I looked around nonchalantly, as if I was the shit, leaning against the wall, holding a beer. Experience had taught me this was the right thing to do if you didn't have a girl with you at a party.
Out of the mass of people that crowded the house emerged Jordan, David, and Nick, the brother who had got us in. "You've been standing in the same freaking spot, like R f--king Kelly, all this time we've been here. It's a bit creepy, so I suggest you move... don't make me regret letting you in!" He disappeared before I could ask him who R Kelly was. Jordan shook his head at me, disapprovingly, and went away. "Don't mind Nick. He can be like a lascivious sea slug in heat sometimes."
"A lascivious sea slug in heat?"
He shrugged. "I found it on google."
"What were you looking for, anyway?"
"Creative insults. Catch you later."
I was alone again. Sighing, I made my way through the crowd of reveling students, trying to get to the kitchen, hoping there would be a chair or stool of some kind to sit on.
T-Pain blared through the speakers, as I tried to recall what sequence of events had led to my presence at a frat party.
Oh yeah, Jordan and David had forced me to come. "The exams are over, dude! It's time to celebrate!" Yeah, no shit. Or had I agreed of my own volition? It mattered little. All I wanted to do was get the hell out of this place. Parties held bad memories for me.
I entered the kitchen, which was also crowded, but not as much as the rest of the house, and found myself a stool to sit on. Two other guys sat next to me. The first was a chubby, really pale white kid who looked very anaemic, as if he was a vampire or a witch child. His face was eerily similar to Jay Leno's. The other one was a diminutive black dude with a suspiciously high pitched voice for one older than eighteen. They were seemingly arguing about something. I strained to listen in.
"Dude, this was a horrible idea." Said the smaller of the two.
"Just play it cool, nobody's gonna know."
"If we get caught, we're screwed. Dammit, where did Gage go?"
"Calm the frick down. I have a feeling I'll get lucky tonight."
"Yeah, right. This shirt isn't doing anything to hide the lard, fatty."
"Don't call me fat, chode."
"No, you're just big boned. Chode."
"Shut up, chode. This shirt is awesome. It's Aeropostale! And I'm totally getting laid. That chick over there's already looked at me, like, six times in 2 minutes." He said, pointing at a pretty blonde who was standing by herself in one side of the room, checking her phone, with a slight tilt of his chin. "What the hell's a chode?" I thought.
"Look, Justin, as your friend, I'm concerned about you, and I think you need to face youraddiction. I don't want you dying of diabetes."
"Jesus CHRIST, man, I'm not that fat!"
I snickered. They noticed. "What's a chode?" I asked, innocently.
"You don't know what a chode is?" The smaller one said.
"That's just too bad for you, then." Said the fat one, who I had apparently offended. They resumed arguing among themselves.
The unseen speakers were now playing something by that Lil Wayne guy. I stared into the depths of my beer can, admiring the way the foam caught the dim light.
I heard someone pull up a stool next to me. "Hanging out with high school kids, Roberto?" The voice was unmistakably female, and very familiar too. I turned, and stared at her, surprised. "Joy? What're you doing here?" It was Joy Montemayor, my language partner for Spanish class. We had been paired up with native speakers.
"It's a long story." She said. "How did you end up here? You don't seem like the frat partygoer type."
"My idiot friends strong-armed me into it. They know a brother."
"Who?" She asked.
"Some guy called Nick."
"Hmmm. I don't really like parties. Somebody's always trying to slip something in your drink, or asking you if you want to go back to his room. It's really annoying. Look at these people, making asses out of themselves. What the hell are they even celebrating?"
"Beats me." I said. "Hey, how d'you know these two guys next to me are high schoolers?"
"Well, no thinking adult would wear American Eagle to a frat party" She said. "It's like screaming Hey, I'm a pretentious douche, please beat the shit out of me!'"
"I think he's wearing Aeropostale, but that'sinsightful of you." I laughed.
"They'll be sorry if the police show up. Hmm, I remember high school. So much drama." She said. "So, what's been up?"
"I've been looking for someone who can play drums for my currently nonexistent band."
"Have you had much luck?"
"Well, maybe you're not taking the right approach! Talk to other musicians! Hang around at bars and clubs where bands regularly perform. Birds of a feather flock together. Start with the Coffeehouse. Networking is crucial."
"I guess you're right." I said.
I heard her phone beep. She brought it out of her pocket and checked it. "My friends are looking for me. I gotta go. See you around, Rob."
"Hey, umcan I ask you a question?"
"Mhm?" She said, turning.
"What's a chode?"
She burst out laughing. A shrill oh my god!' escaped her. She caught her breath, saying "It's aerm, a penis that's wider than it's long."
An evil image began to form in my head but I obliterated it with a mental paper shredder. "Uh, thanksI think."
"Later!" She said, still laughing, as she turned around and went away.
Feeling dopey, I took another sip from my beer.
I looked to my left, where Joy had been sitting, but was shocked to see Jordan on what should have been an empty stool.
"Damn, you're like a ninja" I said. "Where's David?"
"I have no idea where he is. Hmm, I see you're not as pure of heart as you appear." He said. "I'm proud of you, man. What's your status with her?"
"Jeez, she's my language partner for Spanish class. I'd say I'm in the friend zone."
"Wait, so she's a native speaker?" He asked. "I thought they had the whole language partner thing only for Chinese students."
"Yeah, she's a native speaker, and no, we have something similar for Spanish."
"Since when have Asian people been native Spanish speakers, anyway?"
"She's Filipinoher Spanish is as good as her Tagalog"
"No, she's American."
"She's definitely hot." He said. "Smokin', in fact. Like a sexy goth-punk hybrid."
"You seem really interested in her."
"Pssh." He said, grimacing. "I like women designed for comfort, not speed."
"So you'd choose a Harley over a Hayabusa?"
"You could say that."
"So you'd choose Queen Latifah over Megan Fox?" I said, expressing my disdain. "Cuz that's just disgust-"
"No!" He exclaimed. "I would choose Christina Hendricks! Thank the Lord for Mad Men."
"Ohphew." I said. "Anyway, about this drummer thing"
"Quit worrying about it, man." He said. "We'll find one."
"Well, we're going to have to talk to other musicians!"
"I've already talked to the people I know who are already in bands." He said. "They'll contact me if they find something. And believe me, I know a lot of people. A bassist of my caliber doesn't go overlooked. It started last year, two weeks after I came to this place. An old friend of mine insisted I jam with him for a gig at the amphitheater, and bam! Just like that, offers started swarming in."
"Well, why didn't you accept any?"
"I've told you this before: I wanted to lead my own band. Like Geddy Lee, or Les Claypool."
I laughed. "You were looking for noobs you could dominate."
"That was the intention, yes, but you've improved a hell of a lot since the first time we jammed together. You've started to hold your own against me." He took a gulp of beer, then said "But don't let that go to your head. You have a long way to go. Besides, d'you think Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson aren't brilliant musicians themselves? Good bands are made with chemistry, just like football teams. It doesn't matter if you have a single good player: what matters is how well the team works together." He got up. "I gotta go talk to that chick I was grinding with earlier tonight. See ya."
"Hey, wait!" I called out, as he hurriedly started to leave the room. He turned around, irritated.
"D'you know what a chode is?" I asked.
"It's a dick wider than it's long. Didn't you know that?"