Designated Driver

“Hey, what are you up to tonight?” I asked but already knew, I just wanted to confirm, make sure the plan was still set.

“You’re driving me Downtown,” he said, with a patronizing smirk and seemingly holding back laughter.

“Alright, I didn’t know if you were still down.” I took a bite of my sandwich and checked my email on my phone.

“Yeah, for sure. Adam and Monty are gonna meet us downtown or somewhere.” Sirgus said, he had finished eating and was packing up his lunch bag with empty containers and a fork.

“They say what time?”

“ Nah, they’re gonna call me when they’re at the hotel. Monty’s gonna pick-up Adam from the airport, we’ll meet up after.”

“Where are they gonna to be staying?”

“Somewhere in Long Beach, Adam is coming for a wedding over there.”

“You think it’s a good idea to take him out drinking if that’s the case?”

“He’s not in the wedding, he’s just a guest.”

“Ah, got it. Alright, let’s go back.” I finished my lunch and put my phone away.

We had four more hours of work on a Friday, things could’ve been worse.

I submitted my time card and logged off my computer. Sirgus walked over to my desk while I was getting my things from the desk drawer, “Let’s go, Hank!”

“Easy, I’m going.”

We walked out the office building, out of the light gray and fluorescent lighting, out into the sun drenched asphalt where Sirgus’ car had been patiently baking.

I didn’t have a car, I was saving up for one. So till I was able to afford a vehicle, I was hitching rides to work with Sirgus. We lived 2 minutes away from each other and worked in the same building, so it wasn’t too out of the way for him. Plus on days like that one, I would be his designated driver, the guy had enough trouble driving sober.

We got in the car and he drove us out toward the freeway entrance. The other perk of me being a passenger was the use of the carpool lane, which at 5:00 p.m. is more of a blessing than a perk. So we got in the carpool lane and sped down the freeway.

“Hey, d’you find out what we’re heading out anyway?” I asked him, just to be sure I’d be ready.

“Like nine, or around there. That work for you?”

“Yeah, I’m just gonna eat and maybe change shirts.”

“Oh yeah, Rachel’s going, so I’m gonna pick her up and then I’ll swing back for you.”

“Rachel? From the review team? The tiny one?”

“Yeah, we started talking yesterday. She says she never hangs out with anybody from work, so I invited, didn’t think she’d say ‘yeah.’”

“Doesn’t she live in the opposite direction, Moorpark or something? Isn’t dropping her off going to take a while.”

“Good thing I don’t have to worry about it,” he said it with that patronizing smirk again.

“Asshole. Didn’t think you liked them that small.” Sirgus was 6-foot-1, Rachel was maybe 5 feet.

“I like ‘em all, besides, she’s cute.”

“She looks like a child.” She did. She looked real young and with her height she could pass for a freshman in high school despite being 21. We were 25, not much older, but our age was starting to show, at least in me it was.

“She has a daughter who’s actually almost as tall as her, hah.”

“Make sure you pick up the right one tonight.” I finally got to use a patronizing smirk.

“Fuck you, bitch.”

“Damn-it, Gus,” that’s what I called him, I only referred to him as Sirgus behind his back, “why do you always have to go for moms?” It was a joking question, but it did seem to be one of his habits.

“They’re the ones who talk to me!”

“Yeah-yeah, they probably make you talk back too.”

“I’m not just gonna ignore them.”

“Look at you, being too nice. Or at least that’s one word for it.”

We got off the carpool lane and changed lanes all the way to the right to make the freeway exit. He dropped me off and said “Be ready” as I got out the car and closed the door.

“Sure thing, see ya in a bit.”

“Love you!”

“I don’t blame you.” And he drove off.

I went inside and had dinner, or whatever excuse for dinner I came up with, I think it involved chicken. Went to the bathroom then changed shirts, I still had more than an hour till Sirgus picked me up. I watched a bit of TV, got annoyed, read some news article, got annoyed, then decided to walk to the corner liquor store for a snack. I had this gut feeling of regret already, and that usually waited till the night was over. All I knew was that the drive back home would be a lot longer than I’d like since I’d have to drop off Rachel. She lived in the opposite direction of downtown but just as far.

