“Holy shit, man. Your pants, they look like they’re from the future, if it was, like, 1955.”
Sera had been waiting outside the subway stop for at least thirty minutes before Daniels stumbled up from the tunnel. He was wearing his signature plaid overcoat and black T-shirt. “Yes, thank you.”
“Your legs,” Daniels chuckled, “your legs look like two hot dogs wrapped in tinfoil.” Sera’s pants reflected the light coming from the streetlamp above him, forming a small halo of light on the ground with him in the center.
“I’m sure they do.”
“Like, if I put you in the microwave from the waist down, I—”
“Oh, hello Sera, nice to see you. Sorry for keeping you waiting in the middle of this fucking neighborhood ten god damn miles away from your dorm. I would’ve texted you I was going to be late, but that would’ve required some fucking common decency and cognizant thought that I’m not fucking capable of.”
“Hey man, this neighborhood’s fine.”
“I saw a guy peeing on a car.”
“That’s the charm of the city!”
“He made eye contact, Daniels.”
“Well, look at it this way, now you have something to talk about at the party.”
Sera walked next to Daniels, letting him lead the way through the unfamiliar labyrinth of nearly identical apartment complexes. Sera wasn’t what you would call a “party person.” If anything, he was usually the guy who liked to shit on party people. Yet here he was, walking in his tight shiny pants, to a party full of obnoxious theater kids.
A couple months back, Daniels’s girlfriend, Lucy, was in the orchestra ensemble for her school’s production of King Lear: The Musical and had asked her boyfriend to be her plus one for the afterparty. Lucy and Sera were less than friends (Sera told a slightly distasteful joke about the French during the final climatic song of Les Misérables, and Lucy, who Daniels had failed to mention was of proud French descent, was less than impressed) but despite their past, that didn’t stop Daniels from dragging Sera along for the party. Sera would’ve resented that night if it hadn’t been for him meeting Maria Chascarillo.
Maria gave off a shy aura, very reserved, when Sera first saw her. He had noticed her an hour or two into the party; she was the only person other than himself who seemed perfectly sober. After shooting the shit about whatever—the production, what she was studying in school, how she liked New York, etc.—he noticed they had surprisingly similar tastes. They hit it off almost immediately when Sera commented on her Weezer T-shirt. They spent the rest of the night talking about their favorite bands, favorite songs, favorite genres, favorite albums, going on and on about music before Daniels stumbled over, drunk, saying he needed him to call an Uber home (Lucy had left without him and his phone was out of juice). Sera didn’t want to leave Maria behind, but she insisted he take him home.
It wasn’t until he was already on his way back to his dorm, him and Daniels sharing the backseat of a Honda Civic, when Sera realized he didn’t have a way to contact Maria again. Sera dwelled on this for weeks, kicking himself in the ass every Friday night he spent alone. If he had just asked for her Instagram, her snapchat, hell, even her phone number, he could’ve had someone to go out with, or at least, someone who’d listen to records with him all night. Sera thought he’d never see her again, until a couple of days ago, when he relayed all his Maria-related feelings to Daniels.
Sera told his friend everything: about her Weezer T-shirt and their love for late ‘90s-to- early-2000s alt bands and how much he regretted not being able to see her again. It was then that Daniels casually remembered that he was supposed to tell Sera something. As it turned out, Maria was actually in orchestra ensemble with Lucy, and she was pretty disappointed that she couldn’t keep in contact with Sera. Lucy begrudgingly told her that her boyfriend actually knew Sera and could give him her number (she didn’t have any social media). This was about seven weeks ago. This was first Sera had heard about it. Needless to say, he was pretty miffed. Daniels, after letting Sera scream out his frustrations, offered to bring him along to the next theater party. And now here they were, walking to a party where Sera would get to see his beloved again.
After about ten minutes of seemingly aimless wandering, they made it to the street of the apartment. The streetlamps were all busted, and the only light was provided by the stoop lights and windows of the first-floor dwellings. Sera could barely see the sidewalk as he went up the street with Daniels, although with every step he could hear the crunching sound of broken glass beneath his feet. Daniels was going up to each individual porch and running his finger down the directory, trying to find the right apartment. After looking at the directories of five or six different apartment buildings, he finally found the one he was looking for, and buzzed the ringer. Sera waited by the pile of trash in front of the building, only getting closer to Daniels when the smell of sour milk and rancid meat became too much for him. After getting no response for a few minutes, Daniels whipped out his phone and began typing something, and a few seconds later the door clicked open and the two friends entered the apartment complex.
