"It's the Romans!"

"Run!"

The Roman Numerals were attacking.

"Save the kids!"

Number One vs Roman Numerals
Who's #1 NOW, bitch?!
Grown men like 45 and 66 picked up baby 9s and 7s-some only font size 4 or smaller-and ran for the exits, only to be blocked by VIII and XI. Unarmed numbers huddled in the corner as IV and XIX advanced on them. Groups of brave numbers like 22 and 101 fought valiantly only to be knocked unconscious by XVI and XXX.

In less than an hour, all the numbers were unconscious and bound. All, except 1.

Four hours earlier…

"I'm really tired of not knowing where I rank," complained 36.

"I know what you mean; I'm four digits and I still don't know if I'm higher up than 706," said 2,517.

"If we don't figure something out soon the Roman Numerals will grow too powerful!"

"They've already been the primary source of numerical evaluation for centuries!"

3,968 pounded his gavel. "Enough!" The room fell silent. "We need to have a meeting to decide this once and for all."

Nods abounded.

"In four hours we will hold a secret meeting at the old brothel down on Pine Street. I assume you all know the one?"

Chuckles and grins all around.

"Anyone remember the rack on that blonde 33?" asked 45.

Cat calls and high-fives filled the air.

"So it's settled," said 3,968, scratching his crotch. "We will meet at the old brothel at twelve."

"Huh?" asked 12.

"Sorry, the time. Noon."

"Oh. Gotcha."

The numbers were excited, but anxious; this meeting had been centuries in the making.

Always fearful of being caught cheating by their letter wives, the numbers had created an underground passageway leading into the brothel. "No one can know about this—not even our families," said 3,968. "If the Romans get wind of this, we may never be able to chant what number we are after we win a championship. And since we're all here—"

"Wait," interrupted 88. "Where's 1?"

Across town…

"Heeeeeere's to me…to me…to me. Heeeeeere's to me…a real horse's ass. I'm happy I'm jolly I'm fucked up by golly. Heeeeere's to me a real horse's ass. So drink mother-fucker drink mother-fucker drink mother-fucker…gulp, gulp gulp…"

1 was getting hammered. Alone. As usual.

It was for this reason that nobody felt like telling him about the secret meeting, especially since he had a history of drunken secret telling…

(2003) "I don't know General Raymond Odierno, it's a pretty good hiding place, but I'm not sure how long Saddam wants to hide across the Tigris River at the bottom of that narrow, dark hole beneath the two-room mud shack on his sheep farm."

(1995) "Sure Hillary, I'd love to come. I have to get my golf shoes though. Let me check if Bill is done getting blown by that intern so I can grab them."

(1972) "Hey Frank, it's 1. Listen, I think Nixon and his boys are throwing a party somewhere at the Watergate Complex. Think you could check it out and hook me up with a spot on the guest list? Thanks, bro."

(AD 26) "Listen, Jesus, I know I'm a little drunker than you intended for us to get off that wine, but I gotta tell you something about Judas…"

After 1 had polished off his pony keg, shotgunned his last three beers, and downed the bottom half of his pint, he decided to go for a nice, relaxing stumble around town…

Noon at the brothel…

3,968 spent the hours before the meeting chalking up thousands of squares that would indicate the numbers' rank. At the entrance to the brothel was the square chalked off for the highest rank, at the exit was the square for the lowest.

Always fearful of being caught cheating by their letter wives, the numbers had created an underground passageway leading into the brothel. Once they had all snuck in, 3,968 made sure no one had been followed, closed the blinds, locked the doors, and explained how they would go about deciding their value.

But something wasn't right.

The brothel was eerily quiet. Not the faintest moan or repetitively squeaking mattress spring. 3,968 felt a chill run down his spine.

"62," 3,968 said, "check to see if Lmnop is in Room B. She always seems to know what's going on."

62 knocked. No reply. He entered.

"Um…Lmnop isn't there."

"What do you mean?"

"She's just not in the room. Anywhere."

3,968 nodded at 53 to check Rooms C and D for Qrstuv and Wxyz.

"Nobody in these, either."

Before 3,968 could scream he was slammed to the ground by XIX.

The Roman Numerals burst through the ceiling and began their brutal assault upon the numbers, their ranks no match for the Roman Numerals' size and experience.

"Bound them all!" Commanded XXX.

The numbers fought valiantly, but alas, it was no use. In under an hour the Roman Numerals had every one of them bound and gagged, which was ironic considering it was usually them doing the bounding and gagging.

XXX took the stage.

"Romans rejoice, for we have once again secured our place as the most widely-used form of numbering off before kids play soccer at recess," he said.

The Roman Numerals cheered, drank, fornicated, and drank some more. 3,968 looked around at his fellow numbers, bruised, bloodied and in desperate need of their prostitutes. The future looked very bleak.

Some random park…

"Fuck you tree!" 1 kicked a tree and toppled over backwards. "Oh yeah? Is that how it is?"

Then 1 heard a familiar sound.

He stopped shouting and looked around. To his right were two dogs having sex. Naturally, 1 got very horny.

"Time for some cheap, STD-ridden lovin'!"

1 emptied the dregs of a fifth into his mouth and stumbled off in the direction of the brothel.

Back at the brothel…

The Roman Numerals had gone—drunk and satisfied—back to their castle, leaving the numbers tied together in an increasingly sweaty circle.

"Now what the fuck do we do?" asked 443.

"Seriously, without prostitutes we'll actually have to bang our wives," said 891 despondently. "I feel like dying."

"I meant about escap-"

"Do you think if we just close our eyes and thrust that a man's mouth would feel the-"

"No!"

"Numbers, focus; how are we going to get out of here?"

"First we have to formulate a plan—wait, do you hear that?"

From outside came the familiar, slurred voice of a drunkard singing Chumbawumba's Tubthumping.

"I get knocked down, but I get burp again, you're never keeping me down, nope, down and up again, not gonna stay down, burp, tub thump…"

"1!" 3,968 shouted. "Thank God you're here! Come untie us!"

1 stopped in mid-stumble, cocked his head confusedly at 3,968, and collapsed into the square reserved for the highest valued number. The numbers were lost for words.

"God fucking dammit."

Almost.

When 1 came-to, he was crowned the most powerful, alcoholic number in all the land. This is why, when people win, they often get drunk.

Stay tuned next week for The Alcoholic Medium's thrilling conclusion to its "Famous Moments in Alcohol" series, where we discover how the question mark was formed, why dumpsters in the Middle Ages were so often full of discarded babies, and, of course, reflect upon all the reasons we shouldn't worry about being told to put our dicks away just because we're in a public park at a 4pm on a Tuesday.

Join upcoming November classes in Satire Writing, Sketch Writing, and Stand-Up Joke Writing.