Monday, October 06, 2008

Fear and Loathing in Maryland

The wind coming inland had a ominous moan on Saturday afternoon. My driving partner, who claimed to be a direct decedent of Genghis Khan himself was itching to get out of the car. He claimed it was a sugar rush, but I knew better. We were apprehensive about what we were walking into and the three hour drive made us quite thirsty. We didn't plan for the drive and were late as the car parade was starting. The bastards we were meeting had been known to do harsh things to the tardy, I heard one of the beasts had threatened to twist a homosexual man's head the night before. What kind of heathens threatens to twist a man's head without at least offering a happy ending? Strange days indeed.

Checking into the hotel presented many large physical obstacles in the form of people. The all-you-can-eat buffets of Ocean City has caused man, woman, and child alike to become moving, semi-agile boulders that me and my Mongolian companion had to maneuver around. It was already far to much for my delicate mind. We managed to get to the desk, I was already sweating like a beast, the desk attendant had a bovine look on her face and a figure to match. She managed to find keys after bending under the desk far too much and we entered an elevator that was last serviced in 1852. Forty minutes later we had gotten to the second floor and to our room. It had a decor and size that matched the elevator, we quickly left.

We managed to find a few of our friends at their hotel's bar. The room was packed with idiots of some form or another. Many had come to see the baseball game, others came to make friends; they would find no friends in me this day. Our associates had a wild look in their eyes, they spent the previous evening drinking and they were looking to continue. I offered whiskey as penance for being late which they gladly accepted, but later regretted due to reflux.

We were asked back to their hotel room. It smelled of ass and axe body wash. The faint smell of smokes of various creeds also permeated the room. My closest friend, Nate, was celebrating his 28th birthday by spitting into the ferocious winds; his spittle took flight and surely ruined some obese car enthusiast freshly waxed obsession. He had an evil glint in his eye and I knew this evening would prove to be perilous to at least one of us, probably him. I had noticed there was someone I didn't know in the room. He had a redneck look about him with a waft of "surfer-dude". He was ironing his jeans as I stared... What an odd activity especially as his companions surely had not seen much less used an iron in years.

Plans were solidified to go to another, less attractive bar a few blocks away. When we arrived it was full of dim-witted sports baseball fans who for some reason were cheering for the Philadelphia football team (The Eagles) instead of the baseball team (The Phillies). The waitress informed us that domestic drafts were two dollars. When I ordered a Sam Adams, she told me that was considered imported. I told her that I wasn't aware of Boston succeeding from the union and she looked at me with dull, dead eyes not understanding and most definitely not caring. Nate had somehow gotten lost in the shuffle between bars and finally arrived. Several rounds of drinks and food were ordered and delivered. During this time another member of the group arrived with a friend. This gentleman was pasty with large, psychotic eyes. I watched him behind my glass waiting for him to make his inevitable attack. The waitress came over to inform us that a change in shifts was occurring and we could pay out or continue to run a tab. I suggested paying out so the dim-witted girl could be tipped and a new tab started. The tab was paid, our waitress left, and we were left without drink or any service for about an hour. Nate demanded two pitchers from a greasy, long-haired bartender who begrudging complied. Looking at his greasy strands of hair, I grew concerned that one of his head pubes would makes it way to my mead so I suggest we depart again and go to our planned final destination... The Brass Balls.

With each passing block the aroma grew larger... sweat, steamed crabs, stale beer, sexual fluids... it filled the air and as we walked into the bar, it coated everything. The wait staff seemed eager to have reliable customers and knew my friends from the night before. The Mongolian was quiet, never a good sign, and I started to look around for him. He was in the back of the bar yelling at an older white couple while playing with an electronic shooting game. Shots continued to flow, everyone loosened up including the crazy pasty man who I started to suspect was a certified serial murderer. I wasn't the only one with that assumption either as several patrons shot him terrified glances. As I began to get lost in the countless possibilities of this man murdering me or my friends I noticed the Mongolian had disappeared. Knowing his affinity for water I ran to the beach and saw him climbing a small grouping of rocks leading to the ocean.

He was crouched over and staring at the waves. I could sense that this calmed him, but Mongolians are an unpredictable lot and he was one of their finest. I suggested we leave which just agitated him more. "I love the water man, it is awesome" he said. I knew this was trouble. As I began to inch closer he slipped on a rock and cut open his leg, pouring the blood onto the rocks. The injury didn't phase him. He continued to make Mr. Miyagi style formations on the rocks until I reminded him that it was our friend's birthday. His manners got the best of him and he lead me back to the bar.

