Sunday, August 24, 2014

Matilda Rides Again

Last night my friend Nishu hosted a party. It was a birthday/going away for his girlfriend Hedda. You see, they are still staying together, but before they met Hedda got a job teaching English in Spain. So basically, she landed this employment opportunity and then enter Nishu. The two are going to long distance/skype it. Despite the trepidation and fear of commitment not only on the part of Nishu, but also on the part of Hedda, these two have endured monogamy for six whole months. Knowing Nishu as long as I have, this is the equivalent of 30 years.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t surprise me as I have said before. He’s always been a good, loyal, and caring friend. So it would make sense he would be that kind of partner when the wild streak was out of him and the puzzle pieces clicked.

The evening started out relatively subdued for a Nishu get together. One by one, the usual suspects arrived. Jeanie and I were some of the first, helping Nishu and Hedda to prepare. It’s appropriate, because not only have we grown the closest to Hedda, but hung out with Nishu on the regular to begin with. Plus Nishu is our neighbor. Jeanie is another telegrammer at Broadway Singing Telegrams, and yes, she brought the chairs and some of the booze.

After some prep for the party-theme Thanksgiving in August-entered Vlad. Born and raised in the former Yugoslavia, he is an architect of some sort. Every Nishu party requires a weird, quiet, creepy guy. This man fit the bill. On his person he wore Alphine shorts, circa 1938, as seen on both Hitler and Rolf from the Sound of Music. Apparently they were the fad before the building of the Berlin Wall. Apparently he was a friend of Marcurio’s. Yes, Marcurio who had one date there at the last gathering and called another to collect on the blow job he had been promised. That Marcurio.

Then came Jessi. She is our friend who works in film and television production. I hadn’t seen her since Nishu moved from his old apartment on the East Side. She knew many of the characters Nishu had tossed aside, many of those fast and whacky women, before the arrival of Hedda. We all agreed Hedda had been the metaphorical Xanax Nishu needed in his life. Yes, while there was skype, it made me sad that this woman who made the playboy a real human man was going to be an ocean away.

As Jessi and I chirped about what she had been up to, she informed me her crazy roommate Prestina moved out. Yes, Prestina. Oh gosh. As we spoke about Prestina, Keeley entered. A makeup artist/activist, Keely is always at the edge of the latest political conspiracy. Earlier this year, she was homeless and living in a storage elevator. Now she was living with Bobby, Nishu’s friend from the old days, the playboy life he has slowly eased out of over the last several months. Although they were friends, Nishu has never been keen on Bobby. Actually, like the rest of us he’s nice to Bobby because Bobby has this boat we like to use. Yes, the friend that has the possession we all like a turn on, but we don’t necessarily like the person. It’s like the sorority member no one can stand, but she has rich parents and an awesome vacay home in Cancun.

Anyway, Bobby and Keeley have been roommates for the past several months. In a stream of drama that has included each calling the cops on each other several times, the latest is that Bobby has stolen her check she got from a makeup job she was doing. Keeley lamented that life had gotten so low after two years in eviction court that she was forced to live with Bobby. Of course, Bobby called the police on Keeley when she moved in, and in turn Keeley called the cops on Bobby after a fight they got in. They are due in court in three weeks. Keeley is unsure whether or not she wants to press charges, but the district attorney is pressuring her. Meanwhile, Bobby is trying to kick Keeley out, but won’t because he is a slob, Keeley is a neat freak, and he doesn’t have to splurge on maid service. So depending on whether she gets kicked out or not, this man is due in domestic violence court. Insert The Odd Couple theme music.

The party seemed rather calm, and Keeley looked great. Of course, Marcurio entered. He informed us Sandra, the girl who had been his date during The Night of the Living Blow Job (For story read here She had sent him a text informing him she left the gathering because she was uncomfortable and would not be seeing him again. Sandra texted Marcurio the following words, “Have a good life.” That is woman lingo for go fuck yourself, I hope you get cancer, are uninsured, and die slowly and horribly.

Without missing a beat and wanting happiness to happen at his party, Nishu casually mentioned Matilda, the Croatian Cleopatra who had philanthropically offered Marcurio a free blow job, would be attending the gathering. Sandra was out of the picture, and Marcurio seemed hopeful. Then Nishu bit his lip. Matilda was bringing a date. Would this stop her? Matilda was owned by no man or master. Who would this gentleman caller be anyway?

