He lifted his shirt and my face twisted and turned in on itself at the sight of his backside. Craters upon craters of back-ne, and a soft red patch of skin, in the little red ridge between the lower back and his ass, hinted at the idea that his fingernails were known to visit the area often. A loud, awkward laugh erupted in the back of my throat, and my attempts to stifle it only accented the staccato pauses between the “ha’s.”
“Hey! Don’t laugh. Now sit your brown ass in that chair and read me a bed time story!”
And that was my freshman year suitemate. He is a one-of-a-kind guy. With cute facial features, and a mischievous charm that would have the tightest of wads ready to buckle in to childish chuckles, the dude knew how to sweet-talk anyone. To say I like hanging around people that play with their words is an understatement. If you love making references to early 90’s Tupac, apple juice, and south central L.A. gangs in one sentence, well then you’re a person after my own heart.
But it took me a while to soften up to his persona. My wads were tight, and I let my seriousness get the best of me. There is no shame in admitting that when his jokes first started flying at me, I was a little too serious to roll with the punches. He knew how to push my buttons and when he told me that I was a creeper and that I should let him sleep with my girlfriend, I was at a loss on how to react. She was in the room when he said it, and she laughed. It may have been her laugh that opened me up, but I relinquished a smile, and a “he’s not that bad feeling” came over me.
While it was ok to tolerate the guy, things turned for the weirder when he asked me to tuck him in and tell him a bedtime story. We had been getting along ok, and while we had a talk here or there, it was a random invitation that really startled me. I took a deep breath, thought it over, and I swallowed my pride as I entered his tiny little single-bed room, and parked myself in an office chair, less than an arm’s length away from the center of his bed.
Anything he could do to make me feel uncomfortable he would do in spades. He slept with his shirt off and revealed the clogged pores in his back that were so enflamed, they looked like they were deep fried dirt and grease. He farted uncontrollably, and would Dutch Oven the smells and purse his lips and bite the tip of one finger as he’d lift the sheets slowly when my head was turned, only to laugh at my dying gasps for clean air. He even asked that I describe in detail how hot the Princess in the story was, and whether or not she would be fucked, hardcore, by the knight in shining armor, named after him.
But I never left. I stomached it all, and I finished the tale. I never stopped laughing when I was around him, and every thought, story, and feeling we shared, was never to be taken seriously, because when I’m with my friend, life is not serious business. It’s good and it’s happy.
For my birthday this year he gave me a book, “Penis Pokey.” It was a nice gag gift, and a not-so-subtle reminder of just how depraved and silly I can be if I ever need to smile. I don’t know if I can donate it to Goodwill or any Library for that matter.