A Philly B Short Story: The Adventures of Adrian and Kevin

After about four months without my laptop, I finally got it fixed and actually have a working computer! The first thing I did was go through old photos, videos, and files to kind of “reminisce” if you will. One thing that I stumbled across that made me smile was a story that I had written in college. One of the classes I had was creative writing, and the assignment was to write a short story. Me being me, I decided to write a comedic piece.

This story is about two friends, Adrian and Kevin. Adrian is your average klutz who can’t seem to do much right, and is hoping that a trip to New York for an award show would change his luck. Kevin is the happy go lucky best friend who is all about having a good time. Will Adrian finally do something right, or will it blow up in his face as usual? Check out The Adventures of Adrian and Kevin and see for yourself! *Warning: adult content and language is used*. And yes, I got an A on this assignment. Boom.

The Adventures of Adrian and Kevin

I hope my parents don’t come home anytime soon. The forecast for my room is cloudy with a chance of me getting my ass kicked by my dad later in the day. Kevin is giving me this cheesy ear to ear smile. That’s his giveaway.

“I’m so….i don’t even know right now,” he mutters. His eyelids drop like curtains. He starts laughing uncontrollably. “I don’t feel like moving at all”.

He gets up from his seat and hands me the joint. Like a cat, he curls up into a ball at the edge of my bed. I take a long, deep pull and hold it in. As I exhale, I cough up whatever was left of my already tarnished lungs. I extinguish the remains of the joint into an ashtray.

“Dude, get up”. I smack Kevin’s shoe and walk towards my window.

“We have to get to the awards show and it’s an hour long train ride”. This is going to be so awesome. I mean, it’s the TV Land Awards! I got this email from some casting agency saying they needed people for the red carpet. Hopefully nothing goes wrong. You see, I tend to be a screw up, a kid with not so much luck on his side. My friends always rag on me for messing plans up and whatnot. If all goes well, I will shut them up for once. Before we leave, I crack open my windows. “Let’s go, Kevin. I don’t want to be late.”

Kevin pops up like a Jack-in-the-box, except Jack has bloodshot eyes and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He looks at me and begins to laugh again. I slowly glance at my jacket and pants while brushing myself off. After not seeing anything abnormal, I look up at Kevin and give him a puzzling stare.

“What’s so funny?”

“You look like you’re going to a funeral,” Kevin says and bursts into harder laughter. He should be the last one to comment. He’s wearing a green corduroy jacket, stained tan kakis, and worn down red Converse sneakers. Kind of like if the Lucky Charms leprechaun was about six feet tall with curly brown hair and was homeless. I, on the other hand, am wearing a nice grey suit with matching pants, black penny loafers and a charcoal button-down shirt. The sleeves go way past my hands and the pants are a little long, but I still look better than him.

“You’re so funny,” I say.

Kevin finally gains his composure and we both head down the stairs. My younger brother Willie is in the kitchen watching television and eating Oreos. His gaze at the television is as if someone is hypnotizing him. I tap his opposite shoulder and watch as he turns his head to find no one there.

“Come on, Adrian, grow up,” he whines.

“You think you can give us a lift to the train station? We’re baked” I ask.

Willie nods his head and raises his hand in the air signaling me to give him the keys. I grab the keys off the top of the counter and throw them in his direction. He snags them with one hand and shoves them into his pocket. I hit the power button on the TV and make my way towards the garage door. Kevin already left and is sitting shotgun in the car. I hate when he does that.

In the garage, I go to the fridge for some water. The cotton-mouth is approaching and I should arm myself with the right artillery. Should I grab Kevin one? I guess I should. I grab two waters and make my way to the car as Willie locks the garage door. The car smells like Black Ice car freshener and cigarettes. I can feel a hole in the seat from a dropped cigarette.

Willie gets into the car and turns the music up. “So how long is this thing supposed to last, you think?” he looks back to reverse out of the driveway.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll be done by five-thirty” I tell him.

“Okay, I’ll come back here around five-fifteen, same spot” he instructs.

Kevin decides to be the D.J and change the music from Eminem to Dave Matthews. Willie grabs the IPod from Kevin’s hand, places it on his lap, then starts to drive. My head is sticking out of the car, the air stroking my face like the tip of a brush on a canvas. I’ve become a dog on a hot summer day, panting as I stare at the cars that pass by.

