Inside the house, Mike Abernathy is reading Lynn Margiotta questions from a survey entitled "Find your inner sexual animal" in Cosmopolitan magazine. A woman in a bikini top perches on a stool, keeping score. A giant jar of pretzels and jumbo box of chocolate chip cookies adorn the kitchen counter. The television is tuned to a John Candy movie, and several people sip a concoction of beer and Fresca.
When the Cosmopolitan survey is over, Margiotta is declared a bear.
Marlane Muller is lying on the ground at the Bottle & Cork bar, her shirt hiked up to her rib cage. A tray of shot glasses is beside her. Big Daddy grabs one, pours the contents onto Muller's stomach, and slurps it up. Bar golf is in full swing, and he has just made par.
No one is exactly sure who dreamed up the game, but it's a favorite of the group house. First you get T-shirts printed with the names of nine bars within walking distance. Then you decide what you need to drink at each bar to make par. Here at the Bottle & Cork, it's a body shot and a beer.
No one seems concerned that to make a perfect score, 11 beers and shots must be consumed. Instead, several of the guys are vying to go as far under par as possible.
This means that at the Starboard, the third hole, Abernathy, Grannas and Big Daddy need to drink more than one beer. They line up five shots each and race to see who can finish the fastest. Then they line up five more.
"We are not doing five shots apiece," Muller says, even as she pulls money out of her pocket.
Several group-house members use black markers to record scores and scrawl comments on each other's T-shirts. Someone has written "Miss Dewey Beach" on the Octopus' shirt, which he is wearing like a beauty-contestant's banner.
Suddenly, the theme song from "Hawaii Five-O" blares out of the bar's speakers. Everyone falls to the floor, wiggles into position between each other's legs, and rocks back and forth like a luge team. Graham grabs a beer, shakes it, and sprays it over the line. Other people start shaking their beers, too, and soon the house members are sticky and drenched, but they're still rocking back and forth under the beer mist, waving their arms and singing.
Next the DJ tosses out a bamboo stick. Limbo is on. Graham races through the clapping, cheering line and slips on the beer-soaked floor. By now, someone has written the word "nude" between "Miss" and "Dewey" on the Octopus' shirt.
It's 7:15 p.m., and it's time for the next hole.
Three holes later, beads of sweat are popping out on Grannas' forehead. He gulps air and fights back nausea. He drank 10 shots at the Starboard, but didn't stop there. He swallowed nine more at the Waterfront, while Graham, whose T-shirt reads "Viagra test patient," cheered him on. He is 33 under par.
For the first few minutes, he felt fine. But now everything is closing in on him. All around him, his friends are dancing, hugging, and scrawling on each other's T-shirts and bodies. Grannas is winning at bar golf, achieving his goal of getting as far under par as possible. Only now he can't remember why. "What's the point?" he wonders aloud.
Big Daddy is urging Grannas to throw up: It's only a two-stroke penalty. Big Daddy just puked, and he feels like a new man.
But Grannas doesn't hear him. He is listening to something else. Somewhere deep in his brain, a Darwinian-inspired gene is screaming at him to stop, that this has gone beyond fun, that he is now in a very dangerous place.
He sets down his beer and lurches home.
Back at the house, Jody Long triumphantly informs everyone she made par. Long is tan and petite, attributes that have not escaped the attention of the house's male population. She's a guest this weekend, and everyone is encouraging her to join next summer. She thinks she'll probably do it.
In the living room, Abernathy sits upright on a couch, his head tilted back, sound asleep. A woman is sprawled across his lap, also asleep. Long steps over them as a lovesick guy trails in her wake.
The smell in the room is the hamburger Grannas fried up after he left the bar. The sound is the ping of a quarter bouncing off the coffee table.
The sun has been up for two hours, but no one in the house is.
Bodies are positioned haphazardly across the floor. Overturned beer cans and half-eaten cookies crowd the kitchen. The juice, eggs and yogurt are untouched. The bathroom trash can holds a Popsicle stick and three beer cans. In the rear bedroom, Muller is stretched out on her back. Beneath her T-shirt, her stomach has these words scrawled on it: "Nothing gets between me and my ..." Her underpants read "Calvin's."
Slowly, people struggle awake.
Graham reaches for his shoes. They are coated with tomato sauce from the pizza Grannas dropped on him at the Blue Hen bar.
"Hey, I'm not sure about the Starboard," Abernathy says.
"I'm not going," Margiotta declares. "You get sucked in, then it's a vacuum. Last weekend I went and stepped away for [a minute]. When I came back, they had a $340 tab." He glances down. "Hey, my left leg is tanner than my right leg!"
Muller tosses on a baseball cap. Grannas emerges from the shower and pulls on a fresh T-shirt. The group gathers at the front door. It is 9:30 a.m., and already they are late for first call.
Everyone looks expectantly at Margiotta.
"OK," he finally says. "But if I go over there, I'm not bringing any I.D. or money."
Pub Date: 9/06/98