Well, the weekend was nice, so maybe you should hear about it. Friday evening started with an aimless walk around the Lincoln Park/Lakeview border, looking for anyone wearing a red sash. Our orders were that if we see a red sash, we kill the man wearin' it. After a blood-filled harvest, Jester and I decided that what we had assumed was bloodlust was actually just simple hunger, so we hit up the Golden Nugget. I enjoyed a breakfast burrito and Tang, while Jessie went with some sort of egg-based meal with bacon and a glass of beer.
Not having quenched our desire for mini-blind and sconce viewing, we went to Home Depot and looked around, occasionally asking the workers inane questions like, "What do you suggest for the homeowner who has everything?", "How many dishwashers is too many?", and "What do you think is the best paint color to mask three decades of unfulfillment and underachievement?" After being escorted from the premises, Jessie and I walked back home, approaching passersby and asking for directions to Carson City and then explaining, "You die first, get it? Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe, you understand me?" Most of the time, Jessie and I would then cackle like doped-up banshees, but you'd be amazed at how many people were able to give very accurate directions to Carson City.
"I haven't laughed enough tonight," I told Jessie as we walked down Diversey, rifling through the billfold of a man of modest wealth named William Broad who didn't appreciate our senses of humor. Jessie then gave me eight of William Broad's bloodsoaked dollar bills and said, pointing to an open cab stopped at the corner of Sheffield and Diversey, "Take this. It should get you to North and Wells. When you arrive, go to Corcoran's. It's a saloon a shade north of North. There will be a man at the door wearing a beard. He won't introduce himself, but he will ask you for your identification. Give it to him. Assuming he lets you pass, go to the far end of the bar. There will be no seats at the bar. Order a pint of Guinness anyway. Tip the bartender one dollar and fifty cents. No more, no less. Keep your coat on. Wander down to the end of the bar closest to the door. Look up at the television and feign interest in the Denver/Washington basketball game. There will be two females sitting at the end of the bar, finishing up their meal. Go to the jukebox behind them and search through it, A-Z. Play Thin Lizzy's "Cowboy Song," David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust," The Who's "Baba O'Riley," and Weezer's "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here," IN THAT ORDER. I can't stress that enough. When the two females leave, pretend not to notice that they have left. In fact, let an overweight middle-aged man in a black leather jacket take one of the seats. By this time, a table directly on the other side of the bar from the jukebox will have opened up. Sit down at that table. It will be for four people, and there will only be one of you, but make no mistake, that table is for you. Seven minutes later, an Australian with the same given name as you will enter the bar. At first he will not notice you. Call to him. He will sit with you. For the next 39 minutes, converse with him. Discuss television, recent brief and flippant email conversations he has had with his ex-girlfriend, the time constraints of working and writing, a restaurant in Melbourne, procrastination, and boobs. After 39 minutes, go with him across the street. Go in the doors along Wells, and proceed to the fourth floor. There will be a theater there that goes by the name of Donny's Skybox. Purchase two tickets to the 10:30 show. It will be called Tomato/Tomatoe. Before you enter the theater, go with the Australian to the fourth level of the parking garage. Smoke one cigarette. Remark about the weather and its unforgiving nature. After your cigarette, enter the building. The Australian will ask if you have any mints. You will not. But you will have Listerine breath strips. Offer him one. He will take it. Return to the theater, purchasing two cans of Hamm's beer on your way in. Sit in the last row in the center. The show will be average, but there will be funny parts. Laugh out loud when they make an abortion joke. The Australian will laugh out loud as well. You will be the only two people laughing that loudly, but do not let that stop you. After the show, exit with the Australian and accompany him to Burton Place, another saloon about two blocks south of North on Wells. On your walk to Burton Place, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Tomato/Tomatoe. Smoke one cigarette. As you finish your cigarette while standing outside Burton Place, there will be a mildly attractive woman in spike heels who will walk past the two of you. You will notice how gingerly she must walk because of the uneven sheets of ice covering much of the sidewalk. Remark to the Australian that her decision to wear spike heels was a poor one this evening. Do not flick your cigarette butt at her or chase her down the street screaming "time to make the babies!" Instead, go into Burton Place. Once again, there will be a man at the door. This one, however, will not be wearing a beard. He won't introduce himself, but he will ask you for your identification. Give it to him. Assuming he lets you pass, go to the left side of the bar, closest to the windows. There will be two seats open next to a man drinking bottles of Miller Lite who appears to be very intoxicated. Sit in those seats, making sure to keep the Australian man in between you and the man drinking Miller Lite. Order a Shiner Bock. The Australian will order a Sierra Nevada. He will drink faster than you. Before either of you finish your first beer, he will ask you if you want a shot of tequila. Act hesitant at first, but then oblige in his wishes. When the bartender asks him which type of tequila he wants, he will not know it by name, instead referring to it as having "antlers on the bottle." It will be Cazadores brand tequila. You will not like it, but take it. I will call your mobile phone several times while you are at Burton Place. Whatever you do, DO NOT ANSWER YOUR PHONE. Communicate with me only via text message. I will ask you to come home, suggesting that you told me earlier that you would "come home soon after the show." This is only a ploy. At this point, that's all you need to know. Stay out. The Australian will order chicken wings with a side of bleu cheese. Order a second Shiner Bock. While drinking your second Shiner Bock, the Australian will invite you to join him outside to smoke a cigarette. Go with him. To keep your place at the bar, fold a napkin and place it on top of your drink. When you return, the Australian's chicken wings will be waiting next to his beer on the bar. Do not eat any of them, no matter how many times he offers them to you. You should still be full from the breakfast burrito you ate at the Golden Nugget, and you should tell the Australian that. About a half hour after beginning to eat the chicken wings, the Australian will become ill. He will not be able to take full breaths, and he will compare the pain to being stabbed repeatedly in the stomach. Hastily finish your second beer because he will soon ask to leave. Let him. In fact, accompany him out the front door. There will be a taxi cab approaching from the north. Hale it for the Australian. Another cab will approach from the south. Hale it for yourself. There will be some confusion. The first cab will momentarily think that his services are no longer needed. Use hand gestures to signal otherwise. Return home, brush your teeth, turn off all of the lights, change into clothing suitable for sleep, and crawl into bed. Oh, and one more thing. If you wake me up, I'll slit your goddamned throat."
