My Early Years of Apathetic Something Part 4: I Ate a Lot of Cheese and Got Home at 6am

(Excerpted from my unfinished opus From the Belly of the Other Thing: Letters From Places That Aren’t Prison. Pt. 1. Pt. 2. Pt. 3)

I met two women who lived down the hall. They’d both come to college from the same small town in Indiana and had worked at a coin-op laundromat in a strip mall together when they were younger. They told me around Easter one year, the CVS on the other end of the strip mall hired a guy to stand near the road in a giant rabbit suit.

“Well, at the time there was this thing that was big…well maybe it was only big in Indiana, some things were. Anyhow it was called ‘dooring’. So these guys would drive by places at like 15 miles an hour and open their door on people. So we heard a scream from the parking lot. ‘Somebody doored the bunny! Somebody’s doored the bunny and the bunny won’t get up!'”

“Did somebody have to call the ambulance?”

“I can’t remember.”

One of them called me in the middle of the night and told me to turn on the television. A documentary was on showing two men with pregnancy bellies and mullets screaming at each other near a drag racing track.

“That’s Indiana! I know those people!” she proclaimed.

She was a nursing student. I used to go to the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market a lot back then. I saw a box of Cabbage Patch doll legs there. Just the legs, like a bucket of fried chicken. Another time I saw a cardboard box of disconnected rows of teeth.

I wasn’t sure if they were dental school examples or souvenirs from the war. I never asked the man behind the card table how much they were.

I told this to her when I got back to the apartment building. She was disappointed. She would’ve liked them to help study for her nursing exams. “How could you see a cardboard box full of stray teeth and not think of me?” I think she said.

I had no answer.

Our relations were terse thereafter.

I still however, was invited to a party her father threw in a room at the Chelsea Hotel. I ended up talking with him for some time. Both of us were very drunk. Afterward he said “This kid’s a genius! And I’ve been in advertising for 30 years!”

I ate a lot of cheese and got home at 6am.

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