My friend the Rock Star AA has been staying with us for two days. She's one of my favorite people in the world and for a long time the only friend in this two-Perkins town who I hadn't met while wrapped in a cubicle. We met while working at a bookstore in Rochester, but before that our social circles had enough links to create thick chain, a decent hip-hop accessory. It would later be revealed that we actually attended the same babysitting clinic while in grade school. I can still picture those classes, and so I sometimes revisit it searching the room for the Drew Barrymore lookalike, looming over a plastic doll and crying "Annie Annie, are you okay?" Eventually we both moved here.
Last night we parked ourselves at a bar downtown for a meet -n- greet and what was literally a Monday night, around us, had all of the makings of a shit show. There were bands, playing so loud we had to Helen Keller our way through conversations. A birthday party that included face painting. Clientele lined up to be caked with white paint, caricature red lips and eyes circled in dark liner. First they looked like juggalos, then clowns, then mimes, then Kat Von D. The bar owner tried to tell me a story about his niece but all I could do is watch his full red lips, the size of a plum, shaped into an exaggerated Betty Boop pucker and think to myself: You must take him seriously. You must take him seriously.
There were spankings for the birthday girl, havoc happened, outside of the bar hordes of smokers in packs and inside the bar decibels begat decibels.
"And on a Monday," everyone had to keep saying out loud.
"That guy? One time he stuck his tongue down my throat and tried to bite off my ear," a woman said. "It was attack the lesbian night."
The Rock Star AA has a collection of Rock Star friends I'd never met: music and books and about how cool it would be to have the keys to the city or one of those oversized checks people win. The Rock Star AA busted out some mime moves from her years of studying the art form. She was stuck in a box! Then she was knocking on the box!
"Gold Bond is like smoking a menthol cigarette through your asshole," someone said outside.
Outside a man had torn a plastic sack to look like a pair of saggy white underpants that he had pulled up over his jeans. The bag was filled to create the illusion of a nut sack that swung as he walked. It was starting to look like the makeup counter at Nordstroms just inside the door. Faces tipped upward while an artist smeared white paint across cheeks.
"On a Monday," we all agreed.
We left the bar around 1 a.m. and began walking toward my car. A man rounded the block, walking slowly. It looked like he was carrying a log and I turned around and said "What is that?"
"An owl," he said.
"Can we see it?" the Rock Star AA asked.
We moved toward him and there it was, a bird of prey tucked into itself and perched on his shoulder. It was low on energy, seemingly wounded maybe even dying. He had found it on Michigan Street and didn't know what he was going to do with it. Maybe take it to a Nature Center in the morning.
I Googled "Owl Food" and the Rock Star AA advised him on various bird organizations she is friends with on Facebook. He seemed like he was going to be wearing the owl into the bar.