They told me college would be one of the most memorable times of my life. They said it would be the place where I would flourish and grow into the best version of myself. Where I would develop the habits that would follow me for the rest of my days. They were counselors and other well-meaning grown-ups who had been away from school for so long that they had forgotten what it meant to slip through the cracks.
I wasn’t on any football team, didn’t date any cute girls and my grades weren’t great. If mediocrity was a person, it would be me. I was skinny-fat and not very tall with a face that was too ugly to be desirable, but not ugly enough to be memorable. Most nights I would stay in my room and toss Ping-Pong balls into an old ramen noodles cup while waiting to respawn in whatever video game was keeping my attention at the time. The movies I watched growing up told me beer pong would be a bigger deal in college, so I was determined to be the best at it. When I did manage to sneak my way uninvited into parties I would demolish any opponent against me. The ball bounced exactly the way I would plan it in my head and land with a satisfying splash in the cups staggered on the other side of the table.
Despite my prowess with tiny balls, nobody congratulated my wins or called for a rematch. These frat-boys I played would roll their eyes at me as they walked away. Nobody called me to hang out and, aside from my parents, I didn’t get any surprise visits to the tiny bachelor’s apartment I rented just off campus. It wasn’t so bad. I didn’t have any annoying friends stealing the baked goods my mom would bring over, so at least I had a nearly unlimited supply of brownies and rice-crispy squares.
It wasn’t until after college that I started actively looking to spice up my love life. Self-love was getting old and I felt like if I didn’t get out now, I would die alone with no evidence of my existence but the used tissues in the trash can next to my bed. Naturally, my romantic pursuits brought me to bars and clubs. TV and movies taught me that all it took to get laid was to head to where the liquor was and play the numbers game. I chatted up every pretty girl I saw, trying different methods of approach from cheesy pick-up lines to overly forward statements full of false confidence backed by liquid courage.
That didn’t get me far. I remember looks of confusion, women wondering why this dumbass thought he would have any chance of shacking up with them. Maybe it was my not quite busted, not quite fixed mug. Maybe it was the way I walked. Maybe it was because I used the phrase shacking up frequently. Regardless, these beautiful women left me wanting, night after night. Eventually, my desperation led me to try going after the bigger and more homely girls. Imagine my surprise when even this method fell through.
“Hey, I’m Terrance. Want to get out of here?” I remember asking this one girl. She had a skirt on with a halter-top that highlighted a muffin-top peeking over a rhinestone studded belt. She met my proposal with a scowl of disapproval, shunning me with a muttered, “Creepy fuck.” It broke my spirit. After a scan of the room, I relocated to the bar, posting up and sucking down the Long-Island Iced Teas that were on special. It was an ordinary night when I developed my Beer Pong successor. My new game required no opponents, or rather an opponent who didn’t know they were playing.
* * *
I was sitting on my stool one Saturday night, surveying the crowded bar and trying to find a girl I hadn’t struck out with yet when a tiny Ziploc bag fall out of this big guy’s pocket as he walked past. He had his sights set on the first girl I approached at the start of my night. He wore a chambray button-up, top button undone and showing off his tan, hairless chest. He had a square jaw and sculpted hair in one of those popular undercuts. It was perfectly tousled and textured. I remember his cocky smile. The guy thought he was hot shit. I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at him, just another Chad knocking down women like solo cups filled halfway with water. When I saw the packet lying on the ground, I didn’t hesitate. I picked it up and slipped it into my pocket.
When I got home, I examined the contents of Chad’s baggy. There were four round pills, chalky and small. My guess was that it was ecstasy, an aid to a wild and carefree night. It says loads about my intelligence that I dropped a tab in my mouth and swallowed it without hesitation, all alone in my tiny bachelor’s suite. How great would Rocket League be on “Molly?” I was going to find out.