“Alright man, I need to know: why the pants?” Daniels led the way through the dim lobby and up the cramped stairwell.
“Because I enjoy looking like a jackass.” They passed up the second floor.
“Is it because of Maria?” Third floor.
“Well, let me put it this way: this morning I had to go into the goth store on Fourth Ave and ask for the ‘really shiny pants.’ There are very few people I’d go into that store for.” Fourth floor. Daniels and Sera exited the stairwell and walked down the hallway, stopping at Unit 4D.
Daniels took out his phone to text again, and once his message was sent and he put away his phone, his gaze drifted to Sera’s crotch. “Where’s your bulge?”
“The pants are tight.”
“Dude, you need to be showing at least, like, 75 percent more pene right now.”
“I’ll be real honest with you Daniels, I think I would much rather have the world not see the outline of my cock and balls.”
“It’s not for the world,” Daniels said.
Sera looked down at the cleavage between his thighs. “Do you really think she’ll notice?”
“Yeah man, fix it quick, before we get in.”
“God, holy shit, I can’t even get my fingers through the waist, it’s so god damn tight.”
As Sera hunched over, reaching between his legs to get a grip of his carefully hidden “man meat,” a girl with a blue dress and matching hair tie answered the door. “Jesus Christ, Sera, are you capable of not acting like a moron for like, five minutes?”
“It’s fine Lucy, he’s just trying to untuck his dick.”
“I’m fairly certain no one wants to see it Daniels, tucked or untucked,” she said.
“One sec, I think I almost got it.”
“It’ll boost his sex appeal,” Daniels added.
“How much self-esteem would a woman have to lose before she even thought about touching Sera’s dick? He looks like someone dipped him in silver and stopped at the belly button.”
“Fuck it, it doesn’t want to move, and I’m not forcing it.” Sera stood upright again.
“I don’t know, it does help him stand out,” Daniels said.
“Yeah, so would getting a marker and writing ‘UNFUCKABLE’ on his forehead. This gives the same message.”
Daniels and Sera followed Lucy into the apartment, taking off their shoes and throwing them into the pile next to the door. The apartment was cramped, dimly lit, and reeked of booze. It was a small living area/kitchen space, with no furniture except for the drinks table pushed against the wall and a mattress on the floor. There was a hallway leading back deeper into the apartment, where Sera assumed the bathroom and bedrooms were.
No one seemed to notice that two outsiders were crashing their theatre party except for a group gathered in the far-right corner, who caught one look at Sera and began snickering. Two guys were lying down on the mattress, either sucking on each other’s ears or whispering secrets. Three other girls were at the drinks table, loudly encouraging each other to have another glass of rosé. As Sera scanned the room, he noticed someone was missing.
“She said she’d be late,” Lucy said. “I told her you were coming and she started to panic. Started asking what your favorite color was, what to wear, what you were like—”
“What did you tell her?”
“I told her she’s wasting her time on a dumbass.”
“Hey man, that’s a good omen!” Sera could notice a twinkle in Daniels’s eyes. “She’s so into you, it doesn’t matter that you look like a glam-rock clown, she’ll go home with you regardless.”
“I’d like to believe my friends have good enough taste not to go home with Ziggy Shitfuck over here.”
“You don’t know that, maybe she has a thing for shiny pants. Is the bathroom down that hall?” Daniels pointed past the drunk girls and Lucy nodded. “Alright, great, I’m gonna go hot box it.”
“Hey man, what the fuck? You’re just gonna leave me here?” Sera looked toward Lucy, who was already leaving to talk with the girls in the corner.
“You’re welcome to join.”
“You know I don’t smoke.”
“Have a drink then.”
“You know I don’t drink.”
“They have mixers. You’ll be fine, man. Just wait for Maria, she’ll probably get here soon.”
Daniels patted his friend on the shoulder as a sign of good luck, before leaving to make the bathroom smokier than a brushfire.
