Ah, the summer of 1989. A lot of good times & memories (of what I can remember anyway) were made in that year.

We were a little older, a lot crazier, unfortunately, none the wiser.
We made it through the summer of 1989, however, with nothing to show for it. All except for a fridge half-full of beer and a small canon.

That’s right. We got ourselves a canon,
but that’s a totally different story.

The fact that there was absolutely NO SUPERVISION is what made all this possible.

Summer of 1989

820 Eaton Street

Hammond, Indiana

I thought I was living the dream. Probably the dream of every 18-year-old male across the country. Well, at least maybe among my fellow “Region Rats” anyway. I guess that’s why we pretty much hung out at my house all the time. The lack of supervision made it the perfect environment for all the “Shit Starting & Shenanigans” we got ourselves into.

We had a large assortment of beer thanks to the Great Beer Heists of '89

We had a large assortment of beer thanks to the Great Beer Heists of ’89

It usually started with a garage/back alley BBQ, but things always got carried away and into the basement as the evening rolled in. By this time, most of us were already half-lit. There was always plenty of beer (free of charge). Of course, this was before the “major bust” of The Great Beer Heists of ’89.
In fact, the warm keg of Guinness spent a good portion of the summer of 1989 in my basement before it was finally moved to a new [undisclosed] location for further study & observation. A few of us would always take a crack at trying to get the beer out, but it always ended up in failure. If we only had that specific tap for that Guinness keg maybe a few us would think differently about Guinness beer.

Then again, maybe not.

Thanks to the “Boys of Wildwood” we finally did get into that keg of Guinness.

 The “48 Club”

Let’s get to the point of the story.

We came up with a competition that if completed you were made a “48 Club” member. It was called the “48 Club” and to become a member you had to drink 48 beers within 48 hours.
Here are the rules:

  1.  You can NOT leave the vicinity.
  2.  You can eat, sleep and throw-up all you want.
  3.  48 beers must be consumed before the 48th hour in order to become a member.

Flaming Shots of Everclear
(an important part of the story)

Alcohol is flammable. The purer the alcohol in the liquor, the greater chance of it igniting.
It’s very flammable. Extremely flammable.

We found out that a particular brand of alcohol (liquor?) would actually ignite – Everclear!
I’m not sure if Everclear was intended to be sipped straight from the bottle, but we did it anyway.
It was horrible.
So, to liven the party, we lit a shot glass full of Everclear on fire and drank it that way.
Makes sense…right?

Yeah, right.
Now it doesn’t only taste like shit, but it’s dangerous too.

Not sure where the idea of throwing flaming shots down your throat came from, but after a few hits & misses , some of us became rather good at it. Almost expert even. May sound like a useless skill but I have to admit, it is rather interesting to witness. If you ever get a chance to witness a drunk throwing fire towards their face, take it.

48 Beers in 48 Hours

48 Beers in 48 Hours

Sometimes, things could go terribly wrong.
Like someone lighting their face on fire.

Or, things could go hysterically funny.
Like someone lighting their face on fire.

Note: On all Flaming Shots you are suppose to extinguish the flame before you drink it.
Nobody told us about that part.

(Back to the “48 Club”)
Let the Competition Begin!

By the fourth hour of the very first 48 Club Competition, there were only 6 or 7 serious (semiconscious) applicants still in the competition out of a basement full of juvenile delinquents.

You remember Cousin Mike?
He was with me during the “Jumping & Riding Trains” incident.

He was one of them.

The McDonald Brothers.
They were with me during one of the Great Beer Heists of ’89.

They were both hanging in there also.

So, there was Cousin Mike, the two McDonald Brothers, myself and a few others.
One of those still standing was Benjie Garrison.

Benjie Garrison is an awesome bowler and already a well-known competitor among his peers and other young professional bowlers. He is very, very good. I met Benjie in high school through a few of my friends. And like myself, he lived with just his father. I remember spending many days ditching school at his house when mine was “unavailable”. We dominated Super Mario Bros. on Nintendo.

Region Rats - photo by Open Clips

Region Rats – illustration by Open Clips

My house, however, was the hub. It was a bit bigger, plus it had a basement that was equipped with a bar. The bar was nothing fancy but it served its purpose. Built in the 60’s by my grandfather, this bar has seen its fair share of shit starting & shenanigans…

…and today was no different.

Although the rules simply state that nobody may leave the vicinity of the competition, Benjie and the younger McDonald  got hungry. Since there wasn’t any food in the house and nobody delivered this late, we decided to make an exception. There was a tiny 24-hour Mexican restaurant just a block away. The infamous LAS BRISAS Mexican Restaurant was a Region Rat hot-spot.
Sorta.

Being that Las Brisas was open 24-hours a day, it too, has also seen its fair share of shit starting & shenanigans. Serving not just the sober during the day, but also the drunks, addicts and idiots during the night. If you ever wanted to test your self defense skills, visit Las Brisas anytime after 1 am and wait. Even though the Hammond Police Department was exactly kiddie-corner from Las Brisas, some knuckleheads didn’t care. Something’s going to happen…

…and tonight was no different.

Benjie and the younger McDonald brother left the house together. It’s best to go in pairs. Besides, Cousin Mike was in no condition to go anywhere. He was worse off than the rest of us. And since this was my house and he was my cousin, I was the one to look after him.

So off they went.

