Alcohol’s a hell of a drug.
On the last Saturday of February, I set out for Dupa and TK’s place with a firm agenda for the night. Three separate birthday celebrations were taking place (Gaelic Gangsta’s, Hollywood’s, and one for my friend “Nitschke”); we had put together an elaborate game plan, wherein Dupa would drive all of us first to GG’s party in the South Hills, and then over to the South Side where the other two parties were to be located. It wasn’t until I awoke on a couch the next morning that I realized I hadn’t been to any of the three parties, or even to the South Side. What kept me from honoring the promises I’d made to the hosts of each party? Well…
When I arrived at Dupa and TK’s apartment armed with a case of Labatt Blue, the gents were playing a game of dominos. Their living room was sans-TV at the time, and to fill the entertainment void they were using dominos, cards, the radio, and—of course—booze. Dupa was drinking the last of a bottle of Belvedere, while TK mixed together tequila and Red Bull…
At his suggestion, I tried a bit of this new concoction; I have to say, it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be. True, it tasted like gasoline, which is what I expected; but it was more of a midgrade 89 octane, instead of a regular 87. If a mixologist were to use a top shelf tequila, like Patron, I imagine the mixture might even push the 93 octane envelope. Halfway through a game of “Up and Down the River,” as the drinks and chugs became more plentiful, TK’s common sense finally kicked in; he abandoned his new booze blend for the cans of Labatt that Dupa and I were now polishing off in quick succession.
The card games—we followed “Up and Down the River” with several rounds of “Asshole”—were having an unforeseen consequence, though: Dupa, our driver, was losing at everything, and was therefore crushed. My car was wounded, and I was keeping the mileage to a minimum until it was fixed; as so, I had been quickly working myself into a stupor as well. And TK? Well, seconds after we called an end to the cards, TK announced that it was time for him to do a Stuntman Shot…
He even asked that I get it on camera, in hopes of making it onto Tosh.0. As the camera rolled, he snorted salt, tossed back a shot of tequila, and squeezed lime juice into his eye (these are my friends…). Dupa and I roared with laughter, as the realization that squirting lime juice in your eye really isn’t such a great idea seemed to come over TK, who nearly doubled over in pain. For your viewing pleasure, click here.
And all of this was just the pregaming. With all three of us sufficiently soluble, we changed our means of transportation: we hopped on the T (Pittsburgh’s light rail transit) with the few cans of Labatt left stashed in our pockets, and headed to Station Square, where a fourth birthday party was in progress—this one being held for our friend “Wildcard.”
We joined up with Wildcard and his entourage at Buckhead [a birthday party at Buckhead? It all feels so familiar…], where the birthday boy was already three sheets to the wind. Wildcard isn’t the largest guy in the world; in fact, he’s often one of the smallest in the room. So watching him bound around the club, drunk off his ass on birthday shots, he bared a striking resemblance to a leprechaun. He was hardly an imposing figure…which may be exactly why he came oh so close to sparking a fight.
Buckhead is far from a dive, and I don’t want to sound like a snob. That being said… A wedding party was there that night, complete with the bride in her gown and the groom in his tux. “Classy with a capital ‘K’,” as Dupa would say. The math on this one seems fairly obvious, especially if you know my friends and/or me. Drunken birthday boy + wildly-out-of-place wedding party = a bride getting freaked from behind by a leprechaun. Wildcard’s drunk had manifested itself into a bit of ADD, though, and shortly after he began dancing with the bride, he was bouncing off again across the bar.
Enter the night’s wannabe tough guy. “Wannabe” was a smaller guy with the wedding party, in his mid-to-late thirties, about 5’9”, and far from muscular. In fact, pudgy and wearing glasses, he more than likely would have been the least threatening male around, if it weren’t for the magical slurring leprechaun with ADD who was running around the club. And, as this was likely the closest he’d ever come to being the “Alpha male,” Wannabe decided to take advantage of the situation.
Unfortunately for him, though, his lack of experience in wearing tough guy pants was readily apparent, especially when it came to his tactics. If, in a club full of people, there is only one guy that you feel like you can intimidate and/or beat in a fight, you don’t wait until he has wandered off to talk shit. And, in his absence, you certainly don’t talk your nonsense to me, who is much more clear-headed (and, let’s not forget, much larger).
Wannabe accused Wildcard of saying something derogatory to the bride before he left. When I asked him what Wildcard had said, though, he couldn’t come up with an answer. All he knew was that Wildcard had somehow offended the bride and groom. Our words—his consisting of, “Fuck that” and the like, and mine consisting of, “Just shut the fuck up and get the fuck out of my face”—gradually got louder, and attracted the rest of the wedding party. While some of their friends pushed Wannabe back, the bride and groom themselves came over to talk to me.