Sera passed the time by drinking cup after cup of rum and coke minus the rum. A small speaker close to the corner girls was playing acoustic songs on shuffle, but Sera didn’t recognize any of the artists. Pop wasn’t his genre. Occasionally a showtune would play and everyone in the room would drop their immediate conversations and sing along, then continue with what they were saying once it was over, as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. This was a reminder of why Sera generally avoided anyone who mentioned even a passing interest in Broadway. He was content that no one had noticed him in the crowd, but that feeling was spoiled when one of the girls hovering the drinks table approached him. She reminded him of those girls he would’ve had a crush on in middle school, wearing plastic wrist bands going up their arms and scene-queen eyeliner.
“Are you an alcoholic?” she asked, slightly slurring her words.
“Sorry?” Her breath reeked of breath mints and rosé.
“You’ve been standing here for, like, a really, really long time. And you haven’t even put down that cup! I was wondering if you were an alcoholic. See my friends over there? We’re all alcoholics. Every Friday, we drink our weight in rosé.”
“If that were true, I think you’d be dead.”
“Holy shit I wish! No, no, it’s alright, I’m not depressed. We’re real safe about it. Who are you?”
“I don’t know you.”
“I don’t know you either.”
“I’m—my name is Helena. I know everyone here. Those two alcoholics over there are my roommates. Those three bitches over there in the corner are tech crew, and their token straight friend from the band. That homo down there with his fuck buddy is one of my best fucking friends in the whole damn world. Hey, Diego, you homo sack of shit, suck any dick lately?”
One of the young twinks on the mattress took his tongue out of his boyfriend’s ear. “More dick than you can dream of honey!”
“God Diego, what a gay. We’re all gay here. Well, not Lucy. The token straight friend. And I’m bi, but that’s pretty much gay. Not really though I guess. Are you gay?”
“Can’t say that I am.”
“W-hat? How are you straight and wearing those pants? Did you just get back from a rave?”
“No, I just—”
“Oh look, who let the troll out of her dungeon?” When one of the corner girls made that announcement, the whole room looked to the drink table.
Behind Helena was a meek, frightened-looking girl pouring herself a drink, wearing sweats and an unflattering white t-shirt. Her mouth hung open in awe and heartbreak, like she had been caught in the middle of a murder.
“What, did the cow have to come out to graze? Did the horse need another drink from the watering hole?” Helena barked. The girl in sweatpants panicked, her eyes wide in shock. Tears poured down her face as she ran down the hallway, sobbing and slamming her bedroom door shut. The partygoers laughed amongst themselves before getting back to their conversations.
“God, she’s such a fucking drama queen.” Helena took another drink of her rosé.
“Who’s that?” Sera continued to look past Helena, down the hallway.
“Oh her? That’s Whitney, this is her apartment. This party’s for her. It’s her birthday.”
“Yeah, we all hate her. She’s sooooo fucking annoying. I mean, we’re all in the drama department but she’s, like, so dramatic, but not in a good way. She’s always crying in the middle of scenes, talking about how no one ever loved her, how she’s so alone,” Helena said, pausing to take another sip of her drink.
“Wow, that’s kinda sad.”
“I know, it’s so pathetic, isn’t it?” Sera watched in amazement as Helena poured herself another cup of rosé, up to the brim of the glass, and proceeded to drink the entire thing, without taking a single breath through her mouth. When she finished and was tipping the glass over for the last few droplets of alcohol, her face crunched up into an intense frown. “Well S’ra y-you h’ve fun, ’kay? Keep, keep, keep tha’ cup full.”
While watching Helena walk back to her friends after chugging enough rosé to kill a small child, Sera had noticed all of those cups of coke had caught up to him. He waited outside the closed bathroom door for whoever was in there to finish up. The entrance to Whitney’s bedroom was right across from where Sera stood, and from within he could hear a faint yet intense sobbing. He didn’t linger too long on the fact, instead focusing on how ten minutes had passed, how his urge to pee had greatly increased, and how whoever was in there was taking their sweet-ass time. He slammed his closed fist to the door, telling them to hurry up, then noticed the small crack between the door and the floor was being blocked by someone’s shirt.
“Relax, relax, give me a sec,” a familiar voice said from inside. The door opened and a gust of smoke escaped into the hallway, with Daniels’ standing in the middle of it. He had a dumb, burnt-out smile on his face. “All yours man, oh hey Sera! Hey is Maria here yet?”
“No, move.” Sera pushed his friend out his way, completely oblivious to Daniels’s bunched up coat at the threshold of the doorway. Not expecting to step on it, Sera slipped and fell forward, almost hitting his head right against the bathtub.
