Hey, Little Sister, What Have You Done?
Art by Paul Rios
“Can you pull over?”
The four words I was hoping to avoid. I wasn’t too surprised, though; this is what happens at weddings with an open bar and a life-size, inflatable zebra on the dance floor. People rage.
I pulled over to the side of the grassy driveway just far enough away so that nobody would see. Tina, awakening from her alcohol-induced fog, leapt from the car with a surprising amount of speed and made her way behind a bush. What happened next was hidden from view by the cloak of darkness, but the lack of sunlight did not disguise the sound that erupted from Tina’s throat and splashed all over the tall, green grass.
“Holy shit!” I exclaimed, trying not to be too loud because the car windows were down. “It sounds like someone is emptying a bucket.”
“That doesn’t sound good,” Jen said from the passenger seat, clearly concerned about the full-on regurgitation taking place 10 feet away from us.
“Uh, yeah, that doesn’t soun…”
I couldn’t finish the sentence. The smell of vodka and stomach acid had danced through the air and into my window. I immediately began dry heaving.
“I’m… sorry… Tina,” I managed to get out while trying to hold the contents of my stomach in.
I don’t respond well to throw-up. My animal instincts kicked in, and I did the one thing I could think of to get away from my problem—run. I started the car, cranked the A/C and drove away. Fortunately for everyone involved, I managed to outrun the smell of vomit-infused alcohol quickly and pulled back over to the side of the road.
“I’m going to check on, Tina,” Jen said while grabbing a bottle of water, napkins and some hand sanitizer I kept in the side door. She exited and walked back towards Tina, using the dim, red light being cast from my brakes as her guide.
After a few sips of water and a couple of deep breaths, Jen helped Tina walk back to the car. As the two piled inside, I could smell the orange-tinged, rubbing alcohol scent of the hand sanitizer. I was praying it didn’t trigger any “aftershocks” in Tina.
“Where’s Kat?” Jen asked, making it clear she was ready to leave.
“Judging by the trail of giggles and ‘good-byes,’ I’d say she’s right there,” I replied.
It wasn’t long before Kat swung open the door and jumped into the back seat next to Tina, who was now in an 80 proof-induced zombie state.
“You guys ready to go?” Kat said, unknowing of the 180-degree turn the party had taken a few minutes ago. “You feeling OK, Tina?”
Tina responded with a sound vaguely similar to “yes”; no further discussion was necessary. I restarted the car and we began our descent back home in complete silence.
“Pull up to this light and make a u-turn,” Jen said we drove around a few streets in the area. “It will be the quickest way to get back to the freeway.”
“Hey, Jake,” Tina said out of nowhere. “Do you think we could pull over first?”
Going into immediate panic mode, I quickly slowed down and crossed lanes to get to the side of the road. I did not want puke in the backseat of my car.
“Not here,” Tina responded. “I don’t want people to see me. Go to a parking lot or something.”
“Do I have time for a parking lot or something?” I replied, trying to hide my fear.
Luckily, a 7-11 was within site. I picked up the pace and quickly turned into the empty parking lot.
“Just let me out here,” Tina said. I guess time was running out.
She exited the car without bothering to shut the door and walked to the one spot of the parking lot void of any light. Faint sounds of puke could be heard as I parked the car in one of the spots facing the street.
“I need to pee,” Kat said, sounding like time might be running out for her as well. “I’m going to go inside, buy a water for Tina and see if I can use the bathroom.”
She ran away as soon as she finished her sentence. Jen and I decided to get out of the car—it was an amazingly mild summer night. Out of the darkness, Tina had finished and was slowly walking our way.
“I’m sorry about this,” Tina said to me after finishing the last bit of water we had left in the car.
“It’s alright—you were partying tonight!” I replied enthusiastically. “Besides, how many times have you puked in a 7-11 parking lot?”
“Never,” she said, cracking what looked a little bit like a smile.
“Well, there you go. Now you can cross that off your list,” I said. “You’re night’s already turning around.”
Suddenly, Kat came bursting through the doors of the mini-mart, water in hand, and ran back towards us. Judging by the speed in which she exited, I wondered if I was going to be charged as an accomplice to something in the near future.
“They don’t have a bathroom!” Kat said, handing the water over to Tina in a hurry. “Here, I got you this.”
“I don’t know what to do,” she continued. She was panicking. “I really have to pee.”
“Well,” I said, pausing for dramatic effect. “How many times have you peed in a 7-11 parking lot?”