“Jesus H. Christ, that’s Jesus Christ,” I said to myself, staring into the toilet bowl full of puke which I had proudly produced all by myself. “Of all the toilets in all the homes in all the world, you had to appear in mine.” I had never seen Casablanca, but I heard the quote enough times to add the proper replacements and make it my own in that bizarre moment. Although technically this toilet didn’t belong to me, but to whoever owned this house that this Halloween party was being thrown at, but I considered the toilet to be my own in that peculiar moment.
I got up off my knees and stared at Jesus Christ from further away. It was still him. He didn’t speak to me. I wish he had. It would have gave the moment meaning, or more meaning I guess. “Speak for God’s sake,” I said to Jesus, laughing a little. Before the toilet full of puke could answer, although I’m starting to doubt it would have, I heard a pound on the door, followed by a not so friendly sentiment encouraging me to hurry up and quit talking to myself. “I’ll do one of the two for you,” I said as I flushed the toilet and watched Jesus Christ turn back into my vomit. I turned to the mirror, “I hope he chooses for me to hurry up because I’d really like to continue talking to myself.” I chuckled a little more than was deserved.
“The faucets aren’t labeled,” I said noticing the faucets weren’t labeled. I twisted the left one hoping it would be the hot water. It started off cold but I was vaguely confident it would soon warm up. It didn’t. I continued with the cold water not caring to correct my mistake. I looked in the mirror and I was hideous. I should have dressed up as Frankenstein for Halloween. I would have looked better. “Rose could never love me.” I splashed some of that cold water on my face. It sent a shiver up my spine and I looked in the mirror again. “Yeah, cause that’s going to make her love you,” I said to the mirrored me. “It’s almost better than nothing,” he said back.
I didn’t dress up as anything for Halloween. I chickened out. I was thinking about going as Mikhail Gorbachev, but there wasn’t enough room on my forehead for that weird mark, or stain, or whatever it is. But hey, now I’ve got an okay Halloween costume in my back pocket for when I go bald, assuming I’ll go bald.
I turned off the cold water. As I dried off my hands I continued to look at myself in the mirror not approving of what I saw, and that’s when I saw hanging over my shoulder. It was a framed Bible quote placed on the wall over the toilet, Proverbs 3:5, 6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
I read it over a few times and on the third or fourth time some guy walked into the bathroom spouting off about me taking forever and not being able to wait any longer. And then he called me crazy for talking to myself. The balls on this guy, calling me crazy when he was the one who busted into an occupied bathroom and proceeded to urinate while another man was standing next to him trying to make sense of a Bible quote. He quickly made with his business and left, but I was alone for no more than a second as a girl dressed as a slutty cheerleader – at least I’m assuming – swiftly entered and stared at me staring at the quote.
“You’ve got to leave. I literally don’t have the balls to pee in front of you like that other guy did,” she said laughing, thinking she was being witty, as most people do when they use the word literally.
I nodded but before leaving I grabbed the framed quote off the wall. It came off without a struggle. I didn’t see the look on the girl’s face but I imagine she was confused. I took the quote with me as I exited the bathroom. “Good luck,” I said as I shut the door.
I made my way through the partiers in the hallway back to the partiers in the living room. I looked to the couch where me and my friends had been sitting before my excursion to the bathroom, but they were no longer there. Instead I found myself staring at a male dressed as Luke Skywalker making out with a female dressed as Princess Leia. I turned away from the disturbing, yet oddly arousing, image and found my two friends standing in the corner. They appeared to be looking at Luke and Leia also. I made my way to them.
“It’s disturbing,” Hercules said.
“Why?” Frodo (from Lord of the Rings) responded, making it the pair of them not to greet me back from the bathroom.
“They’re brother and sister. It’s just plain wrong.”
“They’re not really brother and sister though. They’re just dressed as it”
“Are you telling me you wouldn’t mind making out with a girl dressed as your sister?” Hercules said with his hand firmly on his plastic sword as if Frodo didn’t respond correctly he would cut him in half.
“First of all I don’t have a sister. But if I did I’m pretty sure I could make out with a girl dressed as her. And second…”
“I don’t want to hear more,” I butted in, “This is getting disturbing.” I handed the framed quote to Frodo. “Hey take a look at this quote for me.”
“What took you so long?” Hercules said.
“I was vomiting.”
“You haven’t even drank anything.”
“No. Maybe. Yeah. Of course, Rose.”
“Don’t worry about it, she likes you.” He gave me a confiding smile but because of his outfit it just looked creepy and I really wanted him to stop.
“What is this about?” Frodo said holding up the framed quote. Hercules grabbed it from him and started to read it.