“Woah Sera, are you—”
“For fuck’s sake, Daniels get out of here! I need to piss!” Sera could feel a little spurt of pee come out from the slip, making a small wet spot between his legs. Daniels picked up his coat and closed the door behind him, leaving Sera to his devices.
Sera put up the toilet seat and undid his zipper, ready to let loose, when he realized there was a problem: he tucked. “No problem,” he thought to himself, “I’ll just take off my pants.” This proved to be an even bigger problem. Something was wrong; the pants were too tight. There was no space for his fingers to undo the rivet button of his pants. In a panic, he tried sucking in his gut to make some space, but this proved counter intuitive, only adding more pressure to his already stressed bladder. His fingers fumbled clumsily to undo the pants in a desperate attempt of getting lucky, but every so often his fingers would jab at his pelvis and he would feel the hold on his fluids loosen. It was inevitable, he was past the point of holding it in. He felt a warmth spread from between his legs, a warmth that he felt trickle cold down his pant legs and drip through the fabric. Before his pants got completely soaked, he managed to salvage his phone and wallet from his tight pocket.
So there he stood, in a puddle he created on the bathroom floor. It soaked into his socks. Not knowing any other course of action, he frantically unlocked his phone to text the only person he could think of.
“Hey Sera, man, I’m outside,” Daniels yelled from outside the room. “What’s the—”
Sera pulled his friend into the disaster zone and immediately closed the door, hoping no one heard him. “God dammit, not so loud man, get in here.”
Daniels stepped into the puddle. “Aw shit man, my socks. Hey was there a leak or something? Why are your pants wet, why is the floor wet? And what’s that smell? It’s not a weed smell, or a—oh my god.” A grin grew wide over his face. “Had an emergency Sera?”
“Yeah Daniels, yeah I know. I pissed myself. Ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha ha. Great, funny time is over, give me your coat.”
“No way man, you aren’t getting my coat soaked with pee.”
“Come on Daniels, please, I need something to dry myself with. There’s no toilet paper.”
“Oh, I see,” he said, putting a finger to his chin and squinting. “One sec.” Sera, while waiting for Daniels to get back, failed an attempt to take off his soiled pants; the button was too slippery to get a grip on. Luckily, Daniels returned minutes later with Sera’s salvation in hand.
“Daniels, I think I’m going to be needing more than a single paper towel.”
“Hey man, this is the best I could do.”
“Why didn’t you bring the whole roll?”
Daniels shrugged. “Well, I couldn’t do that, what if someone spilled their drink?”
Sera winced, focusing on not developing an ulcer. “Aren’t there towels out there, like, in the kitchen or something?”
“Nah man, there weren’t any towels. I asked Maria if she saw any around, but she said some girl named Whitney took them all.”
“Oh dude have you met Whitney? Yeah, she said something about drying tears or something dramatic like that. Have you talked to that girl? She’s the worst.”
“No, I mean, who told you about Whitney?”
“Yeah, your Maria. She got here a few minutes ago.”
Sera could feel all hope, all positive energy, all proof that there is a God leave his mind. “I have to leave. I have to get the fuck out of here. I need to make myself invisible, or climb out a window, or hell maybe I should just end it all here. Death isn’t so bad; it can’t be worse than this. I mean seriously, seriously! What could be worse than this?”
“No man, don’t kill yourself, it’s cool, it’s fine. Maria’s out there and she’s ready for you to sweep her off her feet. I know we can do something…Something that doesn’t involve my coat. Oh my god, I got it! Hold on.”
Sera was starting to get a headache from the musky smell of weed and piss, a combination he never dreamt he’d encounter. He looked at the tub, wondering if everything would have worked out better if he had just let his head hit that hard piece of porcelain. Daniels returned once again with a bottle in his hand. Without any hesitation, he shook it up and sprayed the rosé all over Sera’s pants.
“Daniels, what the—”
“Trust me on this.” He pulled Sera out of the bathroom and into the hallway. Each step they took made a squishing sound, leaving a trail of wet footprints down the hall. “See, now you smell like rosé instead of pee,” he whispered.
Sera was in shock, not knowing what else to do except let his friend lead him out into the main room. “Oh my god, Sera,” Daniels announced to the crowd, “I can’t believe you chugged that whole bottle of rosé and it got all over the pants!” He winked at his friend, leaving one single, bloodshot eye open. Apart from Helena and her friends, who raised their glasses and cheered, the rest of the party didn’t even bother to look in Sera’s direction. Only Helena, her friends, Lucy, and Maria.
