So my friend Tony, he of the dithering am-I-gay-am-I-straight debate and I accepted an invitation to a friend's house for dinner last night. We rolled up around seven and since my friend is not a particularly good cook, we wrestled with the idea of bringing takeout but didn't want to offend her.
The front door was open since it was a hot night in Los Angeles. We also figured out it was open, possibly, to accommodate the billowing smoke streaming from the kitchen. My friend, let's call her Jill, was in the kitchen - I could hear her banging around. The TV was blaring out in the living room and a guy was sitting at the dining room table watching helmet-haired TV pundit Nancy Grace trying and convicting that strange young woman Stacy Anthony whose toddler has been missing for three months.
"I think I might be gay for sure," Tony announced. "Nancy not only does not give me wood, she makes my dick shrink."
"Mine too," announced the other guy, accepting Tony's offer of a can of beer.
Jill's roommate Sophie came into the room with a fire extinguisher in hand, giving us all one-armed hugs. We launched into a lively discussion on the subject of Nancy's hair and from the kitchen, I could hear Jill having a meltdown.
"I'm afraid she'll throw things at me," Sophie whined. "You go in there, Tony."
"Noooo, I'm too young to die. You do it, A.J."
So I manned up and trotted into the kitchen to find Jill taking a pretty healthy slug of vodka straight from the bottle.
"I ruined dinner," she screamed, pointing at something black and crisp in the sink.
"We'll order pizza," I assured her and she poured a little vodka into a glass, brought it the living room, squeezing herself between Tony and the other guy, whom I still hadn't met.
Tony and Jill began a violent discussion on Nancy Grace's hair and the other guy and I began a game of backgammon as Sophie put the fire extinguisher back in the hall closet.
The game was getting competitive when the pizzas arrived. Drinks were freshened up and Nancy Grace's hair still hadn't moved. Everybody had an opinion on it.
"I think it's a wig."
"I think it's an optical illusion."
"I think she sprays it on."
Tony leaned into Jill. "I'd like to muss up her hair. How about you? Can I muss up your hair? You wanna have sex? I need to know if I'm straight."
Jill looked at him. "We've already had sex. Don't you remember?"
"No! Did we? How was I?" Thereby sealing his fate of going home without any action at all.
We went on to have a very pleasant evening, playing round robins of backgammon and insulting everyone who came on the TV when Jill asked Sophie to accompany her to the kitchen.
A few seconds later, Sophie came out, a strange look on her face, asking me to join them.
"I don't mean to be rude," Jill whispered, taking another hit of vodka, capping the bottle and slipping it back in the freezer. "But who the hell is that guy?"
"You mean Tony?"
"No, the other guy you brought."
"I didn't bring him. I thought he was YOUR friend. He was sitting here when we arrived."
The three of us looked into the living room. Tony and the stranger were making lewd comments about Dog the Bounty Hunter's family picking pumpkins in a patch for Halloween.
"Tony..." Jill called out.
He got himself out of his chair and lumbered into the kitchen.
"Who's your friend?" Jill asked, reaching for the vodka again.
"He's not my friend. I thought he was your friend." Tony lumbered back out and asked the guy, "Say, we've just been having a confab and nobody seems to know you. Who are you?"
"I am Eric the Great."
"How did you get in here? Did you break in here?" Tony asked.
"Of course not. How rude! The front door was wide open. I just walked in here."
We all looked at each other.
"You have to leave." Jill was on the verge of hysteria now. I was thinking about giving her a straw for that vodka bottle in her hand.
"Why? I'm not bothering anybody," Eric the Great insisted.
He had a point there, but you don't just go around walking into people's houses.
"I am Eric the Great and I am not leaving." He folded his arms across his chest in a defiant way and I prayed that Tony wouldn't suddenly announce that he was getting, you know, wood.
"This is only happening to me because you're here," Jill said, pointing a finger at me. "I've known you 24 years and you attract nothing but weirdos."
"I'm not a weirdo!" Eric the Great banged on the dining room table.
"Yes, you are!" we all shouted back.
Eric the Great was not very happy when the police were mentioned. In fact he looked petrified. Tony frog marched him out of the house, with a couple slices of pizza for the road. He took off, down Hayvenhurst Drive, muttering and shrieking to himself. Across the road, another front door was open.
We all watched Eric the Great swallow the last remaining bite of pizza, crossing the street, a determined look on his face.
"Should we do something?" Jill asked.
"No." Tony was firm. "He's their problem." We went back inside and shut the door, all of us looking at each other in a guilty way.
"Only in bloody Los Angeles," Tony opined and then we heard a police siren. "That was fast," he said, reaching for the last can of beer.