Bub’s is the most college thing about this North Carolina “college” town.
Chapel Hill is really just a gated community disguised as a college campus. Lush, green foliage and the smell of lush, green cash dominate the landscape. Bars like Top of the Hill, with its modern, polished oak décor and tie-wearing bartenders, typically aren’t found within spitting distance of college kids—either geographically or economically. Bub’s, on the other hand, is the dirty, smoky corner bar with the cheap, strong drinks and battered arcade games that regular students at regular schools have always gravitated towards. The bar those of us who weren’t born with a college tuition receipt tucked into the pocket of a pair of Louis V. boat shorts have always called home.
I ordered myself a Jack & Coke and settled in. MoFo has spent quite a lot of time at Bub’s, and played up the man-about-town role with aplomb, shaking hands and talking to people like he’d grown up just down the street from them. He BS’d with the owner. He BS’d with locals. He was absolutely relishing this opportunity to show off “his” world.
While we watched all of this from the bar, T.C. pointed down to my drink; it looked small and flaccid next to his. He, Hurley, and Trip had made a similar trip to Raleigh last year. And of all the stories that were repeated and referenced ad nauseam prior to that moment, the one that had gotten the most spins was about how the guys had stopped at Bub’s for “one drink,” and subsequently wiled away an entire day there. “You gotta do a double at Bub’s,” he said, ordering up another Rum & Coke double. Captain, my captain. I tossed back the rest of my drink and ordered myself a double.
That, unfortunately for MoFo, was the last helpful tip T.C. would provide that night. Bub’s has a frequent drinker program, wherein each time you order a different bottle from their ample selection, they punch a little card for you. 50 punches gets you honor, respect, and your name on a plaque on the wall. MoFo’s name appears on that plaque. Twice. At the time, he was working on #3, and at the bottom of a bottle he asked T.C. for a suggestion on what to order next. The bartender gave him a list, and unfamiliar with the name, T.C. called for him to serve a bottle of Crispin to our buddy. Crispin, however, is a “hard” apple cider. MoFo shook his head, drank down the light, fruity beverage like he’d promised, and cursed T.C. the whole way through.
After several rounds, we decided to finish the night back in the Raleigh area, so MoFo could put away his car keys and get as serious as the rest of us about his boozing. I mean, he already drives with reckless abandon when he’s sober, and he’s got the type of career that would disintegrate into dust were the slightest hint of a DUI to show up on his record. And he’d had a few at Bub’s. And—*whoop-whoop*…
Navigating the surface roads on the way out of Chapel Hill, a trooper’s blue lights sprung to life out of the darkness. MoFo dutifully pulled over to the side of the road, and we speculated on his odds. MoFo wasn’t intoxicated, by our less-than-scientific standards of measurement. A cop’s opinion, of course, might differ. To his credit, the homie was calm, and somewhat confused about why he was being stopped at all. “I wasn’t even going that fast!”
The cop walked up to the driver’s window, and began speaking before he’d even shined a light into the truck. “MoFo, what the fuck are you doing?”
MoFo: “[Cop]! What’s up, man?”
Cop: “I spotted your ass doing like 75 in a 40. Slow the fuck down, man!”
MoFo: “I was doing 75?”
Cop: “Man, we’re out here snatching people. Slow it down.”
MoFo: “My bad, man. My boys are in town, I’m just taking them back to Raleigh.”
Cop: “Cool, cool. I’ll catch up with you later.”
MoFo: “Aight. Hey, good lookin’ out, man!”
Cop: “No problem.”
Maybe there was something to MoFo’s feelings of familiarity with the natives of this area, after all. Or, as someone (I think Hurley) put it once MoFo’s window had gone back up: “…are you fucking kidding me?”
Once we’d reached Raleigh, and MoFo had pocketed his keys for the night, the air felt electric. He led us to Natty Greene’s, with a basement bar full of relaxed people drinking and easing into the night. I seem to remember doing a shot at this bar, though what it was—or whether it happened at all—is anything but a firm memory. Then, while T.C., Trip, Hurley, and I jumped on a shuffle hockey table (coolest guys in the bar? *awkward thumbs up*) MoFo found a group of girls.
we were less than optimistic.
