(The names of characters in this story are all pseudonyms because this story could probably ruin some lives. I will never confirm who they are, so don’t try playing Clue with smartasses of the blogosphere.)
Fast forward three months later. I ended up flunking the class, because Kelly, that sultry succubus sucked and drained both my heads (heh) and had me hooked like a junkie with a $100 a day habit. She went on to graduate, and no longer worked at Chuck’s. There was a little less of that ebullient, indomitable energy that animated everything.
I was determined to make this my last semester at the university, since I’ve been here pretty much twice as long the average graduate. The week before classes started were full of carefree fun before the semester’s long work grind.
Fresh, youthful faces excitedly scurried around downtown, trying to find a place where they could taste their first sip of freedom away from their parents. The upperclassmen met with friends they had not seen in months. My close college friends had graduated long ago, but I was still invited to pregames before the bar and house parties starting later that evening. I couldn’t decipher if it was because they were afraid of me (unlikely) or my blasé attitude to everything had lent me an aura of cool (equally unlikely).
Since was my sixth or seventh time, I found the everescent excitement of so many young people during welcome week, who were free from their parents’ protective watch, repugnant rather than enticing. I overheard older students preparing to make this year the most epic yet (even as their parents foot the bill). I was alienated from it all, so instead I sipped my beer and wrote some shitty story beginnings: All these lithe long long long legs can make a 20-something perv nuts.
An overweight girl sitting next to me was playing on her phone, so as casually as I could, I asked, “Swiping right?” and pointed at her phone. She gave me a dirty look, as if I had just let rip wet and silent fart and then winked..
“No, I’m texting a friend,” she snapped back, and went back to staring at her phone.
I sipped my beer some more.
“Brendan, yo,” the familiar face shouted out. I looked down the row of drinkers and recognized McInnes. He was cousins with one of my old roommates, and he used to hit me up to chief whenever he was in Ann Arbor.
I sidled down the bar towards him, cutting in between groups of irritated people.
“What’re you doing down here?” I half-shouted.
“I’m working for a company downtown, and I didn’t really have shit to do. My girlfriend works nights.”
“Oh, what’s she do?”
“She’s a nurse now, but she actually used to work here.”
A cold, light feeling emerged in my stomach.
“Yeah, we’re actually getting married in two weeks. We’ve been dating for a few years now,” he continued.
I motioned over Ana, one of the other bartenders. “Can I get two Maker’s on the rocks?” She poured our drinks, and handed her a twenty, telling her to hold onto the change.
I raised my glass, “Congrats, man…it’s pretty rare to see maturity like that these days. Everyone waits until they’re 30.”
“Thanks.” We clinked glasses and took a drink.
“You ever cheat on her?” I blurted out. He looked taken aback.
“Nope,” he answered meekly.
“Good man. Sorry for all the personal questions. I’ve been drinking all day.”
I ordered us each another Maker’s. “As long you’ve each sowed your wild oats though…I think that’s why all relationships end. Because one or the other hasn’t been around enough to know what they like.” The booze started getting the best of me; not only was I preaching my theory of relationship success to a guy who was about to get married, but my speech was chopped into sentence fragments as burped between every few words. My glazed eyes settled upon the whiskey-soaked ice cubes at the bottom of my glass.
“You still smoke?” he asked.
“Here and there.”
“You got any?”
“Actually I got this pre-rolled one in my pocket. Completely slipped my mind. Wanna smoke?”
I threw a napkin on top of my drink, and told the bartender that we would be back in a minute. We walked to the alleyway behind the bar, and I repeatedly flicked a lighter, struggling to spark the joint. I finally got it to stay lit, and took a few puffs before passing it over to McInnes. He did the same.
“You know,” he muttered confidentially, “I do wanna sleep with just one more girl before I get married.”
“Well, now’s the time to do it, I guess,” I agreed. “Better tonight than when you’re married, and then you’ll lose half your shit.”
“Yeah, you’re right, ” he stared off in the distance, his eyes glossy with whiskey and weed. “You say a lot of shit that makes sense, I don’t know why people give you so much shit.”
“Like who?” I asked confusedly.
