The Drunk Knight Rises

28 Oct

“With great power comes great responsibility. This is my gift, my curse.”

-Peter Parker

“My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.”

-Bluto Blutarsky

See? I told you it would only be a week and I got it posted in five days! Can’t believe you doubted me like that. I won’t even dick around on the intro. If you didn’t read parts one or two, well you’ll probably be confused. Of course, you could read this part first and then work your way back like Memento. Damn it. The story is probably better that way. Oh well. Let’s just finish this bitch.

An Unfortunate Incident, a Hero Rises From the Ashes

Now that I was good and tight, I was ready to interact with the partygoers. I approached (well, staggered over to) my coworker, Kyle. Kyle was (and remains) a HUGE professional wrestling fan. He liked (and still likes) to reenact fake moves as performed by his favorite wrestlers (Your Ric Flairs, your Hulk Hogans, your Doink the Clowns). Now Kyle was five years older than me (probably still is) which would mean he was…20 at the time? 25? Shit, can we get those Sucks at Math ribbons made up already? However old he was I believed (and still do) that he was too old to be a fan of professional wrestling. I stopped watching at 10 when I found out that shit was rigged.

On second thought, looks pretty real to me.

On second thought, maybe it’s TOO real.

I slurred something at him, God only knows what, and we began to fake rassle. What does that entail, you ask? Basically, you just kind of fake slap and punch each other. Yes, it is that stupid. In the course of these fake maneuvers where we weren’t making actual contact with each other, a fake shove got away from Kyle and he ever so gently kissed my chest with his palm.

Now at my level of inebriation that gentle push was tantamount to getting dragon kicked in the sternum by Bruce fucking Lee. My body responded in kind as I went flying right into the grill. I took it out and landed flat on my back on the concrete patio. Hot meats that had been searing only precious seconds ago rained down on my face and chest like grisly hail from an abattoir. I sat up, dazed. Literally everyone at the party was gaping at me. I offered a weak, drunken laugh then suddenly cold water was splashing all over my body. I looked for the source and saw my coworker, Zoe, dousing me with a hose. “The fuck…?” I managed to mumble and then I saw the smoke. The white-hot coals from the grill had landed on my ankle and smoldered there. This is either the most or the least ironic thing that has ever happened in recorded history: I had lied to gain entry to the party and now my pants were quite literally on fire. And here I thought that phrase was just a hackneyed children’s rhyme.

Too on the nose?

Too on the nose?

Once I was completely extinguished, people began to ask me if I was all right. Like most drunks, I was totally fine with nary a scratch on me. I stood up, soaked from head to toe and the laughter began. A better, more sober man may have decided perhaps it was time to leave as dignity had already hightailed it out of there hours ago. Not this guy. I brushed off my near immolation and stuck around for a while. Eventually Ben insisted we needed to go and he drove me home in my mom’s car. I guess he walked home? I have no idea. So concerned was I for his wellbeing that I never even thought to ask.

The Aftermath

After a night spent getting intimately acquainted with the family toilet, telling it all my secrets, sharing a meal with it, I awoke on the floor of the bathroom to a pair of very pissed off parents and a large railroad spike in my brain. How did that get there? Sure I couldn’t see it, but I sure as fuck could feel it. It felt like my entire body was packed with fiberglass insulation and my throat was drier than Anne Coulter’s lady business. Good God! I have never felt such thirst in my life. Needed a drink. My parents followed me into the kitchen and reminded me as I drank the coldest, most refreshing bottle of Canada Dry ginger ale I’ve ever had in my life that I was due at work in 30 minutes. I laughed, each chuckle setting off a throbbing sonic boom in my head. Surely they were joking. They were not. Going to work severely hungover was phase one of my looming punishment. Well played, parental units. Well played indeed.

