"So, how did you guys meet?" asked Raisin Face. He wanted to know where I met Larry, in the hopes that he might someday meet someone who would tolerate him.
Never gonna happen I thought.
"Oh, on the Internet," I said. And then I added, "In a dirty chat room." I knew this would get his hopes up. Idiot.
"Really? Which one? Which one?" prodded Raisin Face. He gently tugged on the corners of his pointy collar to spread them out.
"I don't remember. It was over five years ago." Dude, get a grip.
Then he wanted to know where I worked. Why do people ask this?
"Near Times Square," I said. "Finance."
"What street?" he asked. Why, you gonna bring me lunch on Monday?
I think it's time I fabricated a lie for this question that people love to ask but never answer when I ask of them.
Oh, my work is classified. If I told you that I'm an assassin, I'd have to kill you - damn! I have to kill you now, Raisin Face. Larry, get the gun and don't forget the silencer."
With Larry's blood pressure rising, and the level in the vodka bottle falling, it was time for Round 2 to begin.
"Should we go?" asked Larry. He wasn't asking, so much as he was shoving everyone out.
"Where we goin?" asked Raisin Face. Because Frick and Frack were so "made up" (ie: cologne, sneakers, jewelry, tacky polyester shirts), we knew we couldn't go to the Eagle, with their strict dress code. Such items are frowned upon the management there, deemed "girly." John told us of a story about the time he was approached by the manager who smelled him and yelled out, "It's YOU!" because of complaints that someone was wearing too much cologne.
Luckily, they didn't want to go to The Gym Bar, because they go there a lot, so that was out.
I hoped we might be able to somehow disqualify them from all the other bars and clubs in New York City, thus sending them home with their gold chains between their legs.
"What about Barracuda?" suggested John.
"What's dat?" asked Raisin Face.
"Okay, let's go to Barracuda," interrupted Larry.
"Fine, can we just go already?" I mentally screamed.
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A chorus of sliding resin chairs and clinking glasses signaled the end of this lame cocktail hour. I cleared the table and blew out the candles, hoping that the rest of our neighbors were away for the weekend.
Even though we're on the second floor, we had to pile into the elevator because of Grandpa Shuffle.
Fact #1 The man I'd been secretly calling Grandpa is actually nicknamed The Widow, because he always wears black. I'd naively thought this was some kind of mafia reference, like Widow Maker.
Fact #2: The Widow (the freak formerly known as Grandpa) was also in his 50s.
This was getting really, really fucking bizarre. Maybe he's hiding from the mafia and this is all a big disguise? Or are the two of them maybe hoping to run into James Gandolfini on the street and land a part as an extra in a future Sopranos Movie. (Hey, Sex and the City did it, so why not?)
Once outside, we started walking towards the first bar. Larry and I left the other three in the dust by the time we'd crossed the street.
"Oh, my God. Are you kidding me?" fumed Larry as he turned around. The rest of them were thirty feet back.
"For fuck's sake."
This was Larry's cue to do his impersonation of The Widow's baby steps. When Larry is pissed, no one is spared.
I laughed openly, but cringed at the thought that they had seen him do this. He didn't seem to care.
"Larry, that's terrible."
"I don't care."
John caught up to us, leaving them to catch up on their own. Larry let him have it.
"John, I do not like those two. What are they, dressed up for Halloween? And what's with that guy's walking?"
"I know, I know," said John, laughing.
"Do not bring retards to my house!" yelled Larry. "I mean it! Do NOT bring RETARDS to my HOUSE! Ever!"
We finally arrived at Barracuda, where we were greeted by your standard issue bouncer.
"I need ID, guys," he said. I had to bite my lip, because to look at our group, there was no way in hell any of us was under age. I was the only one that came close. Confession: I like getting carded at clubs. I like to pretend that I can pass for underage.
John, Larry, Raisin Face and I all had ID on them. Ironically, the Widow did not.
"It's alright, we're just goin in for a few minutes," said John as the bouncer stamped my wrist. He said this not to the bouncer, but to The Widow, who he was ready to leave tied to a parking meter. The bouncer was in a good mood tonight, so he let the little fucker in.
As we walked in, I knew that it would be hard to distance myself from Raisin Face and the Widow, because it was very crowded. Still, I managed to put a few people between us.
Larry ordered three beers, ignoring The Widow and Raisin Face. He was annoyed that they had come empty handed to our apartment, but weren't shy about downing almost an entire bottle of vodka. These two cheap fucks would now be put on "ignore" for the rest of the night since they didn't even offer to buy a round of drinks.
