Mike and Chris decide to travel around their home city as if completely filling an etch and sketch - making sure to step everywhere and look at everything.
Mike leaned forward and slurred, slightly pushing tilting glasses of beer across the table. ‘I don’t want this nostalgia, dude.’ He burped. ‘You know?’ He hiccupped. ‘Like, fuckin’, uh, fuck-‘
Chris filtered in. ‘I know, man. I know. I know exactly what you mean.’
‘No. No you don’t.’
‘Yes, I do. You said the same shit a few minutes ago.’
‘Well, sir. You listen again.’ Mike leaned back on his chair cupping his chin with his hand and pointing at Chris with the other. He fell flat on his back having forgotten he was sat on a stool and not a chair. ‘Fuuck me.’
Chris looked down and shook his head slowly. ‘Go on then.’
Mike coughed a little, put a cigarette in his mouth and watched the spinning ceiling fan above. ‘Like, I mean you got these stories, tv shows, movies and shit about this dude who’s super awesome, and kinda gives up his old life to go to some new life somewhere like fishing whales or building mountains in Africaan with a bunch of aids kids and I’m like damn that’s a pretty awesome life y’know?’ He continued talking while Chris helped him back onto his stool and lit his cigarette. ‘I mean, that dude can reminisce.’ He inhaled and without breathing out let loose a couple words ‘P. Diddy.’
‘Reminisce some time.’
‘Oh, right. You’re singing now.’
‘Yes. Yes, I am. But seriously. Seriously. What do we got to reminisce man? Buncha stories from high school? Damn.’
‘We just got out of college, man. We still got time. College was pretty fun. You remember college right? How the fuck did you even finish it?’
Mike let out a pffffch through his lips almost slipping off the side of his stool ‘What about the world, man?’
‘What about the world?’
‘The world. S’massive aint it?
‘Imagine right. If you set yourself to go to every square meter of it. Like an etch an sketch.’
‘You know when you try to colour in every etch sketch. I mean like, the whole screen, with the ink. You gotta go left and then down a little then right and then down a little and then left and the-.’
‘Yeah dude, ok.’
‘Anyway, as I was saying.’ Mike fell silent. ‘Fuck, what was I saying.’
‘Etch and sketch.’
‘Right, if you traverse the world like an etch an sketch you couldn’t even probably do that before you died now could you? Could you, Chris? You bastard you listen to me don’t be ordering more drinks without my consent.’
Two more whiskey tumblers landed in front of them. ‘Chris you bastard.’
‘Happy Birthday, man.’
‘You bastard thank you, but are you listening to me?’
‘Yes. You probably couldn’t or wouldn’t. Unless you’re some weird compulsive world traveller.’
‘HAH! Right. No. Yes. But what I’m saying. What I’m saaaying, Chris. Is that we should do it. We should doooo it. On this table right now lets go.’
‘Okay what are we talking about now.’
‘My dick, your ass, bangin to the bangin tunes.’
‘Yes lets do that. What we got here man. Nothin.’
‘We need money to go travelling. We don’t even have proper jobs dude. And where’d we go first?’
‘We could practice travel.’
Chris stared. ‘Go on.’
‘Like we live in this big ass city right.’
‘Right. Drink up there buddy you’re falling behind.’
‘You bastard okay.’ Mike finished his glass and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. ‘Listen now. We live in this big ass city right. And well what’s your favourite place?’
‘In the city?’
‘Yesssss, Chris. Fuck man.’
‘Chill, and I’d probably say the-‘
‘Fucking wrong, man.’ Chris was staring down the index finger of his drunken friend. ‘You can’t have a favourite place if you’ve never been everywhere in the city.’
‘You are stupid and you have a stupid face. Now what I’m sayin is truth. Think about it man. We been here all our lives and we haven’t even bothered to fuckin check out the rest of the city.’
‘Yeah because its places we’d never go to or want to go to or even need to go to.’
‘Fuck then what is travelin across the world if not places you’d never go to.’
‘What? The point of world travelling is cause you want to go to places you’d never been to but want to.’
‘Right, well. I think you’re missin’ my point.’
‘The etch and sketch.’
Chris folded his arms and rested his elbows on the table and stared at Mike. ‘What about it?’
‘We should do that here before we go travelling across the world.’
‘So when we leave to go world travelin we know we aint leavin anything behind.’
They ordered a couple more rounds of drinks before the bar closed. Chris paid for the bill and they both stumbled out into the light drizzle of the dawning city. The security camera above the door watched them until they disappeared behind the corner. Tomorrow the security guard would go over these tapes and sing along to the fading sounds of a Puff Daddy song.
They flung open the door of their next target bar. This one was open till the late hours of the early morning. An old man had made refuge in the furthest corner away from the rest of it all.
‘So that’s the plan is it?’
Mike leaned into Chris’ face and nodded before almost falling over. ‘Yes, that is the plan. An, an we have to remember it ok?’
‘Run me through it one more time.’
‘To go world travelin. We need money. I unnerstand that. I unnerstand that.’ Mike stumbled backwards and then regained his balance. ‘But, to get the money we need some way to get the money.’
‘And the way to do that, is odd jobs. Odd jobs. Work in a zoo, cleanin up poo. Then we can get motorbikes or dude. Dude. Horses.’
‘You want to go world travelling on horses.’
Mike rested his hand on Chris’s shoulder and gave him a starry, glazed look. ‘Yes.’ Chris let out a hearty laugh.
‘Alright buddy, lets get us home.’