Las Brisas wasn’t the safest restaurant in the Region, nor was it the cleanest, but it sure had GREAT tacos! photo by KAM MISTRY

When they walked into Las Brisas they could already tell that something was not right. There were three employees, one up front, one in the back and another sitting in a booth next to the register. All three of them had their eye on a couple (guy & girl) that were waiting for their order. They looked as if they were pissed off at one another.

The employee that was up front walked to the register and asked Benjie if they were ready to order. Just when Benjie was about to speak, a loud “Fuck you!” was shouted from the girl.

Benjie quickly turned and looked at the couple, “Wow. What was that?” Benjie jokingly snickered.

The guy looked up at Benjie for a moment and then went back silently speaking to the girl looking rather irritated

“What the fuck?” the younger McDonald said to Benjie.

“I don’t know. Whatever.” Benjie said back and then placed their order.

You were to pay right after you order at Las Brisas. This prevented ‘Dine & Dash’. When the employee gave Benjie his change she quickly went to finish up the couples order and gave it to them. The couple immediately left.

Not even a minute after the couple left, Benjie heard a ruckus right outside the restaurant’s front door. Benjie and the younger McDonald went to investigate and found the guy beating the shit out of the girl. Both of them went to grab the guy and pulled him off her.

Suddenly, Benjie felt a thud on the back of his head. When he turned around he saw the younger McDonald throwing the girl a pretty good distance away. When he did, a loud clank was heard. The girl dropped a tire iron in the process of being thrown. After the younger McDonald threw the girl down he jumped on the guy and started beating the shit out of him.

Yes. This happened.

The guy was totally unconscious, but the younger McDonald kept beating away. The girl stood up and decided not to intervene. I guess she knew that it didn’t matter she was a female. It wasn’t until Benjie, when he got his bearings, that stopped the younger McDonald from beating the guy any further. They both went back inside the restaurant. The girl just stood there and continued to scream at the both of them.

The Hammond Police showed up just when they sat down to eat their tacos. It looked as though the girl was trying to explain to the police why her boyfriend was laying unconscious in a Las Brisas parking lot. She was looking through the restaurants glass, pointing to the both of them telling the police who they should be arresting. But the police never came in the restaurant and asked any questions. It seems that they just hauled the couple away to jail.

End of that story.

Meanwhile…

Back at the house, none of us knew what was going on with Benjie and the younger McDonald. This was, of course, before the readily available cell phone.

This was also when we started doing “Flaming shots of Everclear”.

Turning up the heat!
alcohol-408446_1280

Benjie and the younger McDonald finally made it back from Las Brisas.

“We got into a fight,” Benjie announced as soon as he walked down the basement stairs. “Man, we kicked the shit out of some guy and his girlfriend.”

The younger McDonald went ahead and tried to explain what happened, but with the tape deck blaring “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns’n Roses made it a little difficult.

Before any of us could ask Benjie any questions, he was already at the end of the bar with his taco take-out. He sat with his back to us and that’s when I noticed the blood stain down Benjie’s back.

“Dude, you’re bleeding!” I shouted.

The younger McDonald went to check out Benjie’s head.

“That chic busted your head open.”

We all checked out his wound. Yep, there was a gash alright. She bashed him good.

Benjie took his last bite and muffled with a mouth full, “That bitch.” He grabbed a napkin and went upstairs to clean himself up in the bathroom.

Meanwhile…we showed the younger McDonald what we were up to since they left. Rash Key, Jay Gee along with the older McDonald brother with myself included poured ourselves a half-shot of Everclear. Each of us then lit the Everclear in the shot glass on fire.

“What the…?” the younger McDonald said looking wide eyed. “What are you guys going to do now?”

Before he realized, all four of us at the same time, threw the flaming shot down our own throat.

“HOLY SHIT! That’s fucking crazy!”

“Oh yeah?” a voice said coming from the other side of the basement. It was coming from Cousin Mike as he stumbled toward the bar. “I’ll show ya how to do it.”

Cousin Mike grabbed the bottle of Everclear and an empty shot glass. He carelessly poured himself a FULL shot spilling alcohol all over his hand as well as the bar.

“This is how you do it.”

Before any of us knew what was going on, Cousin Mike lit his shot glass on fire.

And his hand.

And the bar.

But that didn’t stop him.
Uh-uh.

Cousin Mike went ahead and was going to finish what he started. He tried to throw that flaming shot down his throat. But it was more like him throwing a fireball at his entire face than down his throat.
Oh yes. He threw fire at his own face.

So, Cousin Mike lit his hand and face on fire along with the top of the bar. I freaked out and everybody started yelling. I just started whacking Cousin Mike in the face trying to put the fire out. He gripped onto the bar with both hands (one of them on fire) and let me slap the shit out of him. The idea soon spread because everybody stopped screaming and started slapping Cousin Mike in the face.

And I do mean everybody. Like four pairs of hands.
I then threw a towel over his burning hand and put out the bar.

After a few quick moments of trying to extinguish Cousin Mikes face the fire eventually went out.
But wait a minute.

Benjie wanted some of that.

From nowhere Benjie flew into the scene. Throwing himself over the bar and with a stretch – SLAP!
He slapped Cousin Mike the hardest of everybody…and the fire was already out.
What the…?

But hold on.
This night doesn’t stop there.

Check back and find out what happens later when we come across vomit, a beer-bong & $100.

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