Thursday, March 31, 2011

Every Now and Then

I am in the bathtub. The water is cold and will be shut off tomorrow. I haven’t had the money to pay the bill. Everything but my face is completely immersed in the chilly, indifferent bath water.

I drug the computer into the bathroom, all because I wanted to listen to my Bright Eyes Pandora radio station. The first song that grows from the green plush rug is “Untitled (Lovers Turn Into Monsters).”

How appropriate, I think. Of course this song would play. Bright Eyes reminds me of almost every single guy who ever fucked me over and tore my heart to tiny shards of ripped

I am almost, if not completely, certain that beer does nothing for me…except cause the overdramatic piece of my brain to fill up and completely spill over.

I start crying. I don’t know why. My tears warm the bathwater.

Blicker stayed at the Indie. He told me that he wanted to hang out some more. I was tired from skating, dancing, singing, drinking, and getting a lap dance. On my drive home, I convinced myself that Blicker wanted to stay at the bar because he knew a bunch of random girls there. I swear sometimes that he has dated (or almost dated) every girl in Auburn.

The night began sweatier and happier. After practice, some of the team went to The Independent for beer and indie-rock karaoke. (Indie-rock karaoke, I discovered, is basically the same as regular karaoke, only with a separate page at the end. Label? NEW. The number of NEW songs drops in at about thirteen, and I could swear that I have heard all those songs on the radio, minus one.)

It only took Cho a couple sips of Jack and Coke before she was ready for her highly anticipated rendition of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

9 and Ziggy you haaaaaaaaaaave to come up there with me and just dance or something, Cho begged from the stage as she struggled with the mic. The mic made thud thud sounds as it slid through the stand. I don’t want to do this anymore, Cho whimpered. I’m scared.

Earlier, Cho had shown us a magic trick. She pretended to put a coin through the back of her neck, and then coughed the quarter up from her throat. Turns out, as Ziggy noticed, the coin was in the crook of her elbow the entire time. Cho said that the trick really impressed kids, and I am certain that it did. I didn’t see anything but giggles come from her elbow.

Ziggy and I agreed to go onstage with Cho, but we made a pact first. Just stand there and stay really stoic, Ziggy instructed me. Don’t crack a smile. When I look at you, then we’ll crossover behind Cho.

I wish I could have upheld the pact, but I admit: I faltered once or twice, mostly because Cho did the Old School version of the song. She substituted freakin/fucking/fuggin at every possible opportunity. Still, I was impressed that Cho covered the song as well as she did. I mean, it was Bonnie Tyler, after all.

At the theatrical close of "Total Eclipse," Ziggy and I (stoically) made a short line behind Cho. When Cho belted out her final note, she threw her hips backward and her hands in the air. Her hips hit my cup of Shocktop, sending beer all over my face and the stage. I felt like instead of a standing atop a beer-soaked stage at a nearly empty bar, I was at a raucous concert gone wrong. I felt like I was making up for all those quiet teenage afternoons I spent in the library, or all those times I convinced myself that meekness was a necessary approach to every situation.

I don’t think there could have been a more appropriate ending to the girl-friendly power ballad than the hip thrusts and flying sloshes of beer.

The song eclipsed the bar that night. After Cho’s performance, more drinks went down our throats and made us crazy. Insane. Blicker sang Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind,” in a gravelly voice that I’d never heard him use before. Seedy Elle danced all the spilled beer off the stage. Beatrix Killa played an invisible bass-accordion-guitar-ukulele for each BCR member who attempted to sing.

The climax of the evening came when Cho did a somersault on the stage. I didn’t know she could do a somersault. I was glad that she was still wearing her tights from practice.

Cho is the goofiest, most loveable person in my life at the moment.

After Blicker handed me my third beer, my derby wife Skully approached me from behind. Some cute, gay guy from Hair Expo was singing “Beauty School Dropout.” Skully's hot breath in my ear startled me.

I just wanted to tell you, Skully said, that Ziggy is going to give you a lap dance.

I looked at her with my left eye squinted. My left eye has always been my suspicious eye.

I just thought you should know, she said in her best neutral voice.

I didn’t know what the fuck was going on anymore. The room spun like a carousel in my head, the band posters and fliers replacing colorful horses, camels, and unicorns. We could have been in California, New York City, or Auburn, Alabama. We could have been a roller derby team, or we could have been a handful of escaped criminals. We could have been senseless drunks, or we could have been savant singers, dancers, and magicians. I just couldn’t tell.

The lap dance, I discovered, also involved Cho. While Ziggy grinded her ass on my thighs, Cho shook her butt next to my leg. I’m not very good at this, Cho admitted. I lost any stoicism that I so earnestly began the evening with. Ziggy leaned back, put her head on my neck, and stroked my hair.

If any of this seems sexual, it wasn’t. It all seemed completely normal. Expected, even.

Just another night in Burn City.

After the lap dance, the tiredness hit me like one of those anomalous microphone thuds. Skating. Dancing. Singing. (If that’s what you want to call it, commented the smug karaoke operator. I don’t recall the song.) Drinking. Receiving a lap dance.

And now here I lie in a chilly bath, listening to songs that weren’t on the indie-rock karaoke list.

I don’t think I can move my arms or legs.

I don’t think I can feel the water anymore.

I hear the rush of the faucet backgrounding the radio. I can’t stop crying, and I don’t know why.

Turn around, I think before I sink my head completely under. Bright Eyes. Every now and then I fall apart.


  1. really loved this post, 9. It read like an emo song.
    miss you all.

  2. Chill bumps are on me, and they won't go away.