DAY TWO – NEW ORLEANS CONTINUED

Go here for a recap of what happened up until this point.

Andy and I are walking in the general direction of where the Coyote Ugly is. I have a vague idea of where the bar is. I feel like I’m the one whose going to get us there even though I am feeling the alcohol.

We wander down several blocks before we reach the market area by the river. Even though none of us live in Nawlins, we both know nothing interesting is beyond the market. We have gone past it somehow.

Andy starts to ask the women on the street if they know where Coyote Ugly is. He doesn’t ask any of the men, only the women. Andy is a smart guy. No one exactly knows where it is but they point us back to where we came from. Along the way, Andy and I engage in the usual liquored-up type conversation, where every other utterance is extremely funny.

We approach one young lady for more directions and Andy asks for them in a way that seems more of a pick-up line than a genuine need for help. She really doesn’t give us the time of day and walks off. It is at this point that Andy has a shining moment of clarity.

“Women… either they like you or they don’t. It’s no use trying to make them like you. You just have to move on.”

It is the most interesting thing Andy has said all night. For a moment, I am sober as I file away his piece of sage advice. If only Andy had told me this in grade five. Then I realize I’m actually still drunk.

We eventually find Coyote Ugly. We were one block north of it the entire time we were walking. It is the first time I’ve ever been to a Coyote Ugly. The place isn’t very wide but they have a long bar that stretches all the way to the back. For a Coyote Ugly, it isn’t very crowded. There are people almost along the entire length of the bar but they aren’t any deeper than one person. Several gaps exist and that is where Andy and siddle up to.

Andy doesn’t waste any time in ordering some drinks. Little did I know I would not pay for another drink for the rest of the evening. Andy asks me what I want. I tell him I’ll have a rum and Coke. My thought was I’d have two drinks and head on back to the hotel. I still realize I have a swamp boat tour to go to at noon.

I get my drink and look around. The patrons skewed a bit older than I had imagined. Though seriously, I didn’t really expect Piper Perabo to be there. There were a few people in their twenties there, but we were the minority. Most of the drinkers were in their 30 to 40s. The bartenders were all women. They weren’t as hot as the bartenders in the movie, but they certainly did not fit into the unattractive category. Hanging above the bar were lots of bras. An indication perhaps of wilder times in the past.

As I finish my first drink, I notice the couple to our right. They looked to be in their early forties or so. She, a blonde with a leather jacket and jeans, and he, a moustached gentleman with a NASCAR jacket. They seemed like they were having a good time. She said she wanted to get up on the bar and dance, so she scooted up on a bar stool and got on the bar. Once up there, she did more of a series of undulating moves rather than flat out dancing. They were cheers from the rest of the bar. I turned to the husband and said, “You’re a lucky man.” He laughed.

She got down from the bar after that and leaned towards one of the bartenders. She ordered Kamikaze shooters for like five people around her and that included Andy and I! I was like, thanks! These Kamikaze things were weird. They’re pre-mixed shooters and they go down, really, really, smooth. Andy and I were questioning the alcohol content. They were cheap though.

Undeterred, Andy lines us up four more of these things for us. I knock ’em back in no time. Andy starts chatting up the bartenders now. It’s clear these women have had their fair share of drunk men conversing with them. One of them is especially cool to Andy. I just sit there and laugh. Andy convinces one of them to have a drink with us. She pours the three of us another Kamikaze. It’s just as good the previous ones.

By now, I am no longer questioning the alcohol content of those shooters. There is no question I cannot legally operate a motor vehicle at this point. I tell Andy I need to go use the little boys’ room. I say hi to everyone that I pass on the way. Before I go in the door, I give a high five to some dude. When I enter the washroom, I start to chuckle. I had intended to have an early night where I would have one beer and then retire to my room for some sleep. Instead, I met Andy, the fur salesman from Dallas and now here I was, drunk at Coyote Ugly.

I return to Andy, he has another Kamikaze waiting for me. Excellent. Andy is imploring any of the bartenders to get up on the bar and dance. It works. The kindest of the three gets up on bar. Unlike the other woman, she actually knows how to dance. She does it nice and slow, moving her hips in a way that was both entertaining and educational. I really don’t know what that means. Anyways, she makes her way along the entire length of the bar. She is a good sport.

The next thing I remember is that one of the bartenders began pouring some alcohol into this metal trough that ran the length of the bar. It was a long trough. Then someone else took a lighter to the trough. Wooom! The fire raced from one end to the other. Wow. The heat from the blue flames hit my face. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen at a bar.

When the flames die down, Andy begins to do his sales pitch. He tells all three bartenders that if they are looking for a fur coat, he’s the guy to talk to. He gives out his card and tells them where they’re showing the furs the next day. One girl says she might show up. Andy turns to me and says, “There’s no way in hell she’ll show up.” I agree with him.

The nice bartender then tells us that she’s leaving and her shift is over. I protest. She tells me that needs to go to school tomorrow. I tell her I’m in school, but I don’t need to go tomorrow. I ask her what type of school she goes to. She tells me video production and editing. For some reason that still escapes me, I tell her that I know a bit of that stuff and that I’ve made some videos that have appeared on the Internet. She looks at me funny. I am smiling like a goof. She says goodbye to the both of us.

Soon after she leaves, Andy settles up his bar tab. It isn’t that bad considering he’s paid for both of us. I thank him for the drinks. I tell