The news was hitting the wire and we were all curious. I just wanted to see how the evening would pan out. Hedda meanwhile invited some of her work friends from New Haven, where she lives and is employed as a pastry chef. Her skills were making themselves apparent as we ate the food she so lovingly cooked. I can’t cook so hats off to her. Within a few minutes, her friends arrived. While not as whacky and eccentric as those Nishu associates with, they are colorful and outgoing enough that they fit within the fabric of our group without incident.

We chatted, and Jennika, Hedda’s roomie and best friend filled me in on the happenings in her life. I had not seen Jennika since her birthday. Yes the one where Jeanie and I sang, and she thought we were lesbian strippers. As we chatted about Jennika’s cat pants and looked at the body art she had on her arm, there was a loud noise. Matilda and her gentlemen caller had arrived. Making an entrance, Matilda looked as if she could take over the Hudson River. Standing nearly six feet tall, her black hair with a red tint was cut in a blunt style, and she wore a black, backless top. With her was a man who despite it being summer was dressed in full biker gear, and had long hair and mannerisms like he had escaped from an 80s metal band. Yes, I suppose there is a pot for every lid.

“We got you some presents.” Matilda said to Hedda in her thick, Eastern European accent. “And excuse our lateness, we have been drinking all day.” She handed a cat of nine tails to Hedda and explained this was to be used on Nishu to keep him in line. Matilda also invested in a penis ice cube tray. While completely outrageous, the gesture was thoughtful.

“TIME TO PARTY!” The man in the biker gear exclaimed. But as the night wore on, I realized him shouting an exclaiming was just him speaking. That is when he high fived Nishu and semi arm wrestled him. The dude was pretty built, so he almost snapped Nishu’s arm off. As the music blasted, this rather wound up date to Matilda walked over to Nishu and began to dance to the music with the host of the party. As they danced, the heavy metal biker dude began to do a semi-grind, semi-dry hump on our unwitting friend. Usually the ring master, Nishu had completely lost control of the circus.

As Nishu turned redder and redder, the heavy metal biker dude exclaimed, “MAN, I DON’T DO HOMO! NO HOMO!”

We all pretty much could not contain our laughter at this point. As a matter of fact, my sides completely hurt that’s how hard I was laughing. Finally, I decided it was time to introduce myself. “I’m April.” I said extending my hand.

“MY NAME IS AUGUST 3, 1963. NICE TO MEET YOU!” He exclaimed shaking my hand in the same manner he had Nishu.

Then the man commanded at his same loud volume, “YOU HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING COOL!”
“By the Power of Gray Skull…” I said summoning my inner nerd, not knowing what to do now that I was thrust in this situation. Granted, the party had been calm up until this point. He Man always worked, right?

“The power of Christ compels you.” My friend Jessi piped in as she nursed her red wine. I was wrong, He Man sometimes failed but The Exorcist always worked.

So the man in all leather and I shouted in unison, “THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELLS YOU! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELLS YOU!” Translated, this was now a typical Nishu party, and no God or group of Gods could save us now.


Just then the heavy metal biker dude and paramour to Matilda got out his cat of nine tails. He offered to spank me. I decided to go for it, test out the new toy my friends would be using later. So he swatted me. Ouch. I got up. He said, “MAN YOU ARE A SOFTIE!” The party roared in excitement. The noise level had just gone up about a gazillion decibels. I was whipped twice more, before retiring and letting someone else take a turn. Either way, I was now laughing so hard soda was coming out of my nose. The night was incredible on so many levels.

As the party roared on in full force, the heavy metal biker dude informed Nishu he had been married for 18 years, was divorced, and all he wanted to do was party. Matilda then joined the circle. She told me while the heavy metal biker dude and she were friends, she he wasn’t her boyfriend per se so she could still give Marcurio his blow job. Matilda’s love life was quite complicated. Out of sheer curiosity she slept with a black dude, but found that while she liked him as a person she was not a fan of the sex. Same with her lesbian experience. She was also still semi-homeless depending on the day. That is how she met the heavy metal biker dude, doing laundry in a place she occasionally lived. It didn’t make sense to me, but it made sense of her. Hey, who am I to judge?

During the whole exchange, the candles melted in an odd fashion. In my mind, they looked like the labia of Jenna Jameson, but Jeanie had a mind less in the gutter. She said they looked like Mick Jagger’s lips. Jeanie put the two candles together, and Hedda, Matilda, Jessi, the New Haven friends and myself began to sing “Satisfaction.” The heavy metal biker dude entered adding his own sound effects. Hey, I wasn’t anticipating a sing-a-long but what the heck.

