We awoke the next morning, surrounded by our
new landscape. I took a shower an toweled off on the balcony, enjoying the
view of the ocean and city. Pete, in his usual chair, conveyed his normal
sentiments, “You know, again, I think this is the best decision we could
have made…especially considering how I thought it would be a disaster.”
I figured he was referring to the entire Australia trip, so I disagreed. “I
never thought that.”
“Well, I mean, coming here without a plan, letting the cab driver decide
where to take us. I thought it wouldn’t turn out this well, but this is way
better than Sydney and like I said, just looking at the male to female
ratio, I like our chances here. They’re a lot better.”
“I plan all my trips this way,” I told him. “There are two founts of
untapped information in this world: I used to think only gas stations were
great resources. That’s true, but if you want to know the truth about
anywhere you go, just ask a cab driver.”
“What’s the plan for today?”
“I want to go there, for sure,” I said, motioning towards the Warner
Brothers Studio Store on the corner across from our balcony. Even after
AOL/Time Warner merged and the decision was made to close every branch in
the United States, the franchise remained my favorite shopping spot, and
whenever I see one overseas, I have to stop. Finding one still in business
again was, for me, akin to seeing a dead pet miraculously resurrected.
“That goes without saying,” Pete knew, as he was well-aware of my boundless
love for comic-related merchandise. “What else?”
“Well, we need to find some swim trunks, because I’m tired of looking at my
ocean without being able to go down there. I don’t know…I think shopping
around today will help us get to know the area a bit better. Oh. And I need
to get my hair done.”
I realize fully that last sentence should probably never be uttered by a
heterosexual male. However, if I must live with his accursedly long hair, I
felt like I had to do something with it. My pelt is unlike anything I’ve
ever seen and yet it’s mystifyingly admirable in the way it so perfectly
mirrors my personality. It’s not curly, but it’s not straight, either. It’s
not terribly frizzy, but has no sheen. I’m a huge fan of Lost, so I figured
maybe if I straightened my hair I could emulate Sawyer.
“How long will that take?”
“I don’t know,” I confessed. “Hour, maybe?”
“Are you sure?”
“Like I said, I don’t know. I’m not really a hair-straightening expert, by
We went downstairs to hit up the Warner Brothers Studio Store. We passed a
salon in the shopping mall adjacent to our hotel, and Pete suggested, “Why
don’t you go there?”
Partly because I was ready for some Batman action and partly because I
wanted to go at off-peak hours, I declined, “Nah. I’ll go to that place
later, though, if we don’t see anything. Good to know it’s there.”
We went into the DC Comics emporium and gazed at all the splendorous,
overpriced merchandise. I found a nice fleece Batman bathrobe, so I tried it
on. The sleeves were a little short, and they didn’t have any in extra
large. The XXL looked a bit too…roomy. The whole thing kind of hung off my
body, though the sleeves were nice. I think most rulers have thick, powerful
robes hanging off their shoulders, and much in the What Would Magneto Do
vein, I decided I, too, deserved that kind of comfort. It looked cock as
“That’s definitely a Straight Pimpin’ G bathrobe, there. SPG, totally,”
Pete’s verdict had come down.
The saleslady who took it down laughed. “We call them dressing gowns.”
“That doesn’t sound…quite as…I don’t know. Masculine. Upon reflection, I
don’t know if bathrobe is the manliest of terms, either,” I said, my thunder
pilfered. “If I buy this, I may suffer from occasional bouts with
post-purchase depression. If I don’t, though, I’ll think about it all the
time and hate myself.”
Pete nodded in agreement and I needed little encouragement, so I bought it. Pete and I walked into the street, passing numerous travel kiosks along the
way. “We need to stop at one of those sometime,” he suggested.
I nonverbally signaled my approval of the idea, but we kept walking. We
noted the interesting bars as we walked and mentally logged their
geographical location so we could stop by later. We found no swim trunks,
and no one seemed to know what we were talking about. Another American
colloquialism causing Down Under disconnects. By the third store, a
saleswoman finally cleared up the misunderstanding. “Oh, here we call them
“Are they all made of this lightweight material? It prioritizes the shorts’
fast-drying capabilities, but it doesn’t seem to take into account
the…modesty of it.” Somehow, I didn’t think the cloth could adequately cover
when wet. The search took hours and yielded no results.
We returned to the hotel late in the afternoon so I could get my hair done. I took another shower so it would be freshly cleaned and I could justify the
day’s purchases by using my Bat-Robe as soon as possible.
“Dammit, that looks awesome,” Pete said.
“Yeah. Hawkeye colors, too.”
“I’m just going to go to the bar and get started while I wait,” he decided.
“Okay. It shouldn’t take that long,” I reaffirmed, without actually having
any sort of foreknowledge that this was the case.
