The Groom
and Phil
as the Jack of Clubs
Part 1 - Where the Story Begins

Watch the three-minute trailer for Stevie's Getting Married.

        Stevie Fine Print was getting married. We were, mostly, thrilled for him. A few of us were indifferent. One saw it as an opportunity to do couples stuff with a couple that maybe could find someone for him to couple up with.
        Mike first suggested the Vegas bachelor party. After all, what better way to pay Steve back for all of the sports entertainment that he's provided over the years. The two of them had gone to various sporting events, including college basketball, pro baseball, pro hockey, pro wrestling and a two-week road trip to follow the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. Baseball is Steve's primary passions, though, and he loves to collect freebies like bobbleheads, even if it means dressing up like an eleven-year old for kids-only promotions.
        Steve usually invited Mike when he had an extra ticket, so he could claim one more Rally Monkey shoe polish kit or Angels garden gnome. More often than not, Mike skated out of paying for the ticket by forgetting to carry his wallet or by only having pesos and Hong Kong dollars in his pockets.
        Steve didn't want a Las Vegas bachelor party.  He tried to get out of it by concocting outlandish excuses each time it was brought up: he'd be busy with wedding plans; he was too mature for that sort of thing now; he was

Stevie in a happy moment
The joyous smile we predict Steve will have all weekend.
(click photo to enlarge) - ESC to exit
preoccupied with office politics and social climbing; his Gambler's Anonymous sponsor said he shouldn't. But once we have a super great idea in our heads we don't take no for an answer. If we did, Phil wouldn't have that tattoo of Dave Thomas, deceased founder of Wendy's, on his chest.
        His fiancée wanted him to go, though. She told him he needed to cut loose one last time, to spend quality time with friends, and give a fond sendoff to his bachelor days. It would be a way to shed the last bits of his youth before settling into a life of children, minivans and wine-tasting parties.
        Late one night in May, after our relentless hounding and his fiancée's encouragement, he relented. But with ground rules.
  1. I don't want to go to a strip club, but if we do it better be a classy one.
  2. Absolutely no Four Loko. It is contraband in California and if I am seen with it, my law career could be ruined.
  3. I want my own room; no roommates.
  4. Under no circumstances is Phil to be allowed anywhere near my bathtub.
  5. Absolutely, positively no wrestling, especially not the Mexican kind.
  6. No loans. Don't even ask. With the wedding coming up, I'm on a tight budget.
        The first ground rule was probably because of the time we took him to Larry's Villa and he got hit in the face with a Louisville Slugger by a dancer who looked like Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder, but with smaller boobs and a bigger butt, which also hit him.
        The second ground rule was due to the amount of Four Loko that some of us had started to use as a crutch to get through our daily lives. It is a potent malt liquor concoction that comes in fruity flavors. In the states where it's legal, a can costs about two bucks and has the alcohol of six beers and the caffeine of five cups of coffee. So you can see why we love it so much. But if Steve said, "No Four Loko," then we'd abide.
        The third ground rule might have been because of the time Dan brought his accordion. Or when Phil flooded the room after falling asleep in the bathtub. Or maybe it was when Ghizal hid under the bed and waited until Steve was asleep before he reached up and grabbed him while shouting "Back from the dead! I'm the whore they hid in the mattress, back from the dead!"
        The fourth ground rule was because of the flooding incident. Or when we found Phil in a tub of ice chips and "Call 911" scrawled in lipstick on the mirror. Phil was fine, he just wanted to see what it felt like to be a margarita.
        What prompted the fifth ground rule was a mystery, but it sounded like fun.
        The sixth ground rule was obvious. Of course, we weren't going to borrow money. In fact, the entire weekend would be our treat. All he had to do was sit back and enjoy his last moments of freedom. Each of us would plan one event, whether a dinner or a hotel or a night on the town. And each event would be unforgettable for the bachelor.

        Once Steve agreed, Dan bought an airline ticket to Las Vegas. No sooner had he clicked "Purchase" than his wife came into the office with an expression full of an impending marital storm.
        "I got a letter," she said.
        "I don't want you to go to Las Vegas."
Dan makes a point about his cheek.
Dan makes a salient point about something or other.
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        "But I just bought the ticket."
        "I don't like to think about what you do there."
        "You mean losing our nest egg or rubbing elbows with mobsters? Kidding!"
        "I don't want you to go."
        "Look, what's this about?" Dan asked.
        "I got a letter," she repeated. "It says that when you're in Las Vegas you do things. Things that I don't approve of."
        "Who sent it?"
        "It's anonymous."
        "What's anonymous accusing me of?"
        "Prostitution. Binge drinking. Illegal drugs. Things with kittens that I can't--" Her voice trailed off as she retched.
        "But I have to prostitute myself, or I won't have enough money to go binge drinking. Kidding!"
        "Daniel, I'm concerned."
        "Don't worry about it. The letter is clearly a prank."
        Lauren looked dubious.
        "Who are you going to believe--your husband of 10 years or an unsigned accusation from Matt?"
        "Matt sent this? How do you know?"
        "Trust me."
        "I do, but..."
        "Listen. It's Stevie Fine Print's bachelor party weekend. Of course, it's going to get a little wild--no question about it. But that's not why I'm going."
        "Then why are you going?"
        "Steve's my friend. He's new to marriage, and he needs my guidance and advice. It's important for me to be there, to talk to him about what makes our marriage so successful. And I'm dying to drink cocaine-laced absinthe from a hooker's navel. Kidding!"
        At this, Lauren hit him with the fax machine.