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Friday, January 27, 2012

The Velvet Elvis

I was face down, and all was quiet, except for the pounding. It was incessant. It was LOUD. It was unbearable. I had to move. Experimentally, I flexed a leg, only to find that the motion made the pounding louder, if that were possible. I focused hard and summoned all the energy I could, and raised my head. Or tried to. My face was stuck. I tried again, and this time, it worked, my face feeling like it was peeling away - taking some skin with it - from wherever it was attached. 

Oh, God.

The light....the light was everywhere, seeping in between my tightly shut eyelids, burning and so intense it was like it had an audio frequency that went right into my cranium. And the pounding. OH MY GOD THE POUNDING. Make it stop. I groaned, and the sound was over-amplified to the point of torture. I cautiously opened my eyes, tearing up instantly at the light, and the grit I could feel surrounding my eyeballs. I realized I was face down on a couch, in a puddle of my own drool - that's what had adhered my face to the couch cushions. UGH. Patrick had fished this couch out of a dumpster, and I'd slept with my open mouth on it. Yuck. 

Speaking of my mouth, apparently something had crawled out of the couch and either died or defecated in it. The taste in my mouth was beyond description. I ran a cautious tongue across my somewhat furry teeth, and after scraping that layer away I realized that all my tooth enamel seemed to be gone. What. The. Hell.

There was nothing for it. I was going to have to sit up. I rolled myself over, watching the world tilt nauseatingly, while the pounding crescendoed to a level sure to register on the richter scale. I could actually feel it pushing against my eardrums - from the inside out. Well, at least now I knew where the pounding was coming from. I felt for the top of the couch with my hand, encountering another hand as I did so.

"Need some help?" It was Joey, and he looked like hell. I guess he decided to stay after the party instead of stagger home. From the looks of him, that was a good idea.

"Murfledge." I said. It was the best I could do. Joey pulled, I made a bizarre half-moan, half-gagging sound, and he dropped my hand like it was on fire.

"Oh man, don't hurl on me. I just stopped puking. I can't - I can't - " He stopped for a few moments, hung over at the waist and breathing deeply.

"I'm not gonna puke," I said. I hoped. I looked around the room and wondered why no one had called the Red Cross. Holy cow, it looked like we were all the victims of a natural disaster. Maybe a serial killer. Patrick was draped over the recliner. I think he'd tried to sit in it, half made it, and just stayed. He was so unconscious, he might be dead. Kelly was on the floor, in a nightshirt and two different shoes. She was clutching a loaf of Wonder Bread like a stuffed animal, and making odd mewling sounds in her sleep. Conrad and Daisy were curled up in the hallway by the bathroom, back to back and wearing each other's clothing. This might not have been so apparent if Conrad didn't outweigh Daisy by a good hundred pounds.

"Where's Shawna?" I asked.
"She left early. Like...four. She said she'd had enough and the voices were telling her to go. I don't think she was joking."
"And Cita?"
"She's out back smoking. She's fine."
Of course she was fine. Cita never got hammered, not ever. And she always looked absolutely, utterly perfect. The bitch. I began to take inventory and realized, with complete and utter horror, that I had urinated on myself in the night. I could feel the wetness under my butt. Oh, God. 

The horror must've shown on my face because Joey said "Oh, is it still wet there?"
Thank goodness. I wasn't sitting in my own pee. "Yeah, it's wet." I shifted uncomfortably.
"Pat was laughing at Shawna and pissed himself. We figured it would dry by now."
Oh. I was sitting in someone else's pee. Lovely. I glanced at the kitchen countertop across the room, at the blender, and the rows of bottles, containers of food, and boxes of whatever spread around it. Pieces of the evening were coming back to me now. The carnage. The chaos.

Sometime in the night, we all agreed we needed to invent a new drink. Something only served at the finest collegiate cast parties. Something....epic. And thus was born The Velvet Elvis.

It began with cheap vodka, orange juice, coconut cream, TJ Swann Easy Nights wine, Amaretto, Peppermint Schnapps, generic diet root beer, cough syrup of some kind, three kinds of breakfast cereal, pancake syrup, bananas, peanut butter, assorted spices, and if memory serves, cole slaw. There may have been more. Oh, wait. I think we threw in a can of pickled beets, just because it was grosser that way. What resulted was surprisingly tasty. Either that or we were so damn drunk we could have been drinking hog pus and thought it was tasty. It was bad voodoo. Really, really bad voodoo.

The rest of the night was a blur - Pat lived in walking distance from a local market that catered to a heavily hispanic demographic. You could buy all kinds of stuff there that you wouldn't find in your average grocery store. We bought a sheep's head - a full, skinned sheep's head with the eyeballs in, and then we floated it in the campus fountain. We also bought a bottle of Clam Juice, leaving it outside another castmember's dorm room door, with the words "Crotch Wash" hastily scrawled in the label with a Sharpie pen. We sang. We danced. We fell down. A lot. And we made several more batches of The Velvet Elvis and pronounced them all outstanding. I even remember dipping graham crackers into the final batch, and then I remembered no more.

We never were able to recreate The Velvet Elvis. It now lives in the pantheon of the Gods, a drink unobtainable to mere mortals. We were allowed but a fleeting sip, and heavily paid the price in human suffering. I don't know how many years I lost off my life that night. And now it's time for the story to be told, and remembered. Once there were those who shared a bond of boldness. A bond of barfing. A bond of beets. For one, brief, shining moment we lived like we were going to die on a toilet later, and we owe it all to...The Velvet Elvis.

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