Beardie spent most of the next day in bed, sleeping off his hangover and the bad gastronomical memories of Mexico. Poor fella was so feverish that he had some pretty intense nightmares. Everybody on our floor could hear him yelling in his sleep. “Stay away from me,” he screamed, “or I’ll carve my initials in your belly with a dull butter knife!!”

Funny story: We didn’t find out until later that Beardie wasn’t actually sleeping at all. “I was talking to you, jackass,” he told us.

Oh Beardie, you’re such a practical joker!

It didn’t take long for Beardie to get back on his feet and out on the ship’s party deck, meeting his fans and slipping his room number to (in Beardie’s words) “anybody with a pulse and a fake ID.”

How many young ladies did Beardie hook up? We have no idea, but here’s a clue: The cruise-sponsored “free shot of penicillin” mixer was hands-down the most popular event on the boat.

For shame, Beardie!

Dave Foley took an instant liking to Beardie, at least until Beardie got in his cups and demanded to know if the ex-Kids in the Hall and News Radio star had ever banged Maura Tierney. Come on, Beardie, let’s keep it classy!

Somebody connected with the cruise thought it’d be a great idea to interview Beardie for a promotional video. They thought better of it when Beardie started yammering about how Abraham Lincoln’s brain was stolen by the Illuminati, and universal health care is just a form of communist mind control, and why the Second Amendment gives him the right to go anywhere with his ankle holster, because you never know when you’re going to have to “teach a lesson” to a train hobo or an IHOP waitress who doesn’t understand the meaning of correct change.

When Beardie has a few too many, he likes to sleep it off in public. That way, he can wake up and insist that the cigarette burns covering his chest and arms must’ve been inflicted by a fellow cruise guest, or more likely, some lackey of the ship’s captain. How dare Beardie be so cruelly molested while he lay unconscious and vulnerable! He demands restitution, goddammit!

Last time Beardie tried that old chestnut, he used the settlement to buy a van with an eagle painted on the side.

Beardie thought he’d be a hit at the cruise’s sushi tasting, but his “why does it smell like a whorehouse in here?” jokes didn’t get the same appreciative laughter it usually inspires from his Navy buddies.

Beardie would never admit it, but the only reason he pretends to like sushi is for the wasabi. He likes to coat his gums with it and then try to kiss the sky.

Beardie hates to be a picky eater (much less a vegetarian pussy), but he has a hard time consuming anything that resembles what it used to look like before it got butchered and laid out on his plate.

“Can you cut the goddamn fins off this goddamn thing?” Beardie shouts at his immergrint chef. “I feel like I’m eatin’ fucking Flipper over here!”

Our second stop on the cruise is Key West, Florida: a safe haven for drunk college guys to learn the hard way that everybody is just two frozen drinks away from sleeping with a drag queen.

Before hitting the bars, Beardie visits the home of his old drinking buddy, Ernest Hemingway. A word of advice: If you’re ever hanging out with Beardie and he tells you that the gun isn’t loaded and this is the best way to practice your fellatio skills, don’t listen to him.

Whoops! Sorry, Ernie. That’s our Beardie!

Beardie was not amused by the rules posed throughout Hemingway’s old stomping grounds. As anybody who knows Beardie can attest, he has a problem with authority. And the one thing you never, ever want to tell him is that he can’t pick up your cats. Because let me tell you something, sister, your cats is gettin’ picked up.

You know what the main difference is between Beardie and Hemingway? Beardie waxes. (“Ladies like a chest that they can use like a Slip ‘N Slide,” Beardie tells us, planting a mental image that’ll haunt us for the rest of our lives.)

The other difference? Beardie’s most influential short story, also called “Hills Like White Elephants”, was about a stripper named Trixie with double-D implants and a cleverly-concealed switchblade.

Beardie visits his favorite crepes restaurant for an afternoon snack, not just because he craves the French cuisine but because he enjoys saying, “These crepes taste like craps.” (It’s easier just to laugh. That way, Beardie doesn’t try to explain why it’s funny.)

Beardie claims it’s all about the food, but he’s also there for the French ladies. He loves their hairy armpits and how they all seem to smell like nicotine. They remind him of the summer he spent in Paris, arguing about art with Gertrude Stein and Henry Miller, and getting the clap from prostitu√©s. Aaaah, so many memories! Or as his ex-girlfriend told him before she threw his adulterous ass out of their appartement: “J’accuse!”

Beardie loves watching the delicate art of crepe-making, mostly because it gives him an opportunity to whisper to the chef, “So what’s a fella gotta do to get a little peyote sprinkled on top of that bad boy?”

