Catching up with a friend
A night of Karaoke
The amount of work that Sandra had to get done was slowing down with the season. Whenever the early spring rains were heavy, work in the artificial intelligence industry slowed to a halt. She had time now on the weekends where she would have to catch up with work at all.
One week was especially difficult, and she texted one of her old friends, asking if she wanted to go to one of the dive bars downtown and hangout. Yally and Sandra found a really nice group of people singing Karaoke the corner of the bar.
“ So what are you guys, like into?” Asked Sandra.
The girl with the dyed hair responded first, “Mostly Karaoke”
A guy in the group piped up: “ Yeah we all really like Karaoke, that’s how we know each other so well!”
His friend added, “ Yeah we’ve all been doing Karaoke together at all the places in town, but this is the most chill place. It’s never crowded and we have been coming here together every week to sing”
The group was so incredibly friendly. Sandra kept checking her makeup in the camera of her phone. She was vain and completely made up. She was always really made up when she went out, probably because she was Eastern European. She and Yally had been introduced to each other by a very hyper social mutual friend. They ended up hitting it off, mostly because they both kind of demure in social gatherings, sitting back and watching people, quietly listening, while still remaining present.
One guy in the group was still under twenty-one and kept taking quick sips of his friend’s drinks whenever the bartender seemed distracted. As everyone at the table got drunker, both on the liqueur and on the vibe from cheering each other on so violently, screaming and clapping whenever one of them would go up to sing Karaoke. Sandra had to go out and smoke several times during the outing. When it was her turn to sing she and Yally sang “Skater Boy” by Avril Lavigne together, and found themselves slightly embarrassed when they both went off-key at the same time. Sandra was pretty drunk and when she stared up at the lights projected around the stage she started to get dizzy. They were green and yellow and there was a spinning disco ball with lasers hung way up near the ceiling. Yally joined her for the last one before they left. The youngest guy, Luke, hung out with them and smoked outside the door of the bar. Luke mentioned that he had some weed in his car. Sandra was a heavy stoner, in addition to being a makeup junky and constantly being in some kind of dramatic relationship or another. She was excited to light up and get high with Luke.
“ I have a couple joints in my purse, too” said Sandra.
Yally liked Sandra, but it was kind of weird to her how much Sandra like to get stoned with everyone she met. Sandra was kind of a loner, but had some close friends who roomed with her. They were mysterious, anti-social nerds who kept to themselves and didn’t partake in her frequent weed-smoking. They were friendly enough, if Yally could remember correctly. Both of Sandra’s roommates had perfectly good social skills, but were always wrapped up in their mysteries projects.
Yally wasn’t so intensely interested in smoking weed all the time, but she was a little younger than Sandra. She thought that Luke was pretty cute, so she decided that following him out to his car to get stoned was a pretty good idea.
The bar was closing and all the rest of the excited Karaoke group had already left. Sandra and Yally followed Luke to his car. Yally immediately started snuggling with Luke. Sandra was clearly uncomfortable and continued trying to ignore them. She lit up a joint and she and Luke compared the quality of their weed. The car was surprisingly fancy for his age. It was lit up on the inside with various lights coming off of the dials and screens. Luke clearly didn’t come from money, and didn’t seem very educated either. He was one of the hardworking “townies” who had grown up locally and had worked a full time job for a few years after finishing high school, allowing him to buy quite a nice car.
Sandra was getting more and more uncomfortable as Yally and Luke started making out. He wasn’t really Sandra’s type, just much to hyperactive and very pale from working indoors. She felt incredibly awkward sitting in the same car with Yally and Luke occasionally making out. She focused on smoking weed and trying extremely hard to keep the conversation going. Finally, Luke started asking Yally too many clingy questions and Yally got immediately bored of him. She gave Sandra a look.
“ So we have head back right now, I have to let one of my roommates in, he locked his key inside,” Sandra lied.
“ Aw, come on,” whined Luke. Yally suddenly realized how annoying slightly younger men were and visibly started to lose interest in him for pressuring her. Both Yally and Sandra were a little creeped out by how Luke’s attitude changed. He offered to drive them home, and Sandra did not want him to know where she lived so she insisted, “ We need a few minutes to sober up by walking back, it’s really close by. There’s no need to drive us back. You have a good night” She quickly got out of the car and slammed the door as quietly as possible, hoping that Yally would follow her, and she could avoid having to awkwardly distract Luke any further. Yally was glad that Sandra was such a heavy stoner. If her friend hadn’t kept her cool so well, she might have started to panic. The younger guy was a little pushier than she expected and was trying to get her number before she left. Sandra stood next to the car and lit a cigarette, while strutting in a small square kind of impatiently. Yally extricated herself from the cute, boyish Luke, who had suddenly become pretty creepy. Yally and Sandra started walking home quickly. Sandra didn’t seem too paranoid that Luke would follow in his car. She didn’t look back and insisted on a faster pace so that they could get out of the bright streetlights of downtown and darker street where no one could easily follow them. They were almost back to Sandra’s house when Yally admitted, “ I’m so drunk right now, can I crash at your place?”