About half an hour after I took the pill, it began to take hold. I had my PS4 controller in my hands and instead of feeling an intense love for the world and all who inhabited it or seeing colors I would never be able to describe in a state of sobriety, I began to fall into a drowsy state of confusion. My eyelids began to fall, heavy and numb, and I began letting down my teammates as I drove my car in circles. I wasn’t an expert in recreational drugs, but I knew enough to feel stupid as I began to pass out. I had accidentally roofied myself.
* * *
By the time the next weekend rolled around, I had forgotten all about the roofie incident. I was ready for another night of annoying girls too hot for me with my pathetic advances. The bar I had gone to the previous weekend was the closest to my apartment and I didn’t have any reliable transportation, so I tried my hand there once more. Many of the same girls from before were there again, but I thought a second shot might prove fruitful. I had been looking up tips for chatting up women on the internet, and hoped they would look upon me in a better light with my newly-acquired skills. I had plenty of interesting conversation starters memorized and a confidence that can only come from hours of dedicated research.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself still alone on the same stool from last week, once more sipping on another Long-Island Iced Tea. The drink had never let me down, sweet and accepting unlike the girls on the dance floor. The drink never thought it was too good for me. I was knocking around the ice at the bottom of my glass to get every drop of liquor when the Chad from last week walked past me again. I instantly remembered the Rohypnol pills and started to panic.
In spite of my bad luck with women, I still considered myself a bit of a white knight. Even though they spurned my advances, I felt protective towards every member of the fairer sex. When Chad walked past me with that same cocky smile and faux bedhead I understood immediately that he was going to go home with one of these women, whether they had complete control over themselves or not. I didn’t know how easy it was to get possession of those pills, but I assumed he had more; pills don’t usually come in bottles of four.
As I stood up, knowing I had to do something but not what exactly, I felt the baggy from last weekend in the front pocket of my jeans. A slight feeling of shame fell over me as I realized I had worn the same pair of pants all week, but I pushed that aside. More pressing matters were at hand and I needed to stop Chad from taking advantage of some poor girl. Besides, I had read somewhere that denim has inherent antibacterial properties. Palming one of the pills, I followed the creep from a safe distance.
After fifteen minutes of chatting up a gorgeous blonde girl with corkboard high-heels and a push-up bra, the two were sitting comfortably in a booth at the back of the bar. I sat stationed at a small cafe style table about twenty feet away, formulating a plan. My idea was to give him a taste of his own medicine by waiting until he wasn’t looking and slipping one of his pills from the baggy into his own drink. My biggest problem would be getting close enough. The only booth next to his was taken up by two couples on a double date. I had a feeling they would have an issue with me crawling onto the leather bench with them, an uninvited and unwanted fifth wheel. That left only one option: I was going to have to toss it in from where I sat.
Your standard Ping-Pong ball weighs about 2.7 grams and requires a light, feathering touch to gently toss it into a cup. The pill I held in my palm was a little lighter, but I figured a lot of the same principles were at play. I tossed it up and down in my hand, getting a feel for it. When Chad leaned in to whisper in the girl’s ear, I gently lobbed the pill in the air. It flew right past his head, soaring over him and banging off the wall before rolling underneath the table onto the sticky ground.
“Fuck,” I cursed under my breath and pulled out another pill. There were only two left. I needed to get my shit together. If I couldn’t do this after four years of practice in college, I might as well pack it all up and join the army. Maybe I would find some use as cannon fodder.
My second toss flew in a neat arc over the distance and splashed gently into Chad’s drink. I couldn’t see it in there, but I imagined it dissolving like one of those Alka-Seltzer tablets in the commercials. Recalling the commercial, I remembered that they always showed two tablets. The second pill landed in his glass, just as easy as if I had dropped it in from directly overhead.
Chad spent a moment longer whispering in the girl’s ear while she giggled. To me, it sounded like an awkward laugh. The guy was seriously creepy with his one button undone and his cologne and styled hair. Such a try-hard.
