Thursday, April 24, 2008


The Key West Incident

As part of my new year's resolution, I've made an effort to go to the gym more often. This hasn't been hard, because it is pretty easy to go to the gym more than zero times per week like I have in the past. The second part of the resolution, though, was to change up my workout routine, which used to consist of slowly stretching in a corner, taking extended breaks at the drinking fountains, reading every possible flier on the walls, and then finally riding the stationary bike on the downhill setting for 20 minutes or until I got tired, whichever came first. I eventually gave up on this regimen - and the gym altogether - because I just didn't see any results from my efforts.

So since January I've decided to kick it up a notch; when I use the treadmill I actually run at a pace that could beat your average mall walker in a race. What I'm saying is that I now break a sweat after working out and get short of breath. If this is the "runner's high" people mention, then they can keep their jogging shoes and I'll go back to huffing paint fumes.

Anyway, the other day I was in the locker room after my workout and I was changing back into my "civvies" (this is what us workout freaks call our non-gym gear). And because I always push myself to the limit each and every day in each and every way, I was still sweaty and breathing a little hard. While I was midway through changing, a guy walks in and goes to a locker that is near mine. He decides to make conversation.

"Getting ready for a workout?"

How could this guy not tell that he was seeing me post-workout and not pre-workout? I mean, I was sweating, red faced, and panting for chrissake! Does this guy think I'm gay and that this is how my body reacts when I'm in a locker room full of half-naked men? Like I get flustered, excited and short of breath at the prospect of seeing some old man's bean bag and gray pubes.

"Uh, no...just finished actually," I replied, doing my best not to roll my eyes at such a stupid question.

Then I realized: this guy was coming on to me! I mean like I said, I have been working out lately, so can you really blame him? Suddenly paranoia struck and I wondered if maybe he wasn't coming on to me, but was instead announcing his intentions. Like he was planning on raping me and wanted to know if I was prepared for it. The question "getting ready for a workout?" never seemed so ominous.

Immediately I began to panic. Because I had just pushed myself to the limit in the gym (like I always do in each and every yadda yadda yadda) I was feeling pretty spent and weak. Like when you struggle to take off your t-shirt because your arms are so tired they start to shake. I became worried that in my weakened condition that I would not be able to put up enough of a fight to convince myself that I did everything I could to avoid being violated, which could then lead to a lifetime of me questioning my own sexuality. And who needs that? I quickly promised myself that if I fell victim to this old guy raping me, then I would NEVER take it to the limit ever again. It's not like I needed another reason to hate that Eagles song either.

At this point, some of you may be wondering how I could turn such a simple, innocent question into a threat of sexual violence. It is because I've learned my lesson from past mistakes.
Ever since the Key West incident back in college I've become much more jaded and wary of people's ulterior motives. In hopes that it can help others, I will share what happened to me during the Key West incident.

About 10 of my buddies and I traveled to Key West for Spring Break. The first day there we hung out by the pool at our shitball hotel, checked out the local bar scene, and pretty much partied throughout the day . At night, we decided to go down to the main drag to check out the epicenter of the drunken craziness and try to get lucky.

Well, I had been drinking all day and may have had a combination of a couple of McDonald Apple Pies and a handful of shrooms for my dinner. Needless to say, I was primed and ready to go. By the time we got to the first bar, Irish Kevin's, I was what the locals call "fucked up." The bar was super packed and there was some dickhead with a guitar singing classic rock songs and making fun of everyone who walked by for tips. He sucked at singing but was pretty good at making fun of people, which was bad news for anyone stumbling past him in drunken stupor. The fear of being called out by this guy made me feel like I was back in middle school, constantly making sure that my zipper was up. For a guy whose stomach was already nearly filled to capacity with various types of liquor, beer, fast food pastries and psychedelics, butterflies were an unwelcome addition.

So our group manages to slink by the Guitar Zero and head to the back bar. The more industrious members of the group declared the bar lame and decided to venture out to the other bars on the strip. I declined. I had found an open barstool and was content on sitting by myself for the rest of the night, nursing a beer and coming down from a fevered high. I said I'd be fine and told them to just make sure to come back and get me before they went back to the hotel. Everything was fine and dandy.

As I'm sitting there minding my own beeswax, an older lady comes up and starts talking to me. I don't mean older like the Golden Girls, I mean older like Thirtysomething. She was cute enough, so I began to lay on the charm - which even in my inebbriated state, wasn't hard to do. "Did it work?" you ask. Gimme a Fuckin' Break. Of course it worked. She was picking up what I was laying down. She was asking me if I wanted to party and blah blah blah. Now I'm no windtalker, but I was still able to crack her code.

And then her husband came into the picture and introduced himself. Wah-wah.

He seemed like a nice enough guy and was laughing at my (hilarious) jokes, so I didn't really give a shit about my lost opportunity. They seemed a little out of place, considering they were older than the rest of the crowd, and weren't really partaking in the binge drinking that surrounded them. I figured they decided to talk to me because I seemed harmless enough and was drinking at a strikingly slower pace than everyone else. They were like the embodiment of the song "Glory Days." They decided to whoop it up again like the old times, only to find themselves awkwardly out of place because everyone around them partied harder than them and didn't use the phrase "whoop it up."

