Chapter 39 – Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’
Following our rendezvous at Penzy Guesthouse on Friday evening after Din had been successfully ditched, Schmit, O’Shaughnessy and I stayed out until nine in the morning getting “Milwaukee wasted” on the island of Koh Samui. We must’ve slept until about four or five in the afternoon on Saturday and had only dragged ourselves out of bed to go further punish our bodies at one of Thailand’s world renowned Full Moon Parties.
“What exactly is a Full Moon Party?” you might be asking yourself.
Well, once a month, when the moon is full, all types of degenerate waste-o’s, scary monsters and super creeps crawl out from under the rocks in their respective homelands and gather together on the island of Koh Phangan to get drunk, to get high and to do things they’ll probably regret the following day – that is, if they manage to not black out the experience entirely. The party usually begins at dusk and goes until the following morning. As we were told by the manager at our accommodation, Koh Phangan is about a forty-five minute boat ride from Koh Samui where our hostel had been located. Before making that trip and to get a jump-start on the festivities, as soon as we awoke from the previous evening’s drunken slumber, we bought a bunch of Chang’s from the lobby and started pounding them up in our room.
“Holy shit,” I said to my buddies while viewing my flight itinerary for the next day, “the fuckin’ plane to Hong Kong leaves at six in the morning.”
“No way dude. So you gotta leave the Full Moon Party early?”
“Yeah, guess so. I’m thinkin’ if I’m on a ferry back to Koh Samui by three, I can make it to the hotel by four and to the airport by four-thirty at the very latest.”
“That sounds brutal.”
“Yeah, now it does. But two months ago when I booked it, it looked pretty goddam good considering how much cheaper it was than all the other ones scheduled to depart at reasonable times.”
“Well, you still gonna get wasted or you gonna take it easy?”
“Whatchu think I’m gonna do?” I said before taking a slug o’ my beer.
“I think you’re gonna get fuckin’ wasted and miss your flight. That’s what I think.”
“Yeah, that’s a very real a possibility,” I laughed, “but only time will tell.”
I proceeded to chug the rest of my Chang and then started packing up my bags so they’d be ready to go for the early morning departure.
By the time we’d gotten off the ferry at Koh Phangan it had been around nine o’clock. We’d each had about five beers in us and the party on Haad Rin Beach looked like it was poppin’ off. As I wandered through the crowd of half-naked Westerners reveling in the sand that’d been littered with empty bottles and cigarette butts, it wasn’t difficult to see that a lot of the people there had already been completely shitfaced and/or fucked up on psychedelics.
While making our way over to one of the many homemade lemonade-stand lookin’ vendors that’d been positioned along the beach, I did my best not to step on the bodies of those that’d partied too hard, too early which had been lying unconscious, sprawled out in the sand. After having gotten our drinks and while on a quest to find a spot where we could post up, we encountered a bunch of local dudes that’d been playing with fire. Whereas the majority of these guys had just been putting on juggling or fireball-blowing shows for the crowd hoping to earn themselves some tips, others offered interactive activities in which the farang partygoers could participate.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that drunken retards and fire do not mix. Although I do have several tales of personal experience on the subject, I’ll save those for another day. What I wanna impart today is the most brutal instance of some intoxicated moron over-stepping his incendiary bounds that my dad – a Chicago firefighter – had told me about when I was a kid.
“I was workin’ the Fourth of July one year and we got an ambulance assist call sometime around midnight,” he told me. “We arrived on the scene before the paramedics could get there and some woman comes runnin’ up, tellin’ us what happened to her husband. She said that the guy had been hangin’ out in the alley lightin’ off M-80s with his cigar and tossin’ ‘em away right before they blew up. Turns out the guy had a bit too much to drink and after lightin’ one of the half-sticks with his cigar, he’d gotten the two confused and accidentally tossed the stogie onto the pavement and put the M-80 back in his mouth. The whole side of the guy’s face was blown off and what little was left looked like hamburger meat.”
