As I told him, the promise I made was that I wouldn’t tell his *wife*, not anyone else, and ever since that transvestite girl, I mean guy, uhm...*thing*...showed up at his house and spilled the beans to Donna, well, there’s no point in trying to protect *her* anymore. Not one to countenance threats well, I *spit* in prez’s yellow, sallowed face and disclose what happened the following day, July 4, 1998, and make no apologies for my previous post, which Set the Record Straight.
The faithful reader may well recall that when a severely hungover prez awoke that Saturday morning, he immediately started in on me with, Where the h*ll are my socks? and What’d you do with my socks, bud? I, of course, had no idea what he was talking about. I figured that either (1) he was still ripsh!t from the previous day’s bender (which turned out to be true), or (2) he mistook his socks for the several condoms he went through with his transvestite buddy (which also turned out to be true). Anyway, doesn’t matter, because he didn’t really dwell on it at the time (although I note he *has* started to of late, continuing to accuse me in our private correspondence game chats of stealing these socks of his). (You’d think that a normal person who lost his socks would cry about it only if they were made of gold or pashmina or something, but prez’s were plain old white cotton, he claims. Just shows how cheap the guy is.) So he shuts up about the socks, finally, and then launches into me about how I coerced his last quarter out of him when I showed up at the ditch with the cab driver.
So I gave him a quarter, which seemed to satisfy him. Indeed, it did more than that--it’s like a whole, new prez awoke! He got all cheerful and happy and pleasant, even though it was about 6:30 in the morning, he looked like sh!t, his breath reeked of Huber beer (or was it hardboiled eggs? Still not sure....), his insane little dog had left a Big One in his loafer, and Donna’s mop-job wasn’t up to his expectations. So here’s a tip: if you ever visit the guy, carry around a couple of extra quarters at all times. When I think of all the hardship I could have avoided just by doling out a few cents to the guy....
Anyway, I digress. Sorry. prez gets his quarter refunded, he becomes a new man. He hops up, tosses me a leftover piece of rye bread, and asks me what I want to drink. I’m relieved that he’s acting like a human again, so I say, “Thank you! An orange juice, if you please!” He gets this big grin on his face like I’m his best friend or something (who knows? maybe I was!).
Meanwhile, the dog distracts me by biting me in the ankle (didn’t break the skin, though). prez saunters over with two orange juices and we pony-up to his computer. Says he logs on to Kaissa first thing every morning. He’s got his computer programmed to go straight to the Miscellaneous Bulletin Board--he doesn’t even have to do anything. It essentially boots up straight there. So there we are, looking at new posts, and he’s talking about how this one’s an @sshole, and that one’s a j@ckass, and how he hates this other one, etc. (Keep in mind, please, that I’ve known the guy for less than 24 hours, most of which he’s been stark-raving drunk throughout. I wonder to myself whether the guy’s still wasted from last night, but decide that it couldn’t be since it had been almost seven hours since he had passed out the night before after tripping on the garage steps. I figured even his kidneys could get a lot done in seven hours.)
It isn’t until prez has sucked down two-and-a-half glasses of orange juice that I finally take a swig of mine. I thought I would puke on the spot, because prez had filled at least a third of it with the few drops of Absolute that he hadn’t polished off the night before. I say, “Are you crazy??” I meant it, too. It was 6:35 in the morning! We had to drive over a hundred miles to attend the Kaissa Konvention that I had been coordinating for months! He nudges me with his elbow, says something about “hair of the dog, y’know” and “bygones” and gets up to get another for himself. I poured the contents of my glass into his other loafer while he was getting his next drink. Figured I could blame it on the dog.
My head was splitting from the previous night, so I kind of crashed out on the couch by his computer. I think I slept for an hour, maybe and hour-and-a-half. I was awakened by prez, who was hollering at the computer screen and typing like a mad man. “Take that, you b@stard!” he yelled and “So’s your mother, jerk!” There were a couple of empty beer cans on the floor beneath his chair, the room stinks of cigar smoke, the dog is looks like it’s passed out (I later noticed that the non-Big-Oned loafer was empty), and prez is polishing off the last of a big-@ss bottle of some weird brandy-type swill, p!ssing and moaning about how his deadbeat wife fails to restock the booze cupboard regularly enough. Says he’s just waiting around until 9:00 am, when the state liquor stores open. By about 8:40, he’s looking at his watch, tapping his foot, and he’s got his car keys all set. (Found out later that he had rifled through my wallet during the night to get some cash to use at the state store.) At 8:46, we’re out the door, prez having timed it exactly in light of his well-established knowledge that it takes 13 minutes to get to the liquor store from his house. (He explained that there was gave himself the extra minute to assure the first spot in line.)
As it happens, we passed the spot where he went into the ditch the previous night. He kind of boasts as we go by, saying, “Heh heh! There’s the scene of the crime!” As we drive by, I notice a couple of new-looking hubcaps and realize they’re mine! I say, “You dolt! Stop so I can get my hubcaps!” but he just punches it, “explaining” that if we stopped we’d be late to the liquor store. Says we’ll get them on the way back. There’s nothing I can do, since as he said this he used his left hand to trigger the automatic door lock switch. I wasn’t about to jump out of a moving care anyway, although I probably would’ve been better off doing it.
We get to the state store a minute early and to prez’s horror there’s some unshaven, smelly old guy, obviously one of those chronic alcoholic-types (like prez!), who’s already in line. prez literally runs from the parking lot to the front door, yells “Get the hell outta my way, Joseph” and pretty much bowls the guy over just as the store keeper unlocks the front door. Joseph slurs, “Geez, Mark, how often you gonna do that to me, huh, ya creep?” prez pays him no nevermind and rushes into the store. Since prez spent a good ten seconds muscling this Joseph guy out of the way, he was a couple of seconds late getting into the store, a fact which the proprietor did not fail to notice (“What took you so long, Mark?” he sneered. If looks could kill....).
prez didn’t bother responding (time was a-wasting) and went straight away to the shopping carts. Get this--he starts berating me because after he got a cart I didn’t get a *second* cart! He later explained that he only intended to drink one cart’s worth today, and that the second cart was for the cupboard, since his #$@!! wife did such a poor job of it. So there we are, wheeling two carts around this liquor store at 9:02 in the morning. prez is complaining about how Pennsylvania has set the price of Huber beer too high ($7.99/case). He loads up my cart with about a dozen bottles of Bombay Sapphire Gin, a few bottles of Wild Turkey, a couple of bottles of some weird, metal-capped wine he likes, and a case of Bass Ale, while he fills his own case with--I swear to god--nine cases of Huber beer. Oh yeah, and the bag of chips. As we’re headed to the check-out counter, me ahead, prez behind, prez yells, “Hey, Chris! Get a bottle of tonic for that gin, willya?” As I’m walking over to the freezer at the far end of the store, prez wheels his cart in front of mine and manages to pay the $71.92 for the Huber with the dough he swiped from me while I slept. He’s out the door by the time I get back to the counter, leaving me to cover the $490.51 worth of crap he had dumped into my cart.
By the time I get back into the passenger seat of his ragin’ Mark V, he’s gone through eight or nine five-dollar scratch tickets (also paid for with my money). He reaches around under his seat and comes up with a one-dollar scratch from New Jersey that he obviously scratched off months ago, and hands it to me. He says, “Here, I got this for you, but you took so long inside I got impatient and scratched it myself. Sorry, bud, you didn’t win anything. You know I would’ve given you the prize if you had, though, don’t you?” He doesn’t wait for a reply, and instead goes back inside to claim the five bucks that he managed to win off of one of the five-dollar scratch tickets he had just purchased. He returned a minute later with exactly five more dollars worth of Huber beer.
