Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Ahhh Old Orchard Beach. Maine's answer to Cape Cod and the Jersey Shore. Except instead of uptight dudes with Boston Red Sox hats or orange Furby lookalikes running amok, you have middle aged parents escaping from their children to relive their golden years. The years when they could actually breathe and live a little.
But they're not alone. A warning about Old Orchard Beach: When the sun sets, be extremely cautious about what you say when interacting with anyone you don't know. I'm not saying that OOB is dangerous because it most certainly is not. I've lived within 30 minutes of this place for almost 6 years and have met a lot of great people in the area. But after the bars close, it can easily become a disgusting cesspool of the worst assholes the world has to offer.
Southern Maine gets a lot of tourism in the Summer. Russian parents send their children over to work the amusement park rides, French-Canadians vacation by car and then bicycle all over the area because they're afraid of airplanes and motorcycles (I assume), Vermonters are--well--sick of Vermont, and the swamp monsters from the northern outskirts of Maine put on disguises and come out of their natural habitats to see what the humans are up to.
[I've never been that far up north ... but I've heard stories]
And the one thing that all of these groups have in common? Everyone's looking to boink.
This means that the moment the bars close at the tender time of 1:00AM, the males go into a last-minute hunting mode. They've been unsuccessful in the clubs and bars all night, so they take their frustration to the streets. Hell, the only reason they wasted time at a club in the first place was to find someone to dry hump all night in hopes of taking them home to subtract the dry part.
Let me familiarize the mapping of late night OOB for you. It's a bunch of places to get drunk that surround a ton of greasy late night food places. Palace Playland is closed, because if it were still open, these goobers would be too busy playing skeeball and puking on the Galaxy Coaster to ever disperse. All of these establishments lead to the final yet most important ingredient to this catastrophic concoction: The Pier.
The Pier is the biggest club in the area, but when I say biggest club in the area, I mean it's Maine trying to be relevant as a club scene. Sadly, it ends up in a different category. The category of "Overpriced tourist traps that are only popular because they overlook a beach". A funny fact about places in Maine--If there's a cover charge, odds are the joint either A) Isn't worth the money and time it takes to actually step foot inside, or B) There's a band playing that's decent but will never hit the big time. The Pier falls under category A.
When the clock strikes 1AM, these bars let loose their demons into the night. Each bar has a different cast of intoxicated characters--and when they mix--it is highly unpredictable.
On this particular night, if there was an emergency, we had one of the best groups you could possibly assemble. Let's go through this story's cast of characters.
Nice dude but can hold his own. Sometimes says things that make you question your own sanity. He's now my roommate. This being said, I can confirm that jumping from our 3rd story window has crossed my mind.
Toast's older brother. Imagine Toast but a lot more logical yet volatile. When contents aren't shook, he can be a blast to be around.
Don't let his name fool you, he's a lot more solid than bread. Speaks his mind, but can understand when there's a dangerous situation looming and can play Daddy. Doesn't hurt that he does mixed martial arts.
Also trained in MMA. One of the nicest kids you'll meet. Although his smile isn't intimidating, he finds enjoyment in taking people larger than him to the ground--and can do it with ease. Luckily he has his girlfriend with him to keep him in check.
A good friend of ours who was visiting from Worcester, MA. This was a rare appearance for him, but he still found a way to make it into this particular story.
Then there was Chevrolet & I. Two wise asses who involuntarily stumble into trouble. We speak our minds and sometimes people don't like to hear it. Drunken Chevrolet a lot more so than me, but you'll learn that later.
This night seemed like it was going to be a drama-less night. Meet up at Toast and BigToast's house to pregame, take cabs over to Old Orchard Beach, walk to Hooligan's Landing for cheap beer, stay away from cougar hunting at the Brunswick, and then see where the night takes us. Everything was looking peachy.
We arrived at Hooligan's Landing relatively late, but had no problem making the best of it. Despite it being more packed than fudge, there was live music and good folk to keep us entertained. That was until the group realized that we were the youngest faces out of the whole bunch and that there were more attractive females to conquer elsewhere. So we ended up splitting into two groups. Most of the guys wanted to head over to The Pier for girl-scouting so BeerSkin, his girlfriend, and I went roaming the streets to locate a new spot.
