I’m hoping for a happy ending tonight. Not necessarily the sort of happy ending that involves a smear of baby batter and occasionally makes “massage” a dirty word in the publishing world, but more likely one that climaxes with a fall on my ass, the resulting pain in my spinal column and then the sense that I’ll never get up again. Tony, however, wants a penis in his mouth.
“Look, there’s a penis in my mouth” he spins a one-inch plastic facsimile of a dick (with a giant straw hole through it!) between lip one and lip two. “I am now that creepy troll at the end of the bar.”
The bar in question is Revolution, if only in the sense that revolt shakes off the plastic (penises) of misguided ideas and brings things back to how they used to be. Which it has, apparently. We’re sitting next to historic bar manager Dan, his sciatica, impersonation princess Danielle Hunter and her two small puffy dogs in what might as well be Southern Nights 10 years ago, only without the blacklit trail of blow leading to the bathroom. The stage is being set for a thematic rendezvous of the audience participation variety, and I’ve been drafted as a celebrity guest judge. As unpaid gigs go, things could be worse.
“You’re a wiener dog,” my mouth moves and means nothing. No, they couldn’t.
Tonight is the debut of Jamesson’s Runway Challenge, some loosely copped homage to the stylings of one Miss Tyra Banks, girl, and it is slated to be off the chain. In fact, Jamesson himself has been juicing his MySpace universe for votes over the last month in order to ensure him pride of place on America’s Most Smartest Model – some distant hoop on a vanity-riddled reality chain – which means he must be really smart. My chain, meanwhile, is stirring in my special-event-suit beneath the shadows of bartenders Eric and, ahem, Tadpole, and threatening not to be a very loose chain for much longer at all.
“How do you spell your name,” my pinkie gets hard.
“E-r-i-c,” he eyes my erect doodling. “My mom knows I work here.”
“Mom” equals “soft” again.
Anyway, before we can get to getting on with what must be the most important task of ridiculousness ever enacted on a Tuesday night, Jamesson has a very normal request.
“Can I get a picture of you with my new Spice Girls Polaroid camera?” his blond bob drops a lone hair.
“Oh, I think a picture of me already comes with that package,” I zig-a-zig, scoop up said hair and make it my own.
We’re joined in judgment by a girl sprite named Lollie, who is sort of a celebrity in that taped-nipples, VarieTease kind of way, and the rules of the game are rolled out in typed-outline form, indicating that this isn’t really a joke at all. There’s a “getting to know you” introduction segment, a question and answer segment, a performance by Lollie and her taped-nipples and then, finally, a bitchfest walk-off certain to shift the zeitgeist into intellectual territories unknown. A happy ending can’t be very far away.
Following a judge introduction in which I pretend to be missing a hip and scoot my assbone down a runway like a small puffy dog with worms, we’re all set for the festivities to begin. Four contestants have signed up – SteVen, Pam, Carol, Michael – and one of them, Pam, has white paint dripped on her face. That’s all you need to know.
They each do a quick but not flashy introductory walk and say their names, being careful to promote whichever fringe of the theater community they are personally promoting. SteVen’s in something gay called “Fresh” and Pam reveals that she is in that painting-people-as-theater calamity known as “Drip.” I explain through a provided microphone that I like her “because you have babies all over your face.” Carol is in nothing, if you consider a leopard print stripper dress with Cher leanings nothing. I tell her that I like her because she neither drips, nor is she fresh. This is getting fun.
“I moved here from Baltimore,” Michael hairsprays. “I used to do horses.”
“What?” my ear gets hard. “You used to do horse? How Patti Smith!”
A predictably milquetoast question-and-answer session follows with the obligatory “if you could change anything” entry, something that barely milks toast from the contestants and results in yours truly pulling the “I think we need more maps for the poor children in U.S. America” bit I’ve YouTubed in directly from my eyelids.
And within 20 minutes, the whole thing is over, Pam-with-the-babies-on-her-face taking the title.
“Was it too short?” Jamesson goes soft.
“No,” I lengthen. “Just long enough.”
But like most happy endings that are actually sad, and most gods that are lies, the night itself has one more devastating finality in store. At perhaps the very same time that Tony and I were ensconced in penis and semen metaphoria, slapping away the bubbles of pop culture effluvia, one of my best friends in the whole world and a frequent presence in this very column, Greg Stanuszek from L.A., lost his battle with this miserable life. I loved him dearly.
There will be no happy ending. They don’t firstname.lastname@example.org