I spent the next half-hour watching him act drunker and drunker despite only having the one drink. The woman with him began to view him with suspicion. She peered at him over her glass as his movements became uncoordinated and clumsy. He started to fall asleep next to her, his head drooping and his chin falling to his chest. Eventually, he passed out completely and leaned onto her shoulder as she was in the middle of telling him a charming story about her childhood. She looked at him confused and I figured that was when I would make my move.
I shuffled my stool back and began to walk towards her as she pushed Chad off her and slid out of the booth. As I approached, I decided to try a classic pick up line, deciding that it would make me look cute and ironic.
“How much does a polar bear weigh?” I asked her with a wry smile upon my face, trying my best to act cool.
“A male polar bear can weigh between 775 to 1,200 lbs. with the largest polar bear weighing in at around 2,200 lbs. I’m in training to become a Zoologist specializing around the Arctic Circle, so you’re shitty lines won’t work. Excuse me,” she replied, easily sidestepping me and rejoining her friends, presumably telling them about the Sleepy Chad and the Corny Dork. I slid next to Chad and reached into his pockets as he slumbered peacefully.
“Just you and me tonight, big guy,” I remarked to him. He answered with snores. “At least I learned something. Not a total loss.” I found what I was looking for in his right pocket, pulling out the bottle of Rohypnol. I guess he assumed that a prescription bottle would be harder to lose than a small baggy. The label on the orange bottle had a warning advising against the use of motor vehicles and advertised the pills inside as Flunitrazepam. The bottle was ¾ full and I slid it into my pocket. “Not a total loss.” My new game was born in that booth, the name and object of which being to Drop Chad. That wasn’t his real name by the way. The bottle identified him as Walton Gregs. He looked like a Chad though.
* * *
Every weekend for five months I knocked a guy out. They all seemed tough, but a couple doses would put them on their ass faster than a tangle with the Incredible Hulk. I bounced from bar to bar, finding creeps who seemed charming but had the potential to take advantage of these poor women. If I let it happen I would be just as bad as if I had done the act myself, so I gave up on pursuing the women for the most part. “Drop Chad” demanded my full concentration, and like Batman I was ever vigilant.
When my bottle would start to get dangerously empty, I would cozy up to my victims and start rooting through their pockets. These resupply tasks were mostly fruitless as the Chads would not be carrying the drug more often than not. Every now and then though, I would strike gold and find another baggy to prolong my mission.
One night at a busy club almost landed me in hot water. I had spotted a Chad strutting his stuff, peacocking all over the place when he approached this angel of a girl at the bar. These creeps always waited until their target had separated from the rest of her squad to get another drink and then they would pounce. The defenseless girls had no chance without me. Heavy EDM pumped through the club as I got into position.
This particular Chad had long chestnut hair tied back into a ponytail and a beard that did it’s best to cover his good looks but by some magic trick ended up enhancing the bone structure of his face. In his tight plaid shirt and fitted jeans he set upon seducing the helpless girl. Holding my Long-Island Iced Tea in my left hand, I palmed a pill with my right and got ready to send it sailing into Hipster Chad’s drink. I glanced around to check if anyone was watching me, but it was a waste of time. People never noticed me. My first throw was right on target, and within a couple seconds he had swallowed the roofie along with half his drink.
Hipster Chad was dosed on his feet. After a good half hour of dancing, he had made his way to a stool in the corner. He had murmured something about “fresh air” before wandering off, and I figured I would try my hand at wooing the lass. She looked like a nice girl and I figured a nice guy like me would be a perfect match.
“Hi,” I yelled as I danced over to her, trying desperately to talk to her over the heavy bass. “I really like your dress!” She looked stunning in a classy dress that showed just the suggestion of cleavage and hugged her hips, flaring out along her thighs.
Instead of giving me a polite little smile and turning away like most of the girls I approached, she beamed at me and mouthed a very sincere looking “Thank you!” that was lost in the music. Encouraged by this response, I danced closer.
