The car I was in got back to the house first, while Moses’s car with Dan got delayed. Not wanting to waste any minutes of the bachelor party, everyone with me started drinking quickly. When Dan arrived, we shoved drinks at him so he could catch up. Then we had more drinks so we could stay ahead and keep stringing the late arrivals along.
We talked Dan into doing some shots, him individually against several of us, before the party moved upstairs. A while later, I went back down to the kitchen to find him doing a shot against himself. “Nobody else wanted one, and I wasn’t going to waste it,” he said.
“Why not just pour one shot?”
“I didn’t think of that.”
Soon after that, I found Dan slumped over the kitchen table, head on his arm, muttering to himself in German. I didn’t even know Dan spoke any German. “Mein freunde, mein freunde,” I heard him say, which I barely recognized as “my friends, my friends.” I tried to shuffle him off to bed, but some switch had flipped, and he ignored everything I tried to tell him in English, only responding with more German. I had maybe thirty words in the language total, but thankfully one phrase I could remember was “good night.” Heavy repetition of “gute nacht” got him to agree it was time for nighty-night. I grabbed his shoulder to help move him toward a couch.
Apparently that was a mistake. Angry, belligerent, Dan turned on me and shouted in an evil robot voice, “DEFCON 3, defenses rising!”
“Hey, wait, I’m just helping you to bed.”
Again, in the robot voice. “Does not compute. Nicht Deutch. Error.”
“Look, can we just go and-”
“Misunderstood. Mein freunde sprechen Deutch. Escalating. Approaching DEFCON 2. Nuclear assault imminent.”
“You’re a vegan, damn it; you’re supposed to be a pacifist!” He approached me threateningly, regardless. “Freund! Freund!” I shouted, desperate for any friendly German words. “Gut! Liebe! Freund!”
Dan started to deflate. “Freund recognized. DEFCON levels decreasing. Nuclear arsenals on standby. Gute nacht.” With that, he turned and walked upstairs, lay down on the couch, and didn’t move until morning.
This was an excerpt from Chicagoland. The complete novel is Kindle format through Amazon.