By contributing writer Doug Ault
I pondered what Asa had just told me as I picked at my scrambled eggs, a bit too hung over for them to be particularly appetizing.
“So you haven’t told anyone about this?” I asked, before downing a large glass of water.
“Not a soul. You’re the first.”
“Take my advice, good sir,” I said to my friend’s ashamed face, “keep it that way.”
It started as just another drunken night, nothing exciting to speak of at all; by the time all was said and done, we would all have a story that would live in infamy.
It was the summer before my senior year in high school and my parents, either overly trusting or oblivious to why their little boy slept in until noon every weekend morning, decided to go on a 10-day cruise and leave me to enjoy the house all by myself. I dropped them off at the airport on Friday afternoon and assured my dad that indeed, if anyone would sleep over it would just be a few of the guys. As always, I promised not to throw any parties.
Per the unwritten rule of high school, I did just the opposite.
We all stopped in amazement at Asa’s idiotic attempt to display his manliness. All but me, that is. As I glanced sideways to my left I saw my pal, his eyes pleading with me to end the waterfall. Being the dick that I am, I did no such thing. He had a lesson to learn, goddammit, and I saw myself as just the man to teach him. I downed my previously full beer, then carefully placed it on the pyramid that was rapidly growing in the center of my living room. Freed from his personal hell, Asa hastily withdrew the 20-ounce talking rain water bottle from his gullet, the clear liquid merely drops in the bottom now. After dashing to the kitchen for a chaser, he returned, disheveled and looking much worse for wear.
“You, my good friend,” he paused to hold back the upsurge of bile, “are an asshole.”
“That’s what you get when you try to show off, buddy. I’m sure you’ll think twice before trying to waterfall with moonshine again.”
Moonshine. What a dirty bitch that was. Pure grain alcohol brewed in some backwoods hick ass town in western Washington, brought to me as a party favor by a visiting friend. It would prove to be disastrous on this evening.
As Asa retreated to the basement with a lovely, innocent-looking female (whose screams and moans would confirm, minutes later, that she was not as innocent as we thought), I caught a look into his eyes. His night had hit the turning point. He had crossed that line of being perfectly drunk and moved into the territory where legendary tales were born. It was then that I knew something great was going happen. Something terrible, yes, but great.
I had just lit up my second cigarette out on the back patio when Kelly came running out to me, with a very drunk, very apologetic, and very naked Asa close on her heels. In an instant I went from peacefully lowering my life expectancy, to dealing with a crying teenage girl and a newly born nudist.
“What the fuck is going on?” I said, while putting out my brand new cigarette. I’m surprised Kelly’s shriek didn’t wake the neighbors.
“He called me Claire!”
Claire. Shit. The ex-girlfriend. I instructed Jacob to go take care of Asa, or at least get his dick out of the public eye, as I worked on calming the girl down. After about ten minutes I was able to shut her up and find her a nice quiet place to pass out.
Curious what happened to my friends, I ventured downstairs. As I turned the corner into the bathroom, I witnessed a sight I will never forget: Asa was still butt ass naked sitting on the toilet, with Jacob directly across from him making sure he was doing all right. Asa turned to me, tears in his eyes, and almost sobbed.
“I can’t concentrate enough to pee!”
After my laughter ceased, I took a closer look at Jacob, noticing he had found an onion somewhere and broken it in half, holding a generous chunk in each hand. When I inquired where he had acquired this vegetable and why he was holding it, all he told me was, “I don’t know man. It just smells so good and makes me cry and it’s awesome.”
It made sense at the time, so I let it be.
The rest of the night was somewhat of a blur for me. I recall seeing Jacob several times over the course of the night, always trying to convince someone to smell his beloved onion. I also remember going into my room to check on Asa, only to find him completely passed out, still as naked as the day he was born. On my way out I ran into Jacob, who looked like he was near tears. Not the kind of tears he would’ve gotten from sniffing his favorite vegetable, but truly, deeply sad tears. After a moment of surveying him I realized why: the onion was gone. I asked of its whereabouts and was met with the explanation, “I don’t know, man. I threw it over the garage. It’s far, far away now.”
That night I went to bed a little discontent. After forcing my friend to chug a bottle of moonshine, the only out of the ordinary thing to occur was him calling a girl the wrong name. Surely, I thought, something more memorable would have happened. Where was my legendary tale? What would we give him shit about the next morning? What happened to the turning point? Begrudgingly, I drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
Early the next morning Asa got up for the opening lifeguard shift at the local pool. Hoping to shake off a nasty hangover, he hopped in the shower. While soaping himself up, he felt something that he would later describe to me as being “slimy and chunky…between the cheeks.”
When he spread his buttocks, out it fell. Asa stood motionless, eyes fixated on the sweet-smelling, tear-inducing object. At that moment he knew he had just given us our unforgettable memory, the story we would tell every drunken evening, the legend that would live on forever. Gaze unbroken, he watched the water sweep it down the drain.
The Infamous Ass Onion.