(cont. from HARRY/previous page)...and through a cloud of smoke start to tell the story of the time I ordered a midget, transvestite stripper for Jus' birthday.
I look up from my book, smiling when I see it’s Justin. Laying it down on my lap, pages open, I text him back, asking him what they’re doing, and he replies, “Just telling stories, hanging out, and drinking. You?”
“Reading. What are you drinking?”
“Vodka and beers. When are you two coming over? ”
“Hold on ,” I message. Getting up from the couch, I head towards Court’s room but not before returning quickly because I forgot to put my bookmark in.
“Comfortably Numb” is playing softly on the speaker next to her bed when I open the door. It’s dark, the shades are drawn, and she’s taking a nap, trying to catch up on what sleep she lost last night.
“Hey! Dumbass!” I yell, breaking the tranquil atmosphere.
She sits up suddenly, darts her head around the room. “Huh, what?” Looking at me with one eye open, her hair all over the place, she sleepily asks, “What time is it?” A wad of pink gum is entangled in her hair, just above her right eye.“
Chewing gum before you went to bed?” I ask, walking into her room.
Smacking her lips, she looks around her bed. “Yeah, LL, please, just thirty more minutes.” She closes her one eye and lies back down slowly.
“Okay, but just so you know, you have gum stuck in your hair.” I close the door, and before I even make it to the couch, I hear Court screaming.
Still shrieking, she runs into the living room, holding up a mirror, looking into it. “LL, what the fuck do I do!?” She starts poking at the clump of gum, pulling on it, yelping some more, stomping her feet. “LL,” she pleads.
Despite knowing that she’s looking for me to be just as over dramatic as her about the situation, I respond like I always do when she’s ranting about something - which she hates - with sound logic and reasoning. “Well, poking won’t help,” I tell her. Casually stretching back out on the couch, I glance at my phone, set it on my lap, look back at her and calmly say, “Leave it alone until we figure out what to do.” After thinking for a second, I suggest, “We should call the Grandma.”
“Yeah, she’ll know what to do! Move over.” Court hits my legs, I bring them to my chest, then lay them out on her lap when she sits down. Putting her phone on speaker, she holds it up, and I can see the contact name that Trent changed a year ago when he borrowed her phone. It reads, “THE MOTHERFUCKIN GRANDMA!!!”
While it’s ringing, I tell her we should try and leave by 9:15. She points at her hair, and giving me an irritated look, puts her hands up. The Grandma picks up after the third ring. “Hello, sweetie?”
“Grandma!” Court squeals into the phone. “I’ve got gum in my hair! How do I get it out?!”
“Ok, sweetie, relax.” We can hear people in the background. “I’ve had cum in my hair so many times, I couldn’t begin to count. Now calm down, and just go wash it out with shampoo. It’ll come out.”
“Gum, grandma, gum! What the fuck?! I’ve got gum in my hair! G – U – M.”
“Oh, sweetie.” More background noises and some music starts to play. “I can’t hear well on this thing. Let’s do that video thing, and you show me what it looks like.
The phone is too close when the Grandma answers, and we can only see her eyes and part of her nose. “Pull the phone back, grandma!” Court impatiently barks.
“Leave it alone,” I tell Court, pulling her arm down, and both of us look at the screen.
The Grandma isn’t wearing a shirt, and we can see the top of the straps on her bra. They’re thick and made of leather, with shiny spikes on them, and behind her, over her left shoulder, through the large, square opening in her dining room wall, we can see two women kissing in the kitchen. They’re wearing similar, leather bondage-type gear and a man who looks remarkably similar to our waiter, starts licking one of the woman’s breasts. “Grandma! What are you doing! Turn the phone!” Court screams.
She casually looks behind her right shoulder, then her left. “Oh, sorry, sweetie,” she says, turning around, indifferent. Waving her hands, she instructs whomever is holding the phone to move with her. “Here, here, okay, stop. That’s good.”
“Okay, girls,” she says, looking back at us. The only thing in the background now is a painting hanging on the wall behind her that Court made in high school. Surprisingly really good, it’s a portrait of a tulip field. A small stream runs through the middle of the rows of orange, red, yellow, and purple flowers that mix together nicely, creating new colors. At the far right of the painting, in a dark, brown tree, a petite, cute, older bird is perched on one of its branches, and next to her, in the nest they share alone, a baby bird is sleeping.
