Thursday, December 9, 2010


On the first weekend of spring break, Brad and I decided to diss the bars for a club.  We got out of the cab at the top of a steep hill where the enormous discotec, The Palladium, was located.   As we walked toward the entrance, we could see all of Acapulco’s lights glimmering below us in through the darkness.  Beyond the side of the driveway was a cliff that descended the entire height of the hill - at least 200 feet.  Brad and I casually made our entrance and headed straight for the bar. We started off with margaritas - rocks and salt.  We both took in the scene as we quickly downed our drinks.  The space of the discotec was massive, much larger than any club I’d ever been to.  Multi-colored lights were rigged upon the ceiling; they made bright circles of red, pink, blue and white on the floor.   Brad and I watched the girls walk toward the dance floor in tight groups.  We joked that the girls were so fine that they could only be described as ugly.  As we finished our first margarita, a guy who looked like he stuffed himself into his pants walked by. 
“I knew you were laughing at that dude with the fat ass in those tight jeans!”  I said.
“I know, man, he needed a shoehorn to get into those!” 
Yo, check out the JLo-wannabe over there in the purple.”
“Not Cute!” we said in unison while mimicking the act of vomiting.
Brad knew that he had to keep a close eye on me, as there was always a danger that after a few drinks I would not only comment on the overly-made up divas, the chumps and the over-dancers, I would likely make them aware of their defect.  As one drink somehow became six or seven, Brad and I wandered about the club, checking things out and debating on whether to hit the dance floor.  It was now well after mid-night, and there were loads of gorgeous girls dancing together in groups, surrounded by lame guys paying them homage.  On the other side of the ridiculously huge club there were tables headed by rich Mexican guys who were buying wine and champagne for their friends. 

Back at the bar, Brad and I found a group of other college students on spring break and hung out with them for a while.  Their group had a decent ratio of girls to guys, so we kicked it with them until it became clear that the meat head factor of this group was a bit too high for our liking.  “Dude, if you don’t do this shot, I’m gonna kick your ass right here!” one of the guys said to the other.  Brad and I gave each other the widened-eye-with-raised-eyebrow-look and rolled out.  Just as I was about to do an impression of the chumps we just met, when I thought I spotted a classmate from Michigan.  I needed to walk right by her to get a good look.  This wasn’t just any classmate.  It was Devi Desai.  I grabbed Brad by the shoulder and said, “Dude, that’s Devi Desai.”
“Go talk to her,” Brad encouraged.
“What’s my opening?”
“Dude, she’s by herself.  Just ask her what’s up.”
“What if she ignores me? She hasn’t said a word to me since Enigmatic Wednesday.”
“Come on, Sash.  You never even called her after that.  And I’m pretty sure you haven’t run into her, right?  Dude, we’re like 5,000 miles from campus.  She’s not gonna pull that shit.”
“O.K., man.  If she shuts me down, you’ll have to wear a speedo tomorrow.”
“Fine, I’ll wear a damn speedo.  I’ll even wear a pink one.  I don’t give a fuck.  You know I’m fine.  Now get your ass over there.”
I had trouble holding back my laughter because I knew he’d actually do it.  I walked back toward Devi, but the angle was challenging since she was on the move.  I decided to cross her path diagonally, and much to my surprise, she tugged at my shirt. 
“Hey, what’s up?  I know you,” Devi said flirtatiously.
“Hey, what’s goin’ on?  I didn’t know you were going to be in Acapulco”
We exchanged the usual niceties and after a few minutes Devi just asked, “So you wanna hang out?”  This was beginning to be a bit surreal.  Every guy I knew had a crush on Devi Desai.   And every guy I knew, knew that I had a huge crush on Devi Desai.   She was coy, elusive, ever-so-subtly flirtatious, but emasculatingly sexy.  Earlier that year, on an ass-cold November day, I was lucky enough to catch Devi on her way out of a class.  
Somehow I was able to convince her to hang out.  Maybe she was just cold.  Devi came over on a cold, lazy Wednesday night.  We sat on the sofa munching on Tostitos chips and salsa, washed down with vodka and tonic.  We watched The Doors.  I made sure not to mouth all the good lines before Val Kilmer said them, as I had a terrible habit of doing. I thought I had everything in line for a legendary hook up, but this was, after all, Devi Desai.  It was actually the most stressful “date” ever, if you could even call it that.  She never broke her poker face, so I had to figure out what she wanted without her really telling me anything meaningful about herself.  It was like being on a date with the Sphinx.  Needless to say, it didn’t go well.  My friends who heard of the Wednesday date bust sympathized with me, both in person and via email.  That evening became forever etched in our shared history as Enigmatic Wednesday.  Devi Desai had now surpassed Simone Rao as the most mysterious-and-yet-insanely-hot-girl on campus.  