I kinda felt sorry for them, so I continued to talk with them and even let them buy me a few beers. They couldn't get enough of me; they were laughing their asses off like I was Gallagher and I had just smashed a shitload of watermelon onto them. I have to admit, being able to crack them up like that did feel pretty good. Then again, it might've just been the mushrooms.

It was about this time that my buddy Rayburn made his way back to me. I was all gung-ho about introducing him to my new friends who I came to see as a never-ending source for free drinks. Rayburn was less than impressed, and I couldn't understand why. I explained to him that they were cool and that they wanted to hang out the rest of the night. Rayburn would have none of it and informed me that everyone was leaving so we had to go or we would miss the cab ride back to the hotel.

The husband offered to buy another round, Rayburn included, if we stayed. I looked at Rayburn to see if the offer had won him over. It had not. "How about a shot?" I ask, figuring I might as well get one more drink out of these people before I leave with Rayburn. The guy agrees, and asks Rayburn if he's in.

"Uh, no dude, I'm good." And we have to go as soon as the shot is done.

Hmm, I thought, it's not like Rayburn to pass up on free booze. What a pussy.

The guy comes back with the largest "shot" of Jaeger I've ever seen. It was a rocks glass filled with warm Jaeger, just waiting to put some hair on my balls. I reluctantly took the glass, gave a "clinky clinky, my good man" toast to the nice couple and downed the shot.

I'm not going to lie. I struggled with it. But, I took it down. Rayburn gave me a look like "we gotta go, now" so I followed his lead and left the couple behind as we began to make our way through the crowd towards the exit.

"Dude, what the fuck were you doing with those guys?" Rayburn whisper-yells to me. "Are you retarded? They were fucking swingers! They were trying to take you home with them."

The only words I could muster were "Jesus Christ" before the Trampoline Effect took over me. The gallon of Jaeger that I had just shot down my stomach was ready to come right back up. And we were at a standstill, stuck in a gridlocked crowd in the middle of the bar.

"I gotta puke," I warn. My drinking binge had finally caught up to me, and the thought of nearly being the fresh meat in a swinging relationship wasn't helping any.

"You gotta hold it 'til we get outside," Rayburn orders. He was right. The bar was filled with people who would not hesitate to kick our ass if even a drop of vomit landed on them, let a lone the amount I was planning on getting out of my system.

We were moving at a snail's pace and the situation was becoming dire. Puking within the minute was inevitable. I start looking around for a place to slink to, trying to not to draw any attention to myself, for fear of being the victim of ridicule and/or violence. And then it hits me. The wave of nausea, that is. My stomach mimics a whoopie cushion that just got sat on, but instead of forcing out air it forces out a day's worth of cheap beer, fast food, and still-warm Jaeger.

I manage to lock my jaw and just throw up in my mouth for the first wave, but the second wave is coming and it is big enough to kill a supermodel's boyfriend. I'm all out of options and, in a panic, aim my puke in the only available receptacle I could find: the guitar player's tip jar. It wasn't really a jar, but a bucket a little kid would take to the beach. It was halfway filled with an assortment of ones, fives, and change. And now it was also filled with my throw up.

By some grace of God, my execution was flawless. I didn't get any puke anywhere but in the bucket. And more importantly, the dildo on guitar was too busy singing "American Pie " for the fifth time to notice what I did. In fact, no one but the people immediately behind me in the line to leave noticed, but they didn't care because they were too busy laughing at me after I explained that my contribution to the tip jar was all I could afford to give. Rayburn and I pushed our way out of their as fast as we could, only pausing once so I could puke again on the side of the building, to show my appreciation for the bar's hospitality.

The only reason I made it out of there alive was due to Rayburn. If he hadn't arrived when he did, I may have ended up in some horrible three-way with some predatory locals. I still would've thrown up - but for completely different reasons. Rayburn taught me to always be on guard and to be wary of danger in even the most innocuous situations. And to not drink giant shots of Jaeger that have roofies in them...probably.

Which leads me back to the me being alone in a locker room with some old queen, who may or may not have sexually violent tendencies.

I turn the tables on him and ask him if he is getting ready to work out, and just waiting for him to say yes, so I can tell him to have fun and sprint out of there.

"No, I get it out of the way before work." he replies.

Oh. My. God. He is going to rape me. He's not even here to workout, he's just trolling for victims. At this point, I'm in need of another tip jar. I throw all my shit in my bag and began to slowly walk backwards out of the room.

"Oh. Well, have a good night...NOT RAPING ME!"

And with that, I ran out of the locker room and then the gym, never to return to work out again.

That is the funniest motherfucking thing I've ever read. God I wish I could yak in the guitar douche's tip jar.
I should have shit in the tip cup of the bar across the street from Irish Kevin's. $10 for Bon Jovi and I get American Pie for the 11th time. I had to settle for taking my $10 back out of the tip cup and drawing the rage of the douchebag guitarist for reaching into his livelihood. Hit me, I'll own this fucking bar....
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