Showing her the gum, Court asks, “Grandma, what do I do?”
“Sweety, relax.” Pretty calm for receiving a video call in the middle of an orgy, the Grandma goes on to explain what to do while we try not to laugh. Too much. “Do you girls have any olive oil?”
Not knowing the answer, Court looks at me, and while stand- ing up, I say, “We do.”
“In a bottle?” the Grandma asks.
“Yes,” I say, leaning back down.
“Well, you better let her out!” The Grandma starts laughing at her own joke, and so does the person holding the phone, who I can now tell is a man.
Irritated, Court shouts, “Grandma, it’s no time for jokes! What if I have to cut my hair!” The Grandma tells her again to calm down, and after I get back from the kitchen and show the bottle to the camera, she instructs me to completely cover the gum and surrounding hair in olive oil, using either my fingers or a toothbrush.
“Then just wait a few minutes, girls, and remove the gum.”
“Thanks, grandma!” Court says, waving. “We have to go! I love you!”
“I love you too!” I shout, sticking my head close to the screen.
“I love you, girls!” the Grandma says, a hand appearing on her shoulder. It’s Julio. Not wearing a shirt, he smiles, nods at us, then says something in Spanish to the Grandma, and she hands him a black leather mask with filtered eyes and a tube for a mouth.
“Grandma, what is that!?” Court asks, laughing.
“Oh, it’s just Julio’s anti-snoring device, sweetie. Don’t pay any attention to that. I have to go, girls! I love you!” The camera breaks off to the right, panning to the ground, and before the video shuts off, we can hear the Grandma say, “Now be a good boy and get down on your knees, Julio,” and then something in Spanish.
Still giggling, I look at Court. “Have I told you how much I love the Grandma?”
“Yeah, everybody does. Now get this shit out of my hair.
”Jumping off the couch, I clap my hands together a few times. “Let’s make drinks first!” I say, grabbing her hand. “Come on!”
After snatching the pineapple-flavored Cruzan rum from the freezer, along with a blue ice tray, I set them on the counter, then slap Court’s arm. “Leave it alone,” I tell her. We’d tried the rum on a trip to St Croix this past Spring Break. It was in the first drink served to us when we checked into the resort, and we both loved it so much that it was the only liquor we consumed for the rest of our trip, mixing it with orange juice, Coke, fruit punch, and coco- nut water. Within a month, we’d finished the three bottles we’d brought back with us from the duty-free in the airport, but luckily, on the way back from a last-second hiking trip suggested by Court last weekend, we found some in a small liquor store 5.4 miles off the interstate. We were only an hour away from home, but both of us were in the mood for a beer, so Court found two stores on her phone, and even though this one was further away, we chose it because we’d already passed the exit for the other one, and I didn’t want to turn around.
“I can’t believe it!” Court yelled from the next aisle over. She’d made a habit of looking for the Cruzan rum anytime we visited a new liquor store, always striking out. Kneeling down, with one bottle tucked under her arm and two in her hand, she waved me over, excitedly shouting, “Check it out!” We bought the eleven bottles they had at $9 a bottle.
“Make mine with orange juice,” she says.
“Exactly what I was going to have!” I squeal, reaching into the fridge, grabbing both. After mixing our drinks, I motion to the sink, tell her to “lean over,” and she puts her phone down. Our glasses make a “ping” sound when they meet, and we both take a sip. I coat the gum and surrounding hair with my fingers, tell her to wait a minute, then wipe my hands with a paper towel.
“Like, exactly a minute?” she asks, turning her head, looking up at me.
“Let’s give it two, to make sure.”
“Okay, well hurry up.” Tilting her head, she takes a swallow, and some of the drink misses her mouth, pouring down her left cheek.
“Sure, Court. I’ll just make time go faster.”
“Okay, good,” she says, closing her eyes, and I roll mine. When I bring the glass to my lips, the scent of the rum, processed by my olfactory bulb, travels to my amygdala and hippocampus, eliciting memories of our trip. I can easily picture the beach, mid-day, both of us laid out, the green and white striped hotel towels underneath us, the sound of the ocean breaking in front of us, the smell of lunch cooking at “The Pirate’s Cove” fifty feet away.
