Factory School

Canada
This story happened when I was living at Princeton. This story has a semi-legendary status from those who took part, but most have not heard it. I hope I can do it justice. As you will discover by the story I am not the best source of truth, at least not for the later parts of the story.

I had been working my first full-time computer job were I met Chris. It was summer time (August?) and our company was having the annual “Factory School.” What the hell is this you ask? One a year our company brought in all the sales reps; mostly from across the US, but a few from Europe. The reps took classes on our products. Each of us was expected to run a class. I was the new guy (six months in), and had to run a class on our “black spec” software. This was used in applications such as determining how much burnt rice passed by on a conveyor belt. Classes ran Friday afternoon and all Saturday. Nothing much to speak of occurred here.

Friday night we were to attend a dinner with all the reps. After which we were expected to “show the reps a good time”. This meant taking them across the Canadian border to Mint’s strip club. Most locations the reps hailed form did not enjoy the liberal strip club laws that sports.

We used the hotel mini-bus to collect the reps and ourselves. Next we had to collect funds. Now our boss was a notorious tight-wad, but he had handed over his credit card to Chris for this occasion. Despite this we needed cash, i.e. singles. We pulled up to a convenient store and some of us piled out to assault the altar of money for funds, and then bullied the cashier into exchanging us for all the singles they had, no doubt putting a cramp in the flow for any future customers that night that had not exact change. We also bought a case of cans.

On the way us we taught our guests the Mint’s jingle, “Where by law you see it all! MIIIIIIIIIINTS!”. We also devoured the beer. Chris was driving and wisely ingested zero alcohol the entire night. I had a can on the way up. Just as we approached the border we realized empty cans strewn about the bus could hinder our entrance into Canada. Ray (co-worked) and myself exited the bus to precariously set the box of empties on an already overstocked trash can. Cautiously removing our hands from the Jenga-like setup we paused a second, which was all that was required to cause the whole mess to come tumbling down. Even though it was dark, no one was to be seen anywhere around, and we had done nothing wrong, the childhood instincts kicked in – “RUN!” We piled back into the bus with top speed and Chris slowly pulled away.

We for-warned the reps to keep quiet, and no smart talk when crossing. Chris also had the foresight to collect passports from the two non-US citizens. The border guard sported a well-practiced smile when we told him we were showing these out-of-towner’s a good time at Mint’s. We passed without event.

Upon entering Mint’s a perceptive waitress, Rita?, noticed the size of our group and quickly asked if we wanted to sit right on stage. “YES!” Our 15ish guys occupied the 2-3 tables on stage, which all performers had to pass by when entering/leaving the stage.

The night seemingly lasted all-night, go figure. Many incidents occurred in whatever order.

– A co-worked our age smoked cigars and yelled “nice pooper” to a dancer.
– I engulfed too many Black Zambuca hooter shooters to complement my many Brodor XXX beers.
– Many of us spent too much money in the VIP room behind the stage.

… and other things that Chris can fill in, being the only sober person in the group.

I felt fine he entire night, slightly buzzed at best, but when it came time to leave I stood up and put my suit jacket on. I suddenly had a hell of a time finding my arm. It had disappeared, and so I forgot about the other arm of the jacket, and took the first steps towards the exit. I had not noticed, but then entire rest of the group was already outside. I suddenly felt way gone as I exited the door to Mints.

While I was still struggling with my missing arm the group outside had encountered a parked limo with two girls standing out the run roof. The group whistled, etc. as you would expect of a crowd in such a condition. Suddenly some old hag appeared out the sun roof and threatened the group. They were not phased by her threats. “I’ll send the driver out there after you!” she cried, as the driver hunkered down, not wanted to face off against 15 drunk men. “There are 15 of us and 1 of him, we’ll roll him.” stated the Houston ref, one of the least sauced.

I do not recall, but Chris has described by exit from Mint’s at that point many times. I burst forth to interrupt the bubbling limo fight before it got started. I looked like a classic drunk from the movies. I had a suit on with one shirt tail tucked in and the other out. I stumbled along in a traditional fashion.

As we proceeded home a few things occurred.

– I started to get sick, and the crew in the back, sales reps included (some as old as 40, compared to my early 20’s), changed “PURGE, PURGE, PURGE!” When I finally did purge, on the highway, it sprayed down the length of the van and in my haze I heard the group scream, “AHHHH!”
– Chris yelled at me, “Don’t puke on my poster!” in reaction to my eminent puking out the window, in relation to the signed poster he got from the Mint’s headliner.
– My first attempt out the window hit the door in part.
– The back seat group cheered for me to puke on the cop we passed.
– We dropped off a co-worked that had a known prissy wife. As we dumped him on his front lawn someone yelled, “Roll in the grass Rich, she will never know!” Rich shushed us as the front-porch light turned on and we drove away.

When we arrived back to the University (UB) hotel the reps were staying at Chris entered and requested a hose. I was placed on the curb while some of the reps gleefully hosed my puke off the van. They lost track of me for a few minutes and I somehow stumbled off to my car and Chris bolted over to find me hanging out my door with the keys in the ignition. I made one attempt but had not the strength to start the car.

Chris drove me home and dumped me on my bed and told me he would be back to take me to Factory School the next morning. I hit the bed and seemingly minutes later Chris was pounding on my door. I was in the same spot he left. He woke me and left the room to watch TV. He returned 15 minutes later to find me in the same spot. I reported I had no other dress socks than the ones I wore that sported puke droplets.

Somehow I got myself together enough to get to work. The reps out with us the previous night were smiling as they saw me come in. Somehow I made it through the morning classes. My classes were short and I kept asking if anyone else was hot, while my throat continued to dry out. At lunch I was able to sneak outside to clean some left over puke off the van before the boss saw.

That night we had another dinner with the reps, and on thew way in I told Chris I was not going out that night, after all I was just about to full conscienceness. At dinner some of our co-workers and other reps expressed regret from missing the previous nights antics. In the end we went up to Mint’s again and even brought some our friends. Rita we there again and we sat on the stage again. A year later we made another trip to Mint’s and Rita remembered us.

It was a grand time that let to a few more trips to Mint’s, but the adventure of that first trip was never duplicated.

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One Response

  1. I’ve got to say, your writing has improved Aaron.
    I was on the thrid visit to Mints when got the VIP (such as it was) treatement. I thought we got good tables rather easily. There wasn’t much funny in that trip. Just tits and ass, and paying too much for your drinks.

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