Tuesday, February 15, 2011

COMMON GROUND "The Toilet Seat" - Part 5

As soon as he was out of earshot Miller turned to Nicholas.

“Oh my God! – ”

“I know. She’s a freak,” Nicholas responded.

“ – He wants the toilet seat,” said Miller, contemplating what that really meant, as he made sure his hoop earring was securely fastened in his ear.

“He doesn’t really want the toilet seat. He was joking.”

Miller didn’t know it was a joke. It hadn’t seemed that way to him. He was in no mood to be made a fool of though and played along as if he’d known it was a joke himself.

“I know he was joking,” said Miller. “So was I. My delivery was just bad. Sorry. It’s the tequila. It’s ruining my timing.”

“Your timing? That’s it,” said Nicholas as he again looked toward the bar for Max. He didn’t notice that Miller stuck out his tongue and wrinkled up his nose at him. It was so easy to become childlike.

“Did you wash the spare sheets after your sister left?” asked Nicholas as he turned back and almost caught Miller, who began to lick his lips as if playing the oversexed seductress in a bad Lifetime movie.

Nicholas wrinkled up his face in confusion as he watched Miller.

“I did,” Miller responded as he used his napkin wipe off his now spit covered lips. “They’re back in the hall closet.”

“What do you think is going to happen?”

“Happen with what? The sheets?” asked Miller as he looked into his bag to find his lip moisturizer.

Nicholas took a beat to gather his composure from the stupid question Miller had just asked him before he put a saccharine smile on his face answered.

“Divorce?”

“Oh,” Miller caught the look on Nicholas’s face and filed it away to use against him at a later date. “I don’t know if he’ll get divorced, but if he does we will help him through it.”

Miller reapplied his lip moisturizer.

“Do you think they’ll really get divorced?” Nicholas asked with genuine concern.

Miller looked at him. He used the moment of putting away his lip moisturizer as time to think before he spoke.

“If somebody left me a toilet seat message, and I’m not talking about calling me from a stall and leaving a message – which is gross by the way – I would probably file for divorce myself…provided I was married.”

A hot waiter that neither of them had seen before walked by as Miller was finishing his thought. He and Nicholas both cocked their heads to side to watch him walk through the restaurant.

“I haven’t had sex in so long.” Miller leaned into his left hand very much as Max had done earlier. He placed the tip of his middle finger seductively between his teeth.

“What about last week? Mr. Softie?” Nicholas couldn’t resist the dig as he covered his mouth to hide his gratification.

Miller snapped out of his fantasy life with the hot waiter who didn’t even know he existed.

“That doesn’t count,” he said to Nicholas, his eyes wide, his voice higher pitched by the end of the word “count”. “Mr. Softie,” he said, indicating his point by holding up a limp napkin. “Doesn’t count,” he whispered to himself as he threw the napkin to the table.

“Huh,” said Nicholas flatly at his friend’s denial of events that involved nudity with another man and what constitutes having sex.

“Why do you do that?” ask Miller.

“Do what?” replied Nicholas.

“Say “Huh” every time you’re shocked by something that one of us says,” said Miller, trying to keep calm. “Is it really so shocking that I don’t consider sleeping with a man who couldn’t keep it up as actually having sex? Do you have to make me feel foolish because I didn’t know Max was joking about the toilet seat?”

“Miller,” said Nicholas in a manner befitting someone who didn’t realize his words had hurt. “I’m sorry. I thought you knew I was joking. I wasn’t being serious. Damn tequila. It’s got us all flummoxed.”

“Do you have to keep doing it? I’m a little drunk right now and it’s hard for me to differentiate honesty from a joke. The tequila makes me sensitive.”

“Yeah. The tequila.”

Miller looked at him as if their prior exchange mere seconds ago had not happened. “Okay, more sensitive than usual.”

“Miller. Come on. I’m just joking. I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist. I’ll turn my filter back on.”

Max reappeared as if by apparition with three shots in his hand.

“Hey, look what I found,” he said with a big smile on his face as he placed a tequila shot on the table in front of each of them.

“Damn it!” said Nicholas, clearly annoyed that he would have to participate in further debasing himself in support of his friend.

“Oh,” Max turned to Miller. “Some guy at the bar said to tell your mom hi.”

“It doesn’t count,” Miller yelled in the direction of the bar. His vocal tantrum did little more than cause people at nearby tables to turn and stare at him. At which point he smiled and nodded and turned back to his own table.

“Okay boys, the round we didn’t need,” Max said as he held his shot glass aloft.

Miller and Nicholas reluctantly picked up their glasses. As the other two downed their shots of tequila, Nicholas threw his over his shoulder. He hadn’t planned his improvised avoidance very well as his tequila sailed through the air and landed on the crotch of the hot waiter.

The waiter looked down at this crotch then glared at Nicholas, who completely embarrassed sunk down in his seat and put his right hand to his forehead and covered his eyes.

The other two had missed the airborne-tequila-crotch-soaking moment completely.

“Oh my God,” said Miller as he put his shot glass down on the table. “I hope I can find my house.”

“Don’t worry, Miller Liteweight, we’ll both follow Nicholas,” said Max as he steadied himself on the table.

Nicholas shook his head at his two friends as he stood up very deliberately. He realized as that moment just how drunk he was as his head became cloudy with dizziness. The table began to spin, making him swirl along with it. He grabbed the edge to keep himself from twirling like a top and losing what little balance he had.

He took a deep breath and steadied himself. He held his head high, trying to keep his dignity in tact and headed toward the door. Miller, Max and other patrons were watching him as he realized that he was trying to walk out of the restaurant in the wrong direction. Acting as if what he was doing was perfectly normal, he stopped at a table, picked up the rose that was lying there and lifted it to his nose. The occupants of the table stared at him as he swayed back and forth. He noticed they were staring and smiled a coy smile at the man then looked at the woman, inhaled again and said, “Delicious,” as he put the rose down and turned to head in the direction of the exit.

Miller looked at Max. “You want us to follow him? Where? Into traffic.”

Max smiled as he picked Miller’s bag up from the floor and gave it to him. They began walking toward the exit. Miller slowly began to drift toward a table.

“This way, Buttercup,” said Max as he put an arm around Miller not only to help guide him, but to help steady himself. You could see the patrons at other tables leaning away from them as they passed.

Miller and Max made it across the restaurant to the door. Nicholas was nowhere in sight so they assumed he was already outside. It was then they heard the screech of breaks from the street. They looked at each other and said the one word that was going through both of their heads, “Nicholas.”

©2011 Michael Rohrer