The First-Ever Triangle Darkfriend Social

Now with EVEN MORE pictures!

We held the first-ever Triangle (NC) Darkfriends Social on Saturday, July 22, 1995. As this was the first of its kind, we set all sorts of records, including longest social (7 hrs), most attendees (13), most yards passing (6), highest geek factor (.77), most parsely eaten (8 sprigs), fewest victims bit by Hawk (1), etc.

The social attracted an auspicious 13 friends of the dark: Bill Garrett, Hawk, Joe Shaw, Mike Macchione, Ivis Bohlen, Kevin Denelsbeck and his friend Vic Kayati, Bob Gibson and his friends Lance Bader and Russ Dey, Will Parker, and Sheryl Smith and her husband Randy Smith.

Hawk, Mike, and I arrived at the designated place at about 1:45. Joe was already there, making good mileage into his pint of Wheat Lager. He groused momentarily about having to feed a meter to park his car. Apparently, the one thing I'd forgotten to mention in my directions was where to park for the social. And that reminded me that I was parked illegally, so I went out to move my car to a safe location before it got ticketed.

We watched the door to see if we could spot the other DFs as they entered. There actually was some sport to this, since of the 9 guests yet to arrive, only 2 were people I'd met in person before. The other patrons in the establishment were clearly not of darkfriend caliber... most were too vapidly engrossed in watching televised golf to be the sort who keep up with the thrills and spills of our newfroup.

A man and a woman, both sharply dressed, came through the door and quickly took seats along the wall. They looked too normal to be DFs. Another couple entered, the man wearing a t-shirt with Macintosh propoganda on it. They looked around confusedly before wandering to the bar. I figured them for darkfriends, although I waited for them to make the first move. A young man entered and took a seat at the far corner of the bar. I knew right away that he was a darkfriend, for none else would dare enter a drinking establishment in the heart of Tar Heel territory wearing a Duke t-shirt. By the Great Lord, there are SOME whose help we can do without come the day of the Return!

[Will responds: "When the Dark One summons you, you go no matter where it is he has summoned you too. Even if it is that serpent's den known as Chapel Hill."]

Will got nervous sitting at the end of the bar, being watched by a bunch of freaks, so he came over and joined us. At that point, Sheryl and Randy, who were practically sitting next to us already, joined the group. Randy complained that I'd forgotten to mention parking in my directions. Ivis arrived next, dressed characteristically in Black. She, too, commented that I should have included parking instructions. ["But, Ivis, you live in Chapel Hill!"]

We moved upstairs to our tables and the rest of the gang joined us shortly. Ivis mused that it was difficult for her to choose where to sit... she could sit on the end near Randy, who had such good taste in wearing his Macintosh t-shirt, or she could sit at the end near Will, who was an English major. She finally opted to sit between me and some IBM goon.

We went around the table describing our various jobs or lack thereof. Randy noted that he worked as a sysadmin at a small company in Charlotte. Bob shot back that he worked as a programmer at "a small company with an office here in the Triangle. Maybe you've heard of them; it's called International Business Machines." Someone else shot back, "Oh, really, you work at IBM? Well, do you know my wife's second cousin, Jim?"

We poured on the food and beer and started getting rowdy. Kevin ate part of one of the centerpieces and asked the waitress for more. Joe said, "What are you, a Tinker?" Mike took out the Sword that Ain't, which I had hidden in his Gleeman's cloak, and started passing it around the table. Someone noted that the blade was attached a bit loosely to the pommel. "It's gotten limp from good use," I said. Later on, as someone was about to chase someone else around the table with the sword, I grabbed it back and said, "I'll just put it between my legs and hold it there."

Some Quotes Taken out of Context:

We had several discussions about book-related things, and absolutely NONE about John Novak. We talked about how the Aiel developed from the pacifists they used to be to the warriors they are today. One person pointed out how, in Rand's visions in Rhuidean, it seemed that the Aiel went from peace-lovers to deadly fighters in just two generations. I responded, "It's pretty easy to be deadly when all your friends are non-violent." They got me back, though. When I asked how Aginor and Balthamel recognized Fain/Mordeth at the Eye of the World, half the people at the table yelled at me to "Read And Find Out!"

We discussed what might happen in the next book. We also discussed PNH's recent revelation that the title of the next book begins with the indefinite article "a". For the benefit of the people who didn't grasp the humor of subject lines like "TAN: ACOS", I asked Mike (the resident Math grad) what the tangent of arccosine was. He furrowed his brow for a moment before responding,

See, isn't math humor fun?

[Will remarks: "See what I mean by highest geek factor?"]

The oldtimers amongst us spent a while explaining the family tree to the newcomers. Mike noted that the branches cross, and that dozens of the newer members are inbred. I noted that my branch of the family tree suddenly became a lot more fecund as of version 3.X. Joe compared Erica's side to Pam's side, and -- describing himself -- said, "I'm a Verin-sister." Uh, yeah, looks like we're inbred.

The bill came and we took turns tossing money into the growing pile in the center of the table. As four people took turns counting it over and over, someone joked that it'd be funny if the Prologue of ACoS began with a bunch of darkfriends having to ante up to pay their bill before leaving Shayol Ghul. Sheryl suggested that the 13 of us should try to Turn the waitress before she walked away with our money, but we were too late. Someone else pointed out, by way of consolation, that if we Turned her, we'd have 14 DFs, and then there'd be too many of us to Turn anyone else.

It was a great social, and I know that several of us look forward to doing another. Of course, it took me a year to get around to organizing this one, so don't hold your breath until the next.

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Bill Garrett