Cloyd was up as fast as a drunk man can be. He fell out of the booth, staggered, and walked over to the soroity girl. They weren’t that far away, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying because two thick-necked cretins wearing McCain-Palin t-shirts walked in front of my view and started having the loudest conversation about Dave Matthews I’d ever heard.
The two moved a little bit—one of them had encroached upon the Straight Man Bubble of Protection and, by universal frat boy law, they had to rectify this by putting a distance of five feet between them. This, of course, meant that their discussion became louder and they started talking about tits. I like tits as much as the next guy, but I don’t view them as a discussion topic necessary to prove masculinity.
So, as these two beef-necked sub-mentals started arguing about whether Scarlett Johansson or Penelope Cruz had a better rack (my opinion: Johansson, hands-down), I hocked up a loogey and let loose on the one on the left. It flung through the air like a javelin hurled by an Olympian, with a certain amount of grace and form that only comes from years of practice of spitting on football players. It landed on the man-child’s neck and his left arm, spring-loaded, swatted it off his neck. “What the fuck?” he asked, wiping it off on his khaki shorts.
His friend laughed and said, “Dude, you just got spit on. Fuckin baller!”
I took this brief moment to look for Cloyd. He was in the middle of the dining area waltzing—with perfect form and rhythm to some unheard chamber orchestra—with the sorority girl, who looked like she was having the time of her life. (Considering her alternative was to be grinded on by some roofie-wielding Neanderthal, it was probably the best time she’d have all night) I grinned, glad for the kid, and then I jerked upwards by just such a Neanderthal.
“What the fuck, bro?” he asked.
I kept my grin. If I was going to be beaten, I might as well take it with a smile. “Don’t you think referring to the person who just spit on you as ‘bro’ is a bit, ah, strange?”
He answered with a solid punch to my stomach. His friend shouted, “Fight! Fight!”
The cry was answered by the rest of the frat boys in the place, who stampeded over and formed a circle around my booth and my assailant.
“I don’t like smart kids who think they’re smart when they ain’t smart, broseph.”
“Do you really want me to point out the logical fallacy in that, or are you goi—”
He punched me in the stomach again. My reaction in this situation was fairly predictable: I vomited. Had this been during the Presidential election, vomiting over the words “McCain” and “Palin” would have been hilarious political satire.
My assailant, now really having a bad day and realizing that, even if he did save face and beat the crap out of me (and judging by the look of pure rage in his eyes, he fully intended on doing so), he wasn’t getting laid—not even the least self-confident woman with no self-respect would sleep with a guy who got puked on. And so, my new friend simply took off his shirt and then started to land blow after blow on my face.
The human body can take a lot of punishment, but even if you train yourself to accept pain and not fight it, being punched in the face hurts. Around the second hit, when I staggered back into the table behind me, I heard a scream that landed somewhere in between a pig in heat and a seagull. Chet—as I’ll call my assailant—turned around and I saw Cloyd leap through the air as if his legs were springs. “What the—” Chet said, before Cloyd landed on him, sending Chet crashing into his friend.
Cloyd started raining blow after blow on Chet. Where the frat boy clearly had been in a few fights in his time and knew what he was doing, Cloyd simply let loose. No part of the body was hit twice in a row. His torso twisted, his arms flailed around, and, in between screams of rage, I occasionally caught Cloyd saying something like, “I don’t like when people hit my friends and just be meanies! Meanies are mean!”
A couple bouncers—Behemoth and his friend, Behemoth II—shoved their way through the crowd. Behemoth jerked Cloyd off of Chet and held him at arm’s length like a trash bag filled with cat litter. Cloyd, still screaming, punched the air. Behemoth II picked Chet up and pushed him to the other side of the bar. Behemoth turned to me and said, “You and your friend get the fuck out, now.”
My mouth was already swelling, and the blood running from my nose meant that I couldn’t properly form words without swallowing some of it down, but, nonetheless, I tried to say, “I can’t get my friend out of here when you’re carrying him around like a puppy.”
Behemoth, it appeared, did not have a sense of humor. He shoved me out of the bar, into the parking lot, and then threw—actually threw—Cloyd at me. I didn’t have the energy to shout him down for being a fascist, and just lay there on the asphalt with Cloyd panting next to me.