On the way back to his place he deliberately takes a different route so that he doesn’t have to waste VDT (Valuable Drinking Time) waiting for me to collect my two hubcaps.
Man, I’m tired. Relating all this to you, faithful reader, is wearing me down, having to relive such painful memories. Forgive me, please, if I discontinue for the moment. I’ll resume after I’ve calmed down a bit. There’s plenty more, believe me. We still have the whole Konvention to rehash, including the Ugly Hotel Bar Scene with Hel, Cheetach, bakunin, and ByteMe. More later, I promise.
Okay, I’ve calmed down a bit and am ready to continue. Where was I? Oh yes--out of my mind (for hanging out with this bizarre freak-fest otherwise known as prez).
As we close in on his house on our return from BoozeLand, I notice that we’ve missed the opportunity to go back and pick up my hubcaps. “Don’t sweat it, kid,” says prez over my protestations. “I got lots of ‘em in my garage. You can take your pick!” I say, Do you have any for a ‘96 Accord, fella? to which prez says, No, but I got’s comparables, believe you me! Well, I didn’t believe him, and well it was, although being right for once about him turned out to help me not a whit. True enough, he did have hubcaps (*boxes* of them, painstakenly stolen from hapless motorists over the course of years), but none “comparable” to match my missing two, as I learned after having to paw through dirty old boxes, cobwebs, dogsh!t (that dog goes *everywhere*!) and the like. prez assures me that we can swing by the “scene of the crime” (“Heh-heh!” repeats) on the way down to Philadelphia and get them then.
But he’s got more important things on his mind--namely, seeing how much of the booze we just bought he can either consume on the spot or stash in his trunk for the trip down to Philly. As to the former, he immediately starts in with a gin/Huber boilermaker (~~shudder!~~) and gets all huffy when I refuse his offer to have one. He drinks about six of these in the twenty minutes or so we have before our slated 10 am departure time, not to mention his downing the Boone’s Farm wine he (I, rather) got. As he’s doing this he’s talking about all the jerks who he hopes won’t show up at the Konvention, he’s packing four separate coolers full of booze (no space for food, he says), and he’s b!tching out his wife about the mopping and the empty (well, not any longer) liquor cabinet. Then he puts on his loafers. You never saw a guy holler so much! G*dd@mn this dog! and Sonab!tch hound! and Offtothef*ckingvetwithyoupoochie! All the hollering wakes the dog out of its near-comatose state. It staggers over to prez, who by now has whipped the contents of the loafer in a wide arc arc across the living room, clumsily lifts it’s leg and starts to “Mark” his territory, if you know what I mean! And I thought that prez was loud *before* that--well, I tell you, words simply don’t do that moment justice. All I can say is, Use your imagination based on what I’ve told you.
Of course, as I’ve said, prez is beside himself with fury--but not because of the dog, but because he spilled his boilermaker as he kicked poochie through the television screen. That’s when I sprung into action. I ran up to him and said, “Mark! Take it easy, dude! Here, have a quarter!” Well, the trick worked. prez took the quarter, and ... presto! ... turns into this completely mellow dude, no longer concerned about even his spilled drink. “Bygones,” he says as he saunters over to the counter to mix another. The situation was diffused, order restored. I found out later that the dog was just fine.
By this time it must’ve been pretty close to ten, and it was time for us to leave, since we were due in Philly at noon. We had previously planned that we would go down in prez’s car since it would be wasteful to take two cars since we were both coming back this way. But as I’m getting ready to get into his car, he says, Whattya think you’re doing? Can’t you see there’s no room for you what with the coolers and everything? ‘Fraid you’ll have to drive separately! By that time I had had enough and was practically grateful that I would get a couple of hours of respite from him while we drove down there. (Plus, I figured it was a safe bet that he’d wipe out and kill all the car’s occupants.)
We got in our respective cars, mine sans the two hubcaps, his loaded with booze. He had loaded up his trunk with a few of the cases of Huber which I thought he’d done to distribute among his fellow Kaissans. (But no, it was because he was too cheap to buy beers from the bar at the hotel. More on this later.) While I’m sitting in my car waiting for him to quit d!cking around, I notice this odor. Try to imagine: eau d’ transvestite ala prez. ~~shudder!~~ Then I notice the “socks” prez’s been claiming I failed to return to him (see hypothesis (2), far above), lying in their little destitute, limp, sickening way on my back seat. Then I notice all the empty beer cans, the cigar butts, the nudie mags . . . it was bad, I tell ya’. I shoved it all out of the passenger’s side door with a stick I picked up off the ground.
Finally prez finishes taking his inventory, he’s satisfied he’s sufficiently well-stocked (too bad we can’t say that about his manhood!) (at least, that’s what the transvestite told Donna; I’m pleased I don’t know personally), he’s in the car, he’s out the driveway, he’s down the road, he’s out of sight. Ten seconds, maybe less. He knows I don’t know the way. I’m sitting there in my car with Donna standing beside me (I had been thanking her for her hospitality when prez sped off) when it happened. I looked at her, and she just shrugged. He’ll be back, she says. Not because he’s left you behind, but because he’s left his favorite beverage holder behind (she holds it up for me to see). “That,” she says, “and the fact that he forgot to tell me to clean up the dog mess he spewed about the living room.”
Sure enough, about four or five minutes later, prez comes screeching back. He hops out of his car, races past us (as if nothing had happened), and runs inside. There’s all kinds of noise coming from inside the house--drawers being emptied, furniture being pushed around, expletives, the occasional “yelp” of the dog . . . finally he comes out, demanding to know where his favorite beverage holder is. Donna points to the roof of his car, where she had placed it while he was inside. Remarking on the wonder of nature (that it didn’t fly off while he was driving), prez grabs it, hops back in the car, rolls down the window, and yells, “D@mnit, Donna, there’s dog sh!t all over the house! Take care of it while I’m gone!” Then he’s in the car, he’s out the driveway, he’s down the road, he’s out of sight. Me left behind, again. Donna softly weeps. The dog comes out of the house, limping.
This time it takes prez about ten minutes to return. As he gets out of the car, two empty beer cans clatter to the ground. “What are you waiting for?” he cries. “Sheesh! Let’s *go* already! What’s wrong with you?” I get in my car, mumble an apology to Donna for the --ahem-- items I shoved out my car with a stick, tell her I enjoyed meeting her, and followed prez as he raced down the road to the big Konvention.
About a mile up the road prez pulls off to the shoulder and motions me to pull up alongside. “Want a beer?” he inquires. I decline. He shrugs his shoulders, tosses an empty onto the road, and peels out. I follow. Almost immediately, he pulls over to the side of the road again. “Sh!t!” he says. “Almost forgot. I need gas. Follow me!” He peels out again, does a quick U-turn in front of an oncoming pickup truck, and shoots off in the opposite direction. I’m able to follow him, however, because there was no traffic after the pickup.
As he pulled into the gas station, prez nipped the corner of the island, but no harm was done. Says he has to pee, and asks me to fill his tank for him while he’s doing his business. When he returns--about eight or nine minutes later--(said he *really* had to go), he busies himself rearranging his coolers. He’s shifting around, obviously hoping that I’ll go inside and pay. I don’t budge. Finally, he says, “Look, @sshole, I don’t have any money, all right? Just go pay. We’ll stop at an ATM on the way.”