We ended up at a small, shifty dive bar that had the population of 2 town folk in it and a total of 7 teeth between the both of them. So we did what we do best: Turn a despicable environment into a pleasant one. We ordered beers and began brainstorming ideas that would make this shit-covered popsicle actually edible. Pool table, television, arcade, drink deals, low-priced appetizers and wings. Every imbecile with an open mouth thinks they can run a bar when they're drunk. We were those imbeciles. Then the owner walked over. He didn't help his bar's case at all. He was the poster child for why this place deserved a proper burial. His lack of motivation for his own bar was the clearest example that he knew his bar was a crapsicle and that we should turn away--so we finished our beers and obliged.
It was around 12:30AM at this point, so we reluctantly decided to meet up with the rest of the group at The Pier. I couldn't believe how long the line to get in was. This wasn't my first rodeo here, so I knew what I was actually waiting for. I was waiting in a line of stragglers much like myself to pay a cover for a less than 15 minute indulgence in a packed club that has more sweaty dudes than girls and--odds are--I'm going to have to squeeze through a bunch of them to locate the overpriced light beer.
My excitement was at an all-time low. Then the bouncer announced that the cover has been raised due to capacity issues. Really? I now have to pay even more money for less than what I would have gotten by just arriving earlier?
That would have been the straw that broke the camel's back, but when the clock is inching towards last call and you have no time to make it to another bar, you learn how to suck it up.
I spent my time in line talking with a tipsy yet unintentionally funny French Canadian. I can't remember exactly what he mustered to say but I do recall him consistently asking about "de gurls" at The Pier. I stuck a "sacré bleu" in my response just because I'm extremely uncultured. I don't believe we spoke again after that.
The line shortened and we finally made it. We had time for one beer so that became the immediate priority. The bouncer pried the money from our hands and we headed in.
Then we reached the second line. The one at the bar. We once again had to stand behind an outlandishly ridiculous number of collared shirts; some of which were sadly popped. Luckily, some of our fallen soldiers were stuck in this commotion as well. We jumped ahead with them, grabbed a $5 Bud Light and $10+ shot, and went to the balcony overlooking the beach.
... In this moment, The Pier wasn't so bad. Staring off into the waves as they crash into the darkened sands. The moon shimmering off the ripples of the ocean. A cold, tasteless light beer in one hand and a shot glass filled with something that will undoubtedly burn because BigToast suggested it. A splendid moment.
Alright, that last paragraph came off way too poetic. But I had a long night, dammit! I had every right in the world to be a softy--but we were far from done. In fact, our debacles hadn't even begun.
The bars declared closing time so we finished off whatever we had that was ingestible and stumbled out into the night along with the horny herds of Old Orchard Beach tourists.
But we were seasoned veterans to this region. We knew it was greasy food time. And I had a craving for french fries like you wouldn't believe.
I looked into my wallet. No dough.
The greediness of The Pier had squeezed me dry for every last dime I had. The establishment with the fries I desired only took cash. Woe was me.
I had to divert my attention before I lost my mind over those salty delights. So greasy food time transformed into a stereotypical white boy circle.
When BeerSkin, Toast, and I drink, sometimes we convince ourselves that we're the second coming of Run-DMC. Toast started beat-boxing. I added a few catlike noises. Then BeerSkin laid down the mayonnaise.
Here's an example from another night so you can get a good idea of what this delightful travesty sounded like:
Then a stranger-danger Caucasian male joined in. Somehow we must have forgotten that we were still in the whitest state in America and were going to attract all sorts of wannabe Eminems.
Don't believe that Maine is the whitest state? This is via ABC News:
"Maine tops the nation with 96.9 percent of its population described as white, while 96.7 percent of Vermont and 96 percent of New Hampshire are white, according to the census."
That's a losing statistic in my book. I can't believe Maine is whiter than Vermont. I also can't believe I just typed 'Whitest State in America' into a Google search bar. Anyways ...
