Hello. I was born and raised here in Cleveland. I joined the Marines, explored the world, and eventually moved back home. I started Forest City Trivia for two reasons:
1. I saw its potential after playing trivia in other cities in the US.
2. I noticed the lack of engaging trivia in the area. Sure there are shows, but none of them have the production and entertainment value of a Forest City Trivia show.
I have a background in broadcasting and journalism. I also have nearly a decades worth of experience with production work. You will not find a harder working host in the city, nor a more entertaining one! I'm like a whirligig that runs on Jameson.
Since people seem to be clamoring for gritty, dark reboots of movies, I have come up with some great reboot ideas...
1. Stephen King's 'It' (directed by Uwe Boll), but here's the twist. The demon clown doesn't just harass a group of childhood friends by playing on their fears and offering them paper boats and balloons, No fucking way. He literally rapes and tortures them for years. When they reunite in a mental institution, instead of talking about their feelings and escaping to destroy Tim Curry, they escape but go on a killing spree and murder any clown they can get their crazy hands on. Meanwhile in hell, John Ritter tries to escape back to Earth so he can stop 'The Loser Club' before they kill the wrong clown (Jason Statham). Who will one day save the world, because he's really a scientist and only works as a clown on Sundays because it was his father's dying wish.
2. Casablanca. (Director: Roland Emmerich) What? C'mon?! Nothing is off limits in Hollywoodland! This would ALL be done in CG. So Bogart is still a cynical bar owner in refugee loaded Morocco during WWII, but instead of a nuanced romance, powerful acting, and unforgettable quotes, we see he has decided to help the Nazi's capture resistance leaders through various techniques such as, trap doors, drugs and voodoo in his establishment. He also says very little. Think of Gosling in Drive. Soooo, the love of his life returns one day to explain the Nazis ripped HIS twins out of her womb for experiments. Bogart has a change of heart and flies an airplane into Hitler's bunker, but Hitler doesn't die and the plane was on auto-pilot...SEQUEL!!!
3. The Lord of the Rings. I am sure JRR would love to see Michael Bay get ahold of this source material. Here we have a modern take on the classic tale of good vs evil, but much fucking grittier. First it's Michael Bay, so all the elves are played by Megan Fox. Every. Single. One. Second, All the dwarves are black, and played by Tyrese Gibson. So Osama is back with a weapon of mass destruction (he was never killed) and Nic Cage, Mark Wahlberg, and the Rock, team up with an army cool black dudes and sweaty women in bikinis and storm a random embassy where everything, literally, everything gets blown up. During the CG orgy, the WMD is stolen by the most unlikliest of heroes. Yup! Shia Laboof and Fat Martin Lawrence.
What? Too much? This is Hollywood people! The gritty reboot capital of the universe. Don't think for a second the new Superman, Ninja Turtles and Star Wars won't be gritty and dark.
The following names, dates and locations have been changed. Everything else is 100% accurate.
‘I left with dignity but not Grace’
We left the party at 1 am.
It was done, and I was thankful.
It was a full house and yet there was no whiskey.
Just a bunch of well-off white people talking loudly over Radiohead. I knew three of them. Jake and I left for one of the four intersections in Cogs Mills with any signs of life. The street we chose was blistery and old black men were selling over-priced roses to drunken douchebags. The “situations” were everywhere (not scenarios, no, no, just clones of that turd from that show that will not be named), and they are far more annoying than poor people trying to sell you stuff.
The bar was narrow and only mostly crowded. We set our coats on a lonely chair next to the cop just to the right of the entrance.
“Do you think anyone will mess with these?”
“You never know,” he said.
If I paid taxes, I may have been more perturbed from his lack of effort or friendliness. I was dead sober. I was not one of these hipsters drunk on Strongbow. He could give a shit either way.
Behold! A seat at the bar. Jake in tow. I wrestled a keep to pour two Jamesons and two beers. A can of Marooned on Hog Island! I rejoiced that this seasonal by 21st Amendment Brewery was at the ready. Jake chose Black Label.
I should say now that Jake is heavy handed when it comes to women. He is tall and only mildly handsome. Being baldish at 30 years old doesn’t help, but his lack of confidence is moreso a direct result of forcing the issue and being shot down again and again and again. He's asked every single one of his female friends out. He even admits he is no good at talking to women. He reminds me of a baseball player in a long slump who knows it’s just all in his head.
“Stop trying. Stop trying to get a girlfriend or crush some tail, or whatever it is you’re trying to do, man,” I am using my sergeant voice now. I was only a corporal but in this two-man outfit, I may as well be Chesty fucking Puller.