By this time I had had enough of this nut. I’d already forked over six or seven hundred dollars, not to mention all the money he stole from me outright. I tell him to f*ck off, that I’m leaving, that I’ll find my own way to Philly, etc. I was angry, I tell you. Then he looks at me with those puppy-dog eyes of his, he says he’s sorry, he knows he gets a bit out of hand sometimes, do I want a drink?, that he’ll make it up to me, bleah, bleah bleah. I’m a softhearted guy, you know, it’s hard for me to hold a grudge, especially when the other guy is basically just a loser. I feel sorry for losers--often it’s not completely their fault. But I was still p!ssed about all the dough I’d dropped on this loser, and I wasn’t about to pay for his gasoline. I told him so and went inside to buy a diet Pepsi to nurse my hangover with.
As I’m paying for the soda, prez comes in and pays for the $18.00 or so worth of gas. The clerk hands him $82.00 in change from the Franklin he presented to her. He shrugs, and we leave the store. Quick as a flash, prez runs back inside and comes out with a fistful of five-dollar scratch tickets and one one-dollar scratch. “Friends?” he asks as he hands me the one-dollar scratch. I still have that ticket, unscratched, even today.
Just thinking about that gas station episode makes me mad. I need to go blow off some steam. I’ll continue this later. Stick around for the Ugly Hotel Bar Scene.
--St. csw the Compassionless
Okay, I’m back to normal (whatever that is) and have sufficiently regained my composure to continue on with the Sad Tale That Is prez.
Recall that as I left things, prez and I were at the gas station on our way to the Konvention. It was July 4, 1998, about 10:30 in the morning. prez had just tried to weasle even more free stuff from me, and in a conciliatory gesture offered me a one-dollar scratch ticket. I pick up the Sad Tale from there.
prez peels out. I’m not even in my car yet. Fortunately, there was a sign for the interstate only a mile or so up the road, and by driving 90 mph I was able to catch up with him. It was a sad sight, though. prez was drifting back and forth in his lane, overcorrecting, occasionally wandering off into the shoulder or the other lane of southbound traffic. Every once in a while an arm would appear out the driver’s side window and a beer can would be directed back at me. (I soon learned to leave several car lengths between us.)
We had only gone about fifteen of our one hundred miles when prez pulls into one of those all-purpose rest areas--y’know, the ones with the gas station, the convenience store, the two or three fast food restautants, the bathrooms, the dog-walkers. Says he’s hungry, he’s gotta pee again, and that he needs to restock his fast-dwindling beer supply. Gets all bent out of shape when I point out that rest areas don’t sell alcohol. How such a common fact could slip his mind escapes me (until I recall how blasted he was). Anyway, at this point his stomach was controlling his liver, so he reluctantly postpones (not abandons, mind you) his BeerQuest in favor of chow.
First, however, he is compelled to take a bathroom break. I kind of had to go to, so we went in together. prez sounded like if he’d been horizontal he could’ve actually lifted off, so ferocious was his urination. I left and waited in the lobby outside for six or seven minutes until he came out, complaining about the poor plumbing this facility had.
prez couldn’t decide whether he wanted BurgerKing or RoyRogers, so we go to both. At the BurgerKing, he’s ahead of me in line and he orders two of those super-size value meals. He didn’t ask me whether I wanted that or not, but still after everything I think it’s a nice gesture, so I don’t say anything. He pays without incident (surprise!) and we head over to the booth. As I sit down, he looks incredulously at me and say, “I thought you were hungry. Didn’t you get anything?” The two meals were for him. So back to the line I go, shaking my head in amazement.
By the time I returned to the booth, prez wasn’t there, and all that remained of his food were a few fries. In a minute, though, prez returned to the booth. He had gone to the car and returned with his pockets stuffed with beer cans. To disguise the ‘piff’ noise of opening the can’s pop-top, he coughed loudly at the moment he opened it, and then poured the beer into the soda cup (the contents of which previously he had surreptitiously dumped on the floor). After finishing those remaining fries, he bounded over to the RoyRogers and picked up a bucket of chicken, most of which he ate on the spot. I’ve never seen such an appetite. I’ve also never heard (or smelled! ~gag!~) such burps! Larger than life, echoing burps. prez can belt out parts of songs with his burps. At least two other diners left because of prez’s burps. Truly, if you ever meet him, ask him to burp for you. He’s magnificent, if gross.
So as we’re leaving the RoyRogers prez decides that he wants to stock up on necessities from the convenience store: cigars, a couple of condoms, another handful of scratch tickets (didn’t offer me one this time), a Penthouse, several bags of chips, a diet Coke, breath mints (about time, prez!), a Playgirl (says it’s for Donna), and one of those Harlequin romance novels (for the ride back, he says).
Back in the parking lot, prez rearranges the coolers and starts fretting about how he’s running low. He digs around his glove compartment and comes up with a map, which he opens on the roof of his Mark V. Problem: the map doesn’t clearly delineate the existence of liquor stores. prez gets all p!ssed off again, cursing the unthinking, narrow-minded mapmakers. Just then some poor old couple walks by and prez accosts them, demanding that they sell him their beer. Of course, they think they’ve just met the nut of the century. I kind of turn away, I’m so mortified. When they protest that they don’t have any beer, prez really flies off the handle. He can’t believe it. They must be lying! No beer? Unthinkable! C’mon, hand it over, you old f*cks! Horrified, they literally run away. The elderly woman falls down and scrapes up her knees and elbows. She starts crying, but gets up in a flash from fear of prez. They practically dive into their car and roar off in a spray of pebbles and little bits of refuse. prez calls after them: “Okay, OKAY! Then how do I get to the nearest state store??”
Because they’re now a quarter-mile away, they don’t reply. prez is hurt. “People are so rude these days,” he bemoans. “It’s just beer--you’d think I was a leper or something.” (I’ll never forget that line-- ‘you’d think I was a leper or something.’ I actually laughed out loud, despite everything I had just seen.) “F*ck them,” he says. “We’ll find it ourselves, won’t we Chris?”
What was I to do? Resistence was futile. In for a penny, in for a pound, I thought. What the h*ll. I just nodded. Sure, prez. We’ll find one.
We enter our respective cars again. It’s clear to me that we’re not going to be at the Adam’s Mark Hotel by noon, as I had so repeatedly posted on the Miscellaneous Bulletin Board. Helpfully, however, prez, evidently on his Beer Mission, tears off like a bat out of h*ll. I follow, as fast. Unhelpfully, prez almost immediately slams on the brakes, and it’s everything I can do to avoid plowing into him at thirty or forty miles an hour.
I scream at him. What on earth are you doing, trying to kill me? You idiot! Are you crazy? etc. He jumps out of the car and rushes back to mine. My life flashes in front of my eyes. In that instant, my obituary pops into view: Rest area visitor mauled by drunken maniacal local man. I brace for worst in the second or two it takes for him to reach my driver’s side window.
And guess what? He wasn’t mad at all! In fact, the contrary: he was jumping for joy, because the sob had just hit one of the scratch tickets he had bought inside. Five hundred bucks! He’s hopping all around, whooping it up, waving the ticket above his head, swaying his hips, and prancing about in tight little circles. He pretends he’s in one of those mamba lines, and he chugs one of the beers remaining in his pocket.
I’m pretty happy too. First and foremost, I’m still alive! Second, I figure that now I’ll be able to get a little of my cash back from the guy. prez, of course, would have nothing of it, and replies to my suggestion with a curt “Up yours, Chris.” Well, at least I was still living. I had that going for me.
