It was getting late, even for us. Sidney and I had established a routine early in our roommate relationship, and it simply included a bottle of vodka, loud music, and refusing to look at the clock. Her friend, whose name I’ve since forgotten, but whose nickname will become important later, was playing air guitar in the corner, having insisted on a steady stream of 80s classic rock that night.
Stan was in the middle of the living room, sitting on the rolling cooler he’d brought and stocked with cheap beer I usually don’t allow in my house. Sidney had taken a liking to him, the way she often picked up strays during the year she lived here. Stan, with his pit stains, wavering sobriety, and penchant for doing donuts in the parking lot at three in the morning singing “Piano Man” when the mood struck. Stan often had moods.
That Friday, as Sidney’s friend starred in his one-man band, Stan swayed on his cooler, and let us know he was aware of his lazy eye which became increasingly lazy as he rounded beer number twelve. “Hey, I’m a one-eyed-butt-pirate!”
“Okay,” I said, “That’s it. Time to go.”
“But I’m a one-eyed-butt-pirate!” Stan laughed and drooled a little onto his tank-top. The spittle mingled with grease that may have been fresh, or could have been weeks old. There was no way to know. He always smelled like welding and oil changes.
“Really, Stan. We’re all tired.”
Sidney and her friend took my cue and started picking up glasses, cleaning up the bottles we’d deposited all over the first floor, as I helped him to his feet and deposited his cooler on the front steps. The friend commented, “Does she really think he’ll follow the beer? Like some drunk E.T.?”
Stan did follow, and when he was safely outside and staggering down the sidewalk back to his own home, we collapsed on the floor in giggles.
“One-eyed-butt-pirate?! What the fuck is wrong with him? Why are you friends with him?! Please don’t let him come back over here. Or, at least make him wear real clothes. I don’t want him to get… himself all over this place. Gross!”
And then there was a knock on the door. We froze. Well, Sidney and I froze. Her friend hid behind the couch. We all stared at the wide open windows as Stan’s voice wavered and we heard him speak softly through the screen, “Um, hey, guys?”
And we bolted. Shutting off all the lights behind us, Sidney and I sprinted up the stairs like we’d never seen a horror movie in our lives. Her friend was right behind us.
We ran down the hallway and scrambled for the last door on the left – my bedroom. Turning off the hall light just before making the turn, I expected three of us to be safely trapped in my room.
Sidney and I dove for my bed at the same time. I came up with two of the knives I always keep under my pillow. I tried to hand her one, but she tapped me on the shoulder, and when I turned around she was holding the metal bar I keep under the bed. Bitch is a ninja. I put one knife in my pocket, thinking we’d come so far since she’d stabbed me six months earlier.
And then the banging started. It was coming from the bathroom. Slamming, screaming, and the unmistakable sound of someone flailing around in the bathtub. And the shower curtain hitting the floor. We were laughing, and “shushing” the back of the bedroom door, and Sidney’s friend let out a defeated, “Guys? Ouch. Help me?”
After everything went silent, we looked out the bedroom window to see Stan lumbering back down the sidewalk. Sidney said, “I’m gonna say something to him.”
Wide eyed, I punched her in the arm with my knife-free hand. “No! You can’t do that! We’re in the worst corner of the house! What if he comes back? Shut the fuck up!”
“We’re fine. I just want to know why he came back. What if he heard us?”
“Of course he heard us! What if he killed your friend!”
She ignored me. “Stan! What did you want?”
Stan stopped, searched for her voice, looked up at the sky, and answered in our general direction, “I forgot my cell phone. Went in through your window.”
Since the threat of Stan had passed, we tossed our weapons on the floor and went to find Sidney’s friend. He was laying prone in the bathtub, hugging the shower curtain, a knot already forming on his forehead.
I flipped on the light for him. “Why didn’t you follow us? What were you thinking?”
He rubbed his head and Sidney helped him out of the tub. “The last thing I saw before you turned out the hall lights was a door straight ahead, so I went for it. Where the fuck is the light switch though? It was so dark. So, so dark.”
“Oh, sorry about that. This is one of those old houses with the switch on the outside wall. See?” I demonstrated for his benefit.
“I should have just followed you guys. You’re quick! I was like the antelope that only has three legs and you two just left me to die.”
“Oh, Antelope, we’re sorry. But it’s every animal for themselves when a one-eyed-butt-pirate is after you. And really, we offered you a tour of the house when you got here tonight.”
“Who knew I’d be prey for a butt-pirate, and that your house would be so fucking strange? Is there any vodka left? I think I’m going to need it.”
If there are any morals to this story, they’re as follows:
Always take the tour.
If the bitch is a ninja, stay on her good side.