“Do you live around here or are you visiting from somewhere else?” I shouted at her, and she gave me a confused look.
“What?” she asked and I leaned in closer, repeating my question. “I can’t hear you!” I assumed she yelled as I did my best to read her lips. Shrugging, I continued to dance near her before her friends cut her off from me, shooting me looks of appraisal that I assumed meant I failed to meet their standard. This was not a situation unfamiliar to me. Undisturbed I walked towards Hipster Chad who was slumped over the bar and drowsily staring straight ahead. I mounted the stool next to him and began chatting him up as if we had been to this club thousands of times together, just two buds recapping their exploits as one rifled through the pockets of the other, searching for some good old roofies.
“Struck out again, bro?” I asked him as I dug my hand into his back pocket. “Me too. I guess these chicks don’t care about personality huh?” I found nothing there, so I reached over and patted the far one. “I’m a nice guy; I would treat them like royalty!” There was nothing in the far pocket either, so I tried the front ones. “If you can’t score with looks like that, what chance does anyone have?” His phone and keys were in his front pockets, but once again I had come up short on a resupply mission.
As I was leaning away from him, I noticed two guys coming our way. They looked concerned. I tried to make my escape.
“Hey,” they called and I had no problem hearing their voices as their words cut through with their own bass. “What are you doing?” They were glaring at me as they advanced.
“Is this your friend? He just passed out and-”
“What?” They asked, cupping their hands to their ear. I cleared my throat and tried again.
“YOUR FRIEND. PASSED OUT. TRYING TO SEE IF HE’S OKAY!” They seemed to accept this and turned their attention towards him. I took the opportunity to slip away, but turned back as I left to see if they were watching me. They had seemingly forgotten about me as they desperately tried to bring Hipster Chad around. The bartender made his way over and asked them what was up and they shouted something to him. I didn’t catch the whole thing but I heard something about “diabetes.” Not fully understanding the side effects of the drug I had been dishing out, I hurriedly turned away and disappeared into a crowd. Before I merged with the other clubbers I saw the guy who had questioned me turn his head with a look of intense worry on his face and scan the crowd, presumably for me.
* * *
I stopped playing Drop Chad after that. The risks of the game had increased, and, aside from my knowledge that the women I saved from those assholes were safer, I was getting nothing out of it. No matter how brave I was in defeating these men society would say are worth more than me, I always ended up going home alone. If only I could tell these women I saved how close they were to peril! Maybe then they would give me a chance. All I needed was a chance to show them how nice I could be, how good I could treat them! They would be so happy with me, but they had no way of knowing that.
The knowledge that nobody would rush to my aid if someone roofied me also ate me up. I went to clubs alone, friendless, and the sad truth of that made me feel pathetic. So I stopped playing.
I stopped going out to bars, clubs, parties I hadn’t been invited to, everything. Nobody wanted me there. Nobody appreciated what I was doing for them, so I only existed between home and the call center where I worked. My days were spent selling products I knew nothing about to idiots who yelled at me for disrupting their day. My nights were spent playing video games and living off a diet of freezer pizza and junk food. Shuffling through the take out ads in the mail, looking for some new Chinese place I could spice up my nights with, I found a flyer for a new casino opening up in town.
It was located near a bus route I was familiar with and it advertised “$1 Blackjack tables!” Never being to a Casino before, I had no idea if that was a good thing or not, but the frugal part of my brain seemed to like the idea. Dressing up in my nicest work clothes, I boarded the bus to the Casino. It was my first night out since my last game of Drop Chad.
The bus was musty and I recognized the familiar buildings passing me by. I realized shortly that this was the same route that brought me by the club where I played my last game of Drop Chad. As the bus pulled up to the designated stop and I stepped off onto the sidewalk, I noticed that not only was the casino near that last club, it had replaced it.
