Friday afternoon. Myles' shadow descended over a mountain of combusted garbage bags hurled carelessly over the uneven tufts of dried, blonde grass outside his and Welnot's house. In typical pre-party cleanup fashion, the Northwood roommates put everything that couldn't fit under couches or in closets into garbage bags and tossed it out the door.
Sarah and Leland came outside to watch the kids on on Bloomfield beat each other up mercilessly in the scorching mid-day heat.
Leland turns towards Myles' stoop, "Look, Sarah: The nerd emergeth."
"Sorry," reaching out towards Myles in faux-apology. "Allow me to start over and pretend I don't see you lingering like an immortal fart like you're waiting for us to invite you in. You're the umm...observant...neighbour that's coming to our party tonight?"
Myles clears his throat: "Yeah."
"Should be fun. I can feel things really coming to a boil."
Though already having a sense of what she was speaking about due to his last few months of intense voyeurism, Myles asked, "What do you mean?"
"I guess you wouldn't have noticed, you not living with us or anything," Sarah interposed. "There have been a lot of weird vibes this past week, with no real payoff, you know? No pinnacle. No conclusion. Nothing's been tied off. People are on edge. Welnot's off his rocker, suppressing something that's no doubt related to Alex, this other guy we live with, and Trevor's being more squirrelly than usual, like anxiety-induced fits of sleep-walking and I think sleep-eating."
"And there's this smell in the house..."
"It's all coming to a head. I can feel it."
"The sleep-eating thing sounds like a tidy excuse for all our peanut butter going missing this week," Sarah chimed in warmly. "Leland's being dramatic. It'll be fine, just come on over if your mom is A-OK with it, I doubt you'll get into much trouble or witness anything too fantastic. Just, uh, don't talk to Trevor."
A. Welnot's baker's dozen assortment of photos showing Alex Stuart choking his hyperaemic (but plump, in a botched collagen-injection sort of way) shaft had not been taken by Welnot. Welnot found them in Alex's closet one night while innocently looking for something to humiliate him with. He didn't know what to make of them, or what to do with them. He hid them quickly by the waste bins behind the house in a bag. Half-hoping they'd have somehow disappeared before he could think of what to do with them, he retrieved them after his long walk through the city Tuesday night.
The strangest thing was they had a certain informality much sought-after by amateur aficionados that suggested they were taken by someone else.
Trevor, stoned out of his mind and now looking to smooth the edges of late-afternoon cannabis-tinted existential rigours, decided to season himself with a few pinches of likely impure and corrupted cocaine. The nasal blast started to give him a deluded sense of impressiveness and style regarding his whole nearly-unlovable slacker thing he had going on. Within a few minutes he was pure titanium. He went from fantasizing about what he was going to say to Leland that night, to what he was going to say to Will, now letting his overblown sense of teeth-grinding, Type-A cocaine confidence guide him.
"Listen here, Willie boy, you big oiled tractor of a man," he'd say. "This is how it's going to be." Trev tacked more names onto Will's the more lines he railed. "Willie, buddy boo boy, I'll just give it to you straight: I'm a guy, and she's a girl. That's all there is to it, comprende? To get in the way of this is to disrupt harmony. Dissonance, you big hunk of butted-out Billy boy, that's what you are. She's the middle C to my G, and you're—"
And so on, before following the same path the drug always takes him down: half-baked business ventures spoken of at lightning speed and waves of uncontrollable male camaraderie. In his head, he goes into a long bit about how he suspects waterbeds are about to experience a real renaissance any day now. He tells him, in his head, how they're not so different, him and Will, discounting surface-level nonsense—like height, weight, complexion, disposition, generosity, hygiene, diet, Ba-Big Billy Willie's taste in films versus Trevor's love of American Dad, et cetera—and that if they'd just let themselves have a real nice, fun night together they could probably figure this whole thing out.
He was set on recharging with this stuff throughout the rest of the evening.