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Ben is my newest roommate. He moved in on October 1st, but I’ve known him much longer than that. Ben went to college with Nate and Louise and Mark and all those other Emerson nerds I barely avoided going to college with when I decided at the last minute NOT to go to Emerson. He moved to LA about a year ago because he thought he’d get laid a lot and become a writer on a show like Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead without any experience. He didn’t have a job or a place to live so he crashed on Mark’s floor for almost a year before finally granting Mark some privacy and subletting Drew’s room in my house for a month or two…depending on if he can get a job to pay next month’s rent. Ben’s broke.
On Ben’s third night as my roommate I brought home a beautiful young girl from a bar along with her two friends. We were sitting in my living room, the girl in my lap, her friends on the couch, having a good time. Then Ben marched down the stairs rubbing his eyes. He stopped halfway and said, “You guys are being really loud. Do you think you could keep it down?” This upset the girl’s friends, and they announced that they would be leaving, and they were taking my new friend with them. Ben went outside for a cigarette, and I proceeded to torment him and scream at him without relent about what a stupid fucking idiot he was and how he was the worst roommate I’ve ever had (I was drunk). I called him retarded. He sat there and took it like a champ…a really depressed, apologetic champ.
The next day, a drunk Ben dropped and shattered a beer bottle on the front walkway. He neglected to clean it up. Maryn yelled at him. She told him, “Ben we don’t do that sort of thing in this house.” He shoulders slouched, Ben sulked his way upstairs to his bedroom. “Strike two,” John said under his breath.
Over the last twelve days Ben has racked up strike after strike against him. There was a plan to erase the whiteboard in the kitchen in order to keep track of all the strikes against Ben during his sublet, but Maryn threw it out. So we’ve been keeping track ourselves. We remind Ben of this daily. When he’s not around, the rest of the house takes bets as to when Ben will get fed up and move out. I predicted three days, and so far he’s lasted thirteen.
Ben is Korean. He lived in Korea for a while. He has the tiniest shred of an accent. He lost his virginity in a massage parlor. He’s the most metrosexual of my male friends. Since everyone else in my house doesn’t have a job, they went to Palm Springs to party for the night. With Ben and I left to our own devices, I decided to talk to the kid for a few minutes.
Evan: What’s going on Ben? How’s it going? What are you doing?
Ben: I’m looking at GQ essentials
Evan: What does THAT entail?
Ben: It’s all these people who give ten things every guy should have. What the fuck are you doing?
Evan: Transcribing our conversation.
Ben: [Laughs] No it’s great. All these guys…fashion designers, chefs, they list ten things that every guy should have.
Evan So what’s essential?
Ben: Domain Serene Pinot Noir.
Evan: That’s wine, right?
Ben: It is. Although I’m not a fan of wine. Have you heard of Sambai?
Evan: How do you spell it?
Ben: S-A-M-B-A-I. Apparently it’s a great Asian chili sauce.
Evan: Well, aren’t you Asian? So shouldn’t you know what it is?
Ben: I do know what it is. I’m just not going to tell you because I fucking hate you. This is a great show that you should watch, Evan.
Evan: Which one?
Ben: Parks. And. Recreation.
Evan: What’s it about?
Ben: I’m not going to explain it. Just watch that shit.
Evan: I’m not going to understand it, I don’t know who the characters are.
Ben: Oh Evan…Evan…
Evan: I don’t know what their motivations are…
Ben: [Pointing] Motivation. Right there.
Evan: So, he’s interested in sleeping?
Ben: No. In being a man. [Laughs] [Kicks coffeetable, a spindle of CDs falls to the floor] Oh, no, no!
Evan: What was that? [Ben picks the CDs off the floor] That was strike nine, Ben.
Ben: The CDs!?
Ben: Just put up the white board, dude.
[Ben Changes Channel to Millionaire Matchmaker]
Ben: Yes! Have you seen this show?
Evan: No, but I met a really cute girl a few weeks ago who was on it…
Ben: Really!? As a millionaire? Or as one of the sluts?
Evan: Well, given only those options…she was one of the sluts.
Ben: [Changes Channel] Have you ever seen this show?
Evan: What is this?
Ben: How to Make It In America?
Evan: How do you even know all these shows existed?
Ben: They exist! How does one know anything exists?
Evan: [Sigh] Did you watch all these shows when you lived with Mark?
Ben: He doesn’t have HBO. [Changes Channel, Gasps] Oh, Shit!
Evan: What is it? … Aladdin!?
Ben: What’s your favorite non-Pixar Disney movie?
Ben: Yeah, Non-Pixar Disney.
Evan: You mean, like, the original old-school cartoon ones?
Ben: Yeah, like Aladdin.
Evan: This one was pretty good. The Lion King was pretty good.
Ben: Guess what Mark’s is…
Evan: I’m still trying to figure out my favorite. What else was there…I always had a crush on the Little Mermaid. I had a thing for — she had red hair.
Ben: She’s so flat though. Like…your tits are bigger than hers.
Evan: I don’t honestly remember the size of her tits.
Ben: I think you’re full of shit.
Evan: Let me Google it.
Ben: Don’t bother with that. Everyone remembers how flat she is.
Evan: I don’t!
Ben: You know what was hot, the evil version of the Little Mermaid villain. Yeaaaah! [Quoting the TV] ] “Apu, no!!!!” You know this was one of the first movies that used computer animation. You should blog about that shit.
Evan: Actually I’m transcribing our conversation for the blog.
Ben: What? Fine. Silent treatment.
Evan: So what’s Mark’s favorite non-Pixar Disney movie?
