Bradoween V: Five Years in sbo Suburbia

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July 14, 2022 0 Comment

 

I sat on the edge of my suburban tract, my back to the railroad ties, and my voice a cracked mess of overuse and abuse. When I tried to hit a note I could on almost any day, it came out in an ugly squeal. So, I leaned back, rested my chin on the edge of my guitar, and picked few notes as the first hints of sunlight started to rise over the horizon.

Like the poor young guns who hadn’t lasted the night and passed out underneath trees or on storm drains, I was on the edge between finished and disaster. And when given a choice by Iggy and Daddy, I chose disaster. Because, I’m not finished until the party is. And if the waitress at the Waffle House doesn’t notice that we’re arriving by cab at the same time church services are starting, she certainly won’t realize we brought our beer with us.

***

Starting at the end is easier than starting at the beginning. The beginning is so long ago and ethereal at best. It’s five years ago when the party grew from the seed of a joke. It’s five months ago when I got the first hint that this year would be different than the past. It’s five minutes ago when I sat down to write this and could still smell the Southern Comfort wafting in from the garage.

My head tells me to begin this chronology and take you moment by moment through the tedium. But, my instinct tells me that even the most avid and loyal reader wouldn’t make it to the end. If I were to delve as deeply as I felt it when sbo G-Rob bounded from the car and ran into the Publix, if I were to truly express the friendship it must’ve taken to run across a black-tar-hot parking lot in search of orange-dusted cheez balls, well I fear you might just go running to Pink is the New Blog in search of real entertainment.

Instead, let us begin with the real fear. It’s the fear any host feels on the precipice of his party. It’s the fear no one will come. It’s the fear the everyone will come and no one will have fun. It’s the burn in your belly at lunch time when the first shots of Southern Comfort slide down your esophogus. It’s getting caught hosing down coolers when the first guests start to arrive for a pre-pre-party poker game. It’s finally showering and making it to BadBlood’s “G-Vegas is Doomed” tournament.

Yes, that’s where it begins.

Pregame at Blood’s

Ever since the moment she grabbed a tiara and was hence dubbed the Pai Gow Princess, I’ve been a bit intimidaed by Heather. Off the table, she is as affable and cordial as you’d like. But get her around felt–any felt–and her eyes take on the icy glint of a hunter.

And so, as I sat down for my first poker of the weekend and found myself at her table, I did not feel at all comfortable. The tone her voice made me want to muck so badly that I was tempted to muck my discards after I’d already mucked them. You know, just for good measure.

As I sat in fear, players busted out around me and I had no playable hands. Somehow, I convinced myself to play with marginal hands and suddenly we were down to one table, then six-handed. When G-Rob offered his in-game interview with Gracie and said, expectedly, that he was the best player at the table, I had a brief fantasy that I’d bust him. And I did when he thought I was making a move and his thinking was basically wrong. By that point he’d been drinking for nine straight hours.

I only really thought about one hand the entire tournament. Gamecock raised pre-flop and I called in late position with K9s. The flop came nine-high and Gamecock pushed. I didn’t figure him for a set (he would’ve let me hang myself with that one), so I had to take him off an overpair. It took longer than I would’ve liked to make the decision, but finally, I called. He showed JT for a gutshot draw and two overs. He didn’t get there and it was only a matter of time before I cashed for the first time at Casa de Blood. The only things that made it sweeter were:

1) It was a first place finish

2) Team Scott Smith repeatedly calling out from the other room, “Why does Otis have all of G-Rob’s chips?”

***

I wrote the above words over the course of a few days in five minute increments. Every time I stopped writing, I’d read the other Braodween posts and sit in awe. Something neat happened here this past weeked. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it has something to do with two conversations I had during the party. One was with my brother, Dr. Jeff. The other was with Al Cant Hang.

In both conversations, I’d looked up and scanned the party area.

“Not as big as past years,” I mused, but not unhappily.

In both conversations, the reply was as obvious as it was true: “It’s quality, not quantity.”

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