Shotguns in New Jersey

I looked into the living room and one of Karl’s friends from Mercer County changed the music to a party station. AC/DC was cut off halfway through its roar by LMFAO. They yelled out for shots. The beat instilled a fervor in the crowd who repeated the phrase over and over. A crowd had gathered around the beer pong table under Karl’s command. He took out a case of High Life from the fridge and yelled out ‘Shotgun!’ as he shoved a beer to me, Marty, and some other guys he knew. Marty just looked at the can and waved his hand left and right.

“I’m not drinking at all tonight man,” Marty said. One of Karl’s friends snatched the beer from his hands and chugged it down in six gulps.

Someone found cheap knives from the counter and passed it around. Everyone with a can turned it on its side and made our marks at the center. When everyone was ready, we popped the tops of the cans in unison and drank. Karl called out shotgun again before chugging his own.  We did this two more rounds. After round two, the hits began to take their hold but that might have been the whiskey from earlier in the day. After it was over I began walking around the place with Karl, talking to random people and mingling with Dave and his roommate. Dave was talking with his friend, the girl who looked like Anne Frank, and she didn’t want to talk to anyone. She pouted on the couch and kept asking Dave when they were leaving. Someone changed the station a third time to a rap station and Fat Joe came on, rapping about money, cash, and women. Some girls left the kitchen and started to dance in the living room. We watched for awhile.

“Yeah buddy!” Karl said to no one in particular. He slapped hands with everyone, chugged a High Life whenever he could get his hands on one and talked to anyone that could stand him. Marty sat in the corner of the house. He brooded and felt left out, I could tell. I could also begin to feel the alcohol overtake me.  I walked over to him and leaned against a wooden column. Dancing, drinking, and shouting that hummed over the music. It was great background noise to the transformation from sober to drunk. Karl lunges for me and spills a bit of his High Life on the floor by accident.

“Eh man, this party ain’t never gonna end! Stop standing around, let’s do it to it!”

I nodded and followed him but I knew he was wrong. It was going to end by morning and I feared that all of this temporary happiness was for shit. I think Marty always knew that. He just didn’t want to live through that truth.

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