Boys Night Out

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Nick Brennan heads out to the local tavern with his old friends. What was to be a quiet night out turns into a wild and rowdy affair that makes for the perfect story.

Submitted: August 09, 2016

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Submitted: August 09, 2016

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I was sitting at our usual booth in The Tuneup. It was a Saturday Night, the crowd was sparse, the smoke was thick and the jukebox was playing the right song for the right situation. Moe Bandy '' Here I am, I'm Drunk Again''. Kind of summed up a lot of our nights lately here at the Tuneup. It is weird how a bar can provide a lot of different comforts, remedies, and weirdly enough, resolutions to your most incredibly pressing problems. I never thought of my little bar to be like this but I was wrong, totally and completely wrong.

We were all at the bar, the usual suspects. Me, Chris Messner, Casey Freeman, Jake Portman and Lucas Coleman. When you first look at all five of us, you would never associate us and the Tuneup as being an ideal fit. In our group you have a VP of a Railroad, A writer, two aspiring comedians and a radio disc jockey. We were by no means a honky tonk crowd but for some reason, we drew inspiration from this rough and rowdy club because it was ''Real'' and in a way, with our careers and the people we dealt with one a regular basis, it was incredibly refreshing to find someplace that was real and 100% authentic.

I was sitting at my booth waiting for the rest of the guys to come join me in a drink to celebrate the end of a long work week. I had just returned from a week in Wyoming covering their version of Comic Con. It was a fun trip but the thought of the nerd overload heading into the least nerdy place in the world was a bit disconcerting and I wasn't sure what to make of this assignment, I would for sure ask the guys when they arrived and get their input.

I sat their nursing my Jim Beam whiskey, neat with a Dr Pepper to chase it down. The aroma of whiskey was strong, when you smelled it the scent went into your body giving you instant goosebumps. As I sipped whiskey I saw a cowboy walk over to the end of the bar where the jukebox was and play the same song that all the cowboys play when they come to the bar. 

''Amarillo By Morning'' by George Strait

A good song, in a way in fact, the official theme song of the bar. A lot of the people always seemed to have aspirations to be elsewhere but nonetheless, here they are in this little rundown town and at the meeting place of the depressed and downtrodden. It was like that in here. This bar was very similar to the one in ''Piano Man'' by Billy Joel. I almost think that they should change the name to something related to ''Piano Man''. 

After 10 minutes, Chris Messner arrived looking worn for wear. He was 6ft tall, blond and in great swimmer shape. He was wearing a black polo with the railroad logo on it, blue jeans and a khaki baseball cap. He was carrying his briefcase in his left hand and had what appeared to be a bottle of rum in his right hand. Chris sat down and was anxious to start drinking. 

''Buddy, I am ready to be drunk,'' Chris said. 

''Nice to see you,'' I said ''How was Georgia?''

''One word, Deliverance,'' Chris said. ''Lets drink''

''We'd be fools not to,'' I said. 

We spent a couple of minutes enjoying the sounds of the bar while nursing our drinks. I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out my notebook and pen and started scribbling some notes into it. The notes were of no particular importance, but it didn't stop Chris from asking me what I was doing.

''Why do you do that?'' Chris asked. 

''Do what?'' I asked. 

''When ever there is any quiet, no matter where we are or what we are doing, you pull out that notebook and write. Your not doing a story on me, are you?'' Chris said.

I laughed. ''No man, what I do is write down thoughts that I can use for either work or when I'm off and out and about. I heard that Hemingway used to do that all the time. If it worked for him, why the hell can't it work for me?'' I said

Chris threw his hands up in the air. ''Okay buddy boy, you just keep shooting for being Hemingway. Getting drunk and fishing and traveling all the time. You know, when you think about it, our group has a bit of Hemingway in us.'' Chris said. 

Before I could respond to Chris's inquiry, I saw Casey and Jake come in. They were pretty well lit up. Jake was a tall, well built red headed clown of a man. He was wearing a t shirt with shorts and a cowboy hat. Casey was a dead ringer for Robin Williams. Same height and build, but instead of the flamboyant style, Casey would usually wear a blue button up shirt with a white shirt underneath it and it would always be unbuttoned with blue jeans and white sneakers. I honestly think he got his comedy from Robin Williams but his fashion sense from 1990's Jerry Seinfeld. 

