Monday, September 18, 2006
Beer For The Ruthless (Two)
When I volunteered to direct parking in the muddy field, Lydia gave me additional instructions:
“Search everybody as soon as they park, especially their coolers. No glass bottles. Confiscate them and, um, I don’t know, bring them up to will call. Yeah. We’ll stash them in the fridge until we hand them over to the campground staff. Just take them away so we don’t get fined.”
“I’m not searching people. I have no legal right. I can ask them, but I can’t really make them do anything.”
“Look, just keep you eyes open, okay? Jesus. So much bullshit.”
I arched my eyebrows and remained silent. Lydia had been working for 24 hours straight and had no rest coming anytime soon. As one of only three main organizers at the massive event, she was stretched paper thin. She was exhausted and her temper was shot. I didn’t want to contribute to Lydia’s skyrocketing stress level nor did I want to be her target for verbal catharsis. Hence, my silence.
As she stalked off to her next organizational duty, I sheathed my flashlight, staked a pair of tiki torches into the ground, lit a cigarette, and waited for the next wave of mentally scorched ravers to motor up to me.
In order to stand upon my tender feet in the hot sun for eight hours straight, I decided a steady regimen of cheap beer would be a prudent idea. I dragged a cooler to the front gate (all beer in cans, of course, being a bottle sipping hypocrite would be tantamount to urinating through ravers’ tent windows) and cracked open a Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Cars arrived in waves. I sipped, I pointed, I welcomed. Occasionally I even warned them about glass containers. Not once did I confiscate a single bottle.
Hours after dusk, when my volunteer shift ended, I stumbled away to find friends who were scattered throughout the campground. With five sound stages and acres of dark woods before me, my prospects for success were bleak.
I did find Chris. We wandered around drinking and laughing, happy to be shitfaced in the wilderness. When we ran out of beer, despair began to lurk, and our drunken giggles became murmurs of desperation. Thirst set in, and we stalked up and down the trails, eagle eyed as drunks in the night can possibly be, our alcohol radars sweeping at maximum range.
A golf cart nearly ran us over. Upon it was Cassie, a short, slim, cute Winona Ryder lookalike that helped out with parking earlier that day. She'd given me a beer then, a gesture of camaraderie, and now I hoped she had more generosity in her heart.
Before I could beg or plead, she yelled for me.
“Steve! Come here!”
“I am here! Right here! I think! Hello!”
“I need you to do something for me.”
“Anything, Cassie, name it.”
“These guys over at the main stage have been calling us on the walkies for two hours asking for beer. Will you bring these to them?”
“Um, okay. Who?”
She was drunk too. “I don’t know, whoever is complaining.” Not very helpful, but I decided this vagueness might contribute to my plausible deniability later on.
“How many go to them and how many do I keep for myself?”
“All of them go the main stage. ALL OF THEM. Got it?”
“Why yes, most certainly, I’ll locate your plaintiffs and deliver them beer presently.” (Yes, I actually talk like that when I’m plastered. Punch me in the face next time you see me.)
She gave me a sweet smile, handed over seven lukewarm cans of PBR, and said “Thank you sweetie!”
“The pleasure is all mine. Really.”
Chris looked at me like I’d just birthed from a whale’s vagina. I stood there, stuffing cans in the pouch of my hoodie and into my pockets. As soon as Cassie and her cadre of fucked up golf cart hippies motored a safe distance away, I began jumping up and down, hollering, having a general spastic freak out. I was raving in the traditional way.
“Holy shit Steve! Was that fucking real?”
I gibbered something back and passed Chris a beer before cracking one open for myself.
An hour later the seven beers had nearly been killed, and as we sat on the country stage, which wasn’t in use that night, a girl named Christa from Minneapolis (no, not Duluth, I wish) snuck up behind us and nearly scared us right off the two story drop at the front edge of the stage.
Upon regaining my wits (a meager portion of them, at least) we introduced ourselves and spoke of raves and DJs and traveling the interstates. I gave her the final PBR, and a short time later, she invited us to her campsite for further refreshment.
