"Every time I come to the News Room, it's like a Choose Your Own Adventure book," said Research Assistant Matt. "It's never the same crowd twice." Inspired by his observation, we decided to write this week's column in a Choose Your Own Adventure format. If you don't remember that classic series from the '80s, listen up: Do not read this column in consecutive order. Be sure to follow the directions at the end of each paragraph to chart your own destiny in ...
Your Code Name Is Night Ranger
It's after 1 a.m., and the bar isn't very busy yet. After making eye contact with the cute bartender, you order a Stoli orange and 7-Up, then stand around near the entrance and chat with your RAs.
"He makes the best rum and Diet Cokes ever!" says RA Amy D. about Cute Bartender.
You soon notice a woman rocking back and forth who appears to be clad in just an oversized chambray shirt. She approaches and asks, "Do you know if there are any homeless shelters nearby?"
Help her? See paragraph 4.
Snub her? See paragraph 6.
1. Turns out his name is William. He and his group are artists at Blue Ribbon Press. Their friend T., who is from Brooklyn, also gives his assessment of your ass: "Two words: apple bottom. You need to work out, do calisthenics," he says as he fondles. You feel like a whore for journalism and start to hate all of these lushes, even though you brought this situation on yourself.
Reel around and kick Mr. T. in the junk?
See paragraph 5.
Detach and flee? See paragraph 7.
2. "Yeah, I do," you say, then flounce away. You make your way to the front of the bar and find your RAs, who point out an odd group standing outside. One chick is wearing a trucker hat with brightly colored squiggles on the bill. You resist the urge to tear off that Kutcheresque item and stomp on it. You then feel your ass being groped and quickly turn around to find a guy wearing a sweatshirt with the same squiggle pattern. He sports a mullite (i.e., a shorter version of the mullet) and a gold medallion. Face burning -- and not just from the alcohol -- you confront your groper.
Slap him? See paragraph 5.
Give him Look of Death, but stick it out? See paragraph 1.
3. The guys move in closer and continue to try to seduce you with their broken English. You look at Cute Bartender and send a silent plea for help. Message received; he comes over and whisks you out the back door.
"Whew! Thanks for that," you say.
"No problem," he replies, his ice-blue eyes boring into yours. "My name's Chris. Wanna make out?"
"Let's go," you say, smiling.
4. "No, sorry, we don't know of any," you answer. Chambray Shirt, who is clutching a can of PBR in one hand, bums a cigarette from Amy, and they start talking. The cigarette ash grows longer and longer. Amy gets her an ashtray and warns Chambray that she's about to get burned. "You're not the boss of me!" she snarls. In the background, Cute Bartender gives Chambray a worried look.
After last call, as you hover outside the bar, Amy spots some cops about a block away. She goes over to see if they can help but soon returns and says, "They said they can't do anything." Your last image of Chambray is of her standing outside the bar, staring at the ground, still rocking back and forth.
5. You bitch-slap him and derive a great deal of satisfaction when he staggers from the blow. "Fuck you, asshat," you snarl. But your victory is short-lived. You're soon cuffed by the cops and taken to the drunk tank, where you have to make the Call of Shame.
"Mom?" you sniff. "Can you bail me out?"
6. You hate to abandon Chambray, but you go about your job of checking out the bar. You spot an assortment of interesting characters. There's a guy in a burgundy blazer, madras shorts and flip-flops; he wears a Kmart nametag that says something like "T-Pizzle," which you assume is ironic in that special, hipster way. You also encounter two Mexican guys standing by the bar. "Hi," one of them says, giving you the eye. You sense an interview opportunity and ask, "What's your name?"
"I love you," says one.
"Do you have a man?" asks the other.
Interview over. Or is it?
Interview over? See paragraph 2.
Try to get a useable quote? See paragraph 3.
7. You break away and suggest taking a picture. They comply, and after some mild encouragement, William drops his pants. As they leave, T. says again, "Apple bottom! You do have a nice booty, though." You ignore him and walk inside just as last call is announced.
"I'm so freaking appalled by the whole crowd," says Amy, who is happily lit. This feeling is intensified after you walk outside and meet Justin, who brags that he got lit and spent just $2. "I drank four Camos beforehand," he says. "Camo is basically the beer of crackheads." He also lets you in on another secret: He scavenges the beer that people leave on the table.
"Um, aren't you afraid of getting some kind of mouth disease?" you ask.
"I was born with herpes of the mouth," he replies. "You really have to work hard to catch random diseases. Herpes lives on steel at normal temperatures, so the right way to get it is to fuck a faucet."
On that note, you decide it's time to abort conversation and bail. You decide you've had enough of the News Room ... until next week, that is.