It didn’t deter MoFo, though. Instead he strolled over to their table and introduced himself. After several minutes of small talk with the lesbian and her lesbian-for-the-time-being girlfriend, MoFo rejoined us—alone. The table of ladies had decided against accompanying us in our move to the next bar. Shocking.
We walked to Hibernian Irish Pub, where pretty people buzzed everywhere in a library-like motif that left the standing room strategically minimized in some places. Shrinking the area around a bar leads to strangers being forced into close proximity. That leads to a shlammered, 5’7” brunette beauty in heels turning to her right, seeing me a foot away from her, and saying bluntly, “I bet you have a huge penis.” That then leads to me being speechless for just long enough for her three girlfriends to drive block her down the stairs and out of
MoFo (who had been standing next to me) and I found the others standing out on the deck, and reported the experience. The others, of course, immediately headed back to the scene of the crime, trying to find this gal, despite the futile attempts by MoFo and me to restate the part of the story where she got pulled away by her friends. What we found instead was a different group of women, this one nowhere near as attractive or interesting as the first (granted, “I bet you have a huge penis” are the only words I heard anyone in the first group of girls say; but you can’t deny that that’s pretty damn interesting).
Two of the girls (“Participation Award” and “Eager Beaver”) clamped down like a mousetrap when these five handsome older men came strolling within their reach, and were instantly in our faces with lame conversation. T.C. and Trip were drunk, which meant T.C. and Trip were the friendliest guys in the
A block or two down the street we discovered Cornerstone, a bar built around the concept of the house party. Such a simple idea, yet this was the first I’d ever seen it brought to life. With the layout of a frat house, it was a crowded bar featuring various rooms. Each room had a bar and a crowd, as did the back deck. Fucking. Party. Here MoFo found an old friend who the others had met last year when ____ _______ it __ ___ _____ of the _____ ____ where ____ were all _______, IN FRONT __ _____.
[When I’m a billionaire and can financially compensate my friends for what they’d lose due to awesome stories getting published, I’ll fill in those blanks.]
From Cornerstone, MoFo, Hurley, and I set off in search of food. When we realized that the snack stands and restaurants on the same block as our hotel were closed, Hurley headed back to the room while MoFo and I pressed on. Soon enough we found a guy with a hot dog cart, making a killing on a corner as people lined up for street meat. He soon made four more sales, and my buddy and I were double-fisting kielbasa sandwiches as we strolled back to the hotel.
Any joy I’d gained from cramming food into my drunken vessel on the way back to the room was obliterated, though, by hearing familiar voices coming from inside as I pulled my keycard from my wallet. I looked at MoFo and said, “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.” Sure enough, we opened the door to find the annoying chicks from Hibernian sitting in the room.
This was a foul. A huge one. You don’t bring annoying chicks back to the room you’re sharing with your boys, unless (A.) they’re hot, and/or (B.) you plan on doing god’s work. Neither A. nor B. was going on here. T.C. and Trip tried to claim they had let them come back for MoFo and me. Bullshit. They got stuck talking to two drunk chicks who were giddy from the thought of finally getting a piece, and couldn’t muster up the balls to tell the girls to fuck off.
I looked at Hurley, who was sitting up in his bed looking bothered, and he just shrugged his shoulders. Neither MoFo nor I acknowledged the trespassers. I changed into gym shorts and got into a bed, nearly pushing Eager Beaver off the foot of it in the process. MoFo sat down in a chair and finished his second sandwich. Hurley and I didn’t lower our voices at all as we exchanged various versions of, “This is bullshit!” and "Why the fuck are they here?" Sensing our displeasure, the girls finally left.
Trip and T.C. would get clowned for the rest of the trip. It was only right.
[To be continued...]