Regan pressed her cheek against the cool porcelain bowl. She loved the feel of it against her flushed face and turned to cool her forehead as well.

 “God” she thought “I really am getting too old for this shit”.

A wave of nausea washed over her again and she quickly sat up on her knees and stared into the depths of the toilet. She weaved for a second, swayed a bit and then decided it was a false alarm. She blearily thought of trying for the bed, then thought better of it and laid down on the bathroom floor in the fetal position. 

“Fuckin’ tequila” she moaned, “Fuckin’ Bunco” and closed her eyes.

*********

She could feel the sun burning through her eyelids. Keeping them carefully closed, she rolled over on to her back. She felt the mattress underneath her and realized she must have made it to her bed sometime during the night. She recalled that bed spins had almost caused her to make a mad dash back to the bathroom, but she had hung a leg over the side of the bed and toughed it out, praying that she would pass out again soon. 

She slowly opened her eyes and gazed at the ceiling; the wrong ceiling. Holy crap, she was in the guest room…what the hell was she doing in the guest room? She realized that her bed had seemed really high off the ground last night, so she had opted for the lower guest room bed. She looked under the covers; she had managed to get her clothes off too.

Slowly, the last evening was coming back to her. She often prayed for blackouts, but unfortunately, she ALWAYS remembered what happened. The next phrase she uttered was becoming a post-bunco, morning-after ritual:

Gently placing her hand on her throbbing head she said “oh fuck…what the hell did I do this time?” 

It was a rhetorical question.

She’d made out with Kate again. She was going to have to stop that. She wasn’t a lesbian…she wasn’t even bi. Somehow, quite often, she and Kate would end up leaving at the same time. Standing next to her car, they would begin by kissing gently and then more hungrily until one of them, usually Regan, would pull back, out of breath, and say good night. It was becoming a ritual, and Regan, who hadn’t gotten laid since her separation 5 months ago was beginning to look forward to whatever kind of sexual contact she could get. That wasn’t good.

Then it hit her; oh shit….skinny dipping…copping feels under the water of Angeline’s swimming pool….damn, damn, damn. She hoped it was only Kate that she’d grabbed. She rubbed her forehead more vigorously, trying to erase the memory. It didn’t work.

Regan was beginning to think she would just pull the covers over her head and roll back over. 

“Fuckin’ tequila” she said out loud…and then she grinned. It was kinda crazy…but she had fun. She remembered that all 12 women had howled at the full moon together last night and that for one reason or another they had decided that she, Regan, had the best tits. Pretty soon the grin became a little giggle. She shook her head…just another Bunco in Suburbia.

She had been playing Bunco with this group of 12 women for a year now. The game in itself, in which 2 partners roll against another set of partners for a specific number on a set of 3 dice, was actually very simple. They referred to their monthly ritual as “Drunco” because the game was secondary to the alcohol, food and sweets that were involved.

Rhonda Larson was the leader of the group or “the Bunco Bitch” as she was lovingly referred. She ran a tight game. Each month, one of the players hosted the game in her home. She was expected to provide appetizers, followed by dinner and dessert as well as enough alcohol to get 12 women good and properly drunk!

While the appetizers could be simple fare, they had to be plentiful. After a week of work or PTA meetings and shuttling kids to soccer practice, play rehearsals, swim meets, Tball, play groups or any number of other activities, these women arrived famished and ready for a drink. 

Bunco was to begin promptly at 6:00 on the first Friday of the month. The women would slowly arrive individually or in pairs. Each new arrival would be greeted with a hug and a cocktail. They munched on shrimp cocktail or chips and dip, and their conversation would revolve around their children or their husbands while they waited for the arrival of Rhonda and her gang. 

Rhonda was always the last to arrive with her two best friends Stephanie and Jill. The trio had a ritual of going for “pre-bunco cocktails” at the Country Club. While she had been quite specific about the 6:00 start time for the rest of the group, she never arrived at Bunco before 6:30 and she never arrived without Stephanie and Jill. The women would walk into the hostesses home, throw their hands in the air and yell “BUNCOOOO!!!” It seemed to signify that the party could begin now that the main players had arrived. The rest of the players would raise their glasses and shout “Buncooo!” back as the newcomers made their way around the room, exchanging hugs and false compliments. 

It was the same every month.

With the arrival of the neighborhood royalty, the harried and nearly broke hostess could begin the final preparations for the meal. Rushing around her kitchen while the rest of her friends began slamming down the cocktails, she would present a fabulous meal. Tuna casserole, while technically allowed, was never part of the game plan. The fare was as varied as the women, but often included such delicacies as grilled salmon, herb encrusted roast with potatoes, or beef kabobs on the grill. No one ever left hungry.  

Once dinner was finished, drinks were refreshed and snacks were placed on each of the three game tables. The game was then played for three sets of 6 rounds. At the end of each round, partners would be switched and rotated between the tables depending on who won or lost. This is where the real socializing, gossiping, and drinking began and as the level of alcohol increased, the group would become louder and more rowdy, often shouting over each other to be heard.  

