The band geeks are discussing how one of them got a 98% in band even though all he did the entire semester was sit between the two most talented trombonists and copy their arm movements. "I never once played a single note unless I was asked to demonstrate something solo. When I inevitably screwed up, I told my teacher I didn't work well with pressure. So I ended up with an A in the class despite the fact that I can't even play my instrument at all."
The pretentious know-nothing is discussing why he didn't like the night's poetry event. "Poetry is meant to be read on a page. Performance is sooo unnecessary. Because poetry should be like music. And the people performing had a guitarist, which is music, but it's not the kind of music that I like, so it's not musical. And anyway, the dick with two belts just cried the whole time while the other guy wasn't being as subtle as poetry should be. Poetry is meant to be performed, and I felt like I should have had paper in front of me to understand what he was saying."
I'm on the phone with Nerdy Punk Rock Anime Hair who says "'I'm so bummed you haven't come and visited me. I'm hanging out with your friend Jud, and we're gonna go to this dance club in a few minutes, and I'm gonna get him drunk and let him fuck the hell out of me. What do you think of that?" And since I'm The Other Guy that the Know Nothing was talking about, and I wasn't in a very good mood to begin with, I tell him, honestly, "I'm not sure which one of you two to feel sorry for. You're both terrible in bed."
The guitarist is being smoked out by a trio of girls who haven't said much to me when I've stayed in their apartment. When they leave to go to The Dance Party (which turns out to be one semi-cute Latino guy playing bad reggae and not wearing a shirt), the Guitarist says "It's good to be in the band, everyone always smokes out the band. And since I am the entire band tonight, it's gonna be awesome. Did you see those girls? They think they're so much better than every one else who lives here. Especially the two conventionally pretty ones. They hang out with the fat girl because they think it makes them look hotter. But even though she's a snob and kind of a slut, the fat girl is much prettier than the other two will ever be."
I'm on my way up to the computer because, apart from the guitarist, there is no one downstairs yet that I want to hang out with. Asterisk (the dick with two belts), Ellen, Paula, Arthur, and all the other roommates who weren't cool enough to be part of the Snobs Smoking Out The Guitarist aren't back from the show yet. I'm nearly there when another girl I've never seen before says "I loved your show tonight." I give the obligatory thanks. "My brother has your CD on my computer." At first I'm flattered that her brother not only has my CD but has been playing it for his sister and saying how good it is. Then I remember I DON'T HAVE A CD. "My CD?" I ask. "Yea, my brother bought it in (location withheld until I raze it) from (name withheld until I pummel him into a little ball and kick him until he burns up in the atmosphere). It has the Math Poem that you did tonight, and five or six other tracks." So someone recorded one of my shows, and is selling it without my knowledge or permission for a profit. If I wasn't angry a minute ago....
After I've calmed down and written a fairly terse e-mail to Mr. Copyright Violation, I go back downstairs where everyone I wanted to hang out with has shown up, the Trio of Snobs has left as well as The Band Geeks (now who's the snob Mr. Mode?). Asterisk is telling me about this guy we both barely know who "has a cock only about average length but it's wide as" and here he takes his tall Pabst Blue Ribbon Can and fellates it. This is my cue to wander to another conversation.
Over on the couches, which I will dub The Cool Corner, people are talking about other poets who've crashed with them. Steggy's name comes up as another good feature. And someone says "The first time Steggy was here, he was being all cool and really touchy-feely, and drunk...definitely drunk. And he turns to someone and whispers in their ear and the person shouts out 'ARTHUR? BUT ARTHUR'S STRAIGHT' to which Steggy replies 'I'm so confused, I've never seen so many gay seeming straight guys in my life.'" Amen, Steggy, wherever you are.
At 1 AM, Asterisk decides he wants pizza. He lets us all know by screaming "PIZZA!!! I WANT PIZZA DAMNIT!!!" So, I go and get the number of the local pizza place, which is, naturally, closed, it being 1 AM. Domino's is open until 4 AM, however, so I begin asking for the number for Domino's. This gets all of the Politically Aware in a tizzy because the owner of Domino's supports the Pro-Life movement, so no one wants to support them. Whatever. Every corporation has owners or prominent members who have political values you're probably going to disagree with. Boycotting them for that is inane. If you want to boycott Domino's, boycott them because their pizza sucks.
An hour or so later the pizzas arrive. While we're sitting in the kitchen, munching on slices, Mustache Screwface (he wanted that nickname...don't ask) tells the story about how he lost one of his teeth during a stagefighting accident during a production of Cabaret. He says "I didn't really mind losing the tooth. It's kind of a manly thing to lose your tooth in a fight." "You didn't lose your tooth in a fight." I say "You lost it during a stage fight that was part of a musical. The only thing gayer would be if it got knocked out by a cock. Wait a second. Actually losing your tooth in a musical stage fight is gayer than losing a tooth to a cock. I could see how someone could lose a tooth while accidentally coming in contact with a cock. No one has ever accidentally been in a musical."
