“Just stay loose, have a little fun, and you’ll be fine.” – Toy Story
I woke up to a phone ringing thursday morning, my cell phone was right next to my bed, so I answered it.
“Hey, college boy. How is it going?”
I was so happy to hear Kevin’s voice I jumped up, grinning. We talked for a long time, and it was as if I’d never left home. I told him about classes and rooming with Brian.
“Are you two getting along okay?” he asked me. It then occurred to me they were cousins…..
“Kevin, how come I’ve never met Brian before if he’s your cousin? I’ve known you basically my whole life.” I said, yawning. My stomach growled and I decided breakfast could wait.
“I wanted him to keep an eye on you and the admissions director is a good friend of mine, so he pulled some strings. You don’t think I’d leave you completely alone, do you? Plus Brian’s older, he can help you find your way around and keep you company. I figured the two of you would get along.” he admitted. I felt kinda bad for not giving Brian a chance, he was kind of a dork….but I knew Kevin meant well.
“Thanks, Kev. But how come I haven’t met him before this?”
“He’s from Kentucky, remember? Our families don’t get along well so we haven’t seen each other in a long time.” he said.
Quite frankly, I didn’t accept that. I got off the phone, still wondering how Brian knew my parents.
I got dressed and went to classes before coming back to the dorm to find Brian laying in bed, looking bored.
“I got invited to a frat party tomorrow. You interested? I mean, they don’t race lawnmowers or anything, but…”
“You got invited to the Pika’s party? How did you manage that?” Brian asked, sitting up.
“I got skills.”
Asking around campus, I found out it was like THE spot to party at U of SF. So I felt like it was my duty to at least show up. Howie personally invited me, it had to count for something.
“I guess. You want to come with?” I asked. He made a face at first like he wasn’t sure.
“You sure I won’t be cramping your style, city boy?” he joked in that accent of his.
“Nah. I think you need to get out more.”
“I suppose. You’re not gonna wear that, are you? This is a college party….a frat party. Mickey isn’t invited.”
I looked down at my Mickey shirt, suddenly feeling very self conscious. I pulled it off and put on a black tank top before we left for the party.
“This must be the place.” Brian said, as we exchanged looks. There was garbage scattered all over the yard, beer cans on the front steps. It smelled heavily of alcohol, making my stomach turn. Music blared from the speakers, sounding like Green Day or Third Eye Blind. We were greeted by cigarette smoke as the door opened, the place was packed with people. I’d never been to a real party like this before….Kevin would have flipped out if he knew. A table was set up with snacks and various alcoholic drinks, ranging from beer to mixed drinks.
“Hey, Nick….isn’t it?” Howie called from the bar. He looked like he hadn’t been drinking long, holding a plastic red cup.
“Yep. This is my roommate, Brian. Nice place you got here.” I said. I was feeling nauseous from the smoke. As Howie and I talked we heard people chanting in the backyard.
“What’s going on out there?” Brian asked apprehensively. I could tell he’d never been to a party before either, he didn’t approve of the half naked girls walking around. I wasn’t complaining.
“They’re playing beer pong. I think AJ is winning again.” Howie laughed. He handed us both beers and led us to the backyard before Brian could tell him I was underage.
“Shut up. I’m trying to fit in….I don’t have to actually drink it, just look like I am. The cup isn’t even full.” I protested. To tell the truth, I had drank before at home on my birthday, Kevin said it was all right as long as he was there with me.
Of course in my opinion, I could handle it.
Brian held his cup and smiled nervously at Howie when he was facing us, pretending to take a sip like I did.
“PIKA, PIKA, PIKA!”
They were all chanting as the guy in the center of the group chugged a beer, he didn’t look that much older than Brian.
“I don’t have a good feeling about this.” he muttered. I pretended to take another sip and walked over to the table, watching them play. It didn’t look like a hard game, all you had to do was toss the ping pong ball into the cup across the table. When the ball landed in the other person’s drink, you had to drink it.
God, I hope they don’t ask me to play, that AJ guy looked like he was gonna hurl everywhere.
“AJ, this is the kid I told you about.” Howie said, bringing me over. I almost spilled the beer everywhere but I managed to catch it in time.
“Whoa, don’t spill it. That’s booze abuse.” Howie chuckled.
“Oh, which one is he? The one who can belch the alphabet?” AJ asked. He stood up and shook my hand, I smiled at him.
“No, he draws.”
“Yeah, whatever. Want to play a round, kid?” he giggled, holding out the ping pong ball for me. I looked at Brian who was mouthing NO WAY at me and scowling.
“Sure.” I said. I took the ball and chucked it…..it went in on the first try, landing in the cup. Everybody around me started cheering and Brian shook his head. AJ drank the cup in one go and then tossed his ball, it landed in my cup on the first shot.
“Now what?” I asked, staring at the cup. AJ passed it to me and they all looked like I was going to do a trick….I mean seriously….why do all these college guys like staring so much?
“Drink it, stupid.” AJ said, followed by a large belch. It was so nasty I wanted to throw up.
I took the cup and held it to my lips, this time I couldn’t fake anything. I had to drink it….and it tasted HORRIBLE. Oh my god. If I ever drank piss, this is what it would taste like. Jesus, what was I thinking?
“Nick, we should get out of here.” Brian said, but someone pushed him away from me and I finished the beer, throwing the cup down for effect and wiping my face. I felt queasy already….but they gave me the ball again.
Needless to say, I ended up beating AJ at beer pong….and wow can someone make the room stop spinning please? I don’t like this ride anymore, mom.
“Wow, you’re a natural. I like you, kid.” AJ said, punching my arm. It didn’t even hurt. They passed me beer after beer and I drank like there was gonna be a shortage and this was the only beer left.
I felt like I was on top of the world, the hit of the party. I didn’t care I was drinking underage, it was nice to make friends. I felt welcome. It was then that I realized…..where was Brian?
“Brian? You mean that guy you came with? He left a while ago. Now how do you feel about tequila?”
Guess I didn’t realize I was speaking out loud.
“I don’t know, but give me some.” I said. To hell with moderation.
Next thing I knew I was being kicked. I also noticed I was laying in something wet…..I opened my eyes and realized I was in the middle of somebody’s lawn. I had no idea where I was at all.
“Nick, get up. People are staring.”
I realized Brian was talking but when I looked at him he was blurry.
“Woody?” I mumbled. Everything was spinning again. I felt myself being lifted up and I could swear my pants were missing.
“Kevin’s gonna flip a shit.”
“Don’t tell him, sheriff.” I begged.
“Okay, I won’t. Let’s get you back to the dorm before we are caught.” Brian said, almost carrying me on his back. I wondered how he was able to do this when I was like two feet taller than him.
“I don’t feel so good.”
“Well, I told you not to drink, Nick.” Brian snapped in a fatherly sort of way. I scowled at the blurriness….I think. I can’t tell which way is up or down. Oh god. I’m gonna….
Was that his shoes? Please tell me I didn’t hurl on his shoes. Seriously, where are my pants?
Somehow we got back to the room and he shoved me into the shower.
“I don’t want to take a bath, mom.”
“Nick, please. We gotta get the puke smell out of here. Now take off your clothes.”
“Strip. Now.” he barked. I tossed my shirt at him and went for my boxers.
“Nuh uh. Little guy stays inside.” the blur said. I giggled.
“He’s not little.”
Brian just sighed and shoved me under the water before I passed out again.
I love college.