Normally, Beardie isn’t the kind of guy who enjoys hard liquor. But if somebody else is buying, and they’ll force the shots down his throat like an alcoholic water-boarding, laughing at him as he gasps for air before filling his mouth with even more jagermeister, ignore his girlish pleas for mercy…. well, Beardie ain’t made of stone.

It’s funny how things can go so horribly wrong so quickly. One minute, Beardie was sitting in a Key West bar, minding his own business and shouting requests to an Elvis impersonator – he forked over $5 for the song “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” because it reminds him of his youth in the Furry scene. And before he knew what was happening, he was on stage, doing things he wouldn’t pay to see on Cinemax.

A word of advice: If you have the opportunity to perform a duet with an Elvis impersonator, make sure it’s not the late period “fat” Elvis. If you’re small enough, he’ll try to stick you down his shirt, and those dudes have some serious man-titties. It can get pretty freakin’ hairy down there, like the jungle in a Joseph Conrad novel, and if their pleather jumpsuit isn’t properly ventilated (and let’s be honest, they never are), it can smell like a sauna filled with sumo wrestlers. By the time you finally wiggle your way towards freedom, your clothes are soaked in a stench that’s equal parts peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich and the basement of a morgue, and that’s a fetor that no amount of dry-cleaning and therapy will ever be able to undo.

You have been warned.

Beardie swings by Sloppy Joe’s for a brew and some live music. Rather than tipping, Beardie likes to show his support with some constructive criticism.

“If you play another goddamn Jimmy Buffett song,” Beardie tells the baffled guitarist, “I will set fire to your children and rape their corpses.”

Beardie could’ve sworn that the woman working at Sloppy Joe’s gift shop was is third wife. “Last time I saw you was in a Chilean jail cell,” Beardie exclaims to his old Ball-n-Chain. “How the hell did you get out? Did you actually dig that tunnel you were always bragging about?”

She insisted that they’d never met, and Beardie played along with the ruse. He bought a t-shirt with a c-note and told her to keep the change. “Consider it alimony,” he said with a yellow smile.

Beardie took a moment just to sit next to the ocean and reflect on the breathtaking grandeur of nature, and how the world can make anybody feel small and insignificant, and if you pause just long enough to truly drink in the beauty of Mother Earth, you can catch a glimpse of god’s grand design.

And then he passed out and urinated on his last pair of clean pants. Oh Beardie, will you ever learn?

Beardie posed next to the monument marking the Southernmost Point in the United States. And then, like he does every time he’s here, Beardie dropped his pants and directed his (now golden brown) rump towards Cuba and, in particular, Fidel Castro.

“He knows why,” Beardie grumbled.

Everybody back on the ship! We’ve got one more night of partying on the high seas. Or, as Beardie puts it, “Let’s rock this boat like we’re teenage cousins left unattended with lots of sexual energy to burn off and a tenuous grasp on the moral consequences of our actions!”

Ewwwww. Thanks, Beardie. Way to make the cruise all creepy and weird again.

Like the last twenty minutes of a Rolling Stones concert, when the drugs start kickin’ in for Keith Richards, Beardie makes the worst decisions of his cruise during the final 24 hours.

In a way, we aren’t all that surprised. When you combine a truth-or-dare contest with a few dozen buckets of beer, it’s almost inevitable that Beardie will do something that everybody regrets tomorrow. And it may or may not involve him nestled in a strange lady’s cleavage like a baby kangaroo in his mama’s pouch.

Beardie has only fuzzy memories of his last night on the cruise. He’s pretty sure he got into a chloroform drinking contest, and he’s almost positive that he dosed the hot tub with blotter acid and then, worried about wasting perfectly good LSD on a stupid gag, ended up drinking all of the tub water, which tasted like warm genitals and burnt sienna. He may’ve attended a party with a bunch of hookers and a dead donkey, or he may’ve just stayed in his cabin and watched Bachelor Party on TV – he isn’t entirely clear on that.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, although Beardie would never admit it. He claims that the cruise gave him botulism, rickets, and a touch of the monkey pox. He’s leaving with a suitcase full of phone numbers that he calls “my future free clinic friends”, and he continues to insist that everybody employed by the ship was “a goddamn immergrint”. All in all, Beardie had a miserable experience, or so he would have us believe. But we know that underneath his tough exterior, he’s just a big softie.

“Take your rotten cruise,” Beardie whispers, his voice wavering with emotion, a single tear trickling down his wrinkled cheek. “And go back to C-c-c-china!”