It’s *Karaoke Night* in a bar called *No Place*. Top of the bill (well, hidden halfway down actually) that little known, but clearly talented English baritone of exceptional clarity and tone, the one, the only and here for one night only, direct from London, England ……… Mr Steeeeeeeeve Bracken.
This all began months ago in a conversation with either Jodie or her partner in crime, Annie. Not sure which, but both are as bad as each other, so they can share the blame .. tee hee. *She* asked what I could sing …… “for my supper”, was the reply, but I didn’t get away with it, and the name of a song was demanded. At this point I tried really hard to put her off, racking my brain for the name of a song so unlikely as to be simply *laughed off*. All at the same time as not wanting to delay my reply so long as to appear evasive.
In the end I blurted out *Rhinestone Cowboy* … thinking huh, that should stall her for a bit. But no, alas, all that happened was laughter and a promise to ask George if he had that song available. Ok then, there is still some hope ….
A day or two later I get the bad news from Annie: "George doesn’t have *Rhinestone Cowboy*". Inside I am silently screaming for joy, and heartfelt thanks to the Gods of Karaoke … when she delivers the fatal blow: "But he will get it in time for your visit!!!!"
Utter consternation. Not only will he have the blessed song, but it will have been bought specifically for me. The chance of sliding out of this one are diminishing even faster than the prospect of actually finding Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. I am inconsolable. “Oh, very good” I say, “I’ll look forward to it”. Annie isn’t stupid though, and she saw through this pathetic ploy from the start …. Busted!
The week leading up was awful … I was sick. I picked up a cold from Lori, who prolly got it from those *Townies* in New York. I am finding that blaming New York for everything from Global Warming to ingrown toenails works very well everywhere except, probably, New York. Anyway, I was thinking that singing might not be possible. When I mentioned it to Annie her response was typically concerned and supportive … “Nothing short of death will stop you singing at my birthday party” … bugger!
I am surrounded, outgunned and outnumbered. This is not The Alamo, I give in!
So the fateful Saturday arrives. Kids safely delivered to their Dad, card and present bought and afternoon nap enjoyed. A word, before we go any further, about the birthday card. We got it in a sex shop in Tulsa (yes, of course they have them) Anyhow, I tried hard, while in the shop, just to look at the cards. But I couldn’t help the odd glance around the shop. What ARE all those things? And what on earth can they be for? (answers by email, in plain brown cover please).
My throat isn’t feeling too bad … damn! Oh well, if I am going to do this, I may as well do it as best I can, and a few beers first will go a long way to dulling the hearing of me, and most of the audience. If I see anyone with a video camera though, there will be blood.
Then all of a sudden, through a haze of cigarette smoke and flashing lights I see Annie walk towards me. The lights are down, it is 11pm or so. She holds out her hand to give me something … in my befuddled state I stupidly take it. I look down, and I see I am holding a microphone, and the Intro is playing.
“I’ve been walking these streets so long,
Singing the same old song,
I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway”
And it’s over. I did it. Badly, but I did it. And they all lied … even George said it was good …. I know you guys lied, at least a bit, but thanks anyway, and I’ll be back. Hell Yeah!