Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Puke Armada

I lay in bed one hot summer evening and I hear the unmistakable crescendo of voices from the bar down the street, letting loose its patrons after last call. The drunks pass beneath my bedroom window on their way home, and bits of their conversations float up to my window.

"Yeah, well you know what? FUCK THAT."

"Don' say that. You know he dint mean it."

"Yeah, he did! Tooooootally meant it. I'm gonna call him when we get home..."

Fading voices as they walk up the street. Then a couple more drunks. This time, they stop beneath my window.

"Jesus Christ, dude! Gimme the keys!"

"Nope, I'm good. I'm gonna drive."

"You're not good! Lookit you-- you barely keepin' your eyes open, you're slurring--"

"You're just as fucked up as I am. You had jussa much ta drink than I did!" A beat. "Uh... shit. I think I'm gonna be sick."

Oh no, I think to myself, I hate hearing people barf. It makes me want to barf. I swing my feet onto the floor, go to the window and peek down onto the sick guy. Retch, retch, retch.

"Shit. I shounnna had that Mexican food."

"Yeah, you shounnna drunk all that fucking Jager either."

"Okay. I'm good to drive." They climb into the Jeep, start it up and careen down the street.

I lay in my bed, horrified. There's a big pile of Mexican-Jager barf in the gutter directly in front of my door downstairs. What am I going to do? If I go down there to clean it up, I'll get sick. Just the idea of the potential smell alone made my throat close up. If I try to clean up the puke, what do I do with it? Throw it into the middle of the street? Toss it onto my neighbor's lilac bushes? So I decide to pull a Scarlett O'Hara: "I'll think about it tomorrow."

Several hours later I awake with a start. The sun is rising and the temperature is already climbing. My bedroom is like an oven at 5:30 a.m. I realize with horror, "THE PUKE HAS DRIED AND NOW IT'S GONNA BE THERE ALL DAY." I jump out of bed and look out the window. Sho' nuff-- the puke was still there, a stiffened, lumpy mound. Well, I'm sure as shit not gonna clean it up NOW.

Impatiently, I wait for 8 o'clock. I call the City. "This guy puked in the gutter outside my front door. I'm in a high-traffic area and all the tourists are going to have to walk around it today. Is there someone who could come out here and remove it or something?" I felt like such an asshole for asking. The City Puke-Removal Dispatcher said cheerily, "Sure! I'll send someone right out!"

Which they didn't. The hours drag by, the heat rises, and the puke still has not been removed. It sits there, like an ill-mannered, smelly and unattractive guest who won't leave. I poke my head out the window every quarter-hour, like a cuckoo, checking on the status of the puke removal. The tourists step gingerly as they approach the repulsiveness outside my door.

Finally, a lovely bouquet of black storm clouds move over the mountains. Thunder and lightning, but no rain. Rain, goddammit, I think to myself.

While on puke check, the rain starts to fall in sheets. The gutters quickly fill. The mound of hurl is lifted by the water and sails off to distant shores. A Puke Armada. Thank God.

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