“I found it in the bathroom. I think it’s a sign.”
“So you stole it?” Frodo said.
“No, I barrowed it, I’ll put it back later. And it’s not just the quote. Before that I saw Jesus H. Christ in the form of my puke. I think there may be a meaning behind all this.”
“You puked? And I thought you didn’t believe in God?”
“I did,” I said in response to puking, “and I don’t,” I said in response to my belief in god, “but I’m sure that was Jesus Christ I saw.”
“In puke form,” Frodo corrected.
“Nonetheless it was him. And then I see this quote hanging on the bathroom wall, no more than five feet above where Jesus Christ had been floating in the toilet seconds earlier. I think the quote is telling me I should trust in Jesus.”
“The quote is telling you to trust in the LORD,” Hercules said looking up from the quote. “The LORD could be considered as Jesus, but Proverbs was originally a part of the Old Testament, which makes no mention of Jesus, so I think here clearly the LORD is referring to God, and not Jesus. It would have made more sense if you saw God in your puke.”
“I thought God and Jesus could be considered the same?” I said.
“I don’t know,” Hercules said befuddled. “I’m going to go get another beer.” He handed the framed quote to me and walked to the kitchen.
“So what do you think?” I said turning to Frodo.
“I think you’re crazy,” he said bluntly.
“Well that’s a given, but what should I do about the quote, and the Jesus made of puke?”
“You think the quote is telling you to listen to Jesus, and you saw Jesus in the toilet, but did toilet Jesus tell you to do anything?”
“No, he just stared at me.” Frodo stared at me. “But maybe he didn’t need to say anything to me? Maybe it’s something I already know and I need to look deep down inside myself to figure out?
“You know what I think?” He didn’t wait for my reply to tell me what he thought I thought. “I think you’re nervous about Rose tonight.”
The Hobbit was right about that. I had met Rose twice before but the last time had been five months ago. The bulk of our friendship took place over late night phone conversations that consisted of me making lame jokes and her laughing at said lame jokes and then me trying to figure out how a person could laugh at such lame jokes. However over the last few weeks it was becoming clear that there might be something more to us than just a friendship based on lame jokes. The problem was she lived a few cities over, so until I learned to navigate semi-long distance bus routes, or to drive a car without being magnetically pulled to the sidewalk, I didn’t have much of a chance to see her – by the way, there was an example of one of my lame jokes, not the best I know, but I work for quantity not quality. That night Rose was in town for the weekend visiting her friends, and she invited me to that Halloween party. It would be the first time I would see her since we had connected on a non-lame joke basis. I was excited. I was also very nervous.
“So I think,” The Hobbit continued, “you need to get some alcohol in your system to get rid of those nerves. And you definitely don’t need to mention the whole Jesus in the shitter incident.”
“She might have an interesting take on it though,” I said wishing I had said analysis instead of take.
“No. Trust me girls don’t like guys talking about anything they do in the bathroom.”
“I should have said analysis instead of take.”
Frodo didn’t notice or care. “Just tell her she’s beautiful or some bullshit like that.”
My eyebrows rose. “Rose is beautiful. Well I assume so. I mean I’ve only seen her a couple of times, but she was beautiful both those times. And she looks beautiful in all her pictures, so I’m assuming she’ll look beautiful tonight. I’m just hoping she’s not dressed as a vampire or something like that. Not that our pseudo-relationship is based on looks, or is even necessarily a fake relationship or relationship in any way shape or form.”
“What?” Frodo said confused. “And don’t worry, if she’s dressed as a vampire it will be a slutty one.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I wasn’t sure if he was implying she was a slut or that all girls dress slutty on Halloween.
“All girls dress as slutty versions of things on Halloween,” he said, relieving me I guess. “I’m going to go get you something to drink, something strong. You sit tight here and I’ll be back in a minute.”
As he walked away I took another look at the framed Bible quote in my hands. They were probably right. I was crazy to think that that quote and a Jesus made of puke meant more than what they really did, which was nothing, probably. I made my way to the bathroom, waited in line behind two people, and then hung the framed Bible quote back in its rightful place, that being above the toilet of course. I flushed the toilet on my way out as to not arouse suspicion.
On my way back to my spot, where I hoped Frodo would be waiting with my drink, I heard an interesting conversation.
“What time is it John?” Said guy one dressed as Mario.
“Eight thirty-two,” said guy two (perhaps John?) wearing a Barack Obama mask.
“Really, it seems later than that?”
“Oops, my bad, I can’t see anything through this damn mask. It’s Ten, thirty-one to be exact.”