Court calls for me, and my pleasant memory abruptly changes to us hiking over the small mountain that was filled with Caribbean Hermit Crabs, to some tide pools, her complaining the entire time, sweating profusely and taking breaks, asking “How much longer?” every five minutes.
“LL, Hello?” She’d already said my name twice.
Snapping out of my haze, I pull at the gum, and most of it comes out easily. Around twenty percent won’t, so I tell Court to wait another minute; she tilts her head back down, and I start stroking and scratching her head. “Mmmm. Will you go around to the sides and do in front of my ears too?” she asks.
Moaning, Court moves her head around, non-verbally direct- ing me where to rub, and I massage for longer than sixty seconds. When I tell her, “Time’s up” and “Let’s see if I can get it out,” she asks if I’ll continue for another minute. Unbothered, but out of habit, I roll my eyes again and looking out the window at the wooden lawn chair on the balcony, I recall three years ago when the Grandma rented us this apartment.
It was freshman year, and I’d been studying all night, and the yelling from the living room had woken me up from my two hours of sleep. It was early, 8:02 a.m. when I looked at my phone. I knew Court had a class, but it was at 8:00. “I wonder what’s going on?” I thought to myself, walking across our room, pulling on my white robe with yellow, blue, and red stars on it.
Stopping once I heard my name, I peeked through our barely open door, not opening it any further, because it creaked. The roommates we’d been living with for the past month-and-a-half were complaining to Court, telling her that I just wasn’t “cool” and they wanted me to move out, find other housing. “We want you to stay,” Tabitha told her. “You’re fun to hang out with.” None of the four had given any type of effort to be friendly towards me since day one, all of them acting rude, arrogant, and disrespectful, despite any efforts or forgiveness on my part.
“Listen, Bitches.” I don’t know if it was from Court saying that, or her actions that created the loud bang I heard shortly beforehand, but all four of the girls let out a gasp, then backed up, and I could now see a little of someone’s blue dress, and Jenny’s gold purse, swaying back and forth, disappearing and reappearing in the entry- way from the hall to the living room. “Let me be fucking clear. LL is my best friend,” she told them. “You cunts are nothing more than acquaintances - fucking douchebag tools we were roomed up with. You, you, you, and you, go fuck yourself!”
Three hours later, Court woke me up. Holding a brown, paper bag, she was sitting on the edge of my bed. “Come on, we’re mov- ing,” she said, taking my hand.
We moved into this fantastic, two-bedroom apartment, a place that my parents nor I could ever afford half of. The Grandma, wear- ing a matching yellow sweater, jacket, and skirt greeted us at the door. Giggling, she was jingling our keys above her head. After tour- ing our new place with them, I walked out on the balcony, sat in one of the wooden chairs and watched the people four stories below for a few moments. I opened the brown paper bag, took a bite of the pink frosted donut Court brought me, and it was the best donut I’d ever had.
Turning her head and opening her eyes, Court says, “Okay, want to see if it will come out?”
The gum comes out effortlessly, in one piece, when I pull. “All out,” I tell Court, tossing it in the trash, slapping my hands together.
She grabs the brown towel next to the sink and asks, “What time did you want to leave?” While rubbing her head, she moves out of my way.
“9:15,” I remind her, washing my hands, and she asks if I want another drink. Motioning to my half-full glass, I answer, “No, I still haven’t finished that.” She doesn’t listen, grabs the icy bottle from the counter, and starts pouring until I yell “stop!” which doesn’t take long. When she’s done fixing hers, Court starts teasing me about Justin, telling me that I need to step up my game.
“And this is an actual conversation I overheard between you two!” she says, loudly. Turning to her left and right, she mimics Justin and me. “Well, no one asked me to the formal,” she says, copying my voice.
“Yeah, me either. What are you going to do?”
She turns. “Stay home if no one asks.”
Copying some of his movements, she says, “Me too, but it would be fun to go.”
“I agree. It would be nice to go,” Court says, talking slowly, acting dumb, mocking me, her head tilted to the side.