She offered beer from her well-iced cooler… bottled beer. A no-no. I let this egregious violation pass and happily indulged in the golden ambrosia. By this time I didn’t mind that it was Miller Lite, as I was drunk enough that any beer would suffice. (Who am I kidding, I would’ve drank it sober, too, but with a grimace)
Two of her friends arrived a short time later, an effeminate wisp of a boy named Dylan and a hairy Jew named Jacob. (pronounced Yakkob, he was serious about his ancestry) Jacob, studying to be an anthropologist, began to explain the aboriginal history of the digeridoo, an Australian “instrument” that produces guttural moans akin to elephant mating calls when one blows through it. He demonstrated, and the sound was truly awful, sending waves through my guts, unseating a lifetime of swallowed bubblegum from the walls of my intestines.
Two unnaturally skinny blond girls wandered by, somehow attracted by the soul damaging bellow of the digeridoo, and the lot of us made introductions. The girls were from Wisconsin. The trading of names led to a pair of uncomfortable moments.
When the tall blond told me her first name, Sierra, I asked if her parents were environmentalists or if they played computer games in the eighties. Shockingly, she understood neither reference, and I was forced to explain my horribly geeky childhood playing Sierra quest games. No response from her. Next reference, then. When I told her about the Sierra Club, which preserves bears and trees and honeysuckle, or some such shit, a flicker of recognition passed across her eyes for the briefest of moments. “My parents were hippies, a long time ago, I think.”
I can’t remember the other girl’s first name. Sarah, maybe? Her last name was Rommel. As in Nazi General Rommel, he of the Panzer tanks. I had to ask.
“Yep, he was my grandfather!”
Jacob stared, speechless. I spoke up.
“Wow, I wonder if your grandfather rounded up Jacob’s grandfather and put him in a concentration camp!” Drunk, I laughed at my own tasteful wit. Chris laughed, too, but nobody else around the fire did. They all just stared at me like I’d just been puked out by a walrus. God, I was great. More humor! “So Sarah, how much room have you got in the ashtray?”
I made a mental note: Holocaust humor is never, ever funny, and is frowned upon among persons of a serious demeanor, persons who hold certain things sacred.
Our welcome worn out, Chris and I left, promising to return later in the weekend for more good times.
“Dude, I can’t believe you said that shit. Her fucking ashtray. Jesus! Are you drunk?”
“Drunk? Me? No! Never! Let’s get more beer!”
“I have no idea, but things’ve worked out splendidly so far. How could we probably, uh, I mean, how could we possibly fucking fail?”
I was still wearing my security badge and my walkie-talkie was still secured to my belt. As Chris and I walked towards the will-call, the unofficial gathering spot for all our friends, Lydia’s voice sqwauked over the walkie. “I got bottles in the parking lot. I’m confiscating them.”
I looked at Chris. “Run!”
We met Lydia in the lot and took the twelve pack of Goose Island 312 away so she could continue to park vehicles. She admonished me to stash them at will call, as the campers who brought them wished to pick them up upon departure.
“No prob, Lydia, anything else I can help with?”
“No, not now. Thanks, Steve.”
I ditched the cardboard. Chris and I stuffed five bottles each in our pockets and opened the remaining two, which we heartily enjoyed as we walked the trails.
An hour later, at nearly four in the morning, I tipped my third Goose Island to my lips as I walked past a mass of twenty people.
A girl pointed directly at me, outraged, and yelled “That’s my fucking beer!”
Chris and I kept walking.
Ten minutes later, my walkie buzzed. It was Lydia.
“STEVE AND CHRIS, REPORT TO WILL CALL RIGHT FUCKING NOW.”
Oh shit. Busted.
1:09 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
RECENTKill All Hippies! (One)
Wrist Opening Day
Warpaint And Gratitude
Tailspin Tiki Tickle
Teriyaki Pemmican Menopause