I walked into the liquor store and made my presence known, not because I wanted to but because of those damn laser sensors that make noise when you walk in. I forget how many times I walked all three short aisles the store had. Looking at every bag of chips, every flavor and brand of juice, soda, and tea. I settled on an ice-cream sandwich and walked towards the cash register and looked past the fella working the machine.

“You got any Lucky Strike?” I asked him while I scanned the rows of cigarettes.

“No.”

“How about Pall Mall?”

“Pall Mall,” he said while pointing at a few boxes that were indeed Pall Mall cigarettes.

“Do you have the unfiltered ones?”

“No, no unfiltered.”

No unfiltered, I didn’t even bother asking for Camels unfiltered. I gave a heavy sigh, he looked apologetic, it was gonna be a long night.

“Alright, I’ll just take the 27s then.” I pointed at them, he pointed at them, I agreed. I bought my ice-cream sandwich and a pack of 27s, a snack and a compromise.

I ate the ice-cream sandwich on the walk back home and opened the pack once I got home. Sirgus would probably come by soon, I figured I could have one smoke before we head out. Since I wasn’t drinking, I had to have some kind of substance to distract me from going insane in a crowd of drunks, friends or otherwise.

It was some time around nine when Sigus gave me a call saying he was outside. I grabbed my wallet, my keys, the 27s, some matches, and headed out front.

As I walked towards the car I noticed someone in the back, that was Rachel. I opened the door, nodded at Sirgus, “Gus,” then looked towards the back seat, “Hi, Rachel.”

“Hi, Hank.”

“You don’t want to go up front? I hear you’re the guest of honor and all.”

She smiled, Sirgus was right, she was cute, “No-thanks, I’m just tagging along.”

“All’s the same I guess.” I got in the car and we drove off towards the freeway entrance.

“Do you smoke?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, I probably smell like cigarettes. I do, sometimes.”

“I’ve never seen you smoke at work.”

“I don’t usually at work, I hate the designated smoking areas in the parking lot.”

“They look like bus-stops.”

“That’s about the only good thing about them.”

She laughed a bit.

“You get your Lucky Strike?” asked Sirgus.

“Nah, 27s, damn store didn’t have them.”

Sirgus didn’t smoke, he might’ve tried it once while drunk, but the habit just didn’t stick with him. But he’d been around me long enough to know my top two cigarette brands, now that’s a friend.

The three of us talked about how work was going. She seemed nice enough, me and Sirgus talked our usual shit to each other and she seemed amused, good to know we aren’t all that boring.

“So where are we headed, Gus?” We were somewhere on the 5 freeway, going south.

“Oh right, well Adam doesn’t want to go too far from his hotel, so we’re going to hang out in Long Beach. There’s a few bars he mentioned over there, we’re gonna try to hit ‘em up.”

That was a bit farther than downtown, but oh well, I was down. We sped down the freeway to Long Beach, swapping stories about work, some funny, some miserable.

I forget the name of the hotel where Adam was staying at, but we got there pretty quick. We parked and walked straight into to the hotel bar, where else would they be. Adam and Monty were there with two girls, one was Adam’s girlfriend, Ella. The other one was Ella’s friend, whose name I don’t remember, and likely never will.

“Adam! You bastard!” I screamed at him, “how’s it going man?”

The group turned around and we all greeted each other. I’d met all of them, except the one who’s name I can’t remember. She was good looking though. Sirgus introduced Rachel to all of them and they got to drinking. Adam asked what I was having, I told him I wouldn’t be partaking.

“What? Why not?”

“I gotta drive later.”

“You guys can crash here if you want, man. We have plenty of floor space, Monty’s gonna crash here.”

“That’d be cool, but we told our guest we’d be able to take her back home.”

Adam sort of whispered, “What’s her name, again?”

“Rachel.” I whispered back, and should’ve probably asked for that other girls name.

“Rachel!” she turned around, “are you ok with crashing here so we can all have a drink?”

