Punch Line

Hoo boy, this is gonna crack you up.

So, Jordana and I went to a play last night (more on that anon) and we were walking home at about 11:15. We live in a pretty nice neighborhood and we almost never feel threatened on our walk home. Every once in a while there will be a group of kids, and I like to make sure I know where they are, but other than that, I’ve never felt the least bit weird walking home.

So, last night, we were walking and laughing, we were in a pretty good place, which usually happens when we’re up and around. As we got to our block, I noticed there was a guy in front of us who was staggering a little bit. I felt Jordana stiffen up, and I instinctively moved her to the other side of me, knowing we would eventually pass this guy. He was little, but he was staggering, could barely walk in a straight line.

As we closed in on him, I recognized him. I mean, I had known who he was the whole time, I sorta recognized the ponytail and, of course, the stagger I knew was that of a guy who was a hopeless shit-faced drunk on his way home. As we passed, he was trying to eat a peanut, and the effort of it almost caused him to crash to the ground. As I passed, I sent Jordana ahead.

“How you doin’ there, Buddy?” I asked.

“Oh, hey Sean…” He couldn’t focus on my face, but he could slur out the name of his landlord.

“Kinda hard to eat peanuts and walk at the same time”

“Sure,” he said, “and I have to… I have to *PEEL* them… The SHELLS.”

“Are you doing okay?”

“Yeah, I’m just…” he could barely put his sentences together, ” I’m trying to… do this… and get home.”

“How’s it going upstairs?” I asked, already knowing the answer. He’s supposed to be out by the first. He had promised he would be out by the first.

“I’monna need another week one more week.”

“Another week…”

“Yeah, izzat gonna be a problem? I’m sorry, man, I wanted to be out by the first, but I’m tryin’ to do it myself, all myself and I’m not havin’ all the… stuff, y’know?”

“Yeah. You need another week?”

“Izzat gon’ be okay?”

I mean, no, that’s not okay, but that’s not what I said. “Yeah, we’ll work it out. I gotta get up there as soon as I can, my mom’s gotta be able to get in by the 17th, so… we’ll work it out.”

“I’m sorry…” he just looked down. “I’m just so sorry. We couldn’t get the other apartment together in time, and I’m doin’ it all myself.”

“Yeah, okay man” I headed downstairs, Jordana was already in. “You sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry…” he wandered into his apartment.

At two in the morning, I finally called his phone. He came in, turned on the TV and passed out, and the sound was rattling throughout our bedroom, and we’ve got an agreement that he’s supposed to turn his stuff off by one. I dialed and as soon as I heard the phone ring, I heard something fall to the ground upstairs and a scramble for the phone.


“Hey man, this is Sean downstairs.”


“Hey, I need you to turn the TV off, it’s…”


He hung up the phone. Twenty minutes later, the TV was still blaring, and it continued for the next three hours. I didn’t have the heart to call him again.