Deep breaths. Deep, breaths.
If you haven't read my Day 1 intro, please do.
Some thoughts on the experience thus far:
Lord almighty I did not realize the struggle of adapting a play for prose. There are TOO - MANY - CHARACTERS to introduce at once. I'm trying my hardest, and I feel like after I got them out of the car, they made a little bit more sense.
I'm a little under word count, but that's because I got to a good scene ending. I'll make it up tomorrow. I'm only down by like 100 words.
Anyway, moving forward I'll format my story by posting the entire text of my novel thus far, with all the old stuff on blue, and the new stuff on white.
Weekend At Uncle Lenny's
by Colin Kohrs
“They’re a half hour out!” Billy shouted to the empty living room.
Not hearing a response, he shouted again, which was met with another silence. He decided that they were probably sleeping and that he might shout louder, but his thoughts were interrupted by Heather, who entered the room wearing sweatpants, a sports bra, and a tired expression.
“I thought they weren’t going to get in until like 10,” she said, yawning.
“Jesus Christ, put on a shirt,” Billy said.
Heather laughed and walked up to the couch where Billy was lying. Billy was wearing black sweatpants and a black t-shirt that were both covered in cat hair. She ruffled his hair.
“You’re my cousin; you’re not attracted to women; and you don’t get to tell me how to dress,” she said, slapping the side of his head. “Especially before eight a.m.”
Heather strode across the living room to the east-facing window and drew open the wall-length curtain to survey the morning sun and her father’s immaculately kempt lawn. The light cast through the living room and onto the glass doored cabinetry in the adjoining kitchen.
“Is it too early to start pregaming?” Billy asked; he hopped off the couch to avoid the sunbeam. “And does it even count if I’m still a little tipsy from last night?”
“I mean, you could probably get away with a Bloody Mary, but I don’t have the stuff for that,” Heather replied, fixing her eyes further out the window across the cul de sac.
She turned around. Billy was staring dumbly at the vast array of cabinets.
“It’s not like you to be up and awake this early,” she said.
It was true. Billy was one to sleep in well past noon unless he had to work, which – having graduated a month prior and applied to a total of three jobs since – was something he did quite often.
“No it’s not,” he quipped. “I don’t do well with drunk sleep. Don’t get enough of them REMs or whatever the hell is. Now where’s your dad’s liquor?”
“I have my own booze, you dip.”
Heather pushed Billy away and opened the cabinet above the Keurig. Billy scowled and started opening the cabinets underneath the counter.
“Yeah, but your dad has the good shit,” Billy said, moving to the cabinets above the oven. “How many wine glasses does a divorced man need, Christ almighty. Uncle Lenny!”
Lenny walked into the room wearing a plush robe, slippers, and carrying a mug of coffee from which he was sipping. He stared out the window, smiled, and turned to address Billy.
“Where’s the good liquor? Your daughter’s being stingy.”
“Wine or spirits?” he replied without a beat. “Because most of the good wine is down in the cellar.”
Lenny walked into the kitchen and proudly opened the three cabinet doors.
There were many cabinets.
“Hah. Wine? I don’t know her,” Billy said, grabbing the closest bottle to eye level. “I need vodka in me now.”
“That’s gin, Billy,” Lenny said.
Billy replaced the bottle, picked up another, ensured the label said ‘vodka’, and began pouring it into a wine glass.”
“Heather, I thought he was driving?” Lenny asked.
Heather had made her way back to the window.
“Any way I can increase the chance that Benjamin Joseph O’Henry gets in a car accident and dies, the better,” Billy said, taking a longer-than-expected drink from his glass and then swirling the liquid. “Mmmmm. That’s got a good body to it.”
“He’s not driving, I am,” Heather said, returning to the two. “Where are the keys to your mom van?”
“The Odyssey?” Lenny asked.
“God no, the Sienna,” Heather said. “Do you want us looking like trash?”
“I mean, you’re the one not wearing a shirt,” Billy said, now holding an empty wine glass.
Heather glared at Billy and left for her room. Billy stared back and forth between the sink and the counter, ultimately choosing to set his glass on the counter. He reached for the vodka again and was met with Lenny’s hand.
“That’s Silver Tree, not Smirnoff. Go wait for Heather.”
Heather returned in a grey hoodie that matched her sweatpants. Standing next to Billy, they looked ready to host a very boring, yet very comfortable sleepover.
Lenny picked a set of keys off of an oak plaque with hooks that held at least a dozen keys, fobs, and that one pink fluff-ball keychain with the key that got you into the wine cellar. Lenny handed the key to Heather.
