This excerpt is from Dave Lundy’s new novel, “Zero F*cks Given” (still in development) — the prequel to the bestselling comedy “Squish the Fish: A Tale of Dating and Debauchery”.
Magnum offered to drive and picked up Bob from the house his mom had moved into. From Binghamton, they drove an hour north to Syracuse and parked near the Carrier Dome. Zabka drove west from nearby Utica and met them at their designated transfer point and nearly the same time.
Magnum and Bob grabbed their bags, jumped into Zabka’s black Camaro, and they took off for Buffalo. For a good chunk of the way, the three of them argued about and insulted each other’s hometowns. The phrases “the armpit of the state” and “the asshole of New York” were used to describe their locations. By the time they got to Buffalo, a neutral third-party would’ve said the winner was a toss-up.
Zabka steered his muscle car off of the New York State Thruway and drove north on highway 290. He was singing along with the Grateful Dead song on the radio — “Livin’ on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine. All a friend can say is… ‘Ain’t it a shame?’ Truckin’… up to Buff-a-lo!” A slow-moving eighteen-wheeler merged in front of him and wrecked his joyous mood. He laid on the horn and floored it, veering around the trucker and taking the exit’s curvy offramp at a screeching 75 mph.
After straightening out on Main Street, Zabka loosened his grip of the steering wheel. “Did you see that asshole?” he queried his passengers.
“Yeah, the nerve of that guy,” Bob answered from the seat beside him. He turned and looked at Magnum in the backseat, cramped between their luggage, and they chuckled.
Zabka’s face relaxed, clear of the black-eye that was on the horizon. He stuck his arm out the window on that sunny afternoon and floated his hand up and down like a plane as it cut through the wind. “Are you guys excited for tonight?”
“You mean for Earl’s shindig?” Magnum asked.
“That’s exactly what I mean.” Zabka had a shit-eating grin on his face.
“What are you up to?” Bob examined his friend. “You got somethin’ planned?”
“Let’s just say Zabka has a few tricks up his sleeve.”
Whenever Zabka referred to himself in the third-person, Bob knew something good was in-store. “I expect nothing less.”
Magnum added, “I hope it includes girls.”
“Of course it does, you dummy.” Zabka bounced up and down. “We need to christen the new house.”
“Speaking of girls,” Bob said. “I was just thinkin’… how many girls did we have in our house last year?”
Zabka shrugged. “Plenty, I’m sure.” He began a mental tally. “To start, there was Earthshaker — that ginormous chick from the Base that you banged. Good lord, you truly have no shame.”
Bob rolled his eyes. “First of all, I did not ‘bang her.’ We…”
“Yeah, ya did. You can’t bullshit a bullshitter. No need to be ashamed — if Magnum were in your shoes, he would’ve banged her too. Ain’t that right?”
Magnum fiddled with his mustache. “Umm… I don’t know about that.”
“Oh shit! Even he wouldn’t’ve banged her!” Zabka feigned sincerity. “Seriously, Bob, how low can you go? Have you hit rockbottom yet?”
“Listen, dickheads… she took advantage of me in my very vulnerable drunken-state. We barely got outta the bar before her mouth was playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with my balls. She was like, ‘Nom, nom, nom…’ just goin’ to town. The chick was nuts! Literally! I’ve never had a girl laser-focused on my sack like that.”
“I bet you’ve had dudes laser-focused on your sack like that,” Magnum remarked from the peanut gallery.
Bob rolled his eyes. “Oh, come on.”
Zabka added, “She certainly didn’t have a nut allergy!”
“Certainly not!” Zabka added.
“She shoulda went to Ball State, not UB.” Magnum was proud of his sexual wit.
Bob chuckled before he continued recounting his escapade. “Also, as I recall, we didn’t go to our house. We went around the corner to her place. And finally, she wasn’t that big — you tend to exaggerate. She just had a little bitta junk-in-the-trunk.”
Zabka threw his head back and laughed. “A little bit?! She had a shit-ton! She’s shaped like a pear, and I thought her ass was two garbage bags overstuffed with marshmallows!”
Magnum also shared an insightful observation. “Yeah, her ass was so big, it had its own zip code”
“Okay, enough,” Bob said. “You made your point. And fuck you, guys. I’m telling you, her mouth has superpowers.” He was glowing. “That shit was magical.”
Magnum looked up and tapped his chin. “Oh, I know. There was the woman that hooked up our cable. She was kinda hot.”
Bob replied, “Dude, she was as old as your mom. Plus, she worked for the cable company, so that doesn’t really count. Okay, so who else?”
“Hmm… oh, I remember.” Magnum stroked his mustache. “These girls rang our doorbell and I invited them inside.”
“You mean the ones selling cookies?” Bob shook his head. “The Girl Scout and her mom? Come on, man.”
The three of them sat in silence, racking their brains.
“You see my point now? Last year… it was pathetic.” Bob glanced at Magnum and then Zabka to make sure they absorbed the gravity of it all. “Did anyone even get laid?”
Magnum moved like he was going to respond.
Bob stopped him with his hand. “Before you say it, your hand doesn’t count, Magnum. We had zero, zip, nada, none.” He hung his head and held up his hand in the shape of a circle. “Zero fucks.”
“Okay, Bob,” Zabka responded. “You made your damn point. We didn’t fuck any women last year — zero fucks given. The closest we got was your cock-n-mouth tryst with Earthshaker. I agree, it’s shameful.”
“You wanna know what the really sad part is?” Bob asked rhetorically. “No women got to receive pleasure from our dongs.”
With an exaggerated frown, Zabka added, “Yeah, I feel sorry for them.”
Bob continued, “All that aside, here’s the good news — it’s a new year and we’re in a new house. We’ve officially hit the reset button. Plus it’s our last year in college. We need to go out on a high note.”
