Hennessy for Energy
It had been a long night already. Drunk chicks, buying cheeba, and infiltrating radio stations. It was creeping up on two in the morning, and my outlook was still pretty positive. It had reached the point in the night when you still want to socialize, but everybody else is asleep. Aimlessly driving down dark streets, I kept changing CD’s, searching for the perfect song to play at 1:46am . One of my closest friends, Chris Martinez, was the driver. He was about two months late on payments for his used, white Chevy Blazer, and it stung him. He mostly just spent his days escaping reality through light beers, and potent strains of marijuana. I think that’s why I liked hanging out with him so much. I met him through his older brother, who I had spent a good part of my post-high school youth getting high with. As a matter of fact, the three of us had spent many a weekend rolling blunts and watching videos. With some other friends, we had even formed a clan, calling ourselves, The Decepticons. Of all of the Decepticons, I had recently been hanging out with Chris the most. We seldom discussed matters more serious than the cost of beer, but I’ve always felt that there was a nice, unspoken level of respect that we shared.
We had been hanging out since about 7:30 that night, and had been all over the place. Most establishments were closed, but we still itched for a last bit of mischief. Neither of us had said much since we got back in town from Davis , but I knew that we would both be disappointed if we decided to call it a night.
“So…what should we do?” I asked with a hint of hopelessness in my voice. What was there to do? It’s not as if Chris, who had been dubbed Chon (chone) by his older brother, knew of some secret place we could go to. I could see him ponder my question for a bit, with a glazed over look in his eyes.
“Should we steal a bottle?” he asked with a smile. Liquor runs weren’t that uncommon in our circle. And a night of drinking had removed any initial fear of repercussions. I knew that I wouldn’t be stealing a bottle from a store, and even more, I knew that I wouldn’t be expected to. I held my own in our social circle, but I wasn’t bold, or stupid enough to steal a bottle. Chris, on the other hand was a juggernaut of mayhem.
“What the fuck?” I responded, generally indifferent to the idea. It was something to do. My mind was moving pretty slowly, so any goal oriented activity would be easy to follow. And with that, I could hear him hit his blinker signal, turning towards the local Food-4-Less grocery store. They were the only grocery store in town that stayed open all night. It seemed like only seconds later that we were in front of the stores main entrance. My brain had still not grasped what we were about to do, as Chris informed me that I would need to drive in the case that he may be followed. I suppose that I almost didn’t believe that he was going to do it. Typically, something like this would be mapped out a bit more thoroughly. We would get pumped up, and make like we were criminals about to commit a heist. In my drunken state, I’m sure that I was making an attempt to call his bluff. Without saying anything, I got out of the passenger seat, and strutted to the driver’s side. By the time I could get there, he was already making his way into the store. I got behind the wheel, and began to wonder what would happen next. There was actually a few misfits in the parking lot, and paranoia got the best of me. I figured I should play it cool. Act like I was looking for a parking spot. I figured I would have at least a minute or two before Chris returned, so I began a lap around the lot. The Blazer was pretty big compared to my car, and it felt like driving a bus. I had driven it a few times before, and liked how it handled. I was caught up in the driving experience as I was rounding the furthest corner from the store. The otherwise serene parking lot was suddenly interrupted by a husky Chon sprinting out of the store. Not two feet behind him was a Hispanic bag boy. I began to speed up towards him, and even from far away, I could see Chris was disappointed that I had driven away from where he was expecting me.
The bag boy was right behind. If he extended his arms forward, he surely could have grabbed him. As the both of them neared the Blazer, I wondered what would happen when they finally arrived. Chris would need at least a second or two to open the car door. The bag boy was athletic, but he was a pile of twigs compared to Chon. And Chris was the kind of guy that would knock a guy out cold if it came down to it.
“Drive Robert, Drive! Fucking Go!” Chris shouted. I was getting pretty antsy, slowly slipping the gear into Drive, waiting for the exact second that speed off. In a flash, he was in the Blazer, and instantly, I heard the passenger door slam shut. He continued to bark instructions at me as I was getting my head straight.
“Go man, fuck-ing DRIVE.” He pleaded, with a slight hint of victory in his voice. As I darted diagonally through the parking lot, concentrating on road ahead, I could sense Chris peering behind us. I glanced over at him, seeing our prize proudly held in his grubby hands. A beautiful bottle of Hennessy. Despite it’s reputation in rap videos, I used to hate it’s taste. It wasn’t until recently that began to thoroughly enjoy the dreamy type of buzz it gave.
“Oh fuck.” Chris proclaimed.
“He’s right behind us in his car.” Apparently, the driver had stopped following Chris at the last second. Seeing that he had a getaway driver waiting for him, the bag boy had decided hop into his own car and follow us. It was a good thing, too, as in retrospect, his hand would have probably been crushed in the car door. At the time, I’m sure it would have been the funniest thing in the world. As I reached the exit of the parking lot, a traffic light’s red light bulb instinctually caused me to slow down. I took a second to scan the rear view, and noticed a small car in pursuit.
“GO Robert. Just fucking GO!” screamed Chris, getting a bit nervous.
“Hurry. He’s trying to get the license plate number.” Up to that point, I had pretty much been driving on instinct. With the revelation that he was trying get the plate number, a sense of duty came over me. It was my driving skill, up against his. If I could ditch him, there was a cool bottle of Hennessy in it for us. If not, there was humiliation, and possibly even a car accident waiting. I pressed against the gas pedal with all of my weight. Earlier in the night, Chris and I had been playing a game of How-many-red-lights-can-we-run-in-a-row, so I had no problem breezing through them. The small car continued to pursue us, often time getting dangerously close to us. As I hit the first turn in our path, Chris started to worry about my driving ability.
“Don’t fucking flip. Dude. Don’t flip.” As ridiculous as it sounds, hours of playing Grand Theft Auto on the Playstation 2 had taught me the correct speed to hit a sudden turn. Before I could even begin concentrating on the turn, we had made it and were picking up speed as we raced down Gibson Road . The bag boy made the turn a bit more cautiously, giving us a bit of a lead. Chris gave out a maniacal laugh, easing the tension. The streets were empty, making it easy to pick up his headlights in the rear view. He followed us onto the freeway, which just disgusted me. Here was some highschool student, who garnered enough respect at his job to warrant the 2am on Sunday shift, playing cowboy over a bottle of liquor. By this time, I was feeling God-like as I watched the speedometer inch past 110 miles. His car was no match for the power of the Blazer, and before long, I could see the faint light of his turn signal as he pulled off on the next exit.
It was about two o’ clock, and traces of adrenaline were still coursing through my veins. We gave another nod to series of Grand Theft Auto games as we decided to switch cars. Surely the bag boy would report a white Chevy Blazer, making us safe in my gold Camry that I parked in front of Chris’ house some 5 hours earlier. We ended up waking up an old friend that we had visited earlier that night, and recalled the recent events with some details exaggerated for effect.
Even with all of the trouble we went through to get it, I didn’t feel much like drinking any Hennessy. And, as subconsciously documented in the unwritten code of the Decepticons, Chris ignored my decline and poured me a glass. I took a quick sip, and then another. It tasted like victory.