“I didn’t know you drank Sera,” Maria said. She was standing next to Lucy on the other end of the drink table. She looked so different than before. It was obvious she did her hair and makeup before getting to the party, and this time, instead of wearing a band t-shirt, she wore a white, sleeveless top and red plaid skirt.
“I-I don’t,” Sera said, still processing the situation. “I-uh, well—”
“Hey boozehound, your fly is down,” Lucy said, pointing to his crotch.
“You don’t? Then what was Lucy’s boyfriend talking about?” Maria asked.
“I-well, I meant,” Sera zipped up his pants. “I meant I usually don’t, but, well, there’s a first time for everything. Don’t knock it until you try it, and all that. I’m a real student of life. A real renaissance man.” Sera’s heart was in his throat. Could she smell that he wet himself? Did she notice the pants? Would she recognize them? Would she understand the joke? What little energy his mind had left revolved around those questions.
“I guess that’s true,” she said. “Can’t be a baby forever. Lucy, which of these is good?” Maria gestured toward the bottles.
“Are you sure Maria?” Lucy was using a strangely infantilizing voice Sera had never heard her use before. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“No, it’s alright,” she assured, smiling at Sera. “There’s a first time for everything.” She poured herself a glass of rum, filling half the cup. She frowned after her first sip and coughed a bit. “Th-that’s strong.”
“Don’t you think you should slow d—” Daniels nudged Sera before he could finish.
“Dude, remember, you’re drunk.” Sera nodded in understanding.
“D-don’t ya think you shhhhould slow down M-maria?” He looked at Daniels, who gave him a sly thumbs up.
“Sera actually has a point, Maria, that stuff is pretty strong. Maybe I should get you a glass of water or something.”
“No, no no no. I’m good,” with only one sip she already looked tipsy. “I have to catch up.”
Lucy yanked Sera by the wrist and pulled him away from her friend. “Sera, look at me.” Her eyes read “potential homicide.” “You aren’t going to touch Maria tonight. I have no idea why she feels she needs to impress a low-life like you, but I’m not having it. If you make any, and I mean any, move on her, I’m kicking your ass into the fucking stratosphere.” Lucy walked back to Maria, asking if she was sure she didn’t need any water. Daniels rushed over to Sera.
“Daniels, man, I think I’m going to just cut my losses here and go home.”
“What, no way man! Maria’s having such a good time, look at her.” She was propping herself up with a stiff arm against the table, her head already beginning to nod. She struggled to keep eye contact with Lucy.
“I am looking at her, she’s gonna get plastered man, I can’t have that on my conscience! Besides, your girlfriend’s going to kick my ass if I touch her. I’m better off Ubering home.”
“No Uber’s gonna let you into their car when you’re soaked with rosé and pee.”
“Fine, I’ll take the subway. Maybe I’ll see the guy who peed on the car. We’ll be pee brothers, it’ll be fantastic. Listen, I’ve already made a jackass of myself, and I want to go home.” Daniels pulled on his friend’s arm before letting him leave.
“Let me talk to Lucy, okay man? I can distract her, or maybe—”
“Shit man, why are you even with her? Like truly, what are you getting out this? What is she getting out of you?”
Daniels looked at his feet and smiled, half embarrassed. “You ever see Lucy get angry?”
“Yes, all the time. Usually at me. Or at you.”
Daniels looked back up at Sera, with a twinkle in his eye. “I’ll distract her, you can make the moves on Maria. Lucy! My love, my sweet baboo…” Daniels and Sera split up to talk to their respective partners.
“Sera!” Maria yelled. “Sera, have you ever had rum? Rum is so goooood. I mean, it tastes terrible, but it makes you feel so good! I should have done this looooong ago.” She tipped the cup forward, getting every last drop before pouring herself another drink.
“You should really,” Sera quickly corrected himself. “Y-youshuld, you should really sl-slow do-hown”
“No no, I’m fine. I’m goooood. I’m fine. It’s great. Here, have some.” Before hearing Sera object, she had already begun pouring a new glass.