Ben: The Little Mermaid.
Evan: It was!?
Ben: Yeah, same as you. Oh no! The Thing just got a horrible review … from one dude.
Evan: Is it a dude that matters?
Ben: Yeah, man. Harry Knowles. Do you know Ain’t it Cool dot com?
Evan: I’ve heard of it.
Ben: Yeah, it’s the fat guy who runs Ain’t It Cool.
Evan: Huh. I’m trying to find a big enough picture so I can see the Little Mermaid’s tits.
Ben: There’s nothing to see.
Evan: Yeah but there’s cleavage.
Ben: She’s wearing sea shells, dude!
Evan: [Looking at image] That’s not so bad, dude.
Ben: Ohhhhh…look at that, there is cleavage.
Evan: Yeah man, and look how small her waist is.
Ben: You could lock your fingers around it.
Evan: You could choke the shit out of her stomach.
Ben: Can you help me think of some questions to ask at my job interview tomorrow?
Evan: Are you going to ask them questions about Disney movies?
Ben: I should ask, “What do you think of the LIttle Mermaid’s titties?”
Evan: What’s the job again?
Ben: It’s a marketing company.
Evan: So…what’s marketing again?
Evan: Oh, so you’re like…promoting a product.
Ben: I’m promoting their marketing firm, is what I’m doing. You know — we’re having this conversation and I realize I know nothing about you. I don’t know a fucking thing about you. When did you graduate college?
Evan: Two-thousand five.
Ben: So you’re 28. You’re 28 years old?
Evan: Yes, Ben.
Ben: Wow dude. That changes everything. How long have you lived in LA?
Evan: Uh…four-and-a-half years?
Ben: Are you trying to get into media?
Evan: What do you mean, media?
Ben: I don’t know, film…television…
Evan: Um…not actively. Maybe someday down the line I’ll try harder. If something came up I would take it.
Ben: You know I think you might be one of the only friends we have who reads.
Evan: What do you mean, we?
Ben: I’m not naming names!
Evan: But you and these nameless people have conversations about which of your friends read?
Ben: I’ve talked about it.
Evan: Have they listened, or are you just talking about it?
Ben: Yeah, I ask, “Do you read?” and they say “No.” End of conversation.
Evan: Well I like to write so I have to read, don’t I?
Ben: What do you write?
Evan: I’m writing short stories right now. I want to make a little compendium of them.
Ben: I could write a lot of stories based on my life. Losing my virginity to a hooker, getting a joint shoved up my nose by a cop, getting my —
Evan: Wait a minute, how did you end up with a cop shoving a joint up your nose?
Ben: So here’s the story. Sophomore year I got drunk in the dorms at Emerson, which is in downtown Boston. Me, Steve — who you’ve met — and some other guy decided to roll a blunt. But we failed miserably at it, so we rolled three separate joints instead. And we decided to just smoke them on the corner of a busy Boston street. And it’s, like, raining outside. We smoke one joint, and in the middle of the second one, we realize there’s a cop car right in front of us.
Evan: Was it there the whole time?
Ben: we didn’t know, but it was there in front of us. And we heard someone inside the car talking on the intercom, right? We could hear them talking, but we couldn’t tell what it was. So we put the joint out. It was almost done. I put the third joint in my pocket. So I walk up to the car.
Evan: Hold on. Why would you walk up to the car?
Ben: Because they were saying something, but we weren’t sure what.
Evan: and you’re sure it was directed at you?
Ben: Yeah of course it was towards us. I don’t know if it was me personally, but it was towards me and the two other people. And I was feeling drunk and high and confident–
Evan: Who feels confident when they’re high? If i feel anything other than dumb-silly it’s paranoid.
Ben: I was DRUNK and high. There’s a sweet spot…
Evan: Oh, OK. OK. So you approached the cop car because you thought they were talking to you.
Ben: Yeah, and I was, like, I could handle the situation. Before I could get to the car two huge black cops stormed out of the car. They fucking grabbed me by the collar, and they threw me against the wall, and they started screaming at me. “What are you stupid, motherfucker? We know what you’re doing.” They were screaming all these things. All this stupid shit…and…then my friends started getting in on it, saying, “We’re not doing anything, officers!” The cops said “Bullshit, where is it?” Since the joint was still in my pocket I took it out and threw it on the street.
Evan: In front of the cops?
Ben: I did it discretely.
Evan: Oh, discretely.
Ben: So it goes down…and we’re having a conversation with these cops. One of them found the joint on the street. He picked it up, and while I was talking, he just stuck it into my noise. And I left it there. While talking. I don’t remember the exact sequence of events, but it was maybe in my nose for a minute. I didn’t acknowledge it. And eventually the cop took the joint out of my nose and ripped it up. After that he smelled it and he said, “That smells really good. Is it the sticky icky?” And my friend said, “Actually it’s not that good.” So the cop said “Get the fuck out of here,” and that was that.
Evan: Did the cop really say, “sticky icky?”
Ben: yeah he said, “The maui waui? The sticky icky?” He said both of those.
Evan: That’s an interesting story Ben. Thank you for sharing it.
Ben: Young and stupid.
Evan: You’re much older and wiser now.
Ben: Oh yeah, I’m so wise.
Evan: Impart some wisdom on me.
Ben: I just did. Don’t smoke pot on a busy Boston street corner with a fucking cop car in your face.
Evan: Thanks Ben.
Ben: You know what? It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten drunk together Nate.
Evan: Oh, Ben…[Laughter] Strike twelve.
Moholy-Nagy – Tears Of The Prophet
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