“We apprehended John Francis at approximately 6pm,” the women says to Sean. Sean’s drunk. Really drunk. So drunk that he dropped his phone in front of his feet three minutes ago, and still hasn’t picked it up. He’s bailing our friend out of prison.
“I have the receipt right here. I paid for one John Francis. I would like him in my hands.” Sean says while making a cupping gesture in his hands as if John Francis could ever fit in there.
“Your friend is being an asshole. We have to wait for him to calm down before we can let him out,” this women is at the end of her patience. When she arrived at her 5pm-midnight shift at the Myrtle Beach office of public safety on a Sunday she didn’t know what was in store.
“No no no,” Mo says, “the police told me he would be released in four hours. It’s been four hours. Your time is up.”
“You’re friend is a dick,” the other woman behind the counter says.
“Is it true?” I think. “Is John Francis indeed being an asshole? Why? I’ve always known him to be reasonable. Could being the only person in the drunk tank making things worse? The only man with three female officers. It could be easy to come off as intimidating without trying to. Maybe he was just being snarky. Prick. They’re right. He is an asshole.”
“You’re right,” I say, “He is an asshole. We’re sorry for making our asshole your problem. Can we please have our asshole back. Just tell him Mo is here to see him.”
The woman turns around and walks back to the cell.
I can see his mugshot poking out of a file cabinet. It looks legendary. I look at Jason, he sees it too.
“It looks like he is trying to blow up the jail with his mind,” Jason says.
“It looks like he had drugs in his butt, but then got arrested and he’s unsure of his next move,” I reply.
“He asked me if he could leave his bandanna on in the picture,” the other officer says.
“Come On!” Sean screams from the wooden bench in the waiting area.
“I’m just surprised you didn’t find any drugs on him,” I say to the other officer.
“Me too,” she says. “I had to fingerprint him. He told me that he had eleven fingers.”
We erupt with laughter.
“He says that Mo is the homie,” the Officer 1 says returning from John’s cell.
“Does that mean that you’re going to let him out?” Mo says.
“Yes. We can let him out. He’s calmed down enough now.”
Good fucking looks. We’ve been here for 45 minutes. I’ve already read all of the pamphlets about filing complaints, reporting violent crime, and preventing terrorism that line the walls. As if the Department of Homeland Security actually prevents terrorism. We step outside, and wait for him to be released through the exterior door.
He emerges. Looking like nothing has changed and completely shoeless.
“FRAANCISSS!!!” Sean screams. He’s wearing a fucking University of Michigan bucket hat. None of us go to the University of Michigan.
“Can we load up in the fucking car before you get arrested again you asshole,” I say to John.
Mo drives us to the gas station in Sean’s white Honda Pilot. We get a case of Bud Heavy and all crack a roadie.
“What the fuck?”
“Dude. That was bullshit,” Johnny Francis says. “I was unlawfully detained against my will. I demanded a writ of habeas corpus and they failed to provide one. They destroyed my property, and lost my cellphone. Fuck those bitches. I wasn’t even that drunk.”
“I wasn’t there,” I say “but I’m sure you were pretty drunk. They called Mo to come grab you because you were too wasted.”
“No fuck that. I wasn’t drunk. They completely picked me out of a crowd just because they wanted somebody to fuck with. They didn’t breathalyze me, which means they didn’t have any evidence against me in the first place. That means I was held without evidence against me will, which is obviously illegal.”
“That makes a surprising amount of sense coming from someone as drunk as you are,” Jason says grinning.
“Fuck you bitch. They wouldn’t even let me get my phone off the beach. I lost my phone.”
“The cops are knocking at the door,” Jason says to me. I hide on the backdoor. I was never much for cops. Curiosity gets the better of me after five minutes.
There are two Myrtle Beach cops talking to John Francis, and a short woman in a gray skirt and jacket with a white blouse. She’s got a salty expression on her face.
They’re arguing with John.
“I understand what you’re saying, but what happened with your phone is not our fault.” The officer who talks says.
Not talking officer holds a clipboard, and seems to be day-dreaming. I wonder what he’s imagining. Probably something to do with the short woman. That’s what it is.
“No I’m certain that you don’t understand. You lost my fucking cellphone. That costs money. I calmly asked the arresting officers to let me grab it. They refused. Your department owes me money. This can not happen. You owe me damages.”
“Sir, you were inebriated…”
“I was not inebriated. You have no evidence of that. I was never breathalyzed.”
“You are inebriated right now,” talking officer says.