Not a terribly exciting conversation on the top layer, but that night I was looking deeper. I thought I was over the Jesus in the toilet thing but I wasn’t. One of the guys name was John, and I knew that was a name of one of the books in the New Testament. And he had said the time was Ten thirty-one. I quickly starter to wonder what I would find if I looked up John 10:31 in the Bible. But I needed a Bible in order to find that out. And wouldn’t you know it there was one sitting on the desk right in front of me. I picked it up and flipped to John 10:31. It said: Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
Well I had not a God damn clue what that was supposed to mean. But luckily my mind was working fast that night. Thankfully I remember, from a conversation that took place a minute earlier, that originally the guy, John, had said eight thirty-two. So I quickly flipped the page to John 8:32. It said: And you shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
“What the hell is this supposed to mean to me?” I said looking around to see if anybody heard me. It appeared they didn’t. “I guess it makes more sense than Jews taking up stones.” I thought about the quote a little more before putting the Bible down and making my way back to the living room, anxious to explain my new finding to either a Hobbit or a Demigod, but instead I found a Flower. Of course I’m referring to Rose and of course she looked beautiful, but I wasn’t calling her a flower because her name was Rose. I was calling her a flower because she was dressed as a flower, but ironically not a rose. She appeared to be a daisy. The petals would make it hard for me to kiss her. I didn’t think that because I was horny. I thought it because I was being observant.
She noticed me. I must’ve looked like an idiot standing across the room staring at her with that way I stare. She quickly smiled and quickly walked over to me. I didn’t expect a hug, but a hug is what I received. Surprisingly the petals didn’t put up much of a cock-block, if I may so use that phrase in a non literal sense? The hug felt good, damn near great. As she released her arms from around me and our bodies separated I silently cursed God that that moment couldn’t be forever.
“How are you?” Rose said. “And where have you been hiding? I’ve been out here for like ten minutes wondering where you were.”
“I’m doing good. Oh, and I was just in the…” I didn’t want to say bathroom for some reason. Frodo may have got to me. “I was in the laundry room.” I’m not sure why I said it either.
“The laundry room?”
“Well no, not really. I was actually, maybe, sort of…” The nerves, they were getting to me. “So you’re dressed as a daisy I see,” I said smooth as cottage cheese.
“You noticed,” she said surprised. “Most guys just assumed because my name is Rose I dressed up as a Rose. I thought it would be ironic to dress up as a different kind of flower.”
“I found it ironic, so yay!” Yay? That doesn’t sound like me at all. “Hope you don’t think I’m gay for knowing how to differentiate flowers?”
“Of course I don’t think you’re gay,” Rose said, assuring me she didn’t think I was gay.
“You can never be too sure,” I said, immediately wondering why it appeared I was insisting she question my sexuality. “But really, I’m not gay, just to clarify.”
“I know,” she said, still with the smile she had had when first seeing me. “So why aren’t you dressed up?”
“Oh, but I am. I’m…” Oh crap, I had set up a joke without knowing what the punch line was going to be. I couldn’t go with the cliché ‘guy not wearing a costume’ is my costume, that’s too cliché. I started to panic. “I’m guy who may or may not be gay?” I said, not being able to get away from the whole gay thing for some reason.
“You know if you keep bringing that up people are going to start wondering about you.”
“Let them wonder. I’m secure with my sexuality.”
“So you’re happy being gay?”
“Completely,” I said defiantly, and walking right into her trap. She started laughing and I realized why. “You know it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to dress up as a rose because you’ve certainly got thorns,” I said trying to be witty.
She gave me a telling smile I couldn’t figure out the meaning to and was about to say something but was preempted.
“Hey Rose, come here a second, I want to show you something,” said the slutty cheerleader who I had encountered in the bathroom earlier that night, and who was apparently Rose’s friend.
“Sorry,” Rose begun, “my friend has been dying to show me something tonight. But you stay put and I’ll be back soon. I promise.”
I nodded my head and stayed put. In the first ten minutes it was pretty boring. People walked past me but nothing interesting happened. Then Frodo appeared. He handed me a drink so I drank. I told him about the quote I found in the Bible, John 8:31. He told me about two decently attractive drunk girls a few guys had paid to make out. We both turned out to be as equally uninterested in what each other had to say. Then Hercules found us and I told him about the quote. And then he told me some philosophical crap about truth being relative that I didn’t listen to because I was too busy wondering when Rose was coming back. Then they said I was boring so they were going to go look around the house for fun people. I wasn’t offended. I just stood and waited some more. Twice a scantily clad girl called me a loser for not dressing up. Twice I agreed with her. I got to see more of Luke and Leia making out. For a short while the TV was on ESPN and since it was a Saturday I got to see college football highlights. But later someone changed the channel and I got to watch the last third of The 40 Year Old Virgin on mute. It turns out the movie isn’t that great with no sound. And in what must have been the highlight of my time waiting there, I got to bear witness to a heavyset fellow wearing a Richard Milhous Nixon mask run bare naked through the house. The man had no shame, nor should he have.