“You know, like Ken and–”
“If anything I gave Ken more shit than the other way around.” Ken was my old roommate.
“Well, you know any girls that would be down to fuck?” he asked me.
“Where’s the fun in that? Let’s meet some new girls.”
“Have you ever had a threesome?” he asked.
“Nah, I wish. I don’t think tonight’s going to be the night. Well, a devil’s threesome is more likely,” I held up a fist with my index and pinkie fingers in the air.
“Hell, I would even do that,” he puffed the joint.
“I wouldn’t be thrilled, but if the occasion arose, I’m not just gonna sit there and watch.”
As were walking back to the bar, I laughed for no particular reason, maybe to show the universe I got it. Over the summer, I had plenty of time to recognize this cyclical routine of drinking, drugging, and sleeping around as major roadblock. I had no self-control and only stopped when I was strung out, and then McInnes, like an apparition, appears out of nowhere, just drags me through the wringer one more time. I was hooked–not on any one high–but on the whole process, and each time I swore it was the last.
“Sure, man. You still got it after being wifed up for so long?”
He glared back at me; his face reddened. I was only fucking around with him, but I obviously hit a nerve.
“Yeah, you worry about yourself. These Michigan guys are a bunch of pussies.”
“Watch yourself, married man,” I shot back.
We paid our tabs, and left Chuck’s. Across the street, a long line formed in front of Rick’s, the town slaughterhouse. The bar was in a dark basement with a large dance floor. It reeked of alcohol, shame, and sweat, as hundreds of desperate single coeds awkwardly tried to make a deep connection.
“Ah, shit,” McInnes moaned, looking down the endless line. “This will take forever.”
“Just wait a second,” I told him.
I walked up to the bouncer, and slapped his hand. “George, you fucking dog. Still trying to get these college girls to sleep with you.”
“Weren’t you supposed to graduate like 4 years ago, Jimmy?”
“The school needed me, so I’m staying for one last term. Anyways, you think me and my buddy could sneak in here? He just got over a bad breakup.”
George took a long look at McInnes. “Yeah, go ahead.”
**We descended downstairs, paid our covers, and shot straight to the smaller bar, tucked away from the dancefloor.
“This shit just bugs me, though man,” McInnes blurted out, taking a sip of beer.
“What you said earlier about ‘sowing your oats’?”
I raised an eyebrow.
“I know my girl was a little slut before I slept with her, but now we’re getting married.”
“Ahh, so you feel like you’re the one that needs to get a little more action…that’s alright man we’ll get some pretty babies tonight,” I assured him, slapping his back.
Whenever I let slip a phrase like pretty babies or that’s so money, my life approached a Swingers parody, that Vince Vaughn movie from the 90s.
We were leaning against the bar in Rick’s, drunk and high. I could barely keep my eyes open, though, after drinking for 10 hours, so I either looked Chinese or presented the world my post-coitus face, depending on whom you asked. I elbowed McCarthy.
“Check these girls out,” I nodded towards the entrance towards to beautiful and curvy girls. A rare sighting, indeed. “That’s about as close as we’re going to get towards a 10 here,” I sighed.
“I don’t believe in 10s,” he paused. “Until I fuck them, that is.”
“Leave them better than when you met ’em,”I agreed.
Zig-zagging their way through the crowds of drunk undergrads, the same girls made their way toward us.
The blonde tried to scoot past me to the bar, and her boobs rubbed against my elbow.
I turned to face them, “Nah, I don’t think so. That move’s not gonna on me.”
“What move?” she asked, smiling coyly.
“The ole’ tittie on the elbow to get to the front of the bar move. I dunno what kinda guys you’re used to, but I’m old enough to see through that charade.” They laughed.
“What’s your name?” her brunette friend asked abruptly, sticking her hand out.
“Jim,” I said and shook her hand.
“Kristina,” she replied.
“Carly,” the blonde one told me.
“Man, you guys ever wish to go back to freshman year? I saw all those starry-eyed fucks walking the streets today, thinking they were about to change the world for the better, and I just wanted to shake one and tell ’em how bitter and cynical they’ll be in a few years.”
