ShoreBilly's Swill on ShoreBread

I started the journey back to the party…

The sun slowly and majestically rose out of the Atlantic providing the perfect silhouette of an imbecile staggering down the street with a bag full of children’s toys intended to survive only a few hours, and several bottles of artificial color and electrolytes. I was proud of myself at this point for having the presence of mind to remember to purchase the Gatorades. Because everyone knows, that regardless of how much you drink, as long as you remember to down a bottle of this magical formula originally made from the sweat and urine of alligators, you’ll be fine in the morning.

Yes sir, just a few sips of swamp juice before you go unconscious and none of the ill effects from a night of hard boozing will be there when you wake up in the afternoon. No headache, no cotton mouth, no memory loss, no bloodshot eyes, and no regrets all just because you remembered to hydrate before bed.

Speaking of Gatorade, I’ve always thought that it was a good thing, at least from a marketing standpoint that it was invented at University of Florida, rather than Florida State University. It seems that in most target markets, it would be easier to sell a product named Gatorade, than one named Seminole Fluid. (By the way, that joke is a lot funnier when you say it out loud rather than read it.) Feel free to borrow that one, I know I did.

Sorry, I think I kind of took a detour there for a bit. Anyway, I lumbered down the street and returned to the sight of the over sized bread box on wheels to party. I recall as I approached, that it seemed oddly, almost eerily quiet. I opened the door and walked in to find no one there, much to my surprise. I wasn’t too concerned though. Before I left, some of my friends were entertaining the idea of walking to the beach to watch the sunrise. I just assumed that was where they all had gone. So I walked the two and a half steps it took to traverse the entire width of this dwelling and plopped down in what looked to be a very comfortable chair. I was surprised I hadn’t noticed this piece of furniture earlier as it seemed like something I’d have been inexplicably drawn to. I just assumed that it had been occupied all evening prior to now.

This chair proved to be as comfortable as I had anticipated, and I quickly became one with it. The chair may have at one time been called a La Z Boy, but now it was more like a Coma Stricken Old Man. It was covered in genuine pleather, a shade of brown that was retired sometime in the mid to late sixties. Apparently La-Z-Boy, and Dutch Boy had a huge falling out over who had the rights to this shade of brown, so they just discontinued it all together.

There was a smattering of cross-patterned Duct tape patch work on the upholstery covering decades of battle scars. If the tape were ever accidentally removed, the chair would actually bite unsuspecting victims like a land piranha. As I settled in to this comfy piece of Americana, I immediately noticed it had a perfectly molded butt divot to the exact dimensions of its primary occupant. I surmised that he was a larger man and that he had been riding this nawgahide pony for no less than three decades.

I started thinking about all the things this chair must have seen, heard, felt, and experienced over the years. Then I began to imagine that it could speak, and actually tell these stories. In my head, both the voice, and the dialogue emanating from the chair would be a whining, self pitying, and self loathing diatribe. It would sound like a perfect hybrid of comedian Stephen Wright, science fiction writer Al Gore, and Hundred Acre Woods resident Eeyore.

At this point, I decided to use this apparatus to its fullest potential, and disengage the footrest. This proved to be no easy task. Decade’s worth of use had made the release lever tight to the point that I almost had to kneel on the chair and use both hands. It eventually released with a great jolt catapulting my head back and my feet up. The action on that bar was so difficult that it was in fact a bit of a work out. I envisioned this chair’s owner having a right forearm substantially larger than his left. I assumed that he spent his life having to explain himself to every new person he met who would notice his one normal human appendage and his one Popeye like. The explanation more than likely would start with the words,“it’s not what you think.”

The foot rest release mechanism was so old and weathered that it no longer possessed the intermittent stops along the path from fully closed to fully open. It was now either FREAKIN’ OPEN, or FREAKIN’ CLOSED and it made this transition in such a short period of time that it can only be properly measured by the time clock of an Olympic event swimming pool. If a small child or pet were seated on the floor in front of this chair when the foot rest was disengaged, there’s no doubt in my mind they would be propelled across the room.

So there I was, feet up, head back and very comfortable, completely alone with my thoughts, and bag of treats. At this point, I had a belly full of items that should only be eaten by trained professionals, and never attempted at home by amateurs, and it was time to rehydrate. As I mentioned earlier, I had gotten one of every color of Gatorade they had.

My intent was to surprise my friends with the gifts when I got back, but none of them were here. So I decided to have my own taste test and sample a bit of each color. They weren’t all for me, but screw it, these guys can drink after me when they get back. Nobody made any specific requests or gave me any money, and to the best of my knowledge, I don’t have anything contagious.

I quickly realized that the colors of these beverages, though artificially created as they were, definitely coincided with the flavors, at least for the most part. For example, the orange one tasted as if you were drinking a glass of water that had been poured from a pitcher that recently housed orange juice and was not thoroughly washed. The red one actually, literally tasted like the color red. If you could imagine what the color red would taste like, these guys nailed it. The yellow one tasted like sadness and despair with a hint of sour. The blue one tasted like Smurf piss. The green one tasted like Hulk feet. And there was some sad, underachieving shade of purple that just tasted like water strained through Barney’s socks. So I had completed my experiment, tasted each of them and drawn my conclusions, and subsequently rehydrated. Now the remainder of each bottle I would save for my friends upon their return from the beach.

I’m now comfortable, drunk, full, hydrated, relaxed, and alone so I began to take in my surroundings. I started visually perusing the entire interior of this elongated aluminum sarcophagus. While taking in all of the subtle decorative nuances of this tin shoebox, I noticed that a couple of things just didn’t seem quite right. It seemed as if some things weren’t in the right place, and that others had been moved since earlier in the evening. They were very subtle differences that an untrained eye may not have even noticed at all. Like for example the television was now on the opposite side of the room from where it was when I left to go to the store. In the twelve square feet that constituted the kitchen/dining area, where there was a breakfast bar and stools earlier there was now a table and chairs. The refrigerator that was white earlier was now a mustardy yellow color that looked like it may have at one time resided in the kitchen of either the Bradys, or Partridges. They even had time to install a ceiling fan while I was out.

I was so overwhelmingly impressed with my friends and coworkers with what they had done in such a short time. They all worked together and pulled off possibly the most impressive and elaborate practical joke that I had ever been witness to. Even though it was at my expense, I had to tip my hat to them. The amazing thing about it is that somehow, even in such a small space they managed to find a place for each of them to hide presumably to jump out and yell surprise at just the right time. Which, incidentally seems odd that they hadn’t done yet because I’ve been sitting there for over an hour at this point. This struck me as a little odd. It wasn’t until I noticed the three-tiered gun rack mounted to the wood paneled wall above the artificial fireplace that I started to think something may be wrong…

And that’s a wrap for this week. If you missed the first two parts of this story, please get yourself caught up before the thrilling conclusion next week.
Thanks for playing along.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols.

(By the way, happy birthday to Daddy’s Angel who turns two this week. I love you!)