Amazingly, I was able to follow Jessie's directions perfectly from memory. I was surprised that she was able to get everything out before that cab was able to make it through the intersection of Sheffield and Diversey.
I woke up Saturday morning without a hangover and with Jessie standing next to the bed staring at me. "Nice work last night," she said, before slapping me across the mouth with an open hand, then grabbing my face with the same hand and forcing a harsh kiss upon my still-stinging mouth. Then I made some egg sandwiches. I think Jessie might be on HGH. Also, while going through my sock drawer Saturday afternoon, I noticed that every single pair of socks had been turned into sock puppets. I fear the end is approaching.
Before going out Saturday night, Jester and I watched some of Tombstone, which was on one of the HBOs. It's been a while since I've seen it, and I forgot how great it is. I would say that it is by far Val Kilmer's greatest performance in a movie not titled Real Genius. I also have a soft spot for the movie because the night I met Jessie, she was referred to on more than one occasion as a "dusky-hued lady Satan." I was not an oak.
Saturday night, we went to Lottie's in Bucktown for a $25 all-you-can-drink fundraiser for Noreen Weeser*'s volleyball team. This was the same fundraiser last year where Jessie took something like eight shots of black sambuca in a 45-minute span, leading to her need to be escorted out the back door of Durkin's into the alley, where The Chincident occurred. Luckily this year, there were no shots taken, such that I didn't have to tend to my wife puking up what looked like tar all over our couch.
Frankly, I was a bit unimpressed with the way Lottie's handled this party. Noreen's team had reserved the basement for their party from 9-12. Lottie's is a Kansas bar, and the Kansas/Baylor game was still on at 9. There were still people in the basement, and they wouldn't let anyone who was there for the party go into the basement until after the game ended and the people in the basement cleared out. By the time the party actually started, it was 9:31. At least they extended the all-you-can-drink thing until 12:30, or else I would have been comin' and hell would have been comin' with me.
The party itself was pretty good. Drinks were consumed. Conversations were had. En vino veritas. Another mistake made by Lottie's related to their handling of the programming on two TVs in the basement. When we got down there, the Wisconsin/Purdue game was on all of the TVs. This made sense since (1) it is also a Wisconsin bar, (2) the game was for the Big Ten lead, and (3) I hate Purdue more than that smug Johnny Ringo. Nonetheless, some yahoo switched two of the TVs (of course the only two TVs that our table had a clear view of) to bull riding. As a former Houstonian, I love bull riding just as much as the next guy, but it seemed an odd choice. They would not change it back. Then, just as we were all getting into bull riding, they switched the channel again to something else. How lewd. While I was again disappointed, I didn't feel the need to request that they change those TVs back to bull riding.
Around 1:30 or so -- after enough well whiskey and diets to justify my $25 entrance fee -- Jester, Christoff, Tim Weeser*, and I decided that we needed burritos, so we caught a cab to LaBamba. I hadn't been there in a while, and it was as delightful as I remember. I ordered the super steak nachos. Jester ordered some sort of burrito with a side of cheese sauce (aka, El Queso de Los Dios). Tim ordered a quesadilla (I think), and so did Ryan. Apparently the quesadillas did not fully satiate Ryan. I begged him not to order another quesadilla, and he responded, forthrightly, "Law don't go around here, law dog." Then we all walked home in a wind that can only be described as "biting and uncaring." Jessie made me sleep hanging upside down with my arms crossed like a bat Saturday night. I didn't question it.