"Gawd," I suck three dollars out of my $15 cocktail and slide down in my seat. "Why is Ben Stein so trying to get with me?"
No sooner have copy-doodler Jessica Young and I hyper-spaced our hyper-thesauri to South Beach than does our first celebrity encounter play out through the frosted rims of our cocktails. We're slung up like slingbacks outside the Hotel Victor, having just survived the northward Bourbon Street crawl of the touristastic comma at the scrotal end of the state, and the fiscally conservative nerd of "Bueller … Bueller" legacy has already pulled a real-life Where's Waldo on our crowd-weary asses. In case you're wondering, he's wearing a suit and he looks like your cheating dad, which naturally only adds to his mystique.
"Wellllll think," he seems to be groaning, "blah, blah, blah."
The name of the game this weekend is Bang!, the two-year-old music festival that, from the looks of its DJ-heavy lineup, doesn't know when to say when. So while we're both digestively aware of the dangers of our Glaston-berries and Coa-Jell-Os as they pertain to menu comparisons, we're doing our best to have a good drunk time the night before not thinking about it … not thinking about anything. When!
"Jeez!" I burp my Poison. "Why is C.C. Deville totally trying to get with me?"
Deville throws me a double-take as he saunters by brownish-haired, because we totally used to talk dirty to each other — or at least talk to each other — just a few bleachy years ago. I'm contemplating following him and trailing his scent to Bret Michaels' torso when my phone rings.
"OK, umm, what are you doing at the Victor?" my West Coast gossip doppelgänger suspends disbelief cellularly. "You know that's where the super-double-secret Duran Duran end-of-tour party's going to be, right?"
So trying to get with me. Sure I did.
From there, fated beyond fate, Jessica and I are off. Well, not so much Jessica; she hates Duran Duran. But now, unlike all the other nows, we have a reason to shop and pretend to be famous. So we wander on the clouds that lead us back to our hotel room while I relentlessly dial in my national gossip credentials with whatever stalking editor will listen (OK, one in particular, but I don't want to burn any Britney bridges). "We're so in," I whisper as I clutch my pillow, snuggled up to Jessica in our deco bed. The daisies of super-fan dreams and credit card purchases cloud up my drunken sleeping mind.
"Why are you trying to get with me?" I shake Jessica to her "awake" setting at 7 a.m. Saturday. "And don't think I didn't disapprove of that hand job at 3 a.m."
Jessica, ever the editor, keeps her eyes closed.
Saturday morning is a blissful blur. We kick off with breakfast at a shiny diner on Eleventh Street, nipping at the eggs of our imminent retail therapy. Outside a ruckus is ruckusing, something involving a police presence and some noxious fumes. A hot detective in dress casuals is laughing with some uniformed officers, presumably about the prostitute last night, her hands, his pants. I light up a cigarette and we head toward the fray.
"I wouldn't go down there if I were you," an officer bellows. "Especially not with a lit cigarette."
Totally trying to get with me.
Anyway, we shop and shop and shop until our boyfriends will hate us and probably forbid us from ever sharing a bed again, especially in a shopping district, and before long it's time to admit the inevitable: We have to go to Bang!
Now, the less said about this social accident of nuclear fallout savagery, glow sticks, angel wings and dated electronica (plus Duran, Modest Mouse and Gnarls Barkley), the better. Even in the press line, the omens are decidedly bad. The two guys in front of us are from Spin, which means even though Spin is Panic at the Awful, they'll get special treatment. My press contact, Alexandra-in-a-fedora, pulls them aside to let them know that although Duran Duran will not be doing any real press, they will be doing press with them, because they're a "traditional music outlet." And, tellingly, she all but ignores me.
"Are those guys gay and totally trying to get with me?" I spin in Jessica's direction.
"I think one of them is Yiddish, and the other goes to the gym a lot," Jessica dark-sunglasses.
Accordingly, we spend a good amount of time trailing them (boring), hopping VIP tents, drinking, coughing up rotten food and generally lamenting the necessity of another bloated rave in another tragic Florida parking lot. There's a press area on the shore of Biscayne Bay, but all that means is no port-a-potty competition, clumsy folding tables and a backdrop where various DJs named Sanchez will have their mugs shot for pretend interview situations. By 6:30 p.m., about four hours before Duran Duran are even slated to take the stage, we're already leaving.
"I said British, not Yiddish," Jessica lies as we hail a cab. Sure you did.
We head back to the Victor at 11 p.m. for the super Duran surprise, order the same overpriced drinks and wait for, if no one else, C.C. Deville. He doesn't show, but Duran's publicity machine is here in the lobby: a girl named Sharon Cho, who looks just like Margaret if Margaret never showered. She texts an appropriately named Katy (pronounced "catty") who is notoriously unpleasant and in self-appointed charge of the affair. Katy arrives with the band and throws a prom-queen-over-a-velvet-rope grimace in my direction, sneering, "I'm sorry, Billy, there's nothing I can do for you. This is for friends and family only." Of which, I should say, clearly neither are in attendance.
Then they walk in, my lifelong dreams parading lackadaisically in front of me, just 10 feet away. My hand waves at them, reflexively, drawing a quizzical gaze from the face on the penis that is Simon LeBon.
"He is so trying to get with me," I poke Jessica's expensive thigh. "I now officially hate Duran Duran."[email protected]