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John leaned over the crowded bar with his credit card held between his fingers. After getting snubbed a few times by the pompous bartender, he finally got his attention.
“A pitcher of Two Hearted,” he yelled without even considering uttering “please.”
“How many glasses?” the bartender fired back without making eye contact.
“Just two,” he told him with two fingers extended to drive it home.
Todd and John sat down. Neither were wearing Halloween costumes that screamed “Halloween costume.” Hell, in some parts of town, their outfits could just be considered “fashionable.”
John poured the two beers while Todd took his scarf off. Todd’s beer had a little more foam so, out of guilt, John switched the pints before either of them took sips. The two remained silent for the first couple sips of beer, both catching up on the World Series game from the bar’s non-HD television and both collecting their breath from the annoying Halloween party they’d just gone to.
“Man,” John uttered, “the girls were really tying one on tonight.”
“Right?” Todd asked rhetorically with his eyes squinting toward the television. “Glad we got out of there – I couldn’t drink any more of that sugary punch.”
John smirked and sat back in his seat.
“You know,” he remarked, “Caroline was, uh, prettttty mad you ditched out on her.”
Todd rolled his eyes before explaining to him, “Don’t even start with me on that shit. She’s being so aggressive that I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out that she was the one who proposed to you.”
Todd not only took John’s remark as unnecessary but also as a signal that John was trying to defend his wife who was clearly putting her nose where it didn’t belong. Without John ever really formulating an appropriate response, Todd again chimed in, “But seriously, tell her to stop. I’ve got enough people up my ass about this that I don’t need her there too.”
“I mean, you know how you could pretty much get around this entire situation?” John asked. “By actually pulling the trigger.”
Todd, again, rolled his eyes and wished the game would come back from commercial break.
“I didn’t come here to get lectured on this, man,” he continued. “That’s pretty much the entire reason I’ve been avoiding your wife and wanted to come here in the first place.”
With the pitcher half gone and their pint glasses thirsty for more, John topped each of them off before his phone lit up. It was Caroline, and she was notifying him that they’d be there sooner than later.
“I’m probably just going to take her home the second they get here,” Todd told him.
John laughed and noted, “I can’t take you seriously with your hair all Steve Harrington like that.”
Todd somewhat laughed and considered changing the subject to what John was doing for Thanksgiving, but decided against it when he realized that he just didn’t really care. It was at that point that his phone lit up as well.
“Where’s that bar again?” the text read. He attempted to drop a pin for her, but with service being at a minimum, it never actually went through.
It didn’t matter, though. Moments after, John looked over Todd’s shoulder and saw two people enter the bar. Based on John’s reaction alone, Todd knew exactly who it was. John’s face lit up which coaxed a “Oh, God, what now?” out of Todd.
“Well,” John said while holding in laughter, “She really sold her Nancy costume.”
Todd’s head turned and noticed that she had, in fact, nailed the costume by spilling red punch all over it just like Nancy had done in Stranger Things. As they stumbled toward the table, each of them attempted to plop down on their respective significant other’s lap.
Nearly knocking over the two-person table as she did it, Todd adjusted his chair to accommodate. “Babe,” he asked, “What did you do to your blouse?”
Slurring her words, she somehow got out, “I don’t even care, I can just get a new one.” It was at that point that Todd considered getting a wet napkin from the bar to clean her up, but he soon realized that people didn’t even think she was actually drunk – she was just playing the part.
“What the hell have you two been up to for the past 45 minutes?” John asked after signaling to the bartender that they’d do another pitcher.
Caroline, still on John’s lap, was looking at her phone with one eye. From John’s perspective, he could somewhat see that she was attempting to email her boss about not coming in the next day – an obvious “hangover day” as opposed to a “sick day.” Before she could press send, he grabbed the phone from her hands and proofread it. “It’s surprisingly fine,” he told her while handing it back, “but it’s your funeral.”
“Where are we going after this?” she slurred to Todd, who had just half-filled another pint glass for her.
Todd cocked his head back and looked at her. “Babe,” he tried to say nicely, “I think we’ll probably just head home.”
“Fuckkkk thatttttttt,” she drunkenly drew out. “It’s Hallo-fucking-ween, Todd.”
“Yeah, and I have a 9 o’clock meeting tomorrow.”
She took the glass Todd had only partially filled and looked at it wondering why Todd didn’t fill it up all the way. Todd attempted to dodge her asking why she was getting screwed on the pour by talking to John, but it was only met with resistance from his girlfriend’s equally drunk (and angrier) counterpart, Caroline.
Caroline looked at Todd with squinted eyes. “Oh, look,” she said. “It’s Todd.”
Todd looked John with confusion. “What the fuck does that even mean?” he wondered.
“Glad you could show up,” she continued to drone on. And it was at that point that John knew exactly what she was referring to.
“Caroline,” he intervened in an attempt to distract her. “Please lay off Todd.”
Thinking she was being snarky and clever, she simply responded, “I know someone else who should lay him off too.” It was met with Todd and John looking at each other confused while trying not to laugh at what a stretch that statement was. Unfortunately, their brief moment of laughter was interrupted by a loud spilling of beer.
“Shit,” Todd yelled while attempting to stand up despite her still being on his lap. She had attempted to grab the pitcher to fill her beer up more but, in doing so, she had knocked it over along with two other glasses.
Blotting everything up with paper napkins that clearly weren’t built for that sort of thing, Todd turned to her and explained that they needed to go. He took the rest of his beer and finished what was left of it before using her phone to call an Uber.
“Well,” John said, “we tried.”
Todd woke up with his neck aching on the couch. He had fallen asleep there with the television on and a glass of scotch still sitting in his clutches with one drink left. The clock on the wall signaled that it was 4:30 a.m., but Todd wasn’t sure if it was even accurate.
He walked into their bedroom and saw Sperry nestled against her. Passed out on top of the comforter, she had somehow managed to get her blouse off.
Todd hoisted her up and flipped her over, only to drape the comforter over her and get in bed next to her before flicking off the light. She peeled her head off the pillow for a brief moment as if the rest of the night had never happened.
“Mmmmm,” she groaned with a still-drunk smile on her face. “Love you, Todd,” she told him before passing back out.
He took his hand and wiped some red punch stain off the crease of her mouth.
“Love you too.” .