“With a bang!” Zabka added.
“Should we set a goal?” Magnum asked. “Like the number of women?”
“Well, there are six of us in the house, soooo… we should easily be able to pull in two girls each. Real girls — not girls working for a utility company or selling shit door to door.” Bob did the quick math. “So that’s twelve.”
Zabka offered, “Shit, I could pull in a dozen myself. What are you guys gonna do?”
Magnum said, “Yeah, I could do that too.”
Zabka slapped his knee and laughed along with Bob. “But seriously, think this through. The others in the house are Satan, some other useless bastard that Satan knows, and Jimmy “The Italian” — so, a stoner, probably another stoner, and a short guy who’s prematurely-balding and talks like he’s been kicked in the nuts. Something tells me they won’t be chipping-in.”
“Yeah, they’re completely useless,” Bob agreed. “No way they’re putting any points on the scoreboard.”
Zabka nodded his head. “Yep, so that just leaves me — the lone wolf. I’m gonna get more tang than a Space Shuttle mission!”
“Whoa… don’t put all your vaginas in one basket.” Bob tapped his chest with both hands. “I’ll contribute.”
“Perhaps,” Zabka replied. “I guess you did show some promise last year.”
“Yeah, and what about me?” Magnum asked.
“What about you?” Zabka replied. “With all due respect, this is clearly a two-man operation. But don’t let that stop you from giving it the old-college-try.”
“I’ll show you guys.” Magnum folded his arms. “Heck, I may even decide to get a girlfriend.”
“Highly doubtful,” Zabka responded. “Sorry, just being real.”
“Yeah, well, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Magnum leaned forward. “I have a plan.”
“Um-hm, sure ya do.”
Zabka eyed a car with a few girls in his rearview mirror and put on his black Ray-Bans. He slowed down to take a closer look and let them pass on his left.
The girl driving had parents from India, and the other two were caucasian. They were cute and having fun car-dancing to some Janet Jackson song.
Zabka stuck his head out of the window and yelled, “Hey, pretty ladies, what’s going on?!”
They looked at him like they couldn’t understand.
He made a nob-twisting motion with his fingers. “Turn down the music!”
The girls obliged and stared back.
“Let’s go grab some food.” Zabka offered, “Our treat.”
Magnum gave them a friendly, yet awkward, wave — the type Mickey Mouse does during a parade.
Bob gulped at the thought of spending money he didn’t have.
The girls giggled together in a manner that was full of rejection. The Indian girl accelerated and they took off. The bumper of their car had a blue and white UB sticker on it.
“Well, there goes that,” Bob said. “Hey, you tried.”
Magnum leaned forward and said, “Don’t elevate the vagina.”
“How ’bout that for a pearl of wisdom,” Zabka replied. “What does that even mean?”
“My dad told me that and basically explained it as, ‘You don’t reward a girl just because she’s a girl.’ I feel like that advice fits here.”
Bob thought about what he said and offered his interpretation. “I guess, maybe just the thought of it — the chance that we might ‘get some’ — makes us irrationally raise vagina to a level where we haven’t reached yet, and we do things unnaturally. Don’t go overboard — don’t think too far ahead — and treat it extra special before it deserves it.”
The discussion jogged a memory in Zabka’s head. It was of advice his father had given him soon after he failed miserably to court Nicki O’Shea. Her reaction was bad, but what she did afterwards was downright cruel. The pain still stung, and his embarrassment still lingered. He reentered the present with his head glowing like a light bulb. “You know what? You’re goddamn right. Vagina deserves nothing for nothing. Ain’t nothin’ special about it.”
Bob said, “Well, I wouldn’t go that far.”
“Listen to me,” Zabka said. “When we don’t even know a girl and we’re just figuring her out, we jump too far ahead and give it status it hasn’t deserved yet — then we lose their respect. Vagina needs to earn it to be elevated. I’ve been too nice for too fucking long.”
“Yeah, you’re Mr. Nice Guy, alright.” Magnum half-joked. “Although not as bad as Bob.”
“Well, at least we can talk to girls without chewing on our tongues.”
Bob nodded in agreement with Zabka’s supportive retort.
“I”m being serious,” Zabka emphasized. “And you guys have been too nice as well. Bob, take you for example. Remember what happened on spring break last year?”
Bob shrugged. “Um, not really.”
“Then let me remind you. You were trying to get with this girl and, after a while, her friend told you to buy a drink for the girl you were talking with. And what did you do? Even though you didn’t have much money and were living off one Subway footlong a day? You did what she said and bought her a drink. Then what happened?” He paused dramatically. “I’ll tell you… she left and you got nothing, zip, zero. Ring any bells?”
Bob folded his arms across his chest. “Yeah. I remember.”
“Girls take advantage of nice guys, and why wouldn’t they? Nice guys let them — it’s their own fault. Women see them as weak and pounce all over it.”
Magnum added, “Yeah, I’ve heard about girls bragging about going out and not paying for one drink all night.”
“You see?” Zabka said. “Too often we play it nice… and nice doesn’t win.”
“Yeah, okay. But what would we do different?” Bob asked.
The Dead song had ended and a Mighty Taco commercial was squawking in their ears.
“First of all, you need to fix the tunes.” Zabka whacked Bob. “You’re in charge. Put in the ZZ Top CD…” He grinned. “El Loco.”
Bob slid in the CD and the blues-rock song began. It started with an uptempo drum beat and maracas until the dirty guitar kicked in. Their heads were bouncing.
Zabka cranked up the volume and sped up to the girl’s car.
In a panic, Bob said, “Hey, what the hell are you doing?”
There was a devilish look in Zabka’s eyes. “You’ll see.”