“ Yeah, that ’s kind of what I expected,” said Sandra. She lived a few blocks closer to downtown than the dormitories and her place was super spacious. She liked having her friends sleep over because then she could show off her cooking in the morning. Sandra helped Yally into the house, and once Yally passed out in her room, she went to the living room to light another joint and watch tv. She hated going to sleep drunk, being hungover was like her worst nightmare. She hadn’t been hungover for years because she always stayed awake long enough to eat some carbohydrates and drink water before she fell asleep. Yally was very keen to pass out, so Sandra just left her there with the light setting on low, after she made sure that her friend was lying on her side, so that she wouldn’t choke in the case she vomited.
Sandra wasn’t really paying close attention to what happened after although it was something terrifying, it led to her and Yally’s friendship to become quite close. Sandra sometimes wondered if they would have ended up being such close friends if this hadn’t happened. She was wracked with guilt for years after she found out about it, but it didn’t really have that bad of an effect on Yally. Essentially, Sandra wondered if they would have been friends if this hadn’t happened. Several years later, when she found out what had happened, she couldn’t help but blame herself. But the investigation related to the incident did involve her being questioned a lot and she had ended up becoming much closer friends with Yally than she had ever expected. In a way, while they were in college together they had both had too independent of personalities to really get to know each other well. There was a little battle of egos happening as they were both somewhat prideful and knowledgeable. There was always a bit of a competitive vibe when they conversed.
Sandra had planned to go back to her room to check on Yally but had fallen asleep with a blanket on the couch in the living room. The weird thing is that everything seemed normal in the morning. It wasn’t until years later that Sandra found out that an incident even occurred.
Neither Yally nor Sandra woke up in time for breakfast. Sandra made brunch with guacamole and fruit tea and quesadillas. They bonded over how creepy Luke had gotten the night before as they had spent more time with him. Sandra had noticed how the rest of the Karaoke group seemed to just tolerate his presence and he didn’t quite seem to be part of their close knit group. He had been friendly enough but both girls agreed that perhaps they shouldn’t have followed him out into the parking lot.
They stayed friends, but mostly at a distance, sharing some friends and interests in common but their egos always seemed to get in the way of things. Yally was incredibly intelligent and ended up going abroad multiple times. She was a linguist, but far more excellent than Sandra had ever been.
During Sandra’s first internship right out of college, she was living in an awful, boring town. It was good that she wasn’t distracted, but there was no nightlife and the air was always full of tumbleweed and dust. She took up off-roading. Her rent was so cheap that she was able to afford a used truck with offered wheels and spent her free time recording the road ahead of her as she navigated through bumpy trails in her tiny truck. The town was boring her out of her mind and the only guys that she tried dating could barely hold a conversation with her. They didn’t have anything to talk about since the town was so far from anything interesting. There was sort of a cowboy vibe and Sandra was starting to enjoy visiting bars in the area to meet up with guys her age who did weird cowboy stuff less and less. They all wore cowboy hats and cowboy boots and they had these silly accents that she couldn’t stand. The dating app that she had been using was a total disappointment and she finally stopped going out altogether.
Sandra was sitting in her small, rented apartment watching a film one Friday evening when there was a loud knock on her door. She wondered if maybe she could just stay on the couch and pretend to be asleep, but the curtain was slightly drawn and whoever was outside in the dark could clearly see her sitting there in front of the T.V. It seemed like it might be important and she certainly didn’t want to deal with it on the weekend.
She switched off the alarm system on her phone and turned the lights up. She got up and opened the door. The guy at the door was a total creep. He had on a suit and a wire. His suit was suspiciously nice. She didn’t want to be caught glancing out to the road but casually pretended to be looking at the automatic watering system for the desert plants outside, and then turned the night sprinklers down. There was a shiny black car outside with another dude in the same getup, waiting and clearly watching and listening carefully. The man was wearing completely dark sunglasses at night. He started with, “We have a few questions for you.”
About the author
Hi! I am a twenty-eight year old college student at San Francisco State University majoring in Mathematics for Advanced Studies. I plan to continue onto graduate school in Mathematics once I am finished the plethora of courses which remain.