We followed Ike into our hotel room and Alex immediately called dibs on the shower. As I had showered that morning, all I wanted to do was throw on some jeans and a clean shirt and brush my teeth. Ike was still in the bathroom so I took my toothbrush to the kitchenette in our suite and cleaned up in there.
“Hey buddy, you all right in there?”
I could hear Ike snorting loudly and so I assumed he was making a dent in the eight-ball and trying to rally himself. I then heard the distinct sound something chopping against a hard surface, quite likely Ike cutting up lines on the marble counter around the sink. Ike didn’t respond and so I knocked and called out to him again. He still didn’t say anything but I heard the chopping and the snorting continue so I assumed he was fine.
I cracked open a beer and walked over to the sofa where I had slept the night before. I sat down and relaxed as Alex joined me. He was staring at the lip of his Tecate somewhat vacantly and then looked up at me before taking a sip.
“What’s he doing in there?”
“I have no idea. It sounds like he is trying to finish off that entire eight-ball.”
“Glad he asked us if we wanted any.”
I looked over at Alex and laughed, “Did you really want any?”
He laughed and raised his can to me and we toasted the remainder of the day. Despite all the adventure it was only about 6 o’clock but we did have people waiting on us and so there was a slight sense of urgency to get motivated. We sat on the sofa talking bullshit for a while before I decided to check back on Ike.
I knocked, again, and I asked him if he was okay, again, and the only answer I received was the sound of snorting and chopping again. I looked back to Alex and shrugged.
“Fuck it – I think he is actually trying to finish off the coke. Christ, he still has the ecstasy taped to his balls I bet. I say let’s get out of here and meet up with Bird.”
Bird was what we called our friend Robin. For some fucked up reason his parents had named him Robin and he had gone by Bird since I gave him the nickname our freshman year at Tulane. Bird recently married his pilates instructor and they were waiting for us at some trendy spot near downtown Dallas. They had been there for a few hours and judging by the diminishing quality of their voice mails they were thoroughly enjoying the margaritas they were drinking.
When I party, I am like a shark – I keep moving. I don’t want to sit still for too long else I will get sleepy and tank. If I keep things moving then I am good for the night; it’s only in the lulls that I start to crash.
Alex looked at me and then looked back to the bathroom. He was sort of the patron saint of drunkards in our group. He looked over the boys when anyone went a step too far and, though he could tie one on himself, he would take charge and watch over the group when things started getting a little too wild. He had a solid head on his shoulders and apparently wanted to stick around and make sure Ike was going to come out alive.
I had enough faith in the cockroach-like unkillability of Ike not to worry about his survival. I had waited an additional 45 minutes for him to resurface from his cocaine bender in the bathroom and since it showed no signs of waning, I decided to move on.
I walked over to the front door of the hotel room, opened it and looked back at Alex, “You sure you want to stick around?”
He was still on the sofa drinking his beer, “Yeah, we’ll catch up in a little while.”
I shut the door, walked to the elevator and hailed a cab. My night was just beginning.
I gave the cabbie the address Bird had texted me and we wove through an upscale extension of downtown Dallas off of McKinney Boulevard. We pulled up to a large building with several restaurants and bars nestled inside it, with patios spilling out into the street and tables packed with 30-something yuppies drinking and eating.
As soon as I stepped out of the cab, I saw Bird sitting at a table near the center of the action and holding court amongst a group of six or seven people. Bird was a charismatic guy who could charm the habit off a nun if he chose, but he was mostly interested in mountain biking and making money. He was my only close friend enamored with the almighty dollar but it didn’t bleed over into some kind of obnoxious personal materialism. He just had a keen mind for business and was intrigued with the different ways he could make money.
He stood up in mid-conversation and waved to me with his right hand while still clutching a pitcher of margaritas in his left. The table turned toward me momentarily and smiled. I walked over and joined what already promised, from thirty feet away no less, to be a rowdy crowd. The night was looking good.
Bird introduced me to the group and then insisted I take a seat next to him as more chairs were added. His fiancée, Melody, gave me a kiss on the cheek and I shook hands with the rest of his friends, most of whom were on his soccer team.
Bird poured me a margarita, handed it to me and then looked at me somewhat inquisitively, “Where are your friends?”