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The Anonymous Bachelor Party

The night started exactly as you'd think it would. Nick and I picked up Diesel, smoked a Jeep joint en route to the bar, and pulled up about ten minutes late. The rest of the guys would already be there, and we would have successfully avoided having to buy the first round. This was Scotty's bachelor party, so he had probably already been drinking on the golf course all day. We were right on time.

As the hostess led us to the rest of our party, I noticed Tommy at the corner of the bar. Tommy was a polo-wearing, khaki pant having, straight up Alpha Beta from Revenge Of the Nerds type dude. I knew him because I'd played this bar a few times in the past, and Tommy was the manager. The bar was damned near "Every Bar USA" in that it was owned by a successful contractor who liked to drink. You know the place; upper middle-class man in his late fifties sees his favorite watering hole go up for sale, and he buys it with two of his lower middle-class buddies. They're gonna run the place, but they spend most of their time arguing with their old ladies, who used to waitress or bartend there. One of their wives is actually banished from the bar for some shit that happened last August.

Nobody has any idea what money's coming and going from this place. One of the owners has probably developed a coke habit - from letting a few lake tourists stick around after he'd locked the doors and killed the sign. And in my mind that night, Tommy was that one. You could never tell if he was gonna kiss you or pull a gun on you. If he loved you, he would throw you drinks all night and slip the band an extra $100 just to say he did. And this guy had always loved me. No reason why he shouldn't now, I thought as we made eye contact.

He started towards me, zig-zagging through hi top tables, when he stopped abruptly, pretended to be looking for something on the table beside him, and turned back for the bar. I didn't think much of it. Figured the guy had lost some pills he had wadded up in a bar napkin or something. But my brother-in-law Matt nodded my way and asked if I knew that dude. He didn't wait for an answer, he just went straight into stories about Tommy in high school. Turns out this cat really was the movie villain that everyone loved to hate. And Matt and ol' Tommy had a genuine history, filled with first girlfriends and a years-long rivalry. If Tommy was gonna shoot anybody tonight, it'd be Matt.

The next couple of hours of that night aren't very entertaining. This is the part where a guy drinks beers and shots with his in-laws, talking about married life and long-term goals. Nothing to see here...

At some point, I made my way out front for a cigarette and found Nick sitting on the curb, holding his head and an extinguished Marlboro red. Way too drunk to be out on a sidewalk. And he wasn't staring at the lady, but he was definitely zoning out in her general direction. "What the fuck are you looking at?" she barked at him. Nick didn't even blink. "You fucking looking at something?" she slurred. Nick blinked twice and said "Yeah, white trash". Boom. And with that, white trash lady did a running kick to Nick's head, which was pretty easy considering he was sitting on the curb.

I swear to god as his head snapped back, the red and blues kicked on. The timing was impeccable and I was sure the local 5-0 was about to cuff Nick's white trash lady. But they arrested him instead. And as they were putting him into the back of the cruiser, my father-in-law was coming out the front door of the bar for a cigar. He approached the cops, explaining that he was a war veteran, and that he'd like to know what was happening. They explained that he had the right to remain silent, and the next thing I knew, two of my in-laws were in two separate squad cars.

Matt rounded the corner to see it all, when Tommy half sprinted down the sidewalk to cut him off. "Move, motherfucker" was all I heard. Tommy starts yelling to the cops that they need to arrest this guy, too. I remember putting my hand on his arm and doing the ol' Matrix "no" in almost a whisper. His face lightened and he waved them off. I turned back to look at the cruisers and they were gone. An uneventful night with the in-laws had just become an event that I'd need to explain to Julie. Damn. And I married up. Way up.

Diesel and I were somehow the last men standing that night. Maybe because we were fashionably late to begin with. And we weren't arrested, but our ride was. So we sat at the foot of a lighthouse with the night's last joint, and smoked till the sun rose over Lake Erie. Julie would be awake soon, and I'd have one hell of a story to tell her over the first cup of coffee.

I guess calling this piece "The Anonymous Bachelor Party" makes no sense, as I've pretty much identified every character in it. Just know that I intentionally left surnames out, so as to protect the innocent.

The End

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