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"Oooh, cheap shot," I cringe, as Chris Matthews belabors Kerrygate into the stiffness of three-day-old bread. And even though I can see his point — that John Kerry is about as funny as a Jimmy Hoffa joke at a union funeral — I'm thoroughly disengaged. I like my soldiers big and stupid, my politicians throbbing like puffy John Edwards crotches and my shots cheap. Dry political scandal is boring. This means nothing to me.

"Oh … my … god," Eddie pours into my house like a dramatic phrase with nothing to hang itself around. Nothing follows, because nothing should, and we press our faces into plastic tumblers to prepare for the evening at hand.

Until now, I've avoided the Club at Firestone's Select Wednesdays in accordance with my alcoholic natural selection. The concept alone eludes me — something about "members," "gay" and "drinking" — and my history with the Club reads like cocaine Sanskrit on a bathroom wall. There's nothing (or nobody) I could do there that I haven't done already.

"This is going to be so much fun," Eddie deadpans.

No, it isn't.

Eddie's wearing a Ben Sherman windbreaker — not a Members Only, inappropriately — and when our exit music of "Easy Lover" blares over a Grand Theft Auto: Vice City commercial, I'm quick to note that we are quite possibly just one day late (yesterday was Halloween) for our seminal Phil Collins/Philip Bailey impersonation. It isn't funny, really. But what is? Susan?

"My name is not Susan," Eddie Whitney-Houstons, then wipes his nose.

"Hell to the no," I do too.

And we're off. To be fair, I was spammed with a MySpace message declaring that tonight was going to be "huge." DJ Eddie Baez reached shirtless out of cropped ad space with a smirk on his face, seemingly recuperating from a dramatic mouthing of the word "circuit," or maybe "house." Photos of the club at full capacity with perhaps three shirts present were included, as was some indication of night-life exclusivity. So the fact that my fish is already out of the water and hopping into my car isn't without excuse. But this is Orlando. And it is Wednesday. And I am not a fish.

A political acquaintance named Andy signals us from across the bar with a shot that involves Jägermeister, which means we'll probably have to talk to him about politics and cheap shots. Bingo. Andy details a flirtatious moment with a faggot from a certain campaign back in primary season that might or might not have involved said pink operative ordering him into the bathroom for a blow job. I tell him that I'm going to be writing about this, and he lights up with a "Please do." Scandalous!

Andy's brought along a handsome, drunk friend with wandering hands. His name is Dylan, which means Eddie's already gone Sharpie to "My name is" with "Kelly." Andy and Dylan apparently cook up trouble over at the Culinary Institute, and Andy's quite certain that homophobia is on the menu and therefore should be reported. I'm too busy guiding Dylan's left index finger away from my dirty dark spot to grab a pen. I love gay bars.

Anyway, all of this is occurring while seemingly nothing else is. Contrary to the advertisement, there are maybe 100 "select" people here, most of them about as interesting as a Members Only jacket with dandruff on it. Stenciled renditions of Warhol's Chairman Mao line the walls, mocking my inner Jane Fonda. Two hunks in gym shorts dance atop boxes while DJ Eddie Baez murks up a tedious remix of Madonna's "Music."

"Omigod, I want to fuck him," Eddie slaps in the current of one dancer's swinging ball sack. "Maybe I did fuck him."

"Shut up," I punch him right on his "Our 15 Minutes are Up" button. "It's all amateur night at the Abercrombie and Fitch up in here."

"Yeah, Hollister just threw up on my jacket," Eddie pleats.

I grab a passing-by Mike Feinberg, who partially runs the joint, and issue him a message: "I don't care what you have to do — give me drugs, shove my head down the gym shorts of dancer No. 2, finger my asshole — but you better make tonight interesting."

His response? A cheap shot of vodka. I can't win.

Between the unscheduled testing of my five-shot gag reflex, I implore Eddie to wander the scene with me for some alternative perspective, but seeing as I'm officially gay-bar drunk, most of that perspective comes from within my own hands as I crouch in various seating arrangements away from the sparse thoroughfare. When we return to our comfort zone, Dylan's drunker and Andy's passively aggressing. A fresh gaggle of hot guys have entered the fray, and their house speaker has apparently rubbed Andy the wrong way. Oh, politics. A senseless round of mending fences follows, as do three or so more shots as said Andy-offender recognizes me enough to imply that he doesn't much like my column.

"Yeah, I read your paper," he doesn't. But his straight friend is really hustler-hot and insists that he knows me from somewhere in our combined torrid past. In another life, I had his babies.

Meanwhile, Eddie's reapplying his Jessica Simpson lip gloss, thus insinuating that his lips have been tried by drunk Dylan. Things are getting sloppy and with any luck I'll never remember any of it.

"Brenda, let's go," Eddie Kellys. "You're drunk."

Cheap shot.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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