“Hmm, maybe,” she said it kind of coy, as if she wasn’t sure the question was a joke or not.

“See,” now he was talking to me again, “maybe you can just crash here.

I thought for a second.

“Where are we going?”

“We haven’t decided yet, but all the bars are pretty much around the same place. By the pier, on Shoreline, or Ocean. Something like that.”

“Right, how far is it?”

“From here? Ten, fifteen minutes.”

“On car…”

“Well-yeah.”

“One of us would have to drive the way back, minus well be up to me.”

He thought for a second.

“Shit, fine. Just sucks, I know how much you like your whiskey, and you drove last time.”

“That was a year ago,” I realized I hadn’t hung out with these guys in a year, “and there’ll still be whiskey tomorrow.”

He looked a bit disappointed, I assured him I’d have one drink once we get to the other bars since I would just sober up before we had to leave.

So they all had their drinks, we all talked about what we’d been up to, what plans if any we had for the upcoming months. Adam asked if still smoked, to which I took out the pack from my shirt pocket. He asked if he could have one.

“Sure thing.”

We went outside and I gave him one.

“Marlboro 27s, what happened to the unfiltered?”

“Damn place I went to didn’t have any.”

“That’s fine with me, man, those Luckies are good but harsh.”

“Guess I’m just used to it by now. So who’s wedding are you here for?”

“Oh, it’s one of Ella’s friend’s. I don’t know her all that well, but she’s one of the bride’s maids.”

“Cool, it ain’t the one in there, right?”

“No, some other one.”

“Alright, I didn’t want to feel like an asshole for not congratulating.”

“Heh, nah, you’re cool man. But since they’re actually in the wedding they won’t be going out with us, so it’ll just be” he counted in his head “five of us with Rachel.”

“Full car, that works out.”

“Yeah, hey, is Sirgus with that girl?”

“No, not yet at least. They just started talking.” I finished my cigarette and he was almost done with his.

“She seems cool.”

“Sure.”

“You don’t think so?”

“Don’t know her all too well, we just work in the same place.”

“She’s cute.”

“Yeah.”

We went back inside, I talked a bit more with everybody else and they paid the bill. Ella and her friend said goodnight and walked up to their room. The rest of us walked out to the parking lot and Sirgus gave me his keys. I asked them where we were going. I got directions for some bar called Yardfarm in my phone, the phone said it was 12 minutes away. None of us really knew the area too well, but there were a lot of bars around that place. So the plan was to just get to one bar and walk around looking for another if we didn’t care for it.

The Yardfarm was alright, the bar area was a bit strange though. They boasted about the variety of beers they served, which they indeed had plenty of, but it was also a restaurant, one people felt inclined to take their families to. The bar was long and stretched across the whole room along the wall, along the other wall were a bunch of diner style booths for those that like food with their booze. It was somewhere around 9:30 p.m. and there were families siting there in those booths while the people I was with were considering how to get shitfaced. There was a kid in a booster seat trying to eat some spaghetti and some 11~year-old on her third glass of coke while Sirgus ordered a beer and helped Rachel decide what to order. I didn’t know which group were the assholes, I eventually decided they both were, but couldn’t decide which was more.

“Well do you like mixed drinks?” Sirgus asked Rachel.

“I don’t know, yeah, but I don’t know these.”

“You can order jack and coke if you want, or something simple like that,” said Monty, “they’ll make it.”

“Yeah, or there’s wine if you want wine,” that was Adam’s suggestion.

“I like some wine, but I don’t know names.”

“How about a beer? This one’s pretty good.” Sirgus offered her some of his beer.

She took a sip and nodded.

“I take it you don’t drink much.” I decided to add to the conversation, if you consider that adding.

“I drink beer sometimes, I don’t go out a lot.”

“Well, you’re out today, try something new.”

The bar tender came over and asked me what I’d like, I ordered a double of Makers-neat. Then the bartender looked at Rachel, she buckled and spoke looking at Sirgus’ drink.

“I’ll take one of those,” she said pointing at his beer.