''Hey, you crazy, beautiful bastards, how the hell are you?'' Casey asked.

''Now that we are here, it's fine baby, fine I say.'' Jake said

''Good couple of shows in Boise?'' I asked.

''Sure, if you think Mormons are funny and Huey Lewis is god,'' Casey said. ''No matter what we did or tried to do, I mean hell, we even cleaned up our routine, no sex jokes, but a lot of fucking around. They wouldn't laugh. The worst part, it wasn't no laughter, for the whole show, I can deal with that to a certain degree. We look into the audience and who do we see, none other than the one and only Huey Lewis. Yes, Hip To Be Square Huey Lewis showed up. The crowd saw him and started calling for him to sing, there was no news but Huey was gonna make some.''

''We're trying to get the crowd on our side, trying to bring the comedy back and stop the distraction. When I turn around to reach my water, I get clocked in the jaw by some ass clown from the crowd. It turns out that someone from the crowd called security and they kicked us the hell out. We are no longer allowed in Boise.'' Jake said.

''I thought I had a tough gig,'' I said. ''So what happened with Huey?''

''Sang Feelin Alright solo,'' Casey said. ''Still has the pipes just like in 1985.''

“''To Huey Lewis and The News,'' Chris said. ''May we always be Hip to Be Square.''

We all agreed with the cheer and took sips of our drinks. As we sat and fell into familiar conversational territory, I look around the bar and noticed that the crowd had picked up a little bit. Instead of just the usual assortment of cowboys, loggers and women from the trailer park, there were people from out of the state here. A couple dressed in some of the gaudiest tennis outfits I had ever seen. White people with white outfits and bland personalities. Not a good fit in here.

''Excuse me?'' said the man. He was a short, compact man with stiff shoulders and a buzz cut that just didn't make him look any better. His wife was the equivalent of a Palamino Horse and a grizzly bear. I truly could not think of any other comparison. 

Rhonda, the bartender, was a woman who had no patience for out of state tourists in her establishment. She was a biker chick through and through, with long black hair, a permanent tan that made the skin leather tough and voice that had been clearly soaked with Marlboro cigarettes and Black Velvet Whiskey. She had a toughness and an attitude that summed up the bar, Phony people can head down the road and if they wanted to make a fuss, she would gladly go out back and throw down. She had been known to do it. I was always convinced that she was a boxer of some sort.

''Yes,'' Rhonda said. Her look implied get to the point. 

''My wife and I were wondering where the nearest tennis court was? We wanted to get a game in before we go to the spa'' He said.

''The only tennis court we have is the game room out back,'' Rhonda said. She pointed towards the back where the little arcade was at. There were three games spaced around a pool table. Most popular game was this game called ''Lethal Enforcers'' which was a cop game from the 1980's where you complete levels by shooting as many people as possible. We appreciated the simplicity of the game. 

''You have to be kidding me?'' The man said. His wife remained expressionless and from all appearances, clueless as can be. 

''Listen you asshole,'' Rhonda said. ''We don't have a tennis court, we are not a spa and we damn sure don't want a bunch of whiny tourists in here. Either get a drink or get out.'' 

The man was gonna say something but from what I could tell, he saw a look in Rhonda's eyes that said its time to go. He and his wife backed on up and went out towards their cars and drove off to their destination. 

I turned back around to the middle of a point Chris had made to Jake. ''If you want comedy, work on the railroad. I promise you can do a routine or two based on the things at the railroads.'' 

''No offense Chris,'' Jake said. ''I became a comedian so I wouldn't have to do real work, I'm not gonna start now.''

''Okay, but your missing out.'' Chris said.

Casey reached for his drink and shook his head. ''You know, we have been coming here for what is it now, five or six years, and I only get White Russian's or a draft Coor's Light. You know what that makes me?'' 

''Boring as hell,'' Lucas said. 

Lucas Coleman was what I always thought a disc jockey would look like. Very short body, long curly hair and always wore shorts and a baggy t shirt advertising a weird business. Today he was wearing a shirt for a restaurant in Alabama that talked about kill it and we grill it.

''Shut up,'' Casey said. 