“Look, I like meeting new people. I like talking to beautiful women too, don’t get me wrong, but coming to the bar for the sole purpose of finding a woman is stupid. Have you ever seen themovie Rob Roy? Liam Neeson talks about how honor. How no man can give it to you or take it away. Honor is in the heart of a woman and we must protect and it by never mistreating them. Try using that as your maxim.”
Jake was blank faced and swaying a bit.
“Are you drunk?” I was perplexed.
Fuck. In my head, I am thinking fuck. Just then. Right at the very moment I get done preaching about honor and women and Liam Neeson, she wedged right next to me to buy two shots. Grace!
Her hair flung around and tickled my nose. She was smiling and I just began blurting out things.
“You gotta lotta nerve manhandling me like this!” She knew I was joking and liked the joke!...Phew.
“What are ya drinkin’?”
God, she was tall and had wavy hair dyed dark blonde. She had a sharp jaw and nose. German maybe? She instantly became the most beautiful creature there. It wasn’t even close, or fair.
“Are you ready for these birthday shots, Sarah?!” she was talking to her friend behind her, who Jake was just kind of staring at with a crooked smile. He was verbally poking here with a stick like a redneck does to a possum.
Sarah was no Grace.
“It’s your birthday? Happy birthday! We’ll do a shot with you guys,” I was genuinely happy for her. I was happy she has such a beautiful friend.
They were both happy to hear it. I bought us four fireballs. You should always buy someone a drink on their birthday. Always.
We chat for a tick. Sarah is 26. She feels old. (fucking hell, when did 26 year olds start complaining like Bea Arthur?! They have not a clue who Bea Arthur even is!) Grace, goddess of running, my Atalanta, said nervously she was from Michigan. She then braced herself for the inevitable onslaught of sports-bourne bullshit.
It never came.
“You’re beautiful. I could give a shit less about some rivalry,” I responded quite quickly.(not exactly true, fuck Michigan!)
Soon they were off. Jake looked at me and said, I shit you not, “I am not good at talking to the ladies.”
“Jake!? What the fuck?! Everything is fine. It’s her birthday. We bought them a drink to celebrate. They left. Now we sit here. Stop pressing. What did I just say before they came over here? I said to not give a shit. See?! See how not giving a shit works!? We may see them again.”
It didn’t take very long actually. They came back, bought more shots and went to a standing only table next to the brick wall. Grace signaled me over to take a picture of them.
“You’re lucky. I was a photographer in the Marines. You couldn’t have picked a better person here,” this all went directly into her ear, and really, I don’t have much else behind that impressive fact. We were now at the little-discussed early stage when you graduate from “the probe on Hoth” (across the bar) to “Mike Tysoning” someone's ear.
Grace was 24. She probably had no idea why Mike was crazy. She knew him as that boxer from the Hangover. I watched that pay-per-view with Holyfield. That shit was bananas. So I was all in her ear like Mike. We're talking about whatever. Stuff. The heat of her breath. Her nice smell. I am happy in this stage. Happy until I see Jake with four shots.
I did not commission these shots! This mutherfucker. All three of these people were already drunk. We toasted, continued to have fun, then I got in Jake’s ear.
“No more shots. None. Get me?”
Jake nods his head and smile/laughs (smaughs?).
More talking. Grace drove four and a half hours just for tonight, just for her good friend. I really, really liked that. Now, your thought process will veer one of two ways here. Either you think I am saying she is here for one night. Perfect one night stand right? Fuck you. Remember? Liam Neeson. Honor. No, I mean it was great she would do that for a friend.
Not 15 minutes later, Jake returns with more shots. I was pissed.
Sarah had already began fucking her forearm with her forehead. She was barely alive. Just a clump of hair on the table. A stunning 'Cousin It' impersonation. Grace wanted to dance. She began dancing to a random indie song. God she was beautiful. She was a volleyball player and could probably kick my ass in that sport. Then I see Jake go back to the bar.
I move quickly to him.
“What? The fuck? No more shots man. They are drunk. Too drunk. Look! Look over at Sara. She is done. Close your tab we are leaving here.”
Jake is shitfaced. The two-man outfit just became one. To make matters worse, I turn around there he is.
Tight, black tee, and a shaved head. Ugh. Dress shoes? Check. Over-sized belt? Check. Jewelry? Check.
There he was right there. Your stereotypical douchebag talking to Atalanta, the goddess. The woman I swore I would protect. For Liam Neeson!
