Reception to my T9-embarrassment phone in this basement bar is non-existent as the Vikings’ Super Bowl ring. It’s just not gonna happen right now. In the company of Mack, Francis, and Daniel, making crude comments to each other betwixt talking 90s baseball greats, out of the corner of my eye a man stumbled into a bar stool in the middle of the floor. I know this man, I’ve known this man, he’s visibly drunk. It wasn’t a pedestrian-passing move where it seemed his brain was cognitively avoiding the stool, it was a sliver of a second that his attention disregarded the presence of the chair. Not acknowledging an animate object in front of you is forgiveable when moving at a fast pace and an fng deer jumps out in front of your car, but this was plain-sight action that couldn’t be regarded as a mistake.
His next movements gather his balance, to which he then directs himself toward the nearest female. Whereas his face is smiling, the female’s is not. For a moment, I imagined the two knew each other and just now ran into each other after searching the bar for minutes on end. In reality, not my imagination, this is not to be. This woman clearly doesn’t know this man, and it is now clear that he’s blacked out.
Ahhhh yes, that region of the brain one has gone to upon over-consumption of booze, perhaps just one shot of tequila, or maybe just too little to eat paired with too much to drink.
What is intangible in this equation of 21+ adults, evening wear, peanut shells cracked about the bar floor, and spilled alcohol, is the bond I share with this blacked out gentlemen directing his solar plexus toward the nearest woman in sight- any woman in sight. Him and I were part of a fraternity in college, and aside from learning the cliché dos and don’ts of joining a house, you develop a connection beyond classmate- beyond brougham- beyond a friend… you bond with them as extended family. We can get into my entrance to a fraternity, later. Tis another story for another time, but nonetheless a good story.
So, as any brother to the house, I have to take care of this man and get him the fuck out of the bar ASAP… rocky. The first thing I make sure of is that he doesn’t get into a fight. If it comes to violence, I will undoubtedly throw down for him, but it’s the last thing anybody in here wants. I’ve seen this guy get brazen and it wouldn’t be pretty. Whereas most men talk until the fight comes to them, this man is the type to throw a hook at your buddy next to you, kick your other friend in the nuts, and then come after you. He’s a fighter, and nobody wants the tiger to get out of the cage in a basement bar.
“Roger, buddy, let’s get you outside.” I say to him, tugging on the underside of his elbow. “Hay hay! Let’s talk to these girls. C’mon, let’s-“ he turns his head to look at another girl, breaking his attention mid-sentence.
Now, racing to the bar’s entrance to exit to my car, where I can drive this man to his house, Roger paused at the sight of girl’s cleavage bursting into public eye. The damn things were calling more attention than a fire truck on the move. Roger places his hand on her back and smiles, she turns and giggles at the sight. Any longer, and the situation wouldn’t be funny. It was a novelty. She read the picture of a friend helping a friend to the door of the bar for reasons of belligerence bordering on the problematic.
“Roger, homestyle, we’re almost there. Keep up” I call to him. He paces away from the girl.
I pray now that every woman on our way to this exit is wearing a turtleneck. Any more cleavage and it’ll take more than me to get Roger out of here.
“Vwooosh” goes the entrance door as we barrel into the sidewalk from the bar. “Hahahahahaaaahahaa! You high yet homie?” Roger says. I can’t even understand the subject matter this man is inferring. We’ve now left the black out and are in the Twilight Zone. Beyond drunk, Roger’s mind is in a floating aquarium of random memory and impulse.
“Hey, how do I get to your house?” I ask Ned on the phone. Ned’s a mutual friend, and was hanging out with Roger earlier in the day before they all split up. Plus, Ned lives near uptown and would be an earshot away to drop off Roger and for me to get the f home. “Yeah, we’re near Hopkins” Ned answers. “Sweet Agatha Fng Christie” I thought to myself. “Ok, just text me the address, and I’ll be dropping Roger off in 15”.
Unable to imagine how far Hopkins was from where we were, I just began driving in the general direction. “Hahahahahaaaaa, man we high! You high yet?” Roger bantered. “Could really go for some food. I’m hungry. Hey… hey… Hahahaaaaaaa!”
The sheer ridiculousness of him made me snicker a bit. How can you not laugh at a grown man broken down to sporadic laughter and obscenity.
“Hey… hey… remember her?” Roger toned down.
“Her who?” I said.
Roger then said a name that I have not heard for a damn long time.
“Yeah, I remember her.” I said.
“You know what… you know what, man?... She fuckin’ loved you… a lot” Roger said.
And right there, every memory, every story, all the colors of the past came rushing alongside my car as Roger and I steam rolled to Hopkins. The recollection of an ex-girlfriend, or someone speaking for them wrought the past up to speed with us on the highway. Along with the memory, came every reason why you had to part, why you had to move on, and why you love your life the way it is now. I could’ve thanked Roger, but he won’t remember this moment.
We coast to Ned’s. I drop him off to where he’ll wake up and wonder how he got there. They’ll tell him Toussaint brought you, but what they won’t tell him is that even in his state of blitzkrieg drunken madness, he was still able to recall a genuine feeling and share that with a friend… making the ride more than worth it.