\Before I begin the Author's note, I would like to explain the significance of this work. This piece is the first I ever wrote that was mostly a flashback. Okay. On with the Authors note:
Author's note: This was originally written as an email on August 3, 1998. As you read, especially towards the beginning, there might be a few references to previous email messages. You may assume that these references are as witty and meaningful as everything else in this sordid tale. Here we go:
Friday night, I dreamt that Pat and I went to a club in downtown Minneaplois (and no, it wasn't the Pleasure Chest; it wasn't one of those kinds of dreams). Anyways, this club was split into two floors, with a split-level entry-way, and a separate room on each side of these floors. The whole building has a kind of run-down look about it. There are old, rickety, wooden stairs that lead to the two levels. Pat and I decided to go to the room downstairs and to the right because that room had a cooler name (I forget what that was exactly, but I think it started with a 'C').
We went downstairs, and grabbed a table. A waitress came up to us, gave us menus, and said she'd be back to take our orders. We looked at the menu, and made some small talk. The waitress got back, and we both ordered a cheese burger, water to drink, and said we'd go to the bar for our other drinks. Nothing too strange going on, right?
Pat says he wants a champagne coolie (sorry, that's really what you wanted, Pat), and I decide on a rum and Coke. So I go to the bar, and give the bartender our orders. After the guy pours our drinks, I get a closer look at him, and I notice that it is Steve Buscemi (of Reservoir Dogs and Fargo fame). I'm so shocked, I forget to leave a tip for Steve-o. I stumble back to our table, in a kind of daze, and finally get a closer look at the room. The place looks like a dump; vinyl-and-chrome chairs, chipped tables, cinderblock walls, crappy carpet, the works. There's about 4 rows of circular tables, with 7 or 8 tables in each row. The waitress comes with our cheeseburgers, and asks if there will be anything else. We both say we want a refill on our water. "Sure thing," she says.
We start to chow down, when the lights begin to dim in the room. Cool, the act is starting we both say. Then a spotlight that starts to shine at the front of the room, and we both look over there. There isn't a stage of any sort, just a row of no tables. Up walks this black guy, who looks a lot like the Rev. Al Sharpton. And starts saying a Catholic Mass. A couple of minutes later, the waitress omes back and asks how things are going. She kind of whispers so as not to disturb the Rev. Pat and I say the food is great, but we're still waiting for her to refill our waters. "Sure, be right back, Hons," she tells us. (Why do waitresses call people 'hon'? Do gals ever get called that by waitresses? How about waiters? Why do I call women gals?)
So Pat and I kick back, put our feet up, and are enjoying the Mass. Eventually, we finish the food and are starting to look around for the waitress, cause we're still thirsty. "This is nuts," Pats says. "Let's go to the bar and get a refill." It is then that I remember I hadn't told Pat who the bartender was. "Cool" he says. Let's go. Pat asks for a refill on his champagne coolie (Buscemi kind of snickers at that), and I want another R&C. "How are things going guys?" Buscemi asks us.
"Alright," we tell him.
"Except our waitress keeps forgetting to bring us our water," Pat says (I'm in too much shock to say anything. 'STEVE BUSCEMI ACTUALLY TALKED TO ME!' I think).
"Listen guys, I'll take care of it."
"Thanks," Pat tells him and we go back to our table. The waitress brings us our check, but still no water.
"Cindy, can you come here for a second?" Steve calls from the back of the room. She walks back there, and Buscemi kind of starts talking to her. Suddenly, Cindy bursts into tears, and runs out of the room.
We walk back to the bar. "What did you say to her?" Pat asks.
"Not much, just told her the next time somebody asks for water, she damn well better bring it. Then I fired her."
"Gee, we didn't want you to fire her; we were just thirsty." Pat says.
"Hey, don't feel bad guys. I've been wanting to get rid of that bitch for years."
Pat and I are kind of shocked, and turn to go back to our table to pay our check. "Psst. Hey kid." Buscemi whispers to me. I turn around and there's Steve with a 50 dollar bill (one of the old ones, not the new ones). You did me a big favor tonight. Here take this," holding out the fifty.
"I didn't really do anything. Pat was the one who said something," I protest.
"C'mon, take it kid. You did more than you think, hon." So I take the fifty bucks and go back to our table.
"What was that all about," Pat asks.
"Nothing. Steve just wanted to thank me," I answer. We leave some cash on the table and turn to leave. Sharpton is just finishing up and the lights come back on. "See you guys later," Buscemi tells us.
We get to the club, and go back to the bar. "The usual," we both tell Buscemi.
"Comin' right up guys".
We serves us our drinks, and we here this, "Psst. Wait a minute kid." This time Buscemi wants to talk to Pat. I go to the tables, and find one in the back. Pat comes back.
"Look what Steve gave me," he says and holds out his hand. In it I see a cheap plastic kazoo and a CD with no case.
"Cool. Why'd he give you that?" I ask.
"He wanted to thank me for getting that waitress fired."
"So what's on the CD?" I ask.
"I didn't ask," Pat answers. A different waitress comes up and takes our order: cheeseburgers and water. A little while later, she comes back with our food and water. We're both happy to see a waitress actually give us water. We turn around and look at Buscemi, giving him a thumbs up. He kind of gives us this little nod. This he tips his chin to the front of the room.
The lights are starting to dim and we turn around to look up front. Up walks a heavy-set man, with a big bushy mustache, a string tie, and a cowboy hat. Yep, it's Wilford Brimley. He introduces our presider for the day. Unfortunately I forget the guy's name. The spotlight turns onto a guy with jet black, greased back hair, pale, wrinkly skin, a pencil-thin mustache, and sunglasses rolling to the front on a motorized cart, and wearing a tuxedo (the guy, not the cart). He starts saying Mass, and Pat and I start munching our burgers. Nothing too much more happens except I realize the guy is blind. I think about ordering some oatmeal for dessert, but I manage to hold back (so much for the all-powerful media (remember, Brimley did oatmeal commercials when we were younger...)).
We finish our burgers, and pay our check and leave, nodding to Steve on the way out. We notice that Buscemi has kind of an odd-looking grin on his face, but we think nothing of it because Buscemi always looks funny (in a general sort of way). On the ride home, Pat pops the CD into his player. On comes Yanni. "Yanni music. I think there are some very serious problems with that Buscemi guy," I say.
Suddenly the music stops, and Steve's voice comes on.
"And also with you," he says.
Pat and I turn to each other with shocked looks on our faces. And the music picks up again right where it left off.