“When you write the story,” she begged, “do you promise to be discreet?”
I agreed, knowing that “discreet” is a vague term and that verbal contracts mean nothing. But I am feeling benevolent tonight, so I will acquiesce and withhold her real name. Henceforth, I shall simply refer to her as the Drunken Wench.
A nor’easter on the shores of Lake Erie, with a threatened dump of snow, is nothing to reckon with. But we were four strong women, willing to sacrifice our well-being to attend a fund-raiser an hour away to help with a friend’s medical expenses. Surely the God of Insufferable Winter Weather would acknowledge this goodness in our hearts. Besides, the evening promised great food and liquor, and that is always OK by us. We’re charitable that way.
Much merriment followed: lobster and laughter and witty conversation. Meanwhile, as promised, all hell was breaking loose outside. And then I realized we had a Drunken Wench on our hands.
Her condition wasn’t anticipated, considering she’d consumed a full dinner and only three glasses of wine over several hours. But sometimes the God of Liquor just looks down and laughs and claims you as his own.
After witnessing her gleeful babbling to less-than-gleeful strangers, along with her Jell-O moves on the dance floor, I deduced it was time we left.
I was the designated driver. I pushed my way through the knee-deep snowdrifts, cleaned off the SUV, and pulled up to the bar’s entrance.
Lori and our third comrade, Lisa, climbed aboard. I peered into the rear view mirror, eying the sole empty seat. The Drunken Wench was not following protocol.
“Get in,” I yelled through the open car door.
My directive was met with only a curbside giggle.
“What’s the problem?”
“I can’t get in. My legs are a little… rubbery.” More giggles.
Lisa climbed out to help. Over the howl of the nor’easter, we soon heard sounds of a more relentless force of nature. Let this be a lesson to you students of physics: Nothing is as unbudgable as a Drunken Wench with Rubbery Legs.
Lori sighed and joined them outside. I hunkered down in the driver’s seat. I was already serving as designated driver. How selfless must I be?
Oh, the coaxing and pleas that ensued. “Grab my hand,” “Just one more step,” and “No, don’t sit down in the snow, you might suffocate.”
I knew futility when faced with it. I honked the horn. “Leave her here,” I shouted. “We’ll come back and get her tomorrow.” My sympathetic nature was frostbitten. Did I mention it was cold?
Ten more minutes passed. In late night winter storm time, this equates to roughly six hours. My frozen hands managed to pry open my door. I took several giant steps through the snow. “Move aside,” I growled at Lori.
Lori was happy to oblige. She’d laughed so hard she peed her pants. They immediately froze to her legs. She’d be forced to peel them off later.
I stood on one side of the car and pushed. Lisa stood on the other side and pulled. We pushed. We pulled. The mass that was the Drunken Wench didn’t appear to understand the law of physics. Still, we finally managed to get her half-sprawled across the back seat.
“OK, stop, stop, I’m good now. Let go,” she slurred.
We hesitated before pulling our hands away. She slid off the seat into the snow.
Yet we persevered. We heaved and we hoed again, and we managed to get her entire torso back on the seat. Only her legs remained sticking out of the car. Lisa shrieked as I started to shut the door on the protruding legs, simply cramming the Drunken Wench inside like one might sit on an overstuffed suitcase.
So I took, instead, to bending the legs. This way and that way, until they fit. I squinted as I peered down. That one didn’t seem to be bent in an entirely natural position.
Regardless, she was in!
I slammed the door, the howl of the wind masking the whimpering that now emitted from the back seat.
Sure, she’d be bruised the next day, the Drunken Wench. But she’d wake up in the comfort of a warm bed, not a blanket of snow in front of a downtown bar. Dislocated limbs aside, I figured she’d thank us for that.
And you can bet I’ll think twice, before I ever again go out drinking with my mother.