Last night I was taken hostage (well, that’s how I see it; I originally said “no” but then LB whispered those six little words that turn a middle aged man’s knees to mush “I’m buying the first two rounds”. I replied, “you had me at the word buying…” and with cheeks aglow, my heart going pitter patter and said, “of course I’ll go to the bar with you.”), tortured (I did not realize that LB’s girlfriend Amber had a little surprise in store for me) and then forcibly ejected from my captor’s vehicle like an empty beer can at midnight on a country road (ok, I stumbled out of the car, fell into the garbage cans then while getting up, lost my balance and did a face plant straight into a mud puddle. The resulting intake of some sandy grit into my stomach which caused a chain reaction that most definitely involved something being forcibly ejected, I just shortened it, that’s all). I innocently go along with LB and Amber to Karoke, in Olds, with Amber playing cab driver. We get into the bar and we find a nice little table and true to his word, LB says he’s going up to get the first round. He comes back to the table and sets before me a beer…and a triple rye straight up. I should have noticed earlier the slight quiver in his voice, the not looking me straight into the eye that I was about to be stabbed in the back – that thought was confirmed when LB leaned over as Amber excused her from the table and said fighting back the tears caused by guilt (or it could have been from the smoke of the cigar he lit going into his eyes) and said, “I’m sorry, so sorry…but buddy boy, I want to float my boat tonight.” I didn’t know what was up, but I drank my rye quickly and then started on the beer when from behind me I caught a scent of something – not the sweet fragrance of stale beer, pickled eggs and pepperoni but something alien – something clean. Now I cant’ be sure if it was the onslaught of the alcohol hitting my stomach or the realization that I had been set up that caused me to feel it tighten…
I turned around, much like the heroic figure refusing the blindfold in front of the firing squad. There stood Amber and a very pink clad woman. Amber sits in the chair between LB and I, while flamingo woman sits right beside me…not in the proper quarterly division of the table as outlined in the unwritten bar room rules of proper conduct, but moves her chair over so that she’s sitting beside me. “Hi! I’m Krystal with a ‘K’, and you’re….?”
“…In need of a stronger drink,” I responded with a big smile while my eyes shot over to Amber, hopefully flashing “bitch” brightly as I could mentally do.
So I’m stuck with a surprise blind date, at a bar I don’t know very well I lock eyes with LB, who quickly finishes his rye and beer and announces that round two is coming right up. But I’m a brave soul and control myself enough to make small talk.
I’m not sure exactly why or how this occurred but an hour in Krystal with a K says, “oh no, I forgot to buy gum!”
“That’s just terrible,” Amber says sympathetically, “isn’t it Tony?”
To which I have no response as I’m having just a glorious time enjoying the encore taste treats of rye that my little burps are giving me. I’m not even sure when not buying gum became a matter of importance that it had to be announced.
Amber repeats, “Isn’t it, Tony?”
“With a K!” I remind her.
I get a glare and then she continues with, “Needs gum.”
“That’s nice” I said, not really caring but trying to fake it.
“so she would like it now…”
“Grrrl power!” I say as I stick my arm up in a fist to show my support of the equality of women.
“you’re going to offer to go get her some.” Amber must have had trouble breathing or something as it came out rather stuttery…
“Yes you are”
Now I’m perplexed, I don’t recall ever saying that I was affiliated with UPS. “Why?”
“To show off your gentlemanliness,” she said rather icily through her now gritted teeth.
“Uh, that’s not even remotely what you called me last night,” I reminded her and then added, “besides the gas station is like two blocks away and it’s raining.”
Then she fought dirty – she used the golden bar rule – when someone buys, you are obligated to get them back – a beer appeared magically before me – I was trapped. I got up and asked LB if he was coming. He looked at me and exclaimed, “are you crazy, buddy? There’s only one head on this Newfie’s body that’s getting wet tonight and I ain’t speaking with it!”
So I go get the gum, come back and drop the gum in front of Krystal with a K.
“Oh, my knight in shining armor!” she says with a smile.
I begin to open my mouth when Amber grabs my wrist and digs her fingernails into my wrist…hard. I just nod and ask if she’s doing any singing, which Krystal with a K says that she doesn’t.
That leaves it to LB and I to destroy the eardrums of the people in the bar. There’s a reason why LB and I usually sneak off to karoke alone with out Amber – she has this bad habit of picking songs for us to do – whether we know or like the songs has never been an issue with her – the only thing that we are required to do is to write our names and take it to the hostess. LB and I have resigned ourselves to having to do it otherwise we have to listen to a ten minute explanation on why Amber thinks we should do the song and if we refuse it’s “you really should do this song” for the rest of the night.
Now lately I’ve been going through an initial phase, I don’t know why, it started off with the suggestion of shortening Anthony Byron to A.B. and since then, it’s been a new kick doing so – playing “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” became CSN, “you’re a fucking idiot” became LB….
So I, with several ryes in the system that makes it oh so much fun to write legibly, decide that for the songs, I’d write Krystal’s Karoke Knight as the name…in initials. So forty or so minutes go by and then the hostess says into the microphone, “Our next song is ‘Burning love’ sang by KKK”…..