One night (I was living in Montucky at the time) I decided I would like a root beer float. Living alone at the time, I had to arrange the thing myself. Being too lazy to drive to the store at the time, I had to procure the ingredients from the gas station a block from my apartment. To wit: ice-cream (vanilla) and root beer (pref. Barq’s Famous Old Tyme).

I found the Barq’s straight away and then headed for the frozen goods bin. Lo and behold, there were several flavors of ice-cream… but no vanilla. This presented complications. Childhood experiments had taught me that chocolate was no good for floats so I extended that result to mint chocolate chip and strawberry and whatever the hell else was in there. Neapolitan was present, but I had no interest in all the trouble involved in gutting the vanilla out. Besides, those childhood gustatory experiments had also revealed that while neapolitan can be something of a treat, its component parts- the chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla- were never best in class.  So I was kind of stuck, faced with a deep yearning for a root beer float and only having half the ingredients on hand. That’s when I spotted the fix.

Now Blue Bunny is generally pretty crappy as frozen novelties go, but when faced with same or nothing the bunny will have to do. And what did I see lined up in the case but brick after brick of Wells’ Blue Bunny ice-cream sandwiches. Sandwiches wouldn’t need gutting, per se. More like skinning. And it’s not like I’d mind handling a little chocolate. Snatch one, snatch two and to the register and out the door and home.

Into the glass with the ice-cream from one sandwich and in with some Barq’s and then for a taste. Now I’ve already mentioned my lack of love for the Bunny. Even though the label on the Barq’s bottle assured me that it was in fact “good”, its goodness was not enough to bring the sub-par up to where I needed it to be. I was brought up in a pretty strict “don’t waste food” home, though, so I downed the whole thing and then went ahead and had the sandwich just to be done with the intersection of crappy ice-cream and my domicile.

As I was finishing this, I received a call from Mister Fix. Neither of us having anything better to do, I was invited over for an evening’s drinking and conversation. The weather was beautiful out, so I opted to walk the thirteen blocks or so.

After an uneventful bit of meandering the little white house was in my sights. I went in and had a fine time with Mister Fix and Miss A and Money and Napalm and even little Ju-Ju. There was drinking and smoking and music and conversation and general doing of things we naturally did in those magical times at the turn of the century. Eventually Miss A retired and so Mister Fix and I took to drinking in earnest, as was our wont. We carried on a bit more and had a fine time of it.

I’m skipping over many details here. I do this not to protect the perception of the company I was keeping, for truly their reputations are spotless and there is nothing I could disclose that would alter this state of affairs one bit. No, reader, the reason I may gloss over details sometimes is to protect you. It would bore you to tears to read Dickensian pages detailing every little going-on. What records we listened to. The thoughts in my head as I collected another beer from the fridge. How many times Money needed to be told that he stank. (Which would be a great many, for truly that dog did smell.) No, all of this went down with little or no variance from any other evening passed in that little house, and that was fine. A part of God’s eternal plan for youths hell-bent on misspending their young adult years.

Except for one little thing.

See, I’ve mentioned that the house was small. That’s because it was. And sometimes small houses are laid out in creative fashions so as to accommodate all of the amenities one takes for granted in our technological age. This small house was no different. Upon entering, you were faced with the living room (as is customary). Straight through was the kitchen and further back presented a fork. One way led down to the basement- home to the laundry facilities and Krylon studio. The other way led to the backyard. But back to the living room for a second. Standing in that well-appointed room with its three functioning televisions and phonograph player and generous couch, one would see a door that led to the two critical rooms I have thus far left out- the bedroom and then through there the bathroom.

THE bathroom.

I guess that’s a fine arrangement if one never has guests. Or perhaps if one has guests which one does not want hanging out for great periods of time. It always felt to me kind of prying to use their restroom- like I had to maintain laser focus on the quick u-turn path I would take entering their room (not seeing anything I shouldn’t see!) and then turning into the bathroom. My solution to this more often than not was to make use of the backyard if my discomfort with passing through their space was too much. And if Miss A was asleep? There was no question that Big Sky Country held certain charms that could be appreciated in the span of a minute or so.