Stepping inside, I was dazzled by the lights and sounds of the slot machines placed near the entrance to entrance the patrons. Less impressive was the row of elderly people sitting in front of each machine. They pulled the giant levers on the sides as they stared vacantly at spinning wheels in front of them. As this wasn’t really my crowd, I passed the machines by in search of the advertised $1 Blackjack.
When I reached them, the $1 tables were all taken up by hardcore Asian men who seemed to be taking the game very seriously. I walked around in search of more, but the next cheapest table was $10. My frugal nature got the best of me as I passed it by. Defeated, I once again stepped up to the bar and sat down next to a gentleman in a tuxedo.
The man was handsome with sleek black hair. He was talking in a British accent to a woman in an elegant dress who sat on his other side. His conversation flowed effortlessly as he pursued her aggressively.
“Hello gorgeous.” He sipped the martini in front of him. She looked him up and down before turning back to the drink in front of her, stirring it with the long straw in between her thumb and forefinger. To me, it looked like she was trying to blow him off with a polite smile on her lips. “Have you heard anything about the owner of this Casino? Seems a bit odd for one to pop up so quickly after the closing of the nightclub that occupied this building.”
“I hear he’s some eccentric billionaire looking to corrupt our town’s small time values with the big city’s flashing lights and nights full of sin.”
“Couldn’t have done much better than a nightclub then.”
She chuckled into her drink, out of social obligation I assumed. When would this guy take the hint? I got the bartender’s attention and ordered a Long-Island Iced Tea. The British guy swiveled his chair around so he was facing the woman dead on.
“The name’s Band. John Band. May I buy you a drink?” She delicately sipped the rest of her drink, her lips lightly wrapping around the tip of the straw. Not once did she break eye contact with him. The fact that this guy was suckering her in made me uneasy, as if I played a part in the production just by being near. Her hand sunk into his as they shook gently and she whispered a probably fake name to him. Who would name their daughter “Peaches Valentine?”
Reaching into my pocket for my wallet, I noticed the old familiar lump of the roofies I had stolen from countless would-be rapists. I passed the bartender a $10 for the drink and he gave me no change. Band ordered the girl her drink and paid the bartender with a casual ease that seemed slimy to me. The bartender didn’t seem to pick up on it. He just smiled and nodded at Band. He then made two Long-Island Iced Teas, giving one to me and one to the woman before turning away to attend to the other patrons.
I was growing sick of the banter. He was so smoothly chatting her up, telling her all about the sordid background of the man who ran the casino. ‘Valentine’ was practically falling into his arms. Many times I had approached women at bars no different than this one and my charms and my eccentricities had failed to get me anywhere. This sleazy British asshole was going to fuck and leave her with just a memory of the scent of gin and aftershave in a hotel she hadn’t paid for. He wouldn’t buy her breakfast or take the time to learn her favorite John Hughes movie. He wouldn’t take her to the movies or ride the Ferris wheel with her at the annual rodeo. He would be onto the next woman by this time next weekend.
That was my breaking point. I didn’t think this guy had any intentions of slipping any pills into her drink, but at that moment I decided to come out of retirement. His suave attitude and “charming” accent made me see red and he had stopped being ‘John Band’ to me. He was now British Chad.
I pulled the packet of Rohypnol out of my pocket and slipped the rest of the pills into his drink. There was enough to put him on his ass but not enough to kill him; I had done my research on the side effects after I had dosed the diabetic hipster. In my haste I had forgotten to check if the coast was clear, but glancing around afterwards I realized nobody had noticed. The bartender had just served us so he wouldn’t be coming around anytime soon, and British Chad was too busy locking eyes with ‘Peaches Valentine’ to be paying any attention to what I was doing.
