day 10406: niles
Niles was Scottish. Warm, and friendly, he was a bear of a man; the kind that makes you laugh so hard the beer comes out your nose.
Niles arrived toasted. It wasn’t obvious. He was jovial and polite, making conversation with the ladies, shaking hands and backslapping with the men. He took the offered drinks and gin-laced lemonpops with grace, thanked the hostess, and talked politics and social economics with anyone with two cents to contribute.
Ribs were barbequing and the shrimp and mango kabobs were almost ready when Niles commandeered one the hosts for a “chat.” Really, they went to smoke a little weed. Buzzed, Niles stumbled as they were coming back from their “chat” and stepped on the other man’s toe. He apologized passionately before sitting down to a dinner that he had lost his appetite for.
Apparently drugs do that on occasion to some people. Makes them lose their appetite… and their coordination…
He only hid it well for a while.
Niles spent the rest of the night stumbling around. He knocked glasses off the table, he knocked the table askew, tripped over the dog, and tripped over the chairs. He entered the house to use the washroom, stumbled around a bit and came out a good while later. Maybe he had to use the phone. He dropped his keys and cigarettes at one point, bent over to pick them up and grabbed nothing but air. The ladies giggled nervously, unsure of what to do. One of them picked up the keys. The other one picked up the dog.
Everyone was good at pretending that nothing was happening out of the ordinary. Hey, everyone likes a good party sometimes. When it was time to drive Niles home, he thanked his hosts and hostesses profusely, saying how grateful he was for the mere invitation to dinner. And thus, he departed.
Leaving a trail of destruction behind…
A broken toe…
A broken toilet…
But no hard feelings, eh? Niles meant no harm. Accidents happen. They are very forgiving people. Very.
Until three thirty in the morning when Niles’ girlfriend called looking for one of the hosts.
“I’m sorry, he’s at work. Would you like to leave a message?” There was a tension in room. “Can you hold out for another half and hour? We’ll try to find him as soon as possible.”
Niles, as it turns out, is abusive when he’s drunk. He beat on the dog, hurled insults at his girlfriend and scared her enough that she phoned looking for help.
But instead of the police, she called us. Because apparently, she still cared enough about him to give him a chance.
There was nothing that we could do. It was a domestic dispute that we could not be involved in. Sleep was scarce that night as we lay in the dark wishing her all the luck in the world...