[You can read the first part of the adventure here]
Dust motes shimmied in the warm still air of the new living room. The television was off, the set decorated with lace doilies and a wan spider plant. Ceramic figures peered at Jeremy from among its pale, green-striped leaves.
Slipcovers creaked under him as he looked around the room. He could smell the plastic. "Snow monkeys?"
The stick figure in the leather recliner spoke. "They're from Japan. We went there after the war."
The dust motes danced, the only movement in the room, the only life as Jeremy blinked out.
How funny that the extraordinary, when experienced, would feel so ordinary. Just like nodding off in front of the tv on a Friday night.
It was night again, but still warm. This tv was on, and this blue velvet sofa sadly lumpen and stained. The kitchen light was on, too, and the shadows of figures moved through the light as shouts and the sounds of breaking dishes came through the doorway. He couldn't understand what they were saying.
A kid sat next to him on the sofa, clutching a stuffed toy, some indeterminate animal shape. The kid didn't look at him, just at the tv. Jeremy turned his attention from the doorway to the television. He was shocked to see it actually had dials. The sound was either off or turned down low, and the people on the screen, all women and one frantic-looking man, weren't wearing any shirts. A game show or a reality show maybe.
"Should you be watcihng this?"
Without turning from the set the child said something in a flat voice. Jeremy didn't understand the word but was pretty confident of the meaning. He blinked out.
Damn, now it was hot. H-O-T hot. Still night. How can it possibly be this hot at night? And he was outside, as the crush of stars overhead made perfectly clear. Street sounds drifted up from below. Was he on a roof? Sweat poured off him, which the velvet refused to absorb. His hands itched. The sofa cushions bounced; the kid with the stuffed animal got up and ran off. "Hey—" He blinked out.
Oh, god, what is that smell?! Jeremy bent over in the bright sunlight, gagging, then blinked out.
Back inside someone's living room. Jeremy sprang off the sofa, and spun around at the sound of laughter.
"God dag vän! Vill du partiet?"
Jeremy was staring across the sofa at a group of naked blond people, laughing and smiling and mostly holding bottles of...booze? Sure looked like it. Jeremy sat down again.
A dog looked at him from next to a coffee table. The tv behind it was on, and the program was in English. Oh, thank god, MTV! The dog was still staring at him, so Jeremy cautiously stood up.
"Butch! Outside!" Butch and Jeremy jumped. A small blonde woman stood in the kitchen door and bellowed "BUTCH!" again to get the dog moving. As the screen door banged behind Butch, the woman said "Never mind him, he ain't no fightin' dog. His teeth's all filed down and he ain't got no balls!"
"You want a beer or something? Bong hit?" She moved towards a bookcase stuffed with all manner of things, except books, and took a leering white ceramic skull off one of the shelves. "Come on in the kitchen; that's where everybody's at."
"I, uh, do you uh have a phone Miss?" 'Miss'?! You twat! Get it together, dude!
The small blonde started laughing. "What you call me? Miss?! That's a laugh. Phone's in the kitchen, cowboy." She looked him up and down with a look of...oh, he'd seen that look before. The you-are-batting-outside-your-league mixed with a bit of and-where'd-you-get-those-shorts? Not good.
"What's your name?" He surreptitiously hooked his thumbs in his back pockets, hitched his shorts down low.
"Caren with a cee, or Katie with a kay for short. What do they call you?"
"Jer—oh, J-dawg, usually. Yeah, J-dawg."
She smiled. "Well, there, J-dawg, don't dawdle over there by the television, come on in where the action is and meet everybody now." She grabbed his pasty arm and dragged him through the doorway, where he stiffened and tried to back out, but she was stronger than her slender, nut-brown arms suggested.
Four guys sat around a formica table, the kind Jeremy sometimes saw as put-out nobody ever picked up, the plywood delaminating in the moist Daly City fog. Two of them wore wife-beaters, the other two t-shirts, and a fifth guy bending over an open fridge, had on a flannel shirt with the sleeves ripped off. Wow, people really do that. Go figure. The one wearing a Scarface t-shirt and heavily-glazed eyes asked, "Katie, who's this?"
"This here's J-dawg. The sofa spit him out." She let go of his arm, set the skull down and sat in the lap of one of the wife-beater-wearing dudes.
"Well, hello here ol' J-dawg! Mac, grab our friend here a beer! Katie, go get J-dawg here a chair!" Katie got a familiar butt slap and boob grab from the guy in the chair while Jeremy caught—just—the can thrown to him by Mac, still standing by the fridge with the door open, obviously relishing the cool air flooding out. "I'm Eddie, this here is Johnny and Andrew and Tracy, that there's Mac wasting my cold air."
"Hey, man." Mac made no move to close the fridge door.
"Where you come in from, J-dawg?" That came from Johnny, the exceptionally skinny guy in the gigantic Rocawear tee.
"Uh, Daly City."
Laughter. "Where's that?"
"It's in California." The laughter dried up and they looked at him eagerly. "It's just south of San Francisco—"
Laughter again, and the group leaned back. "You ain't no fag, are you, J-dawg?"
"I hear they all is. Every one of 'em a co—"
"No, no, Daly City's different. It's just a regular city. Say, uh, where's this?"
Eddie looked at J-dawn through slit eyes. He waved the smoke away from his face with the hand holding the lit cigarette, took another drag. "Indiana."
Jeremy felt a surge of hope. "Indiana! I have an aunt and uncle in South Bend—"
More laughter. "No, man." Tracy sucked a monster hit out of the skull. He held his breath, then exhaled and said, "Indiana, Pennsylvania. Armpit of the state."
Mac said, "That makes Philly the asshole, then!"
"Fuck you, man!" More laughter and passing of the skull. Jeremy heard the dog barking outside.
His head was starting to spin; Jeremy wasn't sure if it was the pot or the overdose of second-hand smoke. "How long have you guys had the sofa? Do you ever use it?"
Tracy, his undershirt grossly extended over his bulk, laughed. "Man, how do you think I get here? It costs too much to drive, so I just use the sofa. My cousin Pauly has one, so when I want to party or score I use it. Andrew here uses it to run errands for...well, you know, for business purposes only. Ain't that right, Andy?"
"How do you make it take you where you want to go? Is there a remote or something?"
"Hell, no! Leastways, this one don't have no remote. No, I've never seen no remote. I just sit down and start thinking 'party,' or 'dope,' or—laugh— 'dope party' and it takes me here. Or sometimes somewhere else, but they've always got what I'm looking for, or near enough. Hey, gimme another beer, darling!" A beer lobbed over their heads.
"Where's the bathroom?"
"Down the hall, man. Don't go pissing in the corner like Johnny here!"
"Hell, I'll show 'em. He's too stoned to find his own pecker!" Katie grabbed his arm again as Jeremy stood up, wobbly.
Eddie was motionless in his tilted-back chair, though his slitted eyes still shone through the haze. Mac, who didn't bother to look over, said "Well, don't you go showing him where it is, neither."
But when Jeremy was leaning over the toilet, trying to find the cleanest place to put his hand against the wall to keep from falling over, it was Katie's small brown hands opening his zipper and pulling his dick out of his shorts. He sat back against the sink, leaned back against the medicine cabinet, head thoroughly spinning from the beer and smoke and drugs as much as from the idea of a pretty girl giving him head in some stranger's bathroom.
When they were done he asked her, "Put me back on the sofa."
She wiped her mouth. "Sure thing, darlin'."
[To be continued...]