Today is our lucky day, apparently. We catch every green light to the station. I get out of the car and put on my sunglasses. Kevin attempts to give Willie a high five, but fails as Willie pulls his hand away before he can hit it. Kevin just laughs it off.

We decide to air out a little bit before going into the train station. While outside, I pull the schedule out and study it to see which train will get us to Grand Central the quickest. “Okay, we can catch the twelve-thirty-two express if we get there right now,” I tell Kevin, who seems to be occupied by the chirping of a bird in a nearby tree.

“Sure, whatever, let’s go,” he says as he continues to be amazed by the song the bird is singing. I grab his shoulder and pull him towards the station. We head up the stairs and make our way towards the ticket booth. A very frail woman is behind the window. Her hair is in a beehive, glasses magnified to the point where I can see the pulse in her eyeballs.

“Can I help you?” she faintly asks, voice fading into the background noise of the crowd behind me.

“Two round trips to Grand Central” I tell her. My face pressed against the glass so that I won’t have to repeat myself.

“Thirty-seven even” she says, her smile enhancing her wrinkles, her face resembling a Caucasian prune. I give her two twenties and wait for my change, grab the passes and check them out to make sure she’s not sending us somewhere else. Three crinkled up dollars sit on the counter. I swipe them quickly and give the lady a fake grin.

“Have a good day,” I say as I turn towards the tracks. I give Kevin his ticket and we both head back down the stairs. Track three. It should be coming in on our left. The waiting area of the station smells of trash and old woman perfume. Gum and cigarette butts scattered everywhere on the ground. There’s a young kid next to me, probably eight years old, consumed by his Game Boy. His mother is talking louder than she should on her cell phone next to him.

“What time is it? The train should be here by now” Kevin whined.

“A couple minutes,” I quickly reply. In the distance, the train sounds like a bowling ball rolling down the lane. The vibration of the track slightly shakes the ground, letting us know that it’s near. It pulls into the station, and comes to a halt. I saw a couple seats through the window that were open. Hopefully that mother is too preoccupied on her phone to notice. The faded blue leather seats felt comfy, broken in like an old pair of shoes. The train smelled of alcohol and body odor. Nonetheless, we are making great time.

The train starts gaining speed again as the conductor comes by and hole-punches our tickets. I put the ticket in my wallet so that I don’t lose it. I, especially after I smoke a little bit, have a bad tendency of losing things. My mom tells me to stop smoking. She says it enhances my A.D.D, but if anything it just enhances my appetite, and maybe all the songs of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”.

I give my wallet a blank stare. I wonder what this show is going to be like. Before I can even get a decent daydream in, Kevin taps me on my elbow.

“Can you wake me up when we’re there?” He yawns. “I’m gonna take a quick nap”.

I look at my cell phone for the time. I’m sure he’ll get a nice little forty-five minute nap. Plus, I’m not tired. “Sure, just don’t give me shit when I try to wake you up,” I tell him. He nods and shuts his eyes, leans his head against the train window and nods off instantly.

I swear Mary Jane has a way of making time fly. She turned this hour train ride into a two-minute movie montage. “Last stop, Grand Central Station,” the conductor announces over the loudspeaker. The sudden halt of the train was hard enough to wake Kevin from his slumber. As the doors open, people pack in herds and slowly exit the train. Kevin and I find ourselves crammed by a bunch of elderly people who seem to be struggling up the stairs. We don’t have all day, so we decide to just go around them. I guess this is how things go in the city. I’ve never left Connecticut before, and the only traffic I’m used to is around five o’clock on the highway. It takes us about two minutes to bustle our way in, but it’s so worth it.

Grand Central Station: The only time I can remember seeing this place was probably in Men in Black or The Taking of Pelham 123. The ceiling composed of constellations and sky blue paint. Hundreds of people looking at maps, some toting luggage filled with their hopes and dreams. And here we are: the leprechaun and the pallbearer on an epic adventure to see some celebrities.

“Whoa,” Kevin gasps. His head is pointed towards the sky as he too admires the ceiling.

“Come on, we’ve got another hour before we need to check in,” I murmur to Kevin. We push and slide our way through the crowd; I use Kevin as my fullback and he clears a lane for me to walk behind. As soon as we open the door, all I hear are horns honking, a vendor trying to sell hot dogs and pretzels. Taxis gather like schools of fish on the side of the road, waiting for their next fare. The scent of vanilla swarms my nostrils from the nut vendor on the corner. According to the directions on my Blackberry, it’s a half-hour walk to get to the awards show from here.