“Where were your friends again?” Lenny asked.
“France,” she replied.
“And according to my Snap Map, Jon and Paul are still in an airport in Belgium,” Billy said, showing his phone to the two of them.
“Make sure you all come back in one piece,” Lenny said, staring firmly at his morning-tipsy nephew. “I told Paul that he and his brother could stay for the weekend until their parents get back from vacation. I want them to feel welcome and fully intact.”
Billy stared vacantly at the wall of keys, debating how to word a circumcision joke.
“The offer extends to Chris and Ben too. We have more than enough rooms. Please let them know, Heather. And you,” Lenny turned back to Billy. “You are not going to murder Benjamin. He’s our guest, and you’ll treat him like one.”
Billy squinted at Lenny in half-playful half-sincere anger. Lenny looked at Heather.
“Was it any better when those two were still fu-”
“That never happened!” Billy shouted, opening the front double-doors with mild difficulty and skipping away.
“It was better and worse in a uniquely twisted way,” Heather said.
Lenny smiled at the retreating figure of Billy, hugged his daughter, and watched his daughter out the door.
“Nothing happened, and you’re garbage,” Billy said, giving Heather a light shove towards a hedge lining the pathway to the driveway.
“Hmm?” Heather said, shoving Billy successfully into a different hedge and cracking a wide smile. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Heather pulled the van in line with half a dozen other cars on the side of the pull-in zone, threw the van into park, and flipped on her hazards. An onslaught of passengers poured out of three buses onto the pavement, while blue-coated individuals opened up the luggage compartment and started pulling suitcases. After the buses had half emptied, Heather was the first to spot one of their friends.
“I think I see Ben!” she said, slapping Billy on the arm and pointing out the window.
Billy groaned and slid down in his seat as far as he could to the point where he could barely look out the windshield.
“Please tell me he’s sunburnt. Like, really really ugly sunburnt. The kind where you might want to see a doctor.”
Billy maintained his position.
“Is he still tall, dark, and gorgeous.”
“And straight, Billy.”
“You keep saying that, but I don’t think you have any first-hand experience that can really prove that.”
“Neither do you, Billy.”
“Hey we had that one t-”
“Pre-pubescent streaking does not count.”
“You’re just jealous.”
Billy slumped further.
“And there’s Paul,” she said. “And I believe Paul does have a light sunburn.”
“Ugly light or sexy light,” Billy asked.
“He’s like twenty feet away Billy.”
“Yet you can see his sunburn?”
Heather ignored Billy and kept staring.
“He really is a charmer.”
“And a fucking wild card,” Billy said, straining his neck to try to see more out the window. “There should be a sexuality registry of every man with abs or a toned ass.”
“That would be illegal.”
“That ass is illegal.”
Heather stuck her head out the window and alerted the three to their presence. They all waved, gestured towards the maze of passengers finding their luggage, and went to search. Heather sat back in her seat. Billy squirmed his way back into a more properly seated position.
“If I remember correctly we were supposed to pick up four eligible bachelors,” he said. “I tirelessly prepped four rooms.”
Heather sat back up.
“You only prepped four? We have so many more people coming.”
Billy laughed at the idea of doing any more work.
“I think Lenny had the house workers do the rest.”
The two jumped slightly as the trunk of the van opened loudly.
“Bonjour motherfuckers!” Ben shouted through the van.
Billy caught a glimpse of Ben’s face in the rear-view mirror. He had a wide, bright smile and was sporting a moustache that was definitely not present when he had left. He lacked sunburn.
Ben hoisted his suitcase into the back with a loud thunk.
“What the hell did you pack that’s that heavy?” Billy said, turning in his seat.
“Your insecurities,” Ben shouted back, bending over to grab another bag.
“That’s positively adorable. Does that mean that you think enough of me to keep those with you at all times?”
“I think the word haunted would be more appropriate than ‘kept’ in that situation.”
“Appropriate! You know the language manners now?”
“Manners? It’s 8:00 a.m., and I can smell your vodka breath from here, Billy.”
“And I could smell your smart ass from forty-two hundred miles away, O’Henry, but you didn’t hear me saying anything about-”
“Chris, where’s your little brother?” Heather cut in. “I thought he was on this trip too.”
Chris threw a final duffel into the trunk.
“Naw, Paul’s little bro tagged along. Where was he sitting? Benny and I sat next to each other.”
Chris slapped Ben on the ass. Ben glared back.