It’s a good thing I was drunk, because I was able to answer Devi casually.  
“Hang out? Are sure that's all you wanna do?  No, I'm playing.  Of course I would."
Devi led me by the hand to the dance floor, where we talked a bit over the blaring music.  I held her close.  Her shimmery silver dress was an alluring mixture of materials that felt cool despite the heat of the club.  We danced for a few songs, but Devi appeared to be getting bored.  I knew I wasn’t a great dancer, but I also knew I wasn’t that bad. 
“Do you want some wine?” Devi asked.
“Am I feeling fine?” I asked, unable to hear her over the relentless techno music.
“No! I said do you want some wine!”
“Oh, O.K., sure.  I mean, I’ve had a lot to drink already, but I’m down with some vino.”  I was off-balance already; I didn’t want to get so drunk that I totally fucked myself over. 
One to two glasses, O.K.?  No more.  DO NOT ruin this!
“O.K., rockin,’” she said.
Surprisingly, Devi went up to a table crowded with a group that seemed like regulars at this club.  She talked to one of the guys for a couple minutes, while I chilled in the background.  In a way I was simply resting on my laurels as it was clear Devi and I were together – at least for the next hour.  Devi was chatting it up with such familiarity that it was as if she hung out with this crew at a bar the previous night. But, as I would learn, this wasn’t the case.  Devi was simply accessing her full seductive capability, smiling intriguingly, holding a guy’s hand in hers, pretending to be unaware of how much cleavage she was showing as she leaned over. 
Isn’t that dude with his girlfriend?
The real skill, I concluded was in winning over all the girls at the table.  Oddly, they didn’t see Devi as a threat, nor did they seem offended by Devi flirting with their boyfriends.  This was manipulation that would surely make Kissinger proud.  Regardless, before I knew it, Devi was pouring champagne into a glass for me.  We sat at a small table that had its back to the table of Devi’s patrons.  We finished the champagne, oddly, without sharing any with the partiers that bought it for us.  Then again, they already had a few bottles of wine on their table. At the end of the day, I had absolutely no problem with Devi playing a game with all these other guys as long as she was procuring the wine from them, but drinking it alone with me.  When we’d finished the champagne, Devi took my hand and led me to the next table.
“Wanna see me do it again?”
“O.K. Let’s see what you got.”
Shit! She’s going to get another bottle and I’m going to seem like a total lightweight if I say “No!”
Again, Devi had another bottle of wine in her hand in a matter of minutes.  I was beyond amazed at her talent.  We began drinking this bottle, too, when I became acutely aware that I was suffering from alcohol poisoning.  The enormous space started spinning.  The lights on the ceiling began to alternate from incredibly bright to dim.  The sound of the pulsating techno began to pump my stomach so as to push its contents upward. I cursed myself for being such an idiot. I gave Devi a peck on the cheek and told her I’d be right back. I walked off briskly and as soon as I was out of sight I ran, in crooked lines, to the bathroom.  I puked.  I puked like I’ve never puked before.  I tried to calculate the number of drinks I’d consumed so that I’d know how much water to drink.  But I had completely lost track.  I needed to find Brad to figure out a plan of action. 
Oh, shit! Brad!  Where the hell is he?
I leaned against the sink, as dozens of guys passed in and out.  The air was saturated with conflicting colognes and it did anything but help my churning stomach.  After about ten minutes I started feeling better.  I remained a bit queasy, but rejuvenated.  I had a strong feeling that I just didn’t live up to Devi’s expectations and that she had taken off. To my surprise, she was still at the table.  Now that I had gotten rid of about a liter of alcohol, I could afford to drink some more, I reasoned.  Devi and I drank the next bottle of wine, which was a red.  She, for the first time, seemed to be showing genuine interest, but I still felt like her real goal was to see how many guys she could get to buy her a bottle of wine while their girlfriends sat watching. 
Who cares! I thought. She’s the hottest girl that you’ve ever talked to.
And so I found myself accompanying Devi to two or three more tables and finishing just as many more bottles of wine.  By 3:30
AM Devi had, I’m sure, damaged some relationships, but no less than she damaged my liver.  Anyway, we agreed it was time to go.  I felt myself leaning on Devi so I could walk straight.  I put my arm around her shoulder and she held my hand as it hung at the base of her neck. As it was so late the crowd had thinned considerably.  It only took me a few minutes to see that Brad was no longer there.  Having nothing to lose, I asked Devi to come back with me.   She agreed.
Really?  But I’m totally shit-faced.  I can barely find the exit. Is this going to be another Enigmatic Wednesday? Oh well, I’m not about to argue with her.
By the time we arrived at the hotel, it was so late, and both of us were so tired that we dropped all pretense.  I didn’t even offer her a chair or water, nor did she make any such requests.  We both just slid comfortably into my bed, completely shit-faced.
“Wait.  What happened to your friend? ” Devi asked, slurring slightly.
I looked over and saw that there was a trail of dusty mud on the tile floor that grew heavier as it approached the base of Brad’s bed.  I looked over to the corner of the room and saw Brad’s cream-colored polo shirt in the corner with streaks of blood on it.  Then I saw his forearm, which had a 5in. gash in it, though it looked like the bleeding had been contained.  Nevertheless, the sheet below Brad’s arm was covered in fresh blood.  I jumped out of the bed to examine the wound.  The bleeding had stopped, but the multiple scrapes and cuts on his arm were still disconcerting. 
“Brad!  Dude!”
Brad did not respond.
“Yo, Monkey Style!” I attempted to wake him, but he was totally passed out.
I tried again, shaking him vigorously. “Briz!  Homey!  Dude, you’re bleeding!”
“Well, it’s not actively bleeding.  I don’t know if he got into a fight or what” I said to Devi.
“Does he usually get into fights when he’s really drunk?” 
“No, we get hammered together every single weekend, but he’s never been in a fight as long as I’ve known him.” 
Devi concluded, “I guess we’ll just have to wait for the morning.”
“Yeah…I guess so,” I said, with concern.
I pulled Devi toward me and the moment I felt her chest against mine, I forgot all about Brad.  She was warm and her hair smelled like jasmine flowers.  I kissed her neck gently, and she pulled the back of my hair with a tight fist.  I slid the spaghetti straps of her dress from her shoulders to her upper arm.  I slid my hand between her loosened dress and her perfect breasts.  At that very moment, I passed out.

