It was three on a Sunday–closing time at Satellite Room. I’d been awake for 21 hours and after a long, unrewarding night on U Street, all I wanted was to get back to my bed–alone. The couples I’d been with went their separate ways, leaving me in front of the bar among the smokers, looking for a cab. But instead, I found the eyes of a woman staring back at me. She looked to be in her early twenties and she was pretty, so I stared back. And to my amazement, she walked right up to me, placed her finger in the middle of my chest, and said: You look good. Will you walk me to my car?
Suddenly I was wide awake. I’d never had this kind of chance bar encounter, and I was pretty lonely at the time, so this unexpected advance was thrilling. Of course I said yes; I would have walked her to Maryland if she’d asked. On the way to her car, we held hands and my heart swelled. I learned that her name was Alex and that she’d been in a fight with her friends that night and ditched them. This is how hookups happen, I thought. I felt like the luckiest millennial on U Street.
But when we got into her car and I saw her behind the wheel, the reality of the situation dawned on me and shattered my little fantasy. I asked her if she’d been drinking and she said duh. So instinctively, I snatched the keys out of her hand and said I couldn’t let her drive. I thought my concern and display of responsibility would be endearing and appreciated, but instead she was pissed.
Give me my fucking keys back! she shouted. Who the fuck are you?
We argued for a few minutes, Alex insisting she was fine to drive, me insisting I couldn’t in good conscience allow it, both for her sake and for the sake of the other drivers. As we made our cases, I noticed she had an enormous tattoo across her thigh, a raw one she’d gotten just the day before. It was an old-fashioned timepiece flanked by interlocking roses. Below, an unfolded parchment scroll read: this is your hour. It was badly swollen and looked awfully painful, like the side effect of a disease. Seeing that I was staring at it, she dug out a bottle from her purse and started rubbing a cream on it. So what am I supposed to do now? she asked. To me the answer was obvious: take a cab back to my place and get your car in the morning. It was both the safe and sexy thing to do. But before I could propose it, there was a loud knock at the back window.
A young man and woman got into the back seat. They reeked of cigarette smoke and coconut rum. The woman, a boorish Russian who was clearly hammered, yelled who the fuck are you? at me. Alex explained that this was her gay friend Randy and her best friend Katya, the ones she’d gotten in a fight with. They were all from Bel Air, Maryland, which I learned was north of Baltimore, halfway to fucking Philadelphia. And now, at four in the morning, they were ready to make the two hour drunk drive home. But I had the keys.
Alex continued to insist that she was fine to drive, that she came down to DC and drank and drove home to Bel Air all the time, that she was really good at it. Katya smoked in the car and took swigs from a bottle of Malibu. Randy, who was a dead ringer for Alan Cumming, just sat there in silence, an extra in this movie. I was resolute about not letting them drive away and kill someone, and I still harbored some small, stupid hope that something might happen with Alex, so I suggested we all take a cab to my house–that I would pay for–and sleep there and get the car in the morning. I even offered to make them food. But they were unmoved by my hospitality and Alex was completely unwilling to leave her car in DC, so we came to a stalemate.
After another half hour of circular argument and a lot more Malibu and yelling for Katya, we came to a compromise solution: I would permit Alex to drive–as carefully as possible–to my house, which was only ten minutes away. And to Alex’s credit, she really was an excellent drunk driver, getting us home slowly and safely as she blared Lana Del Rey, Katya singing along about her pussy tasting like Pepsi Cola. This is not how hookups happen, I thought.
We got to my house around five and I made them a big heap of hashbrowns and sliced some oranges like a dutiful sucker. They wolfed it all down without a thank you and we headed upstairs to my room, where I threw a mattress on the floor for Randy and offered the girls my bed. At this point I wanted only to sleep and be rid of these people, but Katya wasn’t having it. She stomped and stumbled around, knocking shit off my shelves, yelling more Lana Del Rey lyrics as her friends looked on, amused. Somehow, Bud Light Limearita cans were produced and they kept drinking. Then Katya managed to get out onto my third story balcony. I watched in horror as she tripped over my potted plants and fell against the guardrails, far too close to the edge for comfort.
I ran out, grabbed her by the waist, and pulled her back inside, which wasn’t easy–she was tall and muscular, filled with the superhuman strength of the incredibly drunk. After letting her go, Katya wheeled around and yelled: So, you want to fuck me do you? Well come on Walter, let’s fuck! She had a devilish smile and before I knew what was happening, she’d wrapped her arms around me and started kissing my head and mock humping me, ultimately tackling me onto the mattress and trying to wrap her legs around me. A struggle ensued. She dug her nails into my back and I felt the skin break. I yelled in pain as she belted out a faux orgasm. I’m surprised a neighbor didn’t call the police. Alex just sat there, watching the Katya show from the comfort of my bed and rubbing cream on her tattoo wound.
Katya and I rolled across the floor, me yelling in vain for her to get off me, her yelling that she was in love. I’d never been attacked by a woman before and wasn’t sure how to play it, but the pain of her nails slicing across my chest, into my nipple, made tact irrelevant. I grabbed her hair and pulled her head away from mine and then I elbowed her in the stomach and broke free. My shirt was off and my chest and back were full of fingernail scratches and smears of blood. Katya, still lying on the floor, ripped off her shirt, threw it at me, and asked me to marry her. I’d been awake for 24 hours now, but wrestling an aggressive drunk woman in my own room had brought forth a rush of adrenaline and now I was furious. I told everyone they needed to go to sleep or get the fuck out. Finally, Alex interceded and told her friend to cut the shit and put her shirt back on, which she eventually did. Everyone was beyond exhausted.
Katya passed out shortly thereafter, on the hardwood floor; we all slept for two hours, from six to eight, at which time I woke up and told them to leave. And to my surprise, they did, no questions asked. As we walked downstairs, Katya apologized in a coquettish voice.
I’m sorry baby, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just really like you and wanted you to like me too.
What? You don’t know who the fuck I am.
No, I guess not, but I’d really like to. I think we have a lot in common, we’re both impulsive and wild. I want us to be friends.
I laughed and said no. At their car, Alex gave me a little obligatory hug and said: was your name Dylan? I laughed and said no. Then they got in and drove away without another word, no thank you, no goodbye. And there was nothing left to do but go back to my room, rub Neosporin on my chest and back, and go back to sleep.