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The moment I step out of work, my thirst is insatiable. I’m like a heroin addict in Vietnam. Though instead of pricking my arms more than an anorexic 14-year-old girl listening to Avril Lavigne, I go to the bar like a normal person. A normal person with an alcohol problem, but still normal.
I’m spending the summer with a bank in the city, which, trust me, is far more Oprah Winfrey than Margot Robbie. Anyway, in between engulfing my desk and dwindling sense of self in work I in no way understand or am qualified to complete, every once in a while I get a nice perk that reminds me “oh ok, this is why I signed up for this shit.”
The other night I got an invite to the company box for a New York baseball team that has actually been relevant since Bill Buckner. Make of that what you will. I couldn’t wait to go, but at the same time understood I was about to spend upwards of three hours in close proximity with people that hold the literal and figurative keys to my future.
Surrounded by a Crayola box of geeds, I had found myself one friend, Raj, who was an admitted nerd with a gambling addiction and a masturbation habit that had justified a Costco membership solely for the jumbo bottles of cocoa butter. The kid isn’t great, but shit — he’s all I’ve got in the office.
Raj usually accompanies me as we impersonate a diverse modern day version of our ancestral pilgrimage to the watering hole. He likes hearing what it’s like to touch American girls and the intricate details of “white girl pussy.” In exchange, he usually provides me low-level drugs and the perfect topic of conversation with the local women: “Hey look at my virgin friend Raj I’m a nice guy right and clearly not racist.”
Raj got invited too but insisted we meet for a drink beforehand, though even I understood showing up drunk to our first work event would be a level of idiotic outweighing my alcoholism. He “had to tell me something,” and fidgeted like Michael J. Fox railing lines in anticipation of his big reveal. Honestly, I was PRAYING he wasn’t about to tell me he was more of a hot dog than hamburger kind of guy. Or a terrorist. Fingers crossed.
“Siblings,” he sits down frantically. “I have something for the game tonight, Mr. Siblings. Something you’re going to like.” He pulls out a brown paper bag in full view of the other patrons.
“I don’t know what the fuck that is but this is America, put it back under the table Jesus Christ.” He promptly removes it.
“Yes, yes of course. I’m sorry. I’m very excited. We are getting fucked up motherfucker.” Now, when an Indian virgin working for an investment bank starts talking like that, all bets are off.
“Raj, you had my interest, but now you have my attention. What the fuck is it?” Raj is beaming like the day he escaped India.
“Remember you said we couldn’t drink or smoke marijuana before the game, because the others would know and deport my Indian ass back to gutter of Bali?” I nod.
“Yeah, that sounds like something I’d say.”
“So I got this instead.” He passes it to me under the table, I open the bag and look inside.
“Raj this looks like a pile of shit. What the fuck is it?”
“That is not shit my friend Mr. Siblings, that is what you call an edible.” I’m extremely underwhelmed.
“So it’s some weed dust in a terrible brownie that’ll make me sick and angry?”
“No Siblings, because this edible is not just marijuana, but Xanax.” Oh how quickly they assimilate these days.
“Raj, I don’t usually say this, but Christ I’m actually glad you immigrated.” We split the baked pharmacy, ate our halves, and made our way uptown to see the team that didn’t lose to the Royals during their one year of relevancy in the past decade.
The effects had just begun when we settled into the box. Senior VPs, several managers and our direct supervisor surrounded us while my real life Kumar and I sat waiting to ascend to another planet.
By the second inning, something extremely peculiar had begun, with my left arm in a deeper sleep than a girlfriend of one Bill Cosby.
“Raj are you feeling this shit yet?” Raj is silent.
“Seriously. Are you alright?” Raj turns his head so slowly literally two pitches are thrown before he faces me.
“Mr. Siblings, I am very much not ok.”
“Raj you need to put some fucking sunglasses on. Your eyes look like those of the homeless beggars that blind themselves in your country. This is fucking ridiculous, you conspicuous motherfucker.”
The Yankees score, a rare occurrence this season, and the crowd erupts. I’m feeling extremely nauseous, but far more concerned about the foreign national on the verge of deportation.
“Raj what is going on? Where did you get this shit? You said it was weed and two Xanax. We should be careless enough after eating it to double team fat Linda from accounting.” Again with the long-as-fuck head turn.
“I am going to die today Mr. Siblings, thank you for being my friend.”
“You’re what?” Raj stands and turns to head back into the interior of the suite.
“Raj, stop. You need to sit the fuck down.”
Raj ignores me completely, and, with the risk of an accused hate crime on the horizon, I let him go. At this point I can feel the imminence of the unhappy explosion of bodily fluids, realizing in this moment Raj is essentially half my size and nowhere near as experienced with drugs. Shit, maybe he actually will die. I stand and excuse myself to purge, and notice Raj alone in the corner in a sort of hybrid wall sit position, swaying like one of those inflatable green guys in front of a used car lot.
I make it to the bathroom, explode out both ends and pray for a bit of mercy, running the fan and water simultaneously to hopefully dampen the deathlike sounds. My mind is clear for a moment. I have to get Raj the fuck out of here. If he goes down, that little jihadist will bring me down with him. I spring to the door and, to my horror, see him speaking with our direct supervisor. I approach extremely tentatively, like it’s a first attempt at nailing a friend’s sister or mother. This was delicate.
“Hey, Raj!” I join the conversation. Our supervisor nods and thanks me for coming (unlike with my girlfriends, this I am willing to reciprocate).
“Thank you so much for having us, love the Yanks. My dad is unbelievably envious.” Through the courtesy laughs, I see Raj is unable to speak. Fearing the worst (a threat to my employment), I realize now if he just passes the fuck out, I’ll be fine. Shit, if I go with him to the hospital? I’ll be a hero.
“Raj man, you want to head outside?” No response. Not even a head turn. The supervisor, probably assuming he’s nervous, walks back to the front.
“Raj, come on man. Let’s just fucking go. This is a mess. It’ll be fine. I’ll say you were sick.” Raj is again totally unresponsive.
“Seriously, we need to fucking go.” He finally looks at me.
“Siblings. I’m not well.” Just then, a junior VP walks up to us, smacking Raj on the back as he joins our now triangle conversation.
“Hey guys, you enjoying the game?”
The smack throws Raj into a semi-convulsion. He halts, shakes again, and then… Oh fuck, no… Raj… You’re not about to…
Explosion. Dark brown chunk-filled vegetable goulash, or whatever the fuck they eat, all from a very small brown man all over a very important white one. Raj falls to the floor covered in more fluids than the girl at the end of a bukkake porn. Naturally, I tend immediately to the VP with napkins and profuse apologies, understanding the era of Raj being the sidekick to my Van Wilder has ended.
Fortunately, our bosses were extremely understanding. I, having volunteered to go with Raj to the hospital, am a responsible and selfless intern willing to miss a baseball game for the foreign kid. And Raj, well… Raj, I hope you’re doing great in Bangladesh or wherever the fuck you came from..
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