Saturday, January 24, 2015
We're Not For Everyone (Day 2)
[Click here for Day 1, Pt. 2]
Saturday, March 22nd
I hate sunlight.
When I awoke, there were only four of us still in the room. MoFo had left, and I struggled for a moment to remember if he’d followed the annoying chicks out the door before I’d passed out. Before long he returned—showered, shaved, and carrying two extra large pizzas. Game. The fuck. On.
As we worked through the shower rotation, the first three of us were cleaned and dressed by the time Trip had even gone into the bathroom. To show our displeasure with his holding us up (we wanted to get to a bar to watch Pitt’s tourney game), we employed a tactic that both avenged our suffering and tidied up the room a bit.
After grabbing every open beer bottle we could find in the room—and trust me, there were plenty—one-by-one we walked into the bathroom, announced, “Sorry Trip, gotta get rid of these” and poured the stale brews into the tub as he showered. Have you ever been engulfed by rotten, flat beer fumes heated and carried on the wings of choking plumes of steam? The sounds of cursing and gagging streamed out from behind the shower curtain and echoed through the hotel room, where four assholes laughed hysterically.
Still, that didn’t make Trip move any faster. Hurley volunteered to stay behind with him, so MoFo, T.C., and I marched through the downtown streets to The Raleigh Times. We made our homes on three barstools, and were introduced to one of the true natural wonders of this world: Cass, a brunette bartending angel with beautiful, piercing eyes.
As I charged myself up with a Vodka Red Bull and perused a menu, I made the mistake of speculating loud enough for MoFo and T.C. to hear me. “I’m not real hungry, but I should eat…maybe I’ll just have a salad.” This gave my friends the opening they didn’t need to begin disparaging my manhood, and Cass effortlessly joined in. For an angel, she really knows how to shove a pitchfork up your ass.
In an effort to redeem myself in her eyes, I switched my lunch order to a big sandwich, and my drink order to a whiskey soda. In all honesty, it was partly a plea for Cass’ respect, and partly a coping mechanism to handle Pitt’s thrashing at the hands of Florida. Hurley and Trip had finally joined us, and being ahead in our betting—and drinking—was all that brought us any solace. Well, Cass helped too. Especially her Wet Pussy.
…okay, I may need to explain that.
After a few rounds, Hurley was in search of something new to try. Cass offered up a specialty cocktail she had created. It was sweet and frothy, with a hint of peach, and guaranteed to satisfy. She called it a…okay, I think you’re caught up now.
We all took turns tasting Cass’ Wet Pussy…*pauses…thinking*…as we learned more about her. She was originally from New Jersey. She had a dog. She also worked at Cornerstone. She’d be slangin’ drinks down there that night, in fact. We stored that last tidbit in the back of our minds for future use, and thanked her for her…as we headed out the door.
Next up was Flying Saucer. Between the lively Saturday afternoon crowds, line of taps that stretched across the room, ceiling covered with plates featuring witty comments, and busty bartender whose neighborhood had been robbed of all bras that morning, we found plenty to keep our attention.
I started with a draught, and settled in at the bar. But Saucer was running a special on Moscow Mules, which led to T.C. babbling about them like a vacationing soccer mom. Expert mixology connoisseur that I am (shut up!), I schooled him on the “so yesterday-ness” of the latest drinking trend to hit your local T.G.I.Friday’s. And to give him a tangible example of how passé the Moscow Mule is, I asked Tits McGee to make me its Latin cousin.
The Mexican Mule is basically the same recipe as a Moscow Mule, but the tasteless vodka is replaced with flavorful, full-bodied tequila. The exquisite mixture dazzled my taste buds, but when I let T.C. try a grown man’s drink, he balked at tasting alcohol for the first time in his life. Whatever. I enjoyed the best drink in the house while I watched Hurley try to sneak a creep shot of Tits McGee, who remained so elusive that I’m convinced she knew what he was up to.