McInnes walked up on us with a fishbowl and a challenge to finish the bowl in one huge gulp. We all grabbed a straw or two, and ended up downing the entire thing. I saw Kristina staring at me the whole time we drank. I ordered another double whiskey sour, and tried to dance like I wasn’t joking. McInnes and the blonde hit it off.
After a minute or two, I motioned to McInnes
that I was going outside for a smoke. I asked Kristina if she could make sure that no one roofied my drink while I went outside.
“Well, what if I roofie it?”
“That’s actually what I was hoping for. Just hold onto it, though.”
“Or else what? There’ll be hell to pay?”
“Only the fun kind.”
Outside, I asked a group of two girls and a guy dude if any one of them had a lighter.
The short cute one with auburn hair and .
“Pretty crazy in there, huh?”
She nodded. I noticed a tattoo above her right breast. 48176. It was an area code.
“Dexter? or Chelsea?” I guessed what town it represented.
“Saline,” she corrected me, smilingly.
“Ahh, I was close.” I stubbed my cigarette out on a metal trash can, and threw it away. “You guys wanna come inside?”
“We were actually just leaving,” her gay friend answered.
“I’ll come,” the redhead said. Her friends looked at her quizzically.
“You sure?” her petite friend asked.
“Mhmm. I’ll talk to guys later.” Her friends waved, and walked off.
“What?” she asked, nonplussed.
I held her hand, then just interlocked my pinkie finger with hers. “It means we’re not dating, but we kick it for sure.”
She laughed as I led her downstairs. “I’m Spencer,” she shouted over the blaring music.
“Cool…Brendan. I got us a table.” I pulled out a chair for her, and motioned histrionically towards the chair, like some 18th century French nobleman.
There was reservation sign on it, but no one sitting there. A waitress immediately came over.
“What can I get you guys?”
“Some of those Pina Colada shark bowls or whatever they’re called,” I said. The waitress ran off.
“I like your shirt,” said Spener, pointing at the red flower graphic in its center.
“I like your tattoo,” I responded, and put my hand on her forearm, where she had a tattoo of a flower just like the one on my shirt.
I had been drinking for over ten hours at this point, so my ability to speak coherently was compromised. I had resigned myself to looking in her eyes and going, “Oh yeah? You’re pretty cool” to everything she said.
“Yeah, you’re pretty cool,” she replied in kind. She starting rubbing my crotch with her hand. Then McInnes appeared out of nowhere and drunklenly slid down to the chair on the other side of Spencer.
“Man, those girls ended up being bitches.”
“C’mon man, we have a lady at the table,” I scolded him, mockingly. “This is Spencer.”
She shook his hand with the same one that was just rubbing my crotch.
“You two have make nice, I’m going to the bathroom,” I said.
I ran into some acquaintances on my way back to the table, and tried to make quick of the conversation. In my peripheral, I saw Mcinnes feeling Spencer up. I started getting pissed that I put in all the work earlier, and he was reaping the benefits.
Whatever, he was getting married in a few weeks. Let him have this one, I told myself.
When I returned to the table and sat down, Jen leaned into my ear, “Your friend is pretty handsy.”
I shrugged. “Like this?” I proceeded to fingerbang under the table, and gave her an inscrutable look.
Then McInnes put his hand down there, and our fingers briefly interlocked before I yanked out my hand out of that confusing sexual melange. She barely contained moans throughout this whole succession of events.
“Well, you seem to like it,” I stuck my hand down there again.
“What if people see us?” she asked.
“So what?” I rubbed her clit for a few minutes. McInnes had his arm around her.
The bar lights came on.
“You want an adderall?” I offered, as we were getting ready to walk back to the car to roll up a joint. I pulled out an orange pill to show her.
“How do I know this isn’t a roofie?”
“Cuz I would’ve taken it myself.”
“Did you guys take one?”
“Earlier. Sometimes it makes you horny,” I nodded towards McInnes who was still silently feeling her up.
“Is it gonna make me horny?” she said, snatching it from my hand.
“Well, you gotta be horny in your heart,” I replied.
She swallowed it with relish.
“We should go smoke a joint,” I suggested, as the bar emptied out into the streets.