Although no one had been blowing off dangerous explosives at the Full Moon Party and nobody that I could see had been getting horribly disfigured, I did see a few people get a little bit burnt up. The most popular of the join-in-on-the-fun combustive activities had been one that strongly resembled the “Hot Rope Jump” mini-game from Mario Party 2 for Nintendo 64.
The way this thing worked had been as follows: two shirtless Thai men stood at the ends of a thirty-foot-long rope that’d been soaked in some sort of flammable liquid. Once set ablaze, the two dudes would work together to swing this thing around and around. After they’d gotten it up to the desired speed, they’d give the go-ahead to any Westerners that’d been brave and/or drunk enough to hop in the middle and do their worst.
While many had balls enough to hop in this high stakes game of skip-it, few had the skills and coordination to escape from it unscathed. Quite a few of the contestants had left the game with singe marks across their legs and torsos. One tall guy I saw that’d jumped at the wrong time even ended up taking one to the face. Although I’d already been a little bit buzzed, no part of me wanted to partake in the game of flaming jump rope. I was perfectly happy watching other people get hurt from the safety of the sidelines.
In addition to all those flamers we’d encountered at the event, the Full Moon Party also attracted a number of artists who’d appeared much more sober than the rest as they poured all their concentration into making life-size sand sculptures. Among other interesting renderings, my favorite had been that of a naked woman lying face down with her perfectly shaped bottom up in the air for all to enjoy.
After walking for a bit with our first round of full moon beers, we planted our asses in the sand a safe distance away from the all the flaming sticks being thrown and balls of fire being blown. Not long after, we were joined by three British chicks with whom we sat around in a circle for hours, chatting about life and philosophical topics like a bunch of free-spirited Swayze-and-co.-in-Point Break California hippies.
As I sat there getting drunker by the minute, I kept an eye on all that’d been going on around me. A few hours into the party, many of the sand sculptures had been trampled by unaware, inconsiderate and/or sadistic drunkards. There’d been so many wasted people at this event encroaching on the personal space of others, it was hard for me to believe that I had yet to see a fight. I mean, when everybody’s falling around, bumping into and saying slurred-ass stupid shit to one another, how could there not be any punches thrown?
I’m not a fighter but I can recall three specific instances from college in which I’d gotten jacked in the face for acting like a drunken moron, doing dumbass shit to people. Two of the three instances had occurred during my first couple months away at school when I’d been let off the chain by my parents and I’d decided to test my boundaries a little too hard. The third had been right at the start of sophomore year when I still refused to grow the fuck up.
The first of these incidents had occurred a few months into my freshman year during a Halloween party at a hole-in-the-wall called O’Brady’s that used to offer a self-serve all-you-can-drink deal for five dollars. Since a deal like that was unbelievably appealing to a bunch of intemperate eighteen-year-old dipshits, this place had been packed to capacity nearly every weekend up until its closing and eventual demolition a few years back.
Towards the back of the bar had been a small area next to the pool table where the self-service tap had been. The line to this thing had always been super long so instead of just having an individual cup it was always best to get yourself an individual pitcher to sip from to avoid constantly waiting in the obnoxious-ass line.
During said Halloween bash, when I’d finally made it to the front of said obnoxious-ass line, I filled up my personal pitcher, turned around to walk away and came face-to-face with a girl in a mermaid costume that’d been awaiting her turn right behind me. Her breasts were quite nice and had been pushed up on display by her outfit.
Probably from the age of about ten on, I’d grown up watching a lot of hip-hop videos where all my favorite rappers would always be pouring bottles of Cristal and Henny on the big fat fun-bags of all the video vixens. I always thought it was the coolest shit in the world and from the way “da bitchz” would moan and rub the spirits into their chests, I figured this sort of behavior would turn girls on and get my virgin ass laid. But as I’d found out, real life ain’t no rap video.
