I went to high school with Sandra Perlmann. She was one of those people who had it all. She was hot, popular, and managed to get good enough grades, but she was a total bitch.
One time at a party, there was this girl who was there through a friend of a friend or something like that. She wasn’t the type to be there at all. I’m sure she had debated about whether or not to come right up until the last moment, finally just deciding to go just to see what it was like.
For some reason, Sandra picked her out as the target of her latest pointless cruelty.
“Oh my God,” she shouted after engaging the girl in conversation for about a minute, “You’re a drug addict?”
First of all, this was obviously untrue. Second of all, it was a completely random thing to say, and third of all nobody even cared. Hell, quite a few people at the party were easily on their way to drug addiction themselves. We went to a pretty rich school, it wasn’t uncommon for people to do blow at parties.
But none of that mattered to the poor girl, of course. She had come hoping to just blend in and try to have a good time, but instead Sandra had picked her out and shamed her in front of everyone. She ran out of the party crying.
I didn’t say anything, of course. I never did. I was good-looking enough and had decent enough social skills that I was never a target. Why rock the boat?
Since graduation, Sandra has moved to New York, become the editor of a fashion magazine, and gotten engaged to a successful lawyer.
One day I was sitting in a bar after work. A group of three very loud women were in the corner, apparently celebrating the fact that one of them had gotten pregnant. Although, of course, it the other two were doing most the celebrating. The proud mother-to-be just sat quietly, smiling, drinking a coke. Suddenly, she lurched out of her chair, her face a mask of panic. She tried to open her mouth to speak, but it was stuck shut.
“Oh my God!” one of the other women shouted, “Someone put rubber cement in her drink!”
Something snapped inside me. I don’t know if I was drunk off of the half a beer I’d had, or if I’d just had a really bad day at work. All I knew was, I was sick of assholes. I’d been sitting quietly for too long, letting them get away with their bullshit, but I wasn’t going to let them get away with it this time.
“Who the hell did that?” I shouted.
An old man sitting next to me pointed towards the door. I caught a glimpse of a very large man walking out with a woman on his arm.
“Why didn’t you do anything?” I growled at him.
He just glared at me.
Tossing some money on the counter, ran towards the door and stepped outside. “Hey!” I called after the hulking mass, “You’re an asshole.”
He stopped, turned around and looked at me. “What’d you say to me?”
My body immediately told me to run, I’d just made a terrible mistake.
“You the one put rubber cement in that pregnant woman’s drink? You’re an asshole.”
He slowly walked up to me and stood just inches away. We’d have been face-to-face if he wasn’t two inches taller than me. My heart was pounding out of my chest, my mouth was dry but my skin was wetter than it’d ever been. I knew what I was doing was stupid, but I was fed up. I wasn’t going to run, I wasn’t going to let them win this time.
“I’m not gonna hit you,” I said, “I weigh a hundred and forty pounds. But go ahead and hit me if it’ll make you feel better.”
I was on the ground with the first punch.
I stood back up and grinned. That’s about all I remember until the emergency room.
Two days later I walked into work, my face a mass of swollen bruises and my teeth loose.
My boss took one look at me and asked, “What the hell happened to you?”
“Some guy put rubber cement in a pregnant lady’s drink. I called him an asshole, he did this to me.”
“Jesus Christ,” he said, shaking his head, “I expected better of you. Go home, take some time off.”
“I didn’t hit him,” I said, “I’m not stupid.”
“Go home,” he said, still shaking his head.
“I didn’t hit him,” I repeated. “I’m not violent. I’ve never even been in a fight before.”
“Go home,” he said.
I turned around and headed out the door.
Did he think I was less of a man for not fighting back? Did he even believe me? I didn’t know. Was he going to fire me? I didn’t know that, either, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. They say the meek will inherit the Earth, but it seems to me like God’s helping out the assholes.
“Well I was walkin’ home from Willie P.’s one night after knockin’ back a few sixpacks of his homebrew, so make no mistake, I was pretty sloshed. Walkin’ next to Old Man J.’s field, all of a sudden I see the field erupt into flames, and I was thinkin’ maybe Willie slipped a little of the ol’ Lucy D. in there (he’s known to do it, the joker).