Trip had ended up seated at the bar next to a nice—albeit lonely—guy in his late 20s from Montana, named Derrick. And so, for the third time in 24 hours, Trip + booze + talking to strangers = “We are faaammmily…” When we decided to find another bar—which became a 10 minute walk across town—Derrick was along for the ride. Still, he was a lot more fun to talk to than the Clinger Sisters from Hibernian.
We parked ourselves at Big Mike’s BBQ next. A cute brunette named Jacqui came by to take our table’s drink orders, and immediately won our support with her smile and chill attitude. I pounded a few whiskey sodas and MoFo pounded some mouthwatering barbecue, while we held court and watched the comings and goings of this little bar/restaurant just down the street from Cornerstone.
…Why were we near Cornerstone, you ask? Oh, no reason. We weren’t, like, waiting for Cass’ shift to start or anything. *cough*
Besides, who needed Cass, when we had Jacqui taking care of us? A little firecracker, she entertained us with amusing remarks and made sure our glasses stayed full. And when my phone battery had neared its bottom, she took me up to the waitress’ station to plug it in. She was just an all-around cool chick.
Later, while checking my charging phone, I noticed Jacqui was visibly irritated as she totaled up the bill from another table. She said the bartenders and her boss were getting on her nerves. While I may not be a doctor, I do know of one surefire cure for stress. (Well, two, but…) When I offered her a shot…well, she didn’t say no.
The one caveat, she told us, was that waitresses weren’t allowed to drink while on duty. They still did, of course. But when they did shots, they snuck into the DJ booth in the corner, ducked down where the security camera couldn’t see them, and tossed it back. After she came back with a round of shots, we laughingly toasted to our “absent” waitress as we watched her crouch in the booth, several feet away. We did another round or two with her, even bringing in another cute waitress on duty for one; each time the people punching timecards hid in the DJ booth and then emerged looking more relaxed than they had when they walked in.
When we rolled out of there, quite a few hours after we’d rolled in, MoFo had Jacqui’s number saved in his phone and a promise from her that she’d catch up with us once her shift was over.
We piled into Cornerstone—minus Derrick, who had reached his full capacity for alcohol and high jinks in only a few hours of hanging with us (shocking). It didn’t take long to find Cass, who was hunkered down behind the bar on the deck, with thirsty frat bros yelling drink orders at her. My boys felt a little disrespected that she didn’t run up and embrace us. I’m not sure what they expected; personally, I was just happy that she seemed to recognize us, and gave us a quick smile before turning back to the frat bros.
Not that I would have been capable of understanding who was recognizing me at that time. I remember seeing Jacqui, briefly, when she caught up with us. But aside from that, I was browning out badly. By some unsubstantiated accounts (it takes more than four people to substantiate, dammit), yours truly was sleeping on his feet while standing at the bar. I could point to the sleep deprivation to which I’d exposed myself in the previous 48 hours, the six or so hours of sleep I’d countered it with the night before, and the copious amounts of alcohol that Cass, Jacqui, and others had poured for me that day as justification for catching a little shuteye (while not falling over or spilling any drinks, by the way), but I’ll politely digress.
What I do remember is feeling one of those “I need to strike out on my own” moments, and heading out into the North Carolina night. My goal was finding the hotel, but it was going to take the help of Google Maps before I would reach my destination. I think I found every junkyard in Raleigh along the way. I was so lost, in fact, that Hurley left 15 to 20 minutes later than me and was texting me from outside of our hotel room while I worked my way home. Seems I had a room key and he didn’t. Sucks to be him. I had Raleigh junkyards to tour!
At some point I found my way back to the main strip, where our hotel was. When Hurley sent me another text asking where I was, I snapped a picture of a kabob stand and sent it to him. He responded by saying that he’d just eaten the remains of the burger someone had left on their room service tray, outside of their room. Check, and mate.
[To be continued...]