As soon as I’d laid eyes on the voluptuous jugs belonging to the girl in the mermaid outfit while holding the pitcher full of five-dollar all-I-can-drink beer in my hands, I couldn’t fathom a more appropriate situation in which to act like my video had just debuted at number one on Rap City: Tha Basement hosted by Big Tigger “doin’ big things.” After lifting the pitcher up above her rack and slowly starting to dump Natty Light all over those knockers while boppin’ my head up and down to the beat of whatever song had been playing at the bar, for a split second I thought I was the fuckin’ man. I thought that like in rap videos, every ho in the vicinity was gonna wanna slob on my knob like corn on the cob. I thought I was gonna be parkin’ lot pimpin’ up in that bitch. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Not only did “Ariel” not rub the booze into her breasts and get turned on by how manly I was for doing what I’d done, she’d instead clenched her fists and started swinging ‘em at my face. While trying to defend myself, the pitcher of beer fell to the ground. With my hands up, the girl backed me into a corner and continued to biff me until she’d ran out of steam. Luckily, this time, barring a few minor scratches, I got away without any major damage done to my face.
The next time I’d decided to act a fool while intoxicated at college had been a few weekends later on Wells Street – an area where all the late-night restaurants are on Marquette University’s campus – just after all the bars had closed. I remember standing in line for a good ten minutes behind a bunch of other drunk-asses at Papa John’s waiting for my pie to come out the oven. I was really fucked up this time and recall teetering to and fro before they finally called my name and handed me my big sausage pizza.
Before making my way back to my dorm room in McCormick Hall where I planned on crushing, I wandered in the opposite direction into a place called The Dogg Haus. I can’t imagine what’d been going through my mind at the time, but I remember just standing in there surrounded by a bunch of people I didn’t know, staring into space with a whole uneaten Papa John’s pizza in hand.
At some point I staggered up to a random table that’d been occupied by two bros eating late-night dogs and an order of cheese fries. Not even figuring that what I was doing had been the least bit wrong, I reached out with my free hand and stuck it into the cheddar-slathered chips, grabbed a large handful and stuffed it in my face. Both of them said something along the lines of “The fuck you think you’re doing?” and I, of course, ignored them and stuck my cheesy claw back in for a second helping. Before I could even get the greasy goodness up to my dome however, both of the guys had stood up and simultaneously thrown punches at my face. I was hit on each cheek bone at the same time in the middle of the restaurant and my pizza fell to the floor. The last thing I remember is sullenly stepping out of The Dogg Haus after not bothering to pick the uneaten pizza I’d just paid for up off the ground. Although not terrible, I was left with a couple bruises and a bit of a swollen face for the next few days.
The third time that I fucked up I was given the worst ass-beating that I’d ever gotten for doing possibly the stupidest shit I’ve ever done. The first weekend back at school sophomore year, I started off the night pounding beers with my roommate Tommy in our dorm room on the fourth floor of Schroeder Hall. I had yet to get dressed for the evening but Tommy was ready to go and had been wearing this ridiculous baseball cap with a clear plastic slot where a team logo normally appears. Inside the flap had been a picture of him with his cousin.
“Dude,” I said, “where did you get that fucking hat?”
“My cousin gave it to me. You like it?”
“It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even know they made shit like that.”
“Yeah, I know, it’s pretty sweet.”
“Yo, you ever like, think of putting a porno picture in that slot and walking around with a photo of someone getting fucked in the ass on your forehead and then just go about having normal conversations, pretending you have no idea that you’re wearing what you’re wearing?”
“No, but I can tell it’s something you wanna do.”
“Yeah. For sure. If I printed up a porn pic, would you wear it out tonight?”
“Yeah, sure. Why not?”
I went onto my computer, found and printed a picture off Google of a mustache-having trailer park hillbilly from the 1970s leaning back and getting a blowjob – or a “gummy” I should say – from a ninety-year-old grandma without teeth.
“Here, gimme your hat,” I said after I’d cut out the four-by-two inch picture.
After wedging it into the slot I handed it back to Tommy who put it on his head and looked at himself in the mirror.
“Oh my god,” he said.
“Yeah it’s good. But I can’t do it. I can’t wear this out, man.”
“What? You fuckin’ serious?”
“Yeah, I can’t wear this shit.”
“Aw, boo!” I flashed a double thumbs-down. “That’s fuckin’ gay bro.”
“Well,” I said, “if you’re not gonna wear it, can I bring it out tonight?”