Around 11
AM, Devi woke me up, asking if I wanted to go running on the beach.
“Are you high?” I joked.
Then seeing the dusty mud on the floor again, I remembered I had to hear Brad’s story.  I threw a pillow at him and asked, “Dude, what the fuck happened to you?” 
“Oh, uhhh, well, I think I left around 3
AM.  I started to walk down the driveway, but then I was like, ‘Man forget this.’  So I decided to climb down.” 
“You what? You scaled the 200ft cliff?”
“Wait. Why?” Devi asked with genuine concern.
“Well, I didn’t really feel like waiting for a cab to come up.  And the driveway down the hill is really long.”
“Your monkey ass is telling me you were too lazy to walk all the way down the driveway? So you  instead scaled a 200ft cliff?  Dude, are you fucking insane?”
“I would’ve taken a cab, but there weren’t any.  What, was I supposed to wait fifteen minutes?
“As opposed to plunging to a meaningless death? Yes!”  I looked over at Devi, who was as incredulous as I was. 
“Well, do you wanna hear what happened, or not?”
“O.K.  Go, go.”
“So it was too much effort to walk down the driveway and there were no cabs.  So, I was like, I can make it down this thing.  I just started climbing down, and then I was like this isn’t so bad.  So then I kept going.  I got tired for a bit but then I was so drunk, I don’t think it mattered.  I just kept going down these rocks.  There were a few bird’s nests in there that I had to toss away for my grip.  Oh, I saw this crazy ass orange lizard!  Anyway, so I’m climbing and I’m getting closer to the bottom.  I start hearing this clapping and whistling.  And then I look down and I see a whole line of taxis and the cabbies are all cheering me on.  So, you know, you can’t stop when you’ve got like fifty people cheering you on.  So I made it all the way down.”
I laughed so hard when I heard Brad’s idiot-of-the-century-story that I almost vomited again. 
“So what about your arm?” Devi and I asked in unison.
“Oh, this?” Brad asked while holding up his forearm with a 5in. gash.  “I don’t know.  I was somewhere along the way when it happened.  I guess I slipped a little.”  
“So, wait, what happened when you got back to the hotel?”
“Oh, yeah!  They were all like, ‘You can’t come in here.  You’re not supposed to be here,’ you know? ‘Cuz I was covered in all this mud and shit.  I had this big ‘ol gash on my arm.  They thought I just came from a brawl ”
“So, what did you do?”
“I got pissed and made them check the computer.  Then they asked for my ID.  So they check, and they’re like, ‘Oh shit. He does have a room here.’  So, they tell me to clean the dirt from my shoes and then they got two big-ass security guards to escort me to the room.”
“Holy shit.  Bradley, that is the single most ridiculously stupid thing I have ever heard anyone do in my entire life.  If I were Buddhist, it would be the single most ridiculously stupid thing I ever heard in thousands of lifetimes.  I am so proud that you are my best friend.”
“Sash, I’m gonna head back to my hotel,” Devi said as she tugged at my sleeve. I think I’m gonna go for a run and filter out all the alcohol.”
“O.K., girl.  Gimme as sec and I’ll walk you down.”
“No worries, sweetie.  I’m a big girl.  I can find my way.”
“When do I get to see you again?”
“Just gimme your number. I’ll call you.” 
Ouch!  I guess she just wanted attention, and I happened to be there.  I guess it’s just not meant to be.  How could I hide my disappointment?
“I feel so cheap!” I said, feigning humiliation.  “What, you think you can pick me up at a club, go to bed with me, then just leave?  I feel so…so…violated!” 
Devi laughed good-naturedly.  She leaned over, placed one hand on my shoulder, and kissed my cheek three times.  Then she rolled out of the bed and rose to her feet.  For the first time I noted how petite she was - no more than 5’1” tall and about 105 lbs. She slid the straps of her dress back over her shoulders, stepped into her stilettos, and pulled her sleek, black hair into a loose pony tail.  She took my hand, gave me a wink, and said, “That was fun.” And then she walked out the door.


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