Okay, so let's be up front about this:
we pulled a Joe Caro and overslept. The alarm goes off -- but we
don't, not until seven a.m., which means we don't get to the
Fairgrounds until eight a.m.
AND IT'S PACKED. And there are blinking colored lights strung over
the bars and Howie's black light, sideshow paintings of CobraWoman
and skeletons and human frogs and Lizard Man. We hang out upstairs,
overlooking the crowd from that box section above the bar, and we
watch the boyz coming and going -- and dancing to Junior. It's eight
a.m. and there's a good, happy vibe. Junior's working Vernessa's
This Joy, his Sunday morning anthem. The second shift is trickling
in, and the boyz who've been here a while are already frisky and
fun. Sidelong glances and sneaky smiles along the railing, even with
girlfriends in tow, and another papilicious coming over, saying
"Jared? It's me, David." "Well, no, actually, it's Mark, but nice to
meet you, David." And who cares how cheap that is, it works for
And we're thinking we're ready to hit the floor, but as soon as we
get down into the thick of it, we realize how [REDACTED] we are.
Something about the heat of the crowd, all the [REDACTED] oozing
into the air -- but then there's Alan and Joey (who I smack in the
jaw, accidentally, my enthusiasm too large) and they go get Scott(y)
who's just flown in from LA, all the way across the country just to
be here for Junior's b'day. Now that's devotion. And Alex, his
exuberant boytoy, a studpuppy perfect for brunch, and we're
chattering and gabbing and dancing to Mariah's We Belong Together
and Deborah doing Stupid Like You and also Things Just Ain't the
Same and Accept Me and Cliche and Jason Walker's Can't Take No More
and then the stage is cleared and it's RKM as two carousels -- and
it's the first time we hear the song Babylon -- and it's HEAVEN ON A
STICK to hear it for the first time like this, with Rubio and Kidd's
heads poking free from the carousels and then breaking free entirely
from their carousel horses and standing before us in mirrored
gladiatorial rags, and then the confetti hose starts blasting us
with pastel confetti as that eerie and oh-so-wonderfully haunting
song Babylon plays, and it feels right, so right, being at this
b'day party for Junior.
He plays Happy Birthday for himself, his arms outstretched, and he
looks happy and the crowd applauds and cheers, and we're off and
running again, and we're leaning against the bar, munching on a
[REDACTED] -- when all of a sudden, it's Donna Summer warbling "Last
But it's only ten-fifteen in the morning. So it can't be over now,
right? Wrong. It's over. The song ends, and Junior waves goodbye and
kisses his crew and he's out the door. No amount of applause makes
any difference. And now the lights go up and -- ooh, dear, this is
not a happy bunch. We're talking seven hundred partying people
suddenly released onto the street in broad daylight.
Well, that's a disappointment. The trick left us with blue balls. So
we head to the Cup on its last day of biz -- but oops, that's a
mistake too as we're sitting there amazed as the Gotti boyz come in
with Tony Soprano and raid the kitchen, cleaning out all dairy
products from the fridge and dumping gallons and gallons of milk and
cream onto Eighth Avenue. Which seems a strange kind of extortion
--- you don't get paid, so you throw your product down the gutter?
So now the Cup sandwich board sign out in front reads, "LAST DAY OF
BIZ. BLACK COFFEE ONLY."
We're out of there and onto the Christopher Street Pier where we
collapse in the grass, the Hudson slapping against the pilings. Off
with the shoes and socks and flat on our backs, tucked into each
other. Hardly anyone else is on that perfectly groomed green yard.
Overhead, it's a sky filled with clouds drifting, floating, sliding
one past each other. The breeze lifts our shirts and for the next
hour, we remain on our backs, watching the clouds -- and it's bliss,
So maybe Junior did us a favor by ducking out early. Because when
you've munched on a [REDACTED] just as the party ends, you've got to
go make your own fun.
(And incidentally, where was Joe Caro making his fun?)