"Australia 1999" story # 23


Lismore, New South Wales
May 7, 1999

There was one sure bet for a well-portioned meal of mediocre taste in town: Pizza Hut. A large group of us went there the day of "The Smile."
     I´d come with Ryan, Matt, and Shane, and Jeremy and his roommates met us. It was my first time attending all-you-can-eat with the hungry Indian, Craig, who I´d jealously watched win a pizza-eating contest in the university restaurant.
     I brandished my stomach threateningly, and Craig accepted my challenge in defense of his territory. We stared eachother down throughout the meal, amid many trips to the buffet table and desert bar. He stuffed a large chunk of pizza in his mouth aggressively, to which the other diners "Ooh!"ed. I stuffed an ice cream-coated brownie in my mouth, to which the diners "Aah!"ed.
     Craig took a commanding 9-5 lead. I roared back, though. One by one, pizza after pizza fell victim to my youthful eating tactics. In the end, it wasn´t even close: me - 15 slices, Craig - 11. I´d pulled off the upset! He awarded me with the free-pizza-a-week card he´d won for his on-campus victory. I couldn´t accept, of course, having respect for the old king.
     During the ride home, I beamed. "I have to beat George now."
     Matt interrupted. "I´m going to become Don King and talk up the match between George and you. Beating Craig was like capturing the IBF title. You need to out-eat George and Mal (a small, self-proclaimed beg eater) to become undisputed champ!"
     Proudly, and most of all stuffed, I went to sleep soon after.

The next day´s "Big Event" was a party by Talya. Jeremy got a leg-up on the others by beginning his training (which constituted drinking) early. By early evening, he was pretty drunk.
     Before the party, I visited my friends (Elkie, Raquel) in the all-girls suite. They were giving eachother massages when I arrived. Bronnie, a loud-mouth Aussie who likes to laugh and make others laugh, offered to give me one.
     Before she´d finished rubbing my back (perhaps even before she started), she cracked up her friends by screaming and pretending to hump me. We switched positions. I took advantage of the situation to start wrestling her like a crocodile.
     I wrapped my arms around Bronnie´s arms and neck from behind, and I called for Raquel´s help as my sidekick. "By craiky, grab the leedle bloitah by the tail!" Raquel sat on the "crocodile´s" legs; Bronnie fought back; and we all started thrashing and twisting and rolling around together in an intense struggle.
     "Grab´em by the tail, Terri!" I said.
     Raquel alluded to the Southpark episode which had been haunting me for so long. "Let me just see if I can stick me thumb up his bum-hole!"
     "No!" Bronnie yelled. She raised herself high on her arms, in a very uncrocodile-like move (which I considered to be a violation of rules). Raquel and I were thrown to the sides, and Bronnie jumped on me, pretending to devour.
     I´d wrestled her good, but the girls of the suite granted her the victory.
     Elkie spotted the raggedy, depleted, holy soles of my four-year old brown loafers as I laid on the floor. "Justin! Look at your shoes! It looks like you´ve been to Darwin and back!"
     Firstly, I´d been humiliated in a simulated crocodile fight. Secondly, my favorite possession had been mocked. I was out of there.
     I had to a party to go to. Talya´s suite was full of international students. George was there. He babbled about eating more than me at Pizza Hut at some time, but he was pretty drunk so he didn´t make much sense.
     The whole group was leaving to go to the downtown club, but, oddly enough, Jeremy was nowhere in sight. Concerned, I went to his suite.
     When I found him, he didn´t want to go out anymore. "I´ve been ready to go out for six hours!"
     He was staying in to watch the rare Australian showing of our favorite baseball team´s pre-taped game. So, I joined him.
     We sat around, full of excitement to watch our New York Mets. The game began, and it quickly became obvious there was no way I was going to enjoy it for two main reasons.
     REASON 1: At their first opportunity to get back at Jeremy, his suite-mates complained incessantly about how crappy the American sport was. Michael called it boring, and Craig kept calling for a station-change to "soft porn."
     REASON 2: Jeremy, himself, complained incessantly. He cursed the Mets for signing an overpriced, overweight free agent, Bobby Bonilla. Jeremy already knew the final score of the game, so, after Bonilla dropped a fly ball in the first inning, he got disgusted. "He cost them the game - right there!"
     Jeremy soon went to bed, leaving me with no back-up defense for the Aussie´s insults and with no control over the tv. It wasn´t long before we were watching soft porn.

After a party-filled night, Friday was a sleepy day for the students of SCU.
     Talya´s night, as I was told the next day, had been the most interesting. She´d been dancing late at the Powerhouse with the others. Suddenly, she and Brandy obeyed their urge to walk out the club doors, go to the supermarket, and make big brownie sundaes. (I love those girls!)
     The students at SCU may not have the highest test scores, but we certainly had the highest cholesterol levels.
     After another trip to Pizza Hut, I visited Jeremy´s suite. A crocodile show was on, and I told those who didn´t know about my desire to wrestle the animals.
     "How do you expect to do that?" said Michael. "I heard you couldn´t even wrestle Bronnie."
     Rumors of my defeat had spread in only one day? This news brought shame, and I sunk into a mood Jeremy might enter. I needed something to cheer me up ... there was only one answer. I wickedly eyed the other guys, sitting comfortably in the room. TOO comfortably. Hoping to redeem myself, I slowly grabbed a pillow.
     "Stack´s On!"

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