a mess right now. But to me, it’s the sexiest thing I’ve seen in ages.
She has made an enormous omelet.
“I’m sorry, I think I used to many eggs,” she says, backing up slowly towards the sink. “Sometimes I get nervous and when I do I cook. Whatever I’ve used, we’ll go get more.”
“It’s fine. Really. Don’t worry about it. I’m starved I tell her.”
She keeps backing up and I keep walking towards her. I reach past her and turn the faucet on. I wet my hand and then touch her face. I trail my wet hand down her cheek and press it to her lips and she sucks my finger.
“I’m hungry too,” she moans, her chest heaving.
I wet my hand again and run it through her hair, pulling the scrunchy off and letting her pair fall past her shoulders.
She grabs me and we kiss.
————- —————– ——————–
I snort a bump off her tit and then take her nipple into my mouth. The shower is on full blast. The bathroom is fogged up and the coke goes up my nose in clumps but I don’t care and she’s bent over the bathroom sink and I slide my cock into her too quickly and she winces and screams. But then she grips the tile basin and bucks her hips backwards against mine and we come for like the twentieth time.
—————– ————— ——————–
Terri is asleep on the sofa and I’m watching Geraldo when Martin walks in, looking too awake for someone who has been awake all night. But I remember that’s me that has been awake all night. Since Saturday morning
“How do you like your new roommate?” he asks rolling his eyes sarcastically at Terri.
“She’s nice,” I say.
“You don’t get it do you?” he asks.
“Get what?” I ask.
“Christ never mind. Look I came over to see if you wanted to ride into the city with me to Bacchus today.”
I tell him to check with me later and he tells me that there is no later, that he’s headed to his brother’s house and then straight to the city. I tell him I’m not sure I want to leave Terri here alone in my mom’s house all day.
“She’s been high for a few days now, doing that meth shit and God knows what else with Donald, Curtis, Maggie and the rest of that crew. She’ll probably sleep the whole time. Come on man. Fuck dude, leave her a note.”
“I’m not sure.”
“I know what this is all about,” he says accusingly.
“What?” I ask.
“You – not wanting to go to the parade. Timmy told me you were all weirded out about that friend of yours, Paul,, who got hit by a train at Mardi Gras a few years ago. Any shrink will tell you the only way to deal with your fears is to face them.”
Pop psychology by Martin – the mere thought of it makes me want to laugh in his face, but I don’t.
“It’s not fear,” I tell him.
Grief maybe, sprinkled in with a healthy smattering of guilt and remorse. Sorrow. Loss. Pain. The fragmented memories of when Paul was healthy and alive, regaling us all with tales of a hallucinogenic Chihuahua that talked to him at his uncle’s farm in Kentucky. But not fear.
“Are you coming or not dude?”
I follow Martin out.
———————- ——————– ——————
By the time we reach the CBD, the traffic is awful. Everywhere I look there are people. We try to get onto St. Charles, but the police have already set up the barricades., so Martin takes us through some side streets, drives the wrong way up a one-way street and finally find a parking spot.
We down a few beers from our ice chest, take a piss and begin walking towards St. Charles.
Once on St. Charles, we decide to go to K&B to buy a flask and some Crown Royal. It is a gorgeous day. The sky is clear and blue and there’s a certain crispness in the air that makes me feel glad to be outside no matter where I am. I assure myself, like Valerie did on the day I found out he died, that this is how Lee would want it. That he wouldn’t want me, any of us for that matter, sulking on Mardi Gras.
A large shadow flies towards my head and Mike’s arm snakes out and grabs a bunch of green beads. He splits them up and slips a few pair over my head and says, “Here, get into it. Happy fucking Mardi Gras.” He then hollers at this fine Swedish looking girl in a pair of faded jeans and a cream-colored sweater.
It turns out that K&B is a congregation spot, of sorts, for all the people from Slidell. Billy, Tommy, Mike, Randi, Maggie, Donald and Zoe are all there.
