Friday night. For some of us, it’s the gateway to two days of unbridled fun and relaxation – unless you have the responsibility of a child, spouse or BlackBerry. Luckily, I only have one of the three, so as long as I read and respond to emails (though I usually don’t), I’m free to allow my weekends to wander off the beaten path. This is exactly what happened when I made the acquaintance of the Four Horsemen: Jimmy, Jack, Johnnie and José.
11:30 pm. The Four Horsemen strode bow-legged into the bar where I was celebrating the end of calendar week number twenty-six. Individually, each of these four men uses charisma and charm to attract raucous partygoers, seduce the loveliest of ladies and breathe swagger into the feeblest of men. However, standing shoulder to shoulder, the dark shadows cast by this steely-eyed quadrumvirate are frightening enough to silence the Sirens of Greek mythology.
Generally, their legend precedes them, and upon first sight, all patrons who were once fighting for the attention of the bartender immediately relinquish the 1 x 1 ft. space they had carved into the crowd and make way for the quartet. However, on this night, I was not to be moved.
I was in the process of building my own legend, so the sight of the Horsemen did little to sway my confidence. I had already arm-wrestled an Irishman named Guinness into submission, and stood toe-to-toe with a barrel-chested German surnamed Jägermeister, who was accompanied by his little Red Bulls. A few other non-descript individuals tested my mettle, but none proved successful. Thoroughly battle-tested, the legend nor presence of the foursome was enough for me to kowtow to these men.
There I stood, alone, eyes locked upon the mighty four. With no end to the stalemate in sight, the Horsemen issued a challenge. If I could withstand the force of their simultaneously choreographed shots to the chest, they would quietly leave the establishment and allow the night to restore to its previous state of jubilation.
The combined shots of Jimmy, Jack, Johnnie and José were painless. There I stood, victorious, with a child-like grin chiseled into my jawline. The crowd, now in a stupefied frenzy, was amazed at my ability to withstand such powerful blows to the torso. As agreed, the four alpha males walked out one by one. Yet, as José exited, he turned in my direction and, with a mischievous smirk, mouthed, “We’ll be back.”
Victory was mine. What no other man or woman dared to attempt, I conquered. I was on top of the world, pounding my chest and roaring to signify my domination. As stated, the night returned to its to pre-Horsemen levels of euphoria.
4 a.m. The King has returned to his castle via chauffeured chariot (Friends don’t let friends drive drunk!) with the glow of success and sweet scent of curvaceous women covering his being. Though I feared no man, I was still mortal, and the Sandman was beckoning for me to enjoy several hours of slumber. Having had my fill of waking hours, I obliged. However, before I could rest my head on my royal pillow, I had to inspect my porcelain throne.
While taking stock of the royal apparatus, I was startled by a familiar whisper. As I turned around, I was met with the icy glare of the night-riding foursome. As promised, they were back.
The ensuing confrontation was freakish and bewildering. Never once did they lay a hand on me, but I was somehow overpowered by the burning sensation of their shots to the chest that I absorbed earlier that night. There I laid on the floor, praying to the porcelain god, Kohler, and temporarily crippled by the pain in my abdomen. As I fought to regain control of my faculties, the Horsemen towered over me, laughing heartily and enjoying the moment as I prayed for it to end.
Sweat-soaked and weak, I eventually made my way into the palace bedroom, but I was only able to find a resting place among the groundlings where I remained until dawn. The Sandman, also enjoying a chuckle from my severely diminished physical, mental and emotional state, then whisked me away to a special place reserved for those who foolishly accept the challenge of the Four Horsemen.
Since that night, I have avoided all interaction with the grizzled quartet – even on an individual basis. To relive that fateful ordeal brings chills down my spine that only those who have also experienced the might of the Horsemen can comprehend. This incident has brought me to acknowledge and appreciate their legend. I thought I was one of the strong, but they proved otherwise.
Jimmy, Jack, Johnnie and José abhor hubris and self-deification, and they have made it their mission to rid the world of those who publicly display these virtues. Ever the true gentlemen, instead of belittling you amongst your peers, they wait until your weakest moment, the minute where night meets morning, to exert their force and make you cry for mercy and forgiveness.
This lesson, I have learned. To these gentlemen, I salute.