“What’s that?” asked the bartender.

“It’s a Hollywood Blonde,” said Sirgus.

“You got it.”

He checked our I.D.s and got us our drinks, they were generous with their doubles.

“What’s that?” Rachel asked me.

“Bourbon.”

“Is that like, whiskey?”

“It’s a kind of whiskey, yes.”

“Gross, I tried whiskey once, I almost puked from the taste.”

“It was probably bad whiskey.”

“It was Jasper’s.”

“It was bad whiskey.”

“Is that better?”

“To me it is. Though Jasper’s not too bad, it’ll do in a bind. There’s better sure, but this better,” I lifted my glass, “you probably still won’t like either.”

The rest of them had a beer.

They were taking sips of their beers and Adam and Monty were telling Rachel hilarious if not humiliating stories about Sirgus from college where they had met. I had met Sirgus back in middle-school and met Adam and Monty when I’d visit Sirgus in college. I’d heard the stories, and even been around for one or two.

“Hank, does this whole thing feel kinda weird?” Sirgus asked me while Monty told Rachel about the time Sirgus kicked a guy in the ass at some party and blamed it on some other douche.

“You mean the families that are here?”

“Yeah! They’re here with kids.”

“I saw that, it’s pretty weird.”

“At first I thought we were assholes coming here, but it’s almost fucking ten. Those kids should be sleeping or watching cartoons at home.”

“Aww, c’mon, Gus, everybody likes to party on Friday.”

“I think there’s a kid over there sleeping.”

“He’s probably been knocking them back since noon.”

“Yeah-well, I think we might have one quick drink after these beers and head out to some other bar.”

“Sure thing.”

“Hey! You gotta catch up, mister!” Rachel told me.

I gave her a puzzled look, at least I made the face I make when I’m puzzled which sometimes translates accordingly.

“You haven’t even taken a sip of your whiskey.”

“Oh don’t worry about that,” Sigus defended me, “watch, that cups gonna be empty and you won’t even notice.”

“Don’t feel like drinking?” she asked me.

“Yes-ma’am, that’s why I ordered it, but it’s one thing to feel like drinking and another to be ready to drink,” I defended myself.

She gave me a dismissive shrug and took another sip of her beer, they were all almost done with their drinks.

“Maybe I just want to make it last a little longer since it’s my only one for the night,” I told her.

“Aww, it’s ok, someone else can drive next time,” she said, I guess there was going to be a next time.

Then Sirgus got it in his head that it would be fun to take some Jäger-bombs, and the rest of them agreed. Sirgus’ next bright idea was to hit up all the bars they could get to and have a Jäger-bomb at each. I knew it wasn’t a bright idea, but I’m not one to get in the way of a friend and his goal.

It looked like I was going to need the whole pack to get through the night. I put my empty cup back on the bar, wished I could order more, then told them I was going to go outside to have a cigarette while they ordered their Jäger-bombs.

It was getting cold outside, good weather. I looked into the box, I had 17 left, they still looked like plenty. Looking around, I decided to go somewhere off to the side of the entrance where the restaurant, or bar or whatever it was, kept their only ashtray. I saw the families walk out and leave as I made some ash and smoke.

I went back inside as they were about to have their Jäger-bombs, then we paid the bill and left.

The next bar we ended up in just so happened to have a bikini contest going on, I wasn’t sure why, but I wasn’t about to mind. I only though about two of them were good-looking, and thought one of the waitresses walking around was better looking than all of them. But we all enjoyed the strangeness of it all, who the hell has bikini contests at a bar, maybe it’s a Long Beach thing. We got there towards the end of the contest and waited to see who won. Neither of the two I thought were good-looking won, maybe there was a talent portion we missed and they lost on account of that. The guys and Rachel ordered their Jäger-bombs and were starting to feel good, unless they usually cheered and screamed during bikini contests.

