Like the wildly popular Choose Your Own Adventure tales of our childhood--only with a 20-something twist--Big Night Out is the kind of book readers will delve into more than once in their sometimes frustrating, sometimes victorious, pursuit of their quest.
In Big Night Out you must meet up with your current love interest at a party. In order to get to this party, you must track down one of a number of friends who were actually invited and figure out a way to tag along. Some friends are more cooperative than others; after all, each of them has an agenda of his or her own.
Likewise, the city you live in poses its own challenges; you may encounter pick-pockets, insane taxi drivers, difficult bouncers, and a full cast of "extras." Add to that the practical necessities such as securing food lest you pass out from drinking too much, and Big Night Out could end up being a night out on the town from hell--depending on what you, the reader, choose to do at every turn.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
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Big Night Out
By Lorraine Freeney, Tara McCarthy
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 1999 Lorraine Freeney & Tara McCarthy
All rights reserved.
The Pub, a small divey bar you adore mostly for its proximity, is a short walk from your apartment, and Dave isn't there yet; there's not really anybody there yet, actually. Just a few of the neighborhood regulars. You take a seat, one that might as well have a Reserved sign on it. You've probably spent more hours sitting on that bar stool than Jewel has practicing that constipated lovelorn look of hers.
"Hey," you say to the bartender, Kate.
"Hey," she replies.
"The usual," you say.
Her mouth spreads into a smug smile. "Let's be clear here. Are you saying you want all nine shots of Jim Beam up front, or are you going to have them one at a time?"
"Just one tonight," you say quite seriously. "I've got big plans."
"Ooooh." Kate grins, reaches for a bottle behind her, and pours your drink. "You mean you're going to throw a Long Island Iced Tea in tonight? A Kamikaze maybe?"
"Very funny," you say, and reach for your wallet. What you don't say: "Tonight, whether I get lucky or not, I will not — repeat not — end up back here getting drunk."
You turn when you hear the door and see Dave coming in. He's wearing his obligatory baseball cap — backward — and you cringe inwardly. Tonight, of all nights, you need to project a manly-men vibe.
"Hey," Dave says, taking a stool beside you.
"Hey," you reply, watching Kate move to the other end of the bar. That tight black dress certainly does her body justice.
Dave nudges you and gestures toward the object of your gaze. "She still playing it really cool?" It starts like this every time.
"She's not 'playing it cool,' Dave. She can't stand you."
"Oh come on! You're not buying this 'I'm too good for you' aloof crap?"
"I sure as hell am." You take a swig of your drink. "I've been on the receiving end of it enough times to recognize the genuine article when I see it. And that" — Kate bends over to retrieve an obscure liqueur, sticking her rather fine butt out in your direction in the process — "is the genuine article."
"Uh-oh." Dave puts his elbows on the bar and ducks his head down so he can adjust his cap. "You're not in a feeling-sorry-for-yourself mood, are you? I'm not going to have to convince you to skip school and then sing in a parade and trash your father's car, am I?" Dave relates everything in his life to a movie plot.
"Au contraire, my friend. Tonight, the only person I'm feeling sorry for is the woman who dares to try and resist my charms."
"You might want to send a little pity my way, in that case," Kate cuts in. "What's it going to be, Dave?"
"Sex on the beach." Dave nudges you — he likes to nudge — and smirks. "Oh" — he turns back to Kate — "you mean to drink?" He fakes a laugh.
"I know it's hard for you to decide," Kate says, pouring a pint for another customer. "I mean it's not like we have lukewarm Coors Light in a keg in the corner. But I can give you whatever you want in a bright red plastic cup and try to find 'Push It' on the jukebox if it'll make you feel more at home."
"A pint of Bass will do," Dave says. He's visibly humbled — as he usually is by Kate's acerbic wit. Still, he'll give it another shot next time. He always does. "Speaking of keg parties," he says, recovering quickly and turning to you.
You're confused. "I thought we were going to the Lunar Lounge to see your friend's band. I told Mike and some of those guys I'd meet them there for a martini beforehand — like in an hour or so. Mike's invited to a party Sadie's going to be at, and I'm going if it kills me."