“Sure, I don’t give a shit. If you wanna go around looking like a huge asshole, that’s your deal dude.”
So, with that hat atop my head and a bright red shirt that had a drawing of Walker, Texas Ranger rolling up his sleeves and a caption that read, “AFTER PARTYING ALL NIGHT, CHUCK NORRIS DOESN’T THROW UP, CHUCK NORRIS THROWS DOWN,” my ensemble was complete. I was ready for a night on the town.
We didn’t even veer off campus that evening but ended up getting shitfaced at another now-demolished bar called Hegarty’s that used to be at 12th and Wells. Towards the end of the night I’d been sitting in the back of the place with my buddy Carini and after about five hours of drinking there following the three or four we’d done in the dorms beforehand, I was pretty tanked. Carini must’ve been pretty tanked too because he didn’t think twice before pulling out a glass piece packed with weed and smoking it right there in the booth. When the peace pipe was passed my way, I too sucked and blew.
As it happens, that dosage of sticky icky had put me over the edge. He and I as well as a few others had been laughing our asses off about anything and everything around us.
“Yo,” I mumbled at some point while pointing at some skinny dude I’d never seen before who’d been sitting at the end of the bar, “you dare me to chokeslam that kid off his barstool?”
“Yeah, yeah,” everyone laughed, “do it! It’ll be great! Do it!”
I walked right up to this dude who’d been minding his own business, wrapped my right hand around his neck, grabbed him by the shirt with my left and lifted him out of his barstool before slamming his body to the red-tiled floor where I proceeded to put him in a stranglehold. Since the only bouncer at the place had sat at the all-the-way front of the bar and the two bartenders had been too busy serving the back-to-school crowd to see what’d happened, I was able to get away with this distasteful shenanigan. Before the kid passed out, I let go of him and skipped back over to my buddies who’d been laughing their asses off and treated me like a hero upon my return to the table. Since the whole random-stranger-chokeslam thing had been so well-received, I decided to try it again.
This time I wanted to do the same exact thing for the benefit of my then-girlfriend whom I thought would find it as funny as my friends had. Sitting at the bar a little bit closer to the front than my last victim, my ex had been turned facing the back of the establishment and the huge dude she’d been talking to faced her. As I approached from the rear, his big meaty back was to me and she could clearly see me coming.
While they’d been deep amidst a conversation, I crept up from behind on the dude. Temporarily shifting her eyes away from the guy as he told her a story about his summer spent in South Africa, my girlfriend looked me right in the face. I put my finger up to my lips and pretended I was saying, “Shhhhhh.” I could tell by the look she’d given that she was thinking, “Oh shit, Tim’s about to do something incredibly stupid once again.” And, oh boy, was she right.
I stepped between this guy who was twice my size and the bar, grabbed him by the neck and delivered a vicious Undertaker style chokeslam to the ground where I again put my prey into a stranglehold. Since this had occurred closer to the front of the bar, the bouncer saw it, rushed over and quickly put an end to the hostile action. I was immediately tossed from the place and began staggering through the grass field across the street back to the dorms.
I was about halfway home when I heard someone yell “There he is!” as the linebacker-sized man came charging right at me with more than half the patrons from the bar running right behind. I knew I was in the wrong and it would’ve been totally pussy of me to run away. At the same time however, I’m not a fighter and never have been so I was at a loss for what to do. I ended up just standing there and waiting for this guy who’d been running full-speed for half-a-block before he tackled me to the ground and beat my fucking face in.
My friends eventually pulled him off me and I continued my hobble back to the dorms. Tommy’s hat was stolen by an unknown party involved in the scuffle and if there was a minor victory for me at all here, it was that none of the blood leaking from my face had showed up on my red-colored Chuck Norris shirt. Showing up looking the way I did for all my first classes the following Monday was just about the worst way to start off a new school year, but I maintain that I got exactly what I’d deserved.
