home of the whoppa.

“Where’s my purse?” Sandy asked.

I was driving the car.  I had no idea.  “Isn’t it on the floor under your feet?” I asked.

“No.”

“How about in the back?”  Sandy unbuckled her seat belt and turned around to look in the back seat.

“It’s not back there,” she said.  “I think I left it at Burger King.  We have to go back.”

We were already on the Parkway.  In order to go back, we had to get off at the next exit, pay the toll, make a U-Turn, pay another toll, and drive back to the rest stop.  The whole U-Turn took us about ten minutes.  And by the time we got back to the Burger King and went to the table where we sat, the purse was long gone.

We asked the store manager if someone returned it, and of course, no one did.

In her purse was all the money we had taken out of the bank for the weekend.  It also contained all Sandy’s credit cards, her bank card, her driver’s license, our checkbook, and a bunch of other stuff.  It was all gone.

We had no idea what to do.  Sandy called our bank from my cellphone and stopped payment on the 15 checks we determined were in her checkbook.  She cancelled her ATM card, and the customer service rep at the bank told her that someone had already tried to use it, multiple times.  She cancelled her credit cards.

We were left with no money.

“Should we just go home?” she asked.

“No.  Frank is expecting us.  I have no idea how to reach him,” I said.  It was 1993.  Nobody had cell phones except me.  “We have to go.”

So we got in the car and drove down the shore, despite being totally broke and having all Sandy’s ID stolen.

When we got there, we explained everything that had happened to Frank.  Sandy made a few more phone calls from the phone at the rented house.  We both opened up a beer.

Frank introduced us to his friends, and then asked us if we wanted to join them in a game of volleyball.  I declined, telling him that I just wanted to decompress after having all our things stolen.  Frank joined in a game, while Sandy and I sat on the deck and watched.  One game turned into two, and after a third, Frank said “I’m hungry.  Let’s all go out to dinner.”

Dinner sounded good to me.  I had about ten dollars in my wallet.  “What do you feel like having?” I asked.

“Let’s get lobster,” Frank said.

“Dude,” I said, “We don’t have any money.  Everything was stolen.”

Now, when I said this, I fully expected Frank to do one of two things: he’d either offer to pay for dinner and suggest that we pay him back when we get home, or he’d suggest we go somewhere cheaper, like a pizza place or something.  Instead, he said “Okay, then, we’ll go out for lobster and meet you guys afterward.”

I was shocked.  “Umm, okay,” I said.  “We’ll see you.”

Frank left with his friends, and Sandy and I sat back at the house.  They were gone for hours.  At around 9:00, a mutual friend of ours named Dave showed up.  We told him the story, and he agreed to wait around with us until Frank got back.

At about 10:00, we saw the group Frank left with come walking down the street toward the house – except Frank was not with them.

“He went to the dance club,” one of his friends said.  I don’t remember the name of the club, but they told Dave, Sandy and I how to get there.  We thought it was kind of weird that he would have a four-hour dinner without us and then go out to a dance club, leaving us at his rented house with a bunch of people we didn’t know – so we decided he must have thought we were going to meet him at the club.  Dave offered to pay our cover charge, and so I drove the three of us to the club.

When we got there, there was a line of about 50 people outside the front door.  We found some of Frank’s friends and explained that we were trying to get into the club so we could hang out with Frank, but that Sandy had no ID – it had been stolen earlier in the day.  One of his friends who had a non-photo ID  agreed to go into the club, get her hand stamped, and then come back outside and give Sandy her ID so that she could get into the club.  So we waited on line with the other woman’s ID.

When we got to the front of the line, which took forever, the bouncer let Sandy in, and then turned to me and said “I can’t let you in.”

“Why?” I asked.  “I have ID.”

“You’re wearing a sleeveless shirt.  You can’t come in here without sleeves,” he said.

I couldn’t believe it.  It was at least 10:30 and I still hadn’t seen Frank.  Now, I couldn’t even get into the club to have a drink with him.

We convened for a minute, and Dave said “Here’s what we’ll do.  Sandy and I will go into the club and get Frank.  You drive back to the house and put on a shirt with sleeves.  We’ll be waiting for you when you get back.”

That seemed reasonable, so I left Sandy and Dave at the bar, hopped in the car, and drove back to Frank’s house.