“N-no I’m al-right. I drank sooooo much, so much rosé, and I—” She handed the cup to Sera. He could tell she really wanted him to drink, and, not wanting to seem impolite, he placed his phone and wallet down on the table, put his lips up to the rim and tipped the cup, letting the liquid barely touch his lips. He didn’t mean to, but his face contracted into a frown when the smell of rum up close hit him. Not wanting to lose focus, he put the cup down before trying to make small talk with Maria.
“So, uh…huh. L-listen to, uh, any bands recently?” Sera didn’t need alcohol to make his mind run slow.
“You ever listen to the Buzz-cocks?” She smiled slightly before taking another sip.
“Oh, yeah, yeah, I, uh…” Sera remembered: Drunk. “Y-yeah, I-I, ‘member ‘um. They, they did the, uh, th’ one song, y’know. ‘Why Can’t I Touch It’, rrrright?”
“Yeah, heh heh, they also did, they did ‘Orgasm Addict.’ Remember that one? Ha!” Maria had an ugly laugh when she drank, something Sera didn’t expect. She took another large sip, scrunching her face and slamming her empty cup on the table.
“I-I lissened to, Mellon Chollie and—”
Maria extended her finger and began to trace small circles on his chest. “Hey—hey, do you want to, do ya wanna—”
“No. Well, yes. Well, I don’t think I do.”
Sera, not wanting to admit his actual feelings, could hear Daniels and Lucy only feet away, arguing through aggressive whispers. “Lucy thinks that we—”
“Shit, I-I don’t care ’bout Lucy, let’s just go, I’m fine.” She grabbed Sera’s hand and started yanking him towards the restroom. Lucy blocked their way.
“Hey, Maria,” she said, glaring at Sera. “Where, uh, where are ya going?”
“I’m going to the bathroom, I gotta pee.” She let go of Sera’s hand as Lucy got out of her way. “Or should I not do that either?”
“See what I mean, what’s with you being so protective of Maria?” Daniels asked, bringing his girlfriend’s focus back to him. Sera stared past the couple at Maria, who had already sauntered her way to the bathroom. She closed her eyes and stuck out her tongue, making out with the air. She winked at Sera and gestured for him to come over before closing the door. Sera took a step toward the Siren before Lucy’s hand reflexively extended to grab him by his shirt.
“Sera,” Lucy gritted. Sera was tired of Lucy. Sera was tired of the whole situation. They were both consenting adults. Well, it’s not really consent if she’s drunk, but it wasn’t like that. It’s not like she was unconscious or anything, they both knew what they were doing. She initiated! And why the hell did Lucy feel like she had to baby Maria? It infuriated Sera! This would be when he finally said something. He balled his fingers into a fist, and opened his mouth, ready to tell Lucy off.
“I want a three-way with Maria!” Daniels announced. Lucy whipped her head from Sera to her soon to be ex-boyfriend, not sure of what she just heard.
“Excuse me?” Lucy asked. Her voice was both calm and electric.
“We were talking about it while you were with Sera,” Daniels locked eyes with his friend as he said his name and winked, nudging his head towards the bathroom.
Sera didn’t think much about what the hell Daniels was thinking, or even if he was thinking. He just noticed the opening his friend gave him and ran with it. As Lucy started screaming at Daniels, Sera took a bottle of rum and downed two large gulps. He almost lost grip of the bottle, not expecting the rum to hit as hard as it did. Once he felt tipsy enough to make this ethical gray area even grayer, he walked to the bathroom, unafraid that Lucy would notice.
The floor was just as slippery as when he left it, so much so that he had to grab onto the sink to make sure he didn’t fall. The rosé, the weed, and the piss smells all coagulated to make one super-smell, a musk that managed to give Sera a blinding headache. Maria had been sitting on the bathtub’s rim, waiting for her crush to arrive. Did she not smell this? Or was she too drunk to care?
“Sera, I’ve been waiting f’r this f’r, for so long,” she said with a drunken smile, stumbling towards Sera. She slipped and fell into his chest, slamming him against the door. Wasting no time, she started sucking sloppily on his neck, covering it with spit, before taking her mouth away, making an extremely unsexy sound, similar to a suction cup. She moved up to kiss his lips, but her aim was off. She sucked on his upper lip, kissing right below his nose. “Did-did that getcha hot? You like that?” she asked, giggling afterwards.
“Ha ha haaaaa, are you ready for this?” Maria clumsily lowered herself down to her knees, putting her head directly in front of Sera’s crotch. Sera winced knowing what she was kneeling in. He could feel his conscious screaming at him to quit this before it started.
