Patrick Miles III vs. Jenga (MT #8)

Dark clouds consumed my surroundings, veiling me from a world which became so familiar to me.  My bed–I knew where it was, yet I couldn’t find it.  I reached my arms out, sweeping them across the air, searching, looking, missing.  And suddenly, my fingers brushed against something; a splinter burrowed under my finger and I hissed from the pain.  The clouds faded, revealing a mass of wooden bricks piled high above me.  They consumed my room, and I knew what I had to do.

Keep steady I repeated to myself as I wrapped my arms around one of the blocks.  Don’t fuck up now.  My knees trembled as I pulled a piece from the foundation.  Don’t fuck up.

The block’s weight became unbearable in my arms and they turned to jello.  A rumbling sound erupted from deep within the structure and the blocks groaned and trembled from the disturbance.  I turned to run, but my legs gave in underneath me.  Something slammed into my back.  Another brick thwacked my shoulder.  And the tower suddenly tumbled down towards me.

I woke up with sweat plastered across my cheeks and neck.  It took a few moments for my palpitating heart to calm down.  “Stupid Jenga,” I groaned as I sat up, wiping the slime from the back of my neck.  I stared at my clammed up hand before I hopped out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

The night before, Art, Chris, a guy Jimmy from down the hall, and I decided to play Jenga, or as Art referred to it, “Drunk Jenga.” We were already plastered after a few girls from the floor above us visited Art and Chris’s room with a bottle of Bacardi.  I refused to drink at first, until Art held the shot glass under my nose with a too-excited grin on his face.  So, I took it and swigged it.  And then another.  And then another, until it was four in the morning and Chris retrieved his game of Jenga.

My head pounded as I stumbled towards the bathroom, extending my sweaty hand away from me.  A mirror welcomed me in the bathroom, sneering at my unruly hair.

Art’s favorite activity became irritating me as much as possible.  Last night, I was attempting to get through at least part of Atlas Shrugged when he pounded at my door.  His voice slurred as he demanded I come out and, after a few minutes of his nagging, I gave in.  Not because I wanted to, but he gave me no other choice.  And as soon as I opened the door, he ruffled my hair and laughter bubbled from his lips.

I examined my reflection a bit longer and grazed my fingers against the raw skin underneath my eyes.  It had been two weeks since I first arrived at Palixton and although sometimes I had to escape from my suffocating room, the University began to grow on me.  I met a few people I could actually associate myself with, including Tammy Frasier.

Tammy’s family raked in old money from her grandfather’s gold mine oil discovery in his property.  We met a few days before and when we introduced ourselves, she immediately recognized my name.  She had this habit of half-smiling towards me with one lip curled up, and she gazed at me with big brown eyes.  Two nights ago, she told me I had really nice hands and proceeded to intertwine our fingers together.

There was something fresh about her.  We recognized our life styles, and with her, I towered above everyone else; above Chris, above my father, and especially above Art.

“Hey,” someone grumbled from the bathroom door.  I turned to face Art, who carried heavy bags under his eyes and a half grimace across his lips.



I glanced towards him and just as I did, he sprang to one of the bathroom stalls and slammed the door behind him.  Pangs of disgust spiraled up my spine as a splash followed a harsh cough.  I began to wash my hands again, running my fingers through my disheveled hair.

He pushed open the stall door, placing his forehead against it.  I made a note to myself not to touch his forehead.  “Sorry,” he threw me a half smile.  “Your hair looks ridiculous.”

“Not as bad as yours.”

He laughed lightly, just as he did every time I snapped at him.  “You going to that dance thing later?”

“Dance thing?”

“Yeah–that thing.  With all the freshmen.  That dance thing.”

“I guesst.”

“Let’s pre-game?”  A half smile ran across his lips as he slumped farther against the stall, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand.

“For the dance?”

“Yeah–the dance thing.”

I hesitated.  The thought of drinking again made me nauseous, but (although I hate to admit it) I had fun with Art, Chris, and Jimmy last night.  Even when the Jenga blocks tumbled down, causing an eruption of boo’s.  At first, I ignored their laughter, but as they kept howling, I found myself joining right along.  Maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe I finally discovered why people claim laughter’s contagious, but it felt good; it felt natural.

“I’ll think about it.”  But I had already made my decision.


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