Does This Belong To Anyone?

published August 2, 2014

The dog is eating broccoli in the garden while I try to make sense of last night.

It was supposed to have been a quiet get together, to celebrate a new job, but quickly and without warning become a shit show of theatrical proportions. Along with the explosion of crudités littering the garden there are bodies.

Sandy and Willy are half in, half out, and half naked in the tool shed. My boss until last week Andrew is asleep in an oversize flowerpot, like a reject from the Terracotta Army. The contents are dumped out on the footpath and Andrew is covered in potting soil and lavender. The lattice work for the porch has been ripped out and thrown in the yard, and an assortment of feet stick out from under the deck like a half dozen Dorothy-destroyed witches.

I haven’t seen anything like this since my college years, but these are all adults with respectable places in society. Outside this catastrophe I don’t think I’ve seen any of them so much as fart. I have a clear memory of everything, and can forgive everyone. The only person to blame is the courteous fool who in trying to keep the food table stocked put out my son’s concentrated cannabis brownies.

Ari makes them for his fibromyalgia and since this is California it’s all legit. He found a recipe online because he doesn’t like to smoke it and he doesn’t like the taste in food. He cooks his entire stash for what seems the entire day in a slow simmer of butter and the resultant green fat is so potent he says a few bites will keep him pain free for up to 36 hours when an attack comes on. Unfortunately last night some people had much more than a few bites and it all happened so fast I couldn’t stop it.

I walk around kicking everyone just to make sure they’re alive. A few stir to life, look around confused and embarrassed, and are gone on my next pass. I hope those few get home safe. The rest thankfully remain.

The dog follows as I go inside to make pancakes.

My dog’s name is Adolf, but I get away with that because she’s an adorable tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and I’m a Jew with a head of hair like a blaxploitation-era Pam Grier. I named her Speck initially, partly in honor of Pee-Wee’s pet in Big Adventure, but mostly because she has a little square mustache of fur. The feature could have earned her a Chaplain I guess, but a friend rechristened her Adolf and it stuck.

Adolf has brought a pair of men’s pants in from the garden. I guess they’re Willy’s. I could and should stop her, but I just watch as she tears them to shreds. I’m a little hungover, but not in the fun-house world of my guests. I explained to them the error last night and as crazy as everything got I think everyone had a good time.

One of the wicked witches has come into the kitchen and asked me where he is. I tell him and he follows up by asking me who I am.

“My name is Hannah. This is my house. And you are?”

“Bobby.”

I have Bobby sit and give him the first few pancakes and a large glass of OJ.

“Thank you. What happened here last night?”

I remind him about the brownie incident and he seems relieved and admits to me that he is still “a little high.”

“You’re welcome to stay until you feel safe to drive.”

Bobby asks again where he is and when I tell him he relaxes fully. He’s my neighbor and lives the next block over. He was out for an evening walk when he got pulled into the debauchery.

“Do you know Alice?”

“Yes. Alice is my new boss.”

“She grabbed me off the street.”

“She’s a go-getter, that one.”

Two more people I don’t know wander into the kitchen and ask all the same questions. They are equally satisfied with the answers and the pancakes. I want to ask them how they got here, but everyone seems not quite together yet. They are able to identify themselves as Mona and Sinclair.

Sandy and Willy come in next. He’s got his buttondown wrapped around his waist and asks in his t-shirt if I’ve seen his pants. He can’t see Adolf, but I can from my spot in the kitchen. I give her a dirty look that sends her in retreat to the bedroom.

“No. Haven’t seen them Willy. Sit down and have some pancakes.”

The mood brightens. Everyone woke up in their button-down selves, but are coming to recognize the shock and awe around them. This caught everyone off guard. Sinclair complains of a dull ache in his back and Mona pulls back his shirt and discovers a welt with a dead wasp at its center.

“You must have crushed the poor guy in your sleep.”

Willy confesses to a painful and unexplained injury while rubbing the affected area and says “I don’t know how I got this golf ball bump on my head.”

Sandy explains as quietly as possible that she hit him in the head with a rake handle in the throws of passion. There’s a moment of awkward silence that Sandy breaks up herself with an honest,

“Not on purpose!”

Andrew and Alice come in together. They seem almost alert and are chatting between themselves. Andrew says to Alice, “Are you sure you want Hannah working for you?” They’re both all smiles. Alice replies to Andrew but looks at me and my pancakes,

“Absolutely. Best hire I’ve made in years.”

Adolf returns without Willy’s pants and trots to the garden, soon after barking loudly in alert. I serve up the last of the pancakes to Andrew and Alice and excuse myself to see what the dog is so upset about.

As far as I can see the backyard is devoid of people. Everyone I found in the morning are chatting and laughing in the kitchen. Adolf is behind the shed barking like mad. I can’t see her yet and step carefully over overturned chairs and tables and garden gnomes. The place is wrecked, for sure, but miraculously few things are broken. It’ll take some work to return the yard to normal, but things will be fine.

“What have you got Adolf?”

I round the corner and for a second my heart stops. Then it drops like an involuntary bowel movement to the ground. Adolf is barking at a young girl, maybe 15 but hopefully older, who at first blush seems completely lifeless. She opens her eyes, smiles, and asks all the same questions my adult guests did. She asks for a glass of water before I can pose any of my own questions and I march back to the giggling kitchen.

I clear my throat and everyone looks up as I ask, “Does this belong to anyone?”