My cousin Andy was getting married in Rochester, NY and my whole family was gathering from here and there to attend. I drove up with my parents and sister. My brother was coming in from Toledo with his girlfriend.
The wedding was very nice and it was great to see my extended family. As the reception was winding down, my brother suggested he and I bail and go meet his buddy at a bar. The bar was called The Bug Jar. His buddy’s name was Fatty.
Fatty liked to drink. A lot. And Fatty wasn’t fat. Something about weed and smoking it.
The Fatty story I heard that night before we met him at the bar included the following: drinking, a telephone pole, cops, radiator fluid and a long strand of blonde hair. Fatty was driving home with his girlfriend in the passenger seat. My brother was in the pass-out-enger seat; lying in the back of the car. Fatty was turning right at a light and decided to pass out in the middle of the turn. His car slammed into a telephone pole. Both driver and passenger mashed their faces against the windshield. Steve just rolled onto the floor. The smashing of the face into the windshield woke Fatty up and he threw the car into reverse and completed the drive a few blocks down the road to his house. Once in the driveway, they all piled out of the car and randomly fell into the front yard of Fatty’s home… they were safe. Eight blocks away, a curious police officer saw the broken glass, mangled telephone pole and trail of anti-freeze dripping off into the distance. He called in backup and began to follow the bread crumbs back to the gingerbread house. The officers found the three still in the front yard. The cops gathered IDs and questioned the three. Fatty had a past history of driving while drunk and so his girlfriend took the blame for the accident. The cops didn’t believe it. Our curious officer found a strand of blonde hair stuck in the windshield… on the passenger side. Fatty was fucked. He was taken off to jail. Poor Fatty.
Back in Rochester, we were at The Bug Jar and having a post wedding beer when we heard a horrible noise. Last Call. Fatty wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Fatty had a plan. “Let’s go to Buffalo.” As it turns out, the bars in Buffalo are open until 4:00am. Fatty said that Buffalo was only half an hour away. We could stop at his house and pick up some beers for the road. It was an awesome plan. Fatty liked to drink.
We left the bar and I drove Steve’s car to Fatty’s. Beers and weed were gathered and we hit the road. It was 2:30am.
At 2:45am we passed a sign that read “BUFFALO – 58 MILES.”
Oddly enough, it takes more than 30 minutes to drive 58 miles. My loud questioning of this fact did not faze Fatty. Fatty said, “The college is on the east side of town... we’ll be there soon. I know exactly where it is at.”
At 3:40am, after getting lost and unlost, we parked in front of a bar. We walked in just as the bartender was calling last call. My brother and his girlfriend, who had been drinking the entire trip, slumped into a booth and basically fell asleep. Fatty audibly grabbed the bartender and slurred, “Give me three pitchers.” The bartender said, “We don’t sell pitchers.” “Well give me 16 beers.” What the fuck! The bartender opened 16 cans of beer and Fatty gathered some. I gathered the rest. We went to the booth and Fatty was yelling at my brother and his girlfriend to drink. No way. They were done. I was half way through beer 1 of 16 when Fatty said to me, “Let’s get out of here.” I was very sober and felt as though I had to take care of the guy. I followed him out the door.
Next door they sold pitchers. Fatty ordered two. For some reason, he asked for six cups.
Relocated at a countertop that wrapped a column, Fatty put down the six large plastic cups. He poured the entire contents into the cups and said the following. (I’m making this into a new paragraph to add emphasis.)
“Chug all six of these beers. If you have to puke, puke in the pitcher.”
No way, I said. I had to drive home. No way.
So I started chugging the first beer. I finished it, but there was no way I was going on any further. I did have to drive these drunken fuckers home. All 71 miles.
Fatty called me several versions of the word pussy and then chugged cup number two. And cup number three. He gagged down cup number four. Half way through cup number five he started to puke. He grabbed the empty pitcher and puked in it. It looked like beer, just foamier. In an act of pure alcoholism, he chugged cup number six.
We left the bar ( I left, Fatty staggered) and gathered Steve and his girlfriend. Everyone passed out in the car, except me. I drove. And drove. I didn’t know how to get to Fatty’s house from the highway, only from our hotel. So I went to the hotel first and dropped my brother and girlfriend off. I then drove towards Fatty’s. He wanted breakfast. He puked out the car door. I dropped him off and he asked again if we were getting breakfast. I drove back to the hotel with him lurching in the driveway.
Drive. Park. I got into the room that I was sharing with my brother. It was 7:15am. I lay down in bed and looked up at the ceiling. Afterimages from the lines on the road hummed on the ceiling. I just wanted to sleep.
Knock. Knock. Knock. Steve. Doug. Do you want breakfast? It was Mom. It was 7:18am.
Two hours later I was asleep in my parent’s car. My face wedged between the seat and window. I woke up in Lancaster, six hours later.
That was a great wedding. And it’s still not half and hour from Rochester to Buffalo.