I protested, but at 17 my parents still held dominion over me. I dragged my ass into work, my only goal for the day to remain vertical or at least slanted, but upright. As soon as I arrived, I noticed people smirking at me and whispering when I walked by. Apparently, word had gotten out. You’d think a group of coworkers would be able to keep the story of an inebriated high schooler drunkenly setting himself on fire to themselves, but nope. People continued looking at me and giggling behind their hands. It really threw off my grocery bagging game. Eventually my manager (Julius? Yeah, let’s call him Julius) approached me. A smug smile firmly planted on his face, he clapped me on the shoulder. “Heard you went to Liam’s party last night.” I felt my face flush redder than a baboon’s fiery butthole. “Yeah.” His smile widened. “Have a good time?” A small crowd of grinning cashiers had surrounded us. “Um, it was okay. Hey, I think it’s my break time.” At this point, I thought for sure I was getting fired. His grip on my shoulder tightened. “So you’re like some kind of superhero. I mean, you don’t have the best superpower, but lighting yourself on fire with charcoal briquettes without getting hurt is kind of impressive. You just need a name. How about…Grillman?” Grillman. Seriously dude, you couldn’t call me something cool like THE PHOENIX? I mean, I did rise from the ashes, goddamnit. But no, fucking Grillman: the name I would never be able to live down. The cashiers laughed and quickly spread the word that I was no longer Mike or Michael or even Baron Von Sexmuffin (Alas, no one has ever called me Baron Von Sexmuffin. *SIGH*).

Thousands of dollars wasted on tee shirts.

Even with thousands of dollars invested in tee shirts.

I was to be known henceforth as Grillman. By 10:30 that Sunday morning, everyone was referring to me as such. By late afternoon, people who weren’t even scheduled to work that day were coming in and asking me about the night before and my groovy new nickname. I went from mortified, to irritated, to eventually just bending over and taking it. There are worse nicknames, right? Still, man – THE PHOENIX. How badass would that have been? It wasn’t to be. To this day people still call me Grillman. And whenever they call me that in front of someone I’ve never met before I have to tell the fucking story again like some white trash version of the Ancient Mariner. Fuck. There was one perk though: from that day forward, I got invited to ALL the parties. Even the really sweet ones held at the bowling alley. Jealous? Fuck yeah, you are.

A Hero’s Legacy

I swore an oath that day on Neptune’s violently salty ballsack to never make an ass of myself in public again, an oath I was able to keep for nearly five consecutive days. Now I simply accept the fact that making an ass out of myself is a big part of who I am. However, I choose my spots carefully. I’m never going to pull a Will Ferrell in Old School and be the only guy streaking through the quad. [Quick aside: though I appreciate Mr. Ferrell’s dedication to getting bare-ass naked for that scene, I’ve always found a man dressed in a half-shirt, knee high black socks, and nothing else to be an underrated hilarious image. I don’t know why more comedies don’t show that to us. You listening, Hollywood? Get on that shit.]

And there you have it. A fateful mixture of cheap vodka, a wrestling superfan, and hot coals – an ordinary man becomes a superman.  It was my radioactive spider bite, my gamma bomb, my sex with a sentient dolphin (or whatever the fuck Aquaman’s origin story is). I didn’t ask for this power, but now I am forever cursed to prowl the fringes of society. And so I lurk in the shadows. Watching. Until I am needed. Until I am called upon.

To paraphrase one Commissioner James Gordon:

“Because he’s the lush Baltimore deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll mock him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our drunkard. He’s a silent boozer, a watchful barfly. A Drunk Knight.”

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2 Responses to “The Drunk Knight Rises”

  1. Mike Morucci (@GCGeek) October 28, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    A masterpiece, sir. Well worth the wait!

    “I have to tell the fucking story again like some white trash version of the Ancient Mariner” brought tears to my eyes. I love that you learned to own it. Now when you tire of telling the story, you can offer the rantecdotes URL (if you’re not halfway in the bag). Or you can always switch it up. “It’s my old law firm: Grillmun, Obloquy and Abbatoir. Legally, I can’t discuss it.”

    I love thesaurus.com.

  2. omgchrism October 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    The path of the drunken man is beset on all sides by the settling of the tab and the judgment of sober men.

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