Daniel Larusso and I were supposed to have a dudes’ night out, just him and me. And we got maybe an hour in before he bailed.
The plan was to meet at the Golf n’ Stuff family entertainment center at 8:30. Just a couple of bros hitting the air hockey table, maybe the front nine of the miniature golf course. Who knows, things get crazy, me and Danny-boy might even hit the waterslides a little later; I told him to bring his suit.
8:55 Daniel shows up (no swimming trunks). He said he was helping a friend out and lost track of the time. I knew he was talking about that little old Chinese guy, but I don’t press the issue.
9:12 We’re finishing up a couple a slices, a couple a root beers, no big deal. Daniel starts bragging on his air hockey skills. “Is that a challenge?” I ask with a raised eyebrow, standing from my seat with my arms out at full wingspan. “You want some of this, Larusso?” Daniel looks around nervously and tells me to keep my voice down.
9:16 Butcher: 5, Laurusso: 1. I’m like Ovechkin on the air hockey table. Suddenly, I hear Daniel’s gay, Peter Cetera ring tone go off and he calls time out. I’m like, “Time out? This is air hockey.” But he takes the call. He’s doing a lot more listening than talking. When he finally gets off, I ask, “Who was that?”
“Just a friend,” he says.
9:19 Game, set, match, bitch. Butcher 11, Larusso 3.
9:20 We pass a photo booth. “Hey, man, what do you say? My treat?” I say, gesturing towards the photo-op behind the curtain. He gives me a look like, “are you for real?” Oh, I’m for real, Karate Kid. I’m so for real.
9:24 I bet Daniel that, in four turns, he can’t pull a plush M&M doll from the claw-crane machine. He’s all, “you know I caught a fly with some chopsticks, right?” and takes the bet. “They’re having a beach party later tonight. You wanna check it out,” I ask him. He suddenly starts getting all squirrelly on me. “I might have something else to do.”
9:26 Daniel hands me a yellow M&M doll and says, “You lose.” But I just got a yellow plush M&M doll for fifty cents. I’d say that’s a WIN if ever there was one.
9:28 So, I’m feeling like it’s time to get our putt-putt on. But when I bring it up, Daniel-son says, “I got this thing…” What? “Dude, this was supposed to be Bros’ Night Out.” He corrects me, saying it’s called “Dudes’ night out.” Fine. “Bro, this was supposed to be Dude’s Night Out, now you’re dissing me? It’s that Mr. Miyajji, isn’t it?” “Miya-gi,” he says, “and maybe. What’s it to you?”
9:34 Daniel and I hit the skee ball machine. After about six games, neither of us talking to each other, Daniel says, “I might take off in a bit.” “ I roll my eyes. “Do you want my tickets,” he asks. Of course I do. Daniel walks away.
9:37 Lonely and tired, I do a lap around the arcade. Then I realize, “what law says I can’t go on the water slide… by myself.”
9:39 I’m heading for the exit when I hear, “On second thought, how about those pictures.”
He left right after we took the photos. It was the shortest Dudes’ Night Out on record. But, as time passes, and that strip of photos becomes clearer than my memory, I think back fondly on that special night at Golf n’ Stuff.