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“I need a beer or I’m going to kick my own ass, I swear,” I whispered softly to myself. I was sitting at my desk watching the painfully slow analog clock tick away the minutes remaining in my shift. It was another Friday night at the local newspaper. I was fielding a single phone call every other hour. There was no point to me staying until midnight every Friday, but I was a pledge in the work world — the lowest on the totem pole, but still working with the best in the sports industry.
Finally, the clock struck 12. I was out of there faster than a fifth-year senior could shotgun a beer. It was quitting time and I needed to get to the gas station before they locked up the good booze.
I swung by the gas station we called Ginger Mart, nicknamed after the only two red-headed fraternity brothers we had that ironically worked at the same place. I grabbed four tall boys, paid for the goods, got in my car and drove my ass back to the house.
“Ahh that’s the good shit,” I said after the first taste of Bud Ice graced my lips. The first one went down in under five minutes. The next one, throwing a changeup with a Bud Light tall boy, went down just as fast. The house wasn’t too wild that night — we weren’t having a party but we weren’t NOT having a party. I decided to get a bit buzzed and be social. I’m about three-fourths of the way through beer numero tres when I get the first phone call.
“Hey man, think you can come pick us up? Melvin is pretty drunk,” asked Spike, a pledge brother of mine.
I responded, “Uh, I don’t know man. I’m getting a little drunk. Don’t really wanna risk it tonight. Think you can call around?”
“Yeah, no problem. Thanks, man,” he said.
Spike was always a bit of an exaggerator. I wouldn’t put it past him to say someone was drunk off their ass when really he just wanted a ride. Plus, campus police were cracking down lately and had slowly started to trickle down from the sky. Tonight was not the night even if I was borderline.
My choo-chug train to Drunktown gained steamed over the next 15 minutes. A few beers here, a few shots there. I was slowly falling more and more into inebriation. Then, my phone starts to ring again.
“Hey, we really need you here. Melvin is beyond fucked up,” Spike said.
“Shit. Uh, I’m really really not in shape to drive. Let me grab a pledge and I’ll give him my keys. Be there in a few,” I responded.
I grabbed the first sober pledge I saw.
“Yo, I need you to pick up a few of the guys from Shiloh. Supposedly Melvin’s trashed and needs to get back ASAP,” I told the unnamed pledge.
“Alright, you got it,” he said.
I was a bit concerned at this point. A call for a ride is one thing but sending out a call for help because one of your brothers “needs to get back ASAP” is another. This wasn’t good. I had a weird feeling.
Twenty minutes later the pledge whips my car into the back parking lot. Four guys get out of the car: the pledge and three of my drunk friends — two fewer drunken friends than I was expecting.
“Where’s Melvin and Stan at?” I ask.
“Dude, Melvin’s in the hospital. It’s…it’s bad.”
To be continued….