Rock Block by Mickey Miller



Rock Block





Rock Block, verb:



Definition: To stop your best buddy from marrying someone who is absolutely, positively wrong for him.

By any means necessary.

After all, marrying the wrong person can cost you your life.

So this is really a matter of life and death.





1





Luke





I write something else down in my little red notebook, then put it back in my pocket.

Just because my best friend is throwing his life away and getting married to the opposite of a dream girl doesn’t mean I’ll stop thinking of mine.

“Another beer,” I tell the bartender. “And a whisky, too.”

The Purple Spike, the po-dunk bar on Green Street in Galesburg, Central Illinois buzzes with activity from the college kids this Friday night.

As it should. This is no ordinary night—it’s an engagement party. My best friend Ryan Petrovich just proposed to his college girlfriend.

She said yes.

Unfortunately.

I try to be happy for him, and somehow twist reality into a version where his wife-to-be, Jennifer, actually isn’t the devil.

I can’t, though, because I know her too well. It makes me sick.

On top of my general grief, I’m Ryan’s best man so I’ve got to give a short speech tonight for the party. I’ll just have to bite the bullet, smile, and say something nice.

Kathleen, the black-haired bartender, notices my mood. “You’re really going for it tonight.”

“You would be too, if your best friend just made the biggest mistake of his life,” I say, keeping my voice low. Kathleen and I have a rapport and I know she won’t tell anyone that I can’t stand Jennifer.

She leans in and whispers as she slides the shot to me. “Is Jennifer really that bad?”

I nod. “She’s worse. And I’m the best man so I need to give a speech in about five minutes. One that at least makes it seem like Ryan’s not throwing his life away.”

“Or one where you’re happy for the two of them. Not everyone is as anti-marriage as you, you know.”

This isn’t the time or place for me to explain to Kathleen everything I know about Jennifer, and why I’m one-hundred-and-ten percent certain this is the worst decision Ryan could possibly make, which will have a long-reaching impact on his life.

Picture that popular meme where a guy pours gasoline on a car, symbolizing his life, and it blows up in his face. This is where Ryan’s headed.

I shrug and take the shot. “Wish me luck.”

Kathleen knows me well since the freshman year bio class we had together, and she’s right, I am anti-marriage. I think it’s an antiquated custom created thousands of years ago so patriarchal men could marry their women off and control ownership of property.

Hello, 2021? Yes, it’s the eighteen-hundreds and we’d like our customs back, please.

True love? What even is that? Seems like a bunch of B.S. to me.

I’m in the William Shakespeare club of love. “Love is merely a madness.”

I’ve seen too many of my friends lose their mind during that first bout of infatuation. They end up depressed and desperate when they inevitably break up and see the ‘love of their life’ with someone new.

So, yeah, I’m worried about Ryan because he’s getting married to a literal devil woman, and he’s so love drunk he can’t see it.

I tried to talk to him before he proposed tonight—to reason with him. But the man has stars in his eyes. Talking to him is like trying to prove to a cult member that the Kool-Aid they’ve drunk is actually poisonous.

That doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying, though. He’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a brother, and well, I plan to stop this marriage one way or another.

But telling him what I think about Jennifer right in a bar filled with our friends would cause a scene, so I’ve got to play nice. Ryan’s as happy as a farm boy after the first rain of the summer.

His wife-to-be—well, not if I have any say in it—is even happier.

My friend—and our fraternity president—Ian claps me on the back, snapping me out of my trance.

“You all right, buddy?” he asks.

“I’m fine,” I say through gritted teeth. “Really happy for tonight.”

Ian leans in. “Dude. Get your shit together. For Ryan. It’s his night. You should be happy.”