The man’s face was weathered, but not in the good way faces can be weathered – tanned and leathery, the sign of wisdom and experience. Instead, his was a blotchy pink, like dangerously undercooked pork.
I had the misfortune of meeting “Tim” – we’ll call him that for sake of anonymity – after my roommate got off the phone late Friday night to inform me that he needed to use my truck Saturday morning. Naturally protective of all things mine, I asked why. He stated that a mutual friend of ours had a harrowing experience with her forty-year-old housemate, Tim, and that she would need to move out quickly the next day.
It seems that my friend had come home to find Tim laying naked on the floor of their living room, a ski mask over his head and a noose tied around his throat. A porno was blaring on the television and a large purple dildo lay next to him on the ground. She screamed, thinking some perverse burglar had broken in before realizing it was Tim. He woke, but by that time she had grabbed her cat and fled to a friend’s house to spend the night.
For those unwise in deviant sexual practices, or for those who simply haven’t taken Soc. 152 A yet, auto-erotic asphyxiation, sometimes called scarfing, is the practice of strangling oneself in order to heighten the sexual experience. The practice is rare, probably because it’s so dangerous. Death is a common result; passing out while the blood and oxygen flows are still perilously low can result in the last orgasm of your life.
It seems Tim has not taken the Baldwins’ class. Two other important facts were brought to my attention about Tim: one, he’s an ex-body builder; two, he’s done pretty much anything that can be grown or produced in a lab. The night my friend walked in on him, he was high on crystal meth.
We arrived late the next morning at the bleak house – its paint flaking, mattresses piled up against the sides, strange piles of rubble everywhere.
My friend Jess bounced out of the house and up to my truck, explaining that Tim was in a foul mood, and that our friend was still inside arguing with him. Dealing with an irate bodybuilder, high on God-knows-what, was not high on my list of things to do on a Saturday morning. I was nervous; how would this piece of meat react to three college students trying to move out his now ex-housemate because she found him tossing off on the living room floor?
Despite the fact I had 911 pre-programmed on my cell, the move went smoothly. Tim confined himself to the living room, where he chatted with a friend of his own about marijuana, meth and child support. My only contact with him was a brief, polite handshake in the beginning.
What is burned brightest into my memory from the whole escapade was Tim’s wall, lined with photos of himself during his heyday. There he stood posing over and over again, tanned, wet with oil and sweat, flashing his steroid-ridden body for the camera. There he is shaking hands with Arnold Schwarzenegger; there, smiling with John Travolta. Those were the days, never to be had again.
It was the saddest part of the cluttered house, a high watermark for a man whose life was now a puddle filling the cracks of suburban America. The photos were also a nasty reminder that, as cracked out as he might be, Tim could still wrap me around a tree if I looked at him funny.
It took us an hour to move everything out of the room, record time for someone who likes to take lots of breaks. After stowing the furniture, we ended the day at the Natural Cafe, talking about the absurdity of the situation. My friend cursed herself for getting lodged with the weirdo in the first place. I told her it didn’t matter; what was important, I continued, was that she was getting out. But it was a little too late for Tim.
Daily Nexus columnist Steven Ruszczycky doesn’t get out much, but when he does it’s a fucking trip. His column appears Tuesdays.