“When are people going to realize,” Tony lights a mind match in between anti-social grunts from the love seat to my right, “that we’re just making up stories to have something to talk about?”

Well, now, I guess. We’ve been throwing back tipsy tumblers for about a half-hour whilst simultaneously attempting to conjure a post-Thanksgiving Monday event scenario and attempting not to have our resolve punctured by the darts flying out of Tucker Carlson’s TV mouth. It isn’t working. Tucker hates Hillary, Oprah loves Obama and Joran van der Sloot might or might not be in trouble again for information that may be old or false or just submitted for a press release. Either the sky just fell, or I’ve had too much intellectual fiber.

“We could always just go to places that should be happening, stand there and imagine ourselves in ecstatic fits of drink-spilling, ass-grabbing, night-life pantomime, right?” I strike another match. “Do some fake bathroom bumps, push ourselves up against the urinals, pull our own hair?”

“You mean fake it?” Tony smells of sulfur. “That’s genius!”

Well, not really. A quick breeze by the empty parking lots of several liquor-to-party establishments and even a Latin restaurant (closed!) and any and all belly-fire that was powering our quest has abruptly cooled into a reflective, inactive misery. Things have already gone horribly awry, and phrases like “ending this stage of life,” “cancer would be nice” and “date-raped, killed and thrown off a bridge” are becoming far too common, vibrating against the black plastic of my Volkswagen console. We’ve lost the plot.

“I’m hungry,” I pretend out loud.

“Wow, something really is wrong.”

Our long and winding solo Orlando parade has led us to the high end known as Semoran Boulevard for something resembling an enchilada, because that’s my consolation food. Really, I just want some fake refried beans to swish around my mouth for a little while and kick back with a nasty Corona, but a touch of cornmeal in tortilla form might add to the illusion. We choose Garibaldi’s, where if the staff are pretending to be Mexican then they’re doing a fairly good job. One “hola” from a drowsy waitress and Tony’s off to the bathroom.

“Did you do it?” I snort and swish when he returns. “Did you lose your ass-cherry while trying to scream with a urinal cake in you mouth?” “Um, no,” his face beams oddly. “But there were two urinal cakes, one scented candle and an overhead automatic deodorizer present in a one-toilet, unlockable bathroom.”

I guess faking it is a whole different game at Mexican restaurants. Fortunately, I do have one solitary backup plan wedged way up in my mind’s ass, just begging for a “nothing to do” cock like this to dislodge it.

“There’s always the Dame Edna gay karaoke thing at Savoy,” I squirrel, then pigeon. “So basically we can go and fake-sing to fake backing tracks under the scrutiny of a female impersonator who’s impersonating a female impersonator who isn’t even gay at a gay bar. Meta, meta, meta!”

“Genius.” Again, not really. But it should at least be better than cancer … if slightly worse than a pre-bridge date rape.

The scene at Savoy is predictably bitchy, with Urban Outfitted boys in their twinkie best darting glances here, there and away from the periphery, while men of a certain age line a bar that itself is lined with flat-screens displaying semi-hard penises.

“Is that a naked bear boot camp?” Tony lights up. “It’s a fake naked bear boot camp.” I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore.

One of the gentlemen named Dana passes Tony along his unfinished $1 mojito, while making a wincing face that says, “Don’t drink this.” Tony does.

An old teacher acquaintance named Nic who actually allowed me to pretend to be a teacher last year (but suspiciously not this year) buys my drink, doesn’t wince, and I drink it, too. If nothing else, we’re getting drunk. But given the presence of a karaoke machine, a drag queen and free booze, nothing else won’t be an option.

“I’m not doing this,” I seal my lips with vodka. “This isn’t happening again.”

But it is.

Tony’s up first with his winning, corn-fed rendition of “Okie from Muskogee,” eliciting choreographed eye rolls from the twink brigade and gin blossom smiles from the aged set. Some hired hands – two pretty boys and a poorly placed pretty girl -– apparently brought in to fake a scene whoop up a hootenanny for no reason at all down the bar, and it all feels so fake it’s real again.

“You do a great George Jones!” I pretend to be country. “You mean Merle Haggard,” etc.

The poorly placed girl is asked to do her “famous” Kathy Griffin impression, which is only funny because she answers a Holy Land Experience joke that I’ll never remember with a “you nailed it” punch line, arms outflung in the shape of a cross. Hilarious!

But it can’t take away from the fact that I’m about to crucify myself, again, in public. Dame Edna calls me up with a bit of snark involving this very column and its compatibility with moments of toilet regularity, and I’ve had it. There will be no more faking it. There will just be …

“I seeeee your twoooooo colors shiiiiining through …” I screech through the throat booze, setting all of the world’s wrongs right or vice versa. “Just call me up, because you know I’VE GOT PILLS!!!!”


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