Chet’s a fucking dick. Last year when I moved from Minnesota (my old roommate, Bob, was a straight up asshole!), I didn’t know anyone else except for him. So I saved up enough money and finally made the trip out to Twentynine Palms, this small military town in California. Not really my cup of tea, with the heat and all, but figured this would be a good starting point. You know, some place to leave it all behind and start over.
I met Chet when I was 8 and we used to come here on summer vacation. Mom would start drinking on the plane, often 5 or 6 drinks in the 3 & 1/2 hour flight. Dad would always sit in the aisle, me sandwiched between them, slapping the stewardess’ asses, openly gawking and asking me if I’d fuck her. Mom would be passed out by the pool, fully clothed and wearing her winter coat, vodka bottle in her slack hand, threatening to fall to the ground. Dad would have a party, inviting all the people from the neighborhood. Everyone would dance and have fun. Smiles and laughter and bikinis, his hands were everywhere. The girls would ask if Mom was going to wake up. I never recalled him answering them.
He let me go out and play until well past sundown, never questioning where I’d been or what I’d been up to. I had a shiny little BMX bike with a red seat and a basket I had installed myself in between the handlebars. I would ride around the neighborhood, taking in the brownish green grass and palm trees, mountains looming in the background. Random jets and planes and helicopters would fly overhead, breaking the monotony. The boys were all so clicky. They were all so mean. All of them except Chet. He was always pretty okay to me.
We became friends pretty easily. He also had a BMX except his seat was yellow and he didn’t have a basket. He wore parachute MC Hammer pants and had three horizontal lines shaved into the right side of his head. I don’t know how, but he also had a gold cap on his right incisor. He wasn’t a bad guy.
We kept in touch even though we stopped going down to visit after my 16th birthday. He needed a roommate and so did I, so I thought “two birds, one stone” situation. Besides, it was either the street or stay with Bob and that wasn’t an option I was willing to explore. Bob is…well, he’s Bob. I don’t really know how else to say it.
It’s been a week now, and Chet seems to know when I’m laying my head down to sleep because this dude turns on German house music at the exact moment my head hits the pillow. I walk out of my bedroom door and there he is, walking around our living room, from the window to the kitchen where he opens the fridge and sticks his head in it, rooting around in it. He slams the door then walks over to the dining area, sits down for a bit, then gets up and goes into the bathroom, slamming the door. He seems to have a thing about slamming doors.
BUMP BUMP BUMP, BUMPBUMPBUMPBUMPBUMP, BUMP BUMP BUMP…the bass goes over and over. It’s always the same beat, no matter the song. He stays in the bathroom until I walk over to the radio to turn the volume down and then out of it he comes, zipping his pants up and asking, “Bruh, do you like the disco?” He’s usually wearing a tight fishnet shirt, billowy pants with zippers and straps everywhere. You can smell his cologne before he even opens the door. “Bruh, why you wanna turn the music down for, dog? Come on dog, let’s get the ladies in here to disco!”
“Chet, please turn the music down.”
“Bruh, let’s fuckin disco, dog!”
“Goddamnit Chet, do you have to turn this music up late at night? Is there any reason you can’t listen to it during the day or maybe earlier in the night? I’d like to try and get some sleep.”
“Bruh, the chicks totally fuckin dig disco, dog.”
“Bruh, fuckin disco, dog.”
He keeps telling me he’s from the streets and I don’t know how he grew up. He keeps telling me I don’t know how hard he had it, growing up. “Bruh, I went really fuckin hard, dog.” Fuck, I hate my friends.