“We both got stuck sitting next to randos,” Paul said. “The guy next to me was on his laptop the entire time. Kept fucking elbowing me.”
“And Jon?” Heather asked.
“He went further back. I don’t know.”
Heather, Billy, and the three travelers stared into the crowd.
“What does he look like?” Billy asked.
“22, 115lbs, and sickly,” Chris laughed.
“Watch it Chris,” Paul said. “He’s my garbage brother, not yours.”
A dazed and confused Jon made himself visible by absentmindedly walking into a public mailbox without looking.
After getting Jon’s luggage all packed up, the six made their way back to Lenny’s.
Lenny watched through a window as the van, thankfully in one piece, pulled into the driveway. Heather and Billy were first to exit the van. Heather walked to open the trunk, and Billy made a b-line straight to the front door. Heather shouted and Billy returned to help.
Ben and Chris climbed out of one side stretching their plane-ride bus-ride van-ride cramped bodies, and the brothers Paul and Jon spilled out of the other side. Heather dealt out luggage while Billy poked at the hedges, and after a short scrambled minutes, the six made their way to the front.
“It’s so nice to meet you Mr. Heather’s father, sir,” Paul said, grasping Lenny’s hand and shaking it joyfully. “Your house is beautiful.”
Billy bolted past the two to collapse back on the living room couch.
“You’re far too kind,” Lenny replied, meeting Paul’s handshake with his other hand. “And please do call me Lenny.”
“Absolutely, sir,” Paul laughed.
“Do come on in,” Lenny said, moving away to let in his niece and guests. “And where is your brother?”
Paul looked around, confused. Ben and Chris were in the living room inspecting an ornate grandfather clock; Heather was trying her hardest to shove Billy’s legs off of the couch, but Jon was nowhere in sight.
“He went that way,” said Billy, flinging his arm aimlessly, far from any actual direction.
“The wine cellar?” Lenny asked, furling his brow; he shrugged. “Whatever floats his boat, I guess.”
“Not the cellar, the hall to the south. That’s where I set up his room,” Billy replied. “Tirelessly.”
Lenny gave Billy a look and directed Paul, Chris, and Ben down a long hallway filled with paintings and photo prints. After few turns and a walk through a room with a pool table, they came to another spacious living room with several doors around the perimeter.
“Welcome to the guest quarters,” Lenny said with a sweeping hand gesture. “You can take whichever room you’d like though I do believe that Jon has taken first dibs.”
One of the doors was ajar. Jon was sitting on a queen bed looking at his phone, half of his luggage already strewn about the room.
“Hey Jon!” Paul shouted.
Jon did not respond.
“Well I’ll let you get to your things,” Lenny said. “I’m sure you have lots of catching up to do with Heather and Billy. Take our time, and do join us tonight for a little after dinner party.”
Billy, who had appeared behind Lenny, gave him an odd look.
“Party?” he asked. “This is the first I’m hearing about a party.”
“We have guests and it’s their first night in, Billy,” Lenny said. “Did my sister fail in raising you?”
Lenny chuckled and left the room. He was replaced by Heather, carrying a bag.
“Hey Jon, you left this in the front,” she said, flinging the bag into his room.
Jon did not respond.
Heather plopped herself down on yet another couch. This one was soft, firm enough to provide proper back support, and crimson.
“You’re all coming to the party,” she said. “Daddy knows how to put on a show.”
“I hate to agree, but she’s right,” Billy said, throwing himself down onto an opposing couch and propping his feet up on the coffee table.
A vase wobbled.
“When I turned thirteen he convinced my mom to let him throw the party. It put a modest wedding to shame.”
Chris and Ben looked at one another in excited confusion. Paul had claimed a room and was unpacking.
“Will it be a problem that I don’t have any formal wear?” Ben asked.
“Yes,” Billy said without hesitation. “I guess you won’t be able to attend.”
“Ignore him,” Heather said, standing up. “Chances are it’ll be more of a reception style party than a dinner. What you’re wearing now is fine.
She looked Chris up and down.
“You might want to lose the shorts and flip flops though,” she said. “I’m going to go shower. Unpack as you will.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Billy echoed. “Use the west north wing though; I don’t want you messing up my water pressure.
“Hey Ben, can you come in here for a sec?” Chris said.
Ben exited his room and poked his head into Chris’s, winking.
“I thought I played this game in eighth grade, and now you’re into me?” he jeered.
“Hah hah hah, very funny,” Chris said, sitting down on the bed. “But not far off.”
Ben gave Chris an odd look.
