Crack in the case 

Want me? Don't you want me? Apparently not. So here it is that I find myself on a New Year's Eve afternoon, waiting and wanting (and waiting) at what must be the biggest mecca of gay deflation ever, a Jody Watley sound check.

Now, first of all, it must be noted that Jody Watley does not have a band, but rather a sophisticated (or not) DAT, a hoop-earringed (male!) look-alike, a preteen son and an entourage of buff homosexuals who smile at her every move. So, sound-checking is somewhere on par with spitting into a microphone and throwing back a shot while having your nipples rubbed and your earrings shined. Sounds fun. Sound is fun. Etc.

So, in deference, I throw back a shot.

Which brings us to the reason why I'm here and not somewhere altogether more fabulous (meaning, "Second of all ..."). Although I am dangerously close to every bartender in town, specifically those here at The Parliament House, I merely have been able to obtain minor peripheral access to Miss Watley. So I decide to throw my moxie and my liquored breath.

"Billy wants to interview Jody Watley," my drinking guru stands in for me to a security type.

"Yeah!" I stick my chest out and stammer, to absolutely no direct effect.

"Do you have a card?" the security type kindly plays along.

"Er, yeah," I shuffle through my pockets trying to procure one which does not have a telephone number scribbled on its backside.

"Well, then, I'll try."

OK, then.

It also should be noted that I've just awoken from a series of dreams that might provide better context for my behavior than a Jody Watley concert at The Parliament House could ever begin to. In the first, I'm reconciling the differences between the cast of St. Elmo's Fire, shedding tears and pounds to their narcotic delight. Then, after a drink, in the next, I'm a fluffer on a train ride with an O-Town reunion, where the "band" is stuffing their pants prior to an overpopulated, slightly tragic "Oprah" appearance. I've become addicted to OxyContin and, in a loopy-headed journalist haze, am offered a "crotch hole" in the back of the book section of Teen Vogue. I'm not sure what a "crotch hole" is, but I'm sure I can fill it. I wake up, and BAM! -- Jody Watley.

Try walking in my blues.

A mild throng of similarly tragic 30-somethings of the same extended drinking circle have gathered around me, each of us waiting for Godot (or Jody), sharing the same acerbic wit and penchant for vodka. They're all making fun of me, of course. Not because I can't seem to get Jody's attention, but just because I'm a bitch in general. Several variations of the "can't say something nice" variety flutter, meanly, and I'm nearly crying in my black-eyed screwdriver. I am a failure! 2004 hates me!

"Her manager says that she doesn't do last-minute interviews," bounds the security guard back into the room. "It's in her contract. They have to be arranged waaaaayyyy in advance."

"Whimper," I whimper, teasing my hair and grabbing at my oversized hoop earrings.

"But I'll ask her directly. I'll try," he placates.

OK, folks, this is Jody Watley we're talking about. Meanwhile, security is tighter than a bomber's womb at Dulles airport or a bellhop's lip at a Vegas Britney Spears wedding. What gives?

Just then, I remember a journal entry from Watley herself on her website. I stumbled upon it while conducting my extensive research, well, 10 minutes ago. She asks her "fans" not to send in items for autographs, because somebody once did and then told everybody else that they could, and it was just pure mayhem. Jody Watley is in extremely high demand.

Finally, Jody appears, entourage a-straggle, sneaking around the swimming pool to the stage for her spit and shine. A booming dance track pulses through to absolutely no direct effect, and Jody takes the stage ... for a minute. Her hips have widened since her anorexic heyday, both her underwear and her butt crack showing above her spandex leggings. I feel somehow vindicated.

"Friends, will let you down, friends won't be around, when you need them most of all, your friends," she sashays, while a lone queer porpoises through the pool uninterested.

"You think you're gettin' a freebie?" she sneers to the seven or so of us wanly lapping up her every retro-leaning motion. One old man in a swimsuit puts a cigarette out with his cane, tellingly.

"Hahahahahaha!" she turns into Satan himself, only with wider hips. Gulp.

Now, I'm getting desperate, because ... heh ... how am I gonna write a column without an interview? (Insert Billy-baiting joke here).

Just when a helpful Parliament House manager is explaining to me that they're trying, and that they are making sure that I do only need the "one minute" I've been asking for, a friend bounds out to tell me that the beloved Miss Watley is just inside the bar. One minute is too much.

"Now's my chance," I purse my lips, swinging the door open and rushing to my place in her, well, periphery. The security guard I met at the beginning of this mess is motioning with his arms in my direction, and just then it happens: I lock eyes with Jody Watley. Memories of rainy walks and teased hair flood my mind, as do some less desirable ones involving her Shalamar days, and I'm overcome with emotion. Jody Watley is going to come over and hug me and this living hell that is my life is going to explode into a grand palace of 1987, MCA Records New Soul! Hell, she was even on the Band-Aid record! I'm this close to Bob Geldof!

Just then, Jody retracts her troubled -- albeit overread -- glance, throws her head back and dismisses me with a fey hand gesture, crushing me to little more than a pile of dime-store rhinestones on the disco floor -- and with little less than a pair of wide hips, a butt crack and a peakaboo underwear line.

It's gonna be a great year.

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