We went to some Irish pub more packed than any of the other bars we went to for some inexplicable reason. There was some other bar that also had arcade games and some other little sea themed bar that was practically empty but had the best music playing. Some other place was a karaoke bar where none of us sang, I was sober and they weren’t drunk enough yet. They would later want to go back to sing some Disney song, and I somehow convinced them it was closed. We went to some typical bar & grill at a time the grill part was already closed since I couldn’t order any food not on the bar menu, chips and salsa had to do. I would sneak in a cigarette whenever we would walk to the next bar, Adam would sometimes have one. Sometimes, if we spent a long time at one bar, I would just go outside to have a smoke. They got drunker, and Sirgus and Rachel got friendlier, they would sit closer at every subsequent bar. Rachel sat on Sigus’ lap at the packed Irish Pub, though it was mostly out of necessity since we sat at a half booth for 4, lucky break for Sirgus. Adam and Monty also got drunker, I think Monty was trying to make a move on Rachel too. Adam seemed the most sober, but was definitely drunk. They would swerve more and more every time we walked to the next bar, they would try to enunciate when they would notice how drunk they were and begin to slur and soon as a thought distracted them enough. We must’ve gone through at least seven bars. They didn’t always have their Jäger-bombs but would have something else.

The last bar we went to had dueling pianos, we must’ve gotten there past 1:30 a.m. or something. The two piano players would just talk shit amongst themselves, play a song, talk shit to the crowd, play another song. They were pretty funny, and ok at the piano. The bar had a decent amount of people, but was obviously closing out. Someone screamed out for last call-for-alcohol. The guys and Rachel ordered some drinks, they had gotten tired of Jäger-bombs, so they each ordered some kind of cocktail.

Sirgus got an AMF, Adam got a beer, Monty for a screwdriver, and Rachel got a sex on the beach, because of the name. I got a water and watched the dueling pianos.

“Pretty sure this is the last place we’ll be able to get to,” said Adam.

“Nice,” Sirgus seemed pleased with the amount of places we were able to get through.

“Fucking Hank!” said Monty.

“What’d I do!?” I was just trying to have a good time.

“Everytime… everytime! I hung out with you I ‘lways end’p gett’n’ fuck’n’ drunk an’ you’re sober.”

“The hell are you talking about? I’ve drank with you guys before.”

“But nah drunk.”

“Well not too drunk, but I’ve been pretty drunk. What about Halloween in SB last year?”

“We split up, rem’ber?”

“Oh yeah, we lost you guys at some house.”

“You gotta get drunk.”

“I’ll make Gus drive next time.”

“Yeah! Fuck’n’ guy.” Then he leaned in and whispered, “Hey, is Gus with Rachel?”

I looked over to Sirgus and Rachel, they were sitting right next to us but their seats were pulled further back from the table, his hand was on her knee, her hand was on his shoulder.

“It’s certainly starting to look that way.” I told the poor sap.

He seemed to snap out of the idea of getting with Rachel, I suppose it was the alcohol. Besides, I thought he had a girl.

Then someone from behind the bar rang a bell and screamed:

“ALRIGHT! WE’RE TIRED AND WE WANT TO GO HOME, YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES TO FINISH YOUR DRINKS AND GET THE HELL OUT!”

The race was on, Adam finished his beer pretty quickly, college graduate. Monty’s speech indicated he’d been done with his screwdriver for a while now, I figure he drank it as soon as he got it just to get it out of the way. Rachel and Sirgus began taking gulps from theirs, I’m guessing the two were too busy flirting with each other. Sirgus finished his AMF with a big gulp and was able to stomach that junk. Rachel was almost done but gave up saying she didn’t like it.

“I don’ like wastin’ good alcohol,” said Sirgus as he grabbed her drink and chugged it. I was going to make some remark about how that actually wasn’t good alcohol, but he drank it in a flash.

“Blagh, sex on da beach sucks!” he added, someone made a joke about sand getting everywhere and the staff finally kicked us out, it was past 2:00 a.m..

