All Stars Sports Bar (2201 W. Sample Rd., Deerfield Beach) is decked out with red felt pool tables, a ping-pong table, a small corner stage, and every warm and cozy trapping necessary for a good time. Located in a nondescript shopping center, the place serves a variety of imports on draft like Bass, Heineken, Fosters, Harp, and Guinness. Ya know, the kind of brew that just slides down your throat. It was a damn shame I had to bring such an esophagus-scorching topic to the scene last Sunday night. After scooping up a Captain and Diet, I hit up a table of three young, athletic-looking men having a casual drink. I wasn't buying their chill demeanor. These were the kind of boys with colorful tales of york to disgorge. I could almost smell it.
Of course it was polite to ask, "Are you guys waiting for food?"
"Yes," said one, his dark eyes curious beneath a baseball cap.
"Then let me get to the point real quick. When have you gotten so wasted that you've fertilized the bushes?"
It took them a second to digest that I seriously wanted to bark about barf.
"OK," the cutie in the cap started. "When I was like 16, back in Buenos Aires, I went out to a friend's house and they had homemade vodka, every different flavor you can think of. I drank them all."
Then the details, compromised for obvious reasons, get fuzzy.
"We went to an ice cream shop with my friend. I woke up with my head on a table covered in my vomit. The next thing I remember, I was in a cop car, and my friend had given the cop all of my money."
"What the hell?" I asked.
"He gave it to the cop so that he would take me home and not to jail. When I got home, I got out of the car and threw up all over the cop. My mom was standing outside of the house. It was the first time she saw me drunk."
I turned to his friend. "What you got?"
He hesitated for a moment, but ultimately couldn't resist honking a whopper to top his friend's. "I went to FIU in Miami. I was going out with a chick named Tequila. We were drinking and playing a game with our friends. She kept bringing out chips and salsa. I didn't eat anything all day. So, later, after I passed out, I was sleeping on the couch with her in my arms. Then she started screaming, and I looked down. I had puked all over her face."
Pukers who blow on innocent bystanders are the worst kind. It occurred to me to snatch their drinks right off their tables.
Their food arrived. "Enjoy that on the way down," I said.
I cleared out to the other side of the bar, where a man in a white short-sleeve polo was standing next to a booth, nursing a beer.
"Toss up your best puke story ever," I urged.
He relayed a moment of gut-dumping athleticism. "When I was in college, we used to play a drinking game called Flip. It was a relay race, and you had to chug and flip your cup upside down on the table. I was already gone at this point, so when it was my turn, I chugged and started to vomit right away. I ran outside, puked, ran back inside, and flipped my cup over in time to win the game."
Glorious gurp, dude.
I moved the inquiry of the unswallow to the ever-crowded Tarpon Bend (200 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale) for a late happy hour on Monday night. There I found some garrulous fellas who'd horked their beans in particularly dramatic fashion.
The first man I interviewed was short and affable. "Out in Davie," he said, "we were having a birthday party for my brother-in-law. We started partying at 7 p.m. Before things even got started, we'd been smoking blunts, and drinking beer, and we partied all night long. By the end of the night, I was hanging on a fence, the kind with the little things that cross at the top. And I puked over the fence. My brother-in-law went to the bathroom, passed out, and woke up in his own puke. And my sister fell asleep and curled up with her dog. She puked all over her dog, man."
"Why were you stretched out on the fence?" I asked him.
"Because it was comfortable," he said. "Everything's comfortable when you're drunk."
Next, a tall dark-haired businessman in the group, Mr. Big of Himmarshee, waved me over to relay a tale. "I was having sex with a woman one time and I puked in her mouth." A less-than-sweet tale from another irresponsible gakker, but he redeemed himself with a high-speed hurl.
"See that guy over there?" He pointed to a man with dirty blond hair in a business shirt, suspenders, and a tacky beer tie. "We were in a new car that I'd just bought. And I never bought new cars, always fifty, hundred dollar cars. Anyways, he starts spitting in the front seat, so I slow down to 20 miles per hour, open his door, and push him out of the car. His hands were all bloody."
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We looked over at the victim of this incident. He was wearing a smirk the size of Alligator Alley.
I asked the man if it were true. "It's true," he replied, and nodded his head. Uncanny tales of reverse peristalsis with the businessmen at Tarpon Bend.
Next, I headed over to the emptier, but decidedly saner, Dicey Riley's (217 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale) and chatted up Dave, the barrel-chested bartender of easy laughter and refreshing apathy. I asked for Dicey's puke stories. "One time, a guy was sitting right there in that stool, and he ordered a shot. So, I give him a shot, and the second he throws it down, he pukes right back into the shot glass and all over the counter." I cringe and giggle. Dave opens his lungs and laughs.
The most putrid fluid known to man makes us laugh; how odd. But we're not the ones spewing liquid screams of hellfire, at least not tonight.