Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Sunshine State [Day 2]


Friday, May 26

I awoke in a panic, as I wandered from room to room in the dark, looking for a bathroom. I opened a door and found a closet. Behind another door and I found Dupa snoring in his bed. After what felt like hours, I realized I was in our condo. In Florida. And I was really, really hungover.

Lucidity was slowly reacquainting itself with me. I was missing my left sock. A wad of ones sat on my dresser. I vaguely remembered vomiting in a parking lot. I made a mental note to check my shoes and shorts later for collateral damage. [Note: Not a spot on them! It’s almost as if I’ve done this before.]

I felt a tinge of embarrassment. Any guy does when he’s thrown up in front of his buddies. When you’re that guy, you feel like you’ve let everyone down. I found the bathroom, flipped up the seat, and as I pissed I realized that there were flecks of something all around the bowl.

Dupa hurled, too.” Then my struggling brain fully processed this information. “I’m not the only one.” A sizeable grin spread across my face as I washed my hands and hobbled back to bed.

A couple of hours later, I was still the only one in the condo awake. I’d showered and shaved before Dupa shuffled into the living room, plopped down in the leather armchair, and joined me in watching tv.

Me: “Did you vomit last night?”
Dupa: “I’ll clean it up.”
Me: “I did too, in the parking lot outside the strip club.”
Dupa: “Ha! I didn’t even make it inside. As soon as I got out of the Uber I ordered one of my own.”

The same driver who had dropped us off had taken the request, and swung back around to pick him up. Then he had to talk to Dupa the whole way to the condo to keep my Polish comrade from throwing up right there in the car.

We’re both adults, by the way.

Ton had texted me around 9 a.m. to ask if we wanted to go fishing with the rest of the boys. It took me until 12:30 to respond, but I’d wager he knew my answer well before that. It hardly mattered anyways, since their fishing boat encountered engine trouble shortly into the trip, and they had to head back for land. A Snapchat video of Ton, TK, Balls, and Tiger Blood smiling and partying as the boat charged out into the Gulf was immediately followed by a subdued one of them puttering back shortly thereafter.

About an hour later Dupa and I were meeting up with the guys at Bubba Gump’s. Just being out in the sunshine on a deck overlooking the bay was doing wonders for me. I couldn’t say the same for TK, who sat opposite me at the table, looking shell-shocked. Our waitress, upon first seating him, had unabashedly commented, “You look terrible.” It was an astute observation.

Hemsworth, for the record, hadn’t even made it out of his hotel bed. When Ton texted him about lunch, his full response was, “No.”

Catching up on how everyone else’s night had ended was a therapy session in and of itself.
  • TK gave the full account of making it rain:

    Tiger Blood handed him $100 in ones and they walked over to the edge of a stage. He then told the dancer to spin on the pole.

    Dancer: “No.”
    Tiger Blood: “I’m paying you money. Get on the pole so we can make it rain on you.”
    Dancer: “No.”
    Tiger Blood: *to TK* “Fuck this bitch, we’re not giving her shit. We’ll spend our money on the next dancer. *a moment passes* Fuck it. *tosses dollars in the air and walks away*”

  • Ton, meanwhile, had a different kind of difficulty with a woman.

    Me: “Did I imagine it, or was Mrs. Ton there?”
    Ton: “She was there. I didn’t want her to come out, because I knew we’d end up getting into a fight. And I was right.”

  • Tiger Blood called an escort service when he got back to his hotel room. But he got tired of trying to negotiate a reasonable price, so he gave up on it and went to bed.

We inhaled tall drinks, fried seafood platters, sandwiches, and burgers. Dupa and I had arrived later, and our food orders were about 10 minutes behind everyone else’s. I claimed Ton’s burger for myself as it was delivered to the table, without a second thought or a shred of a fuck given. Bachelor party hangovers are an every-man-for-himself blood sport.

