I directed my new friend, Rod, to the main parking lot in the middle of the Wilfrid Laurier University campus. After showing him how to pay for parking, we made our way to the computer lab on the second floor of the brown and drab Frank C. Peters building. That’s where my mortal enemy, and the most likely person to have tried to drown me in a lake earlier that day, preferred to spend his free time. As my new friend and I approached the room, I looked in the window and saw that the man I was seeking was the only one there. He was sitting at one of the computers at the far end of the lab with his back to me and my new companion.
He’s probably working on something stupid, I thought. “Look at him,” I snorted. “He’s probably working on something stupid.”
“So that’s your worst enemy, huh?” my new friend asked as if he couldn’t believe it. “He looks pretty scrawny. What is he, about five-foot-three? I don’t think he could even lift you, let alone drag you from your home and dump you in a lake. And more generally speaking, he doesn’t look like an attempted murderer.” The warm blue eyes shining through Rod’s wrinkled face almost made me believe what he was saying, but I remained steadfast in my belief that the man we were staring at in the computer lab was the one who tried to kill me.
“That’s what he wants you to think,” I stressed.
“What did this guy do to you?” asked Rod in a concerned tone.
This was a very sensitive subject for me, so I didn’t want to talk about it, but at the same time I didn’t want the person I just met and dragged to a computer lab to stare at someone who may have tried to kill me earlier that day to think I was crazy, so I bit the bullet and spilled my guts. “What did he do? What didn’t he do? He beat me in intro to microeconomics, intro to macroeconomics, intermediate microeconomics… need I continue?”
“So, he got some better grades than you?” Rod asked as if I hadn’t just explained it to him. He may have helped me in my time of need, but he certainly did have a way of getting on my nerves at the drop of a hat.
“Not just some!” I squeaked out so as not to draw my enemy’s attention to us. “All! His grades are always better than mine!”
“And he always rubs it in your face,” my friend proposed. “Is that it?”
“Basically. He says things like ‘That’s a good mark, Chris, you should be happy’ and ‘another A? That’s five in a row, right?'” I said in my most mocking tone.
“What a… jerk?” my companion said in the form of a question for some reason. It was like he was on Jeopardy or something.
I pretended not to notice that he seemed to think he was talking to Alex Trebek as I nodded and reached into my pocket to pull out my lab access card, only to realize it wasn’t there. “Perfect. There goes the element of surprise. Can’t play it quiet now,” I sighed.
“We were playing it quiet?” my new friend asked. That was the fifth thing in a row that Rod said to me in the form of a question. It really bugged me. A lot. So I decided to use that rage to get my mortal enemy’s attention.
I banged on the glass as hard as I could. “Hey Jin, open the damn door you cock sucking wannabe murderer!”
Jin turned around pretending to be surprised, and then a big fake smile appeared on his Cheezie dust-covered face as he waved frantically like you would if you saw a really good friend you hadn’t seen in a long time. What a faker, I thought. Trying to make me think it wasn’t him who tried to kill me by pretending to be nice to me. Well, I wasn’t going to fall for it. When he opened the door I gave him the stinkiest stink eye I could. I knew it was good because the corner of my left eye was twitching.
“Hey Chris, good to see you, man!” Jin said, excitedly. “What’s going on, you forget your pass again? And what’s the deal with your eye?”
“I’ll be the one who asks the questions around here!” I exclaimed as I pushed my way past him. Rod also entered the computer lab.
Jin still acted as if he was happy to see me. “Ha! That’s what I like about you, Chris. You’re such a funny guy. Who’s your friend?”
“He’s not my friend,” I said of my new friend. “His name is Rod.”
“Hi, Rod, I’m Jin. Nice tux.”
“Thanks,” replied Rod. “By the way, my—“
“Are the introductions over now?” I interrupted.
“Hey,” said Jin. “Why are you all wet? Is it raining outside?”
Is it raining outside? I couldn’t believe the gall of this guy. “No, but I’m about to make it rain fist bombs in here, you son of a bitch!” I yelled at him. I was about to punch Jin in his stupid mug, when Rod got in between us. I guess the confused look that Jin pulled out of his ass and slapped on that thing he calls a face managed to convince my companion that he wasn’t the cold calculating murderer that I knew he was.
“Chris,” Rod said calmly, his warm eyes attempting to comfort me as he spoke. “This guy seems to genuinely like you. And judging by all the empty Red Bull cans and chip bags around that workstation, it looks like he’s been here for a long time. I don’t think he would have been able to tie you up, dump you in the lake and get back here in time to leave such a giant mess.”
Jin acted as if he was actually surprised. And a little impressed. “Whoa, someone tied you up and dumped you in the lake? And you got out? Dude! That’s so intense! You must be, like, a super soldier or something!”
Rod seemed less impressed. “Oh, Chris is definitely something.”
I ignored Rod’s comment and instead locked eyes with Jin, trying to ascertain whether I believed what my new friend was suggesting. I gave Jin my steeliest glare (which I knew was steely because the corner of my right eye was twitching), and he returned it with a look that I can only describe as, well, empathy. Needless to say it sickened me, but at least I figured out I had the wrong man. “Alright, Jin. I’ll believe that you didn’t try to kill me. This time.”
“You thought I tried to kill you? But, I thought we were friends,” Jin said, looking like I just hit his dog with a car.
“Cut the crap, Jin,” I told him. “So tell me something, mister smartguy. If it wasn’t you, then who tried to kill me?”
Jin thought for a moment. “Well, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hurt you, but, I don’t know, maybe it was your boyfriend?”
“Wilford,” I whispered. I hadn’t thought about him in ages.
“Who?” asked Rod.
“His gay lover,” answered Jin.
“You have a gay lover?” Rod asked me.
“No,” I replied to the question I had been asked a million times before by a million different people. “But if he was my lover, wouldn’t his gayness be implied?”
“Not necessarily,” offered Jin without anyone asking him to. “I mean, I don’t want to contradict Chris here, but there are lots of different sexual orientations. Two men having sex doesn’t necessarily mean that either one is gay.”
“He has a point,” said Rod, a stupid smile spreading across his face.
I had had enough of this conversation. I raised my arms in surrender and started making my way out of the computer lab. “Okay, that’s enough. It’s time to get going. C’mon, Rod.”
Jin started waving again. “Cool, see you, buddy!”
“Eat shit and die, Jin,” I said without looking back.
“Yeah, whatever you say, Chris! Such a funny guy.” Stupid Jin and his stupid optimism. As Rod followed me out of the lab, Jin continued to wave goodbye like he wanted his arm to fall off.
As we approached the car I was content to remain in silence, but my companion had other ideas. “So what happened with you and your boyfriend?” Rod asked.
“Ugh. Nothing happened,” I told him. “I mean, we had a fight, but he wasn’t my boyfriend.”
“Oh, so it was just a physical thing between you two, then?”
“That’s enough. Get in the car, we have somewhere to be,” I said as I opened the passenger side door.
Rod gave me a little smile as he got into the car and started the ignition. Before he pulled out of the parking lot he turned to me and asked, “Where are we going?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” I asked as I tilted my seat back, put my feet up on the dash and closed my eyes. “We’re going to see the ghost of Wilford Brimley.”
To be continued.