The salon, reflecting the largest Australian minority, was staffed mainly
“Hallooo!” the receptionist cooed cheerfully, albeit reservedly.
As if lost, I said, “Hi, uh, yeah, I’m…not…um, sure, exactly, what I’m doing
here? Anyway, I want this…” tugging at a tuft of randomness from my head,
“to be straight.”
“Permanent? Permanently straight?”
“Yeah. Can that be done?”
She brought out the price list, which, when I saw it, raised even further my
level of respect for all those beautiful women shelling out all those
hard-earned dollars to make themselves presentable to mankind. “Three
hundred and twenty-seven dollars and forty seven cents,” she said.
“Wow. I know I want straight hair, but I’m not sure I want it that much.”
“It will take three and a half hours, so if you want to schedule an
appointment…” Money, I can spare. Time, notsomuch. “We can also straighten
it just so you’ll know what it would look like.”
At less than ten percent of the cost for permanence, I was willing to
sacrifice 30 minutes to satisfy my curiosity. She took me over to the chair
and did me. Heh. We had a nice conversation while we were at it, too. She
finished and I put my glasses back on to see the result. Damn if I don’t
look a lot like Sawyer, I thought. A little darker hair, but still.
I paid her for her services and she gave me the golden rule, “Okay, now,
whatever you do, don’t get it wet, so wear a shower cap or something and it
will last for three to four days.”
“Thanks,” I said, and now looking like a complete badass, I returned to the
hotel bar to find Pete milking his Jack and Coke. “Wow,” he laughed, “it’s a
“I know. I look like I’m a hard rocker or something, now.”
“That’s it! You reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t remember. You look
like the lead singer of Nickleback. You should play it up and tell people
“I don’t have to. I should tell people to stop confusing me with famous
people, because they should be more impressed to meet me. Well, shit. I
guess I could order something. I need to catch up. Where the hell is the
“That’s just it. It’s been me and SHID all night. This is only my second
one, because he hasn’t been paying attention to his bar all night.”
“So you and SHID been getting to know each other, huh?”
“Yeah, right. Every time I try to talk to that son of a bitch he doesn’t
even respond. Hell no. Guy’s never around, for one thing. Oh, and good luck
getting a drink within ten minutes.”
Ten minutes later, I, too, was complaining about SHID’s inefficiency. I
ended up getting a total bonus, because I decided to wander off and hunt him
down. I didn’t find him, and while Jo wasn’t working, I met the most
gorgeous Japanese woman I have ever seen. Unfortunately, she was waiting on
a forty-strong throng of Japanese businessmen, so our conversation was
short, and we didn’t get much of a proper introduction. I did get to watch
her work, though, and I was unmistakably pleased at what I saw.
We had two drinks and waited another fifteen minutes to pay our bill. I took
my new hair for a walk around town. We didn’t have to go far and stopped
shortly thereafter at the Beach House. “How’s it going, Eliza?” I asked,
sitting at my usual stool.
“How are you going, guys?” she asked. By the telltale physical signals
indicated through the lines near the corner of her eyes and the broadness of
her smile, I knew the happiness which arrived in her tone at our entrance
I realized her reply of ‘how you going’ to my ‘how’s it going’ probably
answered my question as to the origins of the phrase and the meaning of
their similar-sounding expression.
“We’re doing good tonight. Kind of dead in here, huh?”
“Yeah. But there’s good news tonight, guys…we’re running out the taps, so a
bit later I can give you some free pitchers.”
“Sweet,” Pete pretty much summed it up. “Let’s try the stout.”
“I have to ask a woman’s opinion. Do you like my hair better this way, or
the way it was before?”
“I don’t know. I can’t remember how it was yesterday,” she admitted. In
response to my one eyebrow risen in dissatisfaction, she claimed, “I have
the worst memory! I’m sorry!”
“Well, great. How could you forget me?”
“I said I’m sorry. Hey, I work tomorrow. Come in and see me then with your
hair the other way and I’ll decide.”
“You sure you can remember what it looks like for twenty-four whole hours?”
“Yes,” she laughed, throwing ice at me and, literally, hopping over to
“Check that,” Pete pointed out. “All the waitresses carry their bottle
opener between their tight pants and their asses.”
I looked over just in time to catch another stacked blonde as she pulled a
flat metal bottle opener from its holster constructed from the malleable
flesh of her right butt cheek. In one fluid action, she twirled it around
and ripped a bottle cap from its glass perch, returning the opener to its
rightful place against her hindquarters’ cushioning.
“That’s pretty fucking hot,” I decided.
Pete agreed, “Who would have thought that probable health-code violations
would be such a turn-on?”
“For guys. I don’t know what girl in here wants to suck on a bottle that’s
just indirectly touched female ass.”
