Mink didn't want to wake up. Wouldn't have, except for the throbbing in his head and the twisting in his gut. He grabbed a bottle of ibuprofen on the way to the bathroom, biting the top and ripping the lid from the threading of the child-proof. He swallowed a handful, washing them down with a cupped palm full of tap water just before he sat down on the toilet.
What happened next was unpleasant, and was made even more so by the fact that his phone was flashing on the basin, indicating a message that needed to be read. He didnít remember the details of the previous night, but he remembered hitting the send button and instantly wishing he hadnít. He remembered hearing the ridiculously loud beep telling him he had a return text message, and he remembered that passing out seemed like a much better idea than reading the message.
He picked up the phone, mostly as a diversion to keep from thinking about the horrible things his body was expelling at the moment, and clicked the button so he could see the message.
What was going on at the moment was bad, but not bad enough to be considered Hell, and he was pretty sure there was no explosive whiskey-shitting in Heaven. So this was more of a threat than an observation, he decided.
He scrolled through previous messages, thinking he might find two or three. Instead, he saw page after page. He had had a conversation with someone. He looked at the name.
Not again. His face flushed with embarrassment. Sober, he knew better. Sober, he knew it was over, and maybe he didnít like it, but he could accept it.
He scrolled through his messages screen, reading the first two or three words that were displayed. He clicked on the one that was in all caps.
MINCOSI IS THAT YOU YOU BASTERD? I TOL YOU LEAVE HER ALONE!!!
Oh, good. So her boyfriend had taken over at the end. Mink wanted to turn his phone off and go back to bed, but he still had quite a few minutes of toilet pain ahead of him, and needed to kill some time.
He checked the next message, sent from himself.
Good heavens Jacqueline, youíve starting typing like a steroid-filled, small-cocked moron. What gives?
THIS ISNT HER ASSSHOLE
What a surprise.
ITS ME GRAHAM
Yeah, I figured that out. Can you do me a favor and ask Jackie what she sees in an illiterate dipshit like you?
IM GONNA RIPE OFF YOUR HEAD AND SHIT DOWN YOURE NECK!!!!!
Iím sure you will. It scares me that you somehow made it into college. Can you put Jackie on, please? Your idiocy is making my brain hurt. Ah, never mind, Iím outta here.
YOU DONT TALK TO HER EVER AGAIN, ILL MAKE SURE OF THAT
Three minutes of no replies: 12:23 to 12:26. That Mink had been awake past eleven was news to him. Nice. Stupid whiskey. Devil juice, is what it was.
YOU HEAR ME???
Iím going to bed, you stupid fuckhole. You can go back to jacking off to pictures of your mom.
Well, that explained that. He again thought about turning off the phone, but his curiosity was getting the best of him. What he should do, he knew, was concentrate on the business at hand, finish up, go back to bed, and read through the conversation when he woke up.
Instead, he scrolled to the beginning, to the first text, wondering what the hell he was thinking. He didnít remember sending the message, but he didnít exactly not remember it.
I told you not text me anymore.
I thought you told me not to call anymore.
That, too. Seriously, Mink, stop.
You act like I do this all the time.
Do not! Thatís slander.
You do it every time you drink.
Thatís not all the time.
Enough for what?
Enough to be irritating.
I just realized Iím one of those drunk text message douchebags.
Iíve been telling you that for months now.
Well, at least I donít beg you to get back together with me or tell you Iím going to kill myself if you donít get back together with me.
No, you just start talking about your cock.
Yes, really, and no, itís not.
You used to think so.
No I didnít. What I found fascinating was how fascinated you were with it.
I really am. I think because itís such an amazing thing.
Then stop bothering me and go drunk-text it.
It doesnít have a phone. Although it IS so big that itís in a different area code.
You wish. Idiot.
Come on, that was funny.
You think everything you do/say is funny.
Thatís because it is. You know what we should do? We should go grab a movie or something.
