I love Chicago. My buddies Doob, Doug (not Dave) and Paul all live there. Great food. Great people. Lots to drink and all hours of the night to drink it in.
I had the fortune of heading up there for a work related training in the Summer of 2005. My boss and I drove up from Columbus. The hotel was in one of the 23,546 suburbs of Chicago that ends in the word Park. We were meeting the client at a Cubs’ game, so we threw our bags on the hotel room floor and drove a number of miles over to my boss' friend’s house. At the house, we picked up three other guys and took someone else’s car to a train station. We rode the train for about 40 minutes and got off at a very non-descript station. We walked about 8 blocks to a bar and had a quick three drinks. (Drink count: 3) We tumbled out of the bar and crammed into a cab (Note: we = 6. Luckily, I was the only fat fucker.)
The cabbie was kind enough to take a few short cuts and the locals accused him of trying to find the worst traffic to raise the meter. I don’t think Apeluriphediakni spoke much English. We made it downtown via curbs and sidewalks to the Cubs’ game.
Ah, the Game! The Cubs were playing the Red Sox for the first time since 1918. I’m not a huge fan of baseball, but this was a big game and everyone in town teemed with excitement. Our company paid for all the guys plus the client to go to the game. (Client = smoking hot MILF in her very early 40’s.) Todd, one of my boss’ friends, explained that we would be “standing on the curb” at the game.
Standing on the curb turns out to be exactly that. There is a concrete curb that spans the bleacher seating area. A chain link fence follows down the middle of the curb around the upper walkway and dead ends into the stands. There is standing room only along the walkway, so to gain an additional 6” above everyone else’s head, you can stand on the curb. The problem is that there is only about 3” of curb to stand on, so it is necessary to hold on with one hand to keep your balance. This proves tricky when attempting to drink your fifth draft beer (Drink count: 8) and eat a brat with mostly everything on, beside and under it.
Game ends. Cubs lose. (Drink count: 9ish)
We immediately head over to a bar called Sluggers. Sluggers is an all-in-one alcoholic stop. It’s got batting cages, dance floors, pool tables, dueling pianos and Capt. Morgan’s. And jell-o shots. And Bacardi. And various liquors that when mixed together taste like either a candy apple or Dr. Pepper. (Drink count: unknownish) We got hammered as my boss flirted with the client.
At some point later in the evening, I decided that I wanted Taco Bell. Ta-da, there was a Taco Bell next door. I did not tell anyone that I was going to go to Taco Bell because that would involve me actually speaking. At the Taco Bell, I used a number of mumbles and various hand signals to order about 14 burritos. I took them back over to Sluggers and sat outside on the step and ate. And ate.
Minutes passed and no one I knew came out of the bar. I stumbled into the bar and looked around for about ten minutes. No one I knew was there. I was alone in Chicago.
I called my boss on his cell phone. We both slurred at each other for a minute or two. The rough translation of the conversation is as follows:
ME: “You leave me alone at bar.”
BOSS: “You not in bar. We go.”
ME: “You bang client lady?”
BOSS: “Me bang client lady soon.”
That son of a bitch. In an effort to get back to the hotel to fuck the client, he left a soldier behind. Fucker. He said that the hotel was a Marriot in something something Park. I repeated, OK, Marriot something something Park.
I stopped at an ATM and got $200 out. At least I have a timestamp. 2:47am. I stopped a cab and asked him to take me to the Marriot in something something Park. He had no idea where the heck I was talking about. I attempted to explain that it was in a suburb. I let him move on and called my boss to get better directions. He wouldn’t answer. He did not answer for the rest of the night. Banging the client does that to you.
In my drunken state, I assumed I could walk to my friend Doob’s apartment. I mean, how big could Chicago be? As I stumbled through the neighborhoods and surrounding shops, I called my boss several times to explain how I was discontented and that I wanted to no longer continue our work relationship. (I said that he was a fucker and that I was quitting and flying home the next day and that he was FUCKED.) I tried calling Doob, but he didn’t answer.
After about another hour of walking, I gave up. I wasn’t going to find Doob’s and my boss wasn’t going to answer his phone. So this is what I did:
I found a house that was under construction. There was an alley next to the house. In the alley there was a pile of gravel, a stack of 2x4’s and some demolition materials. I stole a newspaper off a neighbor’s porch. I spread out a layer of newspaper in the center of these construction materials. A nest. I lay down. I covered myself in the rest of the newspaper. I slept.
I woke up at about 6:00am. I had no idea where I was except that it was outside. That was fucked up.
Sat up and it all (well, some of it) came oozing back. The game. The bar. The taco bell. The walk. The quitting. The nest.
I got up and started walking. Again. This time, I listened for the 'L' and found a set of tracks and followed them to a station. I bought a ticket (how the hell did I get $200 cash?) and rode the train west to the last station. I got off and re-boarded on the eastbound to downtown Chicago. Once I made it downtown, it was about 7:00am and I called into the office back in Ohio. I got the address of the hotel from Lori who didn’t ask any questions. I had to write the address down using a cigarette butt and the ATM receipt. Stopped a cab and he drove me $75 to the hotel in Orland Park.
When I got there my boss was not in the room. He was still with the client, taking one for the team. (He took another one for the team the next night, too. Fucker.) I slept again.
I did not quit. I did not fly home. Later that evening, at the training, my boss mentioned how funny my messages about quitting were. I laughed, knowing I had meant every word.