Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My friend Hugo is officially - now and henceforth - my bitch.

We came into Bolton, got our food, ate. Hugo went to get ice cream, and as I passed him on my way to look at the desserts, we talked for a moment.

I told Hugo that tempting as the ice cream sandwiches were, I wouldn't get one. You see, they're cold and it's cold outside, and that's a combination I don't care to make. Besides, I was already pretty full.

Hugo wanted to see if the guy would give him a whole box of ice cream sandwiches so he could run back to Boggs and pop 'em in the freezer. I laughed, told him to go for it. Hell, it'd be entertaining either way.

I sit down, start to talk again, and here comes Hugo, panic evident on his face. He's carrying a box of ice cream sandwiches and he's followed - horrors! - by a bearded dining hall manager, grinning ear to ear.

Hugo plunks the box on the table and says quickly (and loudly), "Come on, Phillip! Sixteen sandwiches - that's eight apiece! Whoever finishes them off the quickest wins!"

I look from his face - earnest, desperate - to the manager's (grinning with the expectation of someone else's impending discomfort). Realization dawns.

"Oh you fucker," I burst out.

"Come on," Hugo pleads, "you promised. Eating contest, remember?"

"Y'all are gonna get such awful brain freeze," the manager chuckles. Two of our friends laugh along - they don't know what's going on.

"Oh you fucker - I'm not gonna - oh you fucker - fine."

We divy up the sandwiches and start eating. The ice cream hurts my teeth, but I gulp it down regardless.

"Come on," one of my friends says, "you're just nibbling it. Look, he's got half of one down already. You gotta pick up the pace."

The wife nods. "Have you ever seen eating contests? They just stuff it on down."

The manager nods. "You're losing time. Just rip the whole damn wrapper off and stuff it down."

I choke and imagine Hugo's scabby leprous death. In vain, I try to shove some of my sandwiches off on my wife. My teeth are really hurting now, and my head's starting to hurt too. I keep my eyes fixed on Hugo, staring daggers.

"You're doing it wrong," one of my friends says, "let me take over." She grabs my sandwiches and starts gulping them down. I raise a silent prayer of relief. Then pride takes over.

I can't pussy out, I reason. I started this - I have to finish it. My competitive sense won't let me concede the game once I've started. Losing, sure. Giving up - never.

(I curse my parents for giving me a work ethic)

I grab most of the sandwiches back and go on gulping. I wonder how hard it is for bulimics to purge - could I just throw all of this back up in the bathroom as soon as I'm done?

Finally the manager laughs and goes. I put down the sandwich (resist the compulsion to finish what you started, dude!) and Hugo does likewise.

"Thanks, man. I just had no idea what to do. I got up there and he asked me what I wanted the sandwich for, and I just had to lie." Hugo grins apologetically.

I settle back, burp emphatically, and laugh. "You're my bitch now, you know."

Hugo stows the sandwiches. My belly feels cold and full and sloshy.

"What are you guys doing?" my friend asks, still eating. "We're not done yet!"

[Yeah, yeah, some creative liberties because I can't remember exact events. Names changed to protect the innocent]