They stumble out while I held the door open for them, I considered how far we were from the car, it had to be about a mile away. We’d probably walked more going back and forth but eventually strayed about a mile away. Adam was ok walking, he’d taken it pretty easy for the last half of the bars we went to, but the other three were pretty wrecked and on the verge of crumbling down. First they were all scattered as we began walking back to the car, they would swerve and stop as they would almost fall, then they’d have a fit of sobriety and walk normally. Adam looked after Monty and I looked after Sirgus and Rachel, who couldn’t walk straight, but would sprint forward in a straight line then wobble back. Then for some reason, the three of them began walking next to each other with their arms on each other’s shoulders. Rachel, being tiny, hugged Sirgus along his stomach. Somehow this worked and they walked in a moderately straight line.

“Hank,” said Adam, “you’re a gentleman and a scholar. An honorable man -”

“Oh fuck off, what are you talking about?” I interrupted.

“You’re DD, man. We’d probably die trying to get back home if you weren’t here. I don’t know how you put up with this shit, I couldn’t handle these drunk assholes sober.”

“I got the patience of a saint, I guess.”

“I just want to say thanks.”

“Shut up and take one,” I handed him the cigarette box.

I took one for myself and we finished walking the drunks back to the car.

After having to stop twice because they had to pee and having to find some half-hidden place to do it, since there weren’t any well-hidden places for it. We eventually got to the car and stuck the three drunkest ones in the back. I figured the way to get back to the hotel on my phone while the three in the back attempted to put on their seatbelts and eventually gave up.

Monty knocked out as soon as he got in the car. Adam thanked me a few more times on the way back to the hotel. At one point I stopped at a red light, just a few blocks from the hotel. The streets were mostly empty, one car pulled up next to us. I looked over instinctively and noticed the driver staring at the back seat and nodding in agreeance. So I looked into the rearview mirror and saw Sigus and Rachel making-out. I laughed and interrupted Adam thanking me again, and he looked back too. I think he said something to them, but they were too drunk to listen at that point, he probably wasn’t trying to stop them anyway.

The light turned green and we got to the hotel. Adam got out and woke up Monty, Sirgus and Rachel stopped making-out, I’m guessing because they noticed we stopped moving. I got out of the car and helped get Monty out and at least past the front door, Adam said bye to Sirgus and Rachel.

“Alright, man, just sit here, Adam’s gonna help you up to the room,” I told Monty as I sat him on a couch in the lobby.

Adam walked in from saying his goodbyes, “Hank, you sure you guys don’t want to crash here? It’s late, we’re all tired. And those two,” he pointed out the door “are drunk as hell.”

“I’m not all that tired, I can drive. Besides, I told these two I’d get them home.”

“You can take them home tomorrow.”

“It’s is tomorrow, man.” I said it stern and sure of it.

“Alright, ok.”

We shook hands, said goodbye, and he helped Monty to the elevator. I walked back out to the car, Sirgus and Rachel stayed in the back, just as well, I didn’t want either of them annoying me in the front seat on the way back home. They looked to be sleeping, Sirgus had his head resting on top of  Rachel’s head, I looked forward to the quiet drive back home, until I remembered I had to drive all the way back to Moorpark to drop off Rachel. At least it’d be quiet.

I had a good 35 to 40 minute drive ahead of me, I got to the freeway entrance and picked up some speed.  The freeway was nearly-empty as the streets were, some cars would pass me by sometimes, I would pass some cars sometimes, but I never saw the same car twice. I kept looking at the rearview mirror to make sure Sigus and Rachel hadn’t fallen forward or something and were all crooked, not that I could’ve done anything about it. I couldn’t really see Rachel since she was short and it was dark, but I could see Sirgus’ head silhouette. After every exit I passed I took a glance back there.

Ten minutes on the freeway, I looked back and didn’t see Sirgus’ head in the rearview mirror. I figured he was lying down on the seat or something along those line.

“Hey, you two still alive back there?”

One of them groaned as if I was waking them up. At least one of them was still alive, and I was fine with a 50% success rate, it was late. So I kept driving down the freeway, hoping I would get there sooner than I thought.