As I drank my beer, I looked around the tightly packed bar and noticed a familiar face. Hey, is that (female impersonator) Kevin Aviance sitting at the end of the bar near The Widow? I think it is.
The deadbeats didn't even buy themselves drinks. What's the point of going out, then? Stay the fuck home, next time. I guess that's why Raisin Face had made a point of mentioning earlier that he'd bought a new apartment in The Rockaways (a very shitty, borderline neighborhood, according to Larry). In other words, "I have no money because I just bought an (overpriced) house."
"Beach front prapaty," he'd said proudly.
About an hour later, we'd decided to leave Barracuda and try Rawhide. Outside, I gladly handed over my ID and let the bouncer stamp a little doggie bone on the underside of my wrist, hoping that Laurel and Hardy would be tossed into the gutter by the bouncer, if not into the path of an oncoming bus.
We filed into the bar, party of four. I went to the bathroom to pee. The folks at Rawhide refuse to put a lock on their door, so you must pee while holding it shut. There isn't even a knob, just a handle on the inside door. So it's like a barn door, which is apt considering the two donkeys we have with us tonight.
John bought us a couple of beers and I noticed that Raisin Face and The Widow were nowhere to be found. Maybe they left? I turned my attention to the pool table.
Suddenly, Raisin Face appeared next to us with some bad news. "Da Widow don't like Rawhide."
Let me get this straight. Da Widow...don't like...Rawhide?
Really, Raisin Face? Should we all leave then, and let the person who's not drinking or buying anyone else drinks determine where we should go?
Da Widow, meanwhile, sat quietly at the bar, not drinking so much as a cup of water.
I turned away from the bar and noticed two familiar faces. Jack and Frank were standing there, waiting to order. They hadn't seen us, since the bar is so dark.
Frank we're okay with. It's Jack we don't much care for, what with his drug abuse and pathalogical lying, we grew tired of him years ago.
Some fake greetings broke the ice.
"Where you guys coming from?" asked Larry.
"Oh, just...hanging out," said Jack. This is Jack's typical vague response. He is one of the shadiest people I've ever met.
"I called you when we were in New Hope, Frank," said Larry.
"Yeah, I know. I didn't call you back," shrugged Frank.
For the record, if Larry calls you and you don't call him back, expect to be bumped straight to the top of his Shit List posthaste.
Frank told Larry that he'd sold his house in Pennsylvania. He's a bit of a handyman (or something) and had been renovating it for a while now. Good for you, Frank. Oh, and by the way, we've seen your work in Shirley's bathroom. Some advice: The closet door should have been an inch wider so that it would actually reach the door jamb when closed, instead of just floating there.
I felt a nudge from behind. I turned around to see Raisin Face, irritated look on his face. "So what, he sold his house? So what?" He was shrugging his shoulders, dripping with jealousy that the conversation wasn't all about him. "Who cares?" he added.
Again, I was too
drunk tired to be rude, and explained that Frank had been renovating the house in order to flip it. That shut him up.
Then I thought, Wait a minute. Weren't you telling us earlier that you bought "beach front prapaty" in the Rockaways? Why are you so freaked out at the mention of someone else's property? And why haven't I killed you yet?
Tina, bring me the axe!
A stripper appeared on the bar and I fantasized not about the stripper, but that he might do some kind of crazy dance move and kick Raisin Face in the head, decapitating him.
Larry and Frank vanished, so I had awkward small talk with Jack, whom I despise. There are a lot of reasons for that.
The top five reasons I despise Jack:
1. He's a compulsive liar.
2. He's cheated on his boyfriend - numerous times.
3. He abuses drugs, most likely cocaine due to all the sweating.
4. He had a six-figure job - and fucked it up because of said drug-use.
5. He slept around so much that he caught himself a lovely STD. Stupid fuck.
John tried to talk Larry into getting out of work on Saturday to attend a yearly barbeque in Island Park. I have been to this event before and it is a freakfest like no other. Still, despite the heavy amount blogging material it will provide, I hoped Larry would decide to blow it off.
"Larry, you have to get off work and go."
"I don't know. I'll see what I can do."
John turns to me. "Chris, you should come if he can't. Take the train to my house."
There is no fucking way that would I attend this freakfest without Larry as my buffer. As a matter of fact, I'm willing to get a weekend job for one day just to use work as an excuse.
Finally, it was time to leave. Now, my memory is fuzzy, so I don't know who left first. However, a single scene floats to the surface when I try to recall it.
"What a pair of freaks!" I said to Larry in the street.
Larry, distracted with his own drunken thoughts, replied, "Yeah, Frank and Jack can go fuck themselves."
Tonight's Lesson: Freaks travel in pairs.