It was normal for John to call Chas in the middle of the night to get a ride to an exorcism.
It was not normal for him to hear loud voices and even louder music in the background. And some really shitty music, at that.
"Hey, what's up!"
John hesitated, staring at the phone oddly. That wasn't Chas.
"Yeah, I'm calling for Chas Kramer…"
"Some old dude on your phone, man. Gimme that joint."
There was a pause, shuffling, more loud and drunken voices yelling over the music as John bristled at being called 'old' by some dumb kid. Finally, the phone seemed to get to the right hands.
"Kramer here," Chas said into the phone. Then, out of the phone. "Oh, shit! Kym, take this, it's burnin' my hand!"
"Chas?" John said firmly.
"Hold the fuck on, John, gimme a second," Chas said, and there were more curses, more laughter. John sighed.
"Chas, this is kind of urgent."
"Could you turn down the music?"
Chas laughed. "No way, dude, it's not my stereo! What do you want?"
"I need to get to an exorcism."
Chas laughed even more, said something to his friends before speaking to John again.
"I'm fuckin' stoned, man, can't it wait?"
"I'm fuckin' plastered, John, I can't even find my own damn- KYM! KYM, HONEY, BRING THAT HERE! I NEED A FUCKIN' HIT!"
John held the phone away from his ear until Chas was done screaming. Any other time he would've just hung up and walked to the exorcism, or hailed another cab. This time, though, the exorcism was all the way across the city, and half the stuff he needed was in the trunk of Chas's cab.
"Double pay, Chas, just get over here now."
A momentary pause. "Make it triple."
"Don't push your luck, kid."
"Triple or nothin', John, this is a great rave."
John growled. "Fine. Fine. Just get here."
He heard a few high fives, some more laughter. "Alright, be there-OW! That thing's fuckin' lit, Kym, watch it!"
Click. Chas hung up the phone, and John grunted and hung up, tossing the phone on the bed. Chas was bad enough when he was being a normal teenager, let alone when he was high and drunk.
John couldn't help but feel a bit bad, though. He'd just sent Chas out onto the dangerous streets of LA in the middle of the night, drunk and stoned. If the kid got in a car accident or something…
Then again, the kid had nine lives. John couldn't get rid of him if he wanted to, let alone in a petty car crash.
Twenty minutes later John heard a car honk outside, and he grabbed his bag and headed down the stairs. Rap music was blaring from the cab, and he winced as he slid in the back.
"Where to?" Chas asked, and John wrinkled his nose as the mixed smells of pot and booze hit him like a wave. He took in the boy's appearance: messed up hair, drastically dilated pupils, clothes wrinkled and mussed, his hat sideways on his head, already having gone through two sticks of licorice since John approached the car. He looked like the one that needed the exorcism.
"Roosevelt and 'O' Avenue."
Chas squealed away from the curb, and John was thrown against the door of the cab violently.
"Jesus, Chas, would you slow down? And shut off that damn shit!" John ordered, and Chas giggled, but he obliged in turning off the stereo.
"You're no fun, John."
"I woke up at 2am because a fuckin' rich lady has a possessed kid, my so-called apprentice is too busy getting high and drunk to do his fucking job, and you expect me to be fun?"
"You're just really mean. Here," Chas said, holding a joint over the back of the seat toward John. "Take a hit of that shit, the world will be a happy place again!"
John sneered, grabbed the joint, and tossed it out the side window. "Whatever. Just drive."
"Hey, that was expensive! You owe me qua…quad…pay times four now."
"I don't owe you anything. You'll be lucky if I pay you anything at all. Keep your eyes on the road."
The rest of the ride, Chas rambled on and on, and John was barely able to keep up with what he was going on about. But how unicorns, dry erase boards, and Balthazar all fit together…he never could figure that out.
"It's here…it's here, Chas, stop!"
Chas screeched to a stop with one tire in the lady's yard, two on the sidewalk, and only one actually on the street- not to mention hitting a couple trash cans on the way there. He didn't seem to see a problem with this, however.
"Did you see that John? That was fuckin' awesome! I think there was a cat in there!" he said, still giggling like a maniac as he stumbled drunkenly out of the car and almost fell on his face.
"Sure, it was awesome," John muttered angrily, getting out and getting his bags out of the seat and trunk. Too much for one person to carry, unfortunately.
"Carry that bag, Chas."
Chas snorted and picked up the bag. "Carry that bag, Chas. Get me a beer, Chas. Wipe my ass, Chas," he muttered.
"What was that?"
John smirked, leading the boy up the walk to where the pale-faced terrified looking lady was standing in the doorway, watching them come up the sidewalk.
"You're the exorcist?"
No, I'm the Easter Bunny. Let me the fuck in. "Yes, and you're Mrs. Teuson?"
"Of course. Come in, please."
"Do you have any chocolate?" Chas asked loudly. "We need it to exorcise the thingamajig."
"Chas!" John snapped, elbowing the teenager.
"He's in the second door on the right," the woman said, pointing, nervously ignoring their banter. John walked down the hallway, Chas never far behind- in fact, Chas was practically stepping on his heels.