As Eliza brought us our first free pitcher of XXXX Gold, a man whose name I
don’t recall, so I’ll name him Steve…well, Steve came up and asked, “Are you
Fearing a reenactment of the night before, I suspiciously and tentatively
“Right on. Is it just the two of you?”
“Well, why don’t you come join us?” Steve was probably in his early to
mid-forties, so I looked over to see who he was with, and his wife waved at
us. Honestly lacking anything else, agenda-wise, Pete and I went to their
I sat down by who I thought was his wife and had a moderately pleasant
conversation. “Do you know who would be perfect for you?” she asked, after
sufficient time to mull it over. “My daughter!”
“Oh, no,” Steve advised. “She’s a total mess, that one. You’ve got it
together…trust me, mate, you want nothing to do with it.”
Mother fished for some hidden bauble inside her cavernous purse. Only after
dumping half of it on the table could she search adequately. “I know it’s in
here somewhere…oh! Here! Isn’t she just the most precious thing you’ve ever
“Well, honestly, she looks about two years old.”
“That’s right! She’s two in February.”
“No offense, but I think that’s a bit out of my age bracket.”
“Oh, no, this is my granddaughter Abby.”
“She is a cute baby,” I said, pondering the Mexican, Italian and Australian
parentage of the child.
“She’s adorable! She gets that from her mother. My daughter, Rebecca. Oh,
you two should go out.”
“I’m telling you…” Steve shook his head in near fear.
“Oh, don’t mind Steve! The only problem with Rebecca…well, you see, her
father was not a good man. He wanted a son and he never loved her. All she
wanted was her daddy’s love, so she thook it from the firtsh guy whoul gif
it to her!”
Realization dawned on me as subtly as a bucket of ice water to the face. Mother wasn’t overly friendly insomuch as she was drunk as a skunk. Maybe
it’s the way her face suddenly contorted into this Chad Covoner
never-look-you-in-the-eye gaze. Chad Covoner, name slightly changed to
remain completely known to all who know him, was a high school classmate who
had a tendency to look at the ceiling when he talked to you. At least it
wasn’t the floor. Girls always thought they had shit in their hair as
opposed to thinking he was staring at their chests.
Of course, it could have also been the word-slurring that was getting to be
an exponentially larger obstacle by the minute. I initially thought it was
her accent, but I came to find that not the case. Either way, I didn’t want
to talk to Mother anymore. However, I realized her daughter did put out and
needed an understanding man like myself to give her the love she needed so
desperately. Love in the form of a good rogering.
So I continued the conversation until Momma pulled out her cell phone and
drunkenly said, “I know! I’ll call Rebecca right…where do I how pull up her
After fumbling for a few minutes, Mom spoke into the phone. “Hello? Hello? Rebecca? How are you? I have someone here I want you to talk to. Hold on.”
She jammed the phone into my face uncomfortably, so I assumed operational
control of the mobile device. Mother shouldn’t have been using heavy
machinery anyway. “Hello, Rebecca. You don’t know me. I just met your mother
down here at the Beach House and, apparently, she thinks we’re perfect for
I heard Becca’s laugh for the first time. “That sounds like my mother.”
“So, what are you up to?” I asked, to sound casually interested though not
“Oh, I just dropped a payment at the bank and picked up my groceries. I’m
going to get my daughter, now.”
“Yeah, your mom showed me pictures of Abby. I didn’t know a person could fit
a photo album in their purse, but she did. Actually, I don’t know how a
person can fit half the stuff she carries into one bag, but somehow she
“Yeah, it’s pretty full.”
“I told your mother your daughter gets all her beauty from you, I’m sure.”
“That’s right! Did she show you my photo?”
“No, didn’t see that yet.”
“Oh. Well, let me talk to my mom a minute, would you?”
“Sure. Nice talking to you, Rebecca.”
“Hello,” Momma cried a moment later. “What? Well, yeah, I’d say he’s hot. I
don’t know. What color eyes do you have?”
Maybe she thought I’d lie with contacts, or something, but I’m betting she
needed the help because her vision was impaired. “Blue.”
“Blue eyes, long brown hair..”
“Six foot four,” I said in an attempt to preempt any further questioning.
“Six four, thin…yeah. Yeah. Okay. I thought we’d BBQ or something. Well,
okay. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.”
Eliza came to our table with a couple more free pitchers and I paid her the
normal price. “Oh, no, it’s free. We’re running out the taps.”
“Well, you get a really nice tip, then.”
“Thanks,” she smiled. It was more than worth the five dollars, that
“Steve, I need to go home. Why don’t you hang out with the boys?” Mom
decided, after it was apparent she wouldn’t finish her drink before she’d
succumb to Sleep’s scythe.
“Let me get you a cab,” he wisely advised.
“No, I’ll just walk.”
