"I just ate a Mexican pizza while watching Tootie spew all over Mrs. Garrett about Jermaine Jackson's stuffed, purple-sequined package!" I toot.
"Oh, yeah?" Tony challenges my intestinal fortitude. "Well, I just ate 17 barbecue meatballs while thumbing through a mini-biography on the Germs."
At a mutual 34, this is, we surmise, as good as it gets. I've just slowed down in front of Tony's house to let him hop in my passenger-side window.
The goal: to make up for the fact that my original columnar intentions — a Halloween soiree last week involving a gaggle of tipsy prosecutors with potty mouths engaging in beer pong while dropping their car keys playfully into a glass bowl — had to be scrubbed in the name of either good taste or litigation. Instead, we're pounding the Wednesday pavement in the city that always sleeps in search of bad paths involving bad touches. Robbie Williams is laundry-listing prescription drugs on my sound system, so I think we've tapped the right vein.
"You know, Belinda Carlisle was in the Germs," I unhip my music journo cred. "Wearing garbage bags, no less."
"Yeah, but she never played a gig," Tony pushes Belinda's head into the toilet. "And she freaked out when everybody started doing heroin."
"Coke," (pronounced "kook" in these stuffy circles), "is so water to heroin's oil."
Anyway, we've settled on the Copper Rocket's ballyhooed trivia night as our point of destination, mostly because it lies just outside my comfort radius (I draw the line at Fairbanks Avenue, shiver at Lee Road), and because Tony says it's fun. Mandaddy — he of the crooked beard and perpetual bathrobe — is a cause for celebration on his own as deep-throated host. Throw in some useless knowledge and low-end beer, and we'll be columnized by 10. If only.
Tony and I diplomatically decide on a team name of "Belinda Carlisle" as a means of ensuring a good time (or some kook), but a good time will prove more elusive than a top-shelf clear liquor and/or anybody attractive in attendance. Tony senses my swelling grimace and gets to the task of clever distraction via stories from his job as a meatpacker.
"Somebody came in today and ordered a turkey wrap," he mayonnaises. "So I started rapping about turkey: Turkey is a country, it's in the Middle East, we got natural turkey, we don't use no yeast!"
It does no good, even though it is very funny. At trivia, we're both Wikipedia addicts estranged from our external brains and therefore unable to recall that "Waterloo," in addition to being a stomper by ABBA, is also located in Belgium. Basically, we're taking a written test by our own volition and subjecting ourselves to Mandaddy's comic-book baritone tearing through bubble-gum stand-up on the latest affairs of Madonna and Mark Foley. And it is not very funny.
Less funny, three teams have optioned the plight of Michael J. Fox for their monikers. One is "Michael J. Fox Makes the Best Scrambled Eggs," while another, more tastefully, has opted for "The Shaking Fox." Neither, to the best of my knowledge, count Rush Limbaugh among their ranks, although his ample, prescription-drugged presence can be felt in the third's name, "That's Not Parkinson's, That's Treason!"
"Finish your beer," I steam. "We're leaving!"
Before we can, a smiling goatee approaches and introduces himself as both a linguist and a fan, then actually opens his linguini mouth to suggest, "I thought you would have a deeper voice. You're so abrasive."
I'm Belinda Carlisle, dammit! I trill!
Back in the car, Robbie Williams is now singing "We're the Pet Shop Boys," as produced by the Pet Shop Boys, whom the song was written about by My Robot Friend.
"Omigod," I wipe the straight from my arms. "It's getting all meta up in here, bitches!"
"Soooo meta," Tony eats himself.
"We're not dealing in context or subtext here," I transcend the sunroof. "This is fucking meta-text!"
So for the rest of the night we'll be those annoying blog readers who roll their eyes in corners, drag at cancer sticks and declare everything to be, well, meta. It's a tic that proves appropriate when we arrive at the Peacock Room. Tonight is karaoke, which is effectively the puddle underneath the rain gutter that we call every night together. Rumor has it that "Wild Boys" has been added to the roster, and rumor had it (now it's official!) that Andy Taylor was fired from Duran Duran this week, and it's no rumor that Andy Taylor whittled the ax in the bridge of Belinda Carlisle's breakout hit, "Mad About You." So fucking meta it hurts.
"I'd like to dedicate this to Andy Taylor!" I crow from the stage, before laryngiting my way through the No. 2 hit from Christmas 1984, which is totally out of my range. It all goes a bit lounge when I realize my limits, and as Tony dances interpretively, I throw my arms out to the audience of 10 or so to let them know: "Wild boys, well, I never chose this way."
And as if on cue, my friend Jill, who happens to be one of my inexplicable Duran friends of a number of years, arrives with a strange smiling man on her arm. We exchange Duran pleasantries ("I'm feeling very Big Thing right now, totally side two"), and she tells me about her sidekick, the smiling one she met smoking outside her gym. His name is David, and he looks both familiar and cute.
"David DeLuise," he introduces himself, meta-sexually. He's in town filming National Lampoon's Robo-Doc, and isn't his brother Peter the one who raped me through the TV (and didn't even know it) on 21 Jump Street, and didn't his father Dom star in my favorite movie of all time, The End?
But he is in the Beneful commercial, and, meta-textually, as good as it firstname.lastname@example.org