Half a minute later he downed his drink and gave the woman a key card from his pocket. “Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be back before midnight.” With that he got up and strode away as the woman fanned herself with the card. The way she gazed at him made her look like she was imagining a future together: them getting married and having two kids with the most delightful accents, living in a cute home in the countryside of rural England. I knew better than her though, and my feelings of pity turned to annoyance at how British Chad had intended to treat her.
Downing my drink with a grimace, I hurried after him. I needed to see him fall.
* * *
He began to act suspicious afterwards. Not of me and not due to the pills I had slipped him, but in the pursuit of some kind of objective. Constantly, he shot looks at the security personnel as he walked around, sly and inconspicuous to all but me. He paid no attention to the card games or women who admired his style and good looks, but instead walked to a door that led to the kitchen. Grabbing a towel and tray off of a counter by the door and carrying them as if he was a part of the wait staff, he walked through the door and out of sight. I followed him with no attempt at a disguise. I was used to people not noticing me.
Once he was past the door and down the hall, he placed his disguise on the floor. To my horror, he pulled a small handgun from the inside of his suit pocket. I felt more secure in my decision to incapacitate him now knowing that he was a dangerous man. I had most likely saved the woman at the bar from a night of extreme violence, possibly leading to a life of servitude in some backwards country. My heart quickened as British Chad turned a corner, and I saw a glimpse of his eyes. He was blinking fast, trying to clear them of a blurry haze I was sure was coming over them. Feeling like a hero, I pressed on.
We both walked down another long hall and he stopped halfway, reeling on his feet. He placed his gun hand against a wall to steady himself. A moment later, a giant stepped through a door at the end of it. The hulking man stood threateningly just ten feet away from British Chad. His cocky smirk turned to confusion as he noticed me over the head of British Chad. I’m sure my confusion was on the same level as his, if not greater. British Chad was polite enough to break the awkward silence by slumping over and falling onto his face, right in the middle of the hall.
A round, bald man walked through the same door used by the giant. He held a hairless cat in his arms and was stroking it with a gentle ease. He did not look down the hall, but seemed confident that no threat was being poised to him.
“Hello Mr. Band. I’m sure you’ve realized by now that this casino has been wired with explosives at key structural points. The detonator is synched with my pulse so if I-” The giant interrupted the bald man with a clearing of his throat. This brought his attention away from his cat and down the hall towards British Chad and me. “Oh. You defeated him Gregor?”
Gregor shook his head.
“Then what happened?”
Gregor pointed at me and shrugged. A look of pleasant surprise came over the bald man’s face and he smiled at me. It was a warm smile, full of approval.
“You incapacitated John Band?”
“Yeah, I mean, I guess,” I stammered.
“Um, just pills.”
“Pills? Why? Had he been a thorn in your side as well? A perpetual enemy, blinded by his own self-righteousness with a license to act however he wanted?” He seemed perplexed but not unhappy.
“He was…” I thought of telling a lie, something that would mask my own insecurities and make me out to be some sort of man on a mission. It wasn’t worth it. I didn’t know this man; I didn’t need his acceptance or his friendship. “He was better than me.”
The bald man looked at me. He cocked his head and began to laugh. Gregor began to laugh. I swear to God, even the cat in the bald man’s arms began to laugh. After a moment, I realized they weren’t laughing at me, but at the absurdity of the situation. This unassuming man-child had just taken out what I assumed was their greatest foe. I began to laugh with them.
“Take him away, Gregor. Throw him to the pigs.” For a moment, I thought the bald man was referring to me. Dispose of the witnesses, that’s what the bad guys do. I was relieved to see him grab British Chad by the arms instead. He started to drag him away.
“Wait!” I ran over to him and reached into British Chad’s back pocket, removing his wallet. I saw an MI6 badge. It displayed the name of John Band, what looked like an employee number, and a picture of his face looking hard and steely. Flipping past this, I pulled out his other room key and bounded off. Somebody was going to have to break the news to the beautiful woman waiting in British Chad’s room, and being a shoulder to cry on would make me seem quite the hero in her eyes.