Forward: I want to start off by saying that it wasn’t actually Nick Jonas. Just a kid who looked eerily similar to Nick Jonas. I don’t know Nick Jonas nor do I condone the idea that he’s a shit head. Didn’t he do some kind of anti-texting while driving campaign? Right, so he is above all of us earthlings. Moving on.
“Alright, guys. We’re going to play a game. It’s called Never Have I Ever.“
During my penultimate year of college, my friend Bobby invited some of the other theatre majors and me to a party at his place. His parties had a reputation for rowdiness, often ending with a broken piece of furniture or several people stacked a bathtub in various states of undress. His parties also had a reputation for attracting people outside the theater program, therefore offering up an opportunity to socialize with individuals beyond our kind.
I decided to go because I had a reputation for rarely getting invited to parties and also because I felt I needed to truly know what The Perks of Being A Wallflower’s Charlie meant by “feeling infinite” before the part of my brain that allowed me to feel “possibility” shriveled up and died. It also helped that Bobby lived in the same apartment complex as me lest I started to feel a little too infinite.
My friend Bette joined me and together we ventured to his apartment on the second floor.
Per the usual in the college party scene, only a handful of people could drink legally. It was easy enough to spot the underage drinkers by way they exaggerated their spotty knowledge of cheap liquor and the various of ways to make it stay in one’s body.
“Oh, god; McCormick’s is terrible! ” one might say, “But if you run out of orange juice to chase it with, try eating some Honey Nut Cheerios really fast!”
As much as I would love to let you think that some other sad child made that claim, I can’t. It was me. I was once young and stupid enough to actually try chasing shots of Captain Morgan’s with whole grain cereal. All I got was a nasty mouthful of grainy, fiber fortified rum and a moderate case of alcohol poisoning. Those days were behind me, but the experience was so deeply etched into my memory that I still experienced a visceral reaction whenever I met a nineteen year old with nothing to lose and a burning desire to party. Despite all of this, I still enjoyed being reminded that I once cared so little, and so that night I found myself in the middle of a riveting round of Never Have I Ever. If you’ve never played it: it’s a pissing contest of who’s the absolute worst.
“Never have I ever… been caught with someone at church,” one girl piped up. Six or seven people took a swig of their drinks, signifying that they, unlike her, had been caught in an unholy act on holy grounds.
“What? Come on, that’s pretty much the best place to get caught! What a little bitch!” laughed one guy. I glanced over at the offender: a Nick Jonas look-a-like with a can of Keystone Light in each hand. He appropriately smelled like Kirkland vodka and Axe body spray.
“You,” he pointed one of his beers to the next player, “You go.”
“Okay. Um. Never have I ever… been with someone way older!” the next girl said.
“Fuck that, you gotta be more specific,” said Nick Jonas. “How old are we talking?”
“Um, old enough to be my dad?”
I looked at my glass and debated my options. I could piss or I could hold it in… and I decided to piss.
“Oh damn!” Nick Jonas pointed at me. “This girl’s a freak!”
I rolled my eyes.
“Hey, what are you up to later?” he asked.
“It’s your turn,” I replied, curtly.
“Fine, fine,” he said, his tone saturated in subtext, “I see how it is.”
“Good. Then go.”
Nick Jonas slid back into the couch and snapped his fingers at his own brilliance.
“Never have I ever kissed a dude!”
He high fived the guy beside him as if not kissing another dude was some kind of accomplishment.
“Surprise, surprise,” Bette whispered, “He screws in church and hates the gays.”
“Hey,” Nick Jonas said, raising his glass, “You guys better be whispering about how much you want me.”
“Oh,” I said as I stood up for a refill, “Don’t flatter yourself.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. You know you’d do me.”
I laughed a little and said,
“Sorry, but your ship sailed the minute I became too old for naptime and Camp Rock.”
Bette and I continued to observe the Never Have I Ever circle from the kitchen. With the two of us temporarily out of the picture, Nick Jonas had moved on to terrorizing the poor girl who had never had copulated in a place of worship. She was about to cry.
“Hey, Nick Jonas,” I said, sitting back down, “Lighten up. You’re killing the mood.”
“Come on. Like you could even get enough of this,” He said, grazing his hands across his torso.
“You’re giving yourself way too much credit,” Bette scoffed.
“You’re one to talk, missy,” Nick Jonas fired back, taking a drink. This was the tip of the turning point.
You know movie trailers often employ the record scratching trope to let their audience know that conflict exists? Example:
Kevin Spacey is up for the BIGGEST PROMOTION OF HIS LIFE! There’s just one small problem. –
He’s been turned into a cat by a witchy Christopher Walken!
Well, that happened at the party.
“One to talk?” Bette asked, emphasizing her T’s, “What exactly do you mean by that?”
Bette was confident, full figured, gorgeous, and way above Nick Jonas . Nick Jonas, for lack of more appropriate words, was an ultra basic shit head – and this wasn’t the first time he had made disparaging comments toward any woman who didn’t look like the starved girls in the Eastern European sex-ransom videos he most likely jerked off to. Seeing that he had struck a nerve, he continued,
“I’d pay money to see Miss Freak over here take her shirt off, but I wouldn’t pay shit to see you -”
“Hey. Asshole,” I cut in, “Will you just shut up? No one wants your lunch money.”