Then I heard a moan. A short quiet moan that ended with loss of breadth. Rachel was a loud dreamer, I figured. But then I heard the sound of sloppy kisses. I looked in the rearview mirror and still couldn’t see anything or either one of them in the back seat, just the empty road we were rolling on. They kept going for a minute then stopped. Now they were shuffling around, or at least that’s what it sounded like. I tried looking back, but they were directly behind the driver seat, so that with the pitch black, I couldn’t make anything out. Then Rachel started moaning again.

“For fuck’s sake, really?” I said just above my breadth, loud enough to be heard. I don’t know if they heard, their consciousness was in question, they probably couldn’t even hear themselves. I couldn’t well stop in the middle of the freeway, and I wasn’t about to get off the freeway since I didn’t know the area.

I was annoyed, as if the night weren’t long enough. Rachel kept moaning and panting, every now-and-then I would hear her say “Oh fuck” or “yeah” or something else, all sultry and shit. It was a goddamn ‘94 Corolla, there isn’t enough room back there for a proper fuck. But if you’re drunk, you can manage some pretty ridiculous feats, or maybe my disbelief came from my own qualms about screwing in the back seat. Maybe these two had become contortionists in a fit of drunken passion and could not only tolerate themselves, but a decent amount of discomfort. But just as well, maybe he was just fingering her, or eating her out. The alternatives seemed more plausible but didn’t make me feel any better as I zoomed down the five through Los Angeles, getting more and more pissed-off as I kept driving. I was getting closer to the valley, to home, she kept moaning. Part of me thought Sirgus passed out and she was just finishing herself off since I only really heard here. But every now and then I’d hear a deeper groan or moan or noise that I figured wasn’t hers, or at least didn’t believe it could be hers. The exit for my place was coming up, I wanted to just get out of the damn freeway, drop off the car in front of Sirgus’ place with these two in the back and just walk back home. They’d be ok, or not, my concerns were mostly with getting out of the car, they’re safety be damned. Rachel kept moaning. I’d lock the car doors before I’d take off, obviously, leave them somewhere they could be easily found the next morning when one of them woke up. The worst that could happen was someone would see them in there, and maybe they’d get sick if it got too cold overnight. I started merging to my right, I was almost seriously considering it. It’d make for a better story later, I thought to myself. Rachel kept moaning.

The exit was half a mile away, that’s what the lit green signs told me. And just as I saw my exit, as I almost figuratively told these two to go fuck themselves for doing just that, Rachel moaned in accomplishment. It seemed that way at least, and felt that way too, because she grabbed and clenched my shoulder when she did. At least I thought it was her, it felt like a small hand.

“Whoa, there!” I said, damn hand scared the hell out of me.

I jolted forward a bit and she let go. She came and I passed my exit, there was a joke somewhere there I didn’t bother looking for. There was the next exit, I figured, I’d be a little farther out but not by a lot. Then I just gave up, I figured they were done, the worst had come and gone. I got onto the freeway towards Moorpark. There was some more kissing and groans and moans and shuffling back there, but it was quieter. Then ten minutes before I got to her exit they stopped, I gave out a sigh of relief the likes of which had never been more sincere.

As I got closer to Moorpark I realized something real important, I had no idea where Rachel lived. Sirgus was the one that picked her up, I just knew it was in Moorpark.

“Hey, umm, Rachel.” I nervously called to the back.

Nothing.

Regret started setting in that old familiar way. I’d just take one of the exits for Moorpark and stop somewhere to wake her up, there were only three exits for the town anyway. But lucky for me, for once, Rachel actually woke up all on her own.

“Where are we?” she said from the back.

“We just passed Simi, we’re gonna drop you off. You doing alright?”

“Yeah. What time is it? I can’t find my phone.”

“It’s somewhere back there. It’s past three in the morning.”

“Did I pee on the street?”

“No, not really, I think it was a parking lot with plenty of bushes. You remember?”

“Sort of.”

“You remember getting to the car?”

“Hmm, no, not really.” Neither of them probably remember leaving the last bar.

She was about to ask something, probably along the lines of what happened between her peeing behind some bushes and almost getting her home. Sometimes you don’t want to say the truth or make up some lie, usually you’re really tired at those times and just want to go to sleep. I felt the question coming, so I just interrupted.

