American Funny

“That’s the thing about this city, nobody cares about nobody….”

           All I did was give this drunk, homeless guy a dollar. I didn’t sign up for an intimate conversation. I didn’t ask for a philosophy class. Why do I always end up in this kind of bullshit?

           “That’s why I appreciate you man, you’re a good person. God has a plan for you, man.”

           I nod my head and smile as I repel from the disheveled misanthrope. He’s probably just going to buy more alcohol. Or worse. Sometimes I wonder if it’s actually possible to really do good in this world.

But maybe he’s right. About Nobody caring. Or, rather, no one caring about anyone but themselves….

I mean, where am I going now? A surprise birthday party. On the surface, everyone just loves Samantha, so they all want to show her how much they love her. Because they’re all such good, caring friends. But they’re not really. The guys that I know are going because they want to get drunk and hit on Samantha’s friends. The girls are going to boost their Instagram profiles. And I’m going because…why am I going?

I shake off one of my usual internal cynic rants and walk into Rob’s Liquor Store. I pick out the most expensive bottle of French champagne they have, like I always make sure I do. But as I am paying, the same one syllable question bubbles up to the surface-WHY? Sure, I have the money. And I guess that it’s expected of me at this point. Every time we go out, I’m always expected to pay, and no one else that I can remember, not even once, offers to pick up a check. Expectations. The mouse traps of society. Again, I shake it off. I mean, these things are fun…right?

Stale cigarettes and dim lighting permeate the hallway leading to Samantha’s apartment. She is supposed to come home from the doctor’s at 6, which gave her roommates plenty of time to plan their surprise. It is now 5:45 which gives me about 15 minutes of pre-party mingling time. I knock on the door and get pulled in through to the other side to a group of anxious whispers. “She should be coming soon!” Jill gestures frantically as she motions me to crouch behind the corner sofa.

I slowly walk over but then that questions comes up again-“Why?” Why am I doing this? It feels as if I am riding on the merry-go-round with all this nonsense. I mean Eddie last week said he loved me. Loved me. What the hell is that about? I don’t even tell my own mother I love her (although I do). But c’mon-I don’t need to hear it from someone I wouldn’t even hang out with if not for the group. Why did he even say that? Oh yeah, because I bought him a drink. Of course.

How about Samantha? Can I even consider her a friend? Let’s see, we met in college when she started going out with my roommate George…right…I always let them have the room-like their sex-life came before my own. I actually cannot even recall one “thank you” for that. And I didn’t complain once (at least not outloud). They said it was because Samantha’s roommate had severe anxiety issues and couldn’t be removed from her room in case she needed to “withdraw.” Ok. I went along with it.

Then there was that thing when she was in my Astronomy class and I basically let her cheat off me the entire semester because George asked me to “help a brother out.” As if I were doing him the favor. Ironic! While I was studying for those astronomy tests in the library, Samantha was getting it on in my own bedroom. And we ended up with the exact same grade.

Then There was that thing about her younger sister Sadie coming up to visit. I notice her across the room, all grown up and actually looking pretty good. At the time she visited, sixteen years old. Of course, I got stuck with her for the whole weekend because I was the “only guy she could trust” and her friends “weren’t the best influence.” Every party I went to, instead of trying to enjoy myself, I had to look out for Sadie. Sadie don’t drink that! Sadie don’t talk to that guy! Sadie, that’s not weed, it’s angel dust! And what was big sister doing the whole time? Oh yeah. Screwing my roommate…

I guess that was just college though. And then it hits me-that was just college. Since we graduated, she’s probably used me more than the wet dishrag hanging on the side of my sink. She hasn’t gotten better! She’s gotten worse! I find myself chuckling a bit. And that’s just Samantha. I look around and wonder if the others are even slightly better. What the hell am I doing here?

 I then think back to what that homeless guy says, about nobody caring. I don’t think a single person here gives a shit about me. Nor do they really care about Samantha or anything about a “surprise.” Do these people really want to see a surprise?

I then surprise myself as much as everyone else in the room with my spontaneous act. I take the champagne bottle I brought and smash it on the ground. Flying shards of glass and a grand, golden splash are followed by a few shrill screams and a high pitch “What the Fuck!” Then, among the many gaping mouths, a deafening silence, broken only by sizzling puddles of champagne, fills the room. I stand still and look around at everyone’s reaction, and suddenly I feel…great. I drink it all in.

The door opens and the much-anticipated guest of honor is greeted by an awkward stillness and a huge mess. “Surprise Samantha” I cheer as I walk on the shards of glass to satisfying crunch sounds. I brush past her, and exit, but not before I add, “Have fun cleaning all this shit up.”

March 19, 2021 22:49

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Cookie Carla🍪
19:30 Mar 24, 2021

Hiya there!! I just wanted to say that this story was beautifully written. You had my attention from the first line all the way to the end... I love how your main character has so many opinions and they all reflect a personality that I know all so well XD Good job!!


Sean Tarzy
17:02 Mar 30, 2021

Thanks Cookie-much appreciated. Glad you enjoyed it.


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