When prez returns from the convenience store, five hundred dollars richer, he makes a beeline over to me. He’s still gyrating his body and humming stripper’s music. He whips out the wad of cash, leading me to believe that he had a change of heart and that he’ll share the winnings with me. (Cue buzzer.) Wrong. He had other plans: namely, to taunt me. He stands directly in front of me, almost nose to nose. I can see the remnants of chicken veins stuck between his teeth. Slowly, he fans the bills inches from my face. He’s got this big, sh!t-eatin’ grin on his face. “You should play the lottery, my friend,” he says as he pivots on one foot and turns toward his car.
At that moment I had a flash of brilliance--at least so I thought. I admit it, I was lusting after the money he had just won. I felt--legitimately, I believed (and still believe!)--that in light of all the money I had paid for him in the last twenty hours that he should have given some of the winnings to me. Remembering the mood changes that those magical quarters had previously induced in prez, I fished one out of my pocket quick as a wink, palmed it, and shouted, “prez! Look! A quarter!!” I took a quick step, leaned down, and pretended to pick up the quarter. I held it out for him. He greedily took it.
Alas. A good idea, perhaps, but not fruitful. He snatched the quarter from my fingertips so quickly that I scarcely saw his hand move. Gleefully, he said, “Looks like it’s my lucky day, huh? Cool!” Then he opened the door to his car, said “C’mon, let’s go”, and we were off once again.
More later, sports fans.Back once more.
To recap: prez is still drunk out of his mind, and we’re on the way to Philadelphia.
Despite his good fortune, once prez actually veers his car onto the highway his good mood seems to fly out the window, just like the increasingly-frequent beer cans he launches out his driver’s side window. In short, he gets a severe case of road rage. It was July 4th, so there was a fair amount of traffic, and, accordingly, plenty of people whose mere existence was enough to drive him mad. Drive too slow? prez tailgated ‘em and honked like h*ll. Drive in the wrong lane? prez tailgated ‘em and honked like h*ll. Drive the right speed, and in your own lane? prez tailgated ‘em and honked like h*ll. Lots of gesticulating, too, for good measure.
I remember one poor b@stard who was really p!ssing prez off (driving too slow *and* in the wrong lane.) prez was ready for him. Unbeknownst to be at the time, prez is a decent car mechanic and a bit of a handyman. He had gerry-rigged this contraption--a special reservoir tank, a pump, and a special spray nozzle--to his sylin’ Mark V’s windshield washing system. He could reach under the dashboard, throw a lever, and thereby disconnect the factory system and connect the system he built and installed. Prior to going anywhere, he fills the reservoir with sugar-water and adds some red food coloring. Then, when he comes upon some poor soul on the road, like the poor b@stard I mentioned above, he speeds up, passes the guy, flips him off, and cuts right in front of him. He reaches under the dash and engages his custom-built system. Then, checking his rear view mirror to make sure the sucker is still there, in target and in range, prez flips the switch which would normally pull the blue windshield wiper fluid spray harmlessly onto his windshield for a cleaning. But instead of that harmless blue wiper fluid coming out, prez’s rig directs the red sugar-water over the top of his own windshield in a monumental spray of glorious red sticky gunk. The wind catches it and disperses it perfectly and uniformly across the sucker’s windshield. If they’re paying attention (unlike the poor b@stard I mentioned), they’ll have enough time not only to engage their own wipers, but to engage the switch which shoots out their own blue fluid to clean prez’s red sugar-water fluid, making a nice, but cleanable, purple color. (prez later told me that a lot of people are so taken aback that they only engage their wipers and not the fluid, and that the wipers just smear the stuff around without increasing visibility. Other times he fills his special reservoir with other things, like really soapy water, pee, and curdled milk, and ever worse things.) The poor b@stard who p!ssed prez off on the highway that day didn’t have sufficient composure to deal with the unexpected liquid barrage from prez; he slammed his brakes hard and swerved off into the median. I saw prez stick his arm out the window and flip the guy off again as prez floored it to escape.
prez got off at the next exit. I thought it was because he was afraid that a state-boy might spy him and throw his drunken @ss in jail, but instead it was because prez didn’t want to waste any exits which might have a liquor store. So we’re driving around the countryside, looking for any signs of commercial activity. At one point we’re about seven or eight miles inland and prez suddenly pulls over, gets out of the car, and starts talking about how this is bullsh!t and that oughtn’t we just go over to that farmhouse and demand their liquor? I manage to convince him that that’s not a good idea (but not until I mentioned that they might have guns), so he gives in, rearranges his coolers once again (looked like he was going to bust into tears at how empty they were becoming), gets in, and takes off.
Eventually we make it back to the interstate, but without having located a state store. I can tell prez is losing it because of his driving--he’s more hysterical, his insults to other motorists are now so loud and so vehement that I can actually hear them from my car--even at 85 mph--, he’s gesturing a lot more, etc. I’m relieved when I see his turn indicator start blinking as the next exit approaches.
Well, we go through the same exercise. prez’s navigation skills suck, frankly. There were two occasions when I thought we should’ve turned down a particular road because it looked promising, but prez just ignored me. Finally, we’re in the middle of nowhere, stopped by one of those country ditches formed by run-off from the farm fields. prez stops the car, gets out, rearranges his coolers, and then starts bawling. I mean, you’ve never seen a grown man cry so. Howling and wailing, uncontrollably. Absolutely inconsolable. I hand him a quarter and it does no good whatsoever. This guy was *sad*.
After about five minutes he stops blubbering enough for me to talk to him. He confirms that he’s crying because of the booze situation. I say, don’t tell me you’re finished off the contents of those four coolers, dude? No, he says, only three of them. He pulls out the fourth and opens it up, peers inside. This next part was like I was living in slow motion. Everything happened at one-tenth time, and the words were all super-slurred. prez reaches into the cooler, extracts a beer, wails “Only three brewskis left!” sucks it down, pulls out another, wails “Only two brewskis left!”, sucks it down, pulls out the last one, “One brewski . . . “ and then polishes it off. The whole thing seemed to happen in the course of a few hallucinogenic moments, but in reality, thinking back upon it, it must have been two or maybe two-and-a-half minutes. Anyway, after that last empty rolled under the car, you should’ve heard prez cry then! Whooo-boy! And I had thought before was bad! He’s lying on the ground, shaking and sobbing, all curled up in the fetal position. There’s actually a small rivulet of tears running down the road. It was pathetic.
And then it hit me. I’m sure you’ve guessed it already, dear reader. The trunk! prez’s trunk was *full of beer*! I get really excited and I race over to get the keys from his ignition. I pop the trunk and there, in all their pristine beauty, like a pirate opening a long-hid treasure chest, were all the cases of Huber prez had stored so that he could avoid buying the beers at the hotel! A veritable gold mine of beers!
Get this: prez took virtually no notice! “They’re warm!” he sobbed. Well, perhaps you can imagine my shock at his reaction. The Howler refusing the beers. Because they were warm.
Dude, I said. Okay, they’re warm, but your coolers are still filled with ice. His ears perked up. “Really?” he squeaked. Really! I said. You can have a cold one in just a few minutes!
At this he starts howling again in agony. “I don’t want to wait a few minutes,” he manages to gasp between sobs. Nevertheless, I break open a case and stuff about half of it into one of the coolers and pack it with ice while he’s lying on the ground, alternating between being fetal and spread eagle. prez is continuing to cry, and I’m worried that if the fish and wildlife people come by, they’re going to declare prez’s stream of tears a navigable waterway and thereby block our exit.
