Let’s get the moral of the story up front, shall we? Never try to hypnotize a gypsy. Never host a bachelor party the night before the nuptials. Oh, and never invite your ex. Got that? Good.
I heard the commotion as I walked down the hallway and gripped the bag of groceries even tighter. Barking. Glass breaking. A man crying.
My hand hovered near the door to my apartment, keys trembling. I was getting married today to the love of my life. She would be beautiful. Everything would be perfect, with the only hitch being the one intended. I willed my frozen hand to unlock the door.
My jaw ached as I clenched and entered the foyer. I wasn’t getting my damage deposit back. That much was certain.
Dave waddled over with his hands tucked into his armpits. Clad only in droopy underpants, he clucked and pecked at my shoes. I gingerly stepped over him but still managed to topple him on his side. He squawked a complaint and vomited in the umbrella plant.
My feet crunched on the pretzels peppering the living room carpet with a dull yet somehow satisfying pop. The odour of curdled milk wafted to my nose amid the stale beer, puke and flatulence.
I looked across the room and quickly shut my eyes. The flash scene of a buck-naked Tom, slathered in yogurt, riding bareback the folded cushions of my futon. God, I hope that was yogurt.
Annie, the aforementioned gypsy ex-girlfriend, sat astride one of the kitchen chairs, arms dangling over the back, and cheered him on. “Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.” She looked at me and smirked.
Behind her, on the kitchen table, lay spread-eagled, an unconscious Carl. The remains of my rental-grade chandelier decorated his tracksuit like he’d been accosted by a Bedazzler-wielding teenager.
Carl the Magnificent, my ass. My dog, Benji, stood between his legs and licked his crotch. Better him than Tom, I thought.
I squeezed my way into the small galley kitchen and unpacked my morning haul. Eggs, bacon, some bread, and a tin of coffee. The java would have to come first.
With all burners on the go and the smell of greasy protein disguising the rest of the stench, I set to make the toast.
Dave wandered over and Annie reached across me to grab the heel from the loaf. She ripped bits off and tossed it to the ‘chicken’.
“Tom wore himself out finally?” I asked.
“Sorta,” said Annie as she flicked another bread crumb. “It’s cuddle time now. He’s the big spoon.” She chuckled at her own joke.
I’d forgotten how much a smile brightened her face. “I’m sorry, Annie. For everything.”
“You should be.”
We stood there for a bit in relative silence. I made more toast as she watched.
Annie’s voice was calmer and her body slackened. “Is she worth it. Really worth it, I mean?”
I looked at her thoughtfully. “Yes. Yes she is. I love her.”
“You be good to her.”
Annie and I propped Carl in the corner chair. She wiped the table and I filled it with breakfasty-things.
“Okay, Annie. Can you wake these jackasses up now? The wedding is in three hours.”
“Sure. Just remember what I said.”
And with that she sauntered out the door, speaking something in Romani I didn’t understand.