After lunch Tiger Blood and I were talking to a cashier and the manager. When we told them that we’d been out for our friend’s bachelor party the prior night, the manager said, “Ah, so you guys went hard last night.” Then, pointing at me, she added, “I can tell.”

Still, we were the only two interested in doing a bit more day drinking, and we walked to Hooters for a beer […and maybe in futile hopes of running into Svana again]. The groom, Ton, and Balls left to prepare for the rehearsal dinner. Dupa went back to the condo to sleep more.

He awoke a couple of hours later, ambling out to the living room to find me watching River Monsters. Our friend Shafe arrived in town and had immediately begun texting Dupa, who told him we’d meet him at the bar in 30 minutes. Two hours later we strolled into The Hut Bar and Grill, and found Shafe pounding Bud Heavies with a chip on his shoulder.

The Hut was my kind of place. Right on the water, live music, an engaging bartender, and hard-hitting Hurricanes. I put back four with dinner, while Dupa did five and a LandShark, and Shafe drained Bud bottles like an ancient Aztec priest performing sacrifices on the steps of a temple. In other words, things were just like you’d expect them to be.

When the rehearsal dinner ended, the participants headed for Daiquiri Shak and instructed us to do the same. When we got there, we found them to have largely taken over the deck in front of the building. We grabbed seats at a nearby table, ordered ourselves beers, and jumped right into the flow. And I got some face time with my favorite University of Alabama alum (sorry Amari, you’ll have to settle for second).

Tide was tipsy, and had the look of a woman both relieved everything was finally happening and stressed that it wasn’t all over yet. Still, relief seemed to be her dominating emotion, as she kicked back with some beers and entertained us. Inevitably, she delivered the quote of the night.

Tide: “I told my mom, ‘I can’t wait to finally have sex!’ She rolled her eyes and said, ‘Oh shut up.’ I have a past life; I used to be a bit of a hoe…”

A random local from a table near ours made her presence known. Blonde, 40+, and wearing her standard-issue Florida jorts, she jumped up and did her best embarrassing-aunt-at-the-family-picnic dance. Not the least bit apologetic, she explained to us, “It’s Friday. You’ve gotta let loose!”

My immediate reaction was, “She’s the female version of Dupa.” I can’t honestly remember if I was the first one of us to say it, though, because Mrs. Ton and Tide both made the same observation. We may have all said it simultaneously. Dupa saw it too. He stared in awe, occasionally putting the corner of his phone in his mouth for lack of a verbal reaction. I know the man well, and those are the telltale signs of him being flummoxed.

Our group was soon joined by four of the girls from the bachelorette party we’d met at CJ’s the night prior. Balls had made a connection with one of the bridesmaids, and invited her and her friends to come hang. It occurred to me for the first time that they were all blonde. And hot. And, as often happens when you have four beautiful young blondes at your table, we suddenly had a douchey pest hovering around us.

Looking like the least popular member of a boy band [“JC Nahsez?” “FuckBoy?” Yeah, let’s go with FuckBoy.], he interjected himself into our consciousness by making an unsolicited response to one of our comments. As we paused to ask ourselves “Who the fuck is this guy?” he zeroed in on the blondes, grabbing a chair and pulling it over close to two of them.

We shrugged off the intrusion, figuring he was the girls’ burden to bear. But when he disappeared for a moment, we asked them what his deal was. “I don’t know,” one of them said. “He’s annoying.” When he came back around, the ladies gave him a cold shoulder. He tried to save face by buddying up to my boy Billy, who in turn told him, “You should probably just walk away.” FuckBoy reluctantly accepted his fate, and extended his hand in my direction, looking for a handshake. I just stared at him.

FuckBoy: “You’re not going to shake my hand?”
Me: “Nah.”

I think he yelled “fuck you” or something as he walked away, I don’t know. He didn’t matter.

We resumed our various conversations and drinking. With the next day being a big one, though, most of us started clearing out around 1 a.m. I was one of them, strolling off down the street—our condo was only a block away. And I hummed a tune as I did.

After all, it was Friday. You’ve gotta let loose.

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