"Who are 'some of those guys'? And whose party is it anyway?"
You explain: Mike is going to be out with Lisa, the vivacious blonde he went to school with, and Will and Tracy, who you think are kind of an odd couple. (Tracy is generally a bit of a loudmouth, and Will, who hardly says a word, is basically her yes-man, except he's always disagreeing with her.) Dave knows this. He's met them before. He also likens going out with Mike to Groundhog Day because Mike introduces you to whomever he's out with regardless of how many times you may have met them before. The important thing, however, is that Tracy works with both Sadie and the woman having the party — somebody named Kelly. "I'm going to that party," you say. Your tone indicates you mean business.
"Calm down. We'll meet them at the Lunar Lounge." Dave takes a hearty gulp of his Bass. "But first, we're going to my college buddy Joe's kegger. We don't have to stay long, I swear. Or I could just meet you at the Lunar later. Hey, that's fun to say — Lunar later, lunar later. ... Anyway, it's up to you ..."
To go straight to the Lunar Lounge by yourself, read on here.
To go to Joe's keg party with Dave, read on here.
If you think you can trick Dave into skipping the keg party, read on here
Suzy lives four blocks away, in a cramped apartment that a real estate agent might euphemistically describe as bijou. The two of you have been friends ever since you moved into the neighborhood and bonded over the faulty dryers in the local Laundromat. She's waiting for you outside her place, smoking a cigarette.
"Just observing the local wildlife." She motions toward the couple arguing very vehemently across the street. "Come on in while I finish getting ready."
You walk into her building and down the stairs to her apartment. "Welcome to my closet," she says, beckoning you inside.
"As always, I love what you've done with the place," you deadpan, stepping gingerly between piles of magazines and newspapers. "The stereo is around here somewhere, isn't it?"
"Over in the corner. Careful with that pizza box, it's an antique."
You choose a CD while she applies her makeup in her minuscule bedroom.
"So," she shouts out over the music, "we want to get to Lindy's party so you can hook up with Mark, right?"
"Yeah," you yell back, "the problem being that we're not invited."
"Actually," she says, coming back into the room and sinking into an armchair, "we have a bigger problem than that. I don't know the address of Lindy's house. My cousin Nick knows, and he's invited, so we can tag along with him, but I'm not sure where he's going to be — and he must be out already because he's not answering the phone."
"So, how do we find Nick?" you ask, steeling yourself to the challenge.
"He usually starts his night in one of two bars. And if he's not there, we're bound to bump into one of his friends who'll know where he is."
"You're sure? I had hoped you might have concocted a more cunning plan than just wandering around hoping we'll bump into him."
"Trust me." She smiles. "Which lipstick should I go with — sluttish red or discreetly natural?"
"Go with your mood."
"Sluttish it is. Okay, I'm all set. Remind me to eat something tonight; I have a craving for Stoli and tonic, and you know what happens when I drink that on an empty stomach."
"If memory serves, there's usually an impressive dry-cleaning bill to deal with the next day."
You leave Suzy's and walk in the direction of the two bars Nick is most likely to be in — the Berlin, a new place that's attempting to be sophisticated, and Sullivan's, which is a little more down-market. Suzy checks her watch. "It's just after eight. Nick'll probably show up at the party around midnight, so we have loads of time to find him."
"Okay, which bar do you think we should check first?"
To go to Sullivan's, read on here.
To go to the Berlin, read on here.
The second you part ways, you realize you forgot to ask Dave for the fifty bucks he owes you. You're counting on having that money tonight, so you make a mental note to remind yourself to ask him for it as soon as he arrives at the Lunar Lounge later. Should have gotten that overdraft feature on your bank account, you big dope.
At the Lunar Lounge, you order a martini and take a seat at the bar. Mike and co. probably won't show for at least twenty minutes. Then you'll either convince them to stay for Dave's friend's band (if Dave even makes it back from the keg party in time) and go to the party with them afterward, or, if Mike's crowd doesn't want to stick around, you'll hightail it out of there with them. You hope Dave shows up with your cash before you have to go. Dave himself — tonight at least — you can take or leave.
