away team

Upstairs texts from Mas Malo, wanting to know if I'd like him to bring me back some chocolate flan. I tell him no thanks, that I'm not a fan of the flan. Neither is he. I'm a creme brulee guy, he says. Then, I adore you. I respond: Just don't dessert me.

A few minutes later, he sends me a picture: a worm floating in a glass of amber liquid. Good idea or bad idea? he asks. I tell him I hear they flourish in the small intestines of nice Jewish boys. Flourish and multiply, I add. You're just afraid that I'll get drunk and harass you, he says. Which I will. Then in a bit: Can I come over for a minute? I have a tequila worm and we're gonna do this together. Once here, he tries to convince me to split the worm with him. I refuse. Instead, we cut it and offer half to Chaucer, who wants nothing to do with it.


We mess around for a couple of hours, talking and listening to a band I've lately gotten into on Spotify: Washed Out. I slip my bare feet into his sheepskin slippers, clomping around and doing an exaggerated impression of him. I threaten to march over and knock on my neighbor's down the hall, and when I step halfway out my door, he pushes me the rest of the way out and locks it behind me. I'm wearing nothing but underwear and men's slippers. I rap on my door quietly, frantically whispering a demand for admittance. He cracks it slightly, then whistles loudly into the hallway to draw the attention of my neighbors.

When I announce that I'm hungry, he says, "That's my favorite thing to hear you say." I raise an eyebrow; I'm pretty sure there are things he prefers more. He laughs and explains, "No really. I'm terrible at taking care of myself, but I really love taking care of other people. I love feeding you." But I demur. He's spent a small fortune on food, drinks, and entertainment for me; until I can even the score a little bit, I'm determined to provide my own victuals.

He has some work to do, and wants me to come upstairs and keep him company while he does it. But there are some things I want to do around home, plus I'm feeling extremely worn out already: we stayed up until four am the night before, talking and showing one another our favorite YouTube videos. He attempts bribery: he'll order food for me; he'll put on Rear Window; I can bring my laptop and work alongside him. At this last, I look at him. "Really? You wouldn't mind if I was just working on my computer while you painted?" "I'd love it," he says.

But I pass, lying to myself that I'm still going to vacuum and mop. That I'm going to organize my iPhoto events, which have gotten out of hand. That I'm going to go for a run.

He offers to come back down after he's done with his work, to sleep at my place and be "the away team". He knows I have difficulty sleeping outside of my own bed. "That way you can kick me out whenever, if you still can't sleep. You won't have to get up and leave."

But I regretfully decline this offer, too. I'm just too exhausted, and facing down four consecutive nights of work starting tomorrow. He leaves, but returns a few minutes later with food for me: two varieties of Udon soup from his pantry, and a bottled iced tea from his fridge. I shake my head in wonder, but he shrugs it off. He sits on the arm of my couch, and I stand between his legs. We're lingering, procrastinating the work we both need to be doing. He wraps his arms around me and makes up a silly, nonsensical story about the two of us and a bowl of Udon soup.

When he leaves, I try and fail at writing anything of substance. I'm just unable to connect any creative dots. I'm feeling low and down on myself; job hunting is going poorly. Plus, I'm not feeling remotely ready to go back to work tomorrow, and dread the next four days.