I didn’t think she was going to return, but she did. She walked back into the room and she saw me seeing her seeing me standing in the exact spot she had told me to stay. She slowly walked over to me. She seemed a little drunk, at the least.
“Have you been standing in that same spot the whole time since I left?” Rose said in a way that assured me she was drunk.
“No,” I lied, “There was a brief period where I stepped over to that house plant and took a piss.” For some reason knowing she was drunk calmed me down. Also I was buzzed so I wasn’t worried as much about saying something stupid.
“I’m sorry that took so long.”
“I didn’t even notice,” I lied again. “Oh my God, I’m becoming a liar,” I said more to myself than her.
“I know it was a long time. Rachel wanted to show me to her cousin. She thought I might like him.”
How dare that whore Rachel! “Oh how sweet of Rachel. And did you like him?” I asked thinking if she said yes I would have to find something sharp to impale myself on.
“He was hot,” Rose said nonchalant.
“Hmm, I bet if I break that mirror one of the shards could do the trick.”
“Nothing. Tell me more about him,” I said not caring to know anything more about him unless he was a eunuch.
“Well he’s hot, but he’s not as smart as you.”
As me? She’s comparing him to me. That could be a good thing? Wait, that could be a terrible thing? Comparison might show all my flaws? But she just said I was smarter than him, that’s good. But she said he’s hot, and she didn’t say anything about my hotness, that’s bad. Focus on the good you fool! You can’t win ‘em all. But I should be able to. I want her to love me. Why though?
Those were my thoughts in that moment. And that’s when I thought I realized everything that night, John 8:32, the framed quote, Jesus made of puke, everything.
“I came here for you, not him,” Rose said. “I want you Teddy.” She leaned in to kiss me. Her lips looked so, well for lack of a better phrase, kissable.
Jesus H. Chris wasn’t in the toilet. Or at least now I’m convinced he wasn’t. My mind just wanted me to think he was. It was a start to a convoluted realization that should have came easier. Had I just seen vomit in the toilet instead of Jesus Christ I wouldn’t have thought anything of the framed Bible quote when I saw it. The quote made me think there must be a meaning to tonight. And there was, but I shouldn’t have needed a framed quote to tell me so. I can’t really explain the John 8:32 thing. I don’t know why the guy in the Barack Obama mask was named John, and I’m not sure why he mistakenly said the time was Eight thirty-two which led me to a Bible quote about truth, but it happened. And somehow it worked. At least I thought so.
“I can’t kiss you,” I said wondering if it was the dumbest thing I have ever said in my young life.
“What?” Rose said with one of those cute little smiles she has showing. “Why?”
“I don’t love you.”
“What does love have to do with this?”
“I’m not sure, but I don’t love you, and I’m not sure if I ever could, but I want you to love me, and that’s wrong of me.”
“Why are you talking about love? It’s just a kiss. It doesn’t mean much.”
“Not to me. Gertrude Stein was wrong when she said a kiss is a kiss is a kiss.” Rose gave me a funny look. There’s a more than likely chance it was because it’s supposed to be Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. I find it funny I couldn’t remember it was rose and not kiss. Curse me for trying to sound smart. “To me a kiss would be leading you on possibly to something I don’t want. I can’t do that.”
“So what are you saying?”
“I’m saying I need time to think.”
“Think about what?”
“Us,” I said thinking it was obvious. “I’m not sure how I feel about you.”
“Well take all the time in the world,” Rose said, perhaps with a tear in her eye. She walked out of the room with a quick pace.
“I’m an idiot.” The five other people in the room seemed oblivious to what I had just said and to what had just happened, but I’m sure they would have agreed with me. I immediately regretted my decision. What if I was wrong? I’m usually wrong. Maybe I did make up this whole religious wild goose chase to get to the truth, but maybe I was wrong about the truth? Yes, I did want her to love me, but maybe it wasn’t because I was being selfish, but instead because I loved her and wanted her to feel the same way? Is that being selfish? Do I love her? I don’t know.
I should have chased after her. I should have caught her and kissed her with all the passion in the Heavens and Hell. I didn’t. I felt sick. I ran to the bathroom instead of her. I release my regrets into the toilet. I didn’t see Jesus this time. Just meaningless puke.