I heard a cool story today. I don’t recall every detail, but here’s the gist:
Once upon a time not so long ago, this dude I know and a girl who had the hots for him took a rubber raft down the Merrimack River on a very warm July day. At some point the two of them got drunk on Schlitz to the sound of cows lowing away from both riverbanks, eventually inspiring the dude to push the chick over the side just to see what she might have been sitting on. She tumbled in backward, shoulder blades first and ass akimbo, which was nice. “JERK!” she yelled, tearing off her string bikini in consternation and following doggedly in his wake using a modified butterfly stroke. There were no witnesses. He tossed her a couple of beers and settled back for a nap.
After three hours and seven minutes of this, the dude, now awake, sunburned, and bored with the whole enterprise, steered the raft to shore, shed his homoerotic cut-off jeans shorts, and forcibly commandeered a 1967 Dodge Dart with bright yellow rocker panels from a blind yam salesman operating in a riverside park. He soon found himself driving down the Everett Turnpike, his nubile companion again seated beside him and — from the musky smell of things — uncommonly hot and bothered. (I’m just telling you what he said.) There was a decal of Yosemite Sam giving the finger pasted on the rear windshield. The oil light kept coming on even though the yam salesman had claimed to have dumped about four quarts into the crankcase that very day, so the dude became really angry and smashed in the dashboard display with his thumb. Then, while still doing seventy-five, he threw the door open, leaned way out and peered under the car, abrading his scalp on the pavement. He could see a veritable flood of oil spurting from the sagging engine block. This shit, he thought, should never happen with a Slant 6 engine.
Angry now, he produced a rusty Ping putter from the back seat and jammed it under the car, aiming for the suspected crack in the engine block. The putter became caught in the transaxle and just about threw him right out of the vehicle — he clung fast to the steering wheel but pulled it sharply to the left in the process, rolling it onto its side and on top of him. They skidded down the Everett Turnpike amid a shower of sparks and an unholy screeching noise. He swore — the car was really heavy and was digging into his side in a big way — and threw his weight to one side with all his might. The car righted itself and he popped back inside, slamming the door. Now the airbag light was on and he punched that one out, too. “Boys of Summer” was blaring from the tinny speakers, and it didn’t seem suited to the occasion, so he popped Henley out and slotted a Yanni tape into the deck with one hand, deft as all hell. He adjusted the fade and had drawn in a breath to start singing the obscene lyrics he’d just made up on the spot when the C-V joint gave way. The Dart pitched forward and the grill tore up a good chunk of the freeway as the car slid roughly along. Some guy in a passing Winnebago peppered the side of the slowing Dart with stuff he’d collected from the camper’s chemical toilet and sneezed, winking behind his Foster Grants as he stubbed out a marijuana stogie on his sleeping wife’s bosom. The naked chick tittered and lapsed into a frenetic series of paroxysmal orgasms, emitting brief hoots between peaks of sensation.
The dude couldn’t believe any of this, of course, but he was really upset. He stood up and ripped the roof off the Dart (it cartwheeled into the median and scattered a bunch of seagulls grazing on bits of donuts left behind by cooping State Police) and swan-dived atop the Winnebago’s hood just as it pulled into a Shoney’s. The guy hopped out and started making vague threats while his wife slumbered away. The dude told the Winnebago driver to show him his hall pass and he just laughed and invited the dude to take a poke at him. The dude swatted his manhood authoritatively and assigned the Winnebago driver to in-school detention. He then took a swig of cider vinegar, belched acidly, and said, “let’s do it.”
Just then every kid on the cross-country team the dude once coached materialized from shadowy corners of the parking lot and from within the eating establishment itself. They were all raring for a fight. The thing was, the guy in the camper was about eight feet tall at the shoulder and smelled like the business end of a Macaque monkey; he wouldn’t crumble easily. The dude hadn’t been in a fist fight in years, and had never fought in the buff, but he was about to make up for lost time. He ordered his still-twitching companion to get her narrow ass out of the Dart and into the fray, and sure enough she cavorted straight toward the action, causing thirteen teenage boys to become painfully rigid at precisely the same time. One of the kids started taunting the camper guy about his body odor. At this point seven or eight overweight adolescents piled out of the camper wielding various implements – pillows, chair legs, spittoons. This was going to be ugly, but the dude wasn’t going to stand around and wait for the roof to cave in, so he reared back and fired a half-eaten hot dog he’d fished out of a nearby dumpster right into the eye of one of Camper Man’s tubby kids. Bright yellow mustard spattered into the lad’s eye and he yowled.
