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The Night Phil Disappeared

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I woke up at 8:47 one Sunday morning the way anyone should: with a fuck-my-life hangover. My decision to opt for early rising was made in equal parts from an intense urge to piss and the song “Crazy Train” playing loudly through my phone. Seeing the name “Batshit Bitch” shoot across my screen in a daze, I sighed. I managed an acknowledging groan before I heard from the other end, in a voice I did not miss, “We lost Phil.”

Taking as many shots of rum as would have landed Blackbeard face-down on the poop-deck, Phil’s Saturday night had started off like any other. Soon, however, our hero began to hear whisperings in the deep, the most ancient of calls known to salty seamen and shit-faced fraternity men alike. Every pirate, Phil included, must have his booty. On his way to his girlfriend’s house, Phil heard Sirens telling tales of a party. The mission was put on hold for the moment. Disembarking in his worthy ship, a ’97 Ford Ranger, Phil somehow made it from Collegeville to Beertown. The adventure, however, was treacherous, completely fucking up a tire which to this day sits a good 30 degrees more horizontal than it should. Phil stepped out onto the asphalt of 44 Party Cove (being parked 5 feet from the curb) with a hankering for Mike’s Hard Lemonade and the wenches it brings.

There were multiple missed calls and texts from an ex-girlfriend who was, at the time, labeled in my phone as “Crazy Bitch.” Answering my phone was the last thing to do on my list of hungover activities. Finally after a glass of water and some ibuprofen, I unlocked my phone to see who had been blowing me up. I looked at the novel of a text that an old slam sent.

I assumed it was some drunk, angry text. But it read something like: “Hey asshole, I was just with your roommate Phil. He’s next-level fucked up and needs someone to come get him.” It was 3:42 a.m. Then there was another from 4:58 saying that Phil had allegedly run off into the night saying he would walk home rather than ride with her. The house party she claimed they were at was about 45 minutes driving distance from our house, in a town Phil had never been in before. I really questioned the source so I called Phil only for the phone to go straight to voicemail. Then I called Phil’s girlfriend to see if there was any truth behind the allegations. She hadn’t heard from him in a couple days, so naturally I went and woke up my other roommate. He would be the Watson to my Sherlock. I had always wanted to be a detective and was sure that we would get to the bottom of this mystery.

I reluctantly called the Crazy Bitch for questioning. She told us that he had visited the frat house on his trek to his lady’s house, and heard of a party due south, and our boy Phil somehow found his way there. She also gave another key piece of information: Phil did not possess his phone, keys, or wallet. He was lost in an area that he had never been, with no way of getting back. Phil was effectively stranded. It was also noted that the tone of Crazy Bitch’s voice indicated she was withholding some part of the story from us. But why? Watson and I set off to find more clues, and, ultimately, Phil.

We stopped by a five star restaurant named Waffle House before we actually started the search and rescue mission. Some might call us a bad friend for the delay, but no search party was ever successful on a hangover. And we needed fuel for the journey ahead.

We decided to begin our search in the neighborhood that Phil was last seen. We started at the house where the party had taken place, and cross-examined everyone who was still there. One party guest claimed that Phil had shown up with only the intent of raging face. Another claimed that Crazy Ex tried to take him back to her place with the incentive of getting his phone back. The last clue that we earned was that Phil had taken precisely three tequila shots. We took to combing the streets, looking mainly in the bushes of nearby houses. Our search turned out to be somewhat successful, as we found an unopened beer. We placed it gently in the cooler to preserve the evidence.

Our minds were racing: “Where the hell did he end up?” “Is even alive?” “He still owes me a 30 pack!” Grudgingly, we phoned the local 5-0 to see if he ended up in the drunk tank, but no luck there either. We gave one last attempt to rescue the alcoholic, and we hiked around the woods a bit looking for the bright orange shirt he was wearing. We decided we would go home if the woods search didn’t turn up fruitful, which it did not. Then just as we had given up hope on Phil, we heard a woman scream from across the street. We then saw an elderly woman staring horrified at the front seat of her car. Sprawled across the front seat of her 2016 Lexus, bloodied and bruised, was a muttering and barely conscious Phil.

It was a miracle. It was impeccable timing. The case of our missing friend could not have concluded in a more immaculate way. Phil tried explaining himself to the woman, who was clearly on her way to church, but all he could say was “Sorry, ma’am. I’m so sorry.” And to top off a ridiculous turn of events, the woman and her husband climbed in their car and casually drove off as if this was something that happens periodically. On the way driving Phil home, we quizzed him on the events of how we ended in that situation. Phil casually said that he didn’t even remember leaving the bar with me, as he cracked the evidence beer.

Image via Shutterstock

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