This excerpt is from the beginning of “Squish the Fish: A Tale of Dating and Debauchery” by Dave Lundy. The bestselling novel has been called “The Hangover” in Buffalo, NY.
Unable to escape like a turtle flipped on its shell, a man flails his limbs through the puffy snow. As he passes out, the alcohol in his bloodstream celebrates with wildly inappropriate dance-moves that mimic the night’s sins. The orange glow from a streetlamp punctures the darkness like a police helicopter’s spotlight and frames the helpless fool in a jagged snow angel.
A few hours later, at dawn, a woman is walking her Saint Bernard down the quiet street when she notices the collapsed body. Naturally, her first thought is filled with compassion — What the fuck? But after she reminds herself of one critical detail, it all makes sense — Of course there’s a drunk jackass lying in the snow. This is Buffalo after all. She shrugs-off the potential Darwin Award winner as the dog picks up a scent and is pulled in the man’s direction. Tearing the leash from the owner’s grasp, it dashes to investigate.
The shaggy beast pants above the lush and stares in wonder. Masked by a pair of pink cotton panties, the man looks like some sort of deranged bank robber. If the hound could form complex thoughts, it might speculate — For what ungodly reason is he wearing that? Is it a desperate attempt to prevent his face from freezing off? Perhaps it’s a provocative fashion statement? Or is it, quite possibly, some next-level form of perversion? But it can’t contemplate such things, so it just wags its tail in blissful ignorance. Incapable of resisting the undergarment’s exotic aroma, the dog licks the guy’s noggin like it’s a lollipop. The first taste bursts with flavor, and the mutt knows it’s struck gold — tangy, delicious gold.
Nearby, a fresh line of boot-prints mark a trail up to the man and continue past him. “SUN 12-17 7:16 AM” displays on the frosty LCD of his Casio watch. A frozen bottle of Genesee Cream Ale fuses with his bare hand as gusts of wind blow across the ground. In his other hand, a tattered envelope labeled “Buffalo Tickets” flaps and scatters a rainbow of glitter dust into the air.
The slobbering dog belongs to a breed known for saving dinged-up people in the snow, however, this pooch’s glowing eyes foretell that a rescue is far from how things are about to go down. The poor fellow, too inebriated to realize his forehead is about to be the target of an amorous assault, remains oblivious as the canine straddles him and launches into the grand finale. The funny thing is (which can be said when you’re not on the receiving end of such an outlandish act) humiliations like this don’t compare to the history of bad luck that the city has endured.
The owner strolls into the spectacle like her pet’s pleasure-romp is nothing out of the ordinary. As she reaches for the leash, she abruptly halts and scratches her scalp. Anger builds while she reads a urine scribbled message in the snow that proclaims, “GOD HATES BUF…” and ends in a wavy drizzle. Now in control of the tether, she gives it a harsh tug. While dragging the animal away, she reflects for a moment and mutters to herself, “Maybe that clown is right? Maybe God does hate Buffalo?”