Todd Rockhill entered the house party the way he always entered house parties. The abrupt opening of the door, to establish familiar terrain. The rapid scan of the room, quick enough to convey disinterest in those lingering by the door they came in.The headstrong forward momentum that propelled him quickly through the mob scene to gain notice but on a few occasions left him explaining to hosts how they found him in their bedroom in the dark.
The setup of whoever’s house this was did not lend itself to Todd’s way of party patrolling and his intent of entering each room with confidence and energy was met with more of a bracing for some sort of absurd and loud announcement from the occupants. The party was an odd mix of metrosexuals and affluent asian couples, with a lax attitude towards marjiuana smoking indoors with little ventilation, which Todd repeatedly used as an excuse to tilt the chip bowl into his mouth.
Todd came to the party with his friend Tim, a standard-looking Irishman who despite his muted, monotone delivery, his benign conversation fodder, his depressed, glazed-over projection of an apathy and regret that would rival Oscar Schindler, still manages to get a woman to equate these attributes with that of her ideal of who she would like to trick her body into thinking she’s reproducing with on that particular night.
Todd found the traditional house-party courting process an exercise in crassness and self-exploitation. The ability to sell himself as a potential sexual partner within a few minutes seemed almost juvenile to him, a basic call-and-response interaction that, despite yielding low but constant profits to Todd, seemed formulaic and ‘old-world’. Although he was not above a neatly-ironed shirt or name-brand boxer briefs, the array of his sexually predatory seductions revolved around discussing snacks at the snack table, bumming cigarettes without engaging the loaner in conversation, and occasionally lighting his chest hair on fire.
Tim strikes up a conversation with a short brunette by asking her to put out her cigarette. Tim walks away, leaving Todd to his own devices. “Todd”, he says. “I didn’t ask,” she says with a very mean fake smile, complete with squinted eyes and the cocking of the head. Tim returns, and before asking the subject where she lived, removed the cigarette from her hand and torpedoed it into her drink, which she promptly put down, focus never wavering from Tim. “East Village!”, she volunteered quickly. A few minutes pass where Todd plays “active participant in relevant conversation”; before he excuses himself he hears the East Village is actually Murray Hill, status being an anxiety Tim readily preyed on. He pretended to forgive her, her desperation clouding the conversation and raising his interest like so many buckets of chum.
Todd, exhibiting some resentment that Tim had this girl on the ropes and had not yet even unleashed the fatal blow that he was Ivy league, returned to the conversation, but not before briefly joining an adjacent conversation and exits with the line, loud enough to overpower Tim’s sermon, “So I tells ’em, “No Mr. President, get your own goddamn penguin!”” Todd mock laughs loud enough in a few directions in an attempt to simulate a crowd. His reintroduction is met with silence.
“Did you change your shirt?” Tim asked, a detail Todd had not even registered that his shirt was now on backwards after inspecting a rash on his shoulder in the bathroom. “My little brother has that shirt,” the still nameless brunette offers. “I doubt it,” Todd rebuts, “My mom bought it for me in Scotland.” Todd drops his head quickly, comes to the conclusion that introducing his mom into the arena of Saturday Night House Party dialog negates any sense of exoticness offered by his shirt. “Just kidding, my mom’s dead.”
Todd knew his only redeeming qualities lay in physical comedy and lowbrow mannerisms that Tim either didn’t know about or chose to remain dormant. An achilles’ heel in this case, as the brunette wore a t-shirt bearing a catch phrase from a popular show on Comedy Central. “I slept with a PA that worked on Dog Bites Man, did you ever see that show? Aparrently those guys are real dicks. They wouldn’t even look at my reel.” The brunette seemed uneasy even trying to focus on Todd and Tim threw his head and stared at the ceiling. “Oh yeah, I see those guys walking around Brooklyn all the time. We stop sometimes, chat it up, maybe catch a few drinks, blow off some steam, y’know…all the time.”
“Man, it sure is smoky in here. Angela, do you want to go for a walk?” Tim asked, her name sounding evil and foreign to Todd. As Tim arranged Angela’s jacket on her shoulders, Todd barked, “My mom wore that jacket when she died. It looks pretty good on you, I guess. Y’know what? You kind of look like my mom. Pretty damn hot version of my mom.” Todd’s face was subsequently grappled by Tim’s hand and gently placed against the wall, the amount of pressure you would apply to a piece of gum to ensure it sticks. “Call you tomorrow.”
Tim and Angela were in a deep embrace against the fence when Todd was thrown out of the door and on the ground by some of the metrosexuals. Tim at first walked over to pick him up, but abandoned those plans upon the smell of singed hair.