Well, this evening Miss A was most certainly in bed so I took a step out back to appreciate Nature in all her splendor and to heed her unmistakable call. And that’s when it came. William S. Burroughs perfectly described it as that cooold knocking. I had no intention of handling that business on premises. The backyard most certainly not suitable, and neither was the bathroom. No, this had a sense of… messiness to it that demanded the comforts of home. I bid good evening to Mister Fix and rushed out the front door.

Clearing the steps I discovered that there was a bit more urgency to this call than I had first thought. Such a sense of urgency that maybe even driving would not have been safe. And even though I had gone less than half a block, I simply could not turn around. I could not rap at their door in a state of panic, demanding access to their facilities and then proceed to make use of said facilities a mere six feet from the sleeping Miss A. I had no choice but to soldier on, exercising the control over my body that we are all encouraged to master as soon as we can.

I was pleased to find out that the weather was fair, which was certainly to my favor- it can be rather exhausting clinching every muscle in one’s body in reaction against the cold. There was the occasional chilly Chinook wind, but they didn’t amount to much. No, I was free to focus my attention on walking as quickly as possible and clinching the one muscle that desperately needed to stay clinched.

It can be a tricky thing, trying to convince oneself to remain casual. Take, for instance, the humble itch. Every once in a great while an itch will present itself under circumstances that may make it taboo to scratch. Anyone will tell you that if you think about an itch it will only get worse. The key is to ignore it. This is not an easy trick to master. It takes much discipline. It takes a fair amount of control over one’s thoughts. It takes a little luck.

I was drunk. Discipline and self control were not very likely. If luck was with me, I wouldn’t be in this situation.

Let’s do a word problem together. How long will it take Scott to walk home?

First, let us consider the entire route is thirteen blocks. We have covered five, so the end of this block will make six. Six from thirteen yields seven. So for distance we can note down seven blocks.

Next we must calculate time per block. Subtracting the one block which we used to calculate a speed of eighty seconds per block, we are left with six blocks times (eighty seconds is one minute plus twenty seconds) twenty seconds plus six minutes which leaves us with eight minutes and then subtract maybe the last minute, during which we made these calculations and that puts us at approximately seven minutes. Lucky number seven. Come onnnnn, seven. Yeah, we can do this.

A sense of calm washes over me. I can totally do this. I’ve got what? Five minutes? Five minutes left. Who can’t hold it for five minutes? Completely doable. Yes. No. No no no no no no no no no no no no no. Sharp cold pain creeps up my spine. I am crossing an alley. It is dark. Within the dark there are pools of darker dark. Possible? Possible. But no paper! I could deal with that. No. No I cannot. No. I. Most certainly. Could not. That is for animals. And hobos. And the insane. What if a car would pass? Or what if a dog would alert its owners? No, sir. Keep moving.

Calm. Cool. I am so glad I did not do that. I’ve got it together now. Less than a block to go. I come around the corner and there it is- my house! Mannnn. What’s left? Fifty paces to the front door? Another twelve up the steps to my apartment? Ten or so to that heavenly seat? We’ll see. We will ssssssseeoh man. Sharp. Cold. Pain. Do this.

SHIt!

No. False alarm.

But I must adjust my strides. No more can I take long, swift steps. Now the pace must be shortened to a sort of penguin walk. A waddle. Pinned at the knees, I pass through the gate. My keys are in hand, held in position and the front door is negotiated with grace and ease. Now for the steps.

Careful. Keep it together. A penguin could walk up stairs if its legs were three feet long. Couldn’t it?

This penguin will.

Ten.

Hold on.

Nine.

Keep holding that key.

Eight.

Talented penguin.

Seven.

Should trust the world more.

Six.

Should leave my door unlocked.

Five.

Nahhh.

Four.

Gonna do this.

Three.

But it’s gonna be close.

Two.

And the world collapses I shuffled dammit and oh Christ in Heaven do not look upon me it feels so gross so hot and yet cold and it’s wet and good fuck why won’t this door open find the keyhole fucker deal with this key in this hole and turning and opening and flying to the bathroom unfastening my belt en route and through the bathroom door and

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Praise be.

Lactose intolerance is a motherfucker.