The Unthinkable

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I would be fired the next day, but the night before I went out with Gino. I never really had any super Italian friends growing up. One of the more overlooked differences between Boston and New York is their flavor of Catholic. In my phone I had him listed as Ginoooooooo. Gino was an actor with a manic vibe and I’m not sure if we ever had a real conversation, but he was funny.

It was my first Halloween weekend and the real happening in NY is right after the parade in the Village. I followed my still co-workers down into Alphabet City, to a charming little dump called Doc Holladay’s named after my second favorite Val Kilmer role. It was the kind of bar where you spend hours behind a cheap beer excavating 70’s graffiti through the layers of wall grime with your fingernail. There was a thrill of possibly digging up a place where the Ramones had once pissed on a unsuspecting fan.

The costume contest had begun a touch before we arrived and sans costumes we could just sit back with a tub of Pabst and take in the seedy faire. It seemed like an easy formula. Round by round, the intoxicated contestants would stand on the bar so that the intoxicated crowd could cheer on the woman with the least amount of clothes. The frontrunner was a girl who had apparently tailor-made her outfit for just such a contest. She wore a cardboard box extending neck to knees, painted in black and bedazzled. On the front, she had cut herself some swinging door and wrote, in what I assumed was red lipstick, the words, PEEP SHOW 25¢. And just as promised when some forth coming patron would chuck a quarter up at her, she opened the doors revealin just the skin she was in.

It was going to be a landslide.

Her only competition was a girl in what could only be described in the Village as a delicious catsuit, showing off every curve and fold her body provided. Even the whiskers seemed like a detail I would be embarrassed to buy.
The conversation was again not premium but I enjoyed new friendships. Trying to pick out the ones I could hang out with in the future over those who I would just merely be friendly with at work. I really felt like I was settling to New York. Two months in and I was beginning to make friends and I had found a restaurant I could see myself at until I didn’t have to. It was Goodfellas kinda joint and the owner, a scion of another more established Italian icon, loved to keep me late drinking with him at the bar until his wife called. He loved me. He wanted to make t shirts with me out of these ironic lil drawing that I had made and once sold as postcards in Union Square for a buck a piece. He had plans for me. I felt like it was going to work out.

Around my 5th or 6th PBR, the semi finalists were announced and the Peep Girl, drunk with tangible confidence ascended the bar for what would merely be a victory lap. Her opponent, the cat, stood waiting and hissing and prowling the crowd intending to go down fighting. When Miss Peeps finally got her footing and the first quarter was cast, the unthinkable happened. She slipped. Fell straight off the bar into the bartender, the ice bin, a rail of cheap liqour and hopefully a latticed rubber and impossible unclean floor mat below. The crowd let out an audible gasp followed quickly by laughter and then cheer for the cat girl, left standing, who took the opportunity and egged the crowd to show her love for her balance and dexterity. Twenty minutes later, she would crowned with what ever one wins in a bar choking with cigarette smoke and tables piled with Spartan beer cans shrines.

I would call in to find out my schedule the next day, only to discover I had none. My eyes teared with shock.

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