“..and done” sitting on the couch I put the finishing touches on my masterpiece. I’m bored. The past 30 minutes have been spent peeling letters into my St. Ides label, pondering ways to turn this night around. Nas is explaining what he would do if he ruled the world over the speakers. I nod my head, flick some condensation off the bottle and survey my domain.

My roommate George is across the room on the other couch, also with an Ides, laptop open, probably on Reddit.
On the couch to my left sit a brother and sister duo from Venezuela.

The brother is an athlete, well built, and doesn’t drink. So, we have nothing in common. He has a serious yet inscrutable look to him. My best guess is he is recounting the various ways he can end a human life. He is apparently a quarterback down in South America, has a mowhawk, and is wearing a slightly too small shirt. Realizing I have been staring at him, I quickly look at my feet.

His sister on the other hand does drink. This is better news, however being 100 pound wet, her attempts to keep up with us are ill advised. She is talkative, excitable and overly flirtatious. It’s like they aren’t even related. I conclude one is a product of an affair.

On the bean bags near the speakers is Chris. Chris is from Australia and works in a hospital so he can steal drugs. Or that is what I like to think. I like Chris. He showed up first day with a 12 pack of Corona, and hasn’t slowed down in the subsequent 3 days.

Finally, bouncing around is a person we will call MysteryGuest. Unfortunately, those are all the details I’m allowed to give, as he isn’t overly excited about this story being retold. You will soon learn why.

With my label now completely gone, I have run out of things to do.

Brent: “Power Hour!?”
This is one of my go-to moves whenever I feel things need to be stirred up.
Sister: “OK!”
Brother: {angry stare} {no response}
George: “Down.”
MysteryGuest.: “Alright man, but I can only do 1 hour because my flight in the morning is at like 8am”
{yes, we do often do more than 1 hour of power in a night}
Chris: “Fuck that, lets do Centurion. You Americans are pussies”
I debate if I am angry. He has insulted my country. I can’t refute the statement.

{Centurion is the exact same thing as Power Hour, except you take the shots for 100 minutes instead of 60. It seems particularly popular in Australia.}

Satisfied with this proposal, it was my turn to up the ante:

Brent: “well……then……… LETS DO IT WITH IDES!”
{St. Ides, a 40oz beverage which is sold for $3 downstairs, is an 8.2% malt liquor with a taste which can be closest associated to battery acid}

After getting excited at the prospect of something new that hadn’t been done in the hostel, we made our way to the deli. Exiting with two 40oz of St. Ides each, we rationalized that we would go down after two and get the remaining Ides necessary to finish. No chance that was going to happen.

Returning upstairs, the Brother hadn’t moved from his position on the couch, and again was looking my way. ‘Threatening’ is the only way to describe the glances. ‘What the fuck did I do’ is all I could think.

His sister was already fairly drunk, and getting cozy to anyone who would listen. Bouncing around the room, and invading what is normally considered personal space, she just kept talking. When it was my side where the butterfly landed, I did my best to keep the talk short. The brother cast looks of displeasure. He clenched his fists. I pretended I needed to go to the bathroom.

After the inevitable 5 minute debate that happens when establishing a playlist, we punched our ticket to destiny.

Power Hour (or Centurion) always follows the same pattern:

0-15: everyone is always boasting how easy it is, and how it will be no problem to finish.
15-30: the volume on every conversation is louder. music selection of playlist is criticized.
31-45: people, spilling every time they pour a shot, begin complaining that the minutes are going too fast. They delay the pouring of the shot, rush to pour and take it, laugh for 20 seconds, complain the minutes are faster for 20 seconds, talk about bullshit 20 seconds, and then complain that the next minute is already upon them. cycle repeats.
46-60: people begin skipping minutes. time IS faster. playlist is described as best thing ever. first person quits. one person assumes role of shot referee reminding everyone to take each shot, and chastising those who don’t.

{bonus centurion time}

61-75: referee gives up. nobody is playing. morals are abandoned.
76-90: no one remembers.
91-100: no one remembers.