“Honey. I worry. I’d feel much better if I paid for a cab.”
“Save your money,” she said, kissing him. “Bye.”
“Wait! Don’t leave like that! You sure you don’t want me to walk you home?”
“I’ll be fine,” she comforted. “Have fun.”
“She doesn’t understand how much I love her. She’s so trusting. I think of
the people who may try to mug her, or something,” he continued on his tirade
in our emotional confessional until he came to the realization of, “Oh, no. I wonder if she remembered her keys!” He checked his pockets and pulled out
a keychain with about ten of the silvery buggers dangling from it. “I don’t
think she has her keys! Oh, no, listen, boys, I’m going to run down and give
Seeing an opportunity for superheroism, I said, “That’s all right. We’ll do
it.” It was instinctive, and I kind of surprised myself. I wasn’t really in
the mood for a midnight jog, so I don’t even know why I offered.
However, seconds later, Pete and I were running down the sidewalk, chasing
Mother. I laughed at the improbability of it. The road split, so Pete veered
left and I continued straight around the corner.
I laughed again as I ran by the tall statue of Bugs Bunny holding a
surfboard. This is what I love about nights out. Even I didn’t think I’d be
breaking my six-month sabbatical from any and all physical exercise tonight.
I turned the corner and rejoined Pete. “Nice to see ya,” I greeted. Half a
block later, Mom was taken by surprise by a pair of sprinters.
“Did you forget your keys?” I asked succinctly, trying desperately not to
breathe too heavily and maintain the façade of a strapping young man in his
physical prime who would serve as a suitable suitor for her daughter.
“No, I have my own set.”
“Oh, well…” Pete shrugged at me, and it was apparent he was catching his
breath as well. Running and beer, while they tend to hook up often, were
never made for each other. I don’t know how the hashers do it. “Steve wanted
us to make sure.”
“He’s so sweet! I’m almost home, too. You boys ran all this way?”
“Yeah,” I said, now composed. “It was only a couple blocks. Since he was
worried, anyway, why don’t we just walk you the rest of the way?” My
Samaritan mouth was coming up with this shit on its own, now. Apparently,
her definition of ‘almost’ differed from mine, because it was at least five
blocks away and it took forever to get her there. She lived on a friggin’
island. Chevron Island, I believe.
It wouldn’t have taken so long had she been less inebriated or under the
impression that we were on a sightseeing tour. She pointed out the scenic
canal view, the former places she’d lived along the canal, the neighbors she
hated, a tree of some historical significance and a pool in some guy’s yard. Then, we were on her balcony.
She invited us inside so she could show me a picture of her daughter. Rebecca was fine, but not so much that my gushing review, which was filled
with adjectives like ‘ravishing’ or ‘breathtaking’, was in any way
After a few moments, Mom’s phone rang, and I wondered if Steve was worried
his woman was going to be raped, or something. That was an unjustified
concern. As Buster said, “Yeah, like anyone would want to ‘R’ her.”
I’d recall the conversation at the home, but I won’t because it was about as
retarded as a drunken monkey, which, in a sense, is exactly what it was. I
also don’t want to delve into it, because I wanted to leave that apartment
so badly and yet I was invited to stay longer through invented reasons like
apartment tours, stories about shit hanging on walls, looking at kitchen
magnets of all minute things, et cetera. The visit dragged on and on very
much like this description of said visit, and it was about as tiring as
writing about it is getting to be. Reading it hopefully has the same effect.
As negative as this part is, power through and remember the vacation is
Skipping ahead, on our walk back, at the spot Mom had pointed out as the
site of a recent mugging, or the thought of a hypothetical one, I can’t
remember, I wasn’t paying too much attention to her, but at that spot, by a
granite wall, Pete and I were taken aback by a man jumping around the
“Fuck!” I said, adrenaline subsiding, though it had effectively eliminated
any alcoholic effects still lingering since my last drink. “I thought we
were gonna have to go back-to-back for a second.”
“Yeah, you know…the classic comic book pose where two heroes go back-to-back
during an all-out brawl so they can kick ass and yet defend each other
against a crap-ton of supervillains.”
Pete laughed, “Dude you know we have to get a shot of us doing that,
somewhere.” This was the closest we came to making to each other a bar
promise, because we forgot to take the photo.
We finally got back to the Beach House to find it locked up. Steve was
outside, waiting for us. “Aww, fuck. Did this place close already?”
“Yeah. It’s all right. I know a place. It’s just down the street and around
the corner,” Steve told us. He led us to the infamous Melba’s club. Pete and
I were admitted without incident, but they held Steve at the door, probably
because he was older and couldn’t handle Eliza’s free pitchers as well as
two Straight Pimpin’ Gs. After they saw he was with us, they let him in,
We found a table and placed our drink orders. That’s when Steve discovered
he had forgotten his credit card at the Beach House. I felt sorry for him. It was pretty obvious to me he didn’t have the opportunity to get out much,
which was why Mother let him come out. I’d wager he had a better time that
night than he’d had in ages. He probably still tells his buddies about it.
