7.7% ABV bottled
“Get up, Aaron! Get up!”
I was being shaken awake courtesy of a whispered yell from a female voice I did not recognize. I could barely open my eyes, a wicked hangover permeating my skull. I squinted trying to read the alarm clock. 6:00 AM.
I rose my head from the pillow. I was naked under the covers. Standing beside me, shaking me, was a girl freshly showered, hairdo done, makeup made up, and in a nice but woefully unfashionable dress. She was either going to a funeral, a wedding, or Reagan’s first term presidential inauguration. Around me, on the floor of the swank hotel room were six other young women, sleeping wherever they could.
“It’s 6 AM…” I’d forgotten her name, “What’s the problem?”
“Don’tchoo remember what I told you last night?”
Of course I didn’t. I was visiting friends in Boston and we’d gone out drinking near Fenway. There were six of us and we played a game with the waitress called “Bring-us-two-pitchers-of-beer-every-five-minutes.” We were tired of flagging her down and asking. She was seemingly impressed by our machismo and Beerculean drinking abilities and told us if we could keep that up for an entire hour she’d give us a free pitcher. Only days later did I realize, “Huh…she pretty much just convinced us to drink $200 of shitty beer in sixty minutes in order to get a free $10 pitcher.” Smart girl. Er, dumb boys.
Blotto by 10:00 we headed to a dance club slash lounge for God knows what reason. Oh, wait, I remember. It’s because in Boston the only girls in taverns, pubs, and normal watering holes are hooded-sweatshirted fatties that can easily drink you under the table despite the fact that they’re spending twenty minutes out of every hour outside smoking and purchasing sidewalk sausage.
I typically avoid dance clubs at all costs because dancing is stupid and my seduction skills need a little bit of quiet so I can actually speak, but when in Rome….
At the dance club I was bored with the long lines to get an overpriced and watered down cocktail and by the terrible club music. Then, I noticed one of my favorite drinking sites: a tiarred women leading a group of girls in matching t-shirts into the bar and onto the dance floor. Yes, it was a bachelorette party.
I always feel sorry for bachelorette parties. It’s like, if your ceremonial final night as a single woman is in the same bar where I’m drinking, well that’s just pathetic. If she only knew what her soon-to-be-better-half was doing at the same moment. Come to think of it, he was probably just sitting in a piece of shit Chinatown strip club, doing Kamikaze shots, and trying to muster the courage to tip a dancer’s snatch with his teeth while his douchebag Southie friends cheer him on. OK, that’s not so cool either.
My always supplicating friend had just been approached by two of the more raucous and boisterous members of the bachelorette party (read: two fatties) who had revealed that during the night of drinking they were simultaneously taking part in a scavenger hunt of sorts and could they have his underpants in order to check another box off their list? As he pathetically retreated to the bathroom for underpants removal, I studied the girls in the group, all loud, all drunk, all ugly, except one. She was decent looking, downright hot for Boston, and stood off to the side sipping on her Cape Codder with a look of mild disdain, mild shyness.
I approached her, “You part of this group?” I said, overly stressing “this” to denote that I had little respect for them. She confirmed that she was though revealed that she was a high school friend of the would-be bride while the rest of the girls were college friends. Thus, she knew none of them and had been excluded all evening from their reindeer games. I told her big deal, those girls were annoying and ugly any how. She agreed and I whisked her away from the group and to a side bar.
Remember fellas, in big groups of women there’s always at least one that pretty much hates the rest of the group. Find that woman and use that fact as a fulcrum to pull her away from the group and into your arms.
So for the next few hours we got drunker and drunker and more and more insulting toward the rest of the bachelorette party. By closing time, it was evident we were going to hook up. And, as I had lost my friends I had no choice but to go home with her.
Women are quite different from men. My friends upon departure most likely saw me in the corner, huddled up with each other for about five seconds (“Should we tell him we’re going?” “Leave him alone.” “Fuck it.”), before leaving me. And that’s fine. Men know that other men want to seize the night and may the morning be damned. We’ll all deal with finding a way home when we need to deal with it. Women on the other hand will all but drag their friends away, both hating the thought of their friend scoring while they are going home empty-handed…and, well that’s about it. All women are like the Gore Vidal quote: “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.”
Women will literally remove their friends from a guy’s face and arms, refusing to allowing her to make her own decision like a grown-up. I usually just sit back and watch, trying to intervene only exacerbates the friends’ furor. While acting aloof only makes your pick-up desire you more.
Should a women finally convince her friends to let her be, to let her go home with the guy, at the least they will give her all sorts of warnings and instructions, “Call me when you get to his place so I know you’re safe,” “Text me every hour so I know you’re well,” “Here’s ten condoms,” “Here’s an on-the-spot STD test be sure and gets a cheek swab for later analysis,” “Here’s a google map I’ve printed out and safety-pinned into your underwear so you can find your way home afterwards,” “Here’s some emergency cash in five different currencies…”
But guys aren’t like that. And though that’s usually a good thing, it wasn’t this time.
