Trevor awoke suddenly to a thundering crash right next to his head. His eyes began burning as he found his focus in the dim light, and he gazed up the wall beside his bed at a large bleeding elbow jutting from a hole that had not been there before. Sheetrock dust danced in the air, and the sound of muffled yells and laughter reverberated from the other side of the wall. The elbow suddenly retreated, leaving a scarlet run of blood down the wall beneath the hole it had made.
Bright light and noise from the next room flooded through the hole now, and Trevor looked down to find broken bits of drywall covering his body. Those stupid fuckers, he thought as he sat up. The bedroom door burst open, and the light switch flipped on. It was Jeremy, and he was drunk.
"Hey man, are you okay? Sorry about that! Evan and Bull were wrestling again, and Evan broke out of this wicked headlock that Bull had him in, and Bull got knocked back and his fuckin' elbow went straight through the wall! Can you believe that shit?!" Trevor rubbed his eyes as Jeremy laughed hysterically.
"What time is it?" Trevor asked.
"Oh shit, man — were you asleep? Damn, it's like, um..." Jeremy looked at his watch. "Oh hell, it's a quarter 'til two! Sorry, dude!" He sniffed the air for a moment. "Whew! It smells like foot and ass up in here!" He pulled the door closed again as he shouted to the next room, "Hey dickheads, you woke up Trevor!"
Trevor slid his feet out of bed and on to the floor. As he sat on the edge of the bed, he wrinkled his brow and surveyed his little corner of the collegiate world. God dammit, these hooligan bastards are driving me crazy, he thought. His room in the fraternity house was small, dirty and cramped (and he shared it with three other guys), but it was one of the better ones. Fragments of loud, intoxicated conversation and laughter echoed through the hole in the wall behind him as he blinked his eyes and brushed crumbling bits of plasterboard off his chest and boxer shorts.
The bedroom door burst open again; this time, it was Evan. "Hey man, you're pre-med, right? Do you think you could take a look at Bull's arm? I think he may have fucked it up pretty bad." Trevor turned his head and shot an angry look at him. Evan was holding a beer can that had a head of foam oozing out of its mouth. An exquisite blue shiner rimmed his left eye. He paused. "Oh, um, sorry about waking you up... so, like, we think maybe his arm is broken. Can you look at it and tell whether or not he has to go to the hospital?"
"Yeah, gimme a second," Trevor muttered as he reached for a pair of rumpled Abercrombie shorts lying on top of a pile of dirty clothes. "Cool," Evan burped as he left. Trevor stood up and pulled the shorts on. Running his fingers through his curly black hair, he grabbed a baseball cap off the bedpost and put it on as he stomped out the door.
The air in the living room was thick with pot smoke, masking the usual stench it had from stale, uneaten pizza crusts and spilled beer. Trevor gazed around the room. As expected, there were a number of guests present and engaged in conversation: classmates of housemates, girlfriends, complete strangers who had wandered in off the street — every one of them complicitous in his rude awakening. Evan was standing next to the largest sofa, holding a frozen hamburger patty against his eye and laughing with Bull, who sat on the sofa next to his girlfriend Aimee and one of her female friends. Bull's elbow was wrapped in bloody bar towels.
Bull glanced up and noticed Trevor first. He grinned widely. "Hey man! I think I fucked my arm up. Can you take a look at it? It hurts like a sumbitch!" Bull was a linebacker for the football team and came by his nickname honestly. Trevor had bunked with Bull for two semesters, and as he crossed the room he thought, If he wasn't numbed up right now, he'd be bawling like a baby.
Embittered by the task at hand, Trevor snapped, "Haven't I told you dumbasses not to be fighting in the house?" He knelt beside the sofa arm and unwrapped Bull's makeshift bandages. Bull looked sheepish while Evan snorted in restrained giggles. "Dude! We weren't fighting... we were wrestling. We weren't mad or nothin'," Bull stammered and winced as Trevor pulled his arm out straight. "Ow! Hey man... be careful," he whispered.
Jeremy piped up. "Oh yeah? Well you could have fooled me, Bull! When Evan told Aimee, 'Gee, for a fat girl, you sure don't sweat much,' and you fuckin' clocked him, it sure as shit looked like a fight from where I was standing." The room broke up with laughter, and Trevor looked sternly at Evan and his black eye. "That's quite a little souvenir he gave you." Evan smirked, but said nothing. "So, the wrestling began after Bull punched you for your backhanded compliment. If you ask me, you deserved it." Evan tried to stop grinning, but he was too high to help himself. "Uh..." he snickered, "I guess so."
Returning his attention to Bull's injuries, Trevor noticed no sign of broken bones — only a bloody gash running from his elbow half-way down the bottom of his arm. "Your arm's not broken, but you're gonna need stitches and a Tetanus shot. The nail in the wall that cut you might have been rusty." The sleepy look of concern on Bull's face drained away into a smile. "That's cool, dude. Coach had me get one of those back in the Spring when I split my head open on a blocking sled."
Trevor rewrapped Bull's arm with the towels and stood up. "Well then, all you need is stitches. Serves you damned right for your indoor hellraising! And you, Evan! I hope that shiner lasts a month, you fool!" Trevor caught himself sliding into a zealous rant and regained his composure, returning his attention to Bull. "Better get somebody sober to drive you to the walk-in clinic up on Woodward." Aimee, who had been sitting quietly all this time, suddenly said, "I'll drive him, I'm sober. Besides, I feel partly responsible for all this lunacy. I knew I never should have let Bull talk me into coming here and hanging out with all his frat buddies." She looked over at Evan, who fell quiet and averted her gaze.
As Bull, Aimee and her friend stood up from the couch, the doorbell rang. "Delivery guy's here!" shouted one of the strangers. Jeremy ran over and opened the front door. Standing on the stoop was a guy holding four full white paper bags. "Twenty-six fifty!" the guy exclaimed, sitting the bags at his feet. Jeremy reached in his pocket and withdrew $30 in ones and fives, handing it over. The guy counted out the money and then quipped, "Okay thank you goodnight!" and was gone.
Jeremy picked up the bags of food and brought them in. The congregation of guests all turned their attention to the little boxes of fried rice, eggrolls and noodles. "Man, I hope they didn't forget the extra packets of soy sauce," Evan remarked as he dumped a bag full of condiments and fortune cookies out on to the kitchen counter. Trevor saw that Bull was now focused more on the food than his injury. "Bull, you need to take care of that RIGHT NOW," he said. Aimee grabbed Bull by his uninjured arm. "Don't worry, we will. C'mon baby," she said as she pulled Bull out the open front door. Her girlfriend followed, but stopped in the doorway and turned to face Trevor.
"Thanks for your help," she said with a smile. Trevor looked at her standing in the doorway, her hair shimmering in the blue moonlight. Their eyes locked. He blushed and replied, "Uh... you're welcome." She turned and disappeared into the night.
Trevor stood for a moment holding the vision of her face in his mind, until his thoughts were disrupted by the noise of his ravenous housemates' feeding frenzy. To be or not to be Greek... there was never any question, he thought as he smiled and shuffled back to bed.
Note: This writeup's gratuitous hard links have been removed. This is a good thing - they were terrible.