This guy was terrible, but he was having so much fun that we couldn't stop him. It sounded more like monotone grumbling than anything mildly comprehensible. I'm not saying we're anywhere close to good, but this guy made us sound like the Beastie Boys. [RIP MCA]
BeerSkin, Toast, and I then shared a moment of realization. There was a very good possibility that we looked as ridiculous as this guy; especially now through association.
We quickly decided that our fun must come to an end and broke up the band. We started to walk away from this cluster of horny goats so that we could more easily wave down a taxi.
We were about 100 yards away from the center of Old Orchard Beach when suddenly I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around and spotted a wild cougar pouncing towards me. She was trying to catch up.
The best part--she was waving around a giant bucket of french fries! My optimistic yet sloshed mind went with "Hey! Some random woman wants my body! And she's going to feed me! What a doll!" It's like the Gods answered my prayers and sent this experienced angel to deliver to me what my drunken body truly desired. She's not of ripe age, but a man's got to do what a man's got to do in order to get his hands on that golden crispness. And I'm not talking about the overly tanned cougar's leathery skin.
She grew closer. Alright, she's not nearly as decent looking as she was when we had a football field between us. This was no Cougar. This was a certified Mountain Lion tipping the age-scale close to Saber Tooth Tiger. And I realized something--she didn't look happy.
Then the screaming began.
WildMountainLion: "Who the fuck do you think you are?! You have some kind of nerve saying that to us!"
Eddie: "Um, saying what? Is there a problem?"
WildMountainLion: "You know exactly what I'm talking about you little shit! I should beat your ass right here!"
Eddie: "Alright, calm down lady. I don't even know who you are. How could I have ever said something to you?"
Here's a tip when trying to calm someone down. NEVER actually tell the person to 'calm down'.
WildMountainLion: "You walked by us back there and said 'It smells like whores around here'!"
I seriously don't recall ever saying this statement. I mean, it's certainly something I would say to get a laugh out of my equally immature friends. I'm not denying that fact, but I would have never walked up to a group of strange mountain lions and said they smelled like whores--even though that's exactly what Old Orchard Beach smells like.
As I continued to fail at calming WildMountainLion down, the rest of the group took notice. BigToast was the first one over.
BigToast: "Listen , we don't want any trouble. This must have been a misunderstanding."
Now that's being the voice of reason. Sadly, BigToast wasn't the only one she heard. In fact, I guarantee she wasn't even listening to him, because behind BigToast was Chevrolet.
Chevrolet: "Who the hell are you, old lady? Get the fuck out of here!"
Oh dear, this is taking a turn for the worst. Chevrolet gave her exactly what she wanted--Something to actually bitch about. She took all of her anger that was being wasted on me and threw it in the direction of Chevrolet. Someone in our group told everyone to keep walking so that we could avoid this situation. WildMountainLion and her group continued keep pace with us. There's actually a video of this whole ordeal online:
We needed a savior. Who in our group could possibly calm this lunatic down so that we didn't end up in a heated brawl with a gang of old cats who were each missing 7 of their 9 lives. Enter: Toast. With the most sincere of voices ...
Toast: "Don't be mad at my friend for calling you a whore just because you are one."
... Didn't help--At all. WildMountainLion devolved into RabidMountainLion. Her nonsensical yelling toward Chevrolet grew ferociously as her group stood behind her. But Chevrolet still had one card in his pocket. The card that most males refuse to use due to the drastic consequences that follow.
Chevrolet: "You know, I don't usually use this word but fuck it. YOU'RE A CUNT!"
This is the part where everyone prepares for the worst. We were in for the long haul with this one, boys.
No matter what a woman's level of insanity is at, you always refrain from using that word. Because that simple yet powerful four letter word can be the difference between a misunderstanding and a night in the pokey.
RabidMountainLion lost it and went for a more physical offense. The only weapon she had at her disposal was that delicious bucket of fries in her hand. She took that bucket, turned it sideways, and hit Chevrolet as hard as she could with it. Every greasy, ketchup soaked fry flew out onto Chevrolet's face and clothes. I no longer cared about the drama. In my mind, this situation was now a mourning of those golden beauties.
