PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…
AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…
The Anything Goes Club. Armand wasn’t kidding.
I’d never seen such a disgusting display in all my life.
“How is it possible that I’ve been scraping the fungus off of LA’s seedy underbelly for years and this is the first I’ve heard of this place?”
“We hide ourselves well, sir,” Armand said. “We cater to all manner of, interests, and our more famous clients appreciate our…discretion.”
Indeed, there were a number of celebrities in our midst. Lucky for them, I was new to this time period and while I recognized many of them from seeing them in passing on Ms. Tsang’s television, I didn’t know any of them by name.
I was fairly certain one of the gals slathering herself up in the jello fighting pit was the same skirt who pointed to prizes and smiled on Ms. Tsang’s favorite game show.
And that guy who was tripping out and dancing on the pool table? He looked a lot like the actor who plays the father on that sitcom Ms. Tsang always watches.
You know. The one where the wife and kids do everything right and never make a mistake and they all have to suffer through the constant incompetence of the family’s idiotic paternal figure?
Yeah. I know. That describes every sitcom so it’s hard to narrow it down.
Ms. Donnelly was a bit more hip than I was.
“Is that NAME REDACTED playing the banjo in his underwear?”
“Sure is,” the bartender said. “That son of a bitch sure can wail.”.
“Ms. Donnelly, I wonder if we might move this along?”
“Of course,” she said as she turned to Armand. “I was told it would be possible to meet with Informant Zero?”
Armand’s beady eyes lit up.
“Informant Zero?” the butler asked.
“Yes, Informant Zero,” Delilah repeated.
Armand looked at the bar keep.
The barkeep nodded and rang a loud dinner bell.
He then shouted, “INFORMANT ZERO!”
Across the room, there was a DJ wearing a furry gorilla costume, though he didn’t wear the mask.
Abruptly, he shut his turntables down, cutting off the music entirely.
“INFORMANT ZERO!” the DJ announced through his microphone.
All of a sudden, in a room full of sickos, Delilah and I were the ones being stared at.
A man with a ripped six-pac road over on one of those two wheeled Segways. He wore a cowboy hat and a pair of leather pants.
Segway. What an interesting machine. I wanted one myself.
“Who seeks Informant Zero?” the cowboy asked.
“These two seek Informant Zero,” Armand answered.
I recognized the cowboy from somewhere else, but couldn’t put a finger on it. In a room full of twisted behavior, a man who was just pretending to be a Southerner didn’t seem so bad.
The cowboy chewed on a toothpick for a bit, giving us the once over. Then he had a question.
“What is the slope of the rope?”
It was a test. I was stumped, but when Ms. Donnelly reached for her cheat sheet, I realized her contact must have prepared her for this.
She raised a finger in the air and read from the paper ever so triumphantly:
“It is equally proportionate to the angle of the dangle!”
I love it when Delilah gets tricked into talking dirty.
The cowboy looked at Armand. Our butler nodded. The cowboy wheeled away toward the back of the room.
We followed but he was going fast on that thing. It was hard to keep up.
Suddenly, I noticed the cowboy was weirder than I had originally surmised. From behind, I noticed he wasn’t wearing leather pants at all.
He was wearing assless chaps.
“What have I seen you in, buster?” I asked.
“Nothing,” the cowpoke said, keeping his face forward, refusing to look at me.
“You in show biz?”
“That’s none of your biz.”
“I do believe he’s NAME REDACTED,” Ms. Donnelly whispered to me.
“THE GUY THAT PLAYS ROLE IN SUPERHERO MOVIE REDACTED?!”
Oops. I was less than discrete.
The cowpoke wheeled around and leered at us.
“You know,” he said. “You non-famous people have no idea what kind of pressure I’m under.”
“I’m sorry pal,” I said. “Forget it.”
“No,” the cowboy said as he scooted his scooter so he could get in my face. He leaned over the handlebars and I found myself leaning backward just to give him some room.
“Sure. You all look at me on the big screen in my costume and think, ‘Now there’s a guy with a great life. But you don’t know what’s involved to keep my career going.”
He leaned back and got out of my personal space.
“Everyday I wake up at 5 am. I run for miles, do sit ups, crunches, squats, pecs, lats, delts. I work out until dusk and ALL I ever get to eat is a bag of baby spinach and three almonds.”
Delilah hanged back, realizing we were in for it for awhile. I’d unleashed a monster and was now doubling as his impromptu therapist.
“That’s actually in my contract! My lawyer and the studio banged out a deal that specifically states I can only eat three almonds a day or risk losing everything.”
Delilah couldn’t resist.
“You should have hired me, Mr. REDACTED. I’d of gotten you five.”
“Whatever,” the cowboy replied. “All I’m saying is when I work as hard as I do and provide as much joy to the world as I do, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for me to be allowed to hang out in a private club during my free time and dress up like a cowboy while a pair Czechoslovakian dwarves slather me with cottage cheese and read me the collective works of Ayn Rand.”
I repeated the phrase that I found myself saying a lot in response to this new world.
“Oh,” the cowboy said as his face turned red. “What are you, one of those uptight right wing jerk-holes who thinks that everyone who suffers from Curdoslovakiandwarvishrandism should be swept under the rug and denied their basic civil rights?!”
I had no idea how to respond to that.
“Well guess what, pal?! I’m here! I love it when small people from Eastern Europe smear me with spoiled dairy products while they read me tales of an alternative dystopian future, SO GET USED TO IT!”
“OK buster, take it easy.”
“You have no idea how I’ve suffered because of an affliction I can’t control! It’s not my fault, you know!”
Delilah’s intervention was welcome.
“Pardon us,” Delilah said to NAME REDACTED.
She pulled me away and confronted me.
“Mr. Hatcher, you’ve committed a very serious social faux pas.”
“Yes. You mocked his condition.”
“Condition?” I asked. “That’s a real thing?”
“Every thing is considered a real thing now,” Delilah said. “No matter what bizarre fetish a person has, society expects you to listen politely and nod as the individual explains to you why this nontraditional interest is the cause of all problems in his or her life.”
“So I can’t just tell him to man up and knock that shit off?”
“Certainly not,” Delilah said. “Especially not if you don’t want Mr. Battler to have an anti-Bookshelf Battle campaign launched against him on Twitter demanding that he fire you.”
“This is going to be hard for me,” I said. “My generation was too busy fighting a global onslaught of evil to worry about being slathered up with, by, Jesus, I lost track of what this guy has.”
We returned to our guide.
“Sorry fella,” I said. “I didn’t know you had it so bad.”
The cowboy nodded and extended his hand.
“That’s big of you to admit you were wrong.”
I looked at his hand, then at Ms. Donnelly. Her look convinced me I had no choice but to shake it.
The cowboy did a 180 degree turn and led on. I wiped my hand on my trench coat. Was that rude? Sorry. I didn’t know where his hand had been.
Probably on a Czechoslovakian dwarf.
For legal purposes, Delilah tells me I have to say there’s nothing wrong with that.
Copyright (c) 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.