“So you know Heather, right?”
“I mean, yes, this is her house,” Ben replied.
“Yeah, but like, know her know her. Like as a person,” Chris said; he had begun staring at the ceiling.
“I mean, I can’t say I know her as more than Billy’s cousin who used to buy us alcohol.”
“Really. Even when you and Billy were fu-”
Ben jumped out of the armchair he had just sat in and scoffed.
“That did not happen. Yes I know her. What’s your question.”
“Well, I was… I was thinking about asking her out,” Chris said.
“Five years out of high school and you still talk like you’re sixteen,” he said.
Chris threw a pillow at Ben.
“Okay, just because you haven’t had a boyfriend since Billy-”
Ben threw the pillow back at Chris.
“Flirty,” Chris joked. “But as the poor oppressed heterosexual that I am, I can’t just rely on Grindr all day.”
“Well,” Ben said. “As the poor oppressed homosexual-leaning bisexual that I am-”
“-I think I am going to appeal to a higher power.”
Ben leaned his head out the door.
“Paul!” he shouted. “We need a straight opinion!”
Paul bounced his way into the room.
“Excuse me,” he said, “you know full-well that I am heterosexual-leaning pansexual.”
“Yes, and that is why we complete one another,” Ben said. “But right now I need the part of your head that craves crushing the puss.”
“Gotcha. What’s going on?”
“Well-” Chris started.
“He’s tryna fuck Heather,” Ben interrupted.
“Oooooh,” Paul exclaimed, dropping down next to Chris on the bed, causing him to bounce a bit. “You do realize that this is her house right?”
“Yes?” Chris said.
“And this isn’t high school anymore, right?”
Chris batted Paul in the face with the pillow. Paul wrestled it out of his grasp.
“Forget I even asked,” Chris said.
He scooted further onto the bed and grabbed another pillow.
“No, nope, not having that,” Paul said. “Ben, get over here.”
Ben joined the two on the bed.
“If you want to get with Heather, it is our responsibility as former members of the Ray Bradbury Middle School winning battle of the books team to help you,” Paul said.
“Even if Heather isn’t that cute,” Chris added.
“What?” Paul said, whacking Ben with the pillow. “Like, I’m not trying to hit that if Chris is, but she’s cute.”
“Eh, not my type,” said Ben.
“Yeah, ‘cuz she’s a woman,” Chris laughed.
Ben and Paul stared at Chris silently and both threw pillows at the same time.
“You’ve earned yourself an hour-long lecture on bi-erasure, sir,” Ben said.
Chris retreated back into his pile of pillows.
“Until then, what exactly is stopping you from trying to get with Heather?” Ben asked.
Chris thought for a long moment. It’s not like Heather had been dating anyone. She was single all through college and even senior year of high school.
“We didn’t match on Tinder?” Chris offered.
“Chris, she’s your friend. Friends don’t swipe right on friends,” Paul said.
“Unless you’re catfishing them,” Ben added.
Paul nodded in agreement.
“Well you got me. I guess I’m just an unlovable piece of trash.”
“No. Self. Negging.” Paul shouted, smacking Chris with a pillow on each word. “You are smart. You are intelligent. You are good looking, and you deserve love.”
“But how do I get to that point?” Chris said, placing his face down in a pillow. “Like, I’m not even suave when I’m drunk. I’m the flirt equivalent of a mumble rapper.”
Paul and Ben looked at one another silently. They knew what he said was true, but didn’t want to agree with his negativity.
“Here’s what we’ll do,” Paul said.
Chris sat up.
“Tonight at the party, you’re going to get shit faced,” Paul said.
“That’s a given,” Chris replied.
“Heather is going to get shit faced.
“That’s a given,” Ben replied.
“Once Heather heads to bed, we will text her for you,” Paul said.
“Oooh, retweet,” Ben said. “We can try to hit her in that sweet spot of super drunk and super tired but not yet asleep.”
“Why do I have to be drunk though?” Chris asked, puzzled.
“Being drunk helps you on a couple fronts,” Paul said. “It’ll help mask your writing style if for some odd reason she knows what you sound like in text, and you can use drunken inhibition as an excuse if she rejects you and you want to keep things amicable!”
Paul smiled at Ben and Ben smiled at Chris. Chris clutched his pillow.
“How drunk are we talking?”
“Halloween 2016 drunk,” said Paul.
“Graduation Eve 2017 if you can push it,” said Ben.
Ben and Paul left Chris to his own devices and returned to their own respective rooms to unpack the rest of their belongings.