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Authors: Jim Breuer

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BOOK: I'm Not High
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“What’s happening, Jim?” Jerry said just as I walked up.
“We’re getting something to eat,” Chris added.
“Oh, I’m just hanging out,” I said, gazing around the lobby. “Taking it all in.”
Just then Eddie Izzard walked by and stopped to say hello, just as Dee poked her head out the spa’s doorway. She had little wads of tissue between each finger, protecting her newly painted nails.
“I thought I heard you out here,” she said, smiling. “They’re waiting for you! Hurry up!”
Then she ducked back in.
Now the guys looked confused. “Actually, I’m getting a, uh, procedure, ah, too,” I explained sheepishly.
I believe Jerry made a face as if I’d just told him I was going to walk in and ask for a vasectomy. Here I was in Vegas, home of flashing lights, high rollers, and showgirls, and I was going to sit in a spa with my wife, listen to Kenny G, and get my toenails painted. It was emasculating, even if that’s the one thing I wanted to do most at that moment.
“Bonding,” I said. The guys nodded, piecing it together.
I babbled on. “You guys are all married, right? You know how it is.”
“That’s cool, Jim,” Chris said, backing slowly away. “Sounds like a nice afternoon.”
So then I went into the spa. A big Jamaican woman gave me my first and only pedicure, and it was amazing. All the women in there were gossiping about the festival, wanting to get tickets or meet a star, not knowing that Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Eddie Izzard had just been standing not more than ten feet away from them. I soon forgot all about not wanting my guy friends to know what I was up to. And I also forgot about the notebook up in our suite.
When we finished, I was just ready to go back up to the room and take a quick nap before dinner. Between spending the whole flight writing, then performing, then staying up until nearly dawn talking to the security guard, I was wiped out. I was relishing lying down without being awoken by the screams of my children. When you’re a parent of young kids, you soon learn that every time you try to steal a nap, just when you start to drift off, you’ll inevitably hear a blood-curdling shout or wake up to discover that someone’s given the cat a haircut or used a Sharpie to decorate a piece of furniture.
When we got back upstairs we saw the maid’s cart in front of our door. I heard her vacuuming inside, and I didn’t want to scare her, so I opened the door slowly while knocking loudly. Maybe I wouldn’t even take a nap, I thought. Maybe I’d write a few more pages while I was on a roll.
As we walked in, I heard the vacuuming coming from the bedroom. The noise stopped, and then the maid wheeled the machine back out into the living room. Her eyes bugged out when she saw us.
“I’m sorry,” I said, laughing. “I tried to knock. I didn’t want to scare you.”
The maid had dark, dark circles under her eyes. I don’t make a practice of judging people on looks—probably because I’ve had people assume I’m a degenerate pothead my whole life—but this woman was creepy. She was thin, in her late forties, with a head of jet-black hair. I assumed she was maybe from somewhere in South America. Or maybe from the blackest pits of hell. I wasn’t sure.
“I apologize about your candy,” she said nervously. “I’m so sorry.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. The festival had sent a package of gifts to the participating comedians—a briefcase filled with candy and coffee mugs. But now I just saw the briefcase on the kitchen table with nothing inside of it.
“I thought you had checked out,” she said timidly. “So I gave the candy to a friend. To another maid. I can get it back. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
I had no idea why she thought we checked out when all of our clothes and luggage were still in the room. To me it sounded crazy, but I didn’t want to make a big deal of it. Accidents happen. I’m sure she had a lot of rooms to clean, and I bet people leave them in complete disarray—especially in Vegas. Plus, in the bigger picture, we were given this amazing suite with a view of the whole Strip for the weekend. If this was the worst thing that was going to happen, big deal. I looked over at Dee, who shrugged and grinned. It was just candy.
“No,” I said to the maid. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t think I’ll miss the extra five pounds I would’ve gained eating it.” I laughed, letting her know there were no hard feelings.
“No biggie,” Dee added.
The maid nodded silently, then quickly started pushing the vacuum toward the door. She seemed in a hurry to leave. I figured she was embarrassed and wanted the situation to be over. But I wanted to make sure nothing else had gone missing.