The release of the Mongolian's blood into the air awoke a dark and menstrual goddess on the beach. When we got back to our table, we were greeted by two new female friends. The sharks could smell fresh meat in the water and started circling their prey, half of these animals were married or had girlfriends, I think they just didn't know how to operate without a woman telling them where to stand. The voices in the air must have been talking to the psychopath and I was trying my best to avoid him as he began to talk to me. Seeing my friends enjoying a cigarette on the deck I promptly made my exit. With each exchange between us I grew more concerned that this nut could pose some harm to the smaller members of the group and surely some of the local wildlife, I needed to collect more information. Nate didn't seem to know anything about him, but the women also shared my sense of alarm. I offended the people smoking on the deck by telling them they were paying a corporation to kill time 5 dollars a pack and I was admonished back inside, the murderous bastard was waiting for me.

I had selected "The Weight" by The Band on the jukebox and it was playing in all its glory when I got back to the table. The psychopath told me his name, (for sake of this story I will call him Tom) and began to ask me questions about Rush; his interest in prog-rock confirmed my suspicions that this man ate children. Tom caused all the men to start squawking about the best band, I took my opportunity to become as offensive as possible to cull any more conversation attempts. He suggested that the Beatles were the best and I told him they where hacks and sucked, this did nothing to deter him. I attempted to insult his tastes more, but he just stared deeply at me, I decided that cancer was better than being skinned alive and went back outside. Tom and the rest of the table followed me out much to my horror.

It wasn't long before we started to attracted the attention of other bar patrons. Mostly older couples looking for a good time, we were greeted with cheers and smiles. A somewhat drunk couple staggered to the deck from the neighboring boardwalk and almost instantly started a conversation with Tom. My friend Roland noticed this conversation as well and suggested that their skin would make quite a prize for this sick fuck, we both shivered. Once again I noticed the Mongolian had disappeared and saw him out of the corner of my eye falling backwards on the barrier between the boardwalk and the beach. Roland walked over to keep and eye on him and I sat down next to Nate attempting to spend some time with my friend in between cigarettes. Tom soon came over and asked to bum a cigarette which I promptly told him I didn't smoke and it was a habit for the mentally and emotionally handicapped, he asked for one of Nate's anyway. He proceeded to tell me how much of a buzz he got from the nicotine and I informed him that second hand smoke was quite lethal and he should take a few steps back. He complied temporarily. The couple that I was sure would become his trophies informed me that Tom was a nice man, I suggested to the now shit-faced woman that she shouldn't take any offers to get into a car or dark alley with him, she nodded but I could tell she did not comprehend my warning. Victims, aren't we all?

I focused my attention back on Nate; wanting to see if he had any interest in the girl he was speaking with and if he did, if he had made progress. The answer was no. I wanted to understand the situation better so I struck up a conversation with the girl while Nate took a reprieve (most likely to talk game plan with his cousin). She seemed nice enough but I was getting the impression that my friend would not be partaking in the ultimate birthday gift for one reason or another. There was another gentlemen brought along that wasn't part of our normal scene. He seemed nice enough but he was most definitely flying too close to Nate's honey pot. I tried to fend him off while still being polite as he was held in high regards with the other men in the group, but I eventually told him he was talking too loud and interrupting a very important conversation between me and the young lady. He took appropriate offense and went off to sulk at the bar.

The night continued like this for a few more hours and finally last call was announced. By this point I had retired to the beach so I could keep an eye on both the murderous Tom and the Mongolian, who was locked in a deadly dance with the ocean. By now he was bleeding from several spots on his body and looking as if the beer and whiskey had taken complete control. I could see Nate on the deck quickly dismissing the other men around him so he could make a final play with no competition if he wanted to. Tom stood on the deck staring at me for several minutes, I went to find the Mongolian. Most of the men went down for the night while Nate and a small entourage headed towards the hotel parking lot. The Mongolian and I made our way up the boardwalk and to our hotel with me checking back every few minutes to make sure we were not followed. The stairs were not kind to him, but the kin of Khan found his way to his bed soon enough. I spent the next few hours serenaded by the sounds of the Mongolian intermittently vomiting in the bathroom next to my bed.

I awoke the next morning to the sound of someone yelling in the street. It was 6 AM. I couldn't sleep so I decided to shower and get myself ready to leave. Once clean I took a stroll on the boardwalk to kill time. By 9 AM I decided to check in on Nate and his crew, I walked to his hotel and knocked on his door. Roland opened to door a bit and I saw body parts mingled with blankets all over the floor like a game of twister gone terribly wrong. I promptly left. When I returned to the hotel the Mongolian was wrapped in a sleeping bag. Against my better judgment, I awoke him so we could get the hell out of this bad twilight zone episode. He rose slowly muttering nonsense. He eventually stumbled into the bathroom and emerged a few minutes later somewhat coherent. We quickly got to my car to avoid any run ins with Tom the murderer and set off on the 150 mile journey home. Halfway home the Mogolian's previous nights binge reappeared all over I-95. He rolled up into a ball and didn't say much. Eighty miles later we pulled into my driveway and the Mongolian slithered into his car. As I stood there watching him drive away, wondering if he would make it home without vomiting, I gave thanks that Tom the psychopath let us both leave with our skin.

Happy Birthday Nate

PS - The Birthday boy passed on his gift...