Lucas shook everyone's hand. He was the true performer, through and through. Casey started to laugh as he shook Lucas's hand. Lucas motioned for Casey to continue his thought. 

“It just amazes me sometimes how we all accept certain routines and certain behaviors. Nick gets his Jim Beam neat, Chris with a Gin and Tonic, Jake with his Keystone Light, and Me with mine and Lucas with his Mike's hard lemonade. I just wonder sometimes what that means.”

“Well, I think it truly means that we like routine and tradition,” I said. “All of us are ones to accept certain things and feel safe with in those confines.'' 

“This just in,'' Lucas said. He was speaking in his DJ voice. ''We are boring old geezers.''

I would have punched him in the nose for saying that, I looked at Chris though and he read my mind, slapping Lucas upside the head. Lucas was rubbing his head as Jake looked past my head towards the front door.  As I turned my head, with the guys following suit, we looked at something that brought us a lot of bad memories, in particular Jake. 

The woman who walked in was a knockout beauty. A blonde model who was tall and had curves in the right spots and blue eyes that looked an awful lot like the gulf coast. She was wearing a black t shirt and blue jeans, the outfit went with a look of curiosity and nervousness. This was no the kind of place that a woman like this would ever be in. For the woman in question was none other than Jake's ex girlfriend.

We all turned to Jake, waiting in anticipation for what he was going to do. None of us really saw Jake with a girl or dating at all, the only thing Jake seemed to love was Comedy. But something had come over us and made it perfectly clear, there was nothing funny about this situation.

“What are you gonna do?'' Lucas asked. 

“Buddy, you want me to kick her out, I'll get Rhonda to kick her ass.” Casey said.

Jake got up and turned towards us. “Fellas, I know what I have to do.” 

“And that would be, what exactly?” Chris asked.

“I'm gonna go talk to her, see what is going on,” Jake said. “I will be back in a few minutes.”

“Buddy, if you need us. The safe word is Kick the bitch out. OK?” Lucas said.

“You mean safe words in that case,” Casey said. “Right Nick?”

“Shut up, we are not in school right now,” I said. “You need us come find us” I said to Jake.

With that Jake walked over to the front door where his ex was standing at. I knew of Jake's ex cause she came with Jake to a book signing I had for my latest book. She was nice but she had no interest in anyone or anything other than Jake, who from what I later had learned, was quite the romantic lover. How I learned that, I will never know for certain. 

“Damn,” Casey said. “Guy doesn't do women. He really needs to, but he doesn't have interest in women or dating. I knew he was spending time with that woman after Nick had called me and asked if I knew about her. All I know truthfully is that she is a model for the local Macy's. She thinks she is Victoria's Secret worthy, but she is more like Victor's Secret.”

“Why do we even have to date?” Chris asked. 

Lucas turned towards him. “What do you mean?” Lucas asked.

“It's like I said, why do we have to date? Where is it in the rulebook that we have to date? Did I miss a meeting? If I really think of it, I'm a regional VP of a national railroad company. I travel around the world, I have a nice house, I'm doing okay financially. I'm up for a promotion in a few weeks that seals my career in just a short time. You know something really funny, I have been asked out numerous times. I always turn them down. It's not due to looks or personality or anything of that sort. I just like hanging out with my buddies and I'm okay with that.” Chris said.

“It makes sense for the most part,” Casey said. “We have the companionship, we all do things together, sometimes we even do things with each other that men would do with women. Why do we have to date?”

“Come on,” Lucas said. “You don't wanna be with an attractive woman? Being with a woman is just something in our DNA, we are animals that seek out females for mating and keeping the cycle of life going. I know that sounds pretty simplistic, but it's our job.”

“A job we don't get paid for,” I said. “Who hired us for this job, by the way? Did anybody ever ask us if we wanted to take on such a responsibility?” 

“When you put it that way, Life kind of sucks doesn't it?'' Chris said. 

“Now wait just a damn minute,” Casey said.

I shook my head. “What's wrong now?” I asked.

Lucas shook his head. “Unless my eyes are deceiving me, and I am wearing glasses by the way, I see Jake surrounded by 5 guys and an ass kicking is about to commence.” Lucas said.

