I went to college with Jon. He hated me during Full Sail. No surprise. I never question why someone hates me. I can be that kind of guy a lot. However, when I returned to Florida after my NYC failure, he decided to give me a second chance, and apparently shaking Misty’s dead weight off my shoulders made me a more likeable dude. I could still be an asshole, but the good kind, if there was such a thing. Jon and myself engaged in several drinking escapades in Downtown Orlando. Every other weekend I was there, and we had some fun, and we had some disasters. Fun times included getting attractive fruit loop liquor girls to donate their rainbow tall hat to me, others ended in Chinese food at the same place when all the bars shut down, and lest we forget the morning trips to Starbucks where Jon and I had a coffee and reran the night’s adventures. The disasters…well, the disasters were indeed disastrous: One of which being among the first few nights of my return to Florida.
Nolan had come down for a visit to Florida in December, along with all the snowbirds. Every night was more impactful than the last. First being a leisurely game of billiards and a drink or two, the second being a hookah bar with all you can drink Wells for 10 dollars. I threw up, loudly, in a trashcan and sprinted down the road, tripping over myself and skinning my knee. And wouldn’t you know it? Third time’s the charm and that Wednesday we traveled to Orlando to see Jon. We met at his place, as he got dressed. Jon liked to class it up for even the diviest of bars. Jon had a strong hand in creating Classy Errol on our future nights out. For the time being though, I still didn’t care about my looks: red shirt and jeans. I haven’t changed in that regard, but occasionally I do pull out Classy Errol for an evening where pinky out is required.
We went out that night and hopped all around. We met a man who looked like a sleazy greaseball and lived up to his appearance. When I told him my name, he said “Oh, like Errol Flynn! Except not gay.”
“He wasn’t gay.” I said.
“Look it up. He smoked pole.”
I looked it up.
This slimy son of a bitch also looked to some random girl talking on her cell phone and said “Hey baby!” She looked over. He waved her toward him. “Come on over here a minute!” He turned back to us, insulting our wardrobe, except Jon’s, and when he turned back to her; Surprise! She was gone. “Where is that bitch!?” He said, before leaving our good graces.
We ended our evening at Bar-B-Q. This bar was much larger than it appeared. Two separate dance floors hidden behind a splintered bar. I approached for one drink too many and a beautiful young dirty blonde leaned against the bar next to me. I introduced myself. “Errol?” She asked. I nodded. “Like Errol Flynn! Except not gay.” What the hell? Never in my life had I heard that and twice this night it was said to me. Her name was Piper. I politely changed the subject and asked if she wanted to dance.
I was drunk.
“Feel free to tell me to fuck off.” I said when I saw the hesitation. She laughed.
“No, it’s not that. I’m just here with some guy friends who brought me out to try and hook them up with other girls. It would look a little awkward if I come back with a dude.”
“Oh,” I said, ready to abandon that half-assed rejection.
“Well, let’s try this: I’ll go back by myself and go on the dance floor. Wait a few songs and then come in and we’ll pretend like we know each other and haven’t seen one another for a month or whatever.”
“Deal!” I said. We went our separate ways and I waited patiently while Nolan sat with a strange group of fellas at a booth and Jon was nowhere to be seen. When a handful of songs went by I went to the dance floor. There she was, dancing away with her group of friends. Dancing, however, has always been my Kryptonite. Other than my own patented Seaweed, I had a broken rhythm, and I had yet to invent the Seaweed. Regardless, I jumped on the dance floor like a damned fool, groovin’ my way toward her.
She turned to me and stuck her arms out. “Oh my God, Errol!” She exclaimed.
“Holy shit Piper! How are you!?”
“I’m good!” We danced.
She soon returned to her friends, I assume because of my lack of moves. I called it a loss and moved toward another woman who was alone on the floor. She didn’t mind my dancing and our proximity lessened as we grinded our way to the end of the song. I put my hand on her hips and she pressed against me. I took a page out of Cliff’s book. She spun around and I said, “Yo, can I kiss you?”
“I don’t care!” She shouted. Indifference means yes. I moved in and we began making out on the dance floor. Another hindsight experience I need no glasses for. We got a little carried away and moved to a booth. Last call was projected over the speakers and she said they were going to her friend’s house if I wanted to come. I, of course, RSVP’ed immediately. As we were walking out I saw Jon talking to someone. “I have some friends with me too.”
“They can come if they want.” I shouted at Jon but he couldn’t hear me over the roar of the exiting pedestrians. Nolan was still with his mystery group and I told him we were leaving as we brushed by. This stranger and her friends hailed a cab. We hopped in and right before the doors shut Nolan rushed in. Everyone jumped.
“It’s all right he’s with me!” I shouted, calming everyone’s nerves. “He’s visiting from Kansas.”
