Week 37 – Brian Weeks

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Brian Weeks, Week 37

This is a vignette from something I’ve been working on, off and on,  for the better part of fifteen years. This is going to be a novel-length work when it’s finished.

Here’s the set-up: The main character, Jack, is back in his Connecticut hometown for his 20-year high school reunion. This is a flashback sequence to 1985, involving Jack, his girlfriend, Diane, and Jack’s friend, Jason. 

Everything was perfect. Jack’s parents were away for the weekend, dinner was almost ready, the table was set, REO Speedwagon was on the turntable, and Diane would be arriving any minute. Jack did a quick once-over in the mirror.

“Yuck.” He hated the skinny yellow tie Diane gave him for their anniversary last week, but it did go really well with his turquoise silk shirt. He fussed with his hair as the doorbell rang. “Just a minute.”

He ran over to the table and lit the dinner candles. Jack opened the door slowly, and was completely surprised by Jason Barnes pushing the door open wildly. So surprised was Jack that he fell backward onto the floor, landing with a loud thud.

Jason was in hysterics. “OH. MY. GOD, Jack, turn on the television! Quick!”

Jack lept up off the floor, and scrambled for the remote control. The batteries were dead. “Goddamn thing,” Jack muttered, and ran to the TV, flipping the knob. “What channel?” He was panting wildly.

Jason breezed in from the kitchen with a large plate of Beef Stroganoff, a can of Tab, and Jack’s pack of Marlboro Reds. He set down the food in his arms, lit a cigarette, and looked at Jack as if he should already know. He threw his hands up on the air. “MTV! The new World Premiere video by the Thompson Twins is starting in like, three minutes! Hello? We talked about this in Study Hall today!” Jason sat down on the sofa, and shoveled a forkful of food into his mouth. “Now will you turn it up and move, please? I have to see this video.”

Jack flipped the dial. He looked at Jason with surprise, then anger. “You fly in my door like your clothes are on fire, knock me right on my ass, and scream at me to turn on the TV. Here I am, thinking Russia just bombed Hartford, and all you wanted to see was a fucking Thompson Twins video!?!? Are you out of your FUCKING mind? And another thing! I ought to throw your ass right out…” Jack stopped abruptly. “What are you eating?”

“I don’t know. Some noodles and brown sauce. It’s barely edible.” Jason shoveled more food into his mouth.

“Where did you get it?”

“On the stove,” Jason said in between bites.

Jack’s mouth dropped open. “Do you even know what that is?”

“No, but it’s not very good.”

“You fucking moron! That’s the Beef Stroganoff that I spent all afternoon making for my DATE tonight with Diane! And she’ll be here any minute! How much did you take? There was only enough for the two of us!”

“Jesus Christ, Jack. You’re pretty wound up tonight, aren’t you? There’s still some left.” Jason continued eating. Jack went into the kitchen, and screamed.

“Goddamnit, Jason! There’s three fucking noodles left in that pan! What am I going to serve to my girlfriend?”

“Shit. I’m sorry, man.” Jason said from the other room. “Hey, will you get me another Tab? Preferably in a glass. With ice.”

Jack ran out of the kitchen and into the living room, leaping over the couch and onto Jason. He grabbed him around the neck and began shaking him wildly. “You fuckin’ son of a bitch! You ate our dinner! What the fuck are you doing here anyway? I didn’t even invite you!”

“Jack!” Jason gurgled. “I can’t breathe!”

“Good! What the fuck were you thinking! My girlfriend is going to be here any minute!”

Diane tapped Jack on the shoulder. “She’s already here. I arrived just as Jason turned from blue to purple. Let him go, will you?”

Jack released Jason’s neck, and pushed him onto the floor. Jason was coughing and gasping for air.

“Diane, he ate the nice dinner I spent all afternoon making for you.” Jack said.

Jason piped up from the floor, “Honey, I did you a favor. It wasn’t all that terrific.” Jack kicked Jason in the head. Jason winced in pain. “Diane, I can have pizza or Chinese in thirty minutes.”

Diane put down her purse on the hall table and smiled. “Pizza would be great, Jack.”

Jack picked up the phone. “What would you like on it?”

“Ham and pineapple. I’m feeling Hawaiian tonight,” said Jason from where he was sprawled on the floor.

Jack got up off the couch. “What are you still doing here? GET OUT, Jason!”

Diane laughed. “Jack, let him stay. Just don’t kill him, okay?”

Jack grumbled, and picked the phone back up, lighting a cigarette and glaring at Jason, who was now getting himself and Diane a Tab.

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