Just then, the dude in the biker gear began to recite some verses. He opined, “GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRL, GIRLS OF THE WORLD…..”and began to move in a rhythmic fashion. At first I was not sure what was going on. Was he attempting a poetry slam? We all laughed because it was funny, but we were also confused. He swayed his body slowly to the beat of his own drum, the one he lived his life by. Just then, during his slam he slowly and seductively said, in the direction of Matilda, “Talk Dirty to Me.”

Believing he meant the Poison song, we began our sing-a-long once again. Like he had before, the heavy metal biker dude added sound effects. After which he went inside to do something, I don’t know what and didn’t want to ask. Matilda then followed. None of us had gotten his name, only a guess. Because he was someone who shouts when he speaks, sometimes things are lost. Nishu believed his name was Ren. Jessi had heard Ken. Jeanie thought it was Ken or Ben but was not sure. Either way, we could hear him talking from the other room.

As the deck quieted, Keeley began to tell me more about the drama that living with Bobby entailed. Apparently, Bobby was working less as a porn producer these days and more of a pimp. He was outsourcing one of the young women who was tied up and eating an apple in the last film he made. Said young woman had stolen some of Keeley’s jewelry because she thought she would look better turning tricks in it. Wanting her jewelry back, Keeley had gone over the John’s house to retrieve it. However, the John was having none of it and pimp slapped Keeley like one of his hos. Adding insult to injury, she hurt her back when she fell while secretly living in a storage elevator.

There was no more time for Keeley’s problems, because she as she poured her heart out Ren/Ken/Ben came out and was leading a dance line. Pharrell’s “Happy” was playing. “CONGO LINE!” He snapped his fingers commanding I get up.

 And that I did. In the congo line in addition to myself were Jessi, Hedda, Jeanie, and some of Hedda’s New Haven friends. The congo line stopped in Nishu’s living room and we all played Paddy Cake as the song grooved on. We were jumping up and down, having fun, and laughing.

 Just then Ren/Ken/Whatever His Name was lifted me up. “YOU’RE JUST A TERADACTYL!” He remarked as I squawked in surprise. Sure, I’m teeny, but random heavy metal biker dudes should give me a heads up when they lift me.

As I was being lifted Nishu entered and shouted, “WATCH OUT!” I looked up. My head was only inches from the fan, and I was inches from being beheaded. I had a great uncle get beheaded in a storage elevator as an idiot kid sticking his head out. Now I had narrowly avoided the same idiot headed fate. Still, I would have died while having a blast. As this was going on, Nishu’s parents of course face timed from India. Oh timing….Sigh McSigh Sigh.

Meanwhile, on the deck Jennika had brought a joint. After a long day making food for the rich Yalies, she was entitled to a creature comfort. It worked out of course, because Matilda had also brought a joint. The smell of weed wafted through the air, and Nishu commanded those sparking up to the smoking area. It was sort of déjà vu to college, except no one was stuffing a towel under the door, and no Nazi RA was roaming the hall. Jeanie, Keeley, Nishu, and another random stranger sat out the pot smoking. Weed has never been my thing. Plus I hate the pungent odor this plant has, and I hate how it dumbs people down. And then there is the added distain because a lover I had to let go self-medicated with it instead of taking his much needed bipolar meds.

As the five of us sat down, Nishu leaned in. “We have to quiet this guy down. He is super loud.” The host of the party shared worriedly.

 “I’m worried they’re gonna call the cops for noise. And they’re smoking weed.” I said in a tone barely above a whisper. “Let’s not everyone get arrested at once.”

“Exactly.” Nishu nodded.

However, St. Bud did for us what we could not do for ourselves. The weed calmed Ren/Ken/Ben down. He went from a shout to speaking at a normal volume. Maybe drugs could solve someone’s problems after all. In turn of events, one of Nishu’s neighbors did come down to complain about the noise. However, when all he smelled was some weed and heard everyone at a normal volume, he got a beer and joined the party himself. As this happened, Ren/Ken/Ben and Matilda decided they were pAArtied out and departed for the evening. From there, others began to turn into proverbial pumpkins. I stayed a little longer, talking to Vlad from Croatia and some strange man who insisted on touching my freshly shaven legs and doing other spooky things. Then I myself said goodnight.

Hedda, the party girl, was passed out on Nishu’s bed. While this had been her celebration, she had too much cheer. It felt good to be a part of her life in New York, and now to be a part of her sendoff. Whatever happens and wherever her experience takes her, I hope she knows she always has a group of friends, while totally crazy, who love her as well as the rest of those in the circle unconditionally.

Yes, my friends are all nuts. Maybe they are in states of homelessness, law breaking, and other dysfunction. But in the department of being honest, true, and loyal they cannot be rivaled. I have to say I really lucked out there.

Check out my book I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
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