“Is that all you gave away was the candy?” I asked. I figured now was my only chance to check. Once the maid left the room, it would be all but impossible to get anything back. It was a giant hotel, she didn’t speak English very well, and it would just be a convoluted ordeal. But it wasn’t money or jewelry I was thinking about. It was my notebook, which I was relieved to see was still on the desk.
“No,” the maid said, shaking her head. “Just candy. That’s all.”
“Great,” I said. “Let’s not worry about that.”
“Thank you,” she said, smiling, and walked back out to her cart in the hallway.
Dee went into the bedroom, and I walked over to the desk. I had no sane reason to pick up the notebook and thumb through it. I mean, it was sitting there just as I’d left it. Opening it up would be proof that I was paranoid. I get that the candy—so tempting and delicious, spilling out of a wide-open briefcase—was an obvious target to be snapped up. But a $3.59 notebook? All of the hotel rooms were furnished with stationery. And the maid probably had extra supplies of it on her cart to replenish any that had been used. If she needed paper, she had access to tons of it.
But I had a peek anyway. And I couldn’t believe my eyes. Every page I had written on was gone, ripped out, and what remained were only blank pages. I closed it. What was happening wasn’t real. I reopened it again, and still the pages were nowhere to be found. I flipped page after page. This was impossible.
I began to sweat. I took a deep breath.
“Dee,” I called out. This time there would be a logical explanation. “Where did you set all the pages I was working on?”
“What are you talking about?” she answered.
“From my notebook,” I said.
“I thought it was there.”
“It is,” I said. “But it’s empty.”
She came out of the bedroom and looked over at me. “What are you talking about?”
“So, you didn’t touch this? ” I said, holding up the notebook. “There’s only blank pages in here.”
“You must have put them in your suitcase,” she said calmly. She didn’t seem too concerned. “Wait, are you sure you didn’t take them into the bathroom, Jim?” She made a face indicating that working on the can was exactly the sort of thing I’d do.
“No!” I yelled. “What are you, crazy? I kept them in the notebook. There was no reason to tear them out.”
“Stop panicking and take another look.”
“Dee,” I said, “the notebook is way thinner. The only pages left in it are blank. Everything I’ve written is gone.”
“Why don’t you go ask the maid then?” she said. “There’s got to be some reasonable explanation.”
“Why would the maid have them?”
“Why would she have cleaned out all our chocolate, Jim?” Dee said, shrugging. “None of it makes any sense.”
I took the notebook, bolted from the room, and saw the maid’s cart a few doors down. I poked my head in the room she was cleaning, and she came out into the hallway. She took a look at the notebook and started shaking her head and apologizing again.
“Sorry,” she said. “Sorry.”
“What happened?” I asked. I was close to losing it, but I did feel slightly relieved that at least I knew who was responsible for the missing notebook. “I thought you said the candy was the only thing that went haywire in there.”
“Sorry. I thought was garbage,” she mumbled in broken English.
“Garbage?”
I said, exasperated. I shook the notebook. “You went in
this
and ripped out the pages and threw them
away
? Why? Why would you do that?”
“Sorry. Sorry.”
“Well, where’s the garbage?” I thought it might be on her cart. That seemed logical. I thought we could just dig through her trash can and fish them out, and then I’d go and stuff the pages in the safe or keep them in my pocket for the rest of the trip. Before she answered I dug into the garbage and started flipping through it.
“All gone,” she said, shaking her head again. “Not in there.”
“Come on!” Now I really felt like this might be a big prank. Maybe the comedians at the festival were behind it. But how would anyone know that this was the most important property I had on the trip?
“He come and take garbage from hallway,” she explained. “I set papers in hallway.”
“Who is he?” I asked. “What are you saying?”
“Janitor,” she said. “He remove.”
“Oh, man!” I yelled. “We gotta find this stuff. Don’t move a muscle, okay? Please, lady, just stay right where you are.”
I went into my room and called the front desk. They said they’d send a manager right up. Then the maid hurried into our room and said, “I think I can go find them. I’m sorry. I will go look.” She wandered off before the manager arrived. I doubted she’d ever come back. I was thinking with all that had happened, maybe she’d just flee into the Vegas night with some free candy and the handwritten scribbles of my life story.
