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Wednesday, 11 July
Big Day, Big Night

And so thus armed with beer and Super Soakers, we were underway. We began our creep down Main Street, all three pickups of us with our meager signage (our class was indeed a lazy class; I consider myself to be their God) flapping from the pickup windows.

It was, I must confess, kind of fun. Throngs of people lined the street for mile. Because that's about how long the route was. But throng they did! Little kids ran out towards us and screamed, "Shoot me! Shoot me!" Either it was intolerably hot, or these children do not bespeak well of our future military resources. We shot them stupid, and they screamed rapturously, which rapidly became irritating, so to shut them up, we then pelted them with hard candy. They shrieked even louder, so we stepped up our beer drinking.

One of our group, T., armed as she was with her water weapon, rather quickly adopted an alarming thirst for blood. She would douse fucking anything that moved, including us, when she would whoop with a squirting victory and wave her weapon over our heads and the thing would drip all over us. T. would also shoot at anything that didn't move, such as fire hydrants and dead dogs. T. was a little out of control. At one point, I saw her take steely aim at three geriatrics who were gnawing on some fried chicken; they saw her too, drawing a bead, and they made warding gestures and shook their wattles at her fearfully. "Jesus Christ, T., lay off. They're old people and they have food."

T. flashed me a wild, angry glare, looking very much like C. Thomas Howell after a deer's-blood cocktail, and then relented. She settled instead for knocking out a little kid's front teeth with a brutal barrage of green apple Jolly Ranchers. The rest of us continued our H2O assault on the parade-watchers unhindered.

At least until we got to the fire station, where a bunch of guerilla warriors lashed back. They had filled tubs and buckets full of water, and they ran out into the road and simply creamed us. We filled the air with harpy screams and thrashed like the double-damned as they drenched us mercilessly. By the time we were out of range (or they were out of water), we were wetter than a lesbian erotic book club. Thinking way too late, I pulled my cell phone and cigarettes out of my sodden shorts, stared at them hopelessly (both miraculously survived), and then weirdly transferred them into my equally soaked back pocket. Why? I don't know.

Out of danger, we laughed at the affair (during the exchange, I was pleased to note that we nailed my dad pretty good, for all that) and resumed our attacks.

That's when the water balloon hit M. in the face. What the fuck? Cruising up the final parade hill, we jerked our necks around and beheld three little preteens with a cooler full of water balloons, and they were hailing them on us with an accuracy that was simply hellish. Those little fuckers were way out of range of our pathetic pistols, and the little bastards' arms were unbelievable. It was like a filming of Honey, I Shrunk Easy Company! We couldn't do anything about it, so we simply and adultly returned fire with a sailor's smorgasbord of the vilest profanity that we could summon. The children danced with glee (literally--they had a fucking boom box) and redoubled their efforts.

Finally, we were done. The parade was over. S. guided us off the route over to her house, where we dismounted the pickups (I fell flat on my ass, to general cheering). Why were we at S.'s house? we wondered. S. answered that question by running inside and grabbing a case of beer. Oh. It was now about 3:30 in the afternoon, and most of us had been drinking since noon.

The parade was over. All that was left was the dinner. The wife and I elected to limp home, towel off, and take a nap in preparation. Not everyone was this sensible, and elected to keep drinking.

So, a nap, a shower, a change of clothes, and we felt ready for round 2. Cocktail hour began at 6:30--because we needed more of those--before dinner at 8:00. This was at the Elk's Club, which, really? Kind of awesome.

If I've been exhibiting an uncharacteristic unwillingness to rip these people up and just be my normal turd self, well, I can't really bear to. The whole thing was kind of cool and unexpectedly really fun, and really, everyone was pretty great. It was also pleasingly free of extraneous crap like slide shows or "Remember When?" presentations or any of that fun-killing kind of regimented hoo-ha: we simply had some drinks, ate dinner, shot the shit, laughed at Oh my God, twenty years! things, had some more drinks, and that sort of thing. You know: the things that people aged 38 find really fun and enjoyable. The things that tell you, "Well, you're getting old."

Not that there was a complete dearth of YAY! behavior. I define YAY! behavior as: embarrassing things that other people do that make me go YAY! because I did not do those things. For instance, A., a lovely brunette who I suspected of Failure-to-Nap Syndrome, held up a silly little survey thing that was at every table and screamed at the assembled crowd, "Okay, you fuckers, you fucking fill these out, all right?" She wobbled cutely, and then joined us at the smoker's table where she informed my wife that she was "fucking beautiful, really fucking beautiful" before retiring to the parking lot to pass out in her car. YAY!

There was also N.--the "handsy" one I mentioned in a previous post--who definitely did not do the nap thing. N. lasted long enough to eat some chicken-fried blobs before definitively glazing over and slumping into his chair with his similarly inert girlfriend, forming a kind of corrupt American Pieta.

I'm pleased to say that we made it pretty much to the end. We walked my old friend R. home, who hilariously complained, "I wish it wasn't so uphill." Like the wife and I are Sherpas. It's like a .5% grade. We were all terribly drunk, but in that nice way that's so far off from that really terrible way that most of us are acquainted with.

We got back to my place, where we were startled to find my father still awake, watching TV. "What the hell are you guys doing home so soon?" he asked, equally surprised. It was like 11:30.

"We're old," I explained. "And everyone else took off." My father looked at me, at first curiously, as if I had grown a second ass on my chest. Then with a look like Yeah, you're ancient. Give me a break. "Whoo!" I clarified. "Whoo!"

"You can have my chair," he said, getting up to go to bed. I thankfully settled into it.

My parents drove us to the airport the next day. I had really messed up my quads with my precarious perch on the pickup float, and I walked like a doddering old man. My mother, the RN observed: "You really fucked up your quads, didn't you?" I moaned.

The reunion was over. Like I said before, I'm not going to rip anybody. We had a very good time. And here's the best part: you don't ever have to read anything about it ever again.

But I can, any time I want, and surprisingly, that makes me kind of happy.


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Comments

"wetter than a lesbian erotic book club"

Between that and your mother's observation about fucked up quads...I don't know. You're just the best or something.

Comment number: 014469   Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' on July 12, 2007 07:24 AM from IP: 152.17.58.210

I love your travel/life narratives!

I don't know why it makes me so inordinately happy when you write about people I don't know and places I've never been, having experiences I haven't had, but somehow, YOU DO. Make me inordinately happy, that is.

I puffy heart your narratives. And this reunion three-part series was superb.

So there.

Comment number: 014470   Posted by: Suzanne on July 12, 2007 11:24 AM from IP: 66.235.35.226

It almost makes me wistful for a high school reunion of my own.

Almost.

Comment number: 014471   Posted by: Mickey on July 12, 2007 12:41 PM from IP: 68.19.226.126

"A corrupt American Pieta" -

That was so perfect I nearly cried. After I peed myself.

Really, really priceless. You should send this to everyone at the reunion. It's a beautiful tribute. My 20th was nothing but redneck townies and a total letdown.

Comment number: 014472   Posted by: Broadsheet on July 12, 2007 03:29 PM from IP: 71.248.41.208

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