That set things off in a hurry. The air was filled with the sounds of knuckles whacking against heads and torsos, and onlookers could almost visualize the “BAM!” “OOF!” and “POW!” text balloons from the ’60s and ’70s hit “Batman” rising above the burgeoning fray. The dude waded in and started rallying, arms and legs akimbo, a veritable paragon of spindly aggression. The dude wished he’d brought his blaze orange knit cap, which made him look and feel quite tough. Something bashed him in the back of the head: a dog-eared Furby with malfunctioning speech mechanisms. He went down hard but bounced right up, adrenalin keeping the pain at bay.
His kids, bless them, were just going nuts. Not one of them weighed over 120 pounds but they were picking their foes up like rag dolls and throwing them against handy rows of garbage cans, just like they’d seen in Jackie Chan movies. Three of the kids had climbed as high as Camper Man’s broad shoulders and were trying to take him down like leopards attacking a giraffe. He kept spinning around and throwing them free, at which point one of them would break foul wind and start the others laughing while birds (not the same seagulls mentioned before; most of these were Baltimore Orioles) dropped lazily from the sky. It was fucking bedlam.
After about ten minutes of this, the Shoney’s manager rushed out of the eating establishment and threatened to tear everyone a new anus, and he was backed up by a mob of angry diners, some of whom had bibs tied around their necks, something you rarely see at a Shoney’s. So now there were three warring factions. The dude had some guy in a headlock and was spitting in his hair while some biker chick kept reaching around him with one lanky, tattooed arm and giving him noogies that hurt like the dickens — noisome sensations that were offset by the naked girl’s strangely timed yet elegant oral ministrations below his waist. Shortly thereafter he became part of a huge pigpile and noticed the Winnebago was on fire. Someone was singing “Amazing Grace” in a basso profundo voice that rocked his bones. It was crazy.
Among the diners he recognized one of his high-school gym teachers. He was sobbing and yammering about how he used to have a 75-mile-per-hour fastball before the Army messed up his rotator cuff. One of the chubby kids sucker-smacked him with a pillow and he went down like a sack of grain.
Inevitably the cops showed up and starting spraying everyone with Binaca (they had recently outlawed pepper spray in Hillsborough County). Also, because a few of the diners had complained of indigestion, a squadron of ambulances arrived in the wake of the dozen-plus police cars. The dude’s kids scattered, but not before a few of them ended up in paddy wagons. They kept farting and laughing and exaggerating the length of their weekend training runs, much to the dude’s and the cops’ consternation. Someone took out Camper Man with a ketamine harpoon and he collapsed, almost gracefully, like a building purposely destroyed with strategically placed explosives.
Not surprisingly, within minutes his kids had overpowered the police and taken over their cruisers. The dude was shoved rudely into the back of an ambulance, where an inexperienced venipuncturist tried to draw blood from his antecubital vein. “Objection!” he hollered ominously. “Overruled,” she tittered, coming after him with the needle. The naked girl, whose nipples were as hard as diamonds by this point, smacked the vein tech in the head with a bag of saline, which exploded, showering the ambulance bay and its contents with electrolyte solution. The vein tech sobbed and leaped out of the van, which peeled out of the Shoney’s parking lot and raced toward the hospital, siren wailing. Most of the squad cars were under the guidance of either the cross-country kids or the portly teenagers from the Winnebago (presumably Camper Man’s offspring). As he lay pinned to the floor by gravity and fatigue, the dude’s last view of the Shoney’s tableau was of Camper Man’s wife, who was still asleep in the passenger seat of the Winnebago and in the throes of second-hand marijuana smoke as well.
The brawl continued once they all got to the hospital. The dude and his kids used an IV pole as a battering ram and entered the crowded ER lobby by crashing through a bay window so they could get out of harm’s way. A bunch of little old ladies in the ER waiting area jumped up smartly and, in unison, began doing a tired but passable version of the Mashed Potato. They were psych patients, but by then no one was really sane anyway. The little old ladies were pleased about the new arrivals but no one else was. Some orthopedic surgeon with a gruff demeanor and wearing a Discman kept yelling “Stat! STAT!” but no one gave a tinker’s damn, and simply kept going about their business, which involved much more sitting around than the eponymous NBC show suggests. Naturally, the kids harangued the orthopod about his bald spot and his massive burden of educational debt, and this led to a satellite fight separate from the original, which was still going strong in Exam Room Three and now included four nurses, three ER docs, a dietician, all of the XC kids, four rotund redneck teens, and six or seven patients formerly complaining of headaches or chest pain but now too consumed by the melee to notice. People kept breaking the fluorescent lights. It was utter fucking chaos.
The dude sneaked away unnoticed, donned a hospital johnny and left through a side door. (He later read in the paper that no one got hurt.) Shyly, he asked the girl, whose name was Tara (his own will remain a secret) if she’d like to play chess sometime.
“Of course,” she said shyly.
That’s all I remember.