The sidewalk resembles a highway; on one side, there’s heavy traffic from a woman who decided to tie her shoe, the opposite side seems to be moving swiftly. Not noticing the light change, I cross the street and almost get picked off by a taxi. “Fuck you!” the driver yells out his window as he flies by. Before I can think of a response, I scurry onto the other side of the street before encountering another foul-mouthed New Yorker.

“Dude, you almost got nailed!” Kevin yells.

“Yeah, but at least I’d save money on the suit for my funeral.” I brush myself off. Kevin gives me an awkward stare and we continue to move. As we walk, we catch ourselves glancing at the sky scrapers. We pass a homeless man whose outfit looks as if it survived a fire, his beard a mix of grey and white cotton candy. He has a sign that reads “Why lie? I want a 40”. I reach into my pocket and toss him a dollar. I check my phone again to update our location on my GPS.

I’m guessing from where we are now, we’re about fifteen minutes away. So far New York has been nothing but a series of déjà vu; every corner there’s a vendor that has hot dogs or pretzels. Next to the venders would be a table selling knock-off Ray Ban sunglasses and the classic “I Love New York” shirts for five dollars. People everywhere are snapping pictures of the buildings as if they were going somewhere.

The sidewalks are narrow enough to give anyone claustrophobia. Everywhere we walk, we’re shoulder to shoulder with someone in either a suit or on their cell phone. The light humming of a Peruvian flute band could be heard over the constant passing of taxis and blaring of car horns. The world is starting to become a bit agitating. The weed is wearing off.

At this point, I need a bogie. I pat my pants and feel the rectangle pressing through my back pocket. I reach into it and pull the Newport box out. Feeling extremely light, I shake it to check if there’s even any left. Ah, my last one. I pull it out and rest the butt between my lips. The lighter sparks the cancer stick like a birthday candle. With one deep pull, the tip crackles like the wood of a fire and my nicotine fix is finally treated. “Alright, it says after this right, the building should be on our left in half a mile” I tell Kevin.

“I hope they have a couch, my legs are killing me,” he moans and slows down to massage his calf.

“Suck it up, we’re almost there”.

The building we’re looking for is number 251. We’re at number 100. Its 2:15 and we have exactly fifteen minutes to get there. As far as I’m concerned, we’re looking good. Every other store we pass was a fabric store or somewhere to eat. I’m guessing we are in the infamous fashion district. Maybe I should tell Kevin to stop at one and see if he can get a suit out of sympathy for his raggedy outfit. Nah, that’s mean. Plus, his outfit is so old that the celebrities from the seventies might have a flashback if they see him.

After eight excruciating blocks, we’ve finally made it to the Gotham Casting Agency. There’s a big 251 on one of the two glass doors that seems to be locked. Kevin pulls at the handle, shaking it like a vending machine. I look around and spot what looks like a fast food box with a button. I decide to press the button hoping someone will answer and let us in. One ring, no answer. A second ring, still no response. The third ring is cut off by silence. No one is there. You figure a building as big as this one would have at least one person who can answer us.

“I think we’ve been had” Kevin grunts. This can’t be happening to me. I spent thirty-seven dollars on tickets, had to borrow my dad’s only suit that doesn’t fit me just to find out that it was a scam? Bullshit. I ring the buzzer again. Three dull rings buzz out of the speaker and silence was the only thing that seems to pick up. In desperation, I start banging on the glass door, hoping that there is a wanderer or even a janitor who can let us in.

“Fuck it, let’s get out of here,” I say as I extend my arm out into the road hoping to catch me a taxi. Kevin yanks my arm down. I did it again. Just when I think that today was going to be an epic adventure, it blows up in my face into another sad disappointment. I guess I really can’t make a decent plan that goes through. I need to get out of here before something else goes wrong.

“What are you doing?” he asks.

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m getting us a cab and going home”.

“But we’re in New York City; we can’t let something like this ruin our chance of having an epic adventure,” he says.

Kevin’s right. Even though we got schemed, New York is the city of opportunity. We have the opportunity of turning this disaster into something memorable.

“Your right, but where-” I start to ask before I realize Kevin has already started walking. I hope he knows where he’s going. Then again, I thought I knew where we were going and look where we ended up. We pass another homeless man who is disguised as a cardboard box.