We all turned and noticed the scene and the surroundings. Jake, it appeared, had said some words to his ex girlfriend. They were for sure, not friendly words, cause she must have gotten the attention of a group of guys around her and they came to see what was going on. Knowing Jake, he must have mouthed off and now its come to the eventual ass kicking, which knowing Jake he most likely deserved. 

All of us hurried over to try and help our friend. As we made it to the front door, we stood next to Jake and were ready for anything that may come our way. However, we were not really prepared for who our adversaries were. I know that I wasn't prepared for any of it, especially when Chris took a deep breath and said “Oh my god!”.

No truer words were spoken before. At least not in our group.

Our opponents were guys that were clearly in shape. Bodybuilder types. Guys obsessed with muscles. Their own and doing things to other peoples. Casey looked at Jake and took a deep breath and slapped him upside the head repeatedly. Jake was screaming for Casey to stop. Casey finally relented and shook his head. He turned towards the rest of us.

“This is why we don't have nice things,” Casey said. He looked at Jake again and shook his head some more.

“Guys, are we really gonna do this?” Chris said to the bodybuilders. 

The guy in the middle had a white tank top and black athletic pants on. He had come across as the one to be the leader of this group. It appeared to be the standard outfit for the bodybuilders. Everyone of them had a tank top on with different colors. 

“Your friend, Chuckles the clown, started running his mouth.” White Tank top said. “He apologizes and it's cool.”

“Okay, Chuckles,” Lucas said. “Apologize to this gentleman and we can go back to our table and continue drinking.”

I looked at Jake and noticed a strange look on his face. One that I had never seen on his face and one that I am sure that no one else in the group had seen before.

A look of pure seriousness and determination.

I was standing next to Chris and we looked at each other and said at the same time, “We are gonna get our asses kicked,”. Casey and Lucas looked at each other and came to the same conclusion Chris and I had arrived at moments before.

Jake looked at White Tank top, smiled and started to laugh. White Tank top's expression went from angry to downright livid. He was being embarrassed by a comedian and this was unacceptable in his circle. He stepped closer to Jake.

“If your not gonna apologize, then I'm gonna rip you in to pieces.” He said.

Jake looked at us. He took a deep breath and smiled at us. Turning back towards the bodybuilders, he started to laugh. Looking at White Tank top, he simply looked at him and said this:

“How does it feel when you go to bed at night, wondering where your testicles are?”

With that remark, White Tank top threw an over hand right that connected right in the middle of the nose, shattering the cartilage and sending blood every where. Everyone looked in horror, wondering how Jake was. Lucas and Casey knelt down to tend to Jake. Chris and I looked at each other and with a look that we both could read, we charged the bodybuilders.

Chris had a better shot at kicking some ass than I did. He grabbed one and threw him over the bar with relative ease. Then he started trading punches with a bodybuilder with a red tank top and black shorts. The bodybuilder had the upper hand at first, with clubbing right hands. Chris threw a knee right into the inside of the bodybuilders groin. The Bodybuilder started to sink to his knees. Chris ducked a wild punch, chopping the guy in the back of the neck. He spun back around threw a body combination and a upper cut to end his fight. 

I was having a hell of a time with the guys that I was fighting with. After a bevy of punches, kicks and being thrown over the bar repeatedly. I saw the blue tank top I was fighting, grabbed a bottle and smashed it over his head. The glass shattered and some appeared to get in his eyes, I spun him around and threw a left hook with everything I had in it. It appeared to work, I knocked him out. Trying to catch my breath after that ordeal, green tank top bodybuilder charged me from behind, both of us going through the window. I was trying to recover, but he kept charging me. He ended up picking me up and putting me in a bear hug. The tension from that grip right and the middle of my back was for sure affecting my oxygen use. It seemed like an eternity in that grip until, in one fell motion, green tank top and I fell to the ground. As he started to get back up, I caught a glimpse of Lucas smashing him in the head with a baseball bat. Green tank top was out cold. Casey walked over and started to laugh.

“Wow, just wow.” Casey said.

“What is wow?” Lucas asked.

“Nick and Chris just went all Roadhouse on these goofy steroid popping jerk offs, that is cool. I am for sure really impressed,” Casey said.