I walk up and he says to me, “You looked pissed bro.”
“There is no need to hit on her. We were just leaving.” Now, there was a lot I was ready to say, but I was thinking about Grace. I didn’t want to come off as possessive or aggressive. Remember. Honor. This dbag was trying to close a deal on last call.
“Oh, oh, so you’re going home with this guy. I get it. I get it,” says dickbag. That’s his new name. Dickbag.
“No…(rage)…(calm). We are getting them home safely. There is a difference. (Now, I say we, but my backup is fucked. I have no backup. Jake might as well be in Miami with LeBron)
I go back to the bar to get Jake. Sara is now incapable of walking. She falls to the floor. People stare.
“Dude, go help her. Look!”
Jake goes over to help her, but it looked more and more like he was going over there to makeout with a half dead girl.
I go to grab my canned beer from the bar. Gone. No honor among thieves. I ask the keep and she replies, it happens here.
I am at a bar where people will steal another man’s hard-earned refreshment. I begin to scan the bar for suspects. The cop over by our coats ain’t helping on this one. My backup already has his hands full. I need Bunk or McNulty.
I scan the bar like the Terminator and low and behold! Dickbag is necking with Grace.
Ah yes, the all too familiar rage and disappointment combo.
Okay. Fine. Last call has been called thrice. Just get Jake and go. I can drive. Can I drive? No. I am not driving and no I am not abandoning these two girls. Honor.
These two are trainwrecked. If I do not get them in a cab and get them home, bad shit will happen to them. It’s a bad area with bad people. People who will steal another man’s beer. We get outside. The wind is biting. The streets are crowded with drunks. Cabs (all vans) are coming and going. It’s a full blown war between Hipsters and Douchebags. I try to hail one.
I turn around, Grace is getting groped by dickbag. Jake is groping Sara. A guy walks by me and says, “Nice hat.” Not in a nice way.
“Nice ponytail,” I chomped.
“Keep walking,” I tell them. Now this is the point where my anger probably was volleyed at the wrong person. He did have a ponytail though.
“His buddy turns around and shouts from 15 feet away, “What did you say dude.”
“I SAID KEEP WALKING.”
Walk they did. Right up to me. I have my best and only coat on too. It would be a shame to ruin it. P-tails’ buddy is walking faster, and they have an average sized brown-haired lass with them. Just then, before the bluffing and puffing and wardancing, a random 22 year old dbag yells at ponytail, “Do you lift bro!? You don’t look like you lift. You lift bro!?”
This perfect stranger is literally flexing a gun Obama can’t take away at them. His right bicep does not even look dangerous. Who is this moron? Well, he is a guy who got punched in the face nine times by the lass in tow. I did not hear what he said to her, but it clearly pissed her off. She grabbed the back of his head with her left and fed him a series of knuckle sandwiches. The street began to buzz. A crowd began to form. Thump. Thump, thumpthumpthumpthump. I wish I knew what he had said to her to illicit that response.
I turn around and Dickbag is gone! Gone?! Grace is standing there very drunk and mostly ashamed. That’s what I saw anyway. Next thing I know, my hand is on her hip and I am escorting her to the curb. You know those pointless horizontalators at airports? That is what it felt like moving toward her. Moving away from her was like trudging through mud.
She rejected my coat. Again and again. I am still pondering why as I write this. I ended up just wrapping part of the peacoat around her and turning us into a burrito. My right hand was in the air and Grace was trying to kiss me. I kept pulling my head back out of reach of her lips. I wanted to kiss those lips, but not after the Dickbag. Not like this.
She was making tiny noises. You know the ones. The ones that walk through your walls like ghosts. I was holding her tighter as she began unbuttoning my shirt.
I began talking dirty. Well, assertive anyway. She was more riled up now. I doubt she has ever had a man pull away from her advances. I wanted her. This shit was difficult, but that cursed line in ‘Rob Roy’ kept zapping me in my brainstem and crotch. I re-focused on hailing a cab.
Finally a black van pulls up and passes us by ten feet or so. Low and behold! Dickbag and his posse are at the passenger side window already! Damn, he pulled right up to them. Luckily, they were many in number and quite the shit show.
I looked right at Grace. Right in those glossy eyes. The cold wind had forced them to water up.
“Go get Sara and Jake.”
I moved hastily around the van and knocked on the cabbies window. He rolled it down a crack and was on the phone with dispatch.
