Like a diseased fly rolled up into the cheese log or a healthy squirt of cyanide shot into the nearest fruitcake, I'm suffocating my way through the pathetic cycle of Christmas cheer and waiting until my mere presence kills somebody dead. Somewhere along the tattered line — like when I actually had to start buying presents, when that Mariah Carey song came out, when I started sitting on my boss's teabag lap at holiday parties or when the bottom fell out of my imaginary financial windfall — a cluster of resentment started forming in my liver that rendered everything red-and-green toxic to the point of a monthlong frowny face full of dead babies.
So, why is it that here in the toy aisle at Target, where wretched vermin come to inhale Chinese lead and choke on pink plastic tiaras, I've suddenly encountered a reason to grin? Because, dear reader, it is here that I've found the greatest gift of all: a presumably gay Ken doll with white sunglasses holding back his blond wedge of perfect hair! He's wearing a form-fitting fleece top and deep blue acid-washed jeans, and he comes with a cell-phone charm! He's only $9.99! In short, he's me in 1992.
"Billman, heheheheheheh!" I exercise my cell-phone charm as I run with Ken to my car. "I must keep my super-fashion Ken doll. I cannot let him go."
"Well, I understand that," he doesn't. "But then you'll have to go find a less appealing, not-gay Ken doll to replace him."
Billman's invited me to be his plus-one at what I'm told is to be a Very Exclusive Party for local tiny superstar attorney Mark Nejame at his cavernous downtown Tabu club-kid museum. In order to gain admittance, we're supposed to bring unwrapped toys, which explains my momentary cellophane-sexual rendezvous with hot prostitute Ken, but not so much Billman's clumsy grope with My Little Pony on her Scoot-a-loo tricycle. That's just gross.
"So what are the toys for?" I carry Ken inside the front of my pants. "And before you say kids, I don't like kids."
"It's for the Baby DJ Toy Fund or something."
"Coke babies?" I sniff. "Awesome."
Except it isn't. By now I should have sniffed out that adding wretched-greasy-girl-thump venue Tabu to XL 106.7 muffin-top-pop philanthropy would result in a chemical explosion awful enough to eradicate the brain cells of the entire City Beautiful. If you put your head up against Howie Dorough's ear, rumor has it you can hear the ocean! Whooosh. Exclusive has suddenly given way to excruciating.
"You want some cotton candy?" a silicone-topped twig in a naughty angel costume winds her hot-sugar wisdom onto a paper stick. "C'mon, you know you want some."
"How much?" Billman mutters under his breath and the hot air twisting before us. "How much did your dignity cost? Did your shame come with it?"
Wink. Wink. Giggle.
Still, it's hard to hold too much of an angel-whore grudge when there are free drinks involved, so Billman and I load up on liquor while we cruise the too-tight satin tops of Orlando's foot-tapping cubicle workers and search for important people to rattle. Of course there aren't any, unless you count the countless crowd-faces that you've marked in your mental ledger as people you would never want to talk to. A chocolate fountain suggestively spurts onto glazed donuts in one corner, while muffin-top minglers see themselves in real-life edible muffin form in another. Just deserts (desserts!), then, as Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" rings the pendulous death knell between my ears. I could die now.
"Heyyyyouuuu," the faked-slur of hired "drunken Santa" Doug Ba'aser momentarily saves my life, then stumbles for effect. "I just gotta break up this rock in my nose!"
Let me help!
Things finally start rolling when we bump into the tiny man (Tim?) of the hour, Mark Nejame, who pulls us off the record to detail his YouTube-sensation tête-à-tête with hair helmet Nancy Grace and reveals nothing that we don't already suspect about the Casey Anthony situation and crazy people and dead babies.
"Speaking of babies," I segue, brilliantly, "is there any way you can make sure that my super-hot gay Ken doll goes to a little boy who will someday be gay?"
"Well, I'm gay," he reveals some unexpected (but not) hot gossip about himself, "in every way, except that I don't like men!"
"I am NOT a man!" I stamp my feet and really want a pony.
The party gets even more ambiguous when giant Santa-bear public defender Bob Wesley clutches me into his fur and then offers Billman his hand. Billman, who is NOT gay, grabs it halfway up, unexpectedly sealing a deal he could never, NEVER have wanted.
"That means you want to fuck me!" Wesley booms like your drunk dad on Christmas might in a Lifetime movie. I love him so much.
But even that moment of Billman purpledom couldn't have prepared us for what we run into upon our "I'm drunk, let's go" party dismount. Outside, on Orange Avenue, wild-eyed county commissioner Linda Stewart (head to toe in seasonal blood-pressure red) practically walks into us.
"What are you guys doing down here?" she coyly quizzes. "You're on my Facebook!" she points at me not at all like a crazy person.
And then it happens: the fist bump.
"Does this mean what I think it means?" I light up. "Linda Stewart's for fisting? LINDA STEWART'S FOR FISTING!!!"
Sigh. You know who else liked fisting? My super-hot Ken doll prostitute, that's who. Merry fucking Christmas.