I was floating on my back in the pool. I can’t swim but I can do this gimpy, floaty thing for short durations of time until the visions of being eviscerated by imaginary sharks scare me back up to the lawn chairs where I belong. I rest my feet on the edge of the pool and lay back in the water like an upside down chair. In this manner I could consider the possibility of swimming while being relatively safe from drowning. So I’m floating, eyes closed, sun on my face, until I feel someone staring at me. My eyes pop open and I see a decent looking middle aged man standing at the edge of the pool, smiling down at me. He says “hi neighbor” which pretty much scared the shit out me and I almost drowned anyway. I was 19 and living in a swanky condo in Las Vegas. This man who, as it turned out actually was my neighbor, lived 3 doors down. His name was Chris, he was forty-something and was a high school wrestling coach.
I’m not much for making new friends and, when it comes to introductions, scaring the crap out of me is not the best method, but he apologized so I let him off the hook. I even took him up on his offer to go back to his place so he could show me his lizard and by that I mean his 5 foot Green Iguana who resided in a stadium sized custom terrarium in the middle of his living room. The iguana’s name was Mr. Green Jeans. It was a stoic creature that would occasionally tilt it’s head to get a better look at you and sometimes might even move one of it’s feet. At the time, I had no idea that I would someday have one of these mini dinosaurs of my very own. The first thing I noticed about his place was that it smelled like iguana. I suppose my house does too although I’ve had mine for over 10 years now so I don’t notice. Sometimes Chris would say hilarious shit like “we have to turn the music down because Mr. Green Jeans is getting stressed out” and I would be like “really, how can you tell?” Chris also told me that, although he had had Mr. Green Jeans a very long time, he didn’t plan on crying when the iguana expired and went to lizard heaven. For all I know that damn thing is still alive. So far as I know, they live indefinitely.
I still find it ironic that the first person to seduce me into smoking weed was a middle aged high school teacher. I was at his place one night and he rolled us a joint. I probably told him that I had never indulged the habit before but, to be honest, I don’t remember. Here’s what I do remember. We were sitting on his bed and I took a drag, expecting immediate results, and nothing happened. I didn’t realize it took a couple minutes to kick in so I guess I must of have inhaled, oh I dunno… all of that joint, like it was a cigarette. Chris, being an experienced smoker, just sat there with his god damned mouth shut and didn’t even try to intervene, apparently waiting to see if I might start reading his mind or speaking in tongues. What happened instead was that I became paralyzed. I mean not actually paralyzed; I could still wiggle my fingers and toes but my body seemed to weigh about 500 pounds and I couldn’t get off the bed. I couldn’t even sit up. What happened next? Fuck if I know. We might have had sex, but probably not, maybe I told him the exact date and circumstance of his death or where and when the next Mega Bucks machine was gonna hit, likely I told him to get some fucking air freshener for that lizard cage and then succumbed to a drug induced coma.
We only went one actual date, if you could even call it that. He took me to Tom and Jerry’s for some fish tacos and then we went to Binion’s Horseshoe on Fremont Street to have our photo taken in front of a million dollars. Yep, back in the day, Binion’s used to keep a million dollars in a bullet proof glass case and, for a nominal fee, you could have your photo taken in front of it. I never thought of Chris as my boyfriend. I didn’t feel any particular way about him, he was just the guy who lived down the street and I was just his naughty little secret. He wanted to fuck me, he tried to fuck me, and I didn’t stop him, but he had himself an acute case of the erectile dysfunction. I’ll concede that it can happen to anyone from time to time but I was 19 with the hormones of a race car which made me unsympathetic and, when it happened twice in a row, I was seriously unimpressed. I also began to pick up on the fact that he was hiding me from his friends. Apparently he didn’t want them to know that a limp dick was all that stood between him and deliciously kinky sex with a barely legal teenager. I took offense to that. I mean, what the fuck, right? That’s rude. So, with this in mind, I decided, rather than firing him, to torture him until he quit.
I was getting ready to go home to see Dean for his birthday. On the day I was flying out, Chris invited me over for a glass of wine. I’m pretty sure I polished off an entire bottle of something pink, at which point my behavior deteriorated to completely unmitigated bitch. I recall him saying “I’m gonna take you home now because you’re being an asshole”. This next part has nothing to do with Chris but is funny in any case. After he brought me home I still had to pack for my trip. I was only going to be gone for a few days but was so shitfaced I couldn’t figure out what to pack so I dug up my biggest suitcase and put pretty much everything I owned into it. Then I made my bitch of a roommate drive me to the airport. I was still drunk when my mom picked me up and I had no explanation for why I had packed enough shit to spend the summer in Europe.
Upon after my return, Chris invited me over for the evening. Having not forgotten my plan to torture him until he tapped out, I accepted. Shortly after I arrived, Chirs decided that he was going to take bath, presumably because he thought I would join him. Instead, I decided to perch myself on the back of the toilet and give him the mantis stare until he felt so awkward that he got out of of the tub and dried off. Then I went home. The next week he invited himself over to my place to watch a movie. We were sitting on my bed watching whatever lame ass flick he had brought over. I didn’t like it and was making frequent crude remarks about it when he said “why don’t you just relax and enjoy the ride?” “Really?!?!” I said “I am the ride”, a few minutes later he left of his own accord stating that I didn’t seem to want company right then. “How do you like me now?” I asked as he walked out the door.