Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Vacation Stories: The Sip

The thing I remember most about the few days I spent in Los Angeles...well, there's not much because we were pretty much drunk the whole time...I do remember, though, staying up every night until about 3 or 4 in the morning engaging my friends A and G in epic karaoke battles in G's family room.

The same threesome was in Paris five years ago. We were in a hip French eatery, and I turned to the sexy waitress and said,"Nous sommes dure." I meant to say we were tough, a double entendre reflecting the fact that our ordering in clumsy French was making it difficult for the cute waitress and that we were "tough" or "hard." But, what I said literally translated into "We're durable." Sexy if she wanted to hook up with a Frigidaire. It was symbolic -- the three of us are clowns.

I can't sing. A and G both can. But, one night, I found the perfect song. The song I was apparently born to sing. A song that spoke to me in words and sound. I set an alltime record on the karaoke machine singing it: Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon." A 98. Near perfection. Probably better than Boy George could have sung it. I was the fucking MAN.

Problem was, G had passed out. When he awoke the next day and was told about it, he didn't believe me. A confirmed it though. He wanted it back. The karaoke king title. I said the only way he could possibly justify getting it back was beating my score singing "Karma Chameleon." He took the challenge.

We all poured large glasses of wine and got warmed up to some other tunes. I nailed "Superstitious" by Stevie Wonder, so well that I bellowed, "Yeah, bitch, move the fuck over Stevie. Your songbook is mine. Where is the wine?"

Finally, G was ready. He began strong. Off the bat, he started off with a 94, and was getting stronger. His "You come and go"s were magic man. I was panicked. I started pacing in the corner.

He got cocky. He got up slowly criss-crossing the room like his was Deano serenading a room full of tomatoes at the Sands. Sonuvabitch. He was at 96 and climbing.

Then, a critical error. He took a long sip of wine right before the fourth verse. And missed the first line completely. I shot my fist up in the air. He might have been worried, but he didn't show it. No matter, he was at 95 and holding. I thrust my arms in the air and started strutting. A champion still.

But, it wasn't over. He was creeping back. 96. His voice was getting stronger. And the motherfucker was in tune. 97. Then, it was over.

I retained the title. And, then I retired at the top of my game. The sip. A critical error that will go down in the annals of karaoke history. Right next to the chapter about drunk coeds barfing on themselves as they sing "I Want Your Sex."


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