I was watching The Goonies the other night for the hundredth time and it reminded me of a CLASSIC moment in my life that could have been a deleted scene from the film – I want to set it correctly so instead of mood music, I’ll start off with a quote from a classic Goonies scene:
Francis: Tell us everything! Everything!
Chunk: Everything. OK! I’ll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max’s toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog…
Now that we’re sufficiently jazzed up, I’ll proceed…
As I’ve mentioned before, the apartment we lived in was on a really wild street in college. It was a line of one party-house after another, leading down the yellow-brick road to the Promised Land (the bars, obviously). My house was diagonal from Lisa’s and we’d usually alternate where each night’s after-hours would take place based on who had beer in the fridge. That, or if it was one of the days that the pizza place had cut me off from getting a delivery because I passed out after ordering and slept through the delivery guy at the door again – we’d be at Lisa’s.
It was just past 2 AM and I was stumbling back to my apartment after the bars closed. As I was ambling down the way in my drunken haze, I saw Lisa’s Roommate Sue puttering around ten times drunker than I was. I thought Sue must be on some really good shit to be that out of control, so of course I went right over when she told me after-hours was at her house. You know that instinct that tells you something is obviously wrong and you shouldn’t do something? I don’t have that! It’s notoriously absent in me sober – nonetheless when I’m drunk.
(To clarify before I go any further – no, this is not the night that Sue was drunk and ran over her and Lisa’s other roommate Kathy with the car when she got out to pee on the ski slope. Read that back: Kathy actually got ran over with HER OWN car when she crouched in back of it to pee. It was late at night, they were wasted, and Sue couldn’t see where Kathy was peeing when she moved the car because she didn’t want to get caught because the car was ACTUALLY on the ski slope. I didn’t believe this story since they came right back to the bar after it happened until Kathy pulled down her jeans to show me the road rash. Those two were like the blind leading the blind-folded.)
Lisa, Sue & Kathy lived in the top half of a two-family house. When you entered the front door, the stairs led up into the living room which connected to the kitchen, then led to a hallway where the three bedrooms and bathroom were located. Sue and I were following through on our promise to drink absolutely every single beer in their house before the rest of our crew arrived since it was only the two if us. I randomly looked up and happened to see something I hadn’t noticed before. Although the living room ceiling was about sixteen feet high, there was a barn door with an X on it about ten feet in the air. I asked her what it was and she replied “probably goes to the roof – what else could it be?” and the very same light bulb appeared over both of our drunken head’s at exactly the same time: DING DING – Obviously, we should go on the roof!
Conventional wisdom should tell you that if you’re only 5’ 7” tall, you’re not going to be able to reach a door that’s ten feet in the air without a boost. Conventional wisdom also forgets to inform you that if said boost doesn’t work and you’re going to start stacking random pieces of furniture to reach said door – there is absolutely no wisdom present: conventional or otherwise. It is actually the opposite of any other word for used to describe or related to wisdom, yet it didn’t hinder us.
The adornments in furnished apartments are usually mismatched, cheap, and rickety but their furnishings were an especially random assortment of hodge-podge. In addition to the usual suspects (beat-up old couch, smelly loveseat, scratched up side-table) there was a weird rocking chair that never really “belonged” in the room. It also never “belonged” sandwiched in the middle of our “furniture ladder,” but that’s not really the point now is it? We let nothing stand in our way as we jammed one item on top of another to get to that door. Common sense obviously wasn’t on the guest list for this after-hours party, but we persevered and got our makeshift Tower of Babel up to the doorway. Being the absolute gentleman that I am, I let her climb up first. Obviously, I truly believed that it would collapse as soon as she mounted it, but also, it was her house so letting her go up first was the respectful thing to do. Like I said, she was much drunker than I was so she didn’t protest…
Sue was a limber little thing and she made her way up the sofa, championed past the cocktail table and over the rocker like it was her job. I had been watching her ascent and thinking to myself “That really doesn’t seem sturdy and there’s no way it will hold her…” when I realized that my beer was empty and went to get another one in the kitchen. She was passing over the second kitchen chair we had stacked on the pile and then got by the ottoman when she reached the barn door. She pried that door off like a cat burglar and tossed it onto the living room floor. The huge crash from the door hitting the ground caused her to look around and realize that I hadn’t been holding the furniture ladder steady for her. Holding it steady? I wasn’t even in the same room! Didn’t I just tell you that my beer was empty? Did I not say that out loud? Also, she tossed that door over her shoulder to get it out of her way and THEN looked where I was – good thing I ditched her or she would have popped me right in the noggin with that friggin door! She was neither surprised nor mad that I had abandoned her. She told me to take the case of beer out of the fridge so we could take it up to the roof with us; it’s really not saying much, but she was the brains of this operation.
I grabbed the beer and headed back into the living room to see two feet crawling into the entryway the barn door had been covering up. She peeked back out the now open doorway and asked what I was waiting for. In truth, I hadn’t actually considered going on the roof at all because I’m deathly afraid of heights. I just assumed that the furniture would collapse or she’d lose interest or fall and hit her head before she could get the door off, but now I didn’t want to miss seeing what was up there. I thought it could become our new terrace or outdoor lounge but actually, I was just really drunk and didn’t think it through at all. I started my climb and the way it shook and creaked when she went up was a distant memory and I was laser-focused on not dropping the beer and not falling, but mostly I was worried about the beer. It took a bit, but I made my way up and that’s saying a lot for a guy that has no coordination or athletic ability when I’m sober, so forget about my dexterity while intoxicated.
