I’m a little late on this (a lot late for my international friends), but, in the spirit of camraderie, I thought I’d put something up. It’s a first draft of a deleted scene, and an old one, at that, but it’s all I have in the way of a drunk scene at this point. It probably makes no sense.
Learn more about the fest on the Where Sky Meets Ground blog @ The 2nd Annual Drunk at First Sight Fest.
Elizabeth: naive college freshman in Berkeley, 1969.
Marisa: Elizabeth’s best friend and landlady, also known as The Red Queen, hostess of weekly anachronistic parties to promote her dance studio
David: Elizabeth’s ex
Jim: Elizabeth’s secret love and self-appointed protector
Paul: Marisa’s henpecked, nerdy cousin
This is the confusion before the storm. Bad things are just around the bend…
As David’s façade of civility began its crumble, he’d developed a cute little trick. Creeping to the television, he’d press himself against it, one eye turned her way, growing happier and happier as Elizabeth went insane. To achieve this, he need do only one thing — flip the dial back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until her brain was full and she was screaming. Fragments, flashes, from hiss to canned laughter, static to song. Always with the sound turned up full blast, of course.
When she thought back on Marisa’s St. Patrick’s Day party, it was a lot like that torture by television — not so much for the maddening element but because of its fragmentation. She remembered it only in flashes.
Flash one: She’s in the kitchen, her default party spot. Stephanie’s threatening to kiss her if she doesn’t join the mob in the basement.
Flash two: The basement. Marisa’s sangria. Yum.
Flash three: Who drank all her stinking sangria? Dammit, Paul, get some more.
Flash four: The music isn’t loud enough. Someone — maybe Elizabeth — has organized a guerilla trip through the tangle of crowd to the stereo to do something about it. A jumbled memory of walking bent forward, one arm out, ready to snowplow anyone who got in the way. A staggering mob hanging on behind like a zombie conga line.
Flash five: Laughing and laughing and laughing with Marisa until their stomachs hurt and — whoa — who turned down the lights?
Flash six: Marisa is scolding her, brushing her hair roughly and tying it back in a ponytail. This will come in handy later when…
Flash seven: Elizabeth wipes her mouth and rises from the strip of marigolds outside Marisa’s back door, thanking the lecherous Steve for his rare act of chivalry — holding her hair while she gets sick.
Flash eight: Another Dixie cup of happiness in hand, she’s kicking said chivalrous friend to make him stop groping her.
Flash nine: A chorus line! The entire dance class is shrieking something approximating “Orpheus in the Underworld” and kicking their feet, arms around each other’s waists like the Rockettes. Jim! Jim! You have to join us! Have to! The blurry recollection of Jim recoiling slowly and cautiously, as though from a band of wild dogs.
Flash ten: Arguing. Did Jim try to talk her into leaving? She had the vague memory of calling him a poop, of feeling her attraction to him like a literal magnet and tumbling into his gravitational pull. The compelling yet all too short flash of his bicep beneath her hand and Susan’s giggle in her ear.
Flash eleven: Why is there no more Jim? Why? Why is Marisa’s shoulder so stinking wet? Oh, a handkerchief. Oh no. Oh no. Where’s that flowerbed again?
Flash twelve: Handkerchiefs are no match for sangria.
Not a flash. A flash would be merciful in its brevity.
This? This was more of a swirl. An undulating, insinuating wave. A ride on the end of a cat’s tail. A whirlpool, Elizabeth alone and still in its center.
She forced her mouth to move. “Make it stop.”
“Huhhhhhhn?” A familiar girl’s voice.
Elizabeth said, “You’re moving my house. Stop.”
The feet in front of her face jerked, bumping her nose and releasing an explosion of comic book sparks and exclamation points. From the opposite end of the bed came the voice again. “Merde! I’d give my left tit for a shot of whiskey.”
Elizabeth struggled onto her elbows. Her joints felt congested, whatever that meant. They were in Marisa’s guest bed, heads at opposite ends.
Steph flailed a hand and rolled to drop her torso off the bed, re-emerging with a cigarette and lighter.
“Damn amateurs.” Steph spoke with a clenched jaw as she inhaled. Groaning and expelling a long plume of smoke, she rolled onto her back, eyes closed.
“Can’t take the high octane. C’mon. Show you.”
Elizabeth rose, feeling each step in her head instead of her feet. She was a ragdoll made of sandbags — sandbags full of broken glass and rotten eggs. “Holy flippin’ gravy.”
Steph shook her head. “Closer, but no cigar. We’ll get you cussing properly one of these days.” She pulled Elizabeth from the room at a shuffle.
On Elizabeth’s closed door, they found a makeshift sign. In thick, wobbly, red magic marker, but obviously Marisa’s writing, they read, “BASTARDS — don’t let them out.” Underneath this puzzling message were a tiny heart and a lopsided happy face.
Elizabeth swayed, narrowing her eyes to try to focus and read more sense into the thing. It hurt her brain. Steph smirked and inclined her head toward the knob with a raised brow. For some reason, this scared Elizabeth. Who were The Bastards? Why were they in her room? What if they got out?
Steph lowered her cigarette and wheezed with laughter at Elizabeth’s expression. Smoke came out her nose. “Elle, you are my love. Look.”
Cracking the door, she waved Elizabeth forward. All she saw was a foot clad in a white sweat sock ringed with blue stripes. It rested on her pillow, bedspread pulled primly to the calf as though it were some new form of sleeping giraffe. Steph opened the door wider, revealing half a dozen unconscious men.
Elizabeth gaped. “Why?”
“Drunk and disorderly.” Steph shrugged, taking a deep drag and exhaling it with sharp contempt into the room. “Even when she’s drunk, Marisa’s still the sheriff.” She pointed to two boys, leaning against each other, drooling and snoring. “Those two tried to feel you up.”
Steph just rolled her eyes. “And that one?” A chubby blond upperclassman with a crew cut. “He tried to fight Jim when he didn’t like the way you were dancing.”
“I danced with Jim?” Her head swam.
“No, with Colonel Lardass!”
“Oh.” She looked around. “Are they all mine?”
“No. Only those three. The others just got on Marisa’s nerves. There were more, but some must have escaped down the balcony the way Mare hoped. Even scrawny little Paul was here for a while, remember?” She smirked at Elizabeth. “No, you don’t, do you?”
“Don’t know. Just because. He’s fun that way.” She closed the door. “I just know he was out in time to sweet talk the cops.”
Elizabeth rubbed her eyes and groaned. “Cops? I don’t remember any of it.”
Steph squeezed Elizabeth. “Good for you, then. You’ve got the drinking part down. I’m proud.”