Clean Living in the Great Midwest

                 

by JRM

April 27, 2005

THE IOWA PAPERS

The Spring Break

Most college kids go home for spring break. Then they bitch and moan about their rich brat friends that get to go to Florida or Mexico or whatever. After years of going home to bitch and moan about the exotic places that my rich friends were going, I decided I could stand it no longer. I was going someplace for spring break. I took a look at my bank statement to see which exotic place I could afford to go to. I closed the document and frowned. I was not going to Daytona. I was not going to Cozumel. I wasn’t even going to Padre. The exotic destination that was within my means was…Kansas City. I had a buddy down there that would let me crash on his couch - he also offered me ‘all the macaroni and cheese I could eat’. I grabbed a friend that had nothing better to do and was willing to split gas money, packed our shit and headed south.

A few highlights from the trip:

We spent the first day drinking and playing video games. Our host, who was a grown-up with a job and responsibilities, had forgotten how to drink. He puked out before 5 o’clock.

Without the guidance of our host, we started walking down Main Street that night, looking for a suitable pub. Had we gone south, we would have run into Westport, the trendy little hippie strip that can be found in every city. Westport has all kinds of bars full of all manner of people. Unfortunately for us, we went north. After several blocks, we saw a bar. Relieved, we walked right in and asked the large woman manning the door how much the cover was.

“There’s never a cover here honey! I just like to be here to greet everybody when they come in!!” She was so ecstatic one would think that I was her long-lost brother, home from the war or something. My friend headed to the bathroom and I walked to the bar and ordered a bottle of beer.

As the bartender filled my order, I felt a pair of eyes just fucking drilling into the back of my skull. I grabbed my beer, paid and slowly turned my head toward the driller. I saw a man in his mid-fifties with the greenest damn green eyes I have ever seen - just staring at me. To compliment his eyes, the man wore the single largest emerald (I have no idea if it was real or fake) around his neck. The guy never said a word to me - he just drilled. Without a doubt, this is the greenest goddamned man I had ever seen.

My buddy returned and said, “Dude – all these guys are gay.” To which I sipped my beer and replied, “Yeah, it kinda looks that way…let’s try the bar next door.”

I chugged my beer and we left for the neighboring bar. We stopped and looked at the signage. The bar we had been in was called ‘Buddies’ and the bar we thought we were going to was named ‘Sidekicks’. It was a freakin’ gay compound over here. Since neither of us was gay, we decided to turn around, buy beer at the gas station and go back and play more video games.

The final night of our trip we went to a club in Westport. My idiot friend spent the night trying to convince women that he was a film producer. I spent the night waiting for him to claim to some woman that he was a film producer and then ask him questions about the film industry that he didn’t know the answer to. It was really funny how pissed he got at me – as if anyone would believe him in the first place.

Things really began to get crazy and the liquor was flowing. Our host forgot that he was a grown-up with responsibilities and started ordering obscure drinks filled with God-knows-what. Everything got fuzzy from there. I do remember a man who’s job it was to walk from table to table taking pictures of people and then attempting to get them to purchase the photos. By the time he got to our table, we had somehow befriended a bum (who later got kicked out) and I had convinced a young blonde to sit on my lap. Several months later I finally got to see the photo. My friends and I looked as happy as humanly possible, the bum looked like our friendly old uncle (except he was black, smelled bad and had no money) and the girl (who I had met 5 seconds earlier and who l never saw again five seconds after the picture was taken) looked like she had been my girlfriend for years. Somebody still has the picture…Man, I wish I had a copy.

Toward the end of the night the crowd started to file out of the bar. My friends and I stood strong – we were going to close the fucker down. By about 2:15 there was only us and a table of girls playing a drinking game with cards. The game is apparently as old as drinking itself and is called ‘Kings’. I’m sure many of you have played it – basically there is a task assigned to every card and after each draw, somebody has to drink based on that task.

We played Kings until the staff closed the bar and threw us out. The rest of the trip was uneventful and went off without any trouble. A few weeks later, a party was going sour and I decided that we would play Kings in an effort to salvage it. Unfortunately, nobody knew how to play Kings and I had been too drunk to remember all but the basic points of the game…so I made them up as I went along.

That was the night that ‘Bastardized Metten Kings’ was born. A drinking game so volatile that it once caused a woman to take a dump in my shower. But that’s another story…

Love,

JRM

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