I don’t know why I even bother. I mean, I should have known when I took a goddamn train to goddamn Boston and tracked down the ex-girlfriend of Lane goddamn Sheridan to uncover that massive bombshell from his past, that goddamn Allen goddamn Dean would have beaten me to it. Yeah, so he’s only done it once before, but, given that he was my brand new nemesis, it was inevitable, wasn’t it? I was getting old–almost twenty-eight. Over the goddamn hill.
And I don’t even know why I bothered to schlep this goddamn lawn chair all the over from the goddamn Cloisters and up four goddamn floors and to my goddamn fire escape because I knew full well that the moment I turned my goddamn back, my goddamn neighbor was just going to sit on it. And I would try to goddamn converse with her, even though she was just going to call me Dude, like she had ever since I’ve goddamn known her. And it was only a matter of goddamn time before she blew my goddamn cover with my goddamn roommates and outed me as a goddamned heterosexual.
I sat in my prize, determined not to let her win. I had no idea where she was, but I knew she was watching me, and that this chair was comfy. Unfortunately, a sizzling jones then set in, and I needed to get high right goddamn now.
I stood and mourned the upcoming loss of my seat. Oh well, I sighed, my funeral. It took only a moment to gather up my pot-smoking and return to the outside, but that was all she needed. The inevitability of it all did nothing to lessen the sting.
“Dude,” she said.
I gritted my teeth, and choked out a polite offer, “Weed?”
She shook her head.
I was used to that too. Still, just before I put my pipe to my lips, I told her, “Your funeral.”
She sat up in the chair. “That doesn’t even make sense. How is it my funeral if I’m not doing something that could make me cough and die?”
I took my hit and held it, wondering how exactly it was that I’d set her off–so I’d know how to do it again.
“Why would you even say that?” she persisted.
I exhaled. “It was just something to say,” I replied. “I didn’t even think about it.”
She closed her eyes and sighed. “That was really weird of me,” she said. “Sorry.”
“That was pretty weird.”
“You know what?” she continued, extending her hand. “Fucking day I’ve had, I don’t care.”
I handed her the pipe and a book of matches, asking, “Are you sure you can handle this? You had a lot of fear before.”
She snatched the paraphernalia away. “Dude, don’t.” A flick of a match later, her beautiful chest rose as smoke filled her lungs. Her equally beautiful face grimaced as she tried to keep it to herself.
A smirk crept across my cheek.
She exhaled in a fit of coughs, and when she recovered, she snickered, “What are you laughing at?”
“It’s not funny.”
“It’s a little bit funny.” I reached for my stuff, but she yanked it away from me.
“Mine!” I replied.
“Yours when I’m done.”
She took another hit, and another. I found that my irritation at watching my marijuana disappear, bud by bud, into this woman’s mouth was tempered by the fact that it was one hell of a mouth. Finally she returned the half-exhausted pipe and a third of the book of matches she’d started with.
“Are you sure you’re finished?”
“I’ll take that as a yes.”
“Oh, my god,” she moaned, “I needed that.”
“Cannabis has that effect on people.”
She sighed as I helped myself to the remains of my bowl, and I asked her when I exhaled, “You want to tell me about the fucking day you had?”
Her eyes shot open. “Oh, no.”
“You want me to tell you about the fucking day I had?”
She sat up in the chair, gripping the armrests like she was on a plane hitting severe turbulence. “You want to go inside.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do.”
“I just shared an assload of weed with you.”
“Dude,” she insisted.
“Okay, what the hell is going on?”
I laughed with her, but I had no idea why. “Better now?”
Still giggling, she got to her feet and shook her head.
“You are one strange cat,” I told her.
She started to glide toward me.
I backed away, until the only thing standing between me and a four-story fall was a flimsy, cast-iron railing. “Now just wait a minute.”
She giggled again; her face was less than an inch from mine. I tried to turn away, but she followed my gaze in every direction. “I warned you,” she said.
My blood pressure rose. “Are you going to tell me what this is about?”
“I just remembered why I don’t get high,” she whispered into my ear before nibbling on it.
“This is your last chance to get away.”
“You’re not making a very good case for that.”
I felt a quick tug, and my belt clattered onto the fire escape, along with two bucks. “Your funeral,” she said.