By about 3 AM, people start to head to their respective rooms. Astri follows a cute straight boy who doesn't even seem gay to his apartment. The guitarist and I each take a couch. Upstairs, Pretentious Know Nothing has returned to bashing on poetry, which he clearly has never been exposed to in his miserable, keg party existence. He is trying to impress some girl and make out with her. I know this because he's also discussed his "making out prowress". I envision him on stage between Arssssss and I, copying our hand movements and mouthing along with our poetry, hoping to get an A in Seducing Hampshire Students. I wish him all the luck in the world. And syphilis. I wish him syphilis, too.
Sometime in the late nineteen sixties, a four year old girl was given popcorn for the first time. Her eyes glazed over. Schmaltzy sentimental "jazz" music started playing. She envisioned a palace. A palace made entirely of popcorn.
When she turned twenty she was thrown out of Redenbacher management training for seasoning her popcorn with cocaine and nicotine. Her parents were killed in a freak bubble wrap popping incident, leaving her enough money to start her own business: The Popcorn Palace.
On an unspectacular Veteran's day in 2004, The World's Gayest Straight Boy and I were walking in downtown Northhampton, MA. We were, like most people in Northhampton, bored into walking comas. We saw the spectral version of Yasser Arafat sitting on a curb, waiting to die. As we step around him, we came face to face with a small sign for The Popcorn Palace.
"Have you ever been in there?" I asked.
"No." said Axel.
So we went in. Our plan? To see the inside of the store, claim to be out of towners just wandering the streets and get the hell out of there without buying popcorn. The Popcorn Lady had other ideas.
Oh, she looked unassuming enough, popping corn behind the counter. But as soon as she was us we were marked. We were not leaving without popcorn. Lots of popcorn. A bucket of popcorn.
"Have you ever been here before? No? You're from out of town? Well let me tell you about our popcorn. We have sweet flavors and savory flavors. Here, try some, I promise it's not dusted with cocaine and nicotine, you won't be addicted, it's just popcorn. you are getting sleepy A handful of popcorn never killed anyone. Sure it went on trial for murder, but it was never indicted. your eyelids are so very heavy I just finished making a batch of vanilla popcorn. Try some, isn't it good? Wouldn't you like to buy a tub of popcorn?you want popcorn, lots and lots of popcorn Tomorrow the prices are going up. We hardly ever change the prices. sweet sweet popcorn makes all the pain go away It's been four years since we've raised the prices, but tomorrow everything gets more expensive. Imagine your good fortune at coming on the last day that popcorn is so cheap. I'm practically giving the popcorn away. Look at all the color popcorn tins. when I snap my fingers you will buy the blue tin Each tin comes with two savory flavors, and one sweet one. We never mix and match them. You should buy some online when you get home. Boston isn't that far. I could ship them in a day. And you could get any flavors you want. human flesh flavor is delicious Oh you're walking out the door? What a shame I didn't make the sale." *Snap*
"I think I'd like to buy a tin of popcorn. Perhaps with two savory flavors and one sweet. I would like it in...do you have a blue tin by any chance?" Wait, I didn't want popcorn. What the fuck was I saying?
So I spent twenty dollars that I don't have on a three gallon tin of popcorn. Sour Cream and Onion, Yellow Cheese, and Pina Colada. The Pina Colada is amazing. The other two flavors are...popcorn. The Popcorn Lady filled the tin to capacity, squashed it down with the lid, filled it some more, squashed some more, and filled again. There is now, a lot of fucken popcorn in the tin. "If you bring it back you get the popcorn for half price. Don't forget to wash it before you bring it back. There's corn oil in there." No shit? Corn oil in popcorn? "Corn oil rusts the tin. So wash the tin, thoroughly and dry it before you come back. And you will be coming back. Have a nice day."
The Popcorn Lady masking taped the lid shut, and sent us on our way.
We were about a block away when a woman ran up to me, looking as though she was going to give me her bag. "Hi, have I talked to you yet today? I'm giving an 85% discount to members of the community." I barely pause before returning to reality, I'd been hypnotized into buying popcorn, I certainly did not need...what the hell was this woman selling. "Radio pens." She held one aloft and walked away.
Radio pens? A Cross-Pen looking instrument with headphones attached. Oh, yea, a must have for everyone on my Christmas List.
Axel and I came back to Campus, where I bought some Cherry Coke and, along with a bunch of Hampshire students, out a sizable dent in the popcorn tin. Errr...the tin is not dented, there is just significantly less popcorn in it. And I'm still hungry.