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Day Twenty-Three

My stepmother— my father’s fourth wife— Marilyn called me earlier today with a proposition: move in with her and my father to Possumgrape, Arkansas. Move in with them and they’ll pay for my college tuition. Apparently my life is lacking substance— ha— and going back to college will be the right thing for me to do next. Oh, and they’re going to pay the tuition so long as I’m not “smoking dope in the house”. A generous offer, indeed.

Her name popped up on my cell in the middle of a monster bong rip. I let the phone go to voicemail just so I could finish my record-breaking toke uninterrupted.

“Give us a call back, Charlie. It’s Bob and Marilyn. We want to talk to you,” she said. Oh God, a surprise. Ever since Chaz “surprised” me with cable I’ve never liked surprises. I mean, come on: cable is an expense.

I gave it two minute’s thought and then finally exhaled my Olympic-size pool cloud of smoke. I guess I had to call my parents back. This would be so much easier if they were dead.

Marilyn picked up, “Charlie, can you hold on one second, Just a mo—” I heard a loud crashing sound on Marilyn’s end of the line followed by rumbling. There were cries for help in the background. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought Marilyn was saving kids from a burning building but— “Sorry, Charlie, I needed a moment to save some kids from a burning building. ”

“Marilyn, you’re a fucking superhero.”

“Charles,” she said, “your father and I have a proposition for you,” she was interrupted by screaming in the background.

“Fucking orphans!” a voice boomed.

“Who is that?” I asked.

“Just your father, don’t worry about him,” she said. I could still hear my father yelling “Tiny little fucks!” in the background but I ignored him.

“What were you saying?”

“Your father and I have a few extra rooms here in the mansion we bought here in Dimebox, Texas. If you want… you can move here and you won’t have to pay rent and we’ll pay for college.”

“Shit!” both my father and I cried in unison.

“Mr. Costello,” I said, “With all due respect: School’s out.”

“You don’t have to make your mind up now but we’ll fly you out to Woonsocket, Rhode Island in a couple weekends with your brother if you want. You know, see if you like the place and all.”

“I’ll definitely have to think about it,” I said.

“Give it some time. Your father has mellowed out since he kicked you out.” My father swore on cue as if he were actually paying attention to his wife (or any one of them) for once.

OK, but you can’t stop me from doing things like starting bands called “My Uncle’s Throbbing Member” or using one of the guest rooms to develop cooking alternatives like “Yeast! (But Not What You Think!)”

“Alright Charlie, but—” Marilyn stopped because my dad was telling her something. “Okay, but no smoking dope in the house.” Ah Christ, they got me where it hurts.

“Well,” I said, “It’s been a good liver.”

“What?”

“So I’ll see all the boarding information for my flight in my email by 8 in the morning tomorrow?”

“Don’t talk to me like that mister, but yes; probably by 4AM. I’ve been up real late recently. I’ve been worried about a lot of things that—”

“Thanks Marilyn!” and I hung up without saying goodbye just like in the movies and then I smoked a doobie in front of a fire hydrant.

Things I need to consider:

1. What about Katy and me? Does this mean the end of us? Maybe I can see about having her move either with me or to the bottom of the ocean— with me.

2. What about Orange County? And by that I mean, what about my friends, my family, and my favorite Mongolion BBQ place? I don’t think I’ll miss Bernice or her fiancee Hickory Stump or anything but I might miss Garrett coming out. I used to call him a faggot before it wasn’t not OK to call people faggots. And he just accepted being called a faggot and we were good friends. But then everybody, including me, stopped using it because it was a hurtful word. So Garrett never had a person call him a faggot after that even though he was a faggot. Is a faggot. Once he comes out then things will go back to normal and I’ll have my best friend back.

3. How do I tell Chaz that I’m going to be moving out as well?

4. How do I sever ties with Aaron, my drug dealer. And how am I going to get drugs after I do that?

5. Drugs, again. And Katy. I really don’t know what to do about us. I can quit whenever I want to. But not the drugs. I can’t quit those whenever I want to.

6. Is there a bottle of Robitussen around here?

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