“Zero F*cks Given” (Scene 1)

This is the beginning of Dave Lundy’s new novel (still in development) called, “Zero F*cks Given”, a prequel to the best-selling comedy “Squish the Fish: A Tale of Dating and Debauchery”.

Saturday…

Zabka stabbed his fork through a cherry tomato and some lettuce. He brought it carefully to his mouth so as not to drip any dressing on his sale-rack suit. His friends, Bob and Lighthouse, threw their polyester ties over their shoulders and dug into lunch.

While he chewed on a bite of greasy cheeseburger, Bob glared at Zabka and asked, “Who the fuck orders a salad? You know no good story ever started with a salad — unless we’re talkin’ ’bout salad-tossing, of course. Anyway, it’s your fault if we don’t have an awesome time at Earl’s wedding.”

“Whatever.” Zabka’s hand shook as he sipped his Bloody Mary. “I couldn’t make it to the gym today, so I’m eating something light. You don’t get a ripped body like mine without sacrificing every once in a while.”

“Seriously, why bother?” Lighthouse asked. “You’re gonna drink a hundred beers at the reception. What’s the use?”

As college friends do, they called each other by their nicknames — Zabka, because his doppelgänger is William Zabka, the blond actor whose character in The Karate Kid is an arrogant prick; Lighthouse, for his bright-red hair, tall stature, and penchant for walking on his tiptoes with his head spinning on the lookout for trouble; and Bob, the jovial moniker for Robert.

The Steer, the restaurant-bar they were dining in, was busy on that muggy summer day. Located near the University at Buffalo’s city campus, it was mostly frequented by students from Long Island. Its dark wood interior and the bull’s skull and horns that hung on the wall gave the place a western vibe. A country song by Billy Ray Cyrus was playing in the bar.

Bob said, “Good lord this song sucks. Achy-fuckin’-Breaky Heart? Zabka, why’d you make us come here? I hate this fucking place.” He watched a group of girls in matching sorority shirts and with matching nose jobs, chat up the bartender. “Oh, that’s right… because you’re sniffing around for Tracy Cohenstein.”

Lighthouse’s eyes grew wide as he thought about the last time he saw Tracy during junior year, at the end of spring semester. She was sunbathing in her backyard, and he was perched in a tree with binoculars.

Zabka put down his fork. “Screw you, Bob. Stop trying to stir the pot.”

“Who, me?” Bob placed his hand over his heart. “I would never.”

Zabka shook his head. “Yeah, never.”

Bob was indeed stirring the pot, knowing that both of his friends had a thing for Tracy. Zabka’s yearning was on the healthy, red-blooded male side of the spectrum, while Lighthouse’s pursuits leaned more toward an unbalanced obsession.

Bob gulped down some beer and shoved a handful of fries into his mouth. “Hey, remember the last time we came here? The bouncer launched some douchebag off the steps outside and into the street.”

“Oh yeah, that was hilarious,” Lighthouse responded. “No offense, Zabka, but I’m shocked that’s never happened to you.”

Zabka threw his arms up and leaned in. “Who’s got the balls to try to throw ME out?!” He looks around. “Show me! I dare someone!”

Bob paid no attention to Zabka’s outburst. “Actually, I’m surprised they didn’t toss you outta Third Base last night. What a shitshow.”

“Please,” Zabka scoffed. “They’d never. Plus most of that had nothing to do with me.”

Lighthouse shook his head. “Yesterday was a fiasco.”

“Fiasco isn’t quite the right word… It was a clusterfuck.” Bob studied his scraped knuckles. “One huge clusterfuck.”

Lighthouse asked, “Can we talk about something else?”

“Sure. How about hangovers?” Bob finished his beer and raised the bottle. “Hair of the dog.”

“More like shit of the dog. Dog shit — that’s what I feel like. So no, I don’t want to talk about hangovers.”

“Okay, then how about the Bills? You guys know if it’s preseason yet?”

“Yeah, I think the first game is tomorrow.” Zabka picked up his fork and speared a piece of chicken along with his next helping of salad. “But I don’t know how they get motivated. After losing three Super Bowls in a row, it’s gotta be tough.” As he gnawed on the meat, his face turned green. He spit the chicken out onto the table and inspected the flesh. “What the fuck?! It’s pink inside!”

Their waitress heard the commotion and hustled over. “Is there a problem with your order?”

“A problem?! You’re damn right there’s a problem! The chicken is under-fucking-cooked!”

“I’m so sorry. Let me take care of that and get you a new salad.”