I’m a little surprised to see Randi here because she doesn’t usually hang out with this bunch, so I ask her who she’s here with.
“I drove up here with Manny,” she says hugging me. “How the hell have you been?”
“Allright,” I say. “You do realize what today is?” I ask her since her boyfriend at that time, was the guy who drove Paul to the city the day he died.
“Of course I do,” she says defensively, the smile now gone.
“You don’t have to get pissed,” I say to her.
“Well what the fuck do you expect Trevor? I can’t go five minutes without someone reminding me of it. I don’t want to be a bitch Trevor, but if you’re going to be bumming out all day I don’t want you around me.”
Exasperated, I simply tell her to fuck off and then I follow Martin into K&B.
“What was that all about?” Martin asks me as he stares dumbly at the stacked bottles of liquor.
“She’s just a bitch,” I say, knowing now that this was a bad idea to come today.
“Which is exactly why you shouldn’t let her piss you off,” Martin says. “Man, fuck her -like she knows something besides Motley Crue and biker fags. Why is she here with Manny? He must be really slumming it.
We see Manny and Martin tells him his girlfriend is a bitch.
Manny, who has opened an unpaid for beer out of his 12-pack, guzzles it, burps and says, “She’s not my girlfriend, but tell me something I don’t know. She wore my ass out the whole ride over here. I smoked a big joint with her too, good shit. I hoped it would just shut her up, but it only seemed to make her worse. She must be on the fucking rag or something dude.”
Martin and I buy two flasks, and a fifth of Crown. Outside, we fill the two flasks off and there’s only a quarter of the bottle left. He opens his Mountain Dew and we use it, taking turns, to chase the remaining Crown.
Out of nowhere Randi comes charging at me and screams, “You fuck off you fucking prick. What about your two friends who didn’t die that day? You ever think to give them a call? Some friend. You didn’t even go to his funeral you fucking asshole.”
“No one went to his funeral you dumb cunt. It was in Kentucky and you know it Randi.
“They went. I went with them. But you weren’t there. You could have gone and you know it. We were going to drive you, you fucking coward.”
She then storms off into the crowd, disappearing. Manny shrugs and apologizes and then chases off into the crowd after her.
“Man, fuck that shit,” Martin says. “It’s over. It’s history. Let’s fucking party.”
—————— ———————- ———————-
When I get home I can’t find Terri. She’s not on the sofa. I go back to the bedrooms and find her crashed in my bed. I feel her head, I guess, to make sure she isn’t dead. She moves a little and takes hold of my hand in her sleep.
I pull my hand back quickly, as if I’ve been electrocuted.
I quietly get undressed and get into bed with her.
In bed with Terri: she’s wiping her eyes and I’m freaking out because she’s crying after sex.
“It’s allright baby,” she tells me. “I sometimes cry like this after sex, especially when I come that hard. And that’s the hardest I’ve ever come in my life.
“Is that good or bad?” I ask, just wanting to be sure.
“It’s good baby,” she says, reaching out with one hand and rubbing my shoulder lightly.
This relieves me because when she was screaming in orgasm, I was seeing my friend getting spread out over seventy-five feet of railroad track.
———- ——————– ——-
I think of this, all of this as I sit waiting for Martin at Mothers. I have no idea what I’m going to say to him. I have no idea how he and Terri got together. But I know I’m going to have to deal with both of them soon. Not today, thank God. Martin is supposed to be coming alone. But eventually I’m going to have to face Terri.
I remember the day we broke up.
Terri came home early from work and caught me in her bedroom having phone sex with this girl….I almost forgot about the girl. I never knew the girl’s name, but her phone calls began out of nowhere. We’d talk for hours, sharing most of our darker secret hopes and dreams, along with some of our perversions too.
I hung up the phone, freaked.
“What the fuck is that? Who was that?” Terri asked, flipping out, rightfully so too.
“I don’t know,” I said, which was true. But to her ears, it must have sounded like the biggest load of crap this side of the Mississippi Valley.