“Ahm frum Canzays.” Nolan said, sticking out his hand. He turned off his redneck accent halfway through the trip, which lasted about ten minutes. We all climbed out and walked into the house on the corner. My lady and I were sucking face while the renter of the house asked Nolan if he was gay. Nolan let him down easy. Jon called me, but I was distracted, so I gave the phone to Nolan.
He stood outside and tried to give Jon directions. A half-hour later Jon found the spot. He had walked from the bar. I’m not sure what exactly happened, but Jon and the gay renter started getting into it. For some reason the gay renter had said he wouldn’t fuck Jon if he were gay. Jon asked him why not. He said, “Because you’re fat.”
“Fuck you, I’m not fat!” Jon then proceeded to dance at the gay renter, grooving rave style right up next to him. The gay renter’s face was priceless, but my lady was upset by the circumstances. She had her face in her hands. “Well, what do you wanna do?” I asked, referring to the situation at hand. She shrugged.
“I’m just gonna get your number and we can hang out some other time.” We exchanged numbers and I left the establishment. Now all we had to do was find our way back to the parking garage. This was quite difficult due to the fact that we were all beyond being able to use our Boy Scout stargazing skills. Eventually we somehow found our way into a back alley kitchen. The workers didn’t seem to mind as we wandered through, confused as hell as to where we were. Some strange woman saw us and stopped. We had a standoff.
“Parking garage?” Was all one of us could say. She turned around and we followed her left, right and straight until the yellow parking garage lights hit us square in the nose. Jon and Nolan ran up a few flights while I spun in place for some odd reason. They sped down in Jon’s car, pulling right up to me, and then driving off as soon as I grabbed the handle. This went on two or three times until I got in the back.
Jon was apparently much further gone than the rest of us, because he was speeding into the night. Sixty in a 20, right over dips no problem, occasionally swerving and bouncing on the curb. A man in front brake checked us. Jon said, “If I were a little younger, I would have shown this guy what’s up.” He brake checked us again. “That’s it!” Jon revved the engine and engaged in a passing war with this man, Nolan and I gripping the Oh Shit handles as hard as we could.
We found a Denny’s and agreed to put some food in us. Inside we talked about the night, getting a tad vulgar at certain parts. The only other table in the restaurant yelled at us as Jon was saying something. “Hey you guys wanna watch what you’re saying?” I don’t remember what it was, but apparently it offended this random group of late 20-somethings at four in the morning. I had a knack for offending people at diners.
“Oh, sorry.” Jon said.
“No, no, no.” I slurred. “Don’t say you’re sorry. He’s not sorry. He takes it back.” Jon looked at me, and then at the group, who were fiery-eyed. He shrugged.
“I take it back.”
“You’re an asshole.” One of the others said to me.
“You’re the dickheads coming in here at four in the morning on a night when colleges are getting out of school for vacation and expecting people to ‘mind their manners’! It’s Denny’s!”
“Okay.” Jon said, looking at the group. “We done?”
“Well that depends.” One girl said. “It’s up to him.” She looked at me.
“We’re done.” I nodded. They promptly left. Whatever. Fuck them and their faux pretentiousness.
Like I said, I don’t question why people hate me.
The next morning we recapped the night with Jordan, who was disappointed he missed out on the fun. When we mentioned Jon’s driving, which he didn’t remember, he went to check on his car. The front passenger rim was damaged, and he was less than happy about it. He asked why we let him do that. Nolan said, “I offered to drive!”
“Yeah. You just put your hand on my knee and said, ‘I got this.’”
We anticipated a Wild Night Van Morrison style and got one belonging to Jim Morrison instead. Whoops.
Before long Jon and I fell into our routine of Chik-Fil-A to start the night, followed by dressing up, going to hop the bar scene, eating Chinese food, and following it up with Starbucks the next morning. During our Chinese adventures, Jon opened my eyes to the world of requesting pork fried rice without the vegetables.
Holy shit you can do that!?
From then on I always got my pork fried rice without the vegetables, making it all that much more delicious, and every time I’ve thought of my good friend Jon and our wicked, wild ways.
One of the most deadly Martial Arts in the world is Wing Chun. Specifically a Chinese Martial Art, it’s not illogical to assume the Chinese Mafia have some members who practice that. My horrid luck will stroll me through one of these various Chinatowns sprinkled in all the cities that matter in the US just as the poor man behind the counter is getting muscled by a gang member. I won’t notice, because I’m stupid and unobservant. The man behind the counter, having frighteningly refused to give up the protection money, turns to me. “Can I have some Pork Fried Rice with no vegetables?” The Chinese mafia man will swing around with Bruce Lee lightning speed and snap my neck out of frustration. I won’t know what the hell just happened and my last thought will be an eternal thanks to Jon for introducing me to customized side dishes in Chinese restaurants.