Finally the sobs lessen and before long it’s just the occasional whimper. No more tears possible, since prez has shed at least ten pounds in water. He looks it, too. All dehydrated and sickly thin. But enough time has passed that the beer I packed in ice is reasonably chilled. I’m delighted, of course, because I know that the man’s suffering will finally be relieved. I hand him a cold one.
He looks at me like I’ve just taken a quarter from him or something. Murderous. His eyes narrow, his eyebrows furrow, and he hisses: “What the h*ll do you think you’re doing? That beer’s for the hotel! I can’t drink that! What would I drink then, huh, you insensitive lout?”
Can you believe that? I couldn’t either. He obviously had lost all rationality. More irrational behavior is to come.
--St. csw the Compassionless
[Recall that when we last saw prez (aka The Howler) he was curled up on the roadside in despair from his inability to find a liquor store to replenish his depleted stocks. Recall also that I had suddenly remembered that his trunk was full of several cases of beer which he had brought in order to avoid having to buy drinks at the hotel bar, and that far from being overjoyed at the news, he complained first that they were warm and then about how insensitive I was to suggest depriving him of his hotel stock.]
I, of course, pointed out to prez that he could solve all his problems by drinking a couple of the cases here on the roadside and simply replacing the empties with a fresh supply when we found the liquor store we were looking for. To entice him further (and realizing that sometimes there are more powerful pursuasions than mere words), I opened one of the beers which I had chilled for him (“Growl,” prez growled, as I did so), poured it into a cup, and gently waved it back and forth under his by-now beet-red nose.
prez would have nothing of it. “F*ck you,” he said. “Those cases cost me $7.99 each, bud. What do you think I am, a country hick? I’ve been this way before. Liquor stores down here will charge me at least $8.29 a case, each, easy. That’s an extra thirty cents per case, pal. So f*ck you again!”
“Fine,” I said calmly. “You’re the one lying in the middle of the road crying about having quaffed all your booze. You’ve got a whole trunk full, but you can’t touch it. Like I care. Let’s go.”
Hearing the words “you can’t touch it,” prez sprung from the ground, leaped over to the trunk, got this big, weird smile on his face, clasped his outstretched hands together, bent his legs a bit, stripped off his shirt, gyrated gently, and started rapping out “Can’t touch this” by M.C. Hammer. Every time the refrain came around to “this” in “can’t touch this,” prez shook his (fairly wide) @ss so as to point at the contents of the trunk behind him.
After about a dozen refrains, he seemed to grow weary and stopped as abruptly as he had begun. “Can’t touch this, @sshole,” he mumbled to me as he scooped out a case from the trunk and began transferring the cans inside into one of his coolers. Then he got out the other three coolers and began rearranging the contents of the first cooler into the others. Then he broke open a second case from the trunk and distributed the cans to his liking among the four coolers. Finally, he did the same with a third case from the trunk (“just in case,” he said). After loading each of the coolers back into the car, he hopped in quick as a wink, did a quick U-turn, and drove past me. As he did, he deliberately aimed his car to make the driver-side tires plow through the river of tears he had created. The splash created thereby soaked my shoes and trousers. I cursed, got in my car, and followed.
Of course, we still had no idea where a liquor store was, and after a few more miles of prez driving down uninhabited roads, I flashed my lights on and off several times to get him to pull over. “Follow me,” I directed him. “Okay,” he replied, as he pitched the four empties he downed in the meantime.
We were pretty far inland, but I knew generally which way the interstate was. We eventually came out on a road fronting the highway and travelled along it. Almost like magic, a shopping complex appeared and smack in the middle was a state store. prez was beside himself with emotion.
“You’re the best, man!” he said to me as we got out of our cars. “I’m sorry for thinking you were a snivelling little punk all this time.” It looked like tears of joy were welling up in his eyes. I looked closely into his face. Indeed, he was starting to tear up! “Aw,” I said. “It’s okay, Mark. I know that was a tough time for you back there. No offense, amigo.”
prez looked as if he hadn’t heard a word I said. I looked more closely. Yes, those were definitely tears in the corner of his eyes! I repeated what I said, and still he looked like he didn’t catch a word of it. Now the tears were actually running down his cheeks.
After a few more moments like this, prez suddenly seemed to come to. “What did you say, jerk?” he asked. Taken aback, I took a step back from him, and then it became apparent what had happened. Yes, those were tears, all right. But not tears of gratitude to me for finding his precious liquor store. No, prez’s eyes were tearing-up from the intense pleasure occasioned when one finally releases a too-full bladder. There was a giant puddle at his feet. “C’mon,” he said. “What on earth are you waiting for? We have to be in Philly soon!” As he walked into the liquor store, his left shoe left a distinct wet impression every time he took a step.
Once inside the store, he grabbed a shopping cart and looked expectantly at me. I knew this game, so I just stood there looking the other way. He saw that I wasn’t going to fall for it again, sighed loudly, and went over to the beer section. I followed him. When he arrived, he fished around in his pocket and pulled out a pencil and a little scrap of paper he tore off an envelope. He then started calculating how many cases of beer he would need to last him the remainder of the trip. (“Reckoning,” he called it.) After a minute or two, his face clouded darkly. “D@mnation!” he said. “My trunk holds only twelve cases. Can I use yours? Nevermind. Can’t trust you. Forget I mentioned it.”
Then prez noticed that the price per case was $8.49. Oh, the curses! The evil, malignant profanities he poured down upon me and the shopkeeper! You never heard such mean-spirited characterizations. After the clerk told him to “get the h%ll out,” however, prez quieted right down, gathered his dozen cases, and wheeled them (in two trips) to the checkout lane.
Next: The Check-Out Line Incident!
[To recap, prez and csw are on their way to Philadelphia for the First Annual Kaissa Konvention. They’ve finally located another package store. prez is blasted.]
prez was p!ssed because he wasn’t first in the checkout line. In fact, he was fifth (the horror!). Regrettably, the first person in line also wanted a book of matches, which the clerk tried to locate, much to prez’s disgust. “Chr!st!” he shouted. “Cigarettes are bad for you. Get a move on, let’s go!” When the second person wanted to purchase a scratch ticket, I cringed at the obscenities popping out of prez’s mouth. I was sure a fist-fight would erupt, but it didn’t. I guess the guy thought better of picking a fight with a loudmouth drunk with twelve cases of beer and two carts.
After the second guy in line was done, prez starts in on the third person, telling her she’s a slow-@ss and denouncing the clerk’s abilities to move the checkout line along. At some point the woman gets fed up, turns to prez, and says all brassily, “Mark, honey, you’d best shut that mouth of yours or I’ll have to come over there and spank you.” I, of course, was flabbergasted that this woman knew prez. (But a pattern was developing--the old man who beat prez to the front door at the first liquor store also knew who he was.) prez’s jaw dropped when he focused his bleary eyes sufficiently to identify the woman. Any guesses, readers? Okay, here’s a hint: think back to the night before, the bar . . . that’s right, “she” was one and the same, the transvestite that prez had picked up.
Seeing her, prez changed demeanor instantly. He went from sloppy drunk to sloppy, drunken lover boy. He spit in his palm a couple of times and slicked back his hair. Hitched up his trousers. Reeled in his tongue. I swear I heard him growl. He kind of sauntered over to her. “Baby!” he cooed.
“Don’t you ‘baby’ me, you!” she replied angrily. “I’m still p!ssed about you making me walk home after you drove that car into the ditch last night. You owe me!”