“Spare change?” he groans. I reach into my pocket and toss the guy a dollar. His hand quickly covers it before the wind gets to it. His smile reveals a few missing teeth. Hopefully karma is nice and doesn’t dick me out of a good day. Kevin stops at the corner of an intersection and looks around like a child who’s lost his parents.

“Uhh, I think we should go left,” he stammers. At this point, I’m up for anything, so I nod in approval. After a few blocks, we seem to be leaving the city and into the woods. “Dude, I swear I’ve seen this place before” he says. Now that he mentioned it, I think I’ve seen this place before, too. There was a bunch of trees, families having picnics and playing games, and a road that was made specifically for bikes.

“Isn’t this where they tripped people in Big Daddy?” I ask.

“Yeah, that’s it!” Kevin says. “Where did they film that?”

“No idea” I notice a man sitting on a bench reading his book and decide to ask him where the hell we are.

“Central Park,” he snarls as his nose goes back into his novel. This place is huge. Kevin and I walk down a path until we run into an open field. From where we’re standing, it’s like we’re in a sea of green grass. I watch as a young boy attempts to get his kite off the ground. He throws the kite into the air and then runs, but it would sadly continue to nosedive.

“I’m hungry, let’s go to a vender,” Kevin moans with his hand on his stomach and puppy dog eyes.

“I only got a dollar. Spot me?” I ask.

“Damn. Okay fine. But you better pay me back,” he demand.

As I turn towards the vender, I collide into a girl and we both fall to the ground. I get up quickly and brush myself off. “My bad,” I say as I give her my hand for help.

“It’s okay” she says in a voice that seems to sooth me instantly. I suddenly become lost for words. This girl is gorgeous; eyes that shine in the sunlight, her smile a perfect set of pearly whites. She’s wearing a dark red dress with matching heels. All I can do is admire her.

“Take a picture, it’ll last longer” Kevin heckles. I turn real quickly and mouth the words “shut up,” then I turn back to the girl and give her a cheesy smile, hoping that my friends comment didn’t just ruin my chances with her.

“Adrian” I blurt without thinking. Oh god, I have word vomit. She starts to laugh at my awkwardness. I give her a giggle back, praying that she won’t leave.

“Michelle,” she says with a smile on her face as she shakes my hand.

“What you all dressed up for? Got a hot date?” I ask. Damn, I’m corny. This girl definitely thinks I’m lame.

“No, I actually had a job interview today and decided to come here and relax.” She brushes grass clippings off her dress.

We start to talk for a while. She lives in the city not too far from the park and goes to NYU. Everything I say she seems to find funny as she giggles after every one of my sentences. I keep good eye contact with her to show her that I’m listening, or at least give her the impression that I am. I tell her about our story and how we got scammed.

“It’s a shame you came all the way to the city for nothing,” she says.

“I know, but this kind of thing usually happens to me, I have the worst luck”.

“Well, it can’t be that bad.” She reaches into her purse and takes out a pen and a piece of paper. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Kevin joining an Asian family in a game of leapfrog. I focus back onto her eyes and reach my arm out to grab a piece of paper she was giving me.

“Here’s my number, maybe next time you’re in New York we could go out, I promise I won’t jinx you” she jokes.

I grab the paper and cram it into my pocket. “Sounds good” I tell her.

We share a laugh, exchange goodbyes and head our separate ways. Kevin’s just standing still with a big grin on his face.

“Well, how’d it go?” he asks.

“She gave me her number, dude. I guess she digs me” I told him.

“Smooth” he says as he rocks his head back and forth.

I start to laugh after I replayed the scene of him playing leapfrog with that Asian family.

“Dude, what the hell were you doing with that Asian family?” I ask.

“We were playing leapfrog, or as they like to call it, Crouching Froggy Hidden Tadpole” he says while chopping the air with his hands. I stand there looking at him, shaking my head in embarrassment.

“I guess that’s just about the only good thing to happen to either of us today, huh?” I ask.

“What are you talking about? We got ridiculously baked, went to New York and went on an epic adventure” Kevin says.

I guess Kevin had a good point. Sure we didn’t get to see Betty White or the cast of Welcome Back Cotter, but we got to eat New York hot dogs, encountered some homeless people and I met a smoke show in Central Park. Finally, a plan I made that actually turned out to be a good time.

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