Quote of the Day:
“The joy on his face when I found him will remain with me always. It was like finding some dude that has been lost in the mountains for a week. It was a true classic moment. You could not make something that good up.” Stone
TB is going through my old posts–I’ll explain why another day. This one is a classic. Many of you who reside in the MTGU nowadays may not have seen this before and I think you will enjoy it. If you are related to me, especially by marriage, I suggest you stop right here. Seriously. Read no more. Because what follows is true. The names and places have not been changed to protect the idiotic, well other than I’m using my alter ego occasionally in the third person.
TB, Ed and Stone were road warriors back at the turn of the century and among our airline rewards were numerous free Air Tran flights. As Fort Lauderdale is the best place Air Tran flew from Gulfport and as driving from there to Key West and drinking for a few days was (is) a helluva lot of fun, we decided to take a few days and do just that.
TB at the time was the only single guy of our triumvirate and as such I was expected to drink a beer any time one of the married dudes wanted me to. So while Stone drove us down the A1A (he was low on the totem pole at our law firm), TB settled in to the back seat of our rented Mustang convertible and removed my shirt for some gut tannin’ and road-trip-relaxin’ over the next 4 hours or so. But just as we left the mainland and before even hitting Largo, Ed pulled out two beers, turned around and showed me one and simply raised his eyebrows. I’d been out the night before and was slightly hungover, so I hesitated, even balked, but Ed persisted with his patented blank stare in my direction. Eventually (perhaps 3 seconds elapsed) I accepted the beer and popped it open. Grudgingly. Ed gave a self satisfied and slightly sinister “I knew I could count on you” chuckle, and we toasted our freedom and the adventures lurking beyond the 7 Mile Bridge.
And away we merrily rolled.
We killed 8-10 beers apiece before arriving in Key West a couple of hours before sunset where Stone was finally able to partake in the festivities. It was about this time TB’s body told him he should get a little sleep–a power nap at least–but sadly, it was not to be. We threw our bags in the suite and rushed out to the hotel bar. TB only had time to snag a bottle of 2-way from the shaving kit. For the uninitiated, 2-way is (or was–it may be banned now) an ephedra pill popularized by truckers who had to stay awake for, like, 88 hours in a row. Anyway, TB popped two, chased them with some beer and barreled out the door in pursuit of my compatriots.
For the sake of brevity, but in an effort to not compromise the true nature of the evening, I’ll now summarize the side stories that occurred that night, some of which have been referenced on the blog before. For purposes of the principal story, be reminded that beer was continually consumed over the next 6-7 hours, several shots were forced upon me by Ed, and an additional 2-way, or two was ingested each hour, something TB had never done before and has never done since.
Stone meets and rejects a beautiful Polish heiress, then introduces her to me so I can be rejected by her, Ed gets us kicked out of 3 bars…well two unless you count Irish Kevin’s twice, Ed gives his watch to Stone for safe keeping then attempts to buy a coke from a machine with a hundred dollar bill before trying his hotel key on at least 88 rooms before finding the one it opens, TB intervenes to save Stone from trying to fight a table-full of 18 year old Marines, Stone intervenes to save TB from arrest for being falsely accused of dumping a trash can directly in front of a cop after which Stone and TB eat late night pizza, drink a few more brews to reach my limit of 88 for a single day, then have breakfast at some ramshackle joint with no sign outside before stumbling back to the safety and serenity of the Hilton at Mallory Square. The time was somewhere between 4 a.m. and Armageddon.
Stay with me.
TB’s body was whipped, but my ephedra addled brain was still a whirlwind of activity. It alerted me shortly after falling asleep that I should get up and relieve myself, but then lost the train of thought that would’ve transported me to the loo. Instead of heading there, TB somehow stepped outside the room. If you have ever stayed in a hotel, you may be aware of the fact that the door locks when it’s closed so you must always carry your room key. Seeing as how TB did not intend to leave the room, I did not carry said key with me. Though still mostly asleep, I realized I was in the wrong place and turned to try and open the door from which I’d come, but as you may have predicted, it was locked. Damn. Nonplussed, I headed down the hallway where I apparently spied a doorway through which I thought I should pass.
Well, as luck would have it, when you leave some hotels after midnight, and the Hilton at Mallory Square-Key West in particular, their public access doors automatically lock behind you. I remember staring back at the door hoping it would magically open. My stare may have lasted a millisecond or ten minutes–I can’t recall. What I do recall is thinking to myself, “Damn. I’m locked out.” Some additional moments of life slipped as I looked around in confusion before realizing, “I’m outside.” “Ohhhhh. DAMN.” Then squinting in the distance and remembering, “I can’t see squat without my glasses.” Then looking down and discovering “I’m in my underwear.” It only took a few more moments to combine those four thoughts, innocuous in their own right, but devastating upon being combined. “Son-of-a…”
I knew there had to be a way back in, and it needed to be fast because I still had to pee. And I just knew those cops from the trash can incident earlier in the evening would be looking for another chance to run me in. Of course I couldn’t see more than ten feet away so my only option was to walk the perimeter of the building. Being that I was in my underwear, I decided I’d be well advised to sprint. Being that I was barefooted and didn’t want to stub a toe I felt no alternative to high steppin’. (Pause here for mental image to coalesce. FYI, I was wearing boxer briefs–semi tight, but extending to mid thigh). I ran to doors that would not open. One sprint sent me spiralling off course down a pier full of docked million dollar yachts and charter boats. I dashed through an active sprinkler system, leaving my hair, chest and underwear soaking wet. A final scamper found me behind some tropical foliage from which I could see the hotel lobby. Seeing no other choice as I peered modestly past the edge a banana leaf, I bucked up, determined to tell the girl at the front desk the truth so far as I could piece it together and headed for the front door of the Key West Hilton at Mallory Square in all my glory.
In the same moment I walked through the automatic doors, I saw the girl go to the back office, so I went to the desk and awaited my fate. When she didn’t come for a few seconds I looked around and noticed some stairs and this is where my luck finally changed. My speed-addled brain managed to smoke signal a message to my consciousness that up those stairs could be meeting rooms and that meeting rooms often featured house phones. “Damn. Eureka.”
So up I went.
There was indeed a house phone and I sat down, wiped the water out of my eyes, crossed my legs and picked it up. The girl downstairs answered and I asked her to ring my room. She asked what number and I had to confess I did not know. So I gave her my name, but the room wasn’t registered to me. And not to Ed. She was about to hang up on me but I begged her to check one more name. Finally, she found the room registered to Stone. She rang the room. After only 88 rings, Stone answered. Our conversation follows:
TB–Stone, you got to come get me.
Stone–Dude, you’re in bed.
TB–No, man you got to come get me.
Stone–I put you to bed myself.
TB–Stone, you got to listen to me. I’m locked outside, in my underwear, I can’t see, I’m wet, I got to pee and I’m lost. You got to come get me.
Stone–Go back to sleep.
TB–(interrupting and louder)–STONE YOU GOT TO LISTEN TO ME! YOU GOT TO COME GET ME!
Stone–Ok, ok, where are you?
TB–I don’t know.
Stone–(after several moments of silence–I suspect he blank stared into the receiver) Well, describe your surroundings.
Stone–Ok, I think I can find you. Don’t move.
TB–You got to come get me.
Denoument–Stone did, in fact, come get me. And I don’t believe anybody ever even saw those mad dashes around the complex, up the pier and through the lobby. Well, nobody other than those bastard late night security guards that sicced the sprinklers on me.