Party Down

There are few periods in my life I wish to forget as much as the four years I spent wandering the halls of high school. Still, from time to time, I’m forced to face it. Such was the case a couple of weeks back in Broad Ripple when Shane and I were partying.

“Corey!” I heard a voice call.

I turned and saw two familiar faces. Both were former classmates from Greenfield. I recognized Jamie right off the bat, but it took a second to put a name on the other face. Then it hit me: Brandice — the name still sends chills down my spine. I’d blocked all memories of this “girl” from my mind, and with good reason. She stands for all that is evil.

I clenched my teeth and smiled. “Hey.”

She proceeded to tell me her life story … graduation, engagement, marriage, on and on.

“What’s up with you?” she asked.

“Not a lot,” I replied, hoping she would get the picture. The rain was coming down hard, and I was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, in front of the Vogue. It should have been clear I didn’t want to be there.

But she just stood, blankly, waiting for me to break.

“I’m engaged,” I said. “Have a 14-month-old boy, too.” My shirt was now dripping with water. “Happy little life,” I added.

Then, I ran, half-waving and yelling how nice it was to see her again — of course, lying.

Shane was right behind me.

The night had already been a disaster. There was no end in sight to the rain. So, given the weather, I decided to be the designated driver — good for Shane, bad for me.

At first glance Broad Ripple seemed dead. There was hardly anyone in the streets. The same was true inside (C.T.) Peppers. Next, we headed to the Vogue, but only stayed a few minutes. The place was packed … I mean packed. I couldn’t find a place to stand still without being knocked around. So I kept moving through the crowd. Sober, this proved irritating, especially when I accidentally stepped on some punk’s shoe while he was grinding all over his girlfriend. I told him “my bad” and patted him on his shoulder. He just stood there, staring, looking like Bubba from Forrest Gump, mixed with the young nephew from The Bernie Mac Show. (Yeah, that’s right, you know who you are! What?)

Beating me to the point, Shane bumped into him. “What’s your fucking problem?” Shane said. I guess nothing was his problem, because he (poof) disappeared into the crowd.

See, Shane I and work well together. When we drink, I’m very laid back until about the end of the night. Then, I’m riled as I sober up. Shane, on the other hand, is fierce while he’s drinking, but then calms towards closing time, keeping my ass out of jail.

But since I was sober, the balance was disrupted; we agreed to break the hell out before we wound up spending Sunday in a small, concrete cell. We decided to find someplace a little quieter, where we could just chill.

We stepped outside. The rain was still beating the streets. We set off on a mad dash towards Broad Ripple Tavern and then a familiar voice stopped me in my tracks.