“We’re done,” she said. “I am so out of here. Who is she?”
“Terri, I honestly don’t know. It’s this girl. We’ve been talking for months. We don’t usually do…well, this.”
“Well what do you usually do?”
“Talk,” I say lamely.
“Oh, you mean like confide in each other,” Terri says, accusingly.
“Well yeah,” I say.
“Get out,” she tells me.
“But it doesn’t mean anything.”
“That’s the first truthful thing you’ve said to me Trevor, now please. Leave. Just go. I don’t wanna drag this out any more.”
—————— ——————— ———————–
I wrote a book once. Not the Katrina book. That book has caused so much stir and controversy (most of it really not deserved) and I am not really able to talk about under the advisement of my attorney. The Katrina book is another story for another day.
No. This book was written shortly after Terri left me. It was a coming of age story about a group of young, bored suburban kids on the verge of adulthood. They drank, they took drugs, they partied and shopped. Some died. Most of them fucked each other.
Although it was officially labeled fiction, the work was shamefully and unapologetically autobiographical. Names were changed for the most part. Some of the characters and many of the scenes were complete fiction. But some names of some of the characters were real – like Terri, Martin and Donald to name a few. Even the nameless, faceless phone sex girl was a character (to this day, no matter what Terri says, I still do not know the identity of the girl I spent so many hours of my life on the phone with – talking, laughing, masturbating, crying and sometimes screaming at.) But she was real, and until now, I had forgotten about her.
But I didn’t bother to change their names. I didn’t bother at all to change them. I didn’t care about being sued because, quite frankly, I never planned to publish it. No, I kept their names the same as an act of spite, an act of retaliation. That world, those days, those times – I almost didn’t make it out alive. And rather than accepting responsibility for myself, it was easier to blame those around me.
The parties, the clubs, the sex and booze – almost killed me. And for this they had to pay.
What I didn’t know then, and what I’m finally coming to realize now though, is that they have paid. Age, loss, pain – hell, we’ve all had our crosses to bear. But I didn’t see them as such then. I didn’t even see them as people, even though I had once called them all friends, and Terri a lover.
No, I didn’t see them as friends and I didn’t even really see them as characters for that matter. I saw them as enemies that had to be dealt with. And fiction, at that time, was a convenient weapon. It was my only weapon.
The book was quickly written in my kitchen at a cheap rental house over the span of a few weeks one cold winter break between semesters when I attended Southeastern Louisiana University, in Hammond. That was a very cold winter, my landlord was basically crippled and the house was not insulated. I remember waking one night to find it so cold inside that I could see my breath as I exhaled – vapor.
I wrote the manuscript and stuck it in a box and that was to be the last of it. Until this girl at college (it’s always a girl isn’t it?) rooted it out one night when I was passed out drunk. She was a graduate assistant in the English department. She woke me from a deep slumber to tell me I had to publish it immediately.
I told her no, that it was a bad idea, that the book was immature. But she argued, she was of the mind that it was a book that spoke the truth. Her exact words: “This is the truest book I have ever read in my entire life”
I knew it wasn’t and I tried to dissuade her but she brought it to one of my professors. He liked it. Within a month it was published – limited edition (all I could afford to print) about 200 copies.
I own 75 of them still. They’re in a storage unit in Jackson, Mississippi.
So you can imagine my surprise when I look up and see Martin standing at my table inside Mothers, clutching a raggedy paperback in his hand.
“What’s up man?” I ask him.
He drops the book, my book, a tattered copy of it, on the table in front of me.
“Oh,” I say.
“Oh is right motherfucker, interesting little piece of literature here dude,” he says. “I’m especially fond of the scene where I get fucked in the ass at the orgy at Donald’s apartment.”
“It’s fiction man,” I tell him.
He pulls out the chair on the other side of the table and sits down dramatically. He’s always had a flair for the shit.
“You’re going to have to do a hell of a lot better than that, dude,” he tells me. “I’m talking royalties. You feel me man? Lets talk.”