A Typical Friday Night
"What are you doing here?"
After shutting the front door, Blair hung up his jacket and then turned towards Jim. "Um…I live here?"
"No kidding, Einstein. I thought that you had some big date tonight." Getting up from the couch, Jim walked past Blair and over to the refrigerator. Opening the door, he dug around inside for a few seconds and then emerged with two beers. Holding one out to Blair, he said, "You've been talking about it all week."
Going over to Jim, Blair accepted the bottle. Before replying, he twisted off the lid and took a long drink. "Well, I did have a date, but when I got to her place, she cancelled. Or, should I say, her boyfriend cancelled."
"Tell me about it." A picture of dejection, Blair walked over to the couch and plopped down. "I can't believe she didn't mention the fact that she has a boyfriend. A very large boyfriend, I might add. Who wasn't too pleased when yours truly showed up to pick up his girlfriend."
Joining Blair on the couch, Jim asked, "So what happened?"
"Well, after some very persuasive talking—"
"Don't you mean shamelessly begging the guy to spare your life?"
"—I managed to convince him that it was all just a very big misunderstanding," Blair finished, ignoring the interruption. "Luckily, he was very understanding about the whole thing. We had a laugh and then he threatened to kick my ass if he ever saw me again."
"So, just a typical Friday night for you, huh?"
"Hey, look on the bright side." When Blair gave him a questioning look, Jim elaborated, "At least nobody called the cops this time."
"Tell me about it. The guys still haven't let me forget about that." Leaning his head back against the couch, Blair closed his eyes, then raised his beer bottle and rested it against his forehead. "Maybe I should just give up dating. Take a vow of celibacy."
"You wouldn't last a week."
Straightening up, Blair leaned forward and sat his beer on the table. Laughing, he looked at Jim. "A week? Hell, I'd be lucky to last a day." After a few seconds of silence, he asked, "So, how was your night?"
"Well, you weren't here, so it's been okay so far."
"I thought so."
"What did you have planned for tonight?"
"We're doing it."
"Sitting on the couch, drinking a beer and watching some TV."
"Jim, does the term 'over the hill' mean anything to you?"
"Are you trying to say that I'm old?"
"You said it, not me."
"You implied it."
"All I'm saying is that most your people wouldn't be sitting at home on a Friday night, all alone, watching…" Trailing off, Blair turned to look at the television. "What in the hell is that, anyway?"
Reaching past Blair, Jim attempted to pick up the remote from the table. "Nothing. I was just channel surfing. That's just what I landed on right before you came in. It's not like I was watching it or anything."
Knocking Jim's hand aside, Blair make a grab for the remote. Successful, he held it up and declared, "Victory." Then he fended off Jim's attempts at capturing his prize. "Steel Magnolias! You were watching Steel Magnolias? Oh, man, now I know that I've got to get you out of this house tonight."
"First, I told you that I was just channel surfing. I was not watching Steel Magnolias. And second, what are you talking about? I'm not going anywhere."
Smiling, Blair shook his head. "Do you honestly think that I can just sit here and let you suffer like this? We're going out and we're going to have a good time. Trust me."
"What did I say about those two words coming from you?"
"I don't know. Something about 'the two most scariest words in the English language' or some nonsense like that."
"Which is exactly why I'm not going anywhere."
"Oh, come on, Jim. It'll be fun. Please." Bestowing his best pleading puppy-eyes on Jim, Blair added another, rather pitiful-sounding, "Please?"
"Why do I think that I'm going to end up regretting this?" Jim asked himself as he rubbed a hand across his face before looking at Blair again. "What did you have in mind?"
Grinning, Blair bounced around in his seat. "This is going to be great." Calming down slightly, he stood up. "There's this new club downtown. We could go check it out."
"A club? I don't think so, Chief. I'll have a headache all day tomorrow. Think of something else."
His enthusiasm not dampened, Blair suggested, "I know, there's this new exhibit…"
"Okay, there's this showing of…"
"You didn't even let me finish that time."
"Well, you're not exactly batting a thousand here."
"Then you come up with something."
Reaching up, Jim grabbed the remote out of Blair’s hand. "All right, I will." Stretching out, putting his feet up on the table, Jim took a sip of his beer and turned his attention to the television.
