Finding Lance

Lance was lost. Not spiritually, like a religious man struggling with his faith, or emotionally, like a teenage boy who just had his heart broken, but physically lost. He probably could have told you that he was on planet Earth and he maybe could have deduced that he was in the United States, but he could not have provided you with anything more specific than that.

Still, he was slogging down the street with his red, oversized sweatpants dragging on the ground, multi-colored beanie in place, and a hoodie that was rejected as a Goodwill donation. Where he was trying to get to will forever remain a mystery, but where he was actually going couldn’t have been more clear- nowhere.

Lance’s eyes were the size of teacup saucers, yet his pupils were the size of the point on a pen, and his jaw was dropped and dragging to the point that a logical person would have colored him baffled. But baffled he was not… no, not in the slightest. For Lance was merely stoned to the point that even the simplest task of leaving a friend’s house and walking a half-mile home was impossible. After a night of marijuana, alcohol, and speed, Lance had officially reached the point where he could no longer complete the most basic functions and had it not been for the pity, and self-guilt of Jenny, there is no telling how far away Lance would have wandered.

Fortunately for Lance, Jenny was up early that morning and had been driving to go grab breakfast with a friend. However, upon seeing Lance sauntering down the middle of the street she thought it wise to at least say ‘hello’ before continuing to her destination.

“Hey Lance,” she said as she pulled slowly up next to him, not five feet from his path.

Without even the slightest movement or acknowledgement, Lance continued walking. Head down, shoulders forward and slouched, completely and utterly defeated.

“Lance! Hey, what’s up?!” She emphatically inquired again, as if her volume level had been the reason he failed to respond initially.

This time Lance slowly turned his head to the right and noticed the vehicle. As he turned his head a little further to the right he noticed the vehicle’s driver, but his current state of drug-inflicted apathy prevented him from recognizing his friend, Jenny.

As Lance turned his head away from Jenny and back down towards his counterproductive path, Jenny quickly realized that something was wrong. She had known Lance for a few years now and was best friends with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, so she knew his tendency for drug use; but this was different. He had never not recognized her and never been wandering down the middle of the road in the middle of Texas at 7 o’clock in the morning.

“Lance, what are you doing? Where are you headed?” Jenny asked, now starting to let the concern in her voice show. “Are you on something?”

But Lance continued on. Feet barely getting off the ground, shoulders dropped even lower, and a continued look of absence on his face.

Jenny continued to idle beside him, not entirely sure how to interpret, and subsequently handle, the situation. There were no other cars on the road, giving her another moment or two to think, but she was confused, concerned for Lance’s well-being, and yet scared to do anything that would jeopardize hers. She, like most of us, had never come across a friend that was drugged up beyond a state of oblivion and had no clue how to proceed. She could only trust her gut instinct, and her gut instinct was telling her that she needed to help him.

“Lance, do you want a ride?” Nothing.

“C’mon, Lance, get in the car. I’ll take you home.”

By this point Lance was at least able to recognize that he was “Lance” and that Jenny was talking to him. He still wasn’t sure who she was, but he didn’t really care. He meandered around to the passenger side of the car, a miracle in itself that he could figure that out, with the look of a man completing an action simply because he didn’t have the will to reject Jenny’s offer.

As Lance neared the passenger door, Jenny reached across and opened it for him and quickly cleared off the seat to prevent anything from getting in the way of Lance getting in the car. Grabbing the top of the door and bending into the car with the necessary exertion of a man twice his age, Lance was in the passenger’s seat with somebody he could trust-even if he didn’t know it- and was even able to close the door on his own.

Jenny quickly called her friend to let her know she would be late for breakfast, turned her car around in someone’s driveway, and headed back to where Lance actually lived. Meanwhile, Lance did not move the entire time. He just sat there, staring straight forward, not really sure why he was in a car with a girl he may or may not know or how he got there. The drugs had slowly started to wear off, but he was still a long way from coherence.

“Okay Lance, we’re here,” Jenny stated as she pulled in front of his house a few minutes later. “Is Taylor or Chris home?

Lance didn’t respond. He just slid out of the car and headed up the driveway, not even wasting the strength to close the passenger door behind him. Jenny, now a little annoyed, leaned over to close the door, watched him struggle to the porch, and began backing out. She felt as though she had done her duty and didn’t want to spend another second with an ungrateful, high-as-a-kite, bum like Lance. A few seconds later she was off to her breakfast date- conscious clear.

Lance was leaning against the door, unable to find his keys to unlock it. After a minute or so of jostling around outside and trying to defy the physics of dead bolts, he heard the door unlock and saw the door open. Taylor, his roommate, was up getting ready for his day and had heard the commotion outside.

“Where the hell have you been?” he asked, not entirely realizing just how far gone Lance was. “You look like death.”

Lance said nothing. He simply entered his house, face-planted on the couch and groaned. For the moment, at least, Lance was no longer lost.

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