“It’s all right. We gotcha.”
“Are you sure?” he asked, counting the two or three Australian dollars he
had in his pocket.
“Yeah,” I decided, but his end of the conversation became rather limited for
the rest of the evening. He even told us how he was so happy we were
Americans, because Americans are trustworthy. He said he did call the
house because with any other nationality, he would have feared for the
safety of his girlfriend and he would be scared they would rape her.
Like I said, his conversation wasn't the brightest or the most interesting,
by this point. That is, until I happened to mention, “…like Steve Irwin, or
“Steve Irwin?” I always heard Australians hated the guy, but that’s not
true, because every time we brought it up, people were proud to talk about
him. Our Steve, too, apparently. “Aw, mate, his zoo is only about an hour
“Really?” I thought the place was in Northeastern Australia, but for some
reason, I was way off base. “I’d like to see that.”
Steve discovered a newfound sense of strength and energy. “Tell you what,
guys…do you have any plans for Sunday? I’ll get you, Rebecca, Abby and
everybody together and we’ll drive out there.”
For some unknown reason, he suddenly approved of the idea that I would meet
Rebecca. At least in the bar promise sense. We made plans to hit the
Australian Zoo in three days, as it was Thursday morning, at this point. Steve was excited and also wanted to barbeque afterwards. I told him I
wanted BBQ ‘roo, and he said he knew how to cook it. He took down our room
number and the name of our hotel.
I went up to the bar to get another beer and was awed by a young woman
flipping bottles and mixing drinks with Spider-Man’s level of agility and
skill. Her silver, chandelier earrings danced in synch with her amazing
display of bartending prowess and nicely complimented the sky blue dress she
was wearing so well. She looked at me and smiled. Since I knew the question
anyway, I said, “Stout.”
She pulled a fresh one from the refrigerator and from behind her back,
flipped her opener end over end through the air and above her head, catching
it in midair and removing the metallic seal of freshness and quality in a
singular, smooth motion.
I couldn’t help but applaud in my mind and I wanted to devastate this buxom
Gentlemen, when attempting to seduce a woman, here’s a tip: Women are
psychotic. Not psychotic in the criminally insane sense, but in that they
psychoanalyze every miniscule detail in every facet of everything.
You know the profilers for serial killers? Do you know what their job is? Their careers lay in a field of study and determination. They must discover
why this killer always puts dimes on the eyes of his victims. Or removes the
gall bladder. Or shoves the stems of roses into open flesh wounds but rips
off all the petals. Or brands the word mouse on the left buttocks.
Because there is always a reason. So maybe this is a bit like the criminally
The tip is, be that profiler. Women, unlike men, rarely do anything without
thinking about it. They make two trips to the store to drive by your
ex-girlfriend’s house a few times. They wear a toe-ring, hoping someone will
notice how cute it is. They paint their nails to impress us just a little it
more. Everyone knows the underwear code.
Find the subtleties. Praise them.
Although the waitresses were all wearing the same uniform, the earrings were
unique. “I like the earrings,” I told her.
She beamed expectedly. “Thanks!”
“How’s the night going?”
“Oh, not too bad. I’m off in fifteen minutes, which is good…I’m tired.”
We had a conversation. I would say it was a nice conversation, but I can’t,
because I don’t remember what we discussed. Trivialities, I’m sure.
“Check this chick out, dude,” I told Pete upon my return. “She’s got some
definite bartending talent.”
Observation time passed, and Pete agreed. “She’s got some motor skills.” We
continued to drink in her alcoholic artwork, watching a bottle of Banana
Liqueur make three full turns in the air before pouring itself into a
daiquiri. “Look at Motor Skills go!”
Having successfully nicknamed another local permanently, we made our way to
the second floor. The bouncers were culling the crowd, sending half outside
and half upstairs, though the three of us luckily avoided the sickle and
volunteered to keep drinking.
The second story sucked. It was, as it always is, too damn loud and busy. It
took me ten minutes to get to the bar for our next round. I was surprised to
find Motor Skills there to serve me.
Another rule that I failed to follow on this occasion was to prevent being
overly complimentary. It didn’t burn me this time, thankfully.
“I like the uniform outfits.”
“You think? We have a different dress code every day.”
“Well, that’s gotta be nice.”
“At least you don’t have to think about what you’re going to wear. Tomorrow
we have the black ones. They’re my favorites. Same?” she held up my empty
“Sure. Did you teleport up here or something? I thought you were about to
“Oh, I was. Someone else wanted to go home, though, and I figured I could
use the extra overtime,” she explained. I smiled. Nothing without a reason. I thought the reason could have been me, arrogantly, but it may be she
really did need the overtime, because she then said, “Well, I have to get to
work. See ya!”
