Friday morning: With a literal ball and chain at the ready (that's a 16-pound bowling ball, by the way), Brian, Alex and I waited for Mike's students to leave at the end of first period.




Mike wasn't completely surprised when we walked into his classroom because he had found a packed suitcase in his trunk that Christine had placed there earlier that morning. While he knew something was rotten in the state of bachelorhood he did not know what we had in store for him that weekend. As Mike began reading his note that told him to make lesson plans for his afternoon and Monday classes...




...Alex attached the ball and chain to his ankle.




More like he locked the ball and chain on.




It was only 9 a.m. and he still had classes to teach.




At noon the limo was in front of the school.




Mike had no idea.




We brought him out...




...so he could see who else was along for the weekend.




We needed a limo...




...if we were going to fit Alex, Mike, Wayne...




...AK, Brian...




...Bill, myself...




...and the always-tardy Dondi.




Wayne found the champagne and we hadn't even left the parking lot.




Dondi finally got himself together and we were off. Mike still had no idea where we were going.




Brian started the party off with a Diet Coke. Pace yourself, dude, it's going to be a long weekend.




Wayne sampled the whiskey.




We got to our destination in Long Beach.




Carnival Inspiration, son!




Time to do work!




Wayne hit the souvenir stand for the necessary headwear.




The boys approved.




Mike was giddy.




As was Vin Diesel.




We found our cabins...




...and Wayne immediately got comfortable.




Then we headed up for some food; I started with a pastrami on rye.




This guy was waiting for any crumb to drop.




Bill and Wayne also sampled the sandwich bar.




I chose the pizza next.




Dondi and Alex went the noodle route.




Then it was time for the turkey wrap.




Fueled up I took a quick tour and found Brian and Mike from the top deck.




Ain't no drama in the LBC.




Alex and Mike exploring our digs.




Then Alex and I changed into our trunks and hit the waterpark.




First the baby slides.




Yeah, baby!




Then the big boy slides.




Sploosh!




Then the various sprinklers.




Oh yeah, that's the spot!




Then to the Suicide Tunnel.




The hooded worker was unimpressed by Alex's biceps.




This thing put Raging Waters to shame.




I waited for Alex so I could jump on him as he came down the slide but he stopped short of where I was standing.




Alex pulled off the rarely seen simultaneous devil horns and "We're Number One" salute.




With my sweet complimentary robe I was ready to continue my tour of the boat.




Then it was hot dog time!




I later found Mike and Alex running around the boat.




Hanging out in the cabins Alex spent some time on the body.




Then he spent some time on the soul.




We were then called out on deck to go over the emergency procedures.




Then it was time for miniature golf.




Alex showed perfect form.




Wayne not so much.




AK played off the precarious ledge.




I preferred an open stance.




Brian had a little Phil Mickelson in his game.




Bill battled a brisk wind.




I have no idea what happened here between Dondi and Alex.




At dinner that night we mocked Bill for his choice of food (if you can call it that). I love his Woody Allenesque-defensive posture.




But there is no shortage of beef when Alex's bare torso is around. If there is any possible scenario that includes Alex becoming shirtless he will make it happen. Somehow, it happened during dinner. Yes, the sit-down dinner in the main dining room. Of course, if I had been an American Gladiator like Alex I would never put a shirt on in the first place.




After dinner we found the Lakers game on TV and relaxed for a while.




AK also found some boobies to enjoy.




We later tracked down Brian and Bill in one of the entertainment lounges.



Sometimes it pays to sit in the front row and be really loud.




It was trivia time...




...and Brian was chosen to participate. That's Claire with the wink and the thumbs up. She's from England.



Poor Brian. He had to deal with having us idiots in the crowd. But no pressure.



ACE OF BASE! Jeez, Brian, so disappointing.



What do you think, sailor or contruction worker?




Brian was thrashing the other two so badly...




...the hostess, Kate, actually made him stand away from the game for a few minutes.




Poor lonely Brian.



When he was allowed to return he didn't miss a beat... or a twist.




Keep in mind that his winning score excluded the handful of questions he was not allowed to answer.




Kate congratulated Brian on his trivia prowess.




Winnah and champeen!




Whoa, slow your roll, buddy!




$20 spent on bingo.




$20 wasted on bingo.




What we have here are two dueling philosophies on how to enjoy the 24-hour soft serve ice cream bar.




Allow me to introduce a subplot of the cruise: Wayne's obsession with the Tower of Cash game.




Emphasis on "cash".



"This is for you, Tellez." Nothing good ever comes from these words.




obsession (uhb-sesh-uhn) noun. The domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.




Yeah, Wayne drew a crowd.




We finally got him away from that mechanical devil so we could visit a seasick Bill who had retired earlier to his bed. Poor guy.




Not even a towel vagina with eyes could cheer him up.



Day Two