Nope. Weíre broken up, Iím seeing someone else, and we donít like the same kind of movies.
The last part of that sentence seems like it was there to give me hope. If you get to pick the movie, you want to go with me?
NO! This is you being desperate, Mink. The last part wasnít to give you hope, it was because I had already typed a comma. The first two parts of the sentence should be enough: WE ARE BROKEN UP! IíM SEEING SOMEONE ELSE!
Oh, relax. I figure this is just a phase youíre going through.
You figure that because youíre an egotistical asshole who hates to lose. Weíre over. Not on a break. Done. Finished. Move onóI have.
What, Greg? I donít know what you see in that d-bag. He barely even counts as a human. Dude loses one more brain cell, youíll get in trouble for fucking a gorilla. There are bestiality rules in this state, you know.
Well, I risked it enough when I was with you, because youíre an ass.
An ass with the cock of a horse.
Disgusting like a fox, baby!
No, disgusting like a masturbating homeless person with no teeth.
I donít understand whatís disgusting about that.
You wouldnít. Seriously, quit texting me. Graham (not Greg, you asshole) is on his way over.
Iím not scared of that asshole.
You should be. You know who his dad is, right?
Why the fuck would I know that?
Because most people would have made the connection. Graham Modele?
His dad is Jonathon Modele, you numbshit.
The real estate guy with his face on all the bus benches? Iíll be damned. Next time you talk to Greg, tell him I sat on his dadís face. Seems like I heard something about that guy on the news the other day.
For someone who thinks heís so smart, you sure are stupid. You heard about him because heís all over the news for alleged ties to organized crime.
Youíre banging the son of a mob boss?! You have no idea how impressed I am. Maybe youíll be famous someday. Or maybe youíll just end up dead in a ditch. If I find you dead in a ditch, Iím totally fucking your corpse.
What made you think dating a mob bossís kid was a good idea?
I didnít know about any of that stuff when I started seeing Graham.
Even still. The guyís an oaf. What do you see in him? He isnít even your type.
He IS my type, Mink. YOU arenít. You act like I need all this intellectual stimulation from my boyfriend. I donít. Heís sweet to me, he loves me, and I love him. If I need some faux-intellectual conversation, Iíll join a book club. Plus, he fucks like a beast.
Hey! I fuck like a beast, too!
Gerbils donít really count as beasts.
You could always take a hint and leave me alone.
True. But I think you still have feelings for me. Otherwise, why would you keep texting me back?
You make a good point. I wasnít going to reply anymore, but then all this stuff came up in the news, so I wanted toÖwarn you, I guess. Seriously, Mink, I need you to listen. Graham gets pissed that you wonít leave me alone. Heís always saying stuff about fucking you up.
Typical macho bullshit.
Yeah, except that it has gotten worse. And then, with his alleged ties to violent peopleÖ
Are you serious? You think this guy will have me whacked or something if I donít leave you alone?
What Iím saying is that thereís no reason to find out. Iíve asked you several times to leave me alone. Youíre charming, in a goofy, self-absorbed kind of way, but Iím done. Iím not going to text you anymore. Or reply. So just quit.
Just because I donít want to talk to you ever again doesnít mean that I want you hurt. Or worse. You know meóI wouldnít mention this if I didnít think it was a real threat. Iím not some dramatic chick who likes to pretend sheís in the movies. But please, PLEASE just go away.
If you were so concerned about my safety, you could just stop telling him that itís me texting.
He looks at my phone.
Nice. Thatís not controlling asshole at all.
It isnítóhalf the time, if Iím in the other room, Iíll ask him to. So itís natural that if I get a text, he looks at it, and then yells, Hey, Jenny wants to know if she should bring anything tonight. 99% of the time, it doesnít matter if he knows who it is. So quit bothering me, weíll make it an even 100.
This conversation seems very surreal. One second, youíre telling me my life is in danger, the next, youíre boring me with dull details about your evening. Weird.
