The setting: I live in a big house as a renter of one bedroom.
There are four other bedrooms and roommates.
One of the more recent move-ins is Robert. Robert drives a very large blue truck with a 50mm machine gun mount on the hood, stenciled lettering: Zombie Assault Vehicle, and --well...I've come to think of him as Robert the Zombie killer.
Then, there's a young fellow with wild, long, bizarre hair, and another guy with dozens of tats...
FUN and ROOMMATE GAMES
I received the text about an hour after I arrived back at the house. It was Robert the Zombie killer.
"Would you like to play checkers or chess later on this evening?"
I sat thinking.
'Surely this would make for an interesting story to write later.'
I texted back the one word: "Chess."
Before the evening was over, the following cast of characters would be larking about in the kitchen.
Terry (Crow Wrangler)
Robert (Zombie Apocalypticist)
Shay (Tattoos. So many)
Weird Al (Curly electrified hair straight out)
Lulu and Sadie (Robert's idea of fun guests)
I will switch to fake names to protect the innocent. (Me.)
Zombie Killer: “I invited some girls.”
Crow Wrangler: “To do what?”
Z.K.: “They’re comin’ over. “
C.W.: “To do what?”
Z.K.: “My wife and I are gettin’ a divorce.”
C.W.: “Which means…?
Z.K..: “When the cat’s away the mice come play.”
C.W.: “So, am I to understand we’re playing with mice and not chess?”
Z.K.: “Nah. We can do both! When’s the last time you had some fun?”
C.W.: “Just before I ended up in prison.”
Z.K.: “What? Yer lyin’--aren’t ya?”
C.W. “I wish.”
Z.K.: “What was you in prison about?”
C.W. “About two years.”
Z.K. “Nah--I mean what’d ya do?”
C.W. “I murdered my previous roommate in cold blood.”
Z.K.: (Snickers. Stops and makes a serious face.) “Na-h-h-h.”
Robert: “That was the doorbell?”
Me: “Or a prophecy of things to come.”
Robert sashays to the front door while I pour a stiff shot of Napoleon brandy.
The thought crosses my mind as to what happened to Napoleon.
I hear a woman’s voice. It sounds like Carol Burnett when she played the character “Eunice.”
Lulu: “Say, could you come help us get Sadie out of the backseat my car?”
Me: “Hello to you, too.”
Lulu: “Oh--excuse my manners. Could you---?”
Me: “My name is Terry.”
Lulu: “Oh--I’m Lulu--could you come help us get Sadie out of the backseat my car?”
Robert: “Sadie is passed out. We’ll have to lift her out of the back seat and carry her inside.”
Me: “Hold on, hold on--wait! Is there any reason why we shouldn’t just let her stay in the backseat of the car? What’s wrong with her?”
Lulu: “Aw, she’s got a ‘condition.’.
Me: “What condition is her ‘condition’ in right now?”
Robert: “Sadie is passed out. We’ll have to lift her out of the back seat and carry her inside.”
Me: “Did you ever see the movie WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S?”
Lulu : “Sadie ain’t dead. She’s just got a ‘condition.’”
Me: “But wait--hold on--why can’t she just sleep it off IN THE CAR?”
Lulu: “She’s in the backseat of my car. Sometimes she craps her pants.”
(Long pause while I pour a larger glass of Napoleon brandy and chug it.)
Me: “So, if I follow your chain of logic here...it is better to have her INSIDE THE HOUSE on the kitchen floor crapping her pants?”
Robert: “Yeah, Lulu--what about that? You gonna change her diaper?”
Lulu: “Robert, she don’t want nobody knowin' ’that. Why’d you say that to a perfect stranger?”
Me: “Hang on here just one minute. Just to keep the record straight. I’m NOT perfect.”
Robert: “Okay, let’s go get her and we’ll work this out while we’re playing chess.”
We three marched out to the driveway where a 1955 blue Nash Rambler with dents like the surface of the moon gleamed under starlight.
In the backseat was a lady (I’m being very restrained, gentlemanly, and polite as I write these words) of about 110 years of age sprawled in the back seat.
She was snoring. Her very white skin was like---oh hell, just use your imagination.
I don’t want to think about it anymore!
We hefted her every which way, yanking on ankles, tugging on elbows… It was a push-me-pull-you situation.
At long last, Robert and Lulu managed to drag Sadie the unconscious lady into the house.
I stood still in the driveway wondering how far I could run and how fast I’d get there.
Hail Hail the Gang’s All Here
Sadie had been deposited like the body of a deer in a highway accident on the carpet in the living room.
Imagine in your mind what it would look like if somebody threw their grandmother out of an airplane without a parachute and she had fallen ten thousand feet, then crashed through the roof onto your living room rug.
Got that picture in your mind?
THAT is what it looked like.
We turned off the lights so we didn’t have to look at her and all sat down at the kitchen table.
Me: “So, Sadie is who, exactly--your Grandmother?”
Lulu: (Offended): “Don’t be a smart ass! She’s my sister! She don’t look her best right now.”
Me: (Before I can stop myself) “I should hope not.”
Robert: “Shall we all play chess now?”
