Adam’s the kind of guy that would tell lies sometimes so crazy we almost believed him. He told us once that he caught someone in his apartment stealing his stash and so he slit his throat. He dumped the body in a dumpster and supposedly nobody ever noticed.
The first time I met him, he showed up at Mikey’s apartment late into an evening just like any other. Through a haze of cigarette and pot smoke and the stereo playing Rush or Led Zeppelin– depending on who won the argument that night– he came in and handed Mikey a pie.
From that day on every time I saw Adam he always had a pie to give away; lemon meringue, banana cream, and Dutch apple. He said he was a chef at Coco’s and and they were leftover pies nobody bought that day.
Scott and I would sometimes crash at his place. He lived in a building that was once a hotel, parts of the building boarded up because the floors had come down. The only way in was through an alley now. The floor of his one room apartment was slanted, too. So much so that when we slept on the floor we’d end up across the room in the morning.
His cat wandered drunkenly around the room of lime green carpet, missing the litter box and staring at shadows on the walls. We warmed up canned beans using the coffee maker and ate crackers with sardines because we could get them cheap. We made big plans for Scott’s band and tried to figure out ways to market them. We knew the music was good, we just had to get people to hear it.
“I got a cabin up the coast,” Adam told us one day. “Right by the water. We should go up next weekend.”
“Yeah,” I said. “That sounds cool.”
We all drove up a few weeks later. It turned out to be his brother’s cabin, but nobody complained. We spent the days trekking through cliffs and trees and sand. Erin, Mikey’s girlfriend, got a bloody gash on her leg from a hallowed out old tree, and Scott got so fed up with all the climbing that he took a nap in the sand.
I found a rock that day, made of sandstone and molded into the perfect shape of a fish. I had the great idea of carving out the insides into a functional pipe. It took days and turned out pretty good except it’d burn your lips if you didn’t hold the lighter just right. Adam said he liked it, so I gave it to him.
A few days later Adam tried to kiss me when we were playing a game of haiku. He’d give me a topic or word and I’d give him a haiku.
“Quit it,” I told him.
“Scott won’t mind,” he said, “we’re like best friends.”
I hit him in the shoulder and spent the rest of the day over at Mikey’s.
Winter came, and the guys were talking about going up to Alaska for a job. The band broke up again and Adam hadn’t been around in a few weeks.
When I called him up he said he’d been promoted at work, that he moved in with a girlfriend, and he sounded happy.
I was trying to get a job at Subway and we were sleeping in the car most nights, until we got a few hundred bucks from a stash of prescription pills Scott stole from his mom’s house. We decided to go to Coco’s.
We asked the waiter if he could tell Adam that we’d like to compliment the chef.
“Adam?” he said.
“Yeah, he works here, right?”
“That Adam?” and he pointed to a guy bussing a table across the room.
We told the waiter to forget it and left.
Adam came by to drop off a pie a few days later. He said he’d made it special for us. It was a chocolate cream pie with a vanilla frosting. The three of us ate the whole thing in one sitting, cross legged on the floor of the motel we were staying at for a few days.
We talked about maybe moving up to Seattle together, getting out of this town, that Scott knew a guy who might be able to get them a job fixing up computers.
Scott and I moved up to SeaTac a few months later. Adam wasn’t answering his phone and hadn’t been around.
We rented out a small room of a house, with a shared kitchen and living room. We grilled chicken out in the backyard with lemon and threw carrots at the wild rabbits. Scott got a job fixing computers and I spent the days watching The Price is Right while I applied for jobs.
Scott got home one day and told me there were rumors that Adam had overdosed. That he was dead. We weren’t sure if it was true or not. Maybe his phone was just disconnected.
We went down for a birthday party for Mikey a few weeks later. It was over at Andrea’s house because Mikey’s apartment was too small. When I got there I saw that Andrea had my fish pipe on the coffee table next to a glass pipe and an acrylic water bong.
“Where’d you get that?” I asked her.
“I got it from Adam’s stuff,” she said. “It looks cool, huh? It burns your lips, though.”
I guess Andrea knew Adam from high school, and their moms were friends. When Adam died Andrea was invited to look through his things. I told her I’d made the pipe, and she let me have it.
On the drive back home I told Scott we should make a quick stop.
“What for?” he said.
“A pie,” I told him. “Let’s go get a pie.”