A few seconds passed. He looked as though someone had just punched the wind out of him.
“No,” he finally stammered, “No, I will not!”
“Fine then.” I stood up. “Bette, you wanna go?”
“Yeah. I need a cigarette, anyway.”
“What a waste of a person,” Bette said, taking a drag.
“Forget him. He looks like Nick Jonas and drinks Keystone Light.”
Bette was silent.
“Hey,” I said, “You ok?”
“Yeah. I’m just over it.”
The door swung open, startling us. Out staggered Nick Jonas, screaming,
“Yeah, well fuck you guys! Your party sucks, you cocksucker!”
We barely dodged out of the way as he fell toward us.
“Dude! Chill out!” I yelled.
“No, you chill out! You crazy … freak… bitch!”
He slammed his fist on the door and used the force to push off and get some momentum going in the opposite direction, turning around only to throw his last can of Keystone Light at us.
“You and your fat bitch friend can suck it!”
Just like that, he staggered down the hallway, his barely enunciated tirade of obscenities reverberating from the walls as he stumbled and clawed his way to his own apartment three doors down. We could still hear him, screaming and throwing things against the wall even after he finally made it inside.
We left shortly thereafter.
The next day, I lost an hour long battle against the urge to go buy a microwavable pizza.
On my way to the car, I noticed the sneakers Nick Jonas was wearing at the party sitting right outside his door. I paused to look at them. They were all alone; void of any protection from their owner.
I bit my lip as my brain fired out the possibilities.
I shouldn’t, I thought. I took a few more steps toward the car. The shoes, pristine and white, seemed to be calling after me, the sweet aroma of retribution pulling me back to their resting place. It was as if a siren were calling out,
“Jas, please, please take us. We belong to a heartless creep who resembles Nick Jonas. Please, please use us to achieve your vengeance!”
I turned around and the siren song abruptly stopped. There were only the shoes.
I really shouldn’t, I thought.
I made it all the way to the front seat of my car. I thought of the nasty things that Nick Jonas had said. I remembered dodging the beer cans as he slammed his way back to his apartment. I remembered the hateful comments he made to my friend. Each scenario overlapped the next like a supercut in my brain, faster and faster until I felt my arm turn the key to the left and I heard the sound of the engine shutting off. I opened the door, ran up the stairs, snatched the shoes, and went to get my pizza.
Upon entering the safety of my bedroom, I tossed them on the ground and let my two ferrets, Elroi and Nola, out to play. Ferrets love anything that smells or allows them to crawl inside, so it made sense when they claimed both shoes and drug them next to the litter pan.
I noticed the litter was due for a change.
I got an idea.
I put on some gloves, took a paper towel, and wiped the freshest, slimiest ferret poop from the top of the litter pan. Then, I stuffed it into the tiptoe of one of the shoes. Seeing that the majority of urine had accumulated at the corner of the pan, I poured it into the shoe as well. I turned both shoes into a payload of the worst things that come out the wrong end of a ferret.
I figured that if he kept his sneakers outside his apartment, then more than likely he was the type of person who mindlessly stuffed their feet into their shoes on their way out the door. He would never see it coming.
I tiptoed down the stairs with shoes in hand. The sound of a car alarm made me jump and hide under the stairwell. When the coast was clear, I focused my attention on Nick Jonas’s doorstep. It was a straight shot. There were no obstacles standing in between us. The time was now. I sprinted to the door, arranged the shoes exactly as I had found them, and sprinted back up the stairs and into my apartment, slamming the door behind me.
I got home from rehearsal the next evening delighted to find shoes were missing. I saw the friend who had originally thrown the party a few days later.
“So Bobby,” I said, casually, “I put ferret shit in that Nick Jonas’s kid’s shoes. You know anything about that?”
Bobby’s eyes widened.
“That was ferret shit?”
“So he found them?”
“Yes, he found them.”
“Do you know if he put his feet in them?”
“Uh, pretty sure he did.”
We both started laughing. Deep, guttural laughs that required us to stick out our arms to regain balance. I may not have felt infinite, but I felt deviously good.
“I won’t say a word,” he promised, catching his breath.
When I told Bette what I had done she hugged me and said,
“This is why we’re friends.”
Then, after a pause, she said,
“Ferret shit, though? Really?”
Shortly after the shoes incident, the leasing office had Nick Jonas evicted for violating the terms of his lease. Basically, he threw a party of his own at which time the police came and caught him and all of his underage friends drinking alcohol and “disrupting the integrity of the lawn.”
To this day, I look back on the ferret shit incident fondly. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it. I had never considered considered myself a person of action. I was usually content to step back and avoid conflict. However, watching this asshole come after me and my friend ignited a little retaliative streak in me. A good streak, a bad streak; there’s no way to really tell. I want to remember what it felt like to say, “Fuck it. There HAVE to be consequences.”
Because sometimes I forget. Even now, I forget and let people get away with such bullshit. I once allowed a male opponent in a writer’s read-off sexually objectify and humiliate me for his entire seven minutes. He did this in front of a crowd of people and I just took it. Where was the ferret shit slanging, spitfire bitch in my soul then?
I need to make sure a piece of her sticks around. There will always be someone who is an insufferable ass.
I always want to be the one who makes them guard their shoes.