This ended all pleasant dealings with Motor Skills.
I returned to our table and the beer stared to hit me. I was briefly
nauseous, but, like all true champions, I power drank through it and the
feeling quickly passed.
I watched all the happenings around our table as Pete scouted the club. When
he came back, I apprised him of all that had happened in his absence.
“I don’t know,” I said as I looked around. “I think he went outside to go to
the bathroom. He probably won’t be back, either.”
“Why’s that? And why the fuck do we have to go outside to piss?”
“I don’t know. There’s no pisser up here, I guess. But it’s dangerous,
because there are bouncers at the door and they don’t let everyone back in. I was fine, but
Steve was starting to get pretty drunk, I though. I saw one of
the bouncers chewing him out in the corner. I don’t know what he was doing,
but he was harassing some girls. Said he was getting them for us.”
“What?” he asked.
“Yeah. He didn’t get in trouble for that, though. He was walking around all
weird. He might have peed in the corner or something, because they were over
there yelling at him and he returned to the table ready as hell to get out
of here. He wanted to go to some club called the Avenue, or something. He
said he met his fiancée there. Or whatever. Said it was full of older ladies
who wanna fuck.”
“Yeah, well, if they’re not open until five it won’t make a difference. We’re kind of dedicated here, now,” Pete decided. Aussie bars could stay
open until five o’clock in the morning, if licensed, though they couldn’t
let anyone new inside after three.
“Did you recon this place for chicks?” I asked him.
“No, it looks like pretty slim pickings. There’s that blonde over there,
though, and she’s been by herself for awhile.”
She doesn’t look too bad,” I thought. “Nice body from behind, long hair…”
“Yeah, I’ll probably go for it, if nobody shows up.”
“Seize the moment, dude!” I encouraged. “Go for it!”
“Yeah, don’t wait…just go. NOW!”
He followed my order, surprisingly. I wouldn’t have, out of principle,
because I hate adhering to the suggestions of others. On second thought, I
might have, if I was drunk enough, which I guess I was.
I headed out to the dance floor to scope out my options. I had surveyed
ninety percent of the area and was beginning to get dismayed until I saw a
woman with her back to one of the pillars on the dance floor. She was
rubbing her back against the cylindrical wall like a cat in heat and I was a
bit concerned she might be on ecstasy or some such garbage, but she was
siren singing softly to herself. I go for the crazy chicks anyway, so I
figured what the hell.
I started dancing with her and she didn’t care. I mean, she was truly
ambivalent. After half a minute or so, I began to feel pangs of
self-consciousness due to the fact that my style of dancing usually doesn’t
go unnoticed, so I lied and told her she sang well to prod some kind of
reaction or at least acknowledgement as to my existence. The truth was, I
saw her mouth moving, though hearing what came out in that bloodbath of
volume was next to impossible.
She nodded distantly and kept right on scratching her back, so I told her it
was nice meeting her and stepped back. She shook her head again abstractedly
and I returned, defeated, to our table.
Pete had also come back to sit. Disappointed that we had both failed in our
respective missions, I decided to place the full brunt of our shortcomings
on Pete. “Dude, what happened? Did you fuck it up, or something?”
Pete looked up at me and I could almost taste the horror in his eyes. That
is, if horror had a flavor and I had licked his eyeball. “No, man. She looks
fine from here, but I went over there and she turned around, and…uguh. Her
face is seriously fucked up. She has eyes like Skeletor.”
“She can’t be that bad. She has an awesome body.”
“Trust me. I’m pretty desperate and she’s pretty damn horrible.”
“I’ll go check it out,” I said, but I could see Pete didn’t want any red
flags to rise, so I added, “Nonchalantly.”
In an elaborate display of subtle maneuvering competency, I walked towards
the bar, passed the target, check my pockets, snapped my fingers as if I’d
forgotten something and turned around. Brilliant planning, but the execution
was a bit sloppy and it probably made the whole incident look contrived, if
anything. Luckily, if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that people
rarely pay attention.
I’m not immune to this criticism, either, by any stretch of the imagination. I’d undoubtedly had a dozen chances to view this chick throughout the night,
but I’d never really looked. Which is why, she, too, was unaware when my
cover was completely blown by my look of terror at the sight of that which
Peter had understated.
There are many versions of Death, but I’ve always preferred Marvel’s. As Thanos and Deadpool can attest Death herself in the Marvel Universe is a
fine-ass woman with a skull-face. Which really is the best way to describe
my view at that moment.
I rushed back to the table to offer my condolences. “Wow. Just…wow. A pity
such a nice body has to come in such a bad package deal.”
