THE SAINT JOE'S DEBACLE (Part 1)

    As with all of my tales, I must first give you the following disclaimer statement: This story is true. Every lovely, unfettered detail is exactly as it occurred. If you don't believe me, piss off. Or ask Jonny Texas.

    It all started at St. Joseph's Jesuit University (one of the more ignominious stops on my tour of colleges). This private university in Philadelphia was famous for two things: its track record of academic excellence and its student body (which was comprised mostly of snotty rich kids with big checking accounts who loved to party).

    I had nothing in common with any of them except the party thing. And, as I was later to find, I would be getting plenty of practice in the artistry of the party, and how to take it to its furthest extremes - a Zen-like approach to partying, if you will.

    One fine Friday, I had gotten wind of a particularly big soiree that was to go down at a local frat house known affectionately as "The Crack House". This was the house of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and it had earned its nickname in the most dubious way - it actually HAD been an abandoned crack house that was occupied by squatters and dope fiends until the fraternity somehow raised enough money to evict the undesirable tenants and turn it into a big, gnarly, Animal-Housesque haven of sin. 

    I loved it. We all loved it. It was a mosque where one could pay proper homage to the art of the party.

    We all loved it enough to go there whenever a party looked like it might break out, and because of the unpredictable nature of those aforementioned parties, and because of the frat brothers themselves. It was not uncommon to see such sights as a line of twenty people on all fours in the backyard as they all simultaneously vomited into the bushes, or a pile of dope as big as a stuffed pig on a coffee table, or a wall with a couch sticking halfway out of it, cracked plaster and all. In short, they would always have the most beer, the best drugs, the drunkest girls, and the best chance of something completely outrageous happening. How could I, in good conscience, ever miss a bash at the Crack House?

    And, furthermore, how could I allow my pal, Jonny Texas, to miss this particular party at the Crack House? I would be remiss in my duties as his best friend if I didn't make him aware of such goings-on. Hell, just recounting the stories to him in the days after the party would be enough for him to probably disown me as a friend and never speak to me again. So, this being the case, I did the right thing and called him up and invited him, and of course he said he would be there, with bells on.

    Friday came, and (wearing his bells) Jon came down to St. Joe's and met me at my dorm's reception area. I lived in a dorm that was fanatical about security (and, given its location in "scenic" West Philadelphia, this was probably a good thing). It had a lobby with a deskperson and at least one armed campus security person at all times, and this was a big headache for me and my dorm mates the entire time we lived there. They would not allow beer or liquor of any sort, even if one were of legal age. This, of course, forced us to new heights of creativity if we wanted to drink (which, friends, was a no brainer. Of course we wanted to drink). To get liquor in, we used to tie seven or eight bed sheets together, lash a duffel bag to the end, stuff whatever form of contraband into the duffel bag, and hoist it up the side of the building to my friend Dad's room. His was the only room on the floor that had a window that would open (we had broken the latch). It was an ingenious plan, and it worked like a charm every time.

    But I digress. So, on this particular evening, I headed over to the dorm lobby to wait for Jon to arrive. He showed up at around seven, so we had some time to kill before things actually got underway at the Crack House - and this meant that we would need to have Happy Hour in Dad's room. 

    We made it to Dad's shortly after seven to find several of my chums already involved in a little drinking game. Dad (also known as Chris), his roommate Little Chris, Northeast Sal, and Bob the Farmboy were all there (it would take longer then is worth it to explain the origins of these nicknames). We were sure to have several lukewarm cans each of Natural Lite to "prime the pump" and get each of us ready for a long night of beer drinking. 

    Nothing much happened in the two hours that we spent limbering up our drinking muscles except that Dad and Sal were starting to get REALLY loaded, and we hadn't even left the dorm yet! It was one of those freak things - they had gotten into a macho little argument that had started in jest, and that only served to open the proverbial floodgates. They were sarcastically pressuring each other, mano-a-mano style, to new heights of drunkenness. Jon got along well with my college buddies, and we did a good job of psyching one another up so that we'd have lots of useless, pent-up energy to dance, pound beers, and basically make asses of ourselves while trying to pick up women. It was a great (though not necessarily the most original) plan.

    Northeast Sal and Dad left to go to the party before Jon, Little Chris, Bob the Farmboy and I did, and what a sight they were to behold. They were totally hammered before they even set foot outside of the dorm. We jokingly laid bets on which one of them would puke first, and whether or not one or both of them would even make it home. Shortly after the gruesome twosome made their exit, the rest of us piled into my ancient green Cadillac and drove the twenty or so blocks to the party.

