People are always saying to me, “You must meet a lot of interesting people in your travels.”
Well, they’re not wrong. But I don’t go out of my way to do so. I’m actually a very dull person who just so happens to end up in strange situations.
Take last night, for instance.
A buddy of mine (let’s call him ‘Wayne’) and I met up at one of my local haunts to get soused and participate in trivia night. As far as Monday nights go, a nice way to pass a few hours. The first round was all about Disney movies, and for two straight males in our late 20s, we did respectively well (if one of my exes had been there, we probably would have cleaned up). By the end of the second round, we were in fourth place. I don’t remember what the second round topic was, though, which should probably give you a hint of how the night went.
The third round required that we identify pictures of flowers. Not exactly an area of expertize. Luckily, there was a woman sitting on her own at the bar (no, it’s not one of those stories) in need of a team, and we just happened to be a couple of guys lacking the feminine touch. She jumped in and helped us complete the round, skyrocketing us into second place.
At least, I was told we were in second place, because I wasn’t there anymore. Here’s what happened.
Bike Messengers and Shrooms
Wayne and I worked together a few months back and while at the bar we ran into another guy who had worked with us. Let’s call him, ‘Mack.’ I hadn’t talked to Mack since the store closing so I was curious as to where he had landed, employment-wise. Turns out he’s a ‘bike messenger,’ and by that I mean he deals shrooms. No judgment, that’s cool. Not my scene, but I really don’t care what you do.
We talked for maybe a minute before he offered to get me some. I politely declined, informing him that I was quite satisfied with my drug of choice, shaking the ice in my whiskey.
“Yeah, man, that’s cool. Well, you should come meet my Captain, then. He’s cool.”
“Well, I’m sort of in the middle of this game…”
“No problem, man, he just lives like two blocks away. We’ll be right back.”
Now, of course, I know this is likely a two-fold lie, but my buddy gives me the indifferent “go for it” shrug and I don’t want to be a dick, so I agree to go.
We step out of the bar and immediately run into a couple friends of his on the sidewalk, bike messengers also, though I’m not sure if they’re the ‘quotation mark’ kind. We chat with them for a few minutes and then depart to meet the ‘Captain.’ As I suspected, ‘two blocks’ really meant four. Captain lived in an apartment building near downtown, right on the line between scenic waterfront and seedy drug hub. I’m already second guessing my decision to come along, but now I’m in the elevator of this building with Mack and a few other residents all cheerily discussing the beautiful weather.
We step out of the elevator and walk the hallway to an apartment. Mack knocks and a man, mid 30s, lets us in. This is Captain and he’s hanging out with another guy, maybe a little younger. Not that I had any expectations to the contrary, but the apartment is pretty normal looking, fairly spacious with open windows that, I note, overlook the street that we had walked to get there. Captain and the other guy briefly step into the back bedroom. When they come out, the other guy leaves the apartment.
Captain pulls Mack and me two beers out of his fridge and despite it being the gross, PBR-esque brand that everyone around here drinks, I open mine and start drinking because I feel this is the proper decorum for the situation. Mack shows me around the apartment, bragging up Captain’s artwork which is, from what I saw, quite capable, even good, though mostly they’re just sketches, not finished work.
“So,” Captain says with a smirk, “I assume you’re here for shrooms.” He glances at Mack and then back to me.
“Oh, no,” I again find myself explaining, “I’m not really into that, I’m just hanging out with Mack.”
Captain smiles, opens the fridge and pulls out a ziploc gallon baggie filled with fat stems and caps. Pulling out two of the smaller stems he hands them to me.
“I’m really not…”
“Don’t worry about it, man, these aren’t that strong,” Captain assures.
“Yeah,” Mack agrees, “those won’t do much. Might make you feel a little sick, though.” Which raises the question, why take them? I don’t ask. I slip one of the stems in my pocket but keep the other one in my palm. “You should show him the blue ones,” he continues. Captain brings out the bag and shows me that, indeed, some of the shrooms are a noticeably blue hue. Fascinating, I suppose.
Captain then puts the baggie away and he and Mack take seats next to the window. As I had feared, Mack is obviously planning on hanging out here for awhile, and it’s assumed I will, too, presumably to enjoy the shrooms. You see, if a guy gives you drugs or alcohol for free, it’s sort of understood that you’re going to hang out and partake together. It’s not cool to just snag free swag and bolt.
This annoys me for a couple of reasons. One, because I was getting texts from Wayne back at the bar informing me we were actually doing well in trivia and I needed to get back for the next round. Also, I had a whiskey waiting for me and cheap beer is no substitute for cheap whiskey.
Not to mention I don’t do shrooms and didn’t particularly relish the idea of tripping balls in some strange guys apartment.
I’m thinking of a good excuse to escape when Mack gives me an out.
“I think Wayne is trying to get with that blonde at the bar. I guess he’s on the outs with his girl.”
“Actually,” I interject smoothly, “I was trying to get with her.”
“Yeah man, I was working on that when you showed up.”
“Oh, shit man! Why didn’t you say so?”
Here Captain jumped in. “Dude, you took him away from that?”
“I didn’t know.”
Every guy everywhere respects the code of, “I’m trying to get laid.” It’s the Universal Male Get Out of Jail Free Card. Trust me, it could get you out of a speeding ticket. “You know you were going 80 in a 30 mph zone?” “I’m sorry officer, but there’s this girl I’m trying to bang.” “Well, shit, why didn’t you say so? Get going!”
“You took those shrooms right?” Captain asks. “In a half hour, your game is going to be awesome.” I had not, in fact, taken the shrooms and still had one stem in my hand, but as it was obvious he thought I had, I surreptitiously pocketed it and nodded my head.
“Yeah man, I need to get back to the bar before she takes off.”
“Totally man. You gotta do what you gotta do.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said to Captain. “Maybe I’ll see you at the bar in a bit, Mack.”
“Yeah,” he responded, but it was obvious he was already settling in for a lengthy sit. I exited quickly and was down the elevator in a minute. As I stepped out of the building, I almost started running before I remembered that Captain’s windows overlooked me. I casually fast-walked away until I felt I was out of sight and then bolted up the rest of the way to make it back to trivia night for what turned out to be the last round.
I did make it in time to correctly identified that Kinsey (not Kegel) was the famous sex researcher in the 40 and 50s. Alas, in the round I missed, Wayne and our new partner had not fared as well and we had dropped out of the race. So much for the prize money.
A few drinks later, Wayne and I were hanging out at the back of the bar when we spotted Mack and another guy entering the bar. I suddenly remembered the shrooms still in my pocket and that I had not, as I had let on back at the apartment, already taken them, which would probably have been pretty obvious if I talked with Mack. Being a little drunk and not entirely confident of how things would go down, we hid.
Mack and his partner hung out for a drink and then left. Wayne and I immediately paid our tab and took off for another bar, where we would be unlikely to run into any ‘bike messengers.’
And, no, nobody got laid. But, hey, free shrooms. For what that’s worth.