Hyde Out Friday Night
I was out early watching the K.U. game, which turned into a blowout halfway through. I decided to have one more drink at the Hyde Out before I headed home to eat dinner. The place was hopping and my two favorite bartenders, Felipa and Sophia, were working together. They greeted me warmly and I started with the jokes. I was surrounded by old guys talking over me. In the middle of this Felipa came over and asks what I’ve been reading. I started talking about the new Paul Bowles collection of travel writing and he and Jane Bowles’ place in the 20th century. One of the old guys (Danny, 70 years old with long hair and a black beret) was fascinated by their companionship marriage despite the fact that both of them were gay. He bought me drinks and eventually gets around to it. “Do you want to go to a party?”
It was in Larry, the other guy’s building a block away. Larry was about the same age, Armenian and had an amazing shock of white hair. The party was being thrown by “these 22 year old kids” who just moved into the building. The party invitation said it starts at nine and Larry found this suspicious. “They’re technically inviting us to the party, but they’re really just saying ‘we’re going to make a bunch of noise all night.’” They’re scared as hell and I guess they want me to come to bridge the gap of ages. “New kid in town”, Danny kept saying.
I asked the bartenders if I should go to the party with these guys. They said Larry’s okay but they seemed to both really hate Danny. I promised them I’d keep my ass to the wall the whole time so they can’t rape me.
In the building we went first to Larry’s apartment for “a drink before we go to the party”. The apartment was really nice, a one bedroom with a living and dining room. He’s lived there, rent-control, for twenty-five years. The first thing Larry did upon entering his apartment was turn on the stereo and quickly turn it to “Lite Rock, Less Talk K.O.I.T”. Danny made vodka-sodas for us while Larry got the weed ready. We smoked weed and cigarettes while Danny talked about how smart I am.
“Do you like history?” he asked.
“Kings and shit? Fuck that.” I said and we all laughed.
We kept talking and these guys were so scared to go this party. They kept asking me questions about parties these days. I reminded them that I’m 39. Danny kept pushing the weed on me and telling me to “cool it” on the Armenian jokes, they were mostly about almonds. Larry went to the bathroom and Danny tells me how Larry is one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ll ever meet. When Larry came out they started yelling at each other and I felt like I’m hanging out with my parents.
I was getting too drunk and stoned and the novelty was wearing off. Also, it bummed me out that guys could be this old and be this obviously scared about going to a party that they had been invited to. They pulled out the invitation and we analyzed it further.
“Let’s go over there and rape them!” I said.
“God damn it Ed, calm down. You don’t joke about rape!” Larry yelled and he was really upset. Ever since they invited me to the party we had been making rape jokes.
I thought of how confident they were in the invitation to me at the bar and how I had pictured the party going. Strutting in with rape jokes flying everywhere, we would take over a room of strangers with irreverence, wit and bravado like I had done in the past and they had done too before, I’m sure of it. But at that moment I sat here with my host simmering at me and my champion questioning his choice.
I quickly finished my drink and Danny and I left. Larry only limply shook back my hand as I thanked him for his hospitality. Danny and I walked past the party on the way and it seemed like no big deal, kinda Marina-y, but it was still early yet. We said goodbye and I headed home to go to sleep before 11:30.
UPDATE: Larry doesn’t hate me, he just has a really shitty handshake! He invited me back to his house next time I saw him but I had something else to do.