“And?” 20 year-old John Francis says. Mo told me that he perfectly did the math on his age so that he was exactly 21 when he was on the beach. I was impressed. He didn’t have id at the jail. They never found out.
“Look. This is fucking bullshit. You have functionally stolen my property. I want it back.”
“Please don’t use that language with me. We can search for the phone’s location using technology.”
“It won’t work. The phone is dead. I already tried,” I say, breaking the golden rule of not talking to police ever for any reason whatsoever.
“Was I talking to you?” The police officer says.
Fucking pigs. I can feel everyone’s eyes.
“Look,” the cop says, “file a stolen property report. I will personally see that it gets attended to. Just wait a day. Do not file the report today. Wait until you sober up.” If only John Francis had listened. “We are going to leave now. Hopefully we will be able to get your phone back. We are going to leave now. Have a safe night.”
He turns his back, revealing the short woman—who we’ve now realized is the night manager—facing our party.
“THIS IS A FAMILY RESORT. WE WILL NOT CONTINUE TO TOLERATE THIS BEHAVIOR. IF ANY OF YOU LEAVE THIS ROOM YOU WILL BE ARRESTED,” something she doesn’t have the authority to do, “THE MUSIC IS TOO LOUD. I CAN HEAR YOU ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE HALL. I SWEAR TO GOD YOU BETTER PRAY WE DON’T FIND DRUGS IN THIS ROOM.” I was pretty sure that we had done all of the drugs at this point, there might still have been some molly laying around and maybe a couple of weed stems. “THIS IS YOUR FIRST WARNING. OFFICIALLY. YOU WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE IF I SO MUCH AS SEE YOU IN THE LOBBY AGAIN.”
She stomps away with her two guard dogs behind her.
“Bitch,” says Number Jason shortly after the door shuts.
“Lukey,” Mo says, “what was that word about short people?”
“Napoleonic Complex, you could see how long those heels were. She’s obvi insecure about it.”
“That shit pisses me off,” says Jason, “the people who we pay should be representing us. The police were way more reasonable in that situation then she was, but it should’ve been the other way around.” Jason was reading Thomas Paine on the beach earlier today.
“Honestly, since I woke up from this nap at 9pm, I’ve just been getting yelled at. She was the seventh person to yell at me in a 2.5 hour period,” I say. For context, someone was talking out of the side of their neck about being able to out smoke/drink us earlier. Fucking Wanker had the nerve to say it without a drink in his hand. He got very angry when I pointed that out to him. Nobody fucking outdrinks us, and the idea that you can “out-smoke” someone is stupid and completely defeats the purpose.
“Six people?” Mo says, “we all know you cant count that high.”
I show Mo my middle finger.
In the club no one can hear, and everyone is trying to communicate. Danger Eagle, G-rav, Dale, Wes, and I are failing at having a pow-wow while in a human-sized birdcage in one corner of the Spanish Galleon club. A drunk couple is dancing inside the birdcage.
We’re all discussing this text message from Jason, “John Francis (the chosen one) got us all evicted, gotta check out this morning.”
“So we’re getting evicted?” G-rav says, I can only barely read his lips.
“…… ……………,” Danger Eagle says with a concerned look on his face.
“What do we do?” Dale’s lips say.
This conversation is dumb and I have to pee. I embark, trying to tell my friends to “stay here,” and Danger Eagle grabs me as I try to leave, confused where I’m going. I tear his arm away.
There are two bathrooms and three bars surrounding the dance floor in the club. The walkways are not long enough for the two side bars and traffic backs up very quickly. I found myself if a sea of Duke students. Fuck.
The line for the women’s room is so long that at least fifteen women are in the men’s room.
“Hanson Brothers,” this short kid waiting to wash his hands says to me. He’s wearing a Duke visor.
“Hanson Brothers. Ayo Mark. Doesn’t this kid look like one of the Hanson Brothers.”
“Ya,” Mark says. He’s slightly bigger than his friend, who is tiny.
“Oh… He doesn’t know who the Hanson Brothers are,” the short one says.
“No. I know who the fucking Hanson Brothers are. There isn’t a thing that you know that I don’t already know. Now move over,” I say trying to pee in the sink.
“I fucking love that movie man.”
“Why are you still talking to me?” Now normally I am a huge pussy. I don’t really fight without getting my ass kicked. If anything, I’ll passively talk shit to someone while walking away. I’m too good at talking myself out of situations to ever really have to defend myself physically. But in this situation I was aggressive. I’m still not sure why.
