This will end badly. When I was a little girl, the heights of a lip-glossed boredom escape via the binary rule book of "truth or dare" would send endorphins rushing to wrinkly places and shivers up backpack-weary, scoliotic spines. Nobody really wanted to engage in this kind of suggestive interplay, yet the pressure of latchkey otherness would push even the most awkward of the apartment-complex gang into ugly-bumping in a utility closet beneath a set of crumbling stairs. Besides, its implied out — the sexually confessional choice of "truth" over abject humiliation — made it far more desirable than the sad scrape of a spun bottle on a dusty wood floor. "Spin the bottle" would make you pregnant, after all, or at least make your lips more chapped than they already were. The truth, on the other hand, could set you free.
"I'm gay," my caked lips don't lie.
"What?" Anna is less than surprised. "What the hell are you doing?"
I don't even know. Anna, who tonight resembles a skinny little fabric parcel of Karen O, is cowering in the same couchless Peacock Room corner as I am, rattling off soft-spoken hymns to the economic apocalypse and talking about knitting cases to hold her knitting needles as a means of whittling away the time. Me, I'm just trying to psych myself up to the requisite discomfort mandated by a public foray into playground games. We're avoiding eye contact.
"I'm just talking to keep myself from doing."
The rush-rush-rush of getting here — here being the drama-class talk-show sendup of "Truth or Dare with Pepe and Blue," a monthly Mohican scramble of broken English and lesbian burlesque — has gifted us with the invisible reward of our own shortcomings, and somewhere in that echo chamber of doubt my mouth has found its way to the obvious, or 1989, or something even less interesting. This is what we get for getting here early.
"So here's how it's going to work," our almost-silence is broken by a pre-show Pepe, presently in the form of adorably pleasant Rob Ward. "It's just supposed to be fun. I'm not sure if you've ever done this show before, but basically we call people up, ask them to promote whatever it is that they're doing, send free shots around, and then ask them the big question."
Oh, I'm pretty sure I have been here before. Just last summer, in fact, I fell prey to this very venue of double-Z-list famewhoring and ended up a lapdancing buzzsaw of shamelessness. Years before, in its previous incarnation as "Tammy Kopko's Cocktail Hour," I took two testicles to the forehead in an attempt to make my general gullibility that much more apparent. This guy is no amateur.
"I hope you don't mind if, because of time constraints, we bring you and Pom up together?" Pepe peeps.
Pom, the lady of the sandwiches, has apparently been placed on this earth to save me from myself. Mind? I'm thrilled!
"That should be fine," I feign disappointment.
A couple of gay hours later, it's finally time for the show to begin. Pom is throwing back elixirs with which to assuage her palpable performance anxiety. Out of necessity, we've crafted a "truth" pact, because no way is nobody going to get us to make a fool of ourselves ever again. With that out of the way, we get down to the business of swatting drunk flies from our alchemic resolve. One bar insect in particular (whom Pepe will later compare to the "time to make the doughnuts guy") corners us in some bizarre ritual of social flirtation, forcing Pom into an assumed identity.
"My name is Tila," she giggles. "I make videos. You want to see more? You have to buy the DVD."
The best part is that she's not even lying. There are DVDs in existence of Pom making sandwiches, a sublime fact that I will carry with me to my grave. I want one.
Anyway, the show gets off to a rocky start, mostly because a girl-drink-drunk girl has crumple-faced her way to the front of the stage, salamander-shimmying her dignity into a hangover cup for tomorrow's hell. "Woman power!" she slurs, before being dragged out of sight by the doughnut guy. We clearly have nothing to worry about.
The first guest, musician Tod Kimbro, makes a case for his global influence via chord progressions or something, only to be pressed into a "dare" involving some boy referred to as "Cinnamon" eating a banana out of his crotch, blindfolded. That's why we will not "dare."
The second guest, some philanthropic Clark Kent hottie with a Haiti platform involving patty-like "vita-meals" that can feed a small child for a month (I want one), inevitably sheds his starched collar for a shirtless lapdance on the straight sound guy. Again, no "dare" for us.
By the time Pom and I are summoned to the stage, half the room has emptied, taking with them any fear of collateral damage and/or shreds of regret. The Blue-and-Pepe panel softshoes us with questions about just what makes us deserve this kind of attention. Pom gets an ovation for her mastery of the sandwich arts and her new UCF location, while I bask in the hushed golf claps of irrelevance.
"I write a column."
"A beeeeetchy column!" Pepe eggs.
"Yes, a bitchy column. It's crap. I've been writing it for 10 years."
Then, unexpectedly, our unison blurt of "truth!" to the imminent big question is met with a roadblock. Because there are two of us, and we both said "truth," it is a "double dog dare," according to Pepe, something that cannot be challenged.
"Jew shall do this scissor position from this deck of Kama Sutra cards I hold in my hand," he orders.
And there, with my head thrown back in mimicked ecstasy, legs entangled with Pom's, uglies bumping in asexuality, the truth has never seemed more apparent, tangible or ugly. Everything ends badly. Everything.firstname.lastname@example.org