“No problem, sweetcakes,” prez said. “Whattya say I pay that debt right now?” She agreed, of course, and the two of them walked arm in arm toward the door. There was no doubt in my mind that prez was thinking to himself that he would doubly score: first with his lover, and second by getting me to foot the tab for his dozen cases of Huber beer. I was on to him by now, though. “What about your beer?” I yelled after him. He turned and looked annoyed, like someone who just had a score disallowed. He teetered for an instant--sex, or beer? Beer, or sex? “Just move my carts to the side,” he finally said. “I’ll be back in three minutes.”
Well, I sure as sh!t wasn’t going to pay for his beer, and there was no point in me hanging around the store, particularly with scene my “friend” prez had made, and, to be honest, I was kind of curious about prez and his “woman”, so I followed him out the door. As I did, I saw him ‘round the corner of the store, toward the back. I wasn’t *that* curious, of course, so I went back to my car, resigned to having to wait for prez to return.
Remember how he said he’d be back in three minutes? Nope. He was back in *two* minutes, tucking in his shirt as he returned. “Heh, heh” he panted. “Where’s my beer? You didn’t buy it? You chiseling swine!” he said to me. So back in he went. A few minutes later, he comes out with the first of his shopping carts, opens his trunk, removes all his coolers, and starts packing beers. Then it’s back inside to get the second cart, then move packing and endless rearranging. I don’t bother to question him about his pal back there behind the building. I feel I’m better off without the details.
Just as we’re ready to drive off, prez decides that he needs more ice, so it’s back inside for a couple of bags. Then he remembers he didn’t buy a scratch-off ticket, so it’s back again. Then he has to scratch them before leaving so he can redeem them if he doesn’t win.
Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch. Eight losing tickets. Eight curses! “Conspiracy!” he’s yelling. “Fixed!” he shouts. Yells out how he’s gonna make the clerk pay. His forhead is all sweaty, the hackles on the back of his hairy neck are all raised, he’s serious about all this. I have to act! I fish out a quarter, toss it on the ground in front of him, and direct his attention to it. (Of course, there was no need to do so. prez pounced on it the moment it hit the ground and made that little tinny noise of metal striking pavement.) Fortunately, that did the trick. He picks up the quarter, laughs demonically, rubs it on his sleeve, examines it carefully, and in a very self-satisfied way thrusts it in his pocket. In doing so, he forgets completely about the clerk’s conspiracy with the Pennsylvania Lottery Authority to cheat him out of his hard-stolen dough. Finally, we’re back on the road again.
By now it’s getting late. It’s around 11:30 a.m., as I recall, and we’re supposed to be at the Adam’s Mark lobby in Philadelphia by noon. Between prez’s two beer-store stops, his two meals, his sexcapade (although admittedly *that* didn’t take much time), the river-of-tears episode, and all the time he spent scratching lottery tickets, rearranging the contents of his four coolers, accosting the elderly, and pouncing on quarters, we’re running way late, and still have about seventy of our original one-hundred miles to drive yet.
His inebriated condition notwithstanding, prez realizes we’re behind schedule. (“Wheeler! D@ckhead! We’re late! Let’s go, already!!” he screamed as we left the second package store.) Being a man of action, he does something about it. I’m talking pedal-to-the-metal here, folks. I’m talking three-digit speeds for most of the remaining way. For most of the way I was a good quarter-mile behind him, trying to keep up (which was dandy with me, since I figured I would have plenty of time to slow as the state trooper keyed in on him). At one point, on the steepest downgradient, my Accord hit an all-time high of 129 mph (the speedometer goes up to 140). And prez was still leaving me in the dust on that downstrech.
I should add that prez was doing a remarkably good job of commanding his vehicle, too, particularly in light of all the cursing and yelling and tailgating and washer-fluid-squirting he was inflicting on other, terrified motorists. (I passed two separate drivers who were on their car phones gesticulating wildly and pointing to prez’s car. Presumably they were on the phone to the cops. How it was that prez never got pulled over is, well, simply beyond my comprehension. If it were me, I would’ve been pulled over immediately. H*ll, I once got pulled over in a parking garage (no sh!t) in Indianapolis. 24 mph in a 10 mph zone (just got a lecture, though--no ticket). But that’s a different story.)
Needless to say, we made good time. Then, of course, the inevitable happened: prez had to stop and pee. His timing was pretty good, though, because there was one of those seedy, restroom-only rest stops right there. So he pulls in, doing close to a hundred on the 25 mph exit ramp. I thought that was going to be it for the guy, but in a HUGE cloud of blue smoke prez manages to slam on the brakes and steer the car between parked semi-tractor trailors. He parks at the very farthest end of the parking lot. I pull up right next to him.
I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but there was something about that rest area that gave me the creeps. It was in a relatively isolated stretch of highway with a big wooded area behind it. The only “facilities” were a row of about a dozen of those blue porta-potties. The weird thing was that there appeared to be a disproportionately high number of cars for the relatively few number of toilets, and I could only see a couple of people out and about. None of the usual dog walkers, nobody loitering.
Anyway, prez hops out of his car and gallops in a beeline to the nearest corner of the woods, completely bypassing the porta-potties (can’t say I blame him there!). I figured I might as well go too, since I was already there, and all. I had taken only a couple of steps when the first indication of what was really going on hit me: a pair of condom wrappers lying by the curb. That explained a lot: this, evidently, was one of those sex rest areas that are becoming so notorious nowadays. To this day (ask him!) prez denies any knowledge of this rest area’s true character. I immediately stepped back into my car. I didn’t have to go *that* badly.
I wonder how many of you have seen the recent movie “Something About Mary”? Do you remember the scene where Chris Elliot is watching “Cops” on television and he sees an innocent Ben Stiller get busted for supposedly having sex in the rest area? Well, that’s not exactly what happened here, but it was pretty d@mn close! There I am, sitting in the car, parked at the very end of the lot, waiting for prez to return, waiting, waiting, still waiting!, waiting...seems like he should be done by now, waiting, when all of a sudden there’s this huge commotion down at the far end of the parking lot. People are yelling, people are running helter-skelter, and then: the flashing red and blue lights. Sure as sh!t, it was a bust! (I hadn’t seen the film when this happened, so there was no connection for me, but when I saw that scene in the movie it was so funny I called Mark the very next day to kid him about it!)
Now, the other end of the parking lot was *pretty* far away--close to a hundred yards, I’d say, and clearly all the activity was taking place down there, so I wasn’t too concerned. Plus, I’d seen prez enter the woods down near our end, which, like I say, was pretty distant from the action. On the other hand, prez *had* been gone for longer than I had expected (even taking into account the man’s bladder) (Ooh! I wish I hadn’t done that (take it into account)), so I can’t say that I was without worries at that moment. Fortunately, however, a few seconds after I noticed all the commotion, prez comes breaking out of the thickets, about halfway between the far end and where we were parked. He’s zipping up his pants and looking over his shoulder real furtively, y’know? It was an image I’ll not soon forget.
Needless to say, prez didn’t stop to chat with me, and I didn’t encourage him to do so. An hour or so later, however, when we were at the Konvention, I had a chance to ask him about it. He denied undertaking any “unusual”, shall we say, activities. But considering where he went into the woods and where he came out, and the length of time he was there, I’m disinclined to believe him. But I wasn’t there, and didn’t see anything other than what I’ve described above, so it’s not for me to tell you that prez was lying about this. But I know what I saw.
The remaining ride into Philly was uneventful, except for the time prez dumped an entire case of empties onto the highway as we drove, and except for him failing to exit onto I-476 from the Pennsylvania turnpike and ending up at the mall in King of Prussia.