Chevrolet: "These fries smell like your vag! They're greasy like it too!"
RabidMountainLion "FUCK YOU! I'm going to get my husband to kick your ass!"
Pozzo was doing his best to calm everyone down, but would show quick glimpses of bipolar disorder every time he opened his mouth.
Pozzo: "Everyone, we have to calm down--BUT FUCK YOU, YOU'RE CRAZY!--We can't let this situation get out of hand--AND FUCK YOUR HUSBAND! WHERE IS HE? I'LL FIGHT HIM!"
A male who we assumed was the husband looked like he was about to step out of RabidMountainLion's shadows. BigToast walked over to him and gave a very stern look to the gentleman.
BigToast: "Listen buddy, look at that man over there."
BigToast pointed at WonderBread who was now dragging Chevrolet away in a full nelson.
BigToast: "You don't want to fuck with him. And I guarantee that you certainly don't want to fuck with me."
That poor husband came to his senses real quick. He made the smartest decision of his life by stepping away from a situation that could have gotten a lot worse than it already was. Chevrolet was still screaming while WonderBread had him locked.
Chevrolet: "Dammit, I just bought this shirt today at the GoodWill! You owe me a new shirt!"
At that point, we looked like a group of guys being stalked by a few slabs of poorly cut leather. Innocent bystanders took notice. A cop pulled up and rolled down his window.
Cop: "What seems to be the problem?"
This is the first and only time in my life that I've actually been relieved to see a cop. To the untrained eye, we would most likely be considered at fault because we're 'young & stupid kids', but Chevrolet had the greasy red evidence all over his shirt which proves we were assaulted.
BigToast: "No, we're fine."
Cop: "Okay, have a good night."
I've never seen an officer so not interested in helping. He literally drove up to our traveling mini riot, asked one question, and drove away. We were on our own again.
Luckily, we reached her motel and she realized she was too pooped to continue berating us. RabidMountainLion stood in front of her motel and continued yelling wasted profanities at us while we just continued on with our lives.
This is the best advice I can give you if you're ever attacked by a wild mountain lion. Tire her out. Because--odds are--her stamina won't be remotely close to yours. Plus, sooner or later she's going to come to the conclusion that she'd rather be watching daytime soap operas and Judge Judy than be dealing with your young shenanigans.
We got far enough where we didn't have to listen to her terrible screechy voice. We found a cab and most of our group jumped in while BigToast, Pozzo, and I walked down another street in search of a ride as well.
Then--I saw it. Another bucket of french fries that was abandoned on the side of the road like an old dog. This was no mirage. It was calling me.
Fries: "Edddddieeee ..... Edddddiiiieeee ..... Eaaaaaattt meeeeee ....."
My hunger took over. I stumbled over to the abandoned bucket like I was a homeless person who hadn't eaten in days. I was going to eat those nasty leftovers. Thankfully, I had friends with me.
BigToast: "What the hell are you doing?"
Eddie: "Who just leaves a bucket of fries on the side of the road? I'm going to eat these."
BigToast: "No, you're not. That's disgusting. You don't know where those have been."
Eddie: "They were in someone's possession and now they're here. It's not like someone placed their bucket down and peed all over the fries so no one could have them. That's not logical. It's hobo food. Some genuine person just couldn't finish them and left them for someone who was hungrier--like me."
BigToast: "I can't let you touch those."
Eddie: "C'mon, just one fry."
BigToast: "You leave me no choice."
We both made a dash for the bucket. BigToast beat me to it and kicked it so it landed upside down. Once again, fries were wasted upon the pavement of Old Orchard Beach. Reality set in--I was a thirsty traveler stuck in the desert. I finally found my water only to have it taken away from me. On that eventful night, fries were not happening. I bitched a little bit, but deep down I knew that it was for the best.
We finally waved down a taxi and jumped in. We told the cabdriver of our adventures. Of course, he didn't give 2 shits. We had to be optimists though. We endured a mountain lion attack and lived to tell the tale.
We left Old Orchard Beach--as survivors.