On the island of Koh Phangan, the time had flown by. It was already two-thirty in the morning and time for me to head to the docks to catch a ferry back to Koh Samui. Schmit and O’Shaughnessy too decided to call it an early night and figured they’d join me. We said goodbye to the three British girls and bounced. As much as I wish I could say I’d taken a playful dip in the ocean with them three babes and made love to one or more of ‘em under the stars as the light of the full moon shimmered and glistened off the sopping wet curves of their naked bodies, I can’t. I’d left significantly hornier than when I’d arrived. But what I did manage to do during my time at the Full Moon Party was get drunk-on-my-ass wasted. O’Shaughnessy too had been pretty saucy but worst of all, Schmit was so fuckin’ hammered that he couldn’t take – I’m gonna be generous here and say “five” – five consecutive steps before tripping on his own feet and faceplanting in the sand as we started to make the journey back.
While making our way through the crowd on the beach that was more tightly packed at two-thirty than it had been at nine when we’d arrived, I began to get the feeling that I’d been way too fucked up to remember what part of the island the ferries departed from. After about ten minutes of aimless wandering while getting bumped into by drugged-up dancers flailing about and picking Schmit off the ground every thirty seconds, O’Shaughnessy started to get pissed off.
“Dude, this is dog shit,” he said. “Where the fuck is this dock?”
“I have no idea. I thought you knew.”
“Fuck. I was following you. I thought you knew!”
“Nope,” I shrugged.
“Alright, I’m gonna ask some people.”
As Tim went off to solve the mystery, Schmit stood for as long as he could before taking another inevitable tumble to the ground. When I bent down to pick him up for the hundredth time, I looked up and about ten feet in front of my face had been the Holy Grail of perfect asses. It looked just like the one I’d seen earlier that those artist guys had made out of sand. My two green eyes were locked in on her brown one and I simply could not look away. I don’t know what it was about that ass, but that thing was fuckin’ magical. The way the moonbeams had been hitting those tan, full, round yet cottage-cheese-free cheeks that’d been parted down the middle by a barely-there black and white striped thong had me straight trippin’.
I left Schmit where he laid on the ground and stepped over him, not blinking once as my gaze remained focused on “my precious.” Like I didn’t have any control of it, the hand that I should’ve used to help my drunken buddy back on his feet reached out in front of me and started leading the way. I knew what I was about to do was wrong but I couldn’t stop myself. The hand went into the cookie jar and I grabbed as much sugar as I could manage. After instantly turning around to find someone who she didn’t know uninvitedly digging into her Christmas hams, like an electric guitar, the owner of the coveted shrieked loudly as my index finger plucked at her G-string.
It’s almost expected that girls who look that fuckin’ sexy have huge boyfriends with equally jacked buddies and this one had been no exception.
“This guy just grabbed my ass!” she shouted to a group of dudes who’d been standing nearby.
I put my hands up defensively and stood there like the clichéd deer in the headlights.
“Who did!?” one of them asked, pointing at me. “That guy!?”
“Let’s get him!”
They all began to charge at me. Unlike the chokeslam incident up in Milwaukee, I was unwilling to sit there and take a beating from massive dudes for my wrongdoing. I turned around, jumped back over Schmit and took off running faster than a cheetah with rocket boosters strapped to his back.
One thing I’ll never understand in the movies is while being chased, why criminals seemingly go out of their way on an otherwise open sidewalk to plow over someone carrying groceries or stacks of documents or anything else that can go flying in the air for dramatic effect. It makes no sense to me. If they’re avoidable, you don’t hit them. As I learned on the day of the Full Moon Party, any type of collision is only going to slow you down. While bolting full-speed through the drunken party crowd, I must’ve plowed into and bowled over at least three random people, thus getting an additional thirty or so people pissed off at me and wanting to beat my ass. Nevertheless, I not once looked back to see how close anyone had been getting to me. I ran and I ran and I ran, making random turn after random turn until I could run no more.
Several minutes later, upon finding myself doubled-over and struggling for breath, I looked back and saw that my vengeful trackers had given up the chase. I turned back around, looked ahead and to my surprise O’Shaughnessy had been standing right in front of me. Even more surprising was that both of us had been standing right in front of the dock we needed to be at to get back to Koh Samui.