The following story is absolutely, positively 100% true despite nobody in Arizona believing that it ever actually happened. It still burns in my mind that people didn't believe me that this happened. I know it happened. I was there. And I was sober, too, surprisingly. It happened and still, five years later, it pisses the fuck out of me.
It was December 31st, 2001 and I was drinking heavily with my heavy pot-smoking girlfriend-slash-semi-fiance Debby. She was and still is a great woman. It's just that she was smoking pot every second of the day and I was drunk most of the time. It could have worked if we just straightened up our act, which we never got close to doing. Oh well.
Debby had an incredibly close man friend nicknamed Fritch. Everybody called him Fritch. He was Fritch. That name, it sounds like the noise you make when you have a mouthful of taffy and it's starting to stick your mouth together so you open your mouth quick. That's the noise your mouth would make. Fritch. In the movie Crumb he talks briefly about a bully named Scutch. That reminds me of Fritch. What a name, huh? Fritch. Just hearing that name, Fritch, makes me want to strangle somebody, just like Steve Martin's character in the Movie Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid when he strangles somebody everytime he hears the word "cleaning woman." My "cleaning woman" word is the name Fritch.
I didn't even know his real name until this morning. Fritch. Fright. That name pains me.
He was one of those guys that partied and was semi-attractive and was semi-built and was semi-charming, the type of guy who wears a lot of baseball caps and owns a few expensive bottles of cologne and can be found in a sports bar somewhere, a semi-charming twentysomething party guy.
And he was "close friends" with Debby.
I always find myself in this situation. I meet and start dating this overly attractive woman and suddenly there's five or ten guys that are circling our relationship like vultures hoping that I fuck up and the relationship dies so that they can swoop in and take whatever remains.
Kai, fucking wannabe rapper Kai, tried to do that when Natasha and I first got together. And tell you the truth I wasn't too sure of Jim's intentions for like a year. And all of that reminded me of Fritch.
I told Debby on more than one occasion that I was worried of Fritch and her's friendship, that I thought that he was just waiting for us to break up so he could get him some. She, doing the dance that women have been doing since we evolved from monkeys, said ...
"Oh, no, him and I are JUST FRIENDS! He's just a really CLOSE FRIEND of mine, that's all. You're just JEALOUS, Steve. Fritch and I are FRIENDS! He's like a BROTHER to me! NO WAY he likes me, no, you're just OVERREACTING, Steve!"
That song and dance went on for like a year, a year of me feeling uncomfortable around "the Fritch."
(to be said in finger quotes)
It all came to a head on the date in questioned, December 31st, 2001. Fritch was having a big drinking and smoking and drug doing bash at his house and Debby wanted to go. I just grinned and bear-ded it and said yes. I even agreed, and lord knows why I would do this, to be sober so that little Debby could get shitfaced wasted along with "the Fritch" and all of her friends.
I think that at this point in the story anyone with a half a brain can pretty much guess the general seating area where this story is going to end up sitting down at. Right?
Debby is doing bong hit after bong hit with Fritch and Ken-dar and a gaggle of stoner friends = i.e. people who aren't really your friends but you're the best of friends nonetheless simply because they also do drugs. I remember many a night spent staring at someone play some shitty Dreamcast game for two hours while Debby smoked out with them. Boring as hell but that's just MY opinion.
I'm playing sober sam all alone by myself in the house. I believe I was watching tv. Eventually a semi-inebriated Chris, my first and bestest bookstore friend and co-conspirator, came in to crash with me so I wouldn't be alone. Everyone else is outside doing drunken stoned things like talking loudly and looking at stars.
Fritch stumbles into the house and starts slurring talking to me ...
"Hey Schteve, wha- ... whacha doin' here, huh? You ... you don't want to hang out wish me? Huh? I mean, you, you don't like me. Ish that it?"
I say that I'm tied, that I just got off of work, I was sick, I just had surgery, I was just time travelling, ANYTHING just to get this semibuff spooky wasted guy out of my face.
But then "the Fritch" takes it to a whole nudda leble ...
"OKAY, SCHTEVE! OKAY! YOU WON! ALRIGHT! YOU WON DEBBY! I MEAN, YOU GOT HER! YOU'RE DATING HER! I LOST, YOU WON, YOU HAVE HER! OKAY! YOU BEAT ME! OKAY! Now are you gonna come outschide and hang out wish me or what? Huh? YOu gonna be a man and hang out with me or ... or what?"
I say yeah, just to give me a minute and he leaves. I turn to Chris and tell him "DID. YOU. JUST. FUCKING! SEE. THAT?" He nods yes with a glazed expression on his face that tells me his answer is a definite maybe. SO Chris and I walk outside to join the others.
Debby, a closeted theater dyke, is animatedly discussing theater and stage fighting with everybody, showing how to effectively throw a realistic looking punch without actually hitting somebody. Everyone is stoned and/or drunk and going along with makeshift professor Debby's stage fighting class. That's when "the Fritch" gets it in his head that he can throw a realistic punch too and starts yelling for me to be his "assistant."
Begrudgingly I agree and he hits me square in the face. Right in the face. Full fucking force. He apologizes profusely and (par for the course) nobody else except me and "the Fritch" and glazed over Chris seemed to witness this whole thing.
A little bit later we drove home.
And I told Debby what happened.
And she didn't believe me.
Every second of every day after that, ever second of every day that I remained dating Debby that pissed the high holy fuck out of me, that she disbelieved the very notion that her best friend "the Fritch" would admit to liking her. I believe the exact words she said were "You're crazy" and "You're just exaggerating."
You have no idea how much that pisses me off, still to this day. It's five years later, I'm in a different state, I'm married with two kids and I hardly even talk to any of those people, and yet that pissed the living shit out of me.
I am an artistic 140 lb. mexican father of two and a storyteller who entertains kids at least twice a week in his children's department at the Barnes and Noble on Arden Way. I am a very quiet, shy, simple man.
And yet if I saw "the Fritch" tomorrow crossing the street I would run him over and then get out of my car and piss on his bloody corpse with absolutely no hesitation. It takes a lot for me to hate somebody. A LOT! And I hate "the Fritch."
That's my story. And despite what everybody thinks, it's absolutely 100% true.
To thank you for listening to my story, here's some free music for you and your punk ass ...
Davy Jones: Your Personal Penguin (written by children's author Sandra Boynton)
Five For Fighting: Penguin Lament (again written by Sandra Boynton - my wife LOVES this song)
Jurassic 5: Back 4 You
Townes Van Zandt: At My Window
Amazing Transparent Man: Criminal
Ed Wood's Orgy of the Dead: The Night Things Are All About Me
Marti Webb: Tell Me On A Sunday
Party Ben: Hella Dare You To Smoke (Deep Purple VS No Doubt VS Gorillaz)