BLISTER 


The sky is falling, numbers are crunching, cancer is growing, mouths are lying, campaigns are tanking, banks are crumbling, stockbrokers are snorting, homes are foreclosing and I am dying. Oh, and some hot guy in standard waitstaff wear (black shirt, black pants) just ran across Orange Avenue in front of my car, like maybe he was a bad-luck cat of doom — albeit a gay cat — and stared me right in the white-sunglassed eyes.

"Why does he want to get with me so bad?" I purr to Jessica as I lightly tap the brakes.

"Um, maybe because he wants to sell you sushi first?" she scratches back.

We're wafting in escapism tonight after Jessica informed me that maybe I've been doing a little too much overeating from the current events-concern cookie jar. A little puff of "I can't do anything about it" mixed with an admission of catastrophe schadenfreude was all it took to send me back to the precipice upon which I most comfortably stand. Namely, that I am a superficial consumer who likes nice stuff — shiny things, layers of texture, pops of color, penis in my mouth — and I don't care what anybody thinks. Who says that the next Great Depression won't be the most fabulous fashion trend ever? Why not take these sour lemons and turn them into bright yellow handbags? Do I look fat in these jeans?

Our new collective unconsciousness admittedly has been fueled by Bravo, where due to the extended burst of flatulence that is this season's Project Runway, we've been forced to reassign our allegiances to something altogether more bedazzled. Shiny-faced sad cheerleader Rachel Zoe has committed hara-kiri on our better senses and repurposed us as Dolls without a Valley with her Rachel Zoe Project. Jessica is Zoe's frazzle-fried neurotic sidekick Taylor, while I blow in the occasional gay as Tay's assistant, Brad (except she's got the glasses and I've got the bleach). Now we just walk around places and say stupid things with a false sense of urgency. It's really fun.

"Do you hear my shoes?" Jessica clunks her shiny black patent-leather platforms along the sidewalk of Orange Avenue. "Actually, I think it's just the right one."

"I die! It sounds like you've got hollow heels!" I sound like I've got a hollow head. "I used to wear these vintage platform shoes back in college and one night when I was wearing them, like, on a Tuesday, I was totally body-painted red with two horns glued onto my forehead, and then a heel broke and I fell down the stairs in this gay bar, and then I only had one horn. I was a sad, red unicorn!"

"You shouldn't talk," Jessica snaps shut her fingers to her thumb.

"But," I sputter.

"Like that. Let's just save that."

"Anyway, the story is that a friend borrowed my vintage platform shoes to take on a trip to Mexico, and he got pulled aside in customs, and, like, they opened the heels and found two vintage vials of heroin!"

"The lesson being that you have to watch your vintage," Jessica can't hold my hand.

We're taking our vacuous vaudeville tonight not to somewhere fabulous where other people dress nicely and say stupid things, but rather to a work party in celebration of the Weekly's Fall Guide. In accordance with our cracked perfume-bottle fantasy sphere (and the season in question), we've even established a color scheme — black, gray and red, or "blahgayreh" — as if this particular gathering at downtown's nondescript Monkey Bar could somehow approximate a coke-fueled New York Fashion Week party, all full of oonce-oonce and air kisses. We really shouldn't have.

Even before we fill out our obligatory name tags with Sharpied masquerades of "Brad" and "Tay," the ruse is flaking away like the plastic on a Chanel knockoff.

"Who are you wearing?" we snide in unison at perky intern Christine, who is obviously wearing nobody.

"Oh, I'm just wearing what I wore to work," she blinks three times. "But you guys look so fashionable. So, um, Urban Outfitters!"

Thud.

"Afraid not," Jessica's frilly red Marc Jacobs blouse blows her away from the conversation.

There's some slight reprieve in the form of Dechoes consignment fashionista Kerri, who could easily distinguish her Versace from her very sloppy Vuitton, even while staring through the prism of her oversized Dior costume ring. Kerri's riding a different meme than us tonight, however — specifically last year's drag gag, Kelly's "Shoes" — and nearly loses us with this rather horrible question: "Do you guys like reggae?" We do not.

And as the evening whiles itself away in a slur of mojitos, Motown and odd conversations about both politics and Gila monsters (they kill you not with poison but with the bacteria in their dirty mouths, informs IT guy Ian), so do our visions of clanging bangles and the tiny, moneyed wrists they're attached to. Tonight we are not shutting it down. We are not bananas. We do not die.

"Have you taken yet to my leave-without-saying-goodbye philosophy?" Jessica fast- forwards.

"I invented that philosophy," I catwalk-stomp to the exit.

Outside in the urban desert of another Orlando Thursday evening, Jessica and I tuck ourselves into a side-street restaurant to do something that looks like eating but couldn't possibly be as we are not allowed to eat. The waiter, wearing a black shirt and black pants, brings me out a plate with "Billy" written in cursive across the bottom in some kind of brown sauce. What the hell is this?

"It's sushi," he winks at me darkly.

So trying to get with me.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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