When I got there, I parked down the street from his house, and walked to the front door.  I was shocked to find Frank sitting outside on a lawn chair with another friend, drinking a beer.

“Dude, what the fuck?” I asked.  “I thought you were at the dance club.”

“No way,” he said.  “I would never go into a place like that.”

“Your friends told us you went there,” I explained.  “Sandy and Dave are there, looking for you.  I had to come home because they wouldn’t let me in with a tank top.  I just came back here to get a different shirt, and then I was going to go back.”

“Have fun,” he said.

“Dude, we went there looking for you,” I explained.  “Dave and Sandy are still there.  I have to go back and get them.  Why don’t you come with me?”

“I won’t set foot in that place,” he said.

“Come on, man!” I said.  “We came all the way down here to hang out with you.  We got all our shit stolen.  We waited for you to finish dinner for, like, four hours.  Now, Sandy and Dave are wandering around a crappy club, trying to find you.  Come with me to get them, we can come back here and hang out.”

“No way,” he said.  “I’ll be here when you get back.”

I was pissed.  I put on a shirt, got in my car, and drove back.  I paid the cover charge to get into the bar, and had virtually no money left.

When I got into the bar, I found Sandy and Dave.  They were doing shots of some kind of purple drink, out of test tubes.  Dave was buying.  I told them both the story.

“Fuck it,” Dave said.  “Do a shot.”

So I did.

We sat at the bar for a while, drinking shots and beers.  I hadn’t eaten anything since the Burger King lunch.  Very quickly, I felt the alcohol.  Sandy and Dave were pretty toasted, too.  We decided not to drive back to the house, so we walked.

When we got back to the house, everyone was asleep.

“I thought he said we’d have a bedroom to sleep in?” Sandy asked.

“He did.  But it looks like all the bedroom doors are closed.”

There were people sleeping everywhere in the house.  In the living room, on the floor.  All the bedrooms were taken.  There was nowhere to sleep.

We grabbed the blankets and pillows we had taken with us, and walked outside into the backyard.  We spread out our things on the deck.  Then, the three of us lay down, talking about what we could possibly have done to have been treated this way.  We were clearly being punished for something, but couldn’t figure out what we had done.

“I’m hungry,” Dave said.

“I’m starving,” I replied.  “I haven’t eaten anything since lunch.”

“Let’s go find a pizza place,” he suggested.  “I’m buying.”

So the three of us got up and walked to the boardwalk.  Although it was late, a pizza place was still open.  We bought a few slices and ate them on the boardwalk, still trying to figure out the root of Frank’s lack of hospitality.  Finally, we walked back to the house.

When we arrived, we found that there were people sleeping on the deck – using our blankets and pillows.

“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” I said.  I tried waking the people sleeping on our blankets.  They wouldn’t budge.

“Fuck this,” I said.  “We’re going home.”

Sandy and I walked all the way back to the club, where we had left the car.  At this point, the club was closed.  We got in the car and drove back to our apartment.  The sun was up when we got home.

~ by Al on February 24, 2009.

5 Responses to “home of the whoppa.”

  1. Wow!!…Be even worse if someone was alergic to shellfish.

  2. Oh, yeah. Sandy IS allergic to shellfish. Neglected to mention that.

    I don’t mean to gripe, I’m telling a story about something that happened fifteen years ago. It’s water that’s long gone under the bridge, and certainly is just one blog post in a story that’s taken more than 80 posts to tell thus far, and we’re only one year into a story that’s got years left to tell. So it’s really not a big thing, just something that happened while we were pulling together these records.

    Plus, it’s not as bad as the story about you snoring.

  3. Very entertaining and frustrating at the same time. Makes me think of lots of events that happen in your 20’s, that hopefully don’t happen in your 30’s, ostensibly not just because you change and grow, but also because you get wiser about the people you hang out with and the situations you get into.

  4. Due to the “Purple Motherfuckers” I was downing with Sandy from those test tubes, I don’t remember a hell of a lot after the club (Casablanca’s in Manasquan). I do, however, remember the confusion, frustration and disappointment. Consulting my datebook from that year, I see I bought a pair of sneakers that morning. And the following weekend we went to see Melting Hopefuls and Ditchcroaker at Under Acme.

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