Feeling self-conscious about being out alone on a Friday night as the bar starts to fill up, you decide you have to do something. The woman sitting next to you is alone, too, so you could strike up a conversation with her to pass the time. She looks a good deal older than you, but the years have been pretty kind to her, and you've always had a fantasy about being with an older woman. Maybe indulging in some harmless flirtation with her will satisfy your curiosity. You spy the pay phone near the door ...
If you want to check your messages, read on here.
If you want to try to strike up a conversation with the woman next to you, read on here.
It's crowded in Sullivan's, but you find a table for two near the back and Suzy orders the drinks, returning from the bar with your usual and a vodka tonic for herself. "I love that bartender." She sighs. "But I can't see Nick anywhere."
"What does he look like?"
"Tall with dark brown, floppy hair; not bad as far as cousins go."
"There's a guy over there with floppy hair." You point.
"Don't you think I'd recognize my own cousin?"
"That depends — aren't you the same Suzy who got in a taxi last weekend and drunkenly gave the driver the address of your mother's house, the one you haven't lived in since the age of twelve?"
She laughs and takes a gulp of her vodka. "Trust me; he's not here. We can just have these and then go check out the other place."
You scan the room, catching the eye of a guy who is drinking alone. He looks away and returns to reading his book.
Suzy turns to see whom you're looking at and then lets out a disgusted snort. "Why do people read in bars on a Friday night? Hey, I dare you to go ask what he's reading."
She sees your hesitation and nudges you in the arm. "Go on! He's kind of cute!"
You look over at him again. She's right; he is kind of cute, at least from this distance, but you're not sure you want to be dragged into one of Suzy's mad schemes right now. At least not while sober.
If you decide to talk to him, read on here.
If you don't, read on here.
"I've got an idea," you say to Dave. "Let's make a bet. I win, we go right to the Lunar Lounge. You win, I'll go to the keg party with you."
"What's the bet?" Dave is still more interested in Kate than he is in any wager, so you use this to your advantage.
"Whoever guesses Kate's bra size correctly wins."
"Oh yeah right!" Dave practically screams. "Like Kate's going to go for that! Why don't you just go offer her boyfriend a million dollars for one night with her and see what happens."
You just raise your eyebrows and shrug.
"What? You think she might actually let us guess?" There's no mistaking the hopeful look in Dave's eyes.
"Hey, Kate," you say, and she comes over to you. "Dave and I have a little wager going."
"Let me guess." She straightens a pile of beer mats and feigns a contemplative look. "Whichever one of you stays away from here the longest gets the 'No, Really. I'm Not An Alcoholic' award."
"Very funny," Dave says. The two of you have, in fact, sworn off the Pub before — only to go back the next night. And the next night ... "Our bet has something to do with you, actually," you explain. And then you give the specifics. You're prepared at all times to duck a punch.
"Okay," Kate says, rolling her eyes. "Hit me with your best shot."
"Thirty-six C." Dave wastes no time making his call.
You assess the bosom behind the bar. ...
If you say, "thirty-four B," read on here.
If you say, "thirty-four C," read on here.
"What the hell; here goes. I'll get us another while I'm at it." You finish your drink quickly and take the empty glass up to the bar, sidling close to your prey. Here goes.
"Excuse me, I wondered if you could tell me what you're reading?"
He gives you an accusatory glare. "Why?"
"Because my idiot friend over there dared me."
He grins, looks over at Suzy, and waves. He is, you quickly deduce, pretty bombed. Suzy pretends to be fascinated with her empty glass.
"It's a Nick Hornby novel, but you can make up something more impressive for your friend if you want."
"No, that's fine," you say. "I loved High Fidelity."
"Me too. And this one's also pretty good. A friend lent it to me and I'm almost finished. I was going to give it back to him tonight. But if you want, I could lend it to you." He gives you a smile that is 65 percent Heineken. "No strings, really. My name's Bill. I come here a lot; you could meet me next week and give it back then."