    We arrived at the party to find an already raucous scene. In lieu of kegs, the frat boys had purchased two enormous plastic baby pools and had filled them both to capacity with can after can of Natural Lite, Milwaukee's Best, and Meister Brau (due to some previous indiscretion, Pi Kapp was no longer allowed to host parties where keg beer was involved. Never really stopped us from having a good time, though). There had to have been fifty cases of beer in the baby pool - a great fact if there ever was one - which sort of predetermined that the evening was gonna wind up as some sort of benchmark for debauchery. There were at least eighty people there, and it was only ten o'clock. The frat had also somehow convinced a fairly prominent local DJ to come to the party, set up his turntables, and crank out tunes all night. They had removed all furniture from their living room, transforming it into an impromptu dance floor, and even at the early hour of our arrival, it was packed to the brim with sweaty, increasingly drunken ladies. 

    I nodded to Jon, and he nodded back at me, grinning ear to ear. The game was on.

    We procured some beers, and wasted no time in getting down to the official party business: making contact with some prime females. I must say, Jonny's skills were in prime form that evening, and he quickly struck up conversation with a cute, tall, leggy blonde. When it became apparent that he was being warmly, jovially received by this lovely young thing, I made an excuse to slip away and leave the man to do his duty. 

    While away, I ran into perhaps my best friend among the Pi Kapp brothers, a rather rotund, screamingly funny, Fat Albert look-alike named Curtis. He was glad to see me, and rapidly led me upstairs to the inner sanctum where the frat officers were gathered around a circular table which proudly displayed an ENORMOUS huka pipe, and flanked with enough "green fuel" to fly the huka rocket and all of its passengers to Mars, if necessary.

    After earning all of the Frequent Huka Miles I could, I tried to see my way through my raging red eyes and proceeded downstairs to find Jonny. As I had suspected, he was getting rather cozy with the blonde, and I again left him alone to work his magic (as it turns out, he fed her an incredible line of bullshit to coerce her into a conversation - something about his experiences as an Airborne Ranger in the Gulf War. Un-freaking-believable...the closest Jonny had actually ever gotten to military combat was a few games of "BattleZone" at the local Space Port arcade). Instead, I wandered into the dance room to look for my dorm buddies and to see the sights. 

    It was unreal. If I had thought that the action on the dance floor was cooking when Jon and I had arrived, it paled in comparison to the sin that was manifesting itself before my very eyes. There were women making out, girls dancing in only damp bras and panties, big squirt guns, toga-toting men who took great pleasure in flashing their cocks at all of the undulating, perspiring ladies, and the DJ (whose manic approach to spinning records was working everyone on the dance floor into a lather). I dove into the pool of sin, shedding my jacket and immediately finding a pretty coed's receptive crotch to grind against. Ahh, college.

    But, again, I am getting away from the really good parts of the story.

    The party was beginning to wind down by about 2:00 AM or so, and Curtis shortly thereafter whispered to me that there was a late night party in the works for the frat brothers and a few choice acquaintances at another house. I found Jonny and motioned to him that it was time to leave. He seemed willing to go, and his newfound blonde friend drunkenly mumbled that she'd like to come along as well. I found Little Chris and Bob the Farmboy as well, both of whom were in a rather sloppy state of intoxication. They both slurred that they were having a great time and would find their own rides home. This being fine with Jon and Blondie and I, we headed for the front door and were surprised to find Northeast Sal and Dad sitting on a beaten old leather sofa located in the Crack House's foyer. They were both completely limp, having gone nearly slack with drunkenness. I tried to get Dad's attention by snapping my fingers in front of his face, but he was in a nearly comatose state. I gave him a little shove on the shoulder to try to get him to snap out of it - all I needed to know was whether or not he and Sal would want a ride home later. Instead of speaking, though, he looked up at me with his crossed, bloodshot eyes, burped a little bit, turned to Sal, and conversationally filled Sal's lap with a giant funnel-shaped splash of warm, stinky Natural Lite puke.

    Jon and I yelled and quickly jumped back, not wanting to get hit with any of the residual spray. The funny thing about Dad puking on Sal, though, is that Sal truly didn't seem that upset about it. In fact, just to show Dad that he understood what he was saying and that there were no hard feelings, Sal turned and puked on Dad in exactly the same way. 

    After letting two huge, gut-wrenching stomachfuls of bile and beer on Dad, Sal started to laugh - hard. It was one of those laughing fits that can literally paralyze a person (when sober) and keep him from talking, or breathing for that matter. If a person is in the middle of a vomiting spell and begins to laugh like that, it can lead to fairly disastrous consequences. 

    Like in this instance.

    It was like a moist, chunky tennis match - Dad would serve by lobbing a gutful of chuck into Sal's lap, and Sal would volley by returning serve into Dad's hair or lap, and then...you get the picture. It was just vile - these two warriors had chosen yet another set of evil weapons with which they could tilt on the field of battle - only instead of having pistols and holsters, these gunfighters had a pair of queasy stomachs filled to bursting with God-knows-what. If you ask me, I might cast my vote for the puke as the more deadly (and certainly more sinister) weapon.

