"St. Pete or Bust! 2000" story # 21

Big Rapids, Michigan           January 14, 2001

I left Michigan soon after "Date of the Week" XVII. I had taken Kim, a blind date, while my pal Bill took his friend, Amanda.
     They were fun girls. Kim's lazy brown bangs fell past her eyelids. Amanda was taller, sporting a new haircut with arched red bangs.
     We went to Applebee's, and Bill and I immediately engaged in a contest to be the most sappy romantics. I ordered for "the lady and I," and Bill started calling his date, "dear." I responded by referring to Kim as "buttercup" thenceforth, but Bill did me one-up and used "my little pookie" to call Amanda.
     We moved past the main course to dessert. Bill said, "So what looks good to you, my little pookie?" Amanda giggled. I said to my date, "Look, Kim, the menu says the Hershey's Chocolate Pie is sweet, but it's not as sweet as you, buttercup." When the food came, Bill and Amanda pulled off a nifty trick by intertwining their arms as they spooned the apple pie to their mouths. It was refreshing to see such an expression of romance these days. Kim and I fed each other our dessert, which turned out to be really tough, because, first of all, we couldn't keep from laughing at how absurd couples are who really do that, and secondly it takes more skill than you'd think to lift chocolate pie accurately to someone's mouth while at the same time you have four sharp fork prongs headed for your face.
     The date was going well. It was time to make our moves. Bill stretched his arms to yawn and slickly one across Amanda's shoulders. I used a sneaky tactic I'd learned from Ewan "Johnny" Smith known only as MODERN ODDYSEUS' DATING ADVICE # 17. You ask a girl, "How did the duck get to the other side of the pond?" Then, when she doesn't know the answer, waddle your fingers past her neck, put an arm to her side, and say, "He went around."
     That move earned me my first sleepover with a date. (Kim didn't sleep anywhere near me, but we both spent the night at Bill's house - a "Date of the Week" first)

For January, I was returning to school. The good - no, great - news was that my old nemesis, the pansy, Pansyckas, was not going to be there. I realized on my way to Florida that Pansyckas (or, as my grandmother likes to call him, "Candy-Ass") was going to be in Spain this semester. I nearly did a little dance on the plane. All I have to say is: poor, poor Spaniards. Luckily for them, Pansyckas speaks Spanish atrociously, so they won't have to hear him complaining about his pesos.
     "Rrgh, that Pansyckas rattles my incisors!"

Believe it or not, there were good times between me and Pansyckas. I remember one day in 1999, a few days before Thanksgiving ...
     I'd said, "Rudy (as I used to call him during those strange days when we were friends), what are you doing for Thanksgiving break?"
     Pansyckas said, in his nasally voice, "Oh, just a little exercise. One day, I'm going to jog 4 miles, bike 30 miles, swim a mile, and do 500 push-ups."
     "Great, I'll join you," I said. I extended four fingers. "Except, what I'm gonna do is eat a half-gallon of ice cream, a 12-inch sub sandwich, a box of cereal, and a large pizza."
     We agreed to have a race.
     And so, the stage was set, for one of the greatest contests in the history of man. Pansyckas vs. me. The forces of Evil vs. the power of Good. "Might Vs. Mouth: the Quadrathlon." "The Race to Lose 3000 Calories Vs. The Race to Gain 9000 Calories." (Pansyckas argued unsuccessfully that we should charge spectators to watch, but I doubt it would've been very profitable anyways since only one person came with entry free, and that was Pansyckas' brother)
     At 9:30 am, Thanksgiving Friday, we began, at my school's pool. Pansyckas took off running, with plans to stop occasionally to do push-ups. I devoured my turkey-and-ham sub in under fifteen minutes and then chowed down on a head-sized block of Black Cherry ice cream.
     Fifteen minutes into the ice cream, Pansyckas returned from his jogging. He did the 100 push-ups he still needed, and he got on his bike and departed. I enjoyed the ice cream and poured a big bowl of Just Right cereal with the 1/2 gallon of milk I also had to finish.
     The first bowl went down slowly but surely, and I started to look pregnant. I ate the first bite of the second bowl, but my throat rejected it. My cheeks got bloated, as neither my teeth nor throat would let the sloppy food through. Finally, I swallowed, and I moved on to the second bite. My cheeks shot out immediately, as the same struggle ensued again. For the next grotesque hour, I consumed only two bowls of cereal and repressed the gag instinct about a hundred times.
     I crammed down a three-topping slice of Hungry Howie's pizza, but my esophagus would only make room for tiny niblets at a time. To my horror, Pansyckas finished his 30-mile bike ride, his third event, only two hours, fifteen minutes into the contest.
     Then followed one of the most miserable scenes ever. Pansyckas, all hunched over from exhaustion, slipped into the pool without bending one part of his sore body. I sat at a table, eyeing my nine remaining pizza pieces with serious intent. My body leaked milk from the ears and Just Right from my eyeballs. By some miracle, I stuffed another piece of pizza onto my digestive tract.
     Pansyckas was reduced to running across the pool, moaning, "Ow! Oh! Ow! Ohhhh!" and complaining that every part of his body hurt. I paced half-inch steps around the pool deck, crying because my kidneys and liver had, I think, been filled with food. Our wincing faces looked like they were sucking themselves into our skulls; in my case, my mouth was trying to eat my face.
     Our contest concluded soon after Pansyckas got a leg cramp and writhed, screaming, on the pool's edge, swearing he was going to die if he didn't get to a hospital in one minute (what a pansy!). He was nearly done swimming anyhow, so I granted him victory. We headed home. I rolled to a stop in my bed. For 24 hours, I could do nothing but lay atop my belly and mourn the fact that I'd been bested by Pansyckas.
     "Aarrrgghh, Pansyckas! He grinds my cerebrum!!!"