Moving to stand in front of Jim, Blair blocked his roommate's view. "We could always go get something to eat."
"You know where the menus are. I'm leaning towards pizza."
"I don't know. Myself, I'm more in the mood for say…oh, I don’t know…Wonderburger."
Immediately, Jim’s attention was focused on his roommate. "Did you say Wonderburger?"
"Yeah. I'll even pay."
"And you won't say anything?"
"No comments about lard or saturated fat?"
"And I can order anything I want?"
Turning off the television, Jim threw the remote onto the table. Pushing past Blair, he rushed over to the door and snagged their jackets. Holding out Blair's, he asked, "Well, what are you just standing there for? Let's get going."
Laughing, Blair walked over and took his jacket from Jim. "Lead the way, man."
Sliding into the booth, Jim raised his triple cheeseburger to his mouth and inhaled deeply before taking a large bite.
Eyeing the burger in disgust, Blair took a seat opposite Jim. "How can you eat that?"
Swallowing, Jim set down his burger and grabbed some fries. "Hey, you said that you'd give the comments a rest tonight. So give it a rest and let me eat in peace."
"It’s your arteries." Picking up his grilled chicken sandwich, Blair took a bite.
For several seconds, the two men continued to eat in silence.
After taking a drink of his Coke, Blair put his cup down and then noticed that Jim had stopped eating. "Is something wrong, Jim?" Noticing that Jim's attention seemed to be focused on something behind him, Blair started to turn around.
Reaching across the table, Jim laid his hand on Blair's arm. "Don’t turn around."
"What's going on?"
"This guy just came in a few minutes ago and I don't like the way he looks."
"What's wrong with him?"
"I think…" Eyes widening, Jim exclaimed, "Shit!"
Before Blair could say anything, a shot sounded. Twisting around, he stared in shock at the man who was standing by the cash register, pointing a weapon at the cashier.
"I knew I should've stayed home," Jim muttered.
"Everybody shut up!" the robber yelled at the half-dozen customers seated in the restaurant. Then he turned towards the cashier again. "Open it up and put the money in a bag. Now!"
Hands shaking, the woman attempted to comply. "Yes, sir."
Continuing to stare at the scene before him, Blair whispered, "What are we going to do, Jim? We have to do something."
"We're going to—"
"Hey, you two, I said shut up!" the man shouted as he swung his gun towards Jim and Blair. "So, shut up!"
Blair held up his hands in an attempt to placate the agitated man. "Easy, man. We're cool. No problems here."
"You're gonna have a problem if you don't shut up!"
"Back off," Jim demanded. "Just take what you want and get the hell out of here."
"Like he said, we don't want any problems here. There's no need for anyone to get hurt."
Rushing over to Jim and Blair, the man shoved his gun in Jim's face. "Maybe I want someone to get hurt. Maybe I want you to get hurt." Swinging his gun towards Blair, he added, "Or maybe I want this guy to get hurt. What are you going to do about it?" When Jim didn't respond, the man laughed. "Yeah, that's what I thought."
When the robber turned around, Jim lunged out of the booth and tackled him. "That's what I'm going to do about it." Pulling out his cuffs, he restrained the robber.
Remaining in his seat, Blair watched as Jim snapped the cuffs around the man’s wrists. "Um, should I, like, call for backup or something?"
Tilting his head to the side, Jim dialed up his hearing. "No need. The cashier sounded the silent alarm. The cavalry is on its way."
Finally returning home, Jim hung up his jacket and immediately headed for his bedroom.
"Where are you going?"
"Right now? Come on. It's still early. We could…"
"If the next words out of your mouth are 'go out,' then I'm going to be forced to hurt you."
"It wasn't that bad."
"Not that bad? Are you crazy? I should have known better than to go out with you on a Friday night. I could have stayed home, put my feet up, had a beer and watched—"
"Yes, Steel Magnolias. I was watching Steel Magnolias. I admit it. Are you happy now? But instead, I just had to listen to you. And the worst part is, I didn't even get to finish my burger."
"No loss there. Those things are so bad for you."
"Good night, Sandburg."
Watching as Jim trudged up the stairs, Blair said, "Hey, I haven't got any plans for next Friday night. We could always try it again." Laughing as Jim's answering groan reached his ears, he called out, "It'll be fun. Trust me."