“I will pay you 60 bucks right now to take the four of us to Turtle Bay.” I brandished three twenties and he opened the door. Grace was clutch. She got our two stars actually walking toward the door. My sweet Grace flew in like a dove. Sara fell on the floor and couldn’t even make it into a damn chair. Jake got her in the back with Grace. We were in. Gone. I managed to stick my head into the front and wave at Dickbag as we pulled away. Honor.
It would be tested at her house.
It was an older duplex with nice ceilings and hardwood everything. Two bedrooms and nothing in the kitchenette. Sara proceeded to puke her guts out both in and on the toilet. Grace moved in to help and I began to gather blankets and pillows.
“Alright, you can either have the heavy blanket and the short couch, or the light blanket and the long couch.”
Jake said nothing. He just pointed at the long couch. He was down. I was up. Sara was passed out on the floor and Grace was trying to pull up her underwear for her and keep me from coming in at the same time. The scent of sick hit me like a laser through the crack in the door. The door couldn’t open. Sara has to move. She cannot sleep there on the floor. I would rather run a death gauntlet than sleep in this tiny ass bathroom.
Jake is up. Dammit. Why is he up?! Go to fucking sleep already! We pick Sarah up like an open bag of onions off the hot, slimy floor, clean her off and put her to bed.
Grace runs into the kitchen and throws up in that sink. Both sinks officially fucked. I grab her wavy hair and hold it back for her. I began patting her back. I don’t know why, but this moment will stick with me forever. It was horribly romantic. It just was. I cared about someone other than myself for once. This story seems honorable, but I am not without four million mistakes and four million faults. No regrets ever though. Nary a one.
She kept throwing up. I got her a glass of water and put a spoonful of sugar in it for some reason. Stirred. Served.
“Here this will help. It’s sugar water.” Now, I have been hungover a lot. The older you get the longer the hangover too. In all those times, I have never once put a spoonful of sugar in my water. What is this emotion? Compassion? Does not compute. Error. Error. We brave the bathroom and she brushes her teeth thoroughly.
I get her to bed and she pulls me in with her. She clings to me like a kitten. I am lying on my back with her head on my right shoulder. Sounds. Noises. They come from down the short hall. Dammit. Jake and Sara are totally having sex right now. I am too tired to care anymore.
I turn to ask Grace if she hears it. She kisses me. I kiss her. We don’t makeout, we just kissed for 30 seconds or 30 minutes. Time crept out the window with our lips engaged.
Sara hit us with a pillow. It's 8 am.
“Wake up,” she said to Grace. “You guys gotta go,” she said to me. My day begins by getting repremanded.
She was not a happy camper.
Jake appeared in the doorway shirtless. I told him to get his phone and call a cab. They left the room and I rolled over refusing to get out of bed.
Grace was lying on her side smiling at me. Perfection. Another horribly romantic moment. I have two now!
She whispers, Hi. I kiss her forehead. Why can Jake and Sarah just not exist?! Somebody get Rick Moranis to shrink them down that way we'd have four hours before they even made it back to the bedroom.
Last night she had mentioned she doesn’t like being friends with random people on facebook, so I mention this and then politely ask to be her friend. She doesn’t even hesitate to say yes. I ask for her last name. She gives it and I lumber out of bed and stretch.
Jake is still looking for his glasses. I tell him to check under the bed. He proceeds to look in the living room. Last night’s details are coming around and I realize he doesn’t listen. Ever. After a few minutes of nothing getting accomplished, I ask him to check again, he does and he finds them right under the damn bed. He calls a cab and we are escorted to the backdoor. Now begins the walk of shame.
We wait for a half an hour for the cab. Jake left his coat at the bar. It was much colder than last night and snow was flying around and sliding across the empty street. Jake apologizes for last night. Regret. He confides that he can’t handle alcohol and I reply, no shit. He also tells me he asked Sara for her phone number. He has no clue. This poor girl woke up with no pants on next to a strange dude, and he asks her for her number.(facepalm)
Back to ground zero and my car is still in one piece. I drive home. Coffee then Facebook. I type in her name, excitedly. Not there. Her last name was very German with many possible variations. None of them there. None. She’s my Lennay Kekui. I could go to Sara’s house and leave a note perhaps? Grace was leaving today. Was it a fake name? No. No way. She was sincere.
Would going there be weird?
Yes. Yes it would.
As it stands now, my only regret in life is not asking her for the spelling of her last name. My journalism skills have gone to shit. No regrets my ass. Life is full of regret. You just can’t let it nail you to the floor. I left with dignity but not Grace.