Even though the acrid scent of Eau de Desperation is hanging heavily in the air, you take the book, thank him, and agree to be here at the same time next week to return it. Back at your table, you fill Suzy in on what happened, and she applauds your bravery.
"So, he was a little weird, but at least you got a pseudodate out of it. No, wait." She closes her eyes and puts her hands to her temples in mock-psychic pose. "Don't tell me. You don't want a pseudodate, you want Mark. Swami Suzy knows all, tells all." She starts flicking through the book, then jumps up in surprise. "Holy shit!"
"This is my cousin Nick's book! Look, his name is on the inside page!"
"That guy said he was going to meet up with the person who owns the book later tonight," you remember, turning around to call out to Bill.
Too late; he's already gone.
"He can't have got far; come on." The two of you hurry to the door and spot Bill weaving his way down the street.
You shout his name and he glances back, then waits till you catch up.
"Hey, you're going to meet Nick Zorcik?"
"Yeah. You know him?"
"I'm his cousin, Suzy. Are you going to Lindy's party?"
"Nah, I don't know anything about a party. I was just gonna return the book and have a beer with the Nickster. He said he's gonna be drinking in the Upstairs Lounge for a while tonight."
"Upstairs Lounge?" You glare at Suzy.
"So I got the location wrong. At least we know where he is now, right?" She smiles sweetly at Bill. "Would you mind if we tag along with you? I need to see my cousin tonight."
"Sure thing, babe." Bill makes as if to put his arms around you both, but stops when he sees the look on your faces.
"Hey, no need to get defensive, ladies. Just being friendly."
"Maybe we should take a cab instead," Suzy whispers to you. "Do we really want Lassie here slobbering all over us the whole way there?" Then, "Hey, Bill, do you want to split a taxi?"
"Let's walk. It's only fifteen minutes away, and I'd prefer not to waste good beer money on a taxi," mumbles Bill.
"You do surprise me. Well" — she looks at you — "taxi or Bill?"
If you want to get a taxi, read on here.
If you walk with Bill, read on here.
"As much as I hate to admit it, Dave's right," Kate says.
"Hey," Dave says triumphantly, raising his glass. "You watch enough B movies, you pick these kinds of skills up. Anyway, I believe we have a keg party to go to."
Read on here.
"Thirty-four B it is," Kate says.
"No way!" Dave shouts. He hits you in the arm. "But look at her!" Kate walks away, and you think she's out of earshot. "Wonderbra," you say solemnly, raising your drink. "Can spot 'em a mile away."
"Watch your mouth, pinky dick, or you'll never drink in this town again."
You turn, but she's not really mad; she's smiling. You wink at her and turn back to Dave. "The Lunar Lounge awaits." The two of you swiftly finish your drinks, then press on ... the Lunar Lounge is a short taxi ride away.
The second you enter the place — a dimly lit, long, and narrow bar with a back room venue — Mike pulls you into a circle of people, most of whom you know. He introduces you and Dave to Tracy, Will, and Lisa, and a couple of new people ...
"Okay," Mike says, with a firm hand on your shoulder. "You ready? Don't think too much, just say the first thing that comes to your mind."
"Anal sex," you say, without blinking.
"No, you idiot." Mike slaps you on the arm. "You have to wait for the question." He turns to his friends. "You believe this guy?"
"Sorry." You shrug.
"So anyway, the question is, what's the stupidest Oasis lyric you can think of? Think fast, come on, what is it?"
If you say, "Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball," read on here.
If you think it's possible there's another Oasis lyric stupider than that and you want to say it, read on here.
You hail a cab. Bill climbs, unasked, into the front seat and gives the driver the address.
"Nick said he'll be here until nine," he says. Then suddenly, "Hey driver, pull over on this corner for a second! Anton! Anton!"
The car pulls over, and a short, greasy-looking guy approaches the passenger's window. Bill leans out and starts gabbing excitedly.
Excerpted from Big Night Out by Lorraine Freeney, Tara McCarthy. Copyright © 1999 Lorraine Freeney & Tara McCarthy. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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