[We pick up the story where we last left our inebriated protagonists, just after Esq rang the bell at the end of Part I]
Next up was a small diner down the street. We all saddled up to the counter, ordering ourselves burgers with the works. Midway through his meal Chief stumbled off to the restroom, innocently leaving his food unguarded—with six other large, drunk, hungry guys around. Alcohol has a way of making people naïve. Esq and BBB, who were sitting on either side of Chief’s seat, quickly split up his burger and fries, and an empty plate awaited him when he returned from his break. In disgust he cursed at them and headed out the door. Several people from our group followed him—without paying for their meals. I, somehow, wasn’t one of the scofflaws. By the time I had finished paying and hurried after my brethren, I found Motown a half block away with his shirt off, standing face-to-face with a scrawny random kid (SRK).
Walking up the street after Chief, Motown had bumped into SRK, who was with his girlfriend and another scrawny guy. Words were exchanged, Motown took off his shirt (standard prefight protocol for natives of his hometown Monessen, PA) and the faceoff had ensued. BBB, in his grinning, happy-drunk stage, pushed past Motown and got in front of SRK. Then, with one of his big, meaty hands, he palmed SRK’s face and lightly pushed him backwards. Some of you, out there in the blogosphere, may think of this as an aggressive act; however, if you research drunken fat guy behavioral patterns, you’ll find that this is a common deed of diplomacy amongst the species, meant to dissuade hostile activity.
BBB’s tactic had its desired effect, as the jolt seemed to help remind SRK that he and his friend were outnumbered threefold by guys quite larger than either of them. He backed down, and we convinced BBB and Motown to head down the block. When we got to the corner, however, we heard the ever-familiar “WHOOP-WHOOP.” Two police cruisers rushed onto the scene, which sent everyone scattering. Most of my crew instinctively ran for cover—it had been our friends, after all, who had incited just about every last part of the altercation. But after they jumped out of their cars, the cops chased down…SRK and his friend. SRK himself was tackled on the steps of a nearby building, and the officer kept a knee in his back as he cuffed his wrists together. Watching the scene, SRK’s girlfriend sobbed to Baby Joey, “It’s his 19th birthday, and now he’s going to jail!” Joey, in response, was cold as ice:
Baby Joey [calmly]: “Oh well—shouldn’t have been drinking.”
We collected ourselves at Esq’s Jeep in the parking garage, and quickly realized we were without BBB. Butters gave us the scoop: When the police showed up, he and BBB were standing on the corner. A group of strangers—a guy and two girls—were getting into a car, and offered to take BBB and Butters out of there. BBB hopped into the backseat, expecting to turn and see Butters getting in behind him. Instead he saw Butters still standing on the sidewalk, staring at him as the door closed and the car sped off.
At the time, BBB didn’t own a cell phone. So, to recap: he’s in a car full of strangers, in a town in Virginia where he’s never been before, not sure where the car is going, with no way to contact his boys. And his fun was just beginning. But more on that later.
Mrs. Motown, knowing when to call it a night, took her boyfriend home. Esq decided to take Butters, Joey, Chief, and I over to the UVA campus. Things were surprisingly quiet though, and we only spent about 15 or so minutes talking to a couple of his friends outside of a frat house. The excursion was fruitless, aside from Esq accidentally stepping off the porch and rolling his ankle. He crumpled to the ground, giving the impression to a casual observer that he had been taken down by sniper fire. To this day we joke about the other four of us running over to him and carrying him to the car like soldiers removing a wounded comrade from the battlefield.
It was around 2 a.m.; we’d lost two (Motown & the Missus), had one M.I.A. (BBB), and one man wounded (Esq), and we’d retreated to our base (Esq’s apartment). War is hell.
And it wasn’t over yet. Esq and Baby Joey each went to bed, but Butters, Chief, and I had one good mission left in us. Being single young men in the prime of our lives, and knowing that there was a large state college full of nubile ladies less than a mile away, we decided to take action. Esq lived with his girlfriend, Dr. Kelly (though she was out of town that night); and, this being mid-February, there was an opened box of chocolates sitting on the kitchen counter that he had given to her for Valentine’s Day. In the refrigerator, we found a half-empty box of wine (a Dr. Kelly favorite). Armed with these two items, we piled into Butters’ car, and we headed out on a wool hunt.
What happened over the course of the next two hours—in fact, even what happened from 20 minutes before this—is forever washed from my personal recollection by alcohol and sleep. Butters is the only one of us to fully remember that voyage (lucky for us, then, that he was the one driving). I, on the other hand, woke up around 4 a.m. with my head against the window, riding shotgun down the freeway towards the Hardee’s star. We had stalked around the UVA campus, looking for women to entice with our wine and chocolates. Our search came up short, though. At one point (I’m told), we stopped at a light and I yelled out to an individual walking down the street, “SHOW ME YOUR SQUIRREL!”
Butters: “Dude, that’s a guy.”
Me: *pause* “SHOW ME YOUR GIRLFRIEND’S SQUIRREL!”
Not long thereafter I fell asleep, only shortly after Chief did the same in the backseat. Butters was then left alone to navigate his way through the Virginia blackness back to Esq’s. He of course got lost, and I awoke just as our journey through Charlottesville and its surrounding towns and wilderness was coming to an end. When we walked back into Esq’s and all fell down for the night (morning) on the couches and floor, BBB was still nowhere to be found.