I grabbed for my remote, and when I got it off the coffee table from next to the Doritos bags and a bunch of issues of Men’s Health, I hit mute. I didn’t turn on any of the lights. Mike was a guy who was easier to talk to in the dark, when you couldn’t see all of him and he couldn’t see all of you.
I heard the door to my building, which was almost never locked, slamming, accompanied by a clatter of profanity. I couldn’t think of anything to say, and my mouth was going dry, my lips numbing. I could hear him crashing up the stairs, yelling at each of them individually by name. He had names for my stairs, most of which were made up of four and six letter words put together haphazardly. Mike was like McGuyver when it came to originating new curse words, slapping together random words and syllables that no one else would think to put together, creating brilliance.
Mike almost fell into my room as soon as I opened the door, using the woodwork frame around my doorway to support himself. He stood in my doorway for a minute, a dark outline of a man. His head was flat, accentuated by a messy, un-gelled crew cut. He was dressed in a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals. His muscles curved and bent and jutted every which way as his body swayed drunkenly in my doorway. Finally he pulled himself into my room, slamming the door behind him, taking stumbling running steps over to my couch. As he flew past me, a tropical wave of body odor and some high-proofed liquor wafted off of him. He no sooner shot by me than he was collapsed lengthwise on my couch, his face sideways, facing me and smiling, his eyes closed. He crashed.
The inside of my apartment was almost entirely dark, the only light coming from flashes of instant entertainment beamed from satellites into my living room. Everything in my room was a smudged charcoal sketch, an abstract still-life portrait of my every day. Mike turned his head to look at me, although his eyes were closed, and he opened his mouth as if to say something, then shut his mouth again with a twitch of the head and an audible ‘clack!’.
Mike’s kind of funny to look at. He’s about six-foot-two inches of untamed animal muscle, and he has tattoos of all kinds of things running across his back. He’s got a crew cut, died blonde. Crazed animals, crucifixions, screaming skull-faced banshees are scrawled across his chiseled muscle, foreign languages written with an angry hand streaked across tanned hide pulled drum tight across ripped sinew. One time when we were at the beach, maybe it was about a year and a half ago, he showed me all of his ink scarring. He stood there smiling at the ocean and the sun, his shirt pulled off, his muscles