“But no, this was the real deal. Stepping up to the flames I could feel them singin’ off my arm hairs. I walked over to the pit and who should jump out but the damned old Devil himself. A bit shorter than I’d imagined, he came about up to my knee.
“‘Make a wish!’ he cried, with a voice like rocks scraping against rocks.
“‘No sir,’ I said, ‘I know how this works, I make a wish and you take my soul. No thanks!’
“‘It’s not like that,’ he said, ‘If you want, you can just do me a favor instead. 24 hours after the wish if the favor’s not done, I’ll take your soul! Now, WISH!’
“‘Well alright,’ I said, and my drunken mind went the only place it could, ‘I wish I had another beer!’
“POOF! All the flames were gone and didn’t even leave a scorch mark. In my hand I held a nice cool Natural Light, maybe the greatest beer on God’s Green Earth.
“In my head, I hear the voice of that damn Devil, and he’s sayin’ ‘In return, you gotta steal somethin’!’ I don’t think much about it though, so I head on home.
“Next day I’m having my traditional day-after-visitin’-Willie hangover breakfast at Waffle House, when I suddenly remember my promise. At this point I’m still half-convinced it’s the onset of the ol’ Delirium Tremens, but just to be safe I stick the fork in my pocket and walk out.
“When I get back to the field, sure enough, flames shoot up, the ground cracks open and out jumps the devil. I toss the fork at his feet, casually, like I’m a movie gangster.
“‘Not quite what I was expecting,’ he growled, ‘But it’ll do. Now, your next wish!’
“‘Well, my car’s a bit shot. How ’bout a nice new Ferrari?’
“‘Consider it done!’ shouted the Devil, and sure enough, when I turned around there was a shiny new car with the keys in the ignition.
“‘This time,’ the Devil grinned, ‘You gotta kill somethin’.’
“I looked down, thinkin’ it over. I started pacing around and I accidentally stepped on a fresh little dandelion, and as you can imagine that made me feel right awful.
“But the Devil was even more upset than me. ‘When I said “Kill Somethin'” I didn’t mean a flower!’ he shouted, grimacing, ‘Bah. You won’t fool me next time! Now, your final wish!’
“‘Well, the car’s nice,’ I said, ‘But what’s a good car without a nice garage to park it in? I wish for a brand new mansion!’
“‘Done!’ shouted the devil, ‘Now, as payment for this, you gotta kill somebody.‘”
“Oh my God,” she said, staring at the storyteller with wide-eyed wonder. “What’d you do then?”
He took a long, slow sip of his beer. “I’m not proud to tell you this, but I thought about that long and hard, and I came to a decision.
“‘Nah, not gonna happen,’ I said, and kicked that bastard right back down the hole and went home to my nice new mansion.”
Humanity had its first official contact with extraterrestrials in the mid 21st century. Apparently, they had been monitoring our television broadcasts for decades, watching our culture and waiting for us to show that we had something worth contributing to the intergalactic community.
What finally got them was a certain beer ad created in the late 20th century. They had been interested in the invention of beer for quite some time, it being apparently unique in the galaxy, but it wasn’t until they saw this commercial that they really felt they had to try it.
Unfortunately, when they got here they landed in St. Louis. Sorely disappointed at the quality of the beverage they found, they destroyed the city and were just about ready to blow up the entire planet as well, until a small group of alien exiles who’d been living in Germany radioed them and told them to give beer a second chance.
The expeditionary force headed over to Berlin, was greatly overjoyed at what they found and proceeded to get completely trashed. Humanity will never forget the events of that infamous night, the so-called Überverrücktefremdebetrunknenberlinernacht.
The next day the aliens met with the UN, bringing premium alcoholic beverages from across the galaxy. Pretty soon all the delegates were wearing lampshades on their heads and the treaty had been signed that made Earth a member of the Galactic Federation. The rest, as they say, is history.
Though I’m pretty sure they just say that because everyone was too drunk to remember what happened.