I finish peeing.
“Look. Here’s a picture of the Hanson brothers from Slap Shot. You look like them. You need to take a picture with me and Mark.”
“You need to suck my dick. You need to stop talking to me. Goodbye.” Okay, maybe I still am kind of a pussy.
Back in this loud club. I should have listened to the sleepy voice in my head when he told me never to wake up from my nap at 9. It’s about 2am now.
“So what exactly happened?” I text the group.
“John Francis got the cops called again,” Grayson says.
I’m about done with his bullshit at this point. Although, I’m happy that we are not going to be in Myrtle Beach until Tuesday. We weren’t going to last that long anyways. We couldn’t keep drinking like this. The wave would eventually draw back leaving us beached and dehydrated. Feeling like a couple of whales. He just couldn’t keep his shit together. What the fuck John?
“Ok we can all agree that John has lost phone privileges,” I say to the group message.
“Guys. You should hide all the drugs. I’m pretty sure the cops are coming again,” Dale says, peeping his head into our room. We are packing.
“We were supposed to be having a calm discussion. What the fuck happened!?”
Wesl and that guy who can outdrink us are screaming at each other. Wes is the definition of a gentle giant, he has a southern accent and I’ve only ever seen him raise his voice three times. I believe the argument started like this,
“Look, McGowan is the stereotypical white person who doesn’t know how to talk to police, and as a result, he acted like an asshole because he thought he could get away with it,” Jason says. He sounds like a scientist when he speaks sometimes.
Someone took issue with this comment because it was racialized. They weren’t wrong, but at the time we had bigger issues to deal with. Somewhere along the line he started screaming at Wes for no reason in particular.
We had been loudly playing Xanny Family by Future all weekend, we played other songs, but an overwhelming majority of the time it was Xanny Family. Not only could you hear the music—and stomps of college students—outside of the room into the hall, but I’m also certain that you could hear it in the next room ,and the room after that. This truly was a family resort, and I should not have been so surprised that the hotel management was unhappy that Esther, the owner, had Air Bnb’d her timeshare out to some raucous college students who were thirsty for blood and rum. My bathing suit was still wet when I haphazardly threw it in my suitcase. Things were escalating quickly, and as much as I wanted to see it all come crashing down, I was also certain that I was going to get the brunt of it, however bad it was.
Jason rushes into our room, there were two beds and at least six people had been sleeping in the room every night that we were there. He’s got a half-finished bottle of Tanquery in his hand,
“Take this. Throw it in your suitcase,” he says.
“Go get my tequila too, you selfish dickhead.”
“Fine, but you are going to have to come get the car with me when we are finished packing.”
“Done. I want to get away from here as quickly as possible as well. This place is going to be the death of me I swear.”
Jason and Sean had already negotiated that Jason would be the one to drive this rambunctious group of degenerates home. He was sober, not having a drink since he woke up from his nap. He earned the title Number One Friend Jason for driving.
Mo walked in the hotel room as we were going to get the car, completely unaware of the situation.
“What’s going on? What’s good my bros,” he says.
“Pack your shit. We are leaving,” I say.
Mo shrugs his shoulders and starts packing.
We all packed into the car. Sean and Mo were definitely the drunkest, and still destroying beers in the backseat at 4:30am. Number One Friend Jason was driving carefully. The Honda Pilot had one of those backseat tv screens so you could watch dvd’s. Sean insisted that we put in this Larry Byrd two-hour long highlight reel. Just so he could keep screaming,
Mo had his head out of the window like a dog for most of the ride.
Johnny F had calmed down a little, and was smoking a cigarette.
Sean threw up in his lap in the back-middle seat of his car, in his University of Michigan Bucket Hat and Larry Byrd Celtics jersey. I looked at him and screamed,
“Larry Fucking Legend”
After six hours we were finally back in Winston-Salem. It was 6am. Number One Friend Jason and I decided to stay up until eight so we could go to Dioli’s and get a breakfast sandwich before passing out for an eternity.
On the way over Jason looked at me and said,
“Let’s never go there ever again. Never. Please. Promise me that we will never go to that Beach again. I can’t do it. I just don’t have it in me.”
I looked back, “so are you out for Myrtle Beach Bike Week 2017 then?”
Endnote: I almost forgot the best part of this story. Apparently, the timeshare complex never told the older woman who let us Airbnb her place that they evicted us. She gave Dale this 5-star review on the Airbnb app: