"If you remember this tomor- row, you're never gonna forget it!" has become a sort of gruff-voiced, drunk-fuck-in-a-dark-alley credo for Taylor and me lately, a mantra muttered at 3 a.m. while picking the dirty toenails out of our foreheads, all stifled sobs in hot bath fetal positions. In a way it's a small life affirmation to remind ourselves of the disposable nature of calculated histrionics, but it's also kind of gross and irresponsible. Like us, really.
"Heeeey!" comes Taylor's gruff voice over the cell-waves. "Miss Sammy and I are going to have one drink at the Red Fox Lounge. You want to come?"
"Well, I certainly don't want to remember it tomorrow if I do," I sink farther into my couch.
"I'm Facebooking the whole thing!"
In light of the menacing usage of my least favorite made-up verb and the constant reminder from my right shoulder blade that I can no longer do drunk cartwheels on Sunday afternoons (don't ask), I pop a pain pill with my vodka, instantly morphing myself into a hydrocodone hydrangea who remembers nothing. To test my pharmaceutical fortitude, I engage my friend Dave in a long-winded political phone conversation while driving to the Red Fox and farther away from myself, which leads to me driving right past the bar while forgetting my own last name. Transformation complete.
The Red Fox is in its typical roots-and-taupe splendor, bits of unwinding psychosis propped up in chairs while the Casio disco beats fall out of time with the humble transcendence of eternal lounge act Mark and Lorna. But one of these things is not like the others. Surrounded by Taylor and two cute-gay-couple pleasantries is lit-up Doris Day doll Miss Sammy in full woven-pink-skirtsuit—plastic-beads— helmet-wig drag. It may take balls, but it doesn't mean that they can't be duct-taped against your taint, right?
"Hey, hey, the mob's here!" Mark echoes into his microphone like somebody guessing your weight at Coney Island. "Why don't youse guys come up here and take a picture?"
Miss Sammy and I sandwich Lorna, leaving just enough of a torso hole for Mark's head to poke through. I lean in to kiss Lorna's pancake cheek and I swear she pulls away. Sammy tries a rebound with something about the glories of Shirley Bassey, and don't you ever do her because she's amazing, but gets the same cold shoulder and a curt "I've never sung her before in my life."
"I don't think she's very fond of Ms. Bassey," is Sammy's takeaway. I don't think she's very fond of me, either.
Without so much as a brush-off flinch, Sammy zooms in on my feeble pen scratching on my remembrance napkin and falls swiftly into character.
"I put the kids to bed in Cape Canaaaaveral," she flicks an imaginary cigarette.
"Hot toddies, then?" I mom-of-the-year. "I like to sneak whiskey into their warm milk."
"Attagal," Sammy motions for the bartender. "Can we get a hot wrap and some ketchup over here? And what's with all the singles?"
Like anybody in line with the muted violence of oversharing, Taylor's got his point-and-shoot point-and-shooting. I lean in to take a bite out of Sammy's supple breasticle, then Sammy's sticking her tongue into Taylor's ear for an arm's-length self-portrait, and the loosened ties on convention break are pointing their bellies in our direction and drunk-laughing, and there's about to be a big homo brawl up in here, I just know it, and I can't wait to forget it, y'all.
"We're gonna do this one for Arnold," Mark announces at the intro of "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" before gesticulating a full-on forearm flick-off. Oooh, political! Next up is "The Lady Is a Tramp," dedicated to Nancy Pelosi. Still political? Pick a side!
Oddly, it's politics that fuels the next conversational off-ramp in our slow journey to absurdity. Sammy picks an idea from his wig and runs with it, something like, "What the hell is up with the metric system?"
"Wow," Taylor interjects a smirk. "We finally get Obama and now this is what we talk about? Hello, 1975."
"What is it with inches and feet?" Sammy continues on in hopeless new math. "I mean, what are we, horses?"
"Well, your shoes are pretty big," I whinny. "But look at the flowers!"
"They're flower barrettes. I just stick 'em on there when I go out," she is unflappable. "And speaking of shoes, I met this guy at the Galley in Sarasota and he said his dick was 9-and-a-half plus. What's the plus?"
"Pus," I lance and ruin the conversation like I always do.
Before long Sammy is working the room, or specifically the conventioneers' table, even exciting one enough to stand up and twirl her around to A Chorus Line's "One." Another one of them shyly refuses to play along, not because he's scared of the giant man-woman with the thing between her legs, but because "he has a thing about dancing with tall girls." This, my friends, is progress.
"The best part is that it will all be on Facebook tomorrow," Taylor sneers.
Well, I won't be. This never happened, so I will always forget email@example.com