I Hope X Doesn’t Lose His Job

cabinet door
Not an exit.

This morning I went down to get my juice and coffee, and X (not his real name) and Dave had already finished jacking up the floor. Dave was showing X how to use his somewhat complicated travel mug, which must be 10 years old by now. X hugged me as I came in, and started dancing me around. I was self-conscious about my morning breath and overplayed my sleepy incoordination. X told me to work on my dancing.

I got out my OJ and my glass and offered him some, which he accepted, grabbing a big water glass. As I poured it he said, “That raspberry vodka with OJ was fantastic,” referring to the other night when we served it to him and some other friends. “I should have some now,” he joked.

I joked back, “You should.” X was on his way to a meeting with a prospective client, and then a stint at a nonprofit where he freelances. X repeated his comment about the fantastic cocktail and Dave, who hadn’t heard the earlier exchange, joked, “Want some now?”

“I should,” said X, “They’re all doing it. My boss is always wasted, you can smell it on him.” Ha ha ha, Dave prepped coffee and I got out Django’s food bowl. “Maybe I’ll take a little,” X added.

“What?”

“Just to see how it feels.” X stood in the dining room staring at the buffet where the raspberry vodka used to be. Dave got the bottle out of the cabinet and handed it to him, still thinking he wasn’t serious. “Just a little,” said X, unscrewing the top.

But X hardly ever drinks, and he doesn’t know what a little is. He poured in more than a little and I said, “That’s enough!”

He said, “Is it?” and tasted it. Dave said, “Vodka is the liquor of choice if you’re going to be a daytime drinker. It’s virtually odorless.”

I snapped, “I can smell it.”

X’s face grew concerned and he stopped chugging for a second. “Really?”

I felt sorry for him and backpedalled. “I think I smell the raspberry.”

“What if people smell it on me?”

“Tell them you had orange-raspberry juice.”

“Yeah, I can say I had orange-cranberry juice.”

Jesus, he’s high already. “It doesn’t smell like cranberry!”

“Just eat a banana,” said Dave, handing him one from the bowl.

“Thanks,” said X, “I better go.” And he opened a kitchen cabinet and pretended to walk through it. “Oops,” he said as we cracked up. Then he closed the back door and tried to exit through the hinge side. “Oh, I’ll just go…”

I handed him a granola bar. “Mm, chew bar,” he said.

“Chewbarka,” I noted, which was acceptable because I still hadn’t had my coffee.

“Maybe you better go out the front door,” said Dave.

“Ah,” said X, “close to train,” and he wavered his way out of the kitchen, making sure to bump his forehead into the dining room doorway.

“’Bye, X,” I said, still laughing, and continued prepping Django’s food as Dave led him out. It will be really funny until someone smells it on him and doesn’t get the joke.