As promised, here’s some more from my Nano novel for those who are interested. I’m writing each chapter from the perspective of a different person (so far they’ve all been frat boys). I’ve also put Robin Hits the Internet on hold because I’m too pressed for time between work and Nano. She may return in December. Also, I have not edited the following writing at all, so please bear with my strange grammar and syntax, and possibly continuity errors. Enjoy!
It’s pronounced Loo-ee. Now that that part’s over, lemme tell you somethin’ about Stewart. Wait, actually, a little bit about me first.
I think I might have spent more nights in the BAT cave than I did in my room. Any chance I got, I was either playin’ foosball, watchin’ TV, and, whenever there was a party goin’ on, beer pong. I played a lot in high-school, and any BAT bro will tell ya that I kicked ass at that shit.
When I first went to the BAT house, I wasn’t even a member. I was there at a party, and someone suggested we play, and I was totally on top of it. We found this old, rickety antique of a table and played with that. We was playin’ with teams, of course, and I had to pull all of the weight ’cause all I had was a chicks on my side, and she hadn’t played before. Even so, we won, ’cause I’m just that good. We waz playin’ against a couple a BAT bros, and they got super pissed when they lost, and they was accusin’ me of cheatin’.
“You fuckers is just jealous of my mad skills!”
“Jealous?” spat one of ’em. He couldn’t take his drink very well, ’cause he was already pretty sloshed. “We could beat your sorry ass any day!”
“Oh yeah? ‘Cause you just lost today.”
“We lost today ’cause you’re a cheating son of a bitch!” called the other one.
I was a freshman in a frat with a buncha older guys who were pissed at me. What was I supposed to do? Well, one thing came to mind. “If I’m cheatin’, come at me, bro. Wanna piece of this? ‘Cause I don’t think you can handle it!” They was pretty drunk; I figured I could take ’em. One of ’em took a swing at me, and I tried to step outta the way, but it turned out I was pretty drunk, too, and I lost my balance. I was in some pretty deep shit, flat on my back with angry, drunk guys above me. The chick was screamin’ somethin’ at us, but I couldn’t really hear over the music and the blood pounding in my head.
The two of ’em woulda had me if not for Stewart. He walked in carrying a towel in his left hand and said, “Is something the matter, Masters?” I had seen the guy walkin’ around fixin’ stuff and cleanin’ stuff up all night, and I had felt kinda sorry for him. He had a tough job. He must’ve been pretty desperate for work.
“This fucker’s been cheating at beer pong!” yelled the first one.
“I see,” replied the butler. “I shall escort him out immediately.” He reached his hand out to me, and grabbed it. I remember being surprised by how easily he pulled me to my feet; he was kinda small and I was kinda big. Then he took a forceful grip on my arm and began to lead me away.
“You better not come back, asshole!” the second BAT bro called after me.
I whipped around. “I’ll come back all right!” I tried to twist my arm out of the butler’s grip, but he was too strong. “For a rematch! Unless you two are pussies, that is.”
“That’s right. A rematch. The two of us versus you!” That prospect did not appeal to me, but I wasn’t about to back down now.
Stewart paused our march to the door, allowing me to finish the conversation. “Friday night at eleven. Here. You’re on!” I saw ’em nod, then I turned to Stewart. “I can find my own way to the door.”
What happened next really creeped me out. He stared directly into my eyes, and I could feel him readin’ my mind like a book. After a really long second, he was done. He let go of my arm. “Of course you can, Mr. Barlow.”
“How do you know my name?”
“I am the Butler of Beta Alpha Tau,” he explained. “It is my business to know the guests of the fraternity.”
I had planned on disappearin’ into the crowd and hangin’ around for a a while, but not after that. I got right outta there, and on my way across campus, I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder a few times.
At this point you should understand that I am really good at beer pong, but what you might not understand is that bein’ good takes more than playin’ well and knowin’ the rules. You gotta be smart about it, too. I was all about the strategy of it, you know? They might not have realized it, but the game had already begun.
‘Know thine enemy,’ I had heard them say. Luckily, I already knew my enemies in this case: Zach and Ralph, a couple of sophomores with drinkin’ problems. I had picked Friday night on purpose. Guys like Zach and Ralph, they wasn’t gonna be sober at eleven o’clock on a Friday. Even though I would normally have been just as tanked as anyone else, that night I had a game to play.
That night, I showed up at the BAT house tipsy, and pretty confident, even though I was gonna play against two guys. I’m was the best beer pong player I knew at the time, though that was about to change.
Unbeknownst to me, word of our game had gotten around, and a bunch of people had gathered around that same old table to watch. When I arrived, there was a bunch of applause from everybody like I was some sort of superstar. I loved it. Heck, this was the first time I’d ever gotten much recognition for my talent. I really hammed it up, doin’ poses and shit for the crowed. Zach and Ralph were tryin’ to put together some sorta act, but they only looked stupid doin’ it. Nah. The crowd was on my side.
What surprised me was that they had convinced the butler to referee the game. When thy told me that I half expected to see him in one of those black and white get-ups, but that’s ’cause I didn’t know Stewart very well then. He wore what appeared to be the same suit I had seen him in before. I hoped that he cleaned it now and then.