Done with her theatrical performance, she turns to me. “I agree? It would be nice to go!? It would be nice to go?!” she yells. “Seriously, LL?! That’s the best you two can do?!” I look away, down and to the right, more embarrassed about actually hearing our terrible conversation out loud than Justin and my slow time table. She starts up again. “And this one I overheard from the hallway! You two were studying. What was it? Two weeks ago?” She looks at me for affirmation, and when I don’t say anything, she turns to her left, and trying to sound like him, says, “So, this guy I know likes this girl I know, but she’s been completely oblivious to all of his signals, so what does he have to do to tell her he likes her?”
Putting her head down and acting like she’s writing, just like mine was, Court talks without looking up. “I don’t know, just tell her he likes her.”
She tilts her head up, turns. “Like, I like you. Just like that?”
“Yeah just like that.”
“I like you.” “Yeah, just like that.” Squeaky voice, head down.
“I like,” small pause, “you.”
Glancing up, she shakes her fake pen. “Yep, you’ve got it, anything else? We really need to study, Justin.”
“Anything else?! Anything else?!” she shouts, hopping around the kitchen, her shirt flying up, exposing her belly button. “Are you fucking kidding me?!” She throws her hands in the air. “Anything else? Yeah, how about you lick my pussy, Justin, while I take these stupid, fucking notes!” Shaking her head, she looks at me. “The shame and disappointment I felt in that hallway. Shame, LL, shame!” Hardly taking a second to breathe, she belts all of this out, loud and fast.
“Are you finished?” I ask, leaning against the kitchen counter, standing up quickly, looking back at my clothes to see if I’d rested in any olive oil.
“No.” She splits her middle and forefinger apart and starts sticking her tongue in and out of them. “Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Justin,” she moans.
“Ew, gross, Court.” I try to hit her hand, but she dodges me, and still darting her tongue in and out of her fingers, she starts jumping around the kitchen again.
“Oh, Justin. Oh, oh, ohhhhh!”
“Haha. You are so funny, Court.” I take a drink, not paying much attention to the fragrance this time, and she finally stops after I try to defend my actions. “We were studying! It was a huge final!” I yell.
“Yeah, yeah, you can still get laid.” She takes a large chug, looks at me, then screams, “We are getting drunk, so fucking drunk and high tonight, LL!” With her arms out, she attacks me, hugging me tightly, and I hug her back. After letting go, she tells me to text Justin. “Tell him we’ll be there around 9:30,” she says, and she starts dancing around the kitchen again, mocking my voice, repeating, “Anything else” and “It would be nice to go,” while doing the tongue thing again. When I try to walk to the sofa to get my phone, she blocks my way and starts gyrating against me.
“Get out of the way, Court jester,” I say, shoving her. While texting Justin, I take several sips, and defending myself some more, I remind Court of what only she knows. “I’m still a virgin. You know I’m not good at any of this stuff.” I take a large gulp.
She stops whatever silly dance she’s doing. “You know, you should-” After pausing for a moment, she looks at me mischievously, then starts nodding her head up and down. I glance at my glass, notice I’ve consumed quite a lot in the last couple of minutes, and when I look back at her, she finishes. “You should shave your pussy tonight just in case.”
"A tale of indulgence and camaraderie that ultimately proves moving."
After Sunday there’s just Harry, the future business owner; Justin, the medical intern; Trent, the hapless wanderer; and Clarence, soon to don the badge and blues. But now they have years of memories to honour, all packed into one weekend. Will they grow into their new adult roles? Will they go out in style with the girls? Will the four of them even survive the sheer level of debauchery?
Living in an apartment paid for by the Grandma, an ex-hooker turned millionaire, Courtney and Ling-Ling couldn’t be more opposite, yet are completely inseparable. Courtney and Harry have been hooking up for years, neither able to commit, but their imminent separation is about to test that arrangement, and Ling-Ling’s never-ending reciprocated crush on Justin just might become more than that.
Their lives intersect with that of Professor Goodkat, their idolized instructor who never quite “left” college himself. In Goodkat, we find the consequence of getting to live out a hedonist fantasy, and the possibility for change in anyone.
Hilarious, raunchy and uninhibited, “The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale” captures contemporary society while chronicling the dreams, regrets, perspectives, and future after youth in an unbroken sequence of shockingly touching exploits. No longer armed with the excuse of college stupidity, these friends will go on a journey with higher stakes than a night out has ever had. Because there are things about themselves that blacking out can’t erase.