Next: prez at the Konvention! The Horror!
Habitual readers of this BB may recall that the Konventioneers were to meet in the lobby of the Adam’s Mark Hotel at noon on July 4th. Despite all that happened--the two trips to liquor stores, prez’s perpetual cooler rearrangements, the side-road rivulet of tears and the “howling” incident, the sex rest stop, meeting the transvestite at lunch--despite all that, prez, due largely to his triple digit speeds, managed to get us to the hotel parking lot before 1 p.m. I may as well add my personal theory that that triple digit speed was helped considerably by all the empties prez tossed out the window on our way down there, thereby lightening the car’s weight. I counted 31 beer cans that he tossed. Only one of them hit my car, and it didn’t do any damage.
I think it was about 12:50 or so when we arrived. I was pretty excited. I stopped playing chess at the age of 15, 21 years ago, and hadn’t been to a tournament since then. And I had never been to a World Open. *And* I was due to meet a number of other faithful Kaissans for the first time, in the flesh, in the lobby. Considering all this plus the fact that I was still in one piece after the ordeal with Mark, and that I still had a few dollars left that prez hadn’t stolen from me the night before, I was a pretty happy guy, very excited about seeing such a big tournament and meeting everyone else.
Ah, how naive I was. How I long for the days before our fateful Konvention meeting, when I was ignorant of the horrors of some (but not all, mind you) of our fellow members. As difficult as this is to recount, my therapist insists that it’s in my best interest to spill my guts and try to exorcise the memories this way. So I continue. Here goes.
As it turned out, the Adam’s Mark has two lobbies, not just one. That and the two or three thousand geeky chessplayers milling about made it just a tad difficult to identify the Kaissans who had promised to attend: bakunin, Hel, Cheetach, and HappyTumor (now ByteMe). So there prez and I are, looking around, wondering who these other people are. Trying to be a bit responsible, I busied myself by getting a pen, some paper, and some adhesive labels from the concierage. I made little name tags for me and prez, and posted a sign on a column announcing that spot as the official meeting place. As I turned to hand prez his nametag, the chair he had been loafing in was empty. Turns out that he too had important responsibilities to attend to. He had already been into the two lounges and checked the price of beer. Finding it more than the $8.29/case he had paid at the second state store earlier that morning, he had returned to his car to retrieve a cooler and bring it into the lobby. Just as I was about to ask him if he’d lost his mind, he was gone, out the door, little bits of dust and debris trailing behind him. He was back three or four minutes later with a second cooler. Since I like to voice my appreciation at thoughtful gestures, I complimented him on bringing the second cooler for the other Kaissans. (I knew the first cooler would be his alone.) He looked at me like I was crazy. “What the f^ck are you babbling on about?” he said. “These are *both* for me. What’s wrong with you?”
So there’s prez, an aging has-been dressed in geeky chessplaying shorts and his favorite NASCAR shirt (you can see him in this garb if you go to my MIP), sprawled out on a sofa in the lobby of one of Philadelphia’s major hotels, feet propped up on the armrests, swilling beer after beer from his two coolers, randomly belching out chess moves and commenting on the people who walked by. (“Paaaaaaawn to King Fooooooooourrrr,” he would burp loudly, or “Cutie! Wanna beer?” or “Hey, ugly, what the f*ck are you looking at?” etc. etc.) He had stuck his name tag on his forehead. I was mortified and moved to the opposite side of the lobby.
Finally the others arrived. The first person I noticed was a tall, handsome, well-dressed man with a germanic accent. I asked if he was bakunin? He was! Dressed to the nines, and all the way from Austria, just to attend the get-together! I knew right then that he was trouble. Turned out I was right, but on the overall scale of things, and especially in comparison to ByteMe’s and prez’s subsequent behavior, a few loudmouthed comments to Larry Evans during a mid-tournament game didn’t amount to a hill of beans. So Wolf and I exchanged pleasantries. He’s a nice guy. After a couple of minutes prez noticed us and stumbled over. After hearing bakunin’s accent (“What the hell kind of a handle is that? Where’s ‘bakunin,’ anyway, in Russia?” prez slurred), prez interrogated Wolf for about ten minutes on Wolf’s involvement in World War II. I left when prez started going on about Hitler (“Adolph,” as prez referred to him)--how he was a brilliant tactician in pursuit of worthwhile end (global economic domination), but that he had become wrongly fixated on the race thing and that had led to his downfall.
Fortunately, a seedy looking, gray-haired guy dressed even more poorly was hanging around in the wings, looking like he was in the right place at the right time. I went up to him. It was Hel. First words out of his mouth were, “Is edfdo here? I’m ready for that guy. Got my dictionary (he held it up for me to see) and everything. Tautology, my @ss! Impeach Clinton! Can you loan me a buck?” Despite this suspicious beginning, Hel turned out to be the complete gentleman. He paid for more than his fair share of drinks, he played a mean but respectful game of chess, he was a good role model for his two sons who were also present, and he was very diplomatic and useful in settling Evans down after prez did exactly the same thing to Evans that bakunin did.
Also present was Cheetach, fresh in from Chicago with her husband and two sons. It appeared to me that she and Hel had met previously, since she did not seem at all flustered by Hel’s initial diatribe against edfdo and Clinton. An utterly charming woman, Klavdia greatly assisted Hel when Evans came up to the bar looking to pick a fight with prez. More on her later.
Finally, after about fifteen minutes of us milling around and making small talk (except for prez, who was making ‘loud talk,’ if you know what I mean), HappyTumor (now ByteMe, and formerly LovePopSuicide) arrived. A veritable whirlwind of youthful energy and exuberance, Don looked to be about 20 or 22 years old, a bit greasy, but otherwise normal. We knew he was coming because several moments before he appeared we could hear a commotion in the hallway. He was yelling “Kaissa? Kaissa Konvention? Anyone here from Kaissa?” I’ll be d@mned if the kid didn’t have an adult goat tied to a rope trailing behind him. “Over here!” we yelled in reply (before we saw the goat! Had we been given the chance, we would have, I am sure, slunk away and hid from him). Needless to say, we were both shocked and a bit amused to meet this strange, be-goated ByteMe. I’ll admit readily that his goat, whom he had named “Gruff,” was a handsome specimen. (Don later related that beast’s original was ‘Quill,’ and then ‘Doug,” and that he had gotten sick of those two names and changed it to ‘Gruff.” I’m pretty sure there were a couple of other names, but I can’t remember what they were.) Everyone took to Gruff right away, and at first ByteMe looked pleased, but as the attention on Gruff didn’t wane, ByteMe looked more and more, well, jealous. To distract us from Gruff, ByteMe suggested that we reconvene in one of the lounges that were on the premises. After prez gave everyone an intimate appraisal of each of the three hotel bar’s characteristics, including menu, ambience, and, particularly. drink prices, we agreed that we should go to one in particular--Players? (the name escapes me now--my therapist says I’ve probably repressed it). Don loudly announced that he would just be a moment extra, since he had to lock up his golf cart. That’s right, you read that correctly: his golf cart. He evidently takes it with him most everywhere he goes, since he doesn’t have a car. His buddy put it in the back of his pick-up truck and drove Don and the cart (and Gruff!) to the hotel.
Well, let me tell you from the day before’s first hand experience that prez is no slouch when it comes to driving golf carts with a blood alcohol content of 0.3 and above! Wailing about how heavy his two coolers were (even though in the half an hour or so that we had been there prez must’ve lessened the weight of one of the coolers by eight or nine beers’ worth), prez got Don to give him and his coolers a lift right into the lounge we had selected. Gruff trotted behind.