If I hadn’t dared the universe to mess with that notebook, I wouldn’t have been so worked up about losing the pages. There was no explanation for what had happened. Why would the maid have removed all the pages I’d written stuff on and left the rest of it intact and on the table? Apparently the hospitality pledge at the hotel went something like: “At Caesars Palace, our maid service is so good, whenever you leave the room, you can be sure we will go through all of your handwritten documents and notebooks, remove any and all soiled pages, and leave what remains of your unused paper supply right where you left it. Promise!”
After a few minutes, a manager knocked on our door. I told her what happened, and she was naturally dumbfounded. “I’m very sorry,” she said earnestly. “This makes no sense. I don’t know where the maid got the notion that you were checking out. The first people to know that would be us. If you left, we’d let her know. Otherwise, she’s got to believe that you’re still a guest. She knows that. There’s a chart right on her cart that says so. It’s really puzzling.”
“I just want to get my writing back,” I said. Soon enough the maid came back holding the missing pages. As she handed them over to me, I noticed that they weren’t crinkled. There were no food stains or coffee grounds on them. They were pristine. None of this added up.
“Thank you so much,” I said. “I’m truly grateful.” I flipped through them and discovered that there were a bunch of pages missing. “Where’s the rest?” I asked. Panic returned. “Tell me where you found these! We’ve gotta keep looking.”
So the maid, the manager, and I went down into the bowels of Caesars Palace, to the garbage chute.
“I’ll scoop all the garbage by hand,” I said. “I don’t care. I just need to find my papers.” We looked and looked and didn’t find any more pages. I resigned myself to the fact that (a) I had gotten a big chunk of them back and (b) I had also been a dumbass who basically begged for trouble. The maid apologized and somberly returned to her work. Caesars Palace officials apologized again and again, and called our room a few times asking what they could do for me. I was tempted to say, “How about you start with comping that overpriced pedicure for me?” but I didn’t.
In the end, I’d done a great set, had a nice getaway with Dee, and committed to paper a lot of the stories that make up my life. As I said, I don’t get overly tangled up in religion. In the pages to come, you’ll read about my views on the church, organized religion, and the concept of being born again. All my life I’ve bickered with people who say I should know the Ten Commandments, or take communion, or worship a certain way. I don’t have much patience for any of that. I’m spiritual on my terms and have my own relationship with God. And what went down in Vegas was definitely spiritual.
After I left Vegas, I often thought about having my writing disappear that weekend, and for a long time I was certain it was because I mouthed off and challenged evil forces. The maid was just a conduit. You could call it karma or whatever you like. As time has passed though, I’ve changed my thinking on this. The maid had taken the pages somewhere and had not destroyed them. Maybe she needed them. Maybe something compelled her to take them, and once her shift was over she’d read through them. And maybe she found something in them. (Perhaps something as delicious as the candy she also stole from me.)
Who knows? The book is once again intact. And there are messages in it. I’ve had a big bank account and a tiny one, and I’ve been spiritually rich and poor, too. In between playing stickball on the streets of Long Island, having loved ones taken from me at the worst times, meeting the woman of my dreams when I wasn’t even having dreams, and getting big breaks and also getting broken, I’ve figured out a lot. I’d never claim to have all the answers to the test, but I’ve looked over the shoulders of some great people and have cribbed the most important one: We all have a mission to honor ourselves and those around us.
(And, by the way, yeah: There’s plenty of stuff about weed in here, too, Meatball.)
Chapter 1
Nearly Aborted
As a boy, I used to sit and talk for hours with my best friend Phil out in the street on Jefferson Avenue in Long Island. We lived in Valley Stream, a beautiful community near Queens that lies directly underneath about twelve thousand flight paths to and from JFK airport, which is just a few miles away.
So maybe Phil couldn’t always hear much of what I said, but on one summer night we were hanging out, stargazing and discussing what our lives would be like in the year 2000.
BOOK: I'm Not High
8.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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