I was two Manhattans deep as I finally got up the courage to tell my now former boss that I had to get going. He had scheduled “Drinks with John at 3:00 p.m.” the day I told him I was putting in my two weeks at the office. If I’m being honest, I didn’t even want to go. The invite to head upstairs felt like a play to keep me miserable and inside the office building as long as humanly possible. I was ready to go home by noon that day, having cleaned out my desk and using my free time to text friends the wave emoji and “where are we sending tonight?”
My boss had invited every single person in our shared office space, and when twenty people trickled into the bar upstairs I was a little surprised and overwhelmed. I told every single person the same thing as I looked for any opportunity to weasel my way out of there. “It was fantastic working with you. If you ever need anything please don’t hesitate to call me.” Bullshit, of course, but a necessary thing to say in moments like this. I got out of there at 4:30 with a nice buzz and a stomach full of appetizers.
Every group of friends has that kid in the group who is a bit of mystery. You’re not really sure what he does for work, but he always has the hookup when it comes to free drinks and even food sometimes. On this night, he had somehow gotten a table for free at a pricey club downtown with free vodka for two hours. The population of this bar is comprised entirely of twenty-somethings with way too much money and free time on their hands. But even a peon like myself can put a façade on and mingle with the 1% if you tell me I get to drink free vodka for a couple of hours.
Did I want to meet up with Julie? Not really. I was more interested in getting hammered drunk with my friends and hitting on girls who make two times more than I do. Alcohol is a fickle bitch, though.
It brings people who you otherwise wouldn’t think about come to the forefront of your brain. Are you surprised that at midnight I texted her? You shouldn’t be. She was more than willing to come meet me at the bar where we still had over an hour left of free vodka. I’ve been on record saying that vodka-soda is the most lethal drink in the game. If you’re not careful, one vodka soda can turn into six very quickly, and the effects take a little while to get to you. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I probably drank somewhere between six and eight vodka-sodas. I was only halfway to that mark when Julie arrived, so I was coherent enough to have a conversation with her and the friend that she had dragged along with her. I poured all of them myself, so I can say with confidence these drinks were not lacking in the alcohol department.
My memory of the rest of the night is somewhat blurry. I remember leaving the bar with only Julie around 12:30. I remember getting an Uber and making the driver play “Where R U Now” three times in the span of 15 minutes. My next coherent thought comes at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning. I’m completely naked, my head is pounding, and there’s a half eaten pizza sitting in the corner of my room. With Julie still asleep, I walked over to the corner and grabbed a slice. With a pair of boxer briefs on, I wandered into my kitchen, got a pot of coffee going and took four Advil with a glass of water. The pizza? Still amazing despite the fact that I left it sitting out for five or six hours. The Advil? I’ll go to my grave maintaining that Advil is the only brand that will get rid of a headache. I was in high spirits after I poured myself a cup of coffee. I walked back into my room, where Julie sat upright in bed.
“Let’s go to a Walgreen’s or something. I’ll pay half.”
“Pay half for what?” I asked, confused.
It only took a few seconds for me to realize what she was talking about. I did a double handed face wipe. I was suddenly perspiring and I felt light headed. I hastily threw on a pair of sweatpants. It was raining and cold outside. I wasn’t even sure the CVS around the corner from my apartment was open.
“Just stay in bed. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
My eyes were completely bloodshot. I had an all-gray sweat suit on reminiscent of Tony Soprano. Julie laid in my bed and I could tell she didn’t know what to say.
I walked into CVS with my head down praying I could get in and out of the place in under five minutes. The shelf where it should have been was empty. Instead, a picture of a box of Plan B filled the space. I walked up to the front of the store, where a man in his mid-40s stood.
“Hey, can you help me out? I’ve got a question about something back here.”
I was mortified as he followed me back to the contraceptive aisle.
“Where is your Plan B?”
“Huh, that’s strange. Let me go up front for a second.”
I stood there chewing my fingernails as my greatest fear was confirmed. He had reached for the intercom, and with a muffled voice I heard “Sales associate to aisle 5, please. Sales associate to aisle 5.” I watched a girl in her twenties come out from behind the pharmacy counter. She was obviously still in pharm school. She was hot, and I could feel my face getting red as she strolled back to where I was standing with the guy from the front of the store.
“What’s up?” she asked us.
He pointed at me as if motioning for me to speak. I looked at her with a sheepish grin, as I have a tendency to laugh or chuckle when I get nervous.
“Do you guys have any more Plan B?”
She didn’t even flinch. She looked at me with a very cheery, extremely platonic smile.
“Yeah! Let me go grab it for you. I don’t know why we don’t have any on the shelf.”
Fifty dollars and one shattered ego later, I strolled back into my apartment. I gave Julie the box and watched her take the pill. I crawled back in bed and slept for four more hours. .