Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wow, that sermon pretty much sucked, the Lutheran minister thought as he stepped down from the lectern. If I had to do my life over I’d be a truck driver. It’s a lot harder to screw up being a truck driver.
The preacher hobbled down a few steps, walked into a back room, and poured himself a tall glass of sacramental wine. He didn’t want to remember the rest of the evening.
The minister wasn’t only one in the church that felt that way.
After they had given their obligatory hugs, goodbyes, and condolences, six of the members of The Ghetto packed into a van and the other five called a cab. They decided that they were going to their deceased friend Chad’s favorite pub: O’Donovan’s.
O’Donovan’s is an Irish pub. Around the perimeter there are several dark wooden tables and chairs. There are dart boards and two pool tables in the back that seldom get any use.
The group arrived at the bar in their black suits; most of their eyes were still blood shot from funeral tears. They sat down underneath the dart boards, ordered a beer, took off their jackets and ties, and relived their favorite Chad moments.
While they fondling talked about the time Chad streaked across the field during a high school football game, Erik Jaster, or as he was known in The Ghetto, Jabber, stayed completely silent as tears poured onto his beat red cheeks. His offensive lineman sized body shook. He couldn’t take any more. Jabber snuck out of the bar and continued to sob in the men’s restroom. He later called his dad to pick him up at the bar.
Joey nursed his first beer and munched on shelled peanuts, knowing that he would need to drive home that night. Everyone else ordered their second round. Xander ordered a beer for himself and two shots of Jaggermeister for everyone at the table.
Xander loved getting shit faced at the bar, almost as much as he loved helping others reach a state of blackout drunkenness with him.
In high school, Xander was the smart kid that everyone would pick on. He swung his baseball bat like a girl, was a member of the math team, and ran with an awkward hitch his friends called his girly stride.
He hated high school.
Back then his name was Alex.
After he graduated from high school he knew he needed a change, so he decided to re-brand himself. The day before college, he bought new clothes, got contact lenses, and made a trip to the county courthouse and legally changed his name from Alexander to Xander. Since this change, Xander graduated from business school in three years, landed a job as a financial analyst where his starting salary started at over a hundred grand a year, and became engaged to a beautiful girl who was a finalist on the NBC show, The Apprentice.
The transformation was complete. He was no longer Alex. He was The Xander.
Everyone took the two shots of jag except Joey. He gave one of his shots to Xander and the other to Steve. The alcohol was starting to collectively ease the group’s pain and their conversation shifted to the topic that always came up after jag shots: Time travel.
“If time travel was possible, do you think Chad could go to his own funeral?” Xander posed to the table.
“You can’t travel through time! End of story. I’m sick of arguing about this,” Dan, another member of The Ghetto said knowing full well that he was going to have to defend his position that time travel is not impossible for the next hour or two.
Dan was the only one in the Ghetto that hadn’t been part of the league since junior high. None of the other guys could remember when they met their first member of The Ghetto.
Of course, no one else met quite like Joey and Dan.