Accordin’ to plan, Zach and Ralph had become very drunk before the game, and as Stewart set up the cups and filled them, they even drank a few. With the two of them so trashed already, and with the crowd on my side, the game was pretty much mine from the beginnin’. From the first throw, I had it in the bag. Ralph and I threw at the same time to decide who goes first. My ball soared to the other side of the table and landed in a cup, nothin’ but beer. Ralph threw his as hard as he could at my cups, which is always a mistake. The ball swerved to the left half-way across the table and bounced off some chick’s cleavage.
“Mr. Barlow goes first,” announced Stewart to the crowd, but most people were too busy laughing about Ralph’s throw to hear him.
I had heard him, so I took my first shot. Things went pretty well at first. I won the first few rounds without drinking anything. Neither Zach nor Ralph was very good at beer pong, even when they was sober, but now that they was drunk, they couldn’t make a single shot. Part of their problem was that they wouldn’t stop makin’ each other laugh when they was about to throw. But on the fifth round, Zach got lucky. I think maybe Ralph’s joke about flamingos havin’ a diet of barbies and my little ponies actually helped, ’cause Zach threw the ball in the completely wrong direction, but he threw it so hard that it veered back and fell into one of my cups. When it did, everybody cheered. So much for havin’ the audience on my team. Somethin’ about Zach makin’ that one shot must’ve given the other guy a second wind, ’cause Ralph made his shot as well.
“Masters O’Neill and McCluskey, having both successfully made their shots, gain an extra round of throws,” called Stewart.
I was no pussy. I had played beer pong enough to know how to drink. I downed the two cups quickly enough, but I was startin’ to get a bit worried. Without a teammate, I was never gonna get an extra round for myself, and if these guys kept this up, I had no one to split the drinks with, either. Somehow, Zach made his next shot as well, to the delight of the crowd, and I had to drink again. I could feel the three cups of beer settlin’ in my belly and having a discussion. I didn’t like what they was talkin’ about; I still had a game to win. I crossed my fingers as Ralph threw the next ball, and it paid off. It bounced off the edge of one of my cups and onto the floor of the BAT cave.
“Your turn, Mr. Barlow,” Stewart said. “Make it count.”
Somethin’ about the guy unnerved me. I missed my next shot, it was probably ’cause of the damn butler’s creepy-ass voice in my head. I was still up by a couple cups, though–they had drunk five, and I had drunk three. Then it was their turn again, and Zach and Ralph both made their shots again. There went my lead.
“Yet another round for Masters O’Neill and McCluskey,” announced Stewart.
The two of them were makin’ total idiots of themselves now on the other side of the table, dancin’ and singin’ impromptu songs about how much I sucked to the tune of Eye of the Tiger. “Still think we can’t handle ya?” called Zach, grabbin’ a ball and holding it up to his eye. “Well watch this!” He blew on the ball like it was a set of dice, or a gun he had just fired, then threw it.
It flew through the air and hit me in the chest. I caught it before it hit the ground. “
Is that all ya got?”
“Naw!” yelled Ralph from across the table. He threw his own ball, and he missed, too.
This was a huge relief. I didn’t know how many cups of beer I could stomach in a row. Before Stewart could say somethin’ to throw off my zen, I grabbed a ball and threw it. I got it in off the backboard of the cup, and Ralph drank it. There. I was one cup ahead again. Still, they got two throws for every one of mine, sometimes more. Things weren’t lookin’ good.
It was their turn again, and, to my dismay, Zach made another successful shot into a cup directly in front of me. “I think the question is, bro, can you handle us?” He made some pretty crazy humpin’ motions in my direction.
I steeled myself to drink, but I had to wait for Ralph’s throw. He held the ball between his thumb and pointer finger, lining up his shot. It landed in the same cup as Zach’s throw. Everyone around the table erupted into cheers, including me. I was jumpin’ up and down, wavin’ my hat around. I didn’t care.
“Two balls in the same cup. The game is over,” declared Stewart. “Mr. Barlow wins!”
I basked in the attention as everybody came up to me to give me high fives, slap me on the back. One guy I didn’t even know thanked me for teachin’ the two BAT bros a lesson. The excitement didn’t last long, though, ’cause apparently some chick had shat on the floor of the bathroom, and people was more interested in that than in a beer pong that was already over.
“Congratulations, Mr. Barlow.” Stewart had come up behind me.
“Uh, thanks, Stew.”
“I really would prefer for you to call me Stewart, Mr. Barlow.”
“Right. Stewart. You ever play?” I gestured to the table, which still had a bunch of full cups on it.
“No, sir. I’m afraid the game was not popular during my time.”
I picked a ball up off the floor and handed it to him. “Come on. Give it a shot.”
He glanced around first to see that no one was watching, then took the ball and threw it. It landed perfectly in one of the remaining cups. He then proceed to pull more and more ping pong balls out of his pocket, throwing each until he had gotten one into each of the remaining cups. He hadn’t missed once. “A rather easy game, is it not?”
My jaw dropped. “You wanna play a game?”
“No thank-you, Mr. Barlow. I’m afraid I am needed in the second floor bathroom.”