I woke to the sound of splashing water. What I found was that I had apparently decided Saturday night that a nice relaxing bath in the jacuzzi in my room was a great idea. Slowly waking up, I realized the water was overflowing all over the floor. I had some time getting out though, due to the fact that this jacuzzi clearly wasn’t made for big men; imagine walking into your back yard and finding a drunk Howard Taft passed out in your kid’s little plastic pool. I finally got out and cleaned up the mess and walked around the room for a bit in the wee early hours of that November 4th morning, D-Day. It was around 5 in the morning and I wasn’t feeling as bad as I had the day before (muscle memory boys and girls). I had to meet up at the groom’s room around one where we would change and start our Bataan Death March to the wedding.
Opening my last bottle of Jameson I sat on my patio and looked out over the ocean and the small beach houses that surrounded the strip. With nowhere to go but everywhere, I simply sat there drinking in silence. I finished my drink and walked over to the phone in the living room and called the front desk. I figured since it was 6 now, they would be more excited to get a phone call, but this is what I found:
Guy – Front Desk, how may we help you, oh gracious king?
Me – I like that, remind me to tip you later.
Guy – Haha, Mr. Lawson I am actually the manager and I have been meaning to talk to you.
Me – Does it regard how much money I have been spending as of late?
Manager – Yes, yes you could say that.
Me – Well I would like to thank you for the offer but I am not interested in any whores or coke, I understand you guys have high roller kinds of surprises for your loyal guests but I am not that guy anymore. Oh, but did I have some times. I was once at a Hyatt in DC and in a drunk rage decided I didn’t like their Christmas tree so I ran and tackled the damn thing, gave the manager 400 bucks and walked away.
Manager – Sir, I’m sure you’re filled with lots of adventures and mysteries, a modern day Jack Kerouac, but I wanted to talk to you about my staff.
Me – What about them? Do they have the plague? Rumor has it herpes makes you immune to the Black Death.
Manager – No! You have bribed every employee you’ve come by and I wish you would stop. Last night you offered a member of our cleaning staff $50 to help you make Greek Fire because Jefferson Davis has a secret mission for you in New York.
Me – Hmmm, are you sure that was me? I’m usually a lot better at keeping secrets. Anyway give me a wakeup call around eleven.
We all gathered in the groom’s room to have some pizza and drinks. It was finally 1, and for some reason I found myself drinking light cider. The best man was working on his speech and I kept informing him he should just give it up and let me take over. He was still holding on strong to his precious little title. The photographers called the groom and informed him they would be up soon for photos so we better get ready. We all got ready and waited for their arrival, and waited, and waited; they were twenty minutes late and when they walked in, we were certainly surprised. I had been told they were a professional company, but what walked in was a middle aged husband and wife. The man looked exactly like the troll from Ernest Scared Stupid (Trantor). I made sure to avoid him so he wouldn’t turn me into a wooden doll for his tree army (or whatever the hell the premise of that movie was). The wife looked like an even more run down Stevie Nicks (it’s possible); she couldn’t seem to have a complete thought without getting confused and quickly looking around as if she was trying to figure out if she had been kidnapped. They both slowly moved around the room looking everything over as if they were worried they might be caught on tape doing something, or maybe hopeful they would see a yummy rat or a free needle. They weren’t sure as to what to do so we just told them what photos we would like and quickly kicked them out so we could leave.
I titled our walk from his room to the car ‘leading the lamb to slaughter’ and we all sang “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” The fancy beach club was only a few blocks away. We kept it classy and listened to Afroman on the way there, because a cold 45 and two zig zags is all we need, baby. We arrived around 2:30, and with the wedding being at 3:30 we had plenty of time to roam around. I went to the bar and asked what would be free for the night. The bartender informed me it would be beer and wine, but the liquor would cost me. I asked for two six packs of Yuengling and went up to the room they placed us in with its massive boardroom style table and chairs. We played beer pong for half an hour to the shock of the groom who was stressed out beyond belief, possibly finally realizing the tragic mistake he was about to make. A little after 3 the wedding coordinator came in and informed us that the photographers hadn’t even arrived yet because they were lost, so we might be waiting a while longer. This wedding was already looking like the maiden voyage of the Titanic, only instead of an iceberg we had some coked out photographers.
