There is nothing more dangerous than getting a group of twenty-something year olds living together in an apartment complex, whom have just graduated from college and have landed their first sales jobs: this I can tell you from personal experience. Not only were we wanna-be-big shots, working jobs that required personal discipline; but also trouble makers with way too much time on our hands. The things we did for recreation could become outright scary.
Friday nights usually brought out the worst of us because this is when we really let it all hang out. The itinerary usually consisted of something like this: Happy hour for drinks at one of our apartments while waiting for everyone to show; going to Salerno’s Pizza in Berwyn to lay down the base (liquor absorption technique which involves eating massive quantities of deep-dish Chicago style pizza); finding a club where we thought we had the best chance of meeting girls; and then going home drunk and alone to try and figure out what we did wrong.
By the time we would get back to the apartments (usually early morning), we would take out our frustration with some unconventional anger management activities. On this particular December evening the snow had started to fall in Chicago and the temperature was plummeting. We pulled into the parking lot of our high rise apartment building after a night of philandering and ran for cover, but before we could get to the front door my roommate Rich declared, “Watch this!” He picked up a big rock and hurled it into the gaggle of geese which inhabited the resident pond, taking one of them out.
“What did you do that for?” I asked.
“I’m tired of not hooking up.”
“So you take it out on a goose ─ that makes a lot of sense; let’s get inside before we get in trouble.”
The four of us got into the elevator and immediately started to rumble ─ throwing each other into the sides of steel trap like we were cage fighting. A solid hockey body check stopped the elevator about half way up. “Now you did it” I told Tom. “You got us stuck in the elevator at two in the morning.”
“Hee…Hee…Yeah,” the big, lanky goof gurgled.
After pressing every button on the panel board we finally got the elevator moving and then unloaded on the eighth floor where Andy lived. “If anybody is going to throw up, do so before we get in,” he said.
“Hey Andy, what to you have to drink in this dump,” Rich asked him as he unlocked the door.
“We have some Old Style beer,” Andy’s roommate the ‘Cat’ replied.
“I’m not drinking that monkey piss. What else do you have?”
“I’ve got a bottle of Jack Daniels in the cupboard.”
“That’s what I’m talking about.”
The ‘Cat’ pulled out the Jack and four shot glasses.
“You know I don’t drink,” Tom said. “Do you have any Nyquil?”
“Nyquil is alcohol, you idiot. It’s in the medicine cabinet in my bathroom. Are you on that ‘bunny dust’ again?”
“What does hell does ‘Hee…Hee…Yeah’ mean?” I asked Rich.
“It means he’s a retard.”
Tom returned with his shot glass full of Nyquil, “Cheers,” he said lifting the green Christmas-like fluid to his mouth.
We pounded our shots and then proceeded to the winter-sports recreational portion of the evening. We opened up the balcony window, which overlooked the pond and the ‘Cat’ pulled out his driver and a bag of shag balls. “Who’s first,” he asked. Andy grabbed the driver and teed one up on the artificial surface we had set up outside. The trick to the shot was to launch the ball between the metal rails that surrounded the balcony without striking it. Andy set up, took a might hack, and whiffed on the ball while nearly falling down. “You’re a regular Tiger Woods,” I said. “Give me that friggin’ club, you pink-polo shirted sissy.” I approached the ball and set up. “Do you think I can make Cermak Road from here?”
“It’s never been done,” the ‘Cat’ replied.
I took a practice swing, waggled the club, and made a full shoulder turn on the ball making full contact. The ball snapped off the club head striking the metal grating and then ricocheted at warp speed back into the apartment as the gallery hit the deck. “Whack,” the ball exploded into the plaster wall behind us
“What the F… was that?” Andy exclaimed through the settling plaster dust.
“Sorry, I caught it a little fat.”
“Who’s going to pay for that?”
“Don’t worry. I read a good article in the Chicago Tribune about patching holes in plaster walls. They said to use toothpaste because when it dries, it sets like cement.”
“That isn’t a thumbtack hole you moron; that’s a crater. It’s going to take five tubes to fill that thing.”
“No problem. I have some toothpaste coupons from the Sunday paper. Besides, your ruining my high, so shut the hell up and let’s continue the games. Where’s that pocket fisherman you got for Christmas last year?”
“Oh no,”Andy said. “You’re not going to break my pocket fisherman.”
“Give it to him,” Tom said, “before I dangle your skinny ass upside down over the balcony railing.”
“All right, but if you break it, it’s yours.” Andy went to his bedroom and returned with the portable pole.
“Do you have enough line to reach the pond from up here?” I asked.
“Sure do. There’s one hundred yards of ten pound line on the reel.”
“Do you have any bread that we can make dough balls with?”
“The Wonder bread is on top on the fridge.”
“Good ─ let’s go limit out on carp before the pond freezes over,” I said. I took the bread, ripped out the center, and made myself a ball of carp candy. “Who wants the first cast?”
“It’s my turn,” Tom said. “Let me do another shot of Nyquil before I throw. Slamming back another dose, Tom heaved the dough ball from the eighth floor balcony into the pond. “I wonder if we could get a segment on the American Sportsman?” he asked. There was a sudden jerk on the line, “Got one!” Tom began to reel as we all looked down from the railing into the dark abyss. “This sucker is big,” he said lifting the fish from the water and started to reel up. We could now see what looked like a five pound carp, swinging through the air about fifty feet below us. “Get him in,” I shouted to Tom, “that could be a new eighth floor record.”
With a mighty “Hee…Hee…Yeah,” he jerked the fish, slinging it into someone’s balcony below us. “Slap.”
“Hey! What the F… is going on up there?” a man with a cigarette shouted, poking his head out from the balcony below us and looking up.
“What’s that guys problem,” the ‘Cat’? asked.
“I think that guy just got a carp sandwich and we had better get the hell out of here quick.”
“Hee…Hee…Yeah! Tom concurred.
From G.O. Fishin': Tall Tales from the Tackle Box
Available at Amazon.com/books/garyocallaghan