Lulu: “Bobby, I didn’t come over here to play no damn game of Chest.
I thought we was gonna party.”
Robert: “It ain’t gonna be no party with your sister all zonked out like that.
Now my friend Terry here ain’t got no date!”
Me: (Beginning to come out of my skin) “Wuh-wuh Whoa. Hang fire. Nobody said anything about a DATE! I’m more than happy to leave the two of you to your own resources and I’ll just go to my room and clip my toenails.”
From the darkened living room the sound of a crash could be heard, followed by a loud “OOF!” A string of colorful cusswords and astonishment erupted next.
All three of us bolted from the kitchen into the living room and clicked on the light.
From upstairs, one of the new roommates, Shay (Sheffield) was lying draped across the body of Sadie.
Lulu: “What the F**K! Get off my damn sister! Who told you-you could get on top of her?”
Shay: (More puzzled than the human mind could conceive) “I tripped in the dark, dammit.
You shouldn’t oughta leave your sister in the middle of the floor in the dark like that.
It ain’t my fault!”
Robert: “Yeah, Lulu. Lay off. Say, Shay--this is one of my girlfriends, Lulu…”
Lulu: “What do you mean--ONE OF your girlfriends?”
(Shay scrambles to his feet and straightens himself out; all the while staring at the woman on the floor.)
Shay: “Is she dead, or what?”
Me: “No, but I wish I was.”
Robert: “Lulu--all I meant was--I’m not completely divorced yet.”
Lulu: “You saying your WIFE is one of your girlfriends?”
Me: “Who’d like a BIG STIFF DRINK?”
Shay: “I for damn sure would.”
Shay and I left Robert and Lulu in the living room arguing while we poured a drink and started a game of chess.
The yelling went on for quite awhile.
I don’t know what time it was when the two of them came back into the kitchen and not before turning out the light in the living room.
Somehow or other, we ended up sitting around the table taking turns playing a really insane game Robert thought up.
It was called QUEENS.
Robert: “Here are the rules: All the pieces on the board are Queens.”
This truly stupid game went on way too long with one pair of us at a time playing one of the others. I tried explaining to them (but they did not believe me) that whoever starts will be the one who wins--no matter what moves are made!
In the middle of the 4th or 5th game, a loud crash was heard in the living room.
Me: “I think Weird Al has just met your sister, Lulu!”
The More the Merrier
I call him, ‘Weird Al” because his hair is weird--just like the singer.
Al is a low-key throwback to the Hippie era of the 60’s. However, Al is only about 21 years old.
“Hey! Dudes--did you know there’s a dead granny in here? Like, wild, dude.”
Lulu: “That’s my sister, you asswipe!”
Me: “Speaking of asswipes--did anybody think to bring some--just in case?”
Robert: “Hey, Al, how’s it going?”
Weird Al: “Oh, hey Robert. I thought we were playing some chess this evening?”
Lulu: “She ain’t crapped her pants yet.”
Me: “Praise Jesus!”
A new game is introduced by Robert the Zombie Killer.
All the chess pieces are pushed to the center of the board, smushed up close to each other.
Next, the game begins with strict rules of chess in effect!
We play, taking turns, and the screwball game turns out to be fun. I think it might have been fun--or, maybe the Napoleon brandy was having an effect.
Things had settled down a bit--until--we heard a loud voice from the darkened living room.
“WHERE AM I? WHAT THE F**K IS HAPPENING TO ME?”
Robert: “Hey, Terry, your date just arrived!”
Me: “Very funny. And by that, I mean NOT funny at all.”
“SOMEBODY GET ME OFF THIS FLOOR!”
Lulu: (Grinning at me) “Let me introduce you to Sadie. Come with me.”
Me: “No, that’s okay. Where’s that bottle of brandy?”
Robert: (To Lulu) “I’ll help you.”
Weird Al: Staring at me, (horrified) “That’s YOUR date? Why is she on the floor?”
Me: “The landlord smashed the couch to pieces a couple of months ago in a fit of pique.”
Weird Al: “Oh. Okay.”
The next thing I know, 5 of us are seated at the kitchen table.
(In a scene which oddly reminded me of Bride of Frankenstein)
Sadie: “Hi. I’m Sadie, I’m supposed to be your date this evening...according to Robert.”
Me: “I’m afraid there has been a BIG misunderstanding about that, Sadie.
A MONUMENTAL misunderstanding. Robert made some assumptions without discussing any of it with me.”
Sadie: “What’s a matter, too much of an age difference? I’m 51-years-old.
How old are you?”
Me: “I’m 70 and yes! I’m WAY TOO OLD for a young woman such as yourself. There are laws against this sort of thing.”
Lulu: “He’s right. Good god, Robert--what were you thinking?”
Robert: “Hell, I’m sorry. I didn’t think he was THAT OLD.”
Sadie: “You don’t LOOK that old.”
Me: “Oh trust me. I’m way old. I’m not any fun, either. I’m a real party pooper.”
Sadie: “Yeah well--that happens to me, too. I use DEPENDS.
What do you use?”
Me: "Oh, Jeeze!"
Note: (I didn’t think any of this was very funny at the time.)