The wedding didn’t begin until a little after 4. The photographers had finally showed up and taken a few pictures of the bride who was beside herself with rage, or constipation; I’m never sure since all women make the same face in my eyes (confusion surrounded by irrational fear). The proceedings were smooth though halfway through the best man leaned back and said, “Dude no one ever gave me a ring.” I told him there was a ring bearer (total lie). He seemed relieved and went back to enjoying the moment. I leaned back laughing and told the former roommate, “This ignorant asshole doesn’t have a ring. This is the greatest wedding ever.” The bride quickly shot me a glance that shivered my testes and I went back to looking at the sky grinning like an idiot. It was hard to pretend to be happy though, a storm was coming. Not the kind Bruce Wayne loses all his money over, but an actual storm, so the grin quickly turned into a quick glance at a clock wondering when this show would be over.
The photographers made us stay outside after the wedding for photos. They once again were not sure what to do, so the bride had to direct them the entire time. They marched us out on the beach and told us to make funny faces and do stupid things and to ignore the raindrops we felt. We fortunately made it back in time to avoid the downpour. Everyone was introduced and told to find their seats since dinner was about to begin. The bartender quickly ran over to me and informed me they would not be serving alcohol during the dinner so we should probably order quickly. I asked for as much Yuengling as they could bring our table and two rum and cokes. We ended up with seven 6 packs of Yuengling in front of us. The groom looked at me and asked, “Dude, what the hell are you doing?” I responded that if I had to sit through this slow Victorian death camp of traditions and speeches I was going to be properly drunk. He seemed confused as to what I meant, but I was already tipsy by then and speaking out of my ass. The best man gave a heartwarming speech that I have to admit was very clever (though I’m sure I could have done better). The food they trotted out in front of us was lacking in quantity, as though we had gone to a Golden Corral in the Warsaw Ghetto. The waiters continued to bring drinks to our table, each going out of their way to say they weren’t allowed to do so but they liked us. Brave souls like that should never get tipped in my book since it’s more them not caring about their job than being brave.
The night finally began when the dance floor opened, though no one wanted to dance. The groom informed us it was our job to get out there and dance and get everyone to join. Confused as to when something left to a bridesmaid became my job I agreed to dance only if they played Prince. The first song of the night therefore was 1999 and all the groomsmen and bridesmaids got out on the dance floor. Fueled with copious amounts of alcohol I jumped around like a mad man, at one point losing the heel of my right shoe. As the night went on and the drinks flowed I started grinding up on old women as if it were a night at the Roxbury. The groom’s aunt who is 62 apparently really enjoyed it and kept cornering me to dance, saying things like the song ‘Brick House’ was written about her. She was actually skinny and in great shape so I was confused as to what she meant, then again who am I to question her? I’ve always been a fan of The Graduate.
I ended up catching the garter later in the night, boxing out all of the other challengers. This apparently excited Oscar who hunted me down for every slow song and informed me how she would love to be a mother one day. I told her I would love to be a eunuch one day. The night went on and slowly people began to leave until it was what remained of the wedding party. The groom smelled of vomit and kept hugging me. Oscar kept asking me what I was doing later and the aunt kept telling me she was leaving and winking at me. I thought about what Hemingway once said, “Courage is grace under pressure.” In other words I snuck away and sat on the porch drinking rum and singing “Blue Eyes” by Middle Brother, thinking about the night that could have been.
We finally left around 11 and the groom invited everyone out to the bar including the DJ, who declined saying he would rather go see his family. I went back to my room and packed for the morning, making sure to note the other heel of my shoe fell off at some point. In the morning we went around saying our goodbyes and finally took a walk on the beach. As the couples walked around, I stood there watching the ocean, listening to the wind, and soaking in all that had happened that one weekend in November. The older we get, the chances become fewer and fewer of reconnecting with those of our past, so certainly occasions like this must never be forgotten or passed up. We went back to our hotel and checked out. The lady at the front desk asked, “Well, King did you enjoy your stay?” I replied, “I guess, I mean I was drunk most of the time. But you guys sure do put on one hell of a show.”