This story actually picks up right where the last one left off.
As I mentioned then, my first weekend of freedom involved my boy Ray-Ray's birthday party. Me and Ray-Ray have become fast friends since I switched jobs in June, and he demanded I come out for the celebration. However, I didn't know any of his other friends, so I was kind of taking a risk. For all I knew, they could be massive tools. Hence me getting my buzz on at the strip club before meeting them out.
The dinner and party, coincidentally, happened to be at a restaurant and pool hall/nightclub, respectively, literally down the street from my crib. Thus, I could plan on getting as blitzed as I wanted to since I only had to stumble a few hundred yards to get home. I arrive at the restaurant - a trendy little Tex/Mex-influenced joint - just after 8 and meet up with Ray-Ray and a couple of his friends who are already there. I dap everyone and proclaim, "So I've been drinking since 4, who wants to do shots?"
To say everyone looked at me like I had set myself on fire would be an understatement. Ray-Ray says, "You're white, a former Marine and you just spent five years in Wisconsin. We're all Asians, man. We can't keep up with you." (Hey, I just tell it like it happened.) And right on time, another of his homeboys shows up who happens to have been a Marine as well, and we quickly plan to drink everyone under the frigging table.
I mixed mojitos and Capncokes as I absolutely destroyed a steak, and Ray-Ray was trying to pace himself between dinner and the shots that kept ending up at his table. People were showing up in twos and threes, and each group naturally felt obligated to get him a drink or shot as soon as they got there. We ended up about 25 strong, so do the math. And they weren't screwing around; Ray-Ray was knocking back shots of Four Horsemen, among others, while he struggled to get through his meal.
Dinner's over, and we pile into the rides and head across the street to Peabody's about 10, 10:30. Peabody's is an upscale sports bar and pool hall - think $15 an hour for a table on the weekend - that mines the local university for the very best of its female talent to hire for bartenders and servers. The joint's motto is "Get Racked," and they mean it.
We grab a table in the corner and immediately put the waitress to work. Ray-Ray's already rolling, and I realize that if he doesn't slow down, it will be an exceptionally early evening for him. I make my way over, put an arm around his shoulders and ask how he's doing. I believe his response was, "I'm feeling no pain, bro." He also mentioned that he'd invited a couple of the interns from work out, only one of whom I knew. I'll call her Abby, because she looks like she's straight out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad, only she's of Indian heritage - dots, not feathers. (Turns out she actually is a part-time fashion model, but I didn't find this out til the next day. Needless to say, she's hot.) I'd spoken to her once or twice; she was from the Midwest like me, but she was the total "20-year-old spoiled suburban preppie girl" stereotype.
Then Ray-Ray says, very bluntly, "You know she's bi, right?"
This should have been my first signal that the night was going to take an "On The Rocks" turn, but I was still trying to process what had happened at the strip club, so it went right over my head. Ray-Ray goes on to explain that she's pretty open about it, and has actually said she prefers girls to guys.
A drink or two later, Abby shows up. Abby is looking ridiculously sexy. TJ starts wondering what his company's policy is when it comes to fraternizing with interns.
After another drink or two (and some fairly innocuous flirting), Abby grabs my hand, looks me straight in the eye and says, "Let's go find some hot girls." I may have been drunk, but I'm not stupid. We head back around to a rear hallway that leads to a neighboring nightclub adjoining the pool hall. We stroll through real quick, with my key observation being, "They didn't have go-go dancers the last time I was here." I don't know who was staring harder at the booty-shorted, go-go booted, onstage women more, Abby or me. However, the club itself was rather empty at that point, so we bounced back to the pool hall.
That's when I effectively killed Ray-Ray for the evening. My homeboys and I have a birthday tradition: shots of Liquid Cocaine. I introduced Ray-Ray to this tradition without telling him what it was until he had choked it down. Unfortunately, I didn't know that someone else had just given him a shot I don't remember about 10 minutes earlier. He later told me he didn't even remember doing the Liquid Cocaine.
The entire crew decides it's time to migrate to the nightclub, where everyone else was suitably awed by the go-go dancers. I'm pretty sure I handed Ray-Ray a wad of singles to tip them with. Typical club-like activity then ensues: dancing, drinking, dancing, drinking, flirting and so on. During this period, I dance with Abby and the other intern, as well as take pics - at their request - of them dancing together. Also, Abby and I start scoping out chicks and debating their merits. I try to do this while not being distracted by Abby's cleavage.
At about 12:30, I look over at Ray-Ray, who was done with his drink and his two-step and was now semi-slumped over in a barstool at a corner of the dance floor we'd carved out for ourselves. I get him a water and order him to start drinking it, while telling his boys that he's in no shape to continue. They take one look at him, agree that I'm right, and proceed to take funny pictures of him in his near-comatose state. Not what I had in mind, but that's what friends are for.
Until, of course, he begins leaking vomit. The bouncer comes over and, quite understandably, tells us people aren't allowed to puke on the dance floor and that we'd have to get him squared away. This involved three of us all but carrying Ray-Ray outside and leaning him up against a newspaper machine - which led to more photos being taken, since it was one of our subsidiaries. A nice stream of bile traced our path out. I drop the bouncer a $20 and apologize for the hassle. Then I offer to drive Ray-Ray down the street to my crib and dump him on the futon with bottles of water and a bucket. His friends say don't sweat it, we'll take care of him. I soon discover this means "we're going to dump him in the back seat of his SUV in the parking lot and go back inside."
By now, I'm starting to hit my tipping point from drunk - when I'm on a roll but still conscious of my actions and in relative control of myself - to hammered, where chaos begins. And in a wicked bit of karma, that's when Abby grabs me by the shoulders and shouts, "SHOTS OF LIQUID COCAINE!!"
(Note to self: Do not cap off nine hours of drinking with shots of Liquid Cocaine at 1 a.m.)
Abby buys, and we pound the shots before heading back out to the dance floor. This is where things get blurry. To give you an idea of how blurry, the next day Ray-Ray's boy is hosting a "sober up" cookout before the second night of debauchery and I ask Ray-Ray, "Why is it that I think Abby's a good kisser?" Answer: Because Abby grabbed me on the dance floor and started making out with me. (I confirmed this a couple days later when I showed up to work and discovered that not only had someone taken a pic of us entwined, but Abby was actually showing it to people in the office, which was officially not cool.)
I do remember Abby suddenly vanishing, which I suspect the male cousin who had accompanied her had something to do with after seeing her jump me. After that, the next thing I can come up with is waking up in my bed alone and checking my phone to see I had texted and made calls to numbers I didn't recognize. I also have no recollection of actually driving home, which was amazing since I must have gotten so hammered I'd forgotten I was within crawling distance of my front door.
Ray-Ray had it even better. After we closed the club down, someone drove his truck along with the convoy to Steak 'n Shake, where the crew had a raucous late-night meal while he dozed in the parking lot. After that, they all went back to one guy's house to crash and left him in the back seat of his SUV in the driveway all night. He woke up the next morning in the truck with no idea how he got there, covered in his own vomit.
Liquid Cocaine is a hell of a drug.