“No. I’ll handle this myself.” Zabka stood with his plate, marched toward the kitchen, and slammed through the aluminum swinging-door. “Who the fuck made my salad?!”

The kitchen staff froze, alarmed by their uninvited guest.

Zabka scanned for the most-likely culprit and landed on the man who’d been chopping lettuce. “Hey, fuckface! Did you do this?! Did you put raw chicken in my salad?!”

“No, sir. I just make the vegetables.” The food preparer’s nervous eyes implicated the grill chef.

“I see.” Zabka walked over and dumped his salad on the guy’s head. “Why the hell did you do this? Tell me right now, or I swear I’ll strangle your neck.”

The man gulped, fully believing the threat. “Okay, okay. Some girl paid me fifty bucks to do it. Please don’t tell my boss. I beg you.”

“Some girl?!” Zabka looked around. “So, a conniving cunt is in our midst, eh? Where is she? Keep talking and I might let you off the hook.”

“She’s out at the bar.”

“Good. Take me to her.” Zabka punched his palm. “Let’s go, motherfucker.”

Scene 1 | Scene 2

zerofucksgiven

I’m a Buffalo Bills Fan. Am I an Idiot?

Published November 4th, 2017

Why would anyone in their right-mind choose to be a Buffalo Bills fan? I wasn’t born a fan, yet I am today. Four Super Bowl losses in a row — torturous. The Music City Miracle — an unexpected kick in the nuts. O.J. Simpson — let’s not go there. In the past 17 years, Buffalo has had more drunk fans fall from the upper deck of their stadium (one) and more dildos thrown on their field (one) than they have playoff appearances (zero). So again, why am I a Buffalo Bills fan?

Five Bryan Cox
Mocking Bryan Cox of the Dolphins before the Miami game in Buffalo, 1995

I grew up in Binghamton, NY and, like most people there, I was a New York Giants fan and rooted for them against the Bills in their first Super Bowl. In 1992, I transferred in the spring semester to the University at Buffalo. On January 26th, I watched Buffalo play in their second Super Bowl with my new friends in our Ellicott dorm. That year I was rooting for the Bills — admittedly, it was more like rooting against the Redskins — and again they fell short of victory. After the game, people were crying and throwing crushed beer cars out of windows — and then everyone just said “fuck it” and we partied the rest of the night. I have a couple of good postgame stories, but I think legally, I’m not allowed to share them here.

The next two years of college brought two more Super Bowl losses, both at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys (F Dallas!). After I graduated, I took a job at a local company in Cheektowaga and finally went to my first game at Rich Stadium. It was a game against the Miami Dolphins and it may have been one of the greatest days of my life. I’m not lying, it was that much fun. I loved the tailgating and the spirit of the fans. There was electricity — and booze — everywhere. I watched Kelly, Thomas, Smith, Tasker, and Christie lead the Bills to victory over Dan Marino (seriously, what’s up with those Isotoner gloves commercials?) and the much hated Bryan Cox (F U! You gave us the finger — we gave you 160,000 middle fingers back). That was the day I truly became a fan.

Now I live in San Francisco and gather with the rest of the Bills Backers at the Northstar (thanks, Mark!) on game day. There’s nothing like Zubaz pants and drinking Blue with great friends to make you feel at home. Last year, we met at the bar and took a charter bus over to Oakland when the Bills were in town. Our amazing organizers, Maggie and Jeff, set up an incredible spread with wings and garbage plates. But here’s the best part — Andre Reed hung out and tailgated with us! What a trip that was!! As for the game, however, I’m still trying to forget how we folded in the second half.

Earlier in the season, a bunch of us also flew down to LA for the Bills game, and I finally met the legendary Pinto Ron at Busby’s West during the Saturday welcome party. That was a great weekend and we won the game! I also was at the 49er game in Buffalo and partied in the famous Hammer Lot! It was incredibly fun! And we won that game too!!

Like in any twelve-step program, the first step is admitting you have a problem. So here it is — I’m a Buffalo Bills fan. And you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing, and I’m sure as hell not moving past step one. I’m a Bills fan for life. I love the Bills and everything about Buffalo so much that I wrote a book and a song, which, I imagine, might put me in a unique category of fans. So if you like Buffalo (how could you not?) and enjoy crazy comedy, check out “Squish the Fish: A Tale of Dating and Debauchery”. I can’t wait to party with all of you in Niagara Square when the Bills bring home the Lombardi Trophy! Until then, cheers!!!