He just pulled up. Iím done talking to you. Forever. I canít make it any more clear. It was fun for a while, but Iím serious now. Iím into this guy big time. Your chances are over. Just stop. For my well-being and your own. Please, please, PLEASE stop.
And it looks like he didófor about fifteen minutes. Long enough for Graham to get inside, take off his coat or whatever, and sit down on the couch. Long enough for Jackie to go to pee, because she always needed to pee. Someone shows up at her house, sheíll sit there talking for five minutes, and then, ďOh, excuse meóI need to use the restroom.Ē Every time. Mink used to tease her about it.
Hey, Jackie, I was thinking about having sex with you, you know, because we did it all the time and it was so awesome. Anyway, I would like to do that again some time. I know youíre seeing this guy Greg or whatever, but from what I understand, he has a really small dick, so I figure you arenít getting satisfied. What do you say?
And then the all caps began.
His phone beeped, informing him that he had a new text message.
He checked itófrom Jackie, sent just now.
HOPE YOU LIKE YOURE SURPRISE ASSHOEL! ANY TIME NOW
Mink stared at the message, trying to interpret it as something other than a death threat. Could the guy really be that stupid, to threaten him like this, over a phone, in writing?
He looked at the sentence again all in capital letters, with its grammatical and spelling errors. Yes, Graham could probably be that stupid. And if his dad really was involved with organized crime, theyíd probably know how to take care of it.
On the other hand, maybe he was just over-reacting. Maybe this was just Graham being an idiot. Trying to scare him. Maybe this was nothing more than a hangover and an over-active imagination.
Still, though, he didnít feel very good about spending any more time on the toilet. Or in this apartment. In fact, it might be a good idea to catch a bus to somewhere and spend a little time away.
He heard footsteps coming down the hall in front of his apartment, and although he was trying to stay quiet, he sprayed an involuntary stream of urine into the toilet. He grabbed the toilet paper and hurriedly cleaned himself, trying to listen for any noises outside his apartment.
There was a knock on his door, heavy, rushed.
Mink crept out of the bathroom and began tip-toeing to his bedroom. No, wait, thatís the first place theyíd look. He froze, wondering what to do. He hadnít ever mapped out an escape route for if people showed up at his front door to kill him. Because, really, what normal person has to worry about that shit?
Another series of knocks, louder this time, more impatient.
The window in the front room! Sure, it was a six-story drop, but it beat waiting around to get killed. He could hide out on the ledge or something. Maybe even make his way around to another apartment, to safety. He crept towards it, hoping that the knocking would cover the sounds of his footsteps on the creaky hardwood floor.
He reached the window only to find it painted shut. He yanked and yanked, but it didnít move. Finally, with fear aiding him, he was able to break the layer of paint and lift the window.
Unfortunately, thatís when the knocking ceased.
The window screeched open and ended its journey with an echoing slam.
Mink stood petrified, staring at the door, waiting for it to be torn apart by bullets. Instead, the doorknob began to turn. No. No! He mustíve left it unlocked after returning from a late-night cigarette run.
He stuck one leg out the window, trying to find a ledge. There wasnít one, and he ended up losing his balance and straddling the window sill. His testicles screamed in agony, and he wanted to scream with them.
The door opened and someone stepped through.
ďWhat the fuck is this?Ē
Mink stood frozen, staring. At a pizza guy.
ďLook, man, we have an order for twenty pizzas delivered to this place. I donít know what the fuck youíre up to, sittiní around in your underwear humpiní the window, but you better get my money.Ē
A second pizza guy followed the first one, each of them carrying a stack of pizza boxes.
A pizza prank? Seriously? Mink laughed in relief. Graham wasnít some mafia head, he was just a moron college kid who couldnít think up an original prank.
ďSomethiní funny, asshole?Ē
ďYou wouldnít believe me if I told you,Ē Mink said.
ďI might,Ē the pizza guy said, dropping his boxes. And then he shoved Mink out the window.