When you looked into the hole – which was really dark; neither of us had thought about a flashlight – but due to the high ceiling lights in the living room, we could make out rows of beams with insulation in between heading to five steps leading up to two bilko doors which opened out onto the roof. We walked across the beams, got the roof door open, and headed up. The storm hadn’t let up at all and it was actually even windier on the roof – which thankfully was flat and didn’t have any peaks on it. We got out there and started dancing around in the rain like fools; she looked like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance and I looked like I got hit by a flash of lightning with my flailing arms and supreme lack of rhythm…
We walked over to the edge of the roof to survey the land and low and behold – we saw Weezie strolling up the street with Spento. They had just come back from the nightly late-night jaunt to the diner and were looking for an after-hours spot. “HOOKA!!!” I screamed down at her and she looked all around before finally realizing that we were up on the roof waving. A normal person that sees two drunken fools prancing around on the roof like Santa Claus should have an immediate reaction to stop these two fools and get them down – not Weezie. “How do I get up there?” she screamed back. “Go inside and follow the furniture trail.” She went into the house, surveyed the situation, and marched right back out again “come down here and help me up – that’s not sturdy…”
We went down to the living room and Weezie immediately latched onto that Coors Light suitcase of beer like she was going to the chair. Just then, Sue and Lisa’s roommate Kathy came in and said “What the fuck? Come on!!!” “We’ll be quiet – you won’t even know we’re here” we chimed as we started heading back up. We got all four of us up the furniture and through the doorway. Weezie went up first and she sat on the steps leading to the roof like a bird on a perch with the beer as Spento made his way in next, followed by Sue, with me at the rear. As we were making our way through, Kathy was making her way to her bedroom to go to bed as she was in no mood for drunken nonsense and had to be up really early the next morning.
Weezie sat facing the entryway with a vice grip on her Coors Light tighter than Kate Winslet had on that driftwood at the end of Titanic when she looked up. “Spento, you better walk on those beams…”No sooner had the words escaped her mouth than Spento took one misstep and it was like it happened in slow-motion. I thought for sure that I was back on the dust because he hit that insulation in between the beams (which wouldn’t support the weight of a fart, by the way) and he dropped through it in a flash. Not only did he go through the insulation and the floor – but he went feet-first right through the ceiling like an atom bomb; those kicks came shooting through Kathy’s bedroom ceiling just as she was opening the doorway. He brought with him a storm of insulation, sheetrock, and whatever the hell else was in between the ceiling and attic all over her, her bedroom, and all over us in the attic. Weezie screamed like they were bringing back prohibition as the dust storm erupted through the attic and bedroom absolutely covering us in that shit. As the cloud approached, I ducked behind Sue to try and shield me from the caustic material, but it was to no avail – it got us all.
As if that wasn’t crazy enough – Spento didn’t go all the way through and he got lodged between the beams. “I’m stuck…I’m stuck” he said, which made us laugh even harder. His stomach was ripped open and bleeding as he was lodged between those beams while Weezie kept drinking, Sue tried to help, and I tried not to piss my pants…Needless to say, Kathy was not amused but actually really pissed off and didn’t see the humor in the situation like we did…She pushed his feet up and Weezie and Sue helped pry him out from the beam’s vice grip, while I tried to stop laughing. Never one to argue with an obvious sign – we took that sign to mean we should head back down and stay off the roof. Granted, the more obvious sign should have been his blood signaling the need for medical attention, but I digress.
We climbed back down without any other incidents and with nothing left to sit on, we were forced to had to dismantle some of the items off the furniture ladder. Kathy yelled at us non-stop because had he fell ten seconds later, she would have gotten a Converse to the cranium – yet we couldn’t stop laughing… I was literally crying from laughing so hard that I felt like I might actually have a stroke.
Weezie was quiet for a long time after and was almost catatonic. “Hey Hooka, What’s wrong with you?” I offered. “I’ve been here for six years, that’s a long time…but…if that was me…I’d transfer…I’d transfer right out of here…I know you’d tell everyone. You’d tell everyone.” Was all she could mutter and I knew she was dead-on-balls accurate because if that had been her that went through the roof, I’d have gotten a megaphone and went up and down the street immediately after the insulation dust settled…
I have never laughed like that in my life – even when my aunt was ejected out of the wheelchair at Disney. The best part of it was that because Lisa, Sue and Kathy were moving out at the end of the semester, the landlord had been showing it to prospective tenants all the time and he came over bright and early the next morning. Besides Kathy, guess who else didn’t find it as funny as we did…Then guess who didn’t get their security deposit back…Lisa was just as pissed off as Kathy was but not for the damage, not for the disturbance, and certainly not for the concern over Spento’s health – she was mad that she missed seeing it. To this day I still break up every time I think about it…if only there were camera phones back then…
For that one quick moment, I got to live out my own Goonies moment, and the only thing that could have made it any better would have been if Spento did the truffle shuffle when they got him out of the floor…I did feel bad a couple of days later as I kept replaying it in my head over and over and laughing because not once did we ask if he was OK – we just laughed…I guess that is selfish, but I never said I was good in a crisis. It has been years since this happened, yet I still just pictured it again and burst out laughing like a fool as if it took place this morning. I almost felt this bad: (cue another great Goonies scene)
Chunk: Then my mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then once during lunch I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out… But the worst thing I ever done — I mixed all this fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then… then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa — and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life.