At the end of the game, dessert was served as the scores were tallied and prizes were awarded. Each member paid $5 each month to provide money to buy prizes. As Rhonda often said “5 bucks a month for a great dinner and drinks ain’t a bad deal” 

With their bellies full and alcohol limit reached, most of the women would stagger around the room saying their goodbyes and then fade into the night. It was then, after the “light weights” left that the “after Bunco” party would begin…and all limits of excess and debauchery would simply fall away. 

Regan loved the after party.

It all depended on the hostess. If she was one of the “cool chicks” there would definitely be one. If it was one of the “soccer moms”, the after party would move to another venue; a local bar, a neighborhood park, or someone else’s home if it was nearby.

The Bunco group was divided into two factions; the “cool chicks” were the party girls. Most had kids, but still lived life out loud. They had few limits when it came to their monthly night out and few limits in life in general and were unapologetic for it. The “soccer moms” were all about limits. A soccer mom, Regan liked to say, was a “mom who acted like she didn’t have to fuck to become one”, her life was wrapped up in her kids and her image and she had a rather permanent stick up her ass. Regan had little tolerance for people like that, although, you never would have known it from her behavior towards them. She treated them as though they were good friends, she just never missed the opportunity to try to shock them and break through their stony, practiced façade.

Last night’s party had been at Angeline’s house. Angeline was on the fence between Cool Chick and Soccer Mom. Her attitude was more conservative and quiet, but she was non-judgemental enough and curious enough to hang around for an after party. So, as the Soccer Moms faded into the night, she began making the rounds and filling the wine glasses of the girls she knew would be staying. Jill and Regan needed a cigarette and so they all gravitated out to the patio. 

The moon was full and the night was warm. Angeline turned off the porch lights so that they could enjoy the moonlight and she and Kate joined the girls outside. The women were slouched in the comfortable patio chairs. An abundance of wine and good food had made it rather difficult hold their heads up and so they rested them on the soft cushions behind them.

 Kate had been the first to move over to dangle her feet in the pool, the others followed and soon they found themselves stripping off their clothes and diving in. With their wineglasses in hand and held above the water, they stood and chatted as they enjoyed the feel of the cool water on their bare skin. As Angeline and Jill discussed the latest gossip about the recent squabble in the neighborhood, Regan could feel Kate gravitating towards her. She wasn’t shocked when she felt a hand brush the side of her breast, but instead engaged in the conversation as though nothing was happening. A quick glance at the other two confirmed that they were far enough away to be unable to see what was happening under the water. Regan boldly, drunkenly, touched Kate back and the two women continued the conversation as they fondled each other under the water.

Regan was curious. She had never touched a woman in that way before; she wanted to know what it was like. Truth be told, it had been so long since she’d been touched by anyone in that way, that she told her wine-soaked mind that she would take it where she could get it. 

Angeline moved closer to the pair and they separated like guilty school girls. With that one movement, the experiment ended. 

Her empty stomach grumbled, coffee…she definitely needed coffee and a greasy breakfast. This was going to be one hell of a day. Thank God the kids were at Eric’s. Part of their parenting agreement was that he would have the kids on Bunco night and for the rest of the weekend following. Well…it was unofficially so. It wasn’t a good idea to have “mommy needs one night a month to get drunk and party with her girlfriends” written on a legal document, but that’s what it was. Eric was an asshole sometimes, but at least he understood the need for Bunco Night. As a matter of fact, before the separation, he had been the beneficiary of many a drunken night of lovemaking with his wife. 

Thinking about sex made Regan almost wish that she had taken Kate up on her unspoken offer, that she had found a way to allow things to go further than they had. Regan loved sex. So much so, that she wondered sometimes if she would have had the courage to kick Eric out if she had known about the “dry spell” that came with separation. Of course, since Eric had an affair with her best friend, Paige, she hadn’t had much of a choice.

“Shit” she said aloud. She really didn’t want to think about that. It still hurt. She was past the part where she would start crying whenever she thought of the pain of the betrayal of two people that she loved and trusted above all others, but not quite past the part where she would drive past Paige’s house and scream “BITCH!!!!” as loud as she could. In the car alone, with the windows rolled up and driving along an empty street, there was no one there to hear her or bear witness to her bout of insanity, but it made her feel better. 

Heaving a sigh, she told herself to get up and quit thinking about it. Dealing with a hangover would be a far better alternative to feeling sorry for herself. She tested the waters by putting one foot on the floor; So far, so good. Slowly she raised to a sitting position and was faced with the horror of seeing her reflection in the mirror on the dresser.

Mascara was heavily smudged around her eyes and her copper hair looked like a rat had taken up residence and then left because it was too much of a mess. She groaned and made a mental note to move that fucking mirror, nobody should have to see themselves when they first get out of bed. 

“Fuckin’ bunco” she said to her reflection, and grinned.