“Yyyyyyyup.” We both sat in silence until something interesting happened A
brunette approached the blonde to whom Pete had been talking. They exchanged
a few words and we did, as well.
“Hey, that gal’s pretty nice.”
Pete agreed, “I know, hard to believe. The blonde must be the ugly friend.”
The brunette looked at us, pointed, turned her hand and, without saying a
word, beckoned us to come near. This threw our world into chaos for the next
“Is she talking to you?”
“Is she talking to me?”
“Does she want both of us?”
“Should I go?”
“Should I go?”
“You should go.”
“She doesn’t even know me!”
“Let’s both go.”
“How about this…” I decided. “You go and rub your eye when and if you want
me to join you. This is your crew, anyway.”
“Sounds good.” Pete left and I waited for my signal. The brunette wasn’t
fantastically attractive, but she was okay. And I was desperate enough to
think, Hell, I’d take both of them to do her, if need be. Which was
Pete signaled in a matter of minutes, thus allowing me to avoid too long of
a soliloquy or too much of a monologue at my solo table. “This is Seth,” he
introduced, immediately upon my walk-up. “He’s the friend I was telling you
about. He’s the lead singer of Nickleback.”
The brunette extended her hand for the requisite greeting and said,
“I’m not really the lead singer of Nickleback,” I dissuaded, but she simply
grinned and gazed at me suspiciously. I believe the illusion was merely
fractured, despite my best attempts to shatter the damn thing. Lady Death
introduced herself as well, by saying, “Stephanie.” This further solidified
my theory that I will never come across an attractive Stephanie in my
lifetime. From the accomplished feat of being the most annoying character on
Full House to the idiot-child in our high school that in her senior year got
knocked up by the meat-bag illiterate wrestler in my graduating class, every
Stephanie with whom I have had even a grazing association has been nearly
Besides, naturally, the intrinsic value of human life in general. Though my
experience have led me to believe that value is in a constant state of
depreciation. Not much long-term investment potential, there.
The four of us sat and talked for a while, but I did more listening, for
once. I feel like the Watcher, sometimes, as events tend to happen around me
as well as to me. Not the best metaphor in this case, really, due to the
fact that a hand tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to see the woman who
had previously used the dance floor pillars as scratching posts.
“Hey,” I greeted, surprised.
“Hello. Do you…know my friends?”
“Yeah, we’ve met. Recently.”
“My name’s Alex. This is my drummer, Dave,” she indicated, jabbing a thumb
at the large man behind her. He shook my hand without saying a word. They
were suitable companions, as he said nothing his entire stay, as she had
remained silent before.
“Drummer. See, I told you I thought you were a good singer. I can recognize
musical talent when I see it. I used to run a Karaoke show.”
“I love Karaoke.”
“Me, too! Do you know where they have it around here?” I looked up and saw
Pete’s newfound friends were heading outside towards the bathroom.
“Sure. Pacific Pines has it tomorrow night.”
“Pacific Pines?” we asked in unison. Would have made for a killer
“Where’s that?” I asked.
The pseudo-singer went on to give me long an convoluted directions I didn’t
really understand, save for the fact that the destination was the lone bar
of the Pacific Pines Mall, which instantly conjured up visions of the Twin
Pines Mall from Back to the Future. I had enough of a description so any cab
driver could find the place easily. She assured me the town was only about
ten miles away or so, and we then went on discussing song preferences and
the lack of country music in Australia. Predictably, Alex was exceedingly
non-confrontational, as are most Australians, and she extolled the virtues
of Country Western, all the while admitting she did not listen to it,
“Where did my friends go?” she asked, about fifteen minutes into the
“I don’t know, for sure,” I admitted.
“They went to the bathroom,” Pete informed her.
She took the information without thanking Murphy and imposed upon me, “Would
you watch my purse?”
I nodded, awed at myself for making at least a decent enough of an
impression that I was honored with the responsibility of safeguarding such
an item of importance. Alex made her exited and I noticed her limping away,
though I thought at the time it was due to an ass cheek falling asleep I
didn’t have too much time to ponder the mystery, as Pete immediately began
discussing our prospects.
“What do you think?” he asked.
“I don’t know. They’re kind of cool, I guess. At least we found Karaoke.”
“Yeah. Well…” Alex came storming back, flushed and interrupting our
conversations about their trio.
“Okay, I just want to tell you that I just met those girls,” she explained. Confusedly, Pete and I looked at each other as she continued, “I just moved
into a new apartment and they’re my roommates…I didn’t know anything about
them. I just went into the bathroom and found out they were going down on
“What?” Sometimes I hear, but I’m not sure if it’s my active imagination or
reality. It added a whole new dimension to my experience of going Down
“They were EATING EACH OTHER OUT!” Well, that pretty much left little open
to interpretation. “I still have to use the bathroom. I’ll be right back. Don’t tell them I said anything.”
