Old Friends

I’ve written on this blog before about my buddy Mike, my older buddy who got booted from the Marines for selling pot on base. Here’s part of our conversation from this morning:

“You’re never gonna’ make that one, son.”

I am not good at real basketball, but I love trying to make shots of litter into the trashcan. The trickier and more difficult the attempt, the better. I have come up with some good ones.

“Oh yeah? I’ll take it up a notch.”

I made a behind-the-back attempt from a ridiculous distance. The empty plastic jar of instant coffee was off by five feet.

“Nice try,” commented another down-and-outer who fritters away his mornings in the federal plaza. He laughed when I said that my specialty was empty vodka bottles.

“Good,” Mike joked as I returned to our bench, “now that you’re out of coffee maybe you’ll chill the fuck out!”

Like all my friends, Mike hates to see me wasted. But I also bug him out when I’ve got too much coffee in me.

“Actually, the term of my generation, or Generation Y or some shit, is ‘Chillax’.”

“‘Chillax?’ As in, ‘Take a break from chopping wood’?”

“Nice try, but it’s a combination of ‘Chill out’ and ‘Relax.’ Because, you know, they save two syllables with that neologism.”

“And then you go and waste ’em right back with whatever that last word was.”

“Yeah, but these stupid kids only use words that can be texted.”

“No fucking shit. They do that shit more than they actually talk. I was at my ex’s last month, and she’s on the front porch, texting my son who’s in his old room. I’m like, ‘Why don’t you actually walk to his room’?!”

“Are they fat? Or scrawny fucks like you?”

“They’re in shape, you know. It’s just a stupid thing.”

“Speaking of stupid things, I had lunch with that lady yesterday. She’s straight-laced herself, but her daughter is 21 and already an alcoholic. I don’t know if she really is or if it’s just the normal drinking of someone that age.”

“Could be either.”

“That’s basically what I said. But–you’ll love this–she said that she was doing fine until she went to that Otakon shit.”

Otakon is one of three or four conventions that entail that Baltimore has several Halloweens each year. People dress up like anime characters and you’ll see people dressed up like the characters throughout downtown. Everyone else laughs at them.

“Fuck, if my kid was into that shit, I’d become an alcoholic myself.”

He instantly laughed when he realized what he’d said, since we’re both drunks.

“I know you say you’re from a redneck area of Bawmore, but I’m from the edge of Pennsyltucky. And my dad was from pure redneck stock. But when I went through my freaky, skate fag stage, he had no problem with that. When I wore shit like a pink sock and a yellow sock to school, my refined mom worried that I was gay.”

“One of my boys went through a Grunge thing, with like black nail polish and a little light make-up. I was cool with that.”

“I could see you taking him aside and saying, ‘Son, I don’t care if you’re gay or what, but stay the fuck away from that goddamn Otakon shit. And if you look for more than two seconds at a My Little Pony horse [a Bronycon reference], I’ll fucking kill you’.”

“‘Here’s a bottle of Jack. Take that costume off and drink it. Want me to get you some coke’?”

“‘How about some whores, son?’ You’d get a call at four in the morning: ‘Mr. Lykens, we’ve got your son down here at Central Booking.’ ‘What’d he do?’ ‘Sir, he attacked an officer so we had to kick his ass.’ ‘Did he have a costume on? Did he really assault them or did he use a toy sword?’ ‘He just kept yelling, “Fuck you all”!'”

“That’s my boy!”

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