I am never drinking again. Suitably sloshed up by the post–New Year’s digestive mop, a cold-compressed fetal position is just about the only posture my imaginary doctor – the one who writes my imaginary prescriptions – will allow. Twenty aspirin, call, morning, repeat.

“Cum out with me and Taylor,” twitters my vibrating pocket of textual magic, this time from Taylor’s Tim.


“We’re drinking,” it continues.

What! Taylor and Tim have been the primary Prohibitionists against whom I toss my personal bleeding guilt (and gut) for years now. They’re both bartenders and yet they both possess the most profound ability to make my liver cry with just one fleeting, eye-rolling glance. I’ve come to think of them as the inflatable ankle rafts that keep me from completely sinking into the giant abyss of vodka before me, so what am I supposed to do now, swim?

“I’ll be there,” my thumbs shake back. I am a wagon-breaker. That’s what I do.

There, in this case, is the time warp of the Independent Bar, as in the decay of our mid-to-late 30s that’s about as far as the old rhinestones will toss. What’s more, it’s an ’80s night. And what’s more than that, Tim and Taylor (along with roommate Roy) are in physical possession of a real-life celebrity rhinestone, rock lobster Fred Schneider of the B-52s. Fish! Candy! Give me back my man!

“We can probably get him in free because he’s famous,” Taylor exhibits only the slightest of slurs.

Except we can’t. The door girl rolls her liver eyes and mouths a cover charge, one which I pick up to make it look like Fred got in for free. This, dear readers, is tantamount to heresy (if only $10 worth) for a number of reasons, the biggest being that even I don’t get in free. I hate the ’80s.

“Oh my god!” the blond fringe on a redhead pops into the equation and Fred’s face three minutes too late. “Can I say hi? I’m so in love with you! If you need anything, and I mean anything in this club, you let me know. My boyfriend’s the DJ!”

Fish? Candy? Anyway, Fred’s been in town over the holiday to share a Universal stage with “The Foreigners” (meaning dinosaur geezers Foreigner) at the calendar change, and tonight shared libations with Taylor and Tim over some kind of celebration for some kind of joint (-smoking!) film project they’re all working on called Hogzilla: The Beginning. All very interesting, but not quite as interesting as the time when a Cosmic Thing–era Fred gave this junebug his drumstick after an arena sweatfest in 1989. We’re that close.

“So, uh, you remember me?”

Blank stare.

“My friend Greg from L.A. said he ran into you in December at the London NYC hotel in New York while he was seeing Duran Duran’s Broadway residency.”

“Who?” Fred’s pupils drift. “Uh, yeah.”

“Your new album Funplex is coming out this spring! I’m so excited! Are you so excited?”

“Uh, yeah.”

That close. Well, to the bar anyway. A hasty order of my standard vodka-ginger elixir is met with a plastic-cupped brownish concoction not unlike the bile that courses through my veins. In a fit of confusion, I stage a bartender standoff of the that’s-not-ginger-ale variety, only to be greeted with a steely stare.

“It’s Coke mixed with Sprite,” blasphemes the bartendress.

“Well, don’t you think you should let somebody know that it’s not ginger ale?”

“Nobody else complains.”

Taylor smooths the bartender-sisterhood ruffles while ordering his own drink (yay!), and lets me in on the fact that this is common practice in the professional liquor troughs. I’m never drinking again.

“Let’s dance!” comes Fred’s booming voice over my slouching shoulder, and the limburger lying dormant within me surfaces to dance this mess around … to, well, Siouxsie and the Banshees. My arms are flopping, my hips are wiggling, my mouth is in that “O” formation that suggests I’ve got moves yet to come, and then – out of the periphery of my furthest left eyelash – comes a ghost from the past that isn’t Fred Schneider, but is flirting with him.

“Oh, hi,” I emit some flatulent grace in Kurt’s direction. Kurt is the third party in the ancient, past-life “B-List” incident that involved myself and my then-boyfriend Aaron sparring in some contrived masturbation competition (with porn stars Inari Vachs and Juli Ashton!) in a building adjacent to Fairvilla Megastore back in 2000. There were three chairs, three bottles of lube beneath them, and exactly three flaccid cocaine penises. Apparently there were also cameras, as years later I was interrupted at lunch to be told of my lack of prowess by an avid viewer of the Playboy Channel. Charmed, I’m sure.

By the time I backpaddle into the front room, Roy is teasing up some frowning girl’s hair into a Cindy Wilson beehive and the night, like a cocaine penis, is fading fast.

“Seriously, is it because Fred Schneider’s here?” she bitches. “Because there’s normally no gays here on Thursday.”

And there’s about to be one less to worry about. Never. Drinking. Again.

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