“Hey, I’m not sure exactly where you live. Which exit will get me there better?”

Not sure why, but she climbed into the front passenger seat and started giving me directions. That’s when I noticed she was still drunk, she couldn’t figure out the seatbelt, her head kept bobbing slowly sideways and up and down. Yet for some reason she was coherent and could remember where she lived, I guess the subconscious can be as particular as the rest. She told me the exit, I’d ask her for the next turn and she would mumble something, I’d ask again and she’d say it right. Even if she did ask what had happened, she wouldn’t remember my answer, she was too far into it.

I got to her place and parked by the driveway. We both got out of the car and opened both doors for the back seat, we had to find her phone. Sirgus was knocked out and laying awkwardly on the back seat, there were used tissues on the floor of the car, she noticed them too. Which of these two was carrying tissues, or maybe they were there in the back seat the whole time, some people drive prepared.

“His car is so messy,” she said while looking for her phone.

I didn’t know if it was an honest remark or she was trying to play it off, I didn’t dwell on it long enough to care.

“Yep,” I poked at Sigus, “hey, Gus, you seen a phone around here?”

He moved around a bit but didn’t say anything. The phone was going to be under him, I figured. I rolled him to the edge of the seat, which wasn’t much, but enough to notice the phone under his torso.

“Found it.”

“Yay! Thank you.”

I gave her the phone and we closed the doors, she gave me a hug and I said goodnight and made sure she was at least able to make it into the house. Now to go back home, I got back into the car and made my way to the freeway and sped all the way home. The plan had been to drop off Sirgus and his car at his place and I would just walk home since it wasn’t that far. I got to his place and parked.

“Gus, you’re home, pal.” I said as I got out of the car and opened the backseat door, “alright-now, get your ass out.” I began to pull him out and he sort of woke up and mumbled something that sounded like a question.

“C’mon, man, we gotta get you inside the house at least.” He sat up and got one foot out the door but seemed stuck after that. “Damn you,” I grabbed his hand and put it over my shoulders and dragged him out. He could stand ok, but one of his legs just wasn’t agreeing with movement. I eventually got him past the gate and to the front door, I unlocked the door and pushed him towards the doorway.

“I think you got it from here, right?”

He said “Yeah,” at least I think he did.

“Alright, listen, it’s late and I’m tired and I’m taking your car because I don’t want to walk back to my place. I’m gonna bring it back tomorrow morning, probably before you’re even awake, alright?”

I think he said “Yeah” again.

“Alright, close the door and lock it, and get some sleep.”

He closed the door and I walked back to the car, relieved there was an end to this night.

I got to my place and parked nearby and walked quickly to the house and to my room in the back of the house. I took off my boots and my pants and my shirt and fell into the bed with my eyes closed. But I was too restless, at some point between parking the car and getting to my bed, I had gotten hard. I felt like a damn teenager as I laid there, waiting for it to go away. After a few minutes of waiting said screw it and just started beating-off in bed. I closed my eyes and started trying to think of anything that would get me off, the ex’s tits, that one porn scene that gets me every time, the hot girl from work, the other hot girl from work.

Nothing. Not that the spank-bank was overdrawn, but I just couldn’t think of any of the things I wanted to think about. I was tired and had the worst drive back home, my mind was just drawing a blank with any erotic instigation and I hated it. I kept trying for a bit, changed speeds, then gave up and sat up. I suppose that’s a double-entendre.

I put my hard on back in my boxer-briefs, not that it made it any less noticeable, and looked out the window. The backyard was empty, which made sense since it was almost 4 in the morning. I grabbed my shirt and walked out into the backyard, the sky was cloudy and the moon was gone. The floor was cold but I didn’t mind too much, I walked towards the back of the yard where we had a small shed with a bench next to it. I sat down on the bench and took out the cigarette box from my shirt pocket, there was one left and I’d never been more thankful. And I smoked my last cigarette with my hard-on and an empty head.

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