Mike looked at the floor, and leaned forward into Chris, still holding onto his shoulder. His face inches away from Chris’s he slowly went from a low murmur to a loud moan. ‘Patronise me, will you bitch? Will you. Callin me buddy eh. Ehhhhh. Tell you who calls me buddy. Buddy. Fuckin’, fuckin’.’
After passing out, Chris wished him a happy birthday again as he picked him up and slung his arm around his shoulder. They were high school buddies, college roommates and now roommate roommates. Well it seemed like it to Chris, as Mike would be on his couch most nights of the week. Recently Chris wondered if Mike had a home at all. Both having recently turned twenty-four, they were a couple rungs up in the job market. Mike was a graphic designer and Chris had just finished his internship at an international banking and finance firm downtown.
Chris kicked open the front door of their apartment and flung Mike onto the couch face down and pushed a bucket underneath his gaping, and now drooling maw. They had left the television on again. An uncovered, slice of pizza lay in a box on the coffee table where ants now circled underneath. Chris swore quietly. He didn’t think he was that drunk when he left the apartment to quickly clean up around the house. Mike began to talk in his sleep about horses and Chris’s mother. Having swept the table clean and put all the empty beer cans in the bin, he headed to his room. He flipped on the light switch and glanced at himself in the mirror. He wasn’t unfit but he wasn’t fit either. Wasn’t great looking but he wasn’t ugly. Shaggy brown hair flopped against black-rimmed glasses. Grey hoodie on top of some linen shorts. He kicked off his shoes and sat on the foot of the bed before leaning back and letting the silence of the room take him to sleep.
He awoke to Mike’s face.
‘You alright, dude?’
‘Yeah, I was sleeping.’
‘Like that? Wait a minute.’ Mike stared. ‘Holy crap, you were drunk last night.’
‘Yeah I think I was.’
‘Grats, dude. Too bad I was too out of it to see. You want some eggs?’
‘Sure.’ He put his head in his hands. ‘Fuck.’
‘Forgot about hangovers.’
Mike grinned and then pushed Chris backwards onto the bed and turned to walk back out the room. ‘Hangovers are just nature’s way of telling you you had a good time. They should be embraced, cherished, longed for.’ Mike’s voice began to fade as he walked back into the kitchen, leaving Chris who had now sat back up on his bed. He scratched the back of his head and rubbed his face and then walked into the living room to sit on the couch. Mike was in the kitchen breaking some eggs into a pan. ‘Mother Gaia would be proud of what you’ve achieved. If you know what I’m sayin.’
‘I’m sitting on puke.’
They ate on the balcony and stared out at the rooftops of the city.
‘Fuckin love Sundays. Used to hate em you know, cause the next day would be school. But now I take a Sunday as it is.’
‘End of the week, man. Start of the new. Late breakfast, lunch, whatever. Noise seems to get filtered out into this weird quietness. Like if you weren’t here I’d probably think I was sat in silence. Then you got Monday the next day. Work time. Gotta get paid, naw mean? Get sum bitches.’
‘Don’t do that.’
Mike tilted his head. ‘Fucks with you?’
Chris looked up and then outwards. Sun seeped through broken cloud.
‘Nothing, really. I don’t think anyway.’
‘Shit. What did I do last night?’
‘Nothing. Actually you were a class act surprisingly. No bloody knuckles, no slapped faces, no ass grabbing or anything. You just sat there and got drunk and talked a load of shit.’
‘Oh. Sweet. I guess I’m fucking maturing like a mother fucker.’
They finished up and Chris took the plates to the kitchen and placed them in the dishwasher. ‘You seeing that girl again, Chris?’
‘Kay? Maybe. She seemed cool.’
‘Hell yeah, she did. You couldn’t stop talking about her. Where she at?’
‘She’s coming back down from City tomorrow evening so, might give her a ring.’
‘You will give her a ring, damnit.’
Three floors down and along the road, a girl on her bicycle headed to the bakers on the street corner.
‘Any movies out?’
‘Nothin but that film about that hitman dude. Goes round all pchew pchew until hes contracted to kill his wife and two kids.’
‘Sounds pretty fucking awesome more like.’
‘Eh. Neh. What d’you think was the last good movie we watched?’
‘I liked Constance.’
‘Which one was that?’
‘About some artsy girl, paints a picture that this dude falls in love with. He becomes obsessed with her but she’s not interested.’
‘Ah. That one. Then he steals the painting yeah?’
‘Yeah he steals the painting to try and get her to come back. Creates this super elaborate scheme an-.’
‘Aw fuck dude, I just remembered the end to that. You liked that? You depressing son of a bitch.’
‘Yeah well. Uh. Suck my balls, Mike.’ Chris poured himself a glass of beer. ‘I gotta do some work for tomorrow.’
‘Sure thing. I. Don’t. Yeaah, boy. ‘ Mike cleaned his plate up and brought it to the sink. ‘Anyway, I’m gonna head out, meet Tess.’
‘Alrighty. You know I’d like to meet this Tess girl sometime dude, you seem to be hanging out with her a lot.’
‘You sound like my mom.’
Chris disappeared into his room after giving Mike a friendly fuck off and shut the door behind him. Mike put on the same hoodie he had worn last night, a pair of sandals and donned his sunglasses upon his head. ‘Chris?’ he shouted from the front doorway.
Mike carefully opened and closed the front door without making a sound. As he walked through the corridors he could hear the distant screams of Chris’ whats and giggled to himself.