“M-maria, we sh-should—”
“Hey, hey, where’s your penis?” she asked.
“I tucked. Now come on, let’s—”
“Why are you wearing such shiny pants?” Maria asked.
All of the color left Sera’s face. “Y-you don’t, oh, oh god, you don’t you recognize them?”
Maria squinted, closely examining the pants in her drunken state of mind. “Tin Man? Wizard of Oz?”
The day after the party, the party where he had met Maria, Sera had looked into some of the bands Maria mentioned enjoying, specifically the one she called her favorite. He came across one specific photo of the lead singer wearing these ridiculous, tight, chrome, shiny fucking pants. It was goofy. He didn’t care. He thought it would be worth the embarrassment. Worth it as long as she got the joke.
“Billy Corgan,” he said quietly.
Maria raised an eyebrow. “Sma-smahashing Pumpkins?”
“I like Tin Man better.”
Sera was feeling his throat getting sore, and tears welling up in his eyes. He didn’t let the feeling last. “Let’s get you up.”
“No, come on, it’s fine.” Maria slid down onto her back and spread her legs. Sera could see up her plaid skirt. “Do me Tin Man!”
“No, no, no, come on, let’s, lets—”
“I’m fine,” she said, swatting his hand away.
“C’mon, lemme—” Maria tried pushing herself up, using the tub as leverage, before she lost her footing and fell forward, hitting her head on the edge of the porcelain. She lay on the tiled floor, in Sera’s puddle of piss and rosé. Sera’s slightly intoxicated mind couldn’t function. His thoughts zipped around his mind from one to another, from “this looks bad” to “at least there’s no blood” to “holy shit, Lucy’s going to slaughter me.” He put his head to her heart, and sure enough, it was still beating, albeit slowly. She was fine, someone would help her. Just not him. He had to get out of there. He had to get out of the apartment, get onto the subway, get home, and put off worrying about the repercussions of his choices until morning, but before he could start enacting his plan, his train of thought was interrupted by a door slamming outside.
“Oh, what’s even the point?” a disembodied voice screamed. It was coming from right outside the bathroom. “At what point do I just quit? At what point is this world too cruel for one to live in? When do I accept that I’m just an overdue abortion my mom should’ve finished off before I came crying out of her womb?”
Sera opened the door a crack. He couldn’t tell exactly what was happening, but the girl in sweats, Whitney, had her back to him as she faced the group in the living room. Her arms were lifted, like she was holding something against her chest, but Sera couldn’t make out what it was.
“Nobody listen to her,” a voice called out. Sera recognized it as Helena’s. “It just encourages her.”
“Don’t you guys even care? I’m going to do it!” Sera couldn’t hear any response from the crowd, other than them returning to their chatter. Sera thought about his options. Whitney was blocking his only way out. He thought maybe he could push past her and bolt through the exit, but as he took his first step out the door, she turned around immediately. Sera had heard somewhere that people when they were close to death would have all their senses heightened. He wished he had remembered this sooner.
“Who’s there?” she cried. Sera stepped out of the bathroom, outstretching his hands towards her, as if that would calm her down. She had the blade of a knife pointed directly toward her heart. Very dramatic. “Oh my god that’s horrible,” she said between tears, “why are you wearing those hideous pants?”
“Okay, uh, okay, don’t, uh—”
“They’re so tacky, it’s awful.”
“Listen, don’t worry, uh…” Sera was at a mental roadblock. What do you tell a person who’s convinced their life has no meaning? “Don’t—don’t do it.”
“Why? Why shouldn’t I do it? What do I have to gain from living? The world, the world, it’s such a mess. And everyone hates me, everyone! My friends, my sister, my mom…”
“That’s-that’s not true. Well, the hating part, I mean. I’m betting—I bet there’s someone out there who cares.”
“Aw, no, no there isn’t. My parents, they just wanted to get rid of me. No place farther from California than New York. They didn’t even call me on my birthday! My siblings don’t talk to me, my only friends don’t even care if I live or die. Even my grandma hates me.”
“Oh, I’m sure your grandma doesn’t hate you, I, uh—”
“Last time I visited she spat in my eye and called me a whore.”
“Uh, um, god, you make a good case,” Sera mumbled to himself.
“Oh happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die.” She removed the knife from her chest, preparing for a final stab.