Groom: “What’s going on?”
Me: “Did my friend do anything to offend either of you?”
Bride: “No, not at all.”
Me: “Thank you. Tell your friend that. Congratulations on the wedding.” *turns around and walks off*
While all of this was going on, my friends had found another source of entertainment in the forms of three older blonde women at the corner of the bar. All three seemed nice enough, though only two of them were truly MILFs. Of those two, the shorter one was a favorite of Dupa and Wildcard, especially when they found out that she was going through a divorce. While the boys applied their charms—Wildcard’s ADD was still in full effect, but he would stop to dance with “Divorcee” when he came past—I opened up a tab at the bar and ordered myself a drink.
As the bartender was handing me my gin & tonic, Wildcard swept by on one of his laps, and started randomly dancing in front of some girls who were walking past. Their lack of amusement was evident, especially to the bartender and me. I looked back at him, and could see in his eyes that he was calculating how much drunker he was going to allow my friend to be before he called over the bouncers. “You know what,” I said, rethinking the likelihood that I’d be in the club all the way to closing time, “I’m going to close that tab after all.” He agreed that it was likely a wise move, and brought me my receipt.
Amazingly, though, Wildcard managed to keep himself from catching the proverbial hook for the rest of the night (though he did catch a literal one when, spotting him making a beeline towards the bride on yet another pass, I reached out and yanked him over to the bar with the rest of us; he looked at me momentarily bewildered, and then ran off in another direction, grinning sloppily yet again). As the lights came up we were still chatting up the First Wives Club, I having found the taller of the two MILFs to be more my speed. I shared some of my tales of woe from my embattled relationship with The Ex, and she listened with a mixture of pity and astonishment. She showed no signs of wanting to stray from her husband, though—such a waste. She and her friend also gave me a quick heads-up when Divorcee was out of earshot: her soon-to-be ex-husband is a powerful man in the area—powerful enough for me to have heard of him—with serious mob connections. When I found a moment alone with Dupa, who was still entertaining thoughts of ringing her back into the world of singlehood, I quickly passed along this information. “So what you’re saying is ‘Don’t get myself killed’? Gotcha.”
As we departed from the bar and our new cougar friends at close, Tall MILF and the non-MILF gave me words of encouragement, telling me how I deserve a great girlfriend [Note: this is what my life has become; instead of taking women home, I get pep talks from them about how I deserve some OTHER great woman…*sigh* fml].
It being after 2 a.m. on a Saturday night, it was time for that great game played around the city of Pittsburgh each weekend: Can You Catch That Cab? TK, Dupa, and I spread out at Station Square’s main entrance, trying to optimize our chances of hailing a cab. After 5 minutes, though, I had already started having flashbacks to the end of my Saturday night in DC a few weeks prior. Frustration had begun to set in for TK as well, as he laughingly commented, “I need help!”
Enter “Blankman”. A random guy standing near us grabbed TK’s arm, and started pulling him towards the Sheraton. As I watched with a look of confusion matched only by the one on TK’s face, Blankman announced to some friends of his, “Hey, this guy said he needs help!” Dupa and I ran over to reclaim our boy, explaining to Blankman’s friends that we were just trying to find a cab. As we walked off to another spot to continue our taxi hunt, Blankman began following us all the more urgently, insisting that TK—who was now cowering behind us, afraid of his would-be hero—was in trouble. The other guys finally stopped Blankman and dissuaded him from his caped crusader ways as they dragged him back towards the hotel.
TK: “What’s going on?”
Me: *arm up, focusing on approaching cab* “He thinks we’re trying to rape you.”
Dupa spotted a jitney cab driver, and negotiated for him to take us back to the apartment. We were barely out of Station Square when we amended the terms to include a stop at McDonalds along the way. The next morning I awoke on the couch, staring at the scene in this picture (above right), which I took in an attempt to wrap my aching head around the total WTFness of the prior 12 hours. [Note: I just now noticed the question "What's the secret?" written on the side of the bag, which is just so perfectly appropriate.]
It’s been over a month now, and I still can’t quite figure it all out. Tequila, dominos, a Stuntman, a drunk leprechaun, a wedding party, a confrontation, MILFs, the mafia, TK being “rescued”, and stopping at Mickey D’s at 2:30 a.m. in the back of a jitney.
And this…is what we do.