Volume Five: Old Guy and The Onion Incident
The Dredge House wasn’t always fun. We did more than just party there. If you want specifics or anything, I’ll have to get back to you on that. But what I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t always fun and games. Sometimes we got serious. Sometimes people almost died.
At the time I was seeing a girl called April pretty regularly. Now I’ve told you what the word relationship meant to me back then. It meant that sure, I’ll call you my girlfriend and we won’t date other people. Just remember that the word ‘dating’ and the word ‘sex’ aren’t synonymous. So anyway, April was my girlfriend, and I loved her quite well. I don’t think I ever needed to see anyone else while I was with her. So it was all good. Regardless, that has nothing to do with the story, so I don’t know why I’m even telling you that except that maybe to establish that I wasn’t a complete asshole. But I was, so that point is moot anyway. So, moving on, I mentioned April because she had two friends with whom she lived a lot. These were Cammie and Cody. They had a pretty slick apartment in Dallas but were almost never there. They were pretty regularly not even in town. They stayed mostly in Houston, and just about every weekend, were loading up to go south. April didn’t though. She mostly stayed with me.
So one weekend while Cammie and Cody were in town, they all stayed at my place. It was a pretty quiet weekend for a change, a little rainy, and almost no one was around. I had a couple of friends over, and there were a couple of others, maybe, but by no means was it an off-the-hook party like normal. We were all sort of vegging out on the couches and staying mostly quiet. Cammie and April were asleep together on the Other Couch, and Cody and I sat on the main couch passing the bong and watching television. Also on the couch with us were Stuart and Scott. Some dude whose name I can’t remember held down the two-butt chair across the room. He was reading. It was like a lazy Sunday. Cody had been mingling off into the back room occasionally with that no-name guy, and I wasn’t really concerned with what they were doing.
We lived next door to this really old guy we called Old Guy. He must have been in his mid- to late-eighties. He was cool as hell though, and he had a wicked garden. Isn’t that an STP song? He grew tomotoes, onions, lettuce and a whole bunch of other ill shit. Anyway, he was really friendly. And a day or two before, I’d been in the yard talking about gardens or whatever old people talk about, and he’d mentioned that he grew all this cool shit in his garden. He had asked if I was interested in home-grown vegetables, and I was like of course, and so he was like, okay, I’ll bring you some by.
Well back to today, lazy Sunday, he decides to drop by and give me the onions. Only that’s not how it played out. By this time we were all passed out. Cody was the only one who was awake when Old Guy knocked on the door. So Cody got up and answered the door. Based on pieces I have since put together, I’m imagining it went something like this:
“Hello there! I’m your neighbor. Space told me he would like to try some of my onions. So here you go!”
“Oh. Thank you.”
Or something like that. Of course, some of the details might be a little off or inaccurate. It was around thirteen years ago, so please forgive me. But that’s probably not that important a part of the story anyway. Here’s what happened next. Next is probably thirty or so minutes after she had closed the door. I woke up.
I stumbled into the bathroom to take a leak, and noticed I had a pretty super headache. So I pushed the bathroom door open and it stopped about halfway, having bumped someone in the ass. “Oh sorry dude,” I probably said, then he pulled the door open. WTF? There were three dudes standing in there smoking and hanging out. “What’s going on?” I most likely asked. “Cody’s checkin’ out, dude,” one of them said. Huh? So I stepped in and pushed my way through the small crowd to examine the scene. Sure enough, Cody is lying in the bathtub. There’s no water in it, but she’s nearly naked and there’s a lot of blood.
At this point I kicked into my rescue gear and started trying to fix things while I asked questions. “what the hell happened?” She’s trying to kill herself, dude. “And you mother cobblers are just standing there watching her?” Yeah man, none of our business to try and stop her. “Then it’s probably not your business to stand here and watch. Get the hell out of my house!” I shouted. I do remember that. I ended up getting in a fight with one of those drugged-out losers a few weeks later, which I’ll tell you about in a later edition. But I ended up having to forcefully remove these three assholes from my house that day. After a little shouting, Richard and Mikey woke up and came in there. I told them to bounce for me. The three assholes were ejected while I tended to Cody. She tried to sit up and talk to me, but I couldn’t understand her, and she appeared too weak to sit.
She put her hand around the back of my neck and leaned in, her head resting against my cheek, so she could tell me how excited she was about checking out the other side. I could smell rich alcohol and a lot of weed. I shook her head a little and looked in her eyes. She was going. I laid her back against the wall and took her hands. In her right hand was a cheap razor. In her left hand were several stalks of onions. Her left wrist looked like it had recently seen a chain saw. It was a ruin of flesh. I grabbed a hand towel and wrapped it as best I could, then proceeded to carry her out to the living room while Trip called 911. She was lying there shivering on the couch, losing a lot of blood. April helped her slip into another tshirt and pulled some sweats onto her legs. Cammie started walking around kicking out anyone who didn’t live there. She was pretty furious. I think Stuart even left, even though he did live there. Certainly Scott and his other asshole druggy friends took off.
So as it turned out, Cody was finally able to relay her point to me – she would only talk to me for some reason – and it broke down like this: She was really (really, really) high, and tripping really hard on acid. She was also terribly drunk on vodka. And it was only noon. So Old Guy came to the door to bring me some onions, and it really freaked her out. I guess the acid part did that to her. I’ve never taken acid, so I don’t know what it does. But to her, it was the end of the world. She had suddenly realized she didn’t want to see life through the eyes of an old woman and it filled her with a sort of instant depression. I’m sure the alcohol played a large part in that as well. So she took off everything but her panties and slipped into the bathtub. She forgot to turn on the water. She was going to take an onion bath. ? Please don’t ask me. I don’t know. It made perfect sense to her at the time though. And then she tore the shit out of her wrist with a woman’s razor.
Cody didn’t suffer any major damage because she crossed the street instead of going down the road. Apparently there’s a big difference. She did lose quite a bit of blood since she lay in there incoherent for almost half an hour while her idiot friends stood staring at her tits. Who does that, really? Like this is the suicide channel or something, and they had an all access pass to stand there and watch her turn it off. But she’s okay. Well, she was okay. I don’t know about now, because I’ve not talked to her in ten years or more. I can only imagine what she must have been thinking though. Tripping, drunk and high, seeing some old man come give her onions somehow meant she needed to end it all. She was afraid of growing old. That to me sounds a little ridiculous. I’m okay with the not wanting to grow old bit, but if you’re going to purchase a farm, why not wait until you’re getting old? She was 20. She had a way to go yet.
Old Guy never brought onions again after that. He did leave some tomatoes on my porch a few weeks later, and then a few weeks after that, he died of a stroke. Something glorious had spoken to Cody through those onions though. I wonder if they spoke to Old Guy as well. And I wonder if he took his onions with him. I also didn’t see much of Cammie and Cody after that. They moved from Houston to Atlanta, which I was bitter about for a long time, because they talked April into going as well. A couple of months after they moved up there, April decided she needed to go. And so it is. I hate most of my memories of the Dredge House. I also love most of them.