When I finally roll out of bed it's late on Saturday morning. The daylight seeps in, past the shitty layers of sheets I've strung up over the large window (fat chance of preventing light leaks), succeeding only to cover my squalor in dirty yellow light. I attempt to get up, tipping and swaying like a boat on the high seas thanks to my hang over. Outside the comfort of my room, the corridor is much darker. The hallway carpet deadens my footfalls and I sneak guiltily into the lounge room. Much to my surprise, not to be greeted with filth of the previous night. There is not a beer bottle to be seen, the floor is devoid of caps and rubbish. It's clean - and I know my flatmate is loath to lift a finger. Which begs the question: Who has come to the aid of the less-domestically minded amongst us? Perhaps (flat mate) Kath has finally organised a cleaning lady? It would seem an action much overdue. I walk about wishing for bread to make toast or breakfast of any kind. My tongue feels as though I have been licking the fridge door seal.
Kath's bedroom door is closed and I assume she's home. After poking my head into the kitchen (we're still devoid of any kind of sustenance) I go back to my room. I feel ill and I've got a 1.25L bottle of warm lemonade stashed under my bed for just such an occasion. Ah lemonade, that alixar of men, like a balm to my hungover wounds. I spend some time bouncing a tennis ball against the wall to amuse myself; until Kath proves she's awake and yells out at me to stop.
'I'm writing a uni paper!!!'
I laugh aloud, so I'm sure it carries to her room. I feel like a ten year old.
Under-stimulated and hungry I ring Bob, Bingo and Rowley to come around and we set up camp in the lounge room.
Kath goes out.
Bingo's the first to arrive; hardly surprising as he lives around the corner. The sort of mate you need around - handy to know, quick witted and good with his hands. Bingo is thick set, and whilst I can't say that I've ever understood the way he dresses he's definitely got a 'thing' going on. A signature style that's more crap than class.
We were kids when Bingo earnt his nickname. Previously known as Nathan - he got his foreskin caught in the zipper of his pants at school, caught in the zip of a pair of ski pants his mum made him wear. It was supposed to give him extra padding against his numerous daily scrapes and falls, and they were the shiny variety so spills could wipe right off. He copped a lot of shit for wearing those pants. Never more-so though than the day with his trapped foreskin.
He now has two thirds of the skin on his dick. 'Bingo!' the bigger guys would shout at school when they say him, that's how he looked, suspended in pain and shock, running from the boys toilets in a horrible, leaping triumph to foolishness. Why wasn't he paying attention? He bravely ripped it out and severed...something before he passed out. He never lived it down. We tend not to really tell that story any more. Least of all to future Bingo-bedfellows, though I imagine they discover his mangled gonads soon enough in his arms. Generally if a girl asks why he got that nickname and it's custom to yell 'legs eleven', like a bingo-hall number caller. It's a stupid gag, that makes no sense if you didn't know but we've been doing it for years now and it successfully takes the heat off.
Something like that in your formative years could really fuck a guy up. Something like that has the potential to turn an even tempered, out-doorsey man into an computer-loving, cat-owning introvert. Not Bruno - these days he's a good luck charm; a trump card, a rowdy, shameless, good-natured blessing of a man. I try to tell him so regularly. I tell him he's awesome, he tells me I'm a wanker and when he's pissed he sometimes tries to get out his signature foreskin and do his best to press it to my face. What can I say? We're close.
Today Bingo's dressed himself in brown jeans and a mustard short sleeve collared shirt. It has brown piping around the pockets and embroidered flowers around the press studs. On a smaller man it might look ridiculous. Bingo's broad shouldered and his arms are massive. His belt features Mr Potato-Head's dressed as cowboys - on a white background - they even have little spurs. He's also wearing spats. I smirk into my beer, but I don't give the guy a hard time. He's built like a bear and chicks sometimes take an interest so he must be doing something right.