Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels came out on video when I was 21. I remember it because I had just moved out of my parents’ house into a duplex with my first roommates, Lauren and Tina*.
One Friday night during the six long months that I lived with them and dealt with their leaving the TV on 24 hours a day and depositing egg-crusted plates all over the house, while they put up with me and my firm belief that I was better than them, Lauren and I decided to get drunk together and watch movies while Tina and one of her girlfriends spent the weekend barhopping, picking up guys to have threesomes with.
I bought vodka and cranberry juice, because Lauren insisted it was the only thing she drank–although at that point she’d never drank anything other than champagne toasts at weddings. I rented Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, a movie I’d seen before and liked, because it’s one of those crime films where the plot weaves its disparate threads together in a funny and satisfying way.
Lauren said she wanted to see it, but she was instantly annoyed by the film’s heavy East London patois. Had Jason Statham been as famous as he is now, she might have paid more attention, as her taste tended towards the most godawful of mainstream movies.
About 10 minutes into the movie Lauren downed her vodka cran and retrieved the bottle of vodka from the freezer, which she proceeded to upend and down half of. She poured some more vodka into my glass, advised me that she was “fucking bored with this shit,” and went out to the back yard, where she proceeded to chug the remainder of the liter of vodka. I tried to stop her, but she called me a bitch, so I went back inside to watch the movie.
I don’t remember what happened right after this, because I was seething with rage and imagining all the violence in the film happening to her—though at this point it was too early for much violence to have occurred yet. I remember her wandering through the house whining that there was no more vodka, as though it wasn’t her fault that it was now gone. I know at some point she chugged a bunch of cranberry juice because it made a vivid reappearance shortly thereafter.
Not surprisingly, it was a short jaunt from whining about the absence of vodka to projectile vomiting hot pink all over the bathroom. All over my bathroom. Lauren had her own bathroom, but she couldn’t make it to that end of the house. But hey, at least she made it to a bathroom!
She drew a bath and climbed in with all her vomit-covered clothes on. For some reason she was wearing a long-sleeved black turtleneck sweater, (made of chenille–the vomit was an improvement), and jeans, even though it was the middle of July.
I tried to drag her out of the bathtub by her sopping, vomity chenille arm. In a moment of clarity she jumped up, shoved me out of the bathroom, and locked the door. Then she splashed back into the tub and began to sing a made-up song.
I called my friend Leslie, who was a CNA, and begged her to come over because I was worried that Lauren would continue to ruin my night by needing an ambulance or some shit. I didn’t want to get arrested for supplying alcohol to a minor. Or, you know, manslaughter. Although second degree homicide was becoming more likely by the second.
Leslie came over, knocked on the door, and told Lauren to get out of the water. Lauren refused.
“There’s nothing else I can do,” said Leslie as she smoked a cigarette on the front lawn. “She’ll probably be fine. Just make her drink a lot of water.” And she drove away from our little house of horrors as fast as her Chevy Malibu would take her.
Just as I’d decided there was nothing to do but finish the movie (which still had ¾ left to go), Lauren emerged from the bathroom—naked—and headed out to the garage.
She tried to get into her car but was not coordinated enough to open the door, so she lay on the hood. “Why is it so cold?” she asked, and disappeared down the hall to her bedroom. She came back in a dressing gown and resumed her position spread-eagle on the car hood. After she got bored of this, she opened the garage door and ran out to do somersaults on the front lawn.
She started to pass out in the grass but I managed to drag her back in and convince her, somehow, to get into her bed. I think Tina might have come home by this time to assist me with my Lauren situation.
Lauren slept almost the whole next day, during which time I finished watching Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and then watched it again, perhaps a bit too interested in the scene where Vinnie Jones smashes the guy’s head in with a car door.
I bagged up the wet, vomity, horrible chenille sweater and jeans and threw them into a corner of the garage where they moldered, forgotten, until a month or so of intolerably hot weather later I took them out in the trash.
When Lauren finally woke up around ten the next night she had no memory of what had happened and no idea why her body was covered in bruises.
Months later she asked me where her favorite fuzzy black sweater was and I took perverse pleasure in telling her how and why it got thrown away.
*Not their real names.