Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ski Bums

Mona’s driveway was full of cars and there were many more than usual parked on the street also. As I walked up to her front door the noise from the party was unmistakable. It was 8:30. I wasn’t late according to when Sharon said I should arrive. But it was pretty clear the party was several drinks ahead of me. There wasn’t any reason to ring the bell or knock—I just walked in. The living room was packed with people I’d never seen before. Mona’s co-workers, I imagined. A few looked at me. A few even smiled. I scanned around looking for Sharon, or Mona, or anyone I knew.

From just past the foyer I could see the kitchen. Sharon was sitting on a bar stool at the counter with her back to me. She had a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Some guy I didn’t know was facing her, his right forearm on the counter, his big mug about two feet from Sharon’s face. His eyes were locked on her as she talked and laughed. I thought he might drool on her. Standing next to "Biff" was another guy I didn’t know talking to a beautiful girl. I didn’t quite understand the scene in front of me. The noise in the living room kept me from hearing anything coming from the kitchen. The beautiful girl in front of the sink looked at me. It was Mona. Suddenly she realized who she was looking at and a look very near horror flashed across her face. She excused herself and came hurrying towards me. Sharon never turned around on her bar stool.

“Wil! It’s great to see you, sweetie! I didn’t know you were coming,” Mona said.
I looked puzzled I’m sure.
“Sharon invited me. Didn’t she tell you?”
Mona glanced towards the kitchen and said she must have forgotten.
“Here, let me introduce you to some of my work friends… and, uh, I’ll show you where to put your coat,” Mona said.
She led me to the hallway to the bedrooms.
“Who the hell are the guys in the kitchen, Mona?”
“It’s not what it looks like, sweetie. They’re just a couple of guys who we’re going skiing with tomorrow so I invited them to the party,” Mona said.
I could feel the blood coming up in my neck and head.
I must have been turning red.
Mona got between me and the kitchen in her hallway.
“Sweetie, I didn’t know Sharon invited you. She never told me. I don’t know what’s going on with her but please, please don’t blow up here!” she was pressed up to me and whispering—loudly over the crowd noise.
“I work with these people, Wil. I can’t have them talking about the Christmas Party that turned into a brawl,” Mona said.
I nodded and walked out the front door without a glance at the kitchen.
I had left my car on the street about a block away. I was pretty sure Sharon wouldn’t be chasing me down the street to jump in and give me a blowjob like Thanksgiving weekend.

I drove around until about 11PM. I went from furious, to angry, to pissed, to finally something close to humiliation. I pictured Sharon getting up in front of the crowd in the living room and, after quieting them down, saying:

“You may have seen a guy here a few minutes ago. He wasn’t a party crasher. He was just some loser I used to go out with for the past four months. (The assembled party-goers went "ahhhh" in sympathy for the poor girl.) Well, he’s gone now and won’t bother us anymore. Meanwhile I want to introduce you to Biff who is taking me skiing this weekend. And by skiing I mean we’re going to play in the snow for an hour or two and the other 46 hours he’ll be fucking me six ways to Sunday. Thank you for your attention. Party on!”

Fuck. I hated parties as much as I hated skiing.
I stopped at my favorite tavern and pool hall to see if anyone was around. Nobody I knew. I called my buddy John on the pay phone. A half hour later he was sitting there having a beer with me. I told him the whole story—except the imagined monologue from Sharon.

“I don’t know what to make of that Billy boy,” he said.
I nodded.
“Seems like there are nicer ways to dump a guy than to rub his nose in the new boyfriend. Hold it, that didn’t come out right,” he said.
“It’s OK. I got the point,” I said.
“On the bright side, this frees you up to make a run up north with us next week.”
(A “run up north” was a trip to one of the biggest college towns in the country about an hour or so north of us.)
“School’s out. Things will be dead up there,” I said.
“There’s always something going on there, dipshit. Besides, you got sumpthin’ better to do? Hey, why don’t you go back over there and have Biff and his buddy beat you to a pulp. Then we can come see you in the hospital instead of going up north when school’s out, asshole.”
He had a good point.