Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Stumbler

One afternoon during the summer of 2002, before I went to college, I gave my friend The Stumbler a ride home from work. Right before I reached his driveway I saw a long, dark-colored snake on the other side of the road. I made a u-turn in an attempt to run him over, but he was gone by the time I got back. I fucking hate snakes.

Our friend Mr. Mountain Dew was having people over that night, and we made it to his house around 8:00 PM. The Stumbler was taking a few shots from the bottle of Kentucky Gentleman Bourbon he brought, but seemed fine. Then, a few of the other guys decided to play power hour, a game where you take a shot of beer every minute for 60 minutes. This equates to anywhere between 5 and 8 beers, depending on how big the shot glass is.

The Stumbler was reluctant to steal Mr. Mountain Dew’s beer, so he decided to play power hour with a mixture of bourbon and soda. He didn’t take a shot every minute, but he got damn close. By the end of the hour he was slurring, stumbling, and talking gibberish.

Things kept getting worse. After peeing out in the woods, he tripped and bumped his head against the glass door, which cut him pretty good. When blood began to slowly trickle down the back of his neck, I figured it was time to go.

Getting The Stumbler to my car wasn’t easy. Judging by his cuts and moans you would’ve thought we were helping him climb Mount Everest. Every few steps he’d fall on the grass, get up, walk a few steps then fall on the grass again. He scraped his arms and legs, as well as got his clothing muddy.

Finally, we got him to my car where I asked if he was going to puke.

“No, not gon’ puke,” he replied.

“Are you sure? I don’t want you to puke in my car.”

“Yeah’m sure. I not n puke n ‘er car.”

“Okay Stumbles, put your seatbelt on. Can you find it over there...Good.”

Of course, you can never trust anybody that obliterated. Halfway to his house he said, “Pull da car ower.”

I immediately pulled the car into the shoulder, put it in park and got out. Just before I reached the passenger-side door to help him out he started throwing-up. His first spew went all over the side of my car. Once I opened the door I realized the seatbelt was holding him back. Fucking seatbelt. There was no way I was going to reach over his vomit and eject him, so I just watched as puke spilled everywhere.

“You done?” I asked a few minutes later.

“Yup,” he replied.

When I pulled up his driveway I was glad to see that the lights in his house were turned off. I thought that if his parents saw him in this condition, they might kick him out. I didn’t know what to do. If I brought him in the house, I surely would wake his parents up. And I definitely wasn’t going to take him with me.

I did the only thing I could do – I left him passed-out on his driveway, flat on his stomach, covered in his own puke with blood streaming down his head.

I was reluctant to do this, but I didn’t see any other option. There were a few concerns I had. In particular, I didn’t know if he had alcohol poisoning. I took a chance and hoped he didn’t. Second, that big ass snake was still slithering around somewhere. I assumed it was a black snake, but our woods are also loaded with poisonous copperheads. Third, his neighbor had a crazy cat that scratched everything in sight. That little shit was usually caged-up, but I noticed he had escaped from his prison. Fourth, there were all kinds of bugs crawling around his driveway. Fifth, his head was still bleeding a little bit, and I didn’t know if he needed stitches.

Finally, I said “Fuck it.” I got in my stinky car and drove away. I was certain the bugs would bite him and the cat would scratch him. I hoped the snake didn’t get him, his parents didn’t find him and that he didn’t die from alcohol poisoning or loss of blood.

Once I got home I raced inside and looked for whatever cleaning supplies I could find. I brought 409, Lysol and a roll of paper towels out to my car and started cleaning. JD had fallen asleep while watching TV in the basement, and came outside after I woke him up.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“The Stumbler got really drunk and puked all over my car.”

“Oh, that’s gross.”

“You want to help me clean it?”

“Hell no.”

He went inside and went back to sleep as I desperately tried to get rid of the orange vomit on my upholstery. It was a putrid odor that refused to go away. Before the vomiting incident, my car still had the “new car” smell. Not anymore. That bastard better thank me big time for this.

After an hour of cleaning, my car still smelled horrible, but I gave up and went to bed. I had trouble sleeping, though, because I felt guilty for leaving The Stumbler like that. Who leaves their friend passed-out on his driveway with a busted skull?

The next day I called The Stumbler’s house around noon, hoping he would answer the phone.



“Yeah. Hey Ben.”

“Dude, you’re alive! What happened?”

“Oh man. I woke up at some point and found my way into my car. I slept there the rest of the night.”

“So, your parents didn’t find you?”

“My mom walked outside right after I woke-up. She saw that my shirt was bloody and I told her I cut myself.”

“She didn’t see the puke all over your shirt?”

“I guess not.”

“Dude, you owe me. I spent an hour cleaning my car, and it still smells terrible.”
“I’m really sorry, man. I’ll do whatever you want.”

Should we call it even considering I left him half-dead on his driveway?

Later in the afternoon I went to 7-Eleven and bought two cheap air-fresheners for my car. The addition of Mountain Breeze helped a little, but certainly not enough. It took a few weeks before the stench of The Stumbler’s vomit went away.

Keep reading:
The Stumbler: Part II


Ho-Train said...

Oh that Stumbles, you should have made him eat worms as payment. Wait a second, nevermind.

Anonymous said...

These high school stories take me back. Is there a guide for the aliases? Kentucky Gentleman and worms are giveaways for "the stumbler".

Excellent blog... eagerly awaiting your next update

Anonymous said...

Every once in awhile I wonder if I have missed something by never having been drunk. After reading this entry, whatever curiousity I might have had is out the window! Thanks for giving me a sure cure.

Unknown said...

Benjamin's soulful accounts of his experiences are mature beyond his years. I wish him and his family the best and await his next post.