If playing with St. Ides the pattern keeps to the same pattern above, except the “no one remembers” starts after minute 45. And the morning after is like an answer sheet to that game F/M/K. Someone’s been fucked, another married, and the worst killed.

To my memory, the night ended around minute 30 or so. Apparently headstands, stair races, and a 25 minute monologue professing my religion as “Charlie Sheen” while making a fairly convincing argument why it made more sense than Christianity followed. But that was all news to me the next day.

{Some bro out there right now is thinking, ‘oh you pussy, I could have finished the whole centurion with St. Ides AND remembered everything’. You are incorrect. Your bro logic is flawed. I will purchase the Ides and you can try when you come visit. And then torment you and hope you fall off my roof while you are throwing up.}

However, the night could have been worse, because I did manage to find my way the 50 feet to my bed. This was realized after a large, heart skipping,


Question: What is the absolute worst way to be woken up from an Ides induced coma??

Answer: The sound of your only piece of artwork (artwork given to you by a friend) turning into a million little pieces on your living room floor.

“GodDAMNIT!” I woke up pissed. The explosion had jolted me up in my bed. You know when you wake up and you are already pissed off? Things just go down hill from there. ‘The day in the life of a murderer’ begins this way.

Stumbling around in the dark trying to put on some type of clothing I debated whether a Mike Tyson or Ted Bundy-esque revenge was warranted.

Exiting my room, and exhausting every bad word in my vocabulary, I headed towards the living room.

As I turned the corner I caught the eyes of MysteryGuest, and then of Chris. Fuckers. I knew those dickheads were involved.

The look of shame and guilt for breaking my shit was not there. Instead, they both had this gleeful (should I say gay?) look, complete with stupid smirks on their faces.

Around the same time, as if performing, they high-fived. An overly exaggerated, poorly executed high five, and both began laughing uncontrollably. I could not find the humor in the situation.

More angry, my eyes shifted down, and there, found, Waldo. The sister.

There she was, half-smiling as well: All of them together, coming close to forming a perfect Eiffel Tower.

If that is too metaphorical for you, let me clarify: I walked into my living room, where my artwork was just shattered, a mere 8 inch wall away from where our guests (including the Brother) were sleeping, to find two of our guests, having sex with the Sister, at the same time. Now think of the Eiffel Tower. There ya go. Such an act requires a level of coordination none possessed post-Centurion, leading to the demise of my artwork.

NEVER in my 24 years on earth have I ever had a quicker swing in emotions. Gone were my plans to exact revenge worthy of a jail sentence. After a few seconds to fully process what was going on, I lost it. Literally falling to the ground:


It was just too much. If you had asked me to name 500 things I thought were happening in my living room at that time; the- MysteryGuest and some guest from Australia fucking a girl while her super overprotective athlete brother was one cheap wood paneled door away- would have probably come in around 490.

I KNEW the Brother heard the crash. I was down the hall. He was 1 thin wall away. The crash would have woken Helen Keller.

But think about it, what would you do?

Knowing what was going on, his options were as follows:

Option 1: Go out and confirm that, yes, your sister is getting gang banged by two dudes she met a day prior. But then what is the move? Hit them? They still BOTH fucked your SISTER at the SAME TIME. That is a mental image that costs a lot of therapy dollars to erase. Or leads to a life as an alcoholic.

Option 2: Remain in bed, pretend to be asleep, try to rationalize in anyway you can. Make up stories that some other girl must have come over since you went to bed. This saves you the embarrassment that everyone knows, without doubt, that you know, and would probably expect some action in return.

He wisely chose option 2.

Not down to play observer, and not up to participate, I headed back towards my room, cheeks literally stained from the tears of crying.

Although that may seem to be the climax of this story {sorry had to do it}, it is just getting going. MysteryGuest still had the flight to catch, which, at time of Eiffel Tower, was a mere 3 hours away.

As the events were finishing, MysteryGuest needed to get to the airport. Finally coming {jokes old} to his senses, he threw some random articles of clothing (a total of 1 t-shirt, 3 socks, and a pair of dress pants) in his backpack, told Chris and Sister they were always welcome to come again {ok, im done}, and ran, well stumbled rather, out the door.

