Let’s set the scene, shall we?
It was a crisp winter night in Orlando, Florida, which is another way of saying it was as muggy as a sauna in a Boca Raton retirement community. My confidence was at an all-time high. I had set a new three rep bench press max earlier in the day, it was a week after a haircut (which is when your lettuce is straight fire), and I was newly single. There was no doubt I was paddling down cooch creek later on.
Before we went out that night, Kyle, a buddy who had also broken up with his girl a few weeks prior, and I agreed to rescue each other when we would inevitably run into our exs. We adopted a “go back with some strange or go home alone” policy.
My little brother, a spring pledge at the time, gave us a ride to the Greek cesspool of underage drinking and bad decisions: Dave’s. Envision jamming three hundred people into a chicken coop and serving free drinks until midnight — that’s Dave’s on an average Tuesday. You can only imagine the clusterfuck caused by all the lonely, hormonally unstable ladies on Valentine’s Day and the overabundance of sociopathic degenerates looking to exploit this Hallmark holiday. I’m not casting stones. I was there, too.
Getting a drink was virtually impossible, and moving was a luxury unto itself. Sorry Pacino, it just wasn’t worth fighting for that inch. I was more than ready to bail and try our luck elsewhere when the sardine-packed crowd took a page out of the Old Testament and the sober sea parted. Of course, the Moses in this particular analogy was my ex and her sorority sisters and the sea was a bunch of pathetic dudes doing a double-take and drooling as they walked by.
We locked eyes, I went full deer-in-headlights mode, and I shit you not, the DJ threw on Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” because that’s the vibe you want to set for a good time. You had one job, hack DJ. One job.
Before I could even process what to do next, Kyle threw me in a headlock and dragged my ass out of the bar. He knew full well how much of a mental midget I turned into after the breakup. I was living a more reckless lifestyle than Vinny Chase post Sasha Grey. The daily combination of whiskey, pre-workout, cocaine, and a sex addiction doesn’t exactly do the chemical balances in your brain any favors. Kyle fulfilled his side of the pact.
We called for another sober ride and moved onto establishment number two, Lu Bar. On the way, Kyle was sitting shotgun, hunched over his phone and quietly texting someone. I thought nothing of it.
The place was an absolute ghost town, but it presented the much needed opportunity to catch up on drinking. We anchored down onto two stools and chatted up the smoke bartender rocking a cutoff tee and booty shorts. Somewhere between shamelessly checking out her underboob and pounding down whiskey Cokes, she brought attention to a beer pong tournament the bar was holding later on in the night.
Under any other circumstances, it would have been a hard pass on my end to the proposition. Beer pong is the party game of gloating peasants: “Cool man, you ran the table all party long? No way. It’s not like you constantly updated us periodically throughout the night. Hey, did you and Johnny Jerkoff over there talk to any girls? You didn’t? Shocker.”
However, at that point, I was starting to chalk up the night as a colossal failure anyway, and I decided I might as well continue riding the self-loathing train by adding beer pong into the mix. That and the winner’s purse was a cool grand.
I liked our chances against the six townies who filled the room, but just as I was deciding what to do with my $500, herds of Hurley tank tops and Vans sneakers piled into the venue. The DJ set the brackets, fifty or so grown ass men huddled over red solo cups, and we were now part of the most pathetic night in human history.
From the very first shot, I could tell Kyle was feeling it. He was in a zone comparable to Jordan’s Game 6 or Tiger at the ’97 Masters. Everyone knows that when a pitcher is throwing a perfect game, you leave him the fuck alone, so I let Kyle be. I decided my roll was to sink an occasional shot and shit-talk the opposition.
I’ll spare you the in-depth details because that’s as bearable as talking about your fantasy football matchup, but we breezed through into the finals.
Before the game, nature came a-callin’ and I did my best R. Kelly impression all over a bathroom stall. I washed up, dried off, and strutted out knowing we had this in the bag. That was, until I saw the first female (other than the bartenders) grace this giant circle-jerk with her presence.
Yup, throughout the night, Kyle had been texting his former flame to meet up. If she had shown up five minutes later, I’m positive we would have walked out of there with the coin and the night wouldn’t have been a complete waste. But I was too late. She stood directly next to him, fully engaged in conversation, and there was nowhere for us to go. We still had one last game.
I politely asked her to fuck off, but it was to no avail. It seemed to only motivate her to distract Kyle more. As you might guess, he paid no attention to the game, missed every shot he took by five feet, and we got housed. Game, blouses.
Have you ever been on the losing side of Queen’s “We Are The Champions”? It’s as if Freddie Mercury rises from the dead, takes his decaying, AIDS-filled dick, and slaps your face senseless. After comprehending getting proverbially face-fucked, I saw Kyle making an Irish exit hand-in-hand with his girl.
I ordered one last drink before last call, had my little brother pick me up, crushed some Del Taco on the way home, and eventually walked up the spiral staircase of the fraternity house. As I passed the community bathroom, I noticed someone face-hugging the toilet. At that moment, Kyle walked past me in the hallway holding a bottle of water and paper towels. Then it all clicked. Justice!
That was all the solace I needed. Suddenly, one of the most pitiful nights of my life swiftly became an all-time favorite college memory. Life really is about appreciating the small things, after all..
All names and locations have been changed to protect the identities of the individuals involved. Except Kyle. Fuck you, buddy.