We sat for almost three whole moments while it sank in, but then we had to
discuss it. “You know,” Pete finally mused, “this may be my best chance at a
three-way. Too bad the one chick is heinous.”
“It’s okay. Just make her do all the prep work.”
The threesome returned together and Pete and I continued our respective
conversations, though there was a considerable change in tone, especially at
the sight of a think row of sweat beads which had formed on the hairline of
the moderately-attractive, bi-curious brunette. We were soon escorted from
the premises, as none of us had realized it had gotten to be 5:30 in the
morning. We left Melba’s and bore witness to the dawn for the first and only
time on our vacation. The whole dawn, anyway.
Alex was still limping and she saw I noticed, so she related a story on how
she was hit by a drunk driver, broke both her legs and was still in
“Let’s head back to the hotel!” one of the lesbians cried, and we began to
walk in that direction.
It must have been quite the sight for any early morning spectator, this
dissimilar troupe walking down the street. In the faint rays of daybreak,
there we were: A gimping, would-be rock star, the legend that is Pete
Murphy, two lesbians and a man who may or may not be the lead singer of
“I’m hungry. Let’s get kebabs, Pete.” Surprisingly, this, too, was met with
a chorus cheers from the Lesbian and Gay Alliance representatives.
Of course, in our inebriated state, we were all happy and laughing which is
partially why we met the kebab man, Freddie, with such exuberance. We asked
his name and all shouted it back to him. He laughed and we put in a hefty
order of two kebabs and two meat skewers.
Pete with Freddie, the kebab man
The girls ordered a dozen of these
corn balls, for some reason. The balls were like hush puppies, I guess, with
less flavor and not as much moisture on the inside, if one can even imagine
such a thing. At this point, I glanced to my right, to the eastern rising
sun and saw the ocean a block away. Suddenly, I was infuriated at the
previously pointed-out piece of information that I had yet to swim in its
gorgeous waters. I was also quite possibly pissed at the fact that my
efforts to find suitable swimwear earlier in the day had proven fruitless.
Following my WWMD maxim, I proclaimed, “I’m going swimming!”
I noticed my rock-star would-be girlfriend was the least enthused of the
group, but I had passed the point of caring too much and figured she was
still digesting the fact that the moans she heard the night before as she
slept in her new bed were not the sounds of the home settling as she had
It was a quick trip to the beach and fortunately had not completely lost my
senses and was wise enough to remove my valuables from my pockets and stick
them in my shoes. I ran towards the water as quickly as I could, though I
had no idea I was breaking so many rules:
1 – Do not let your hair get wet.
2 – Do not go swimming at dawn or dust to avoid shark attacks.
3 – I’m throwing this one in here because I’m sure I violated some unwritten
female code by leaving an irritated, recovering hit and run victim on the
beach by herself.
To put it in Mogwai terms, it was like shoving food into Gizmo’s mouth at
one in the morning while hitting him simultaneously with a strobe light and
a water hose.
Initially of course, it was like all points in which I’ve entered the
oceans, but it soon became apparent, as my journey to the outer sea became
more difficult, that the ocean in Surfer’s has a mean streak to it. Pounding
waves, the strongest I’ve ever seen, hit me with considerable force and
regularity. After being rolled numerous times, I was winded, so I crawled
back to my woman lying on the beach. I was out of breath and I greeted her
and knelt down to make out with her, but she was either sleeping or
seriously squinting at the arrival of the day’s sun.
I kissed her on the forehead. She smiled and we talked for a few minutes. I
stuck my hands in my drenched trousers and felt a tremendous amount of sand
had found its way into my pants – likely when I was tumbling ass over head
beneath the water’s surface. Pete and the girls returned and we started
heading back to the hotel. At the intersection, though, the Rockerette led
the other two away for their home.
I didn’t mind as I was far, far too spent at this point to deal with the
purchase of another room and requisite time I would have had to invest on a
woman if she were to have come up to my place. The three promised to meet us
at Karaoke that evening. Pete and I returned to room 816 and I remembered,
“Fuck. I left my kebab on the beach. I only ate half of it!”
“That’s okay. The girls fed all the corn balls we bought to the seagulls.”
“What? Fucking rats of the air. Plague spreaders. If I’d have known that,
I’d have told them to pay me back for it. Damn. Look at these pants!” I
They were in poor shape. Sand crusted on the legs…the inside wasn’t much
better. All the pockets were half full of silt. I wouldn’t have been
surprised to find a starfish crawling out of there. Instead of attempting to
clean them, I put them in a plastic bag and tied it off.
After a quick rinsing in the shower, Pete and I slept.
Clocking out at approximately 7:40 in the morning, we ended the longest day
of our vacation.