The rest was later told to me, since it was 7am, my BAC was dipping and I needed sleep.

Apparently MysteryGuest headed to the subway, swiped in, and stood downstairs at the platform waiting for the train.

After a few minutes, he forgot why was there, decided whatever the reason it wasn’t worth being up at that hour, and retreated to the house. Reaching the door of our place, and finally remembering he had a plane to catch, he ran back the the subway. Once there, he got on the subway headed the wrong way. THAT is a St. Ides power hour at work.

Accepting the inevitable, he threw in the towel and headed back. {Missed flight #4 for The Hostel Kids}. He rescheduled and managed to catch a flight a few hours later, still in a condition where it would be illegal to operate a car in most states.

Chris meanwhile, wasn’t as fortunate to escape the awkwardness which was bound to follow.

For the next 4 days Chris had the distinct pleasure of having daily contact with brother. I don’t think a single word was exchanged, however the boundaries were implied. The incident wasn’t publicly mentioned, and Chris kept all his limbs.

As for myself, I was most pleased with the situation. The awkward dynamics made every interaction fun, laced with heavy undertones, and my boredom was once again at bay. Every time I caught the brother’s eyes, he was reading me. Trying to figure out if I knew. However, his stares no longer frightening me. I held the trump card. I not only knew, I saw, hermano.

And while the above actions may seem worthy of ‘gamechanger’ title, my roommate and I can be quite stingy with the label. We have had some crazy guests as I informed Chris that I was still hesitant to crown him.

So whats a prospective gamechanger to do?

Two nights after the Tower stunt, Chris provided the answer.

As another typical night of drinking was playing out in the living room, Brother headed to one of the shared rooms around 11pm. The shared room at the time had 6 bunk beds in it. Two other guests were already asleep, tired from a long day of central park frolicking.

This left myself, Chris, and Sister in the living room………….

……No, THAT didn’t happen. But what did was even better.

After I noticed some strange gestures, and seemingly unprompted giggles from from Chris and Sister, she headed to the same room Brother had retired to. Chris remained, filling the air with idle chatter. I could tell by his smiles that he was still chatting to Sister, probably on Facebook.

Sensing Chris’s mind was elsewhere, I explained a few options ‘just in case’:

a) The roof is a tried and true location. Benefits include being able to be loud without notice, and very little chance of a brother spotting. Areas of concern are the neighboring projects, which are 6 stories higher than our roof, and the 35 degree weather.

b) There was the living room that he seemed so fond of. He was well aware of the risk reward with this choice.

c) A private room, completely vacant, with a more appropriately sized bed for two people. Here, he could lock the door, do whatever he wanted, and probably even get some better sleep.

Chris acknowledged these options and debated his course of action.

Now, take a 10 second break and think…….Which would you chose?…………………

Now, proceed and learn why you will never be a gamechanger.

The only appropriate move, as Chris knowingly chose, was to make your own, and proceed. This entailed entering the shared room, being sure not to wake sleeping-giant brother, or the other 3 guests, climb into a single sized bed…..and ………

…….fuck Sister there, a mere 5 feet away from them all.

ding ding ding ding ding!!! ladies and gentleman…..you are in the presence of a GAMECHANGER.

{But hey, I’m not limiting that honor to Chris. Sister was a player in her own right. Hell, Chris hooked up with one girl, she doubled that.}

When all scores tallied {com’on}, Sister with various partners ‘explored’ over 75% of the rooms in our house {another record for one guest}. Chris continued drinking, almost adding to his personal awards with ‘missed flight #5’ on the day of his departure. Brother clenched his teeth and carried on, or at least pretended to for the remainder of the trip. Although I swear the final day I saw him slamming a beer outside the deli from my room. “Just a soda” my ass.

Sister, keeping with her game changing ways, actually returned 2 weeks later after some time in DC, and even increased her ‘occupied’ percentage…………..but that’s a whole ‘nother story.