I was drunk standing in the kitchen of my apartment with three friends. The time was about forty-five minutes before midnight. Once the clock passed over into the next day, I would officially be twenty one years old, which meant I could get into bars. And drink.
Tonight was for a sacred ritual for us college-age kids that we like to call our power hour.
In Arizona, a power hour consists of really two hours. Between midnight and two am, when the bars close, the goal is pretty simple: get me (the birthday boy) as drunk as humanly possible.
Growing up in Arizona, with our strict and overbearing liquor laws, I never had a fake ID. I had never went into bars before I was twenty-one with the exception of the time I was in France and Eastern parts of Europe. This power hour was sort of a big deal for me and my American values.
All three of my friends who were kind enough to take me out, were co-workers, and all three of them were, obviously, older than me.
There was Shelby. Shelby was a musician, who I thought was pretty damn cute. He worked in the library I went to as a kid, and later started working in. I remember him from teen years, specifically when he handed me a book of short stories written by guys that truly helped solidify my love for short fiction. Shelby was only about five years older than me, so when I started working in the library, him and I of course became friends.
Alongside Shelby was Porney. Porney was currently subleasing the extra bedroom in my apartment. She was awesome, and her and I were hired at the library at the same time. We were both really upbeat, and liked to have fun in the work place, so were of course elected to do projects together. Because of her attention to detail, and my big-picture sort of persona, we worked really great together and together were called the “Dynamic Duo” – a term I believe is taken from old Batman and Robin movies. Though I would never admit it to her, even now, but she was always my Batman. I would have never been able to do shit in the library if it weren’t for her.
Porney and Shelby were accompanied by Lamb. Lamb was a sweet Asian coworker, who liked to have fun with us. His little eyes would constantly be looking Porney up and down and Lamb was maybe two years older than me, and going to Arizona State University for art. I respect art majors. And I have a thing for Asian guys. He was legit as far as I was concerned.
We had decided to pregame in my apartment. So, my friends gathered at around eleven on the night of May 16th, and we stood there downing liquor. I had a premixed Long Island ice tea, which I found fitting considering my parents were both born and raised on Long Island. I downed by second one, and looked at my friends in my alcohol infused state.
“Which one of you is driving tonight,” I slurred.
My friends, bless their hearts, looked at each other, dumbfounded. How had we possibly overlooked this very important step.
“Um, well…” Shelby trailed off. He was obviously already a little buzzed. And judging by Lamb’s face — which had turned from a pale baby ass white to the color of a pig before you roast it — he too was feeling the liquor.
“We will call a cab,” Porney declared.
“Fuck that, I am going to hail a cab,” I said.
At the time I lived in a college town, and my apartment faced a not so major street called Fifth Street. It was about a half a mile away from any major road, but where I lived the likelyhood of me hailing a cab was pretty non-existent.
Porney pointed this out. “Just because you’re drinking a Long Island does not mean you’re in New York, you can’t just hail a cab. Silly goose.”
Now that sounded like a challenge to me, and so I walked out of the front door in a mad dash, walked right out to Fifth Street, threw my hand up and yelled “Taxi,” at the top of my lungs.
And a cab stopped.
Dumbfounded that this actually worked, I asked the cab driver to stay in place, “Start the meter if you need to,” and ran back inside to gather my drunken crew of friends.
“You guys, come on, I hailed a cab,” I told them.
“Sure you did, drunky, you probably just stopped a yellow car,” Porney teased, until she looked outside and saw the cab waiting for us.
My friends gathered their things, I locked the door, and off we went into the cab that birthday fate had put on Fifth Street that night.