Just thinking about the lounge and its depravity is giving me the shakes. I’d better stop for now.
Okay, to recap: we’re at the Adam’s Mark, there have been introductions all around, ByteMe has a golf cart and a goat, and prez has consumed more alcohol than I had thought humanly possible. We’ve agreed to convene in one of the hotel’s bars.
Somehow ByteMe had managed to get his golf cart through the double doors of the hotel’s entrance without being noticed by the hotel staff--possibly because it’s an electric cart instead of a gas-powered one and is quite silent. (No doubt ByteMe selected it for just such clandestine joyrides.) As far as I heard, only one woman screamed from nearly being run over, so all and all the trip from outside the hotel to inside the lounge was quite uneventful. But the goat’s braying almost gave the scene away. You should’ve seen Don there trying to get the poor creature to shut up, at least until Don could tie him up underneath a loud television in the corner, which is exactly what he did. It was one of those sports bars, not that well-lit, very noisy, smoky, and we as a group kind of appropriated one of the back corners of the lounge--in short, it was the type of place where no one much notices the occasionaly goat and golf cart.
No sooner had we sat down then prez starts hollering. Where’s the @!!#$ waiter? he demands to know. We need drinks! he shouts. This surprised me in two ways: first, of course, he’s got two coolers filled with Huber beer loaded on Don’s golf cart, and second, why is he buying a round for everyone when the very reason he has two coolers worth of beer is to *avoid* having to buy beer at the lounge’s “exorbitant” prices? Well, the waiter comes over looking highly agitated. prez pleads with me for a dollar (“Hurry! he urges), grabs the dollar, and slips it into the waiter’s breast pocket with a great show of generosity and good-will. “That, my good man,” he slobbers, “is for you. All for you. Now please take our order.” The waiter rolled his eyes, looked at the goat, and said, “I’m going to call the manager.” As he started to walk away, however, Don somehow got him to come back and he gave the guy a twenty not to. The waiter looked pleased and returned to prez to ask what everyone wanted. “Round of Wild Turkey for everyone!” prez announced. He looked around and counted (out loud, too!) one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight (these were, in order, himself, me, ByteMe, bakunin, Hel, Hel’s wife, Cheetach, and Cheetach’s husband), and then, looking at Cheetach’s and Hel’s four kids, he continued, absentmindedly, “nine-ten-eleven-twelve shots! Yes, twelve shots! What are you waiting for? Hurry up! We’re thirsty! Toot sweeet, baby!” The waiter looked bewildered, and several of us told him to just bring eight shots, not twelve, since the kids were too young. “Nonsense!” prez protested, “Never to young to learn, eh boys?” he said, but eventually relented when Hel threatened to leave.
As soon as the waiter had made it back to the bar to place the order, prez yells over for him to return. “Jeezus H. Christ! We’re hungry! It’s after lunch--can’t you see that? Sh!t! Bring us some motherf^cking menus, godd@mnit!” he shouted. Easy, prez! we said. We need to be nice to him, what with the goat and all, we said. “What are you talking about?” prez asked. “I didn’t kick his @ss, did I? Chill out!”
When the waiter returned with the menus, prez grabbed the entire stack, quickly opened one, ordered the industrial size nachos, shut the menu, announced his selection to the waiter, returned the entire stack to the waiter, and waved him away with a flick of his wrist. Nobody else had a chance to order.
prez’s abominable manners notwithstanding, everyone was in a pretty good mood. Chess sets and clocks were produced and set up, challenges were issued and accepted, and the small talk continued. After a few minutes, the waiter returned with the eight shots of Wild Turkey and handed the $32 bill to Mark, who promptly, completely without hesistation, passed it to me, along with the comment, “Wheeler there’s got it.” Well, I don’t even particularly like Wild Turkey, but didn’t want to be seen as a cheapskate before my new friends (prez excepted, of course), so I paid up. Cheetach didn’t want hers, and graciously offered it to bakunin, but before Wolf could accept prez reached *way* across the table (completely wiping out a game in progress as he did so), snatched the shot, and, with a flick of his extended wrist and arm, essentially launched the contents of the shot glass in a compact arc about two feet through the air and directly into his mouth, all without spilling a drop. Everyone was astounded, and prez did it six more times throughout the evening (in addition to the eleven other shots of WT he and ByteMe did), each time catching the whole ounce or two in a neat little unspilled packet in his mouth. Said he learned to do it when he started drinking back in second grade. If you can’t picture how this works, think of the alcohol in the glass as being, say, a ping pong ball. When prez flicked his wrist just so, the ping pong ball shot out of the glass and into his mouth. We all tried, but each time we spilled the contents everywhere. We couldn’t get the drink to stay together as a single, catchable unit; for us, it just sprayed out all over the place. It’s a neat trick--if you happen to meet prez (God help you), ask him to do it. That, and his legendary burping--that would be quite the entertainment line-up! If he doesn’t go for it, try tossing him a quarter first.
So, as you can see, the mood was right. Even Hel was in on the act, trying to flip the shots into his mouth like prez, failing miserably like everyone else. (Except that we were smart enough to practice with water, unlike Hel, who spilled his drink every time.) In fact, I think it was the sheer frustration Hel suffered of not being able to make the trick work that ultimately led to his challenging ByteMe for certain liberties associated with Gruff. After a while, we realized it was futile, that prez was gifted in this regard, and we returned to treating the shots the way they were supposed to be treated: in a gulp. Hel, however, was way behind in the drinking game because he kept spilling his drinks all over his shirt, so when we finally gave up on the trick he made up for his previous drink-dearth by sucking down drink after drink in rapid succession. As a result, he got looped very quickly, and his admiration for Gruff grew as rapidly. He eventually declared, “I must have you!” but Don wouldn’t allow it, at least not without compensation. (ByteMe’s no fool/He’s been to pimp school/He knew that Gruff’s a jewel.) But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Finally, the food came. We all mistakenly thought that prez had ordered for everyone, which was why it was taking so long, but actually it was taking so long because the lounge didn’t have its own cooking facilities--it went through room service. Eventually the waiter came back with a covered monster plate of nachos, which prez scarfed up pretty much before anyone else even had time to see them, let alone ask politely for a bite or two.
At some point Don’s pick-up truck buddy left, but I don’t remember exactly when that was. All I remember was the hugging and kissing and the tearful goodbye between Don and his pal. Don’t ask; I can’t explain it.
I think it was shortly after that that Don started to lose control. Maybe it was *because* his friend left, I don’t know. He swilled down a number of screwdrivers, stood up, stripped off his shirt, and asked if anyone wanted to go for a ride. We were bombed, but not *that* bombed, and we basically had a contest seeing how fast we could decline his invitation to be thrown in jail by hotel security. (This was before he actually almost *was* thrown in jail by hotel security for peddling drinks to minors and using a fake ID!)
Getting no takers, ByteMe practically lept out of his trousers and his thong, whipped off his socks, twirled it around his head like a stripper, donned (no pun intended!) a black Lone Ranger mask, jammed his golf cart into reverse, floored it, stomped on the brake and cranked the steering wheel all the way around, thereby effecting a perfect, no-stop turn-around, and roared off out of the bar into the lobby. Buck freaking naked, except for the mask.
Boy, was he stanky. He was a hairy sob, and he smelled to high heaven. Frankly, we were relieved to be rid of him, if only temporarily. In fact, just thinking about that moment when he took off the rest of his clothes is making me queasy. Forgive me for breaking off here!