I couldn't believe he'd beat me, but we did have another of the greatest contests in the history of man! It didn't have a fancy name in February 2000, when it occurred, so I'll just call it "Pectorals vs. Stomach vs. Liver."
     It was also a race. Pansyckas had to do 2700 push-ups, I had to eat 3 half-gallons of ice cream, and Ewan "Johnny" Smith had to drink 17 beers. We figured it'd take four hours and be a close finish.
     In his first contest appearance, Johnny fared especially poorly. Johnny's a big drinker, but the day of the contest was not his lucky day. After four beers, he was already so drunk he took off his pants. He lay in bed and never drank more than six beers.
     I'd never ate more than one half-gallon of ice cream at a time, but I got off to an early, seemingly insurmountable lead - finishing the Black Cherry half-gallon and Chocolate Rainbow in only 1 hour, fifteen minutes. But Pansyckas didn't give up. For four hours, he did push-up after push-up after push-up after push-up, with heavy Metallica music to motivate him. Eventually, his upper body swelled up like a balloon ready to pop, and his skin turned red with sweat.
     A lot was at stake. For a friendly wager, the contest loser had to wear stuffed bras to all their classes one day. Pansyckas kept going, while I significantly slowed on my ice cream. Between 2 1/2 hours and 3 1/2 hours, I took only two bites of Peach ice cream.
     Two times, I was eating and nearly puked. Both times, Johnny jumped out of bed, excited. If I would puke, it would be an automatic forfeit, meaning Johnny would be saved from having to wear a bra. "Puke! Puke, da*n you!" said Johnny, and I ran from the room. The entire contents of my stomach pushed feverishly against my lips for a good fifteen seconds, like the inmates of a jail trying a mass break-out at the prison doors. Luckily, these prison doors, as well as the heart of our fearsome Pansyckas-slaying hero, were made out of titanium. I'm proud to say, I held the ice cream in and finished the final half-gallon at a time of four hours, thirty minutes. Woohoo! The champion! Pansyckas managed a respectable 2300 push-ups - but he still lost, the pansy. The sad part about this story is that neither Johnny nor Pansyckas ever wore their bras to class, as I would've LOVED to have seen that.
     "AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! That Pansyckas!!! He really boils my terds!"

But ... hmmm. In a way, I guess, looking back on it, I suppose Pansyckas and I did have a rare friendship - one based purely on hatred.
     "Rrreeeekkkkkeffrrrrrekkkkkkkkarrrrrrggghhhhh, Pppnnnnnsssyyyyyyckkkkkaaaaaassss!"

- Modern Oddyseus

Good luck Spain.

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