"I'm hungry," Chas complained loudly. John dropped his bags by the door, turned around, and grabbed Chas by the shoulders.
"You listen to me, kid. I'm gonna go in here and do my job, and if you know what's good for you you'll sit right here in the hallway and don't move until I'm done."
"Hot daaaaaaamn. You reek of beer, John."
"That's you, you fucking genius."
"Can't be. I only had five. Or seven."
John groaned, leaving Chas in the hallway and walking into the room. The girl was sitting on her bed, rocking back and forth and scratching at the wallpaper.
"Alright, demon, you've had your fun," he said, pulling a Bible out of his inside pocket. The girl turned to look at him, her eyes wild and almost completely black.
"You're pretty damn hot when I'm stoned."
John spun around, and Chas was leaning against the doorframe, a stupid cheesy grin on his face. Unfortunately, this proclamation took John's attention off the task at hand, and the next thing he knew the demon had leapt on him back and was squeezing his throat tightly.
He grabbed onto the hands around his throat, clawing and trying to pry them off, but the demonic strength was surprising.
He didn't have to deal with it for long, though. Chas grabbed a bag from outside the door, and the next thing John knew Chas swung it at the creature on his back, knocking it unconscious. The girl dropped back down on the bed.
"Alright, it's knocked out. Now will you feed me?" Chas asked impatiently, and John gaped at him for a few moments incredulously.
It was just a waiting game then. A soon as the demon was half conscious a few minutes later, John easily exorcised it.
"She should be fine, ma'am," John muttered as he passed the woman. She nervously held out a candy bar to Chas.
"So you don't need this then?"
Chas grabbed the candy from her like a starving dog. "Low blood sugar. Thanks!"
John wasn't sure, looking back on it later, how they ever managed to get back to his apartment without getting killed or arrested. Either way, Chas managed to scarf down the candy bar and the rest of a bag of licorice, discuss Michael Crichton, Starbucks, piggy banks, and cereal, and drive them home all at the same time.
Needless to say, John breathed a sigh of relief when they got back.
"Can I crash here tonight? I'm tired," Chas suddenly said, and John groaned.
"No. No way are you staying here like this."
"Is your hair naturally black or is it dyed?"
"It's nat…why does it matter? Stop trying to change the subject!"
Chas grinned, shutting the door as they walked in the apartment. "You're fuckin' hot when you're angry."
"Chas, I wasn't aware that you're gay."
"Only when I'm high, dude. I think. But Kym said…wait, what did Kym say? I think she was high too. Oh well."
John practically choked on the air he was breathing, and he laughed in disbelief.
"If you crash here, you're on the floor."
"Aw, come on. Your bed is plenty big."
"No. You're not sleeping in my bed."
"Aw, but John…"
"Can I have a drink?"
John groaned, but then he got an idea. "Sure, kid. Knock yourself out. Literally," he said, handing Chas a full bottle of his strongest whiskey. Chas's eyes widened, and he took the bottle with glee.
A half hour later, he was singing and dancing to Michael Jackson's song 'Thriller' in his socks and boxers on John's kitchen floor while John tried in vain to sleep.
"God, Chas, wouldya knock it off?" John asked loudly, getting up and walking to the kitchen. His plan to get Chas to pass out had backfired, obviously.
"Come on, John, I know you know this dance! Everybody knows this dance! Do it with me!" Chas insisted, grabbing onto John's hands and yanking him into the kitchen. John rolled his eyes.
"I don't dance, Chas. Especially not to pedophile music."
"It's not pedophile music! He was found innocent. It's innocent in a court of law music. C'mon, dance with me."
"But you're hot. Hot people should always dance with other hot people."
"Point me to the nearest hot person and I will."
Chas pouted. "You're no fun."
"What'd you expect, a barrel of monkeys?"
That sent Chas into a fit of giggles, and he finished off the bottle, trying to take a step and stumbling into John. John tried to push him back, but Chas clung to him.
"You smell good."
"Except for the smoke."
"Alright, alright," John said, pushing Chas back. Chas reeled, off balance, and then fell toward John again- and this time, he yanked John into a clumsy kiss.
John froze, the feeling of the teenager's soft lips on his more pleasant than he liked to admit. Chas fumbled, grabbed onto the back of John's neck, and forced his tongue through into John's mouth.
Stop him. Stop him stop him stop him.
John didn't have to listen to his conscience, though. Moments later, Chas passed out mid-kiss, falling completely against John. John grabbed onto him, and then hauled the teen up in his arms.
So much for not sleeping in the bed, he thought, carrying the passed-out boy into his bedroom and laying him down on the bed. Chas moaned lightly and said something about purple kittens, but then he was out like a light once again.
John stared down at him, brushing the boy's hair back off his forehead. Then, ever so slowly, he leaned down and lightly kissed the boy on the lips.
"I'm never letting you drink again, you little cretin," he said with a chuckle, shaking his head and crawling into the bed beside the boy. Chas shifted, groaned lightly, and quietly warned John that 'the slippers have teeth'.
John chuckled, allowing himself one more long look at the teenager beside him.
Never knew drugs and booze could be so attractive on anybody.