"When you write the story," she begged, "do you promise to be discreet?"
I agreed, knowing of course that "discreet" is a vague enough term and that verbal contracts basically mean shit. But I am feeling benevolent tonight, with yesterday being Valentine's Day and all, so I'll acquiesce and not use her real name. Hereforth, I will simply refer to her as the Drunken Wench.
A nor'easter on the shores of Lake Erie, with a promised dump of snow, is nothing to reckon with. But we were four strong women, willing to sacrifice our well-being to venture out to Port Clinton. We were attending a fund-raiser to help with the medical expenses for a family friend. Surely the God of Insufferable Winter Weather would acknowledge the goodness of our hearts. Besides, the evening promised great food and many drinks, and that is always OK by us. We're charitable that way.
So, much fun followed, even amidst, as promised, all hell breaking loose outside. I don't know what time it was when I realized we had a Drunken Wench on our hands. It was unexpected, really, considering she'd had a full dinner and only three glasses of wine. But sometimes the God of Liquor just looks down and laughs and claims you as his own. And after witnessing her gleeful conversations with less-than-gleeful strangers, and her Jello moves on the dance floor, I deduced it was time we left.
I was the designated driver. I'd only indulged in a few bottles of Miller 64--"pisswater"--Lori calls it. So, I pushed my way through the knee-deep snowdrifts, cleaned off the SUV, and pulled up to the bar's entrance.
Lori and Lisa climbed aboard. I peered into the rear view mirror, eying the sole empty seat. The Drunken Wench was not following protocol.
"Hurry up and get in," I yelled. "And shut the door. It's cold!" I wasn't certain she realized this.
No answer. Just a giggle.
"What's the problem?"
"I can't get in. My legs are a little... rubbery." Giggle, giggle.
Lisa climbed out to help. Over the howl of the nor'easter, we 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 climbed out. I hunkered down in the driver's seat. I was already serving as designated driver. How selfless must I be?
Oh, the pleas that ensued. "Grab my hand," "Just one more step," and "No, don't sit down in the snow, you might suffocate."
By now, the Drunken Wench had intoxicated her assistants with her laughter. (Their own consumed cocktails might have played a minor part.) I hadn't heard this much giggling since a sixth-grade slumber party. I knew futility when faced with it. "Leave her here," I shouted. "We'll come back and get her tomorrow." My sympathetic nature was frost-bitten. Did I mention it was cold?
Ten minutes passed. In late night winter storm time, this equates to roughly six hours. My frozen hands managed to pry open my door, and I took several giant steps through the snow. "Move aside," I growled at Lori.
Lori was happy to oblige. She had laughed so hard she'd peed her pants. They were already frozen to her legs. She'd have 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 dead weight 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, pulled our hands away, and she slid off the seat into the snow.
This was followed by much swearing. Interspersed with much giggling. We tried to keep straight faces, fearing peed-pants might be an epidemic.
But we heaved and we hoed again, and managed to get her entire torso back on the seat. Only her legs remained sticking out of the car. I had a suggestion for that, but no one was in possession of a chainsaw.
Lisa cried out in alarm when I decided to simply shut the door on the legs, cramming the Drunken Wench inside like one might sit on an overstuffed suitcase to close it.
I took, instead, to bending her legs. This way and that way. I frowned as I looked at her legs. That one didn't seem to be bent in a natural position. But, she was in! I slammed the door, the howl of the wind masking the whimpering which was emitting 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.