I am 18. It’s Salmon Fest weekend in Grand Falls, and we leave town a day early to stay in Gander for the night so we can get a decent campsite. We go to Legends for a few drinks, where we run into some girls that we know who had the same idea as us. It’s the night of a karaoke contest, with the winner given a hefty bar tab, but none of us has the nerve to go up. Although, by the time the singing is over, when a winner if declared, some boozy courage appears to have taken effect. “Joseph Buttons, come collect your prize!” is heard from a distance. After a couple of repetitions, still nobody is claiming the name, and so Baker pushes me towards the stage, where a man holding a microphone welcomes me. I am Joey Buttons, karaoke master and collector of drinking money.
I order enough rounds of whiskey sours to forget the rest of our own names. We’re all having a great time, and prompted by the escalatory nature of free cocktails, a memento of the night is needed. Baker stands up on the table and rips a large mounted Bill Clinton photo from the wall. Not to be outdone, Laura tears down a nearby Marilyn Monroe picture, and before it gets to be my turn, security comes bounding to our table to stop the vandalism.
We all take off towards the dark nighttime outside, souvenirs in hand. I head into the woods while noticing that I am now carrying the unmounted Slick Willy. A flashlight shines in my direction so I dive into the bushes to avoid detection. I stay here for awhile until the heat diminishes, and after some time I’m confident that there’s no one else in the vicinity. Still, I realize we haven’t booked a hotel yet, and I have no cell phone or way to contact the people I’m with. I ostrichly stay where I am in the hopes of being rescued. A lot of time passes, and I resign myself to sleeping on the ground, waiting for first light.
Suddenly, I hear a noise coming from the children’s playground. Emerging from the shadows is Joe, riding a child’s bicycle and making the Bubb Rubb “woo woo” sound. The whistles are here for me, and I am saved.