“Wait! Wait, you’re an actress, right? You can’t stab yourself! Who, uh, who will take your place? You’re in a play, right?”
“The understudy can take my part. She’s so much better than me. She’s prettier, everyone likes her, she has so much chemistry with the cast, it’s astounding. She’s perfect! She’s fucking perfect. She doesn’t embarrass herself every time she gets out of bed, she…”
Sera squinted at the pathetic woman standing in his way. He could feel every ounce of energy redirect itself directly into his head. His blood started flowing, his heart began to pump so hard he lost feeling in the tips of his fingers. “Embarrassed? Oh, you’re embarrassed. Then give up. Truly, just give up. Because you don’t know embarrassing. Do you want to know what’s fucking embarrassing?” Whitney looked at Sera, keeping the knife at her chest but pressing the blade down with less pressure. “Let me tell you embarrassing. Have you ever had an idea you thought was great? Where you never even had to think ‘what’s the worst that could happen’ because your idea was so harmless, so innocent, there was no way you could fuck it up? Have you ever looked forward to meeting a girl for weeks, for months, and when you finally get the chance to see her, you piss yourself?”
“Is that piss?” she asked, pointing her knife at his pants.
“No, that’s rosé,” Sera responded. “The point is, you haven’t hit rock bottom yet, okay? You haven’t. So put that fucking knife down and have a drink or something. Get a therapist, I don’t know. Just relax.”
Feeling himself cool down, Sera slowly approached Whitney and took the knife from her hand. “I have a therapist,” she said quietly.
“Then get a better one,” Sera responded. Not knowing what else to do, he closed the conversation with a hug, sticking his ass and legs out so she didn’t have to touch his damp, piss-soaked pants. She was smiling, only slightly, but that was enough to know she was fine. “Alright, why don’t you go wash off your face, okay? It’ll help you calm down”
Whitney gave a reassuring nod and began her walk to the bathroom. Now that things had calmed down, Sera had noticed the knife he took from Whitney was unusually light, and the blade didn’t look as sharp up close. Turns out it was a prop-knife. Collapsible. It didn’t matter. Danger or no danger, Sera was still proud of himself. Afterall, how many people could say they talked someone down from suicide? He began his walk towards the door when suddenly he froze. He hadn’t even gotten past the drinks table when he realized where he had just instructed Whitney to go. A scream rang from the bathroom.
“Fuck!” Sera didn’t know what else to say. He was frozen.
“Sera?” Lucy had been sitting down on the mattress with Diego and his lover. Her mascara had ran down her face since he last saw her, and Daniels was nowhere to be found. “What the f—”!” Another scream rang out from the bathroom, something about calling 911. “Holy shit, Maria!” Lucy jumped up and scrambled to the bathroom.
He didn’t bother grabbing his shoes, he didn’t bother grabbing his cell phone or even his wallet. Sera just made his way out of the apartment, hearing Lucy scream “you rapist bastard!” as he made his escape out the doorway. The other partygoers were all yelling to stop him, to hang him up by his balls, to make him suffer. Sera shuffled down the four flights of stairs, his footing occasionally slipping due to his soggy socks. He busted out of the lobby and into the pitch-black street. His feet were already aching from going down the stairs without shoes, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to get far. Inside the apartment complex’s lobby, he could already see the stairwell door opening and the partygoers all rushing toward him. He didn’t have much time. He could barely see three feet ahead of him; what if he stepped on broken glass? There was only one option. He looked to the trash piled up in front of the complex and jumped in face down.
Sera couldn’t see, he wouldn’t dare make a single movement in the garbage, but when he heard the door open and the crowd yelling, he knew this was it. This would decide his fate, and at first, things were looking good. They were all shouting at each other, asking how Sera could have gotten away so fast and if anyone could see him without the streetlamps. “It would only be a few minutes,” he thought. “It would only be a few minutes before they lose interest and leave.” He just needed to sit still and quiet for a few more minutes, ignore the sour, putrid smell of New York garbage, and he would be able to walk to the subway, hop the turnstile, and go home. And he almost got away too. If only someone in the crowd hadn’t suggested to turn on a flashlight. A flashlight that, when shone on Sera’s ass, his reflective ass, would make his position as clear as the north star. And before the upcoming onslaught, Sera realized he only had one regret: those stupid, unflattering, ridiculous, tight, tacky, Billy Corgan, shiny fucking pants.