A friend and co-worker of my wife brought a real charmer by the place over the weekend. Twenty two and very attractive by any measure, she showed up around noon on Saturday with a guy she had plucked out of a nightclub the previous evening. He was typical of a recent string of man “friends” she has chosen lately, “just her type”, and proof positive to me that there is such a phenomenon as female beer goggles that work inversely to the more documented manly variety. That is to say that the fellows in question are usually easy on the eye but stupid or otherwise unremarkable in the extreme at the starting gate, and get incrementally more brilliant or worthwhile with each drink consumed by the female subject.
He was a good looking and well built young man, relatively normal looking, excepting for of a number of scrapes and contusions to his face and a very bruised and fat upper lip, possessing the arrogant and aggressive attitude of too many young men these days. Being a few decades removed from my last fist fight, I resisted the urge of mocking his swollen mandibles by performing my best “Bubba” Blue imitation and instead broke the ice with a “What the hell happened to your face” inquiry. He told a sad tale of excessive Vodka consumption the previous evening, culminating in a hands in pockets meeting with a set of concrete steps when, while attempting to shoulder in the door of his own house due to a lost set of keys, he missed the door entirely and sailed off of the porch into an adjacent basement stairwell. “‘Could have happened to anybody” I nonchalantly stated, thinking to myself “you stupid douchebag”, while pointing him in the direction of a chair. “You look like you could probably use a beer or two to take the edge off”. He nodded his head, his swollen lip wobbling in synchronised agreement as I headed for the fridge.
On returning from the house with a few cold ones, I discovered to my surprise that he had brought his own supplies, pulling a bottle of Sky Vodka out of a bag he was carrying. Dismissing my offer of a glass or some ice and mixer with a wave of his hand, he tilted his head back and drained a goodly portion of the bottle. Then again…and then again. In what seemed like seconds, and in fact was, the substantial blue bottle was empty. As I turned away to see if anyone else had witnessed such a heroic and these days rarely seen act of gluttonous alcohol consumption, my wife and I made eye contact and in that brief glance, both of us having been around the block a few times in our younger days, we forlornly and silently communicated to each other that we had seen this act many times before and that this play, while sometimes entertaining, rarely has a happy ending. We weren’t to be disappointed.
Our out-door seating area on the shores of Hood Canal sits about eighty feet above the water’s edge. It is more or less a straight drop to the beach with only a few cedar stumps and protruding boulders to mar the otherwise vertical plane. Our power drinker, seemingly content after draining his jug, was sitting silently with eyes closed and seemed out for the count. We thought that perhaps we had lucked out and that the scabby faced young man had simply passed out in his chair, and that the rest of us could now enjoy the warm afternoon without any undue drama. Letting our guard down as he started breathing the long, slow, deep breaths of a thoroughly inebriated sleep, I perhaps a bit too loudly and sarcastically asked my wifes co-worker if she had at long last found “The One”, and if so she had right better latch onto him for he surely would be snapped up by another love starved methamphetamine user in short order. She began explaining how adorable he had seemed the previous evening and how embarrassed she now felt in letting him tag along with her to our place when he, now suddenly very much not passed out, leapt to his feet, mumbled something about lusting after small, dark women and “you being hot for an older chick”, and began groping my wife in a most unchivalrous manner. Well…fuck.
Rising out of my chair and reaching for a piece of firewood that I thought might serve nicely to send Scabby back to dreamland, my wife, declining to wait for a gallant rescue, caught him in the breadbasket with a well placed elbow sending him back peddling. He stumbled over a chair, glanced drunkenly off of a large cedar tree, hit the waist-high split rail fence at cliffs edge with a considerable head of steam and without further fanfare, broke through the top rail and went over the side head first.
My first instinct was to be rather amused at this turn of events. Once the location of his plunge registered in my head however, and the realization sunk in that the vertical nature of the cliff in this area was quite extreme, I quickly grasped the seriousness of the situation, not to mention the possible negative ramifications regarding my home owners insurance policy. I rushed to cliff side expecting the worst. I scanned the rocky shoreline below and not seeing him, inched closer to the edge. About half way down, lodged against one of the earlier mentioned cedar stumps, lay Scabby. He was moving and when I called down asking if he was ok, he returned a mournful moan that I am hesitant to admit made me laugh out loud.
“There’s a cliff BROooooooo….” Yeah, there is a cliff… Bro. I realize now why some animals eat their young.
We tossed a rope over the side which he managed, in his now “shocked into sobriety” state, to tie around his waist and we drug him back up top. After cleaning and patching him up, the rest of his body now covered in what resembled more or less the impressions left on his face earlier by the concrete steps, we told Scabby that it was probably best if he left, and requested that he please not return. My wife had pulled her co-worker aside and was speaking to her in harsh tones, though I couldn’t hear all of what she was saying. Something about choosing function over form I think. “But he’s so cute!” I heard the co-worker say, and they both shared a laugh, though my wife’s seemed a melancholy sort. The young people returned to the car that they had arrived in three house before, got in and drove away, and that was that.
“I think it’s going to be a nice summer” I said as we returned to our chairs by the steel pit. “Looks like there’s going to be a beautiful sunset. I’ll build a fire, why don’t you open a bottle of red.”
Returning with a Cab and two glasses, she sat down, held my hand and said “You’re not my type you know. Never have been.”
“I like tall women myself. Nordic. How long we been married now? Fifteen years?”
“Four months and 19 days.”
“Yeah, it’s going to be a great summer”.