Friends (7/19/92)A moment of silence awakes us to the calmness around us. The street in front of the liquor store is clear of cars for the first time ever, it seems. Even the wet brown paper bag has stopped flapping against the subway grate.
Josh and I stand here, as we have stood for the last fifteen minutes. Again I have stumbled upon Josh's main problem, all interesting lines of conversation were exhausted within the first five minutes of waiting. He is funnelling his nervousness through his mouth again. I have been in this place before, so I think I know how to act cooler. That seems to be the number one important thing tonight. That's what we're here for anyway, what Josh so urbanely calls "Social lubricant". I am jarred from my contemplation by Josh leaning into my ear and whispering "Hey man, who cuts yer hair?" in that accent he uses when he is imitating a comedian making fun of mexicans. It might be funny if we weren't so rich. He smells a lot like Noxzema, a super clean fresh smell. I grim weakly in response to his joke, and peek into the store. Our friend Heath is at the counter, his woodchuck face trying to look inconspicuous. I turn and look at my watch. "Shit, " I remark, "Its already 10:30." There was not much else to say. Heath walks out a moment later, a bottle of Southern Comfort in a brown paper bag and a small carton of orange juice in his other hand. Josh and I crowd him, pawing at the stuff. He motions over towards the park across the street. Glancing both ways too quickly, he leads us across. Josh looks over at me while we are crossing the street and gives the thumbs up sign. I raise my eyebrows and follow Heath. When we reach the center of the small triangle park, Josh starts grabbing for the stuff again. Heath tells Josh to calm down and sits on the muddy patch of grass. Josh quickly follows. I look around us and gingerly sit down. I watch my breath curl in the air as Heath quickly drinks orange juice to make room for the alcohol. Josh rubs his hands together and licks his lips. Heath watches him and slowly shakes his head. Suddenly I see mom's friend Harriet getting out of a cab right in front of us. "I'll be right back," I say as I get up and run over to her. "Harriet," She turns. "Hi there." She smiles broadly, with teeth, lots of teeth between her bright red lips, "Justin! How are you sweety?" I lean in for a friendly hug, "I'm fine, how are you?" "That's good, how's your mother?" she smiled again. "Oh, she's fine too." "That's nice, where are you headed tonight?" I jerked my thumb over my shoulder "I'm just out with some friends. We're on our way to a party for a play we just finished." "Really?" her eyebrows crawled up, "What play?" I shrugged, "A musical actually, the Boyfriend." She frowned, "Never heard of it. Was it any good?" "Our production was okay, or at least that's what everyone tells us, that it was good, you know, but I didn't like the play itself." I shrugged again. "Well, that's nice. I'm late picking up Ari from a birthday party. Have a good time at your party tonight and say hi to your mother for me." "Yeah, nice talking to you. See ya'." "See you later Justin." she waved over her shoulder as she ran across the street. I watched her for a little while and then returned to my friends in the grass. Heath thrust the orange juice carton up at me, "Here, we saved this for you." Josh chased it with his hands. I took it, and finished off what little there was. "That's it?" I asked, turning over the carton. "Josh took more than he was supposed to. Sorry. You want me to get some more?" I stared at the orange drops on the muddy ground below as I shake my head, "That's alright." Heath stands up. "Well, guys, lets head over to Regen's."