VALLE QUE CHINGAS, CALIFORNIA — Larry Herbishaw should probably have not done cocaine right before he agreed to play Jenga with his friend Peter. At least, perhaps he shouldn’t have used quite so much cocaine, because Larry’s hands are shaking like a motherfucker right about now.
“Man! That shit was goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood, Pete,” Larry was overheard shouting at Peter, despite the fact that the two men were just a couple of feet apart. “A little too good because I am fucked-uppppppppp dude.”
Larry and Pete shared a genuine, uproarious laugh with one another.
“I know right? Maybe we should’ve played video games or something instead,” Pete said. “And dude, we don’t have to do the bet if you don’t want to. I mean, those are some pretty steep stakes, and I think maybe partly we were just super-duper coked-up when we agreed to them. So, I mean, I’m down to take the bet off the table if you are.”
Larry thought a moment. The stakes of the friendly bet were a bit high, especially if the bet really was to be friendly. In retrospect, agreeing to let Peter finger his butthole if he won wasn’t so bad; it was the fact that he agreed to let him put on “Butterfly” by Crazy Town while he did the b-hole digital exploration that had Larry considering the offer to call the bet off.
Yet, still, in Larry’s mind he’d later tell friends, he’d never gone back on a bet. His father told him when he was very young that “only commies and Lutherans back out of bets, son.” Sure, his dad had been a raging narcissistic asshole who always acted like being a parent was way more a burden than a blessing, and who regularly abused Larry while simultaneously telling him “suffer in silence” and gaslit him about the abuse for the rest of his life…but still, when was Ol’ Pops ever wrong about much else, besides pretty much every other time too?
“I don’t know, Peter, my Ol’ Pops told me once that,” Larry started, “Ah, hell, let me do a little bit more coke and then we’ll decide. I can’t think straight without my thinking blow.”
That’s when it all snapped back into focus for Larry. He’d figured out how he’d wound-up in a high stakes game of Jenga, and how the bet had come to be made between the two good friends. It all came down to that phrase, “thinking blow.”
“Bullshit! You do not think BETTER on blow! No one thinks BETTER. They think different, maybe,” Peter told Larry when the latter told the former about his theory that cocaine made him able to think more better and more clearly than he did without it. “If that’s true, you wanna do a bunch of coke and play Jenga?”
Larry took the bait. He did, indeed, want to prove that he could function better on coke than off it. A big mistake, of course, in hindsight.
“And I tell you what, dipshit, you beat me, I’ll let you put your finger up my ass,” Larry said. “To humiliate and shame me.”
Peter accepted the bet’s terms gleefully. The two retired to the study, where much cocaine was used between them. That’s when the Jenga blocks appeared, and before Larry knew it, they were stacked in front of him. The first few turns went by quickly enough, and then, before he knew it, Larry was in this moment.
Hands shaking, Larry reached out for the piece he believed was best suited to be removed from the rest of the support structure of the Jenga tower. Somehow, Larry managed to caress the small wooden block out of its resting place, but then he had to finish his turn by placing it back on top of the tower. If he knocked the precariously balanced tower over at this point, the game would be over, and he would lose. Peter chuckled as he put on a rubber glove jokingly.
With a deep breath, Larry leaned forward, and delicately stretched his hand with the piece still in out toward the tower. This was it. Make or break time, and Larry knew it.
UPDATE: Peter says that his finger may never recover its normal odor. Larry however reports that once he is out of rehab for his cocaine addiction, he will be pursuing a career in proctological exam preparation supply sales.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because they have a definition of hate speech that includes “calling Ann Coulter the C-word.”