On a recent flight from Austin, TX to Charlotte, NC I sat next to a baby. He looked distracted. Wanting to make small talk, I asked how his weekend had been. He relayed to me this series of events. I have attempted to recreate his words as closely as possible.
I look out the window at my bright blue sky. I like to do that before bed. The sun streams into my room, its rays reflecting off the flying animals that live above my crib. Ordinary. Pleasant. This 7:00 p.m. started off as any 7:00 p.m. – a diaper change, some fresh powder, a bottle of milk, feeling wonderful. A beautiful time for bedtime. But then,
“GET HIS ASS!”
My eyes shot open. The muffled click-clack of plastic against plastic coming through my walls, resonating and amplifying in my ears.
“I GOT YOU!”
“Drink, motherfucker! Drink!”
Annoyed, I crawl over and hoist myself up to the top bar of my crib to get a glimpse of the adjacent patio. 14 identical blue t-shirts, each with a comically large face of “Drink Motherfucker Drink” in a black outline are gathered around a table. I watch as one blue shirt bounces a ping pong ball into a red cup then slaps a cup right out of another blue shirt’s hands. Very rude.
“Fuck you! You’re the one getting married! You drink!”
They keep laughing and drinking and laughing and drinking and laughing and drinking. It’s constant. They clearly have no concern for my slumber. I’m losing valuable hours. I need to be up at 3:00 a.m.
Another man steps onto the patio with a plate of nachos. The blue shirts rejoice and swarm. As the blue shirts eat, “Brings Nachos” looks down at his creation, proud.
By this point I begin calling for mother. She arrives shortly and picks me up. She glances outside and mumbles, “Oh no, not another bachelor party.”
Then, all of a sudden, chanting,
“You got fucked! You got fucked! You got fucked!”
Mother and I catch a glimpse as a blue shirt reaches for a cup full of foamy liquid…
“Last Cup” looks disdainfully at the others.
“Fuck all ya’ll!”
He drinks the entire cup.
The blue shirts leave and mother puts me down.
“Yo, should we do more nachos?”
They all cheer.
The next 7:00pm I lay to rest and pray for a peaceful slumber. All is well initially and then, I hear the strumming of a guitar…
“So rock me mama like a wagon wheel…”
The blue shirts are at it again.
“Rock me mama any way you feel…”
They sing in unison.
“Rock me mama like the wind and the rain / Rock me mama like a south bound train …”
The walls muffle the sound just enough that I actually find this kind of pleasant. I pump my legs to the beat. Smiling. Giggling…
“HEYYYYYYY, Mama rock me…”
But then the music fizzles out. It’s disappointing. The blue shirts don’t seem to know any other words besides these.
“Yeahhhh! Cheers motherfuckers!”
They all exclaim before an instant silence. What happened? I look up at my bright blue sky, sun beaming down, perfect time for bed. Perhaps they all decided to turn in early as well…
Then I hear metal being crushed and hitting concrete.
“Woooo! Fuck Yeah!”
The music returns,
“Ohhhh rock me momma like a wagon wheel…”
Wonderful. I pump my legs, smile and giggle once again. Again, they finish and sit in silence.
“Oh hell yeah!”
Their sound is gone. I return to slumber.
As 7:00pm rolls by once again, I stare out at my bright blue sky, anxious.
I hear some blue shirts walk outside but they don’t carry with them the massive wave of sound that has been typical the past few nights.
“Dude, I am struggling today.”
“Dude, tell me about it.”
“But, how clutch are these nachos right now?”
Jesus. How are they eating nachos again?
“Dude, so clutch. Jalapeños? Bomb.”
“We’re out of sour cream though.”
“Yeah, someone’s making a run.”
I assume this was the extent of their conversation. I stopped listening after jalapeños.
“Yo motherfuckers! Get in here! SHOTS!”
The Motherfuckers lift their arms in the air and chant,
“Fuck yeah! FIRE-BALL! FIRE-BALL! FIRE-BALL!”
They disappear. I return to slumber.
At this point, the baby and I were interrupted by the flight attendent, who took our drink orders. Baby asked for milk. When the attendant asked if he would like it warmed up he responded, “Cold, with a few drops of water.” Which according to him, “Opened up the flavor.”
He began grasping for a bottle in his bag, his small hands flying backwards, empty, with each pull. I helped him out. He thanked me and continued…
Later that same night, when I woke at 3:00 a.m., I became concerned. I hadn’t heard anything all night. Before calling for mother, I hoisted myself up to the window to find the patio empty. I tried to look into the house and saw two blue shirts standing inside, lowering the curtains. I heard music. THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP. Followed by muted hooting and hollering. Two blue shirts walked outside with a small cigarette they held between the tips of their fingers.
“Dude did you offer the strippers any nachos?”
Oh for God’s fucking sake with the nachos!
“Dude, what’s rude is offering nachos sans sour cream.”
Out of sour cream, again? I giggled. Classic.
The next night I heard nothing. Nothing at all. All night. I hoisted myself up and looked over to the house. They seemed to have gone. I returned to my regular slumber with a strange sense of loss. I felt lonely. I suddenly missed them, all of them, Drink Motherfucker Drink, Last Cup, Brings Nachos, The Motherfuckers, Turtle, Drama, Dude, Dude, Dude, Dude, and Dude. Somehow I had come to rely on these knuckleheads to… well… to break up the monotony. I don’t do much. I’m a baby. This was something different. Now the thrill of anticipation was gone. Over. Back to monotony.
I laid back down and called for mother, she reached into my crib, handed me a milk, warm, and rubbed my belly. I sighed and brought the bottle to my lips. Back to the same old life. Just me, my bright blue sky, and my slumber.
Afterwards, the baby asked me if I was traveling to Charlotte for business or pleasure. I told him business. He asked about my work but seemed aloof and largely disinterested. The flight attendent returned with our drinks. The baby put on his neck pillow, finished his milk, and fell asleep.
UPDATE: Shortly after this article was published the author was contacted by the baby who asked us to pass along the following message:
“To all the blue shirts, wherever you are, I hope you’re well, I hope you have nachos, and I hope you never run out of sour cream.”
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