As Laura shook me awake and began dressing me as I struggled to orientate myself, she re-explained the circumstance. She was from Albany–this now made a lot of sense in light of her bad bangs of a hairdo, her accent, and her promiscuity–and had to be back in town to attend her sister’s baby shower brunch–and this made sense in light of her garb–by 10:00 AM.
We went to the hotel parking garage to retrieve her car, my head ringing, and she confirmed that I knew how to get back to my friend’s place so she could drop me off en route out of town. “I sure do, ” I told her, though I didn’t even know my “friend”‘s full name, much less where he lived. You see, I am a rare man that is terrible with directions. I can never remember street names, I can never orientate myself north/south, east/west, I never take the correct highways, I’m just an absolute train wreck when it comes to directions. And that’s why I’m usually taking trains and never driving and why I live in New York City. You’d have to be a retard to get lost in Manhattan, what with its beautifully designed grid and near exclusively numbered streets. I rarely even venture below Houston lest I get lost on some “name” street. When I do, I’m forced to hail a cab to bail me out of my jam and drive me back to numbered street civilization.
But this time I wasn’t lying. Though I didn’t know the street where my friend lived, I was pretty sure I knew from memory how to get back there. The drive from his apartment post-pre-gaming to the bar had seemed so simple. We backed out of the driveway, a right turn there, a left turn onto that major street, drive past that big building, and park. Surely I could reverse the directions and get us home–despite being simultaneously drunk and hungover, a most horrific state of existence–I was certain of it.
We left the garage and there was that turn, ah yes, and that turn, everything seems swell, and, here we go, I recall that long road, and, I’m positive the turn will be on the right in any second now, Laura, where is it, OK, now it should be coming up…
But that turn never came. I had surely forgotten something. We were lost. It was 6:30 AM and we were lost. I was tired, I was drunk, I was hungover, we were lost, and Laura was quietly seething. At least I thought she was. She was indeed very shy.
We aimlessly drove around the “area” where I thought he lived for the next half-hour. Everything looked so familiar yet so unfamiliar.
“Let’s go get breakfast. I could go for some hash browns.”
She glared at me.
“Well what town does he live in?” she asked.
“Town? He lives in Boston.”
I was a 23-year-old yutz back then and Laura had to explain that pretty much no one actually lives in Boston. It was a city of only about half-a-million. Most everyone in the metro area lives in small towns surrounding Boston proper. After the quick geography lesson, I had to admit I didn’t know what town my friend lived in.
“Can we call you friend?” she used the royal we like a condescending grammar school teacher.
“I don’t have his number.”
She was incredulous. “You don’t have your friend’s number?”
“He’s a friend of a friend.”
She was looking angrier as she pulled into a gas station and parked at a pay phone booth. “There’s a phone book, go look him up.”
“I don’t know his name.”
“You don’t know his name?!”
“Everyone just calls him by a nickname.”
She wasn’t as mad as I would be in dealing with such buffoonery. “Well do you know any one in town you can call?”
Yes, I did, but that guy was a world-class alcoholic and he wasn’t picking his phone up after some fifty calls. He was probably sleeping it off in an alley somewhere.
At this point, I was absolutely certain that Laura was just going to drop me off in the middle of an Arby’s parking lot and speed away. Luckily, women can be so much nicer than men. I would have surely dropped her ass off on the side of the road if I had somewhere important to be.
And then my cell phone died and I could no longer even call my one friend.
We drove around in concentric and ever-larger circles for the next four hours before finally I saw something I recognized and led us back to my friend’s home.
It was 11:00 AM. Laura had already missed the baby shower. She had said about three words to me in the previous three hours. It was kinda remarkable. A quiet woman can be quite frightening.
As we sat in the driveway of my friend’s house, I didn’t know how to end things. A kiss on the cheek was quite inappropriate after the morning’s events. A handshake was too formal, as if we’d just played a round of golf. So I was simply honest:
“You really are the sweetest girl I’ve ever met,” I said as I got out of the car, slammed her door, and never looked back.
She peeled rubber out of the driveway, loud enough that my besotted friends finally awoke.
“Why are you hanging on the porch, Aaron?” they wondered, Laura’s car long gone by now.
I just smiled and went inside to sleep.
I still think about Laura. That was truly one of the nicest things things a stranger has ever done for me.
Something about the name Hell Hath No Fury reminded me of the Laura events. Maybe because I had some selfishly scorned her. My friend had gotten me a bottle of the ale as we don’t get Bell’s beers in New York. I was excited to try it but it has one of the worst labels I have ever seen. It’s almost so bad it’s good, like the cover to a goofy Hallmark card some lame adult is so proud they got you. (“Isn’t it great?!” “Yeah, real impressed you spent two minutes instead of thirty seconds sifting through the trite cards on display.”)
Luckily, the beer is quite good. Roasted with the typical line-up of dark fruits: plum, cherries, and raisins. I really enjoyed it and though only 7.7% it seemed to pack a bit of a punch. A nice tingly mouthfeel and went down smooth. I would definitely look forward to having it again.
I’m almost positive Laura hasn’t forgotten me.