Chris walked over and put his arm around Casey and Lucas. His clothes were covered in Sweat, Blood, and Exhaustion. He looked in better condition then I did. My clothes were completely torn and blood was all over me, I wasn't sure if it wasn't all mine but I was sure that it all was in fact, my blood.

“Where is Jake?” I asked. My breathing was heavy but my body was just jelly.

“They took him to St Lucia's,” Lucas said.

St Lucia's was the best hospital in town, in the whole state. We had been there on a few occasions.

“Let's head back inside,” Chris said.

We walked back into the bar. Rhonda was right in front of us shaking her head. To say it was due to the disappointment of us getting a brutal beat down or the fact that we stood up for our friend at least. Rhonda was unpredictable, very similar to Rowdy Roddy Piper.

“I'll be damned, I'll be just damned,” Rhonda said. 

“Does this mean we get free drinks for life?” Casey said.

“Shut your face, you coward!” Rhonda said. “Chris and Nick get the free drinks for the night at least. That was some of the stupidest and perhaps the dumbest thing I had ever seen, But I have to honestly say, I was impressed.”

Chris walked over towards Rhonda, his breathing heavy, as heavy as the blood and sweat weighing him down. He made it over to her left side and put his arm around her. 

“Hey baby,” Chris said “How's about you and me get naked in the supply closet and see what needs to be refilled and replenished.”

Rhonda leaned in towards Chris, in a soft whisper said to him, “Listen honey, I like it when the guy is bloody after a night or an hour with me. Clean up and we'll talk.” 

With that, Rhonda pinched Chris's back side and walked back to the bar. Casey and Lucas looked at Chris and I and with that look we decided to follow suit and walk over towards the bar. 

The bar itself, had three long rows of various types of Alcohol, Liquor and oddly enough a special place for Wine and Wine Coolers. In between the shelving of alcohol were a weird assortment and placement of posters of western iconoclast images, John Wayne with a rifle in his hand, ready to shoot some outlaws. Clint Eastwood as the man with no name ready to face off with Lee Van Cleef. Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea on horseback. Then there were photos of old honky tonk stars that played here, either before or after they were famous. 

George Strait supposedly played here a few times in the late 1980's. Mickey Gilley played here, so did Tanya Tucker and Rhonda's all time favorites Joe Stampley and Moe Bandy at least once a year, make an appearance and play acoustic shows here. For guys almost 80 years old, they are absolutely incredible. Bringing back that old western honky tonk sound. 

We made it up to the bar and took a moment to recover. Any time a man or a group of men are involved in a physical altercation, moments of silence are required. Men by nature can be braggarts and blowhards about the altercation, bragging about how tough they were and what a beating they dished out. How ever, this was totally different. 

This left us in a state of confusion and in a weird way, disappointment. We were grown men who just acted out a redneck, country song fantasy. We participated in a barroom brawl and came out neither tougher or weaker. But instead, we were bloody, tired and none the better for it. 

“You know what I was thinking?” Lucas asked.

“That would be?” Casey said.

“That only lasted two three minutes. What the hell kind of a barroom brawl lasts that long?” Lucas said.

I turned to look at him, through the torn clothes and blood covering three quarters of my face. Nobody could really tell that my face was actually turning red. I really wanted to know what he meant.

“Lucas,” I said. “Chris and I just got the hell beat out of us by four muscle freaks. There really is no rule for length of how long a fight goes. But I will say, If you really wanna see a much longer fight, I'm gonna indulge you in that inquiry.”

“Now now, wait a minute!” Lucas said.

Chris and Casey came closer to us. They both had drinks in their hands and took sips at the same time. With a knowing glance, Chris looked at the whole group and said:

“Let's head to the hospital and visit Jake.”

We all looked at each other. Putting down our drinks, we made our way from the bar and walked towards the front door.  The four of us, tired and exhausted, from beer and brawling, the harsh work week, and just the mundane generalities of life. I think that night each of us came to the realization that, we all needed a little something to shake up our lives, if only for one night. 

But if there is one thing, that we all can take into consideration from what happened tonight, I honestly do believe it is this. 

Nothing is what it seems, the movies never get it right and tomorrow night I will be living the words of Moe Bandy when I come into the Tune up. Here I am I'm Drunk Again!


© Copyright 2017 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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