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;Tamiflu. It shouldn't be hard to pronounce, just three syllables rolling off of the tongue like so much other phonetic medical doublespeak: there's "tam," then "I" (which can be either a short or a long "I," or potentially a long "e"), then "flu," stupid. Britney Spears is pissing me off. On Letterman's Tuesday couch, she's clacking her gum, shaking her crossed leg, and scrunching her latest baby bump, seemingly oblivious to what she's doing or where she is. Dave's got her reading off the nightly Top 10; tonight's edition is about the public tragedy that is the television movie about the oncoming bird flu. And in between slaps of gum-spit and the dull thud of anything bouncing off of her baby brain, Britney glazes over the word in question, opting for "something" instead of "tamiflu," because god forbid she were to look stupid or "something."

;

;Dave tentatively asks about her maternal situation, cautiously tiptoeing through her seemingly copious eggshells.

;

;"Let's just say that it's not yours," she ovulates.

;

;"Well, I guess that's good for both of us," he laughs nervously.

;

;Anyway, I miss Savannah. A couple of months ago, I lost an emotional limb when — in the throes of a Real Radio controversy — Miss Sexy herself hightailed it to the Big City, taking my self-esteem and my feminine side with her. Savannah loves Britney in a scary, big-sister kind of way; she calls me up to implore that I pick up this Britney interview, or contemplate that Britney gaffe. She even recently had a breakup fight that involved a guy calling her to tell her that he indeed liked the new Kevin Federline single, "PopoZão," in a manner that would suggest only the saddest form of metaphoric independence.

;

;So, as I'm screaming at the TV (mostly phrases involving the words "fat" and "pig"), I'm channeling her.

;

;And then, like the bird flu, she's here.

;

;"I'm not wearing any underwear," she demurs, pouring into my house. "I have a bra on, but I figured three-day-old panties just wasn't fair."

;

;She looks flawless on the outside, though, and I'm instantly jumping at ideas for a late-night excursion while my dogs are jumping at her breasts.

;

;"We could say it was all like a Bobby Ewing Dallas dream, or that you were just gone for a rehab ‘sabbatical,' or better yet, Ambien (Amb-i-en) sent you away on a New York sleepwalking binge that you don't even remember and that you're just lucky to be alive!"

;;"OK," she lights up. "Do you have any Wham! in your car?"

;

;Duh.

;

;Our initial idea of just old-school cruising down Orange Avenue, windows down and boobs to the glass, turns into a six-minute karaoke of "Everything She Wants" meant only for our selfish pleasure. "And now you tell me that you're having my baby/I'll tell you that I'm happy if you want me to," translates easily into our Federline think-space.

;

;"You didn't tell me you had the extended version," Savannah tits the sunroof.

;

;Duh.

;

;We arrive at the Matador with low expectations, as we've already had our Wham! party in the car, but for a Tuesday, things seem to be a little higher on the hustle-and-bustle factor than usual. Turns out, tonight is Andy's Beer School, a concept I have yet to get my receding hairline around, but one that is seemingly popular with the kids of indie and Orlando Weekly staffers.

;;"OK, the first time I hear you say any sentence starting with the phrase, ‘Well, in New York …' I'm Britney-slapping you across the face," I lay down the transplant re-transplanted rule.

;

;The question remains, is Savannah re-transplanted, or just visiting? Don't ask her, because she'll give you several different answers. She's enigmatic like that.

;

;"You're just like Andrew Ridgeley when he knew that Wham! was breaking up, still going out and talking like it was thriving, just to promote the release of ‘I'm Your Man,'" I put it into terms that only I understand. "You, my dear, are not Britney Spears. You are Andrew Ridgeley."

;;And her South Carolina preschool teacher named Cookie apparently used to be the aunt of John Oates, one half of Hall & Oates. Except she wasn't. This one time on the Monsters show, she asked John Oates herself, and he looked at her like she was crazy. She is crazy. And, for some purpose of some sort, she's back.

;;"What do you call those people who move from Orlando to New York and then back again?" thesaurizes my friend Tom. "What's the word for it?"

;

;"Ursula," I offer with my eyes rolled in the back of my head.

;

;"Do you know the real story of the Little Mermaid?" he raises the marine-life bar, sending me into a fit of liquor laughter, as this is a phrase that I never expected to hear in my whole life. "She had razors in her feet."

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;"Ooooh, love hurts." I laugh some more.

;

;And by the time the handsome Joseph Martens is in our circle, speaking of bright futures (a possible show at Real Radio, a lifelong dream to "reach a bigger audience," seriously), I can't get my eyes to roll back to normal.

;

;"You know Savannah, right?" I ask him.

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;"Oh, yeah we've met before. What's your real name?" he asks her.

;

;"It's Kori. No, Savannah," she seems uncertain, oddly. "Samantha."

;

;Actually, it's Britney. Or Tami. Tami Flu.

; billymanes@yahoo.com

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