    At any rate, I decided that neither one was really fit to get into my Cadillac (which, in spite of being beaten to a ridiculous degree and having some 250,000 miles on it, wasn't ready to be given up to the dark side of being puked in). But in spite of his Technicolor Yawn Coat, Dad suddenly recovered some sense and asked to be taken back to the dorm to lay down and pass out. After carefully assessing his state, I thought that we may have been able to get him home quickly, and he was likely done puking for the night. Sal, on the other hand, was down for the count. His whole body was covered in puke, and we decided to leave him on the couch until he somehow woke up and figured out where he was. 

    Jon and I were still laughing about the situation when we noticed that our female chum was suddenly nowhere to be found. While I was trying to steer Dad's drunken, weaving body towards my car, Jon went to go look for his lady friend. Unfortunately, it only took a few seconds for him to find her. 

    Apparently, the volley of puking had negatively affected her will to continue partying. When Jon and I finally stumbled upon her outside in the side yard, we were dismayed to find that she (like Northeast Sal and Dad before her) was not impervious to the negative side effects of binge drinking. She was on all fours, choking and gagging, and couldn't even raise her head to look directly at us. I looked at Jon and shrugged - we both knew that his potential little tryst with this nubile young thing had effectively ended before it could even begin.

    So, giving up on her with a pair of shrugs, Jon and I walked back to my car, and we stuffed Dad into the shotgun seat (Jonny graciously took the back. What a guy!) and took him home. We made him get out about 100 yards from the front door - our school took alcohol abuse seriously if you were ever caught, and I didn't want to have anything to do with Dad - and he mumbled that he thought he could get upstairs and into bed. He fell out of my Caddy, rolled in the grass for a moment (presumably to try to rid himself of the worst of the chunky evidence), got on all fours, and somehow stumbled to his feet and broke into a shambling, fall-down run towards the dorm. Jon and I just shook our heads and laughed - boy, was Dad going to be in a world of hurt the following day!

    As it turned out, we had no idea how much hurt (don't worry, he doesn't die or anything - even my sense of humor can't help to make a human death into a comedic event...but then again, I've never tried).

    At any rate, Jon and I headed from my dorm to the after-hours party. It was at a big, four-story house only about five blocks from the Crack House in the same Overbrook section of West Philly. When we arrived, it was obvious that the bash was in full swing - apparently, there were more A-list guests at the last party than I had originally thought. Music was bumping, people were dancing, and this time there were kegs. 

    No sooner had Jon and I walked through the front door when I heard someone shout angrily in my direction, "You!" 

    I turned to look and see who had yelled to me in such an agitated manner. I then saw about five or so of the Pi Kapp brothers (including Curtis) surrounding another one of the brothers who was clad in jeans, a T-shirt and a large pair of leather boxing gloves. This pot-bellied, pasty, tall, angry fellow went by the name of Eight Ball (and not for his love of the game of billiards, if you catch my drift - wink wink, sniffle sniffle). He and the other brothers were motioning to me to come over to where they were standing.

    "What's doing, Curtis?" I asked.

    "Well, man, my boy Eight Ball here said that he doesn't like you, and wants to kick your ass." Curtis replied, grinning from ear to ear. 

    "What are you talking about?" I asked, playing dumb even though I had a good idea what he had in mind.

    "C'mon, man," Curtis said. "You know what I mean. Strap 'em on and let's go."

    What Curtis was referring to was another pair of boxing gloves that sat in a corner of their modified living room. For some strange reason, Pi Kapp had seen fit to turn their living room into a makeshift boxing ring. They had removed all furniture and set up some rudimentary ring ropes and turnbuckles, and kept a few pairs of oversized 16 ounce leather sparring gloves around for use in their home gladiatorial pursuits. It was seen in a positive light if one were to participate in Pi Kapp Indoor Boxing. Since I was considering pledging the fraternity the following semester, I thought that it would be in my best interests to fight if asked.

    Jon didn't seem too keen on the idea, but it was my head and not his that was gonna get knocked off if I were to perform badly. And since I was extremely drunk and feeling no pain (not to mention having big beer muscles as well), I agreed to fight Eight Ball for three one-minute rounds. Frankly, ol' Eight Ball looked pretty game, but definitely more loaded then I was, and I was up for administering a hard asswhipping on someone who looked like he had no right doing anything physical in the first place. Jon sighed, sure that I was doing something stupid, but agreed to play the role of my "corner man" (Curtis called Jon my "cutman", assuming the worst outcome for me). 

    By this time, word had spread through the party that a fight was in the works, and so the rest of the house dropped what they were doing to come ringside and experience the carnage firsthand. It was only then that I began feel nervous - fighting a guy named Eight Ball after hours of hard drinking was presumably bad enough, but doing it in front of an audience made it far worse. Honestly, I got angry at Eight Ball just for putting me in a position where my manhood would be publicly challenged.


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