• Everything But Imaginary #431: Time With the Boys

    Last night I got a message from my buddy Kenny, whom you listeners of the 2 in 1 Showcase podcast know as “that guy in indentured servitude in the Gulf of Mexico and whose microphone is never quite sensitive enough.” Our pal Mike is getting married in a couple of weeks, and Kenny wanted to know if I’d be willing to join to take him on a little road trip. My reaction was, and here I paraphrase, “Sweet Baby Jesus and All the Hollow Chocolate Easter Rabbits in Heaven Above, YES.”

    2012 hasn’t started spectacularly for me, guys. There was an incident at my school just before the semester started that has placed everybody – faculty and student alike – very much on edge. On the homefront, my writing has been alternating between bursts of enthusiastic creativity and long, self-pitying stretches where I’m certain I’m a no-good, fraudulent hack and any moment the Fiction Police are going to kick in my door and demand I return all the money I’ve made from book sales in the last year. It’s a good thing I’m not an LSU fan, or Monday night may have pushed me right over the edge. To be blunt, I’m in a rut. And a funk. And the best way to get out of a funky rut (or a rutty funk) is to kick the dust from your feet and do something outside of your routine for a few days. Plus – with all love and respect to Erin – sometimes what a man really needs most is to spend time with the guys, where he’s allowed to belch, scratch, and flatulate freely and without fear of judgment. I’m assuming here we’re taking Kenny’s car.

    Don’t misunderstand me: we are not wild and crazy party people. None of us are big drinkers, everything we know about drugs comes from watching movies, and this will probably be the first bachelor’s weekend of the decade that will include an intense scrutiny of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in search of a good comic book store. But that’s not really important. This is all about buddies getting together and being themselves for a couple of days.

    It makes me wonder, really, what certain superheroes would be like at their own bachelor parties, or those of their friends. Imagine the men of the Fantastic Four, for example, on such a road trip. Johnny Storm would probably be a chick magnet, but that’s offset by the fact that no conventional automobile air conditioning system could keep up with him for extended periods of time. Ben Grimm, on the other hand, is most definitely the life of the party, with better stories than anyone else. On the other hand, you’ve got to be especially careful going over potholes, because your shock absorbers are already pushed to the limit getting him into the car. Reed Richards, on the other hand, would tell rather long, rambling stories on the interstate, but make up for it at the casino blackjack table. (Remember, kids, counting cards is not illegal. It just pisses off the Casino Owners, who reserve a right to throw you out.)

    Several members of the Justice League have been married in one continuity or another, and I imagine their bachelor weekends have all gone pretty much the same way regardless of which one was the groom. Barry Allen finishes 137 Sudoku puzzle books in the first two miles and then runs ahead to check into the hotel and lounges by the pool, waiting for everyone else. Hal Jordan, who’s driving, constantly speeds, but it’s okay because he charms his way out of a ticket when he realizes he was pulled over by a lady cop. Arthur Curry requires frequent convenience store stops so he can stock up on Dasani. Clark Kent expounds upon the incredible natural beauty of the hills and plains of the United States until Oliver Queen – who until now has been preoccupied with being socially relevant – recommends finding a strip club. And Bruce Wayne doesn’t actually come along, but he sends a one-word congratulatory note and foots the bill for the entire weekend, which is pretty lucky after J’onn J’onzz wrecks the Hibachi Place when the flaming onion volcano freaks him out.

    I’m pretty sure the only male Avenger who is currently married is Luke Cage, but I can picture that weekend as well. Thor will show up with barrels of mead over both shoulders, which Tony Stark will make a big production out of not drinking from. Hawkeye, on the other hand, will get sloshed and then begin taking increasingly risky bar bets over by the dart board, culminating with a shot that requires him to bank the dart off Cap’s shield, through a series of perfectly-aligned pretzels suspended in the air by Dr. Strange, and finally into the cleavage of the waitress. Hulk will be the guy in the corner who brings the whole party down by bemoaning the state of his lousy love life, ultimately splitting off that part of his personality into yet another independent body, Blue Hulk, who will be the star of his own 12-issue maxi-series, which will be prematurely cancelled at issue seven. And Steve Rogers will be extremely nervous as he remembers the stunt Nick Fury pulled at Rick Jones’ bachelor party, hiring an “Ecdysiast,” a lovely young woman Cap assumed was a kind of magician, but turned out to be… well… more “traditional” bachelor party entertainment, if you catch my drift.

    (This really happened – Incredible Hulk #417 by Peter David, best comic book bachelor party ever.)

    Dick Grayson’s party will inevitably be interrupted by a string of angry ex-girlfriends. It wouldn’t matter, though, when he realizes out of his three best friends Roy Harper is on the run, Tim Drake is 17 years old again, and nobody knows where the hell Wally West is.

    Frank Castle’s party will be ruined when someone drinks underage and Frank goes on a killing spree.

    Guy Gardner will lead a group of Green Lanterns on an intergalactic road trip in search of Rysa, the “vacation resort” planet (nudge nudge wink wink say no more) from that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation he caught on Spike TV.

    True to form for Matt Murdock, his next bachelor party will come to an abrupt end when someone hurls the thoroughly stabbed corpse of his fiancé into the bar.

    Atomic Robo’s bachelor party will be attacked by an army of cybernetic Frankenstein Monsters remote-controlled by his arch-enemy Dr. Dinosaur and backed up by a legion of Thomas Edison’s poltergeist drones. It’ll be awesome.

    Similar to The Hangover, nobody remembers Spider-Man’s bachelor party the next day. Except the readers. Who don't forget for yeeeeeears...

    And Mike Bellamy? Who knows. Maybe we’ll take a tour of a battleship in Alabama. Maybe we’ll hit big at the casinos in Biloxi. Maybe we won’t get any farther than a bar in New Orleans, because there is a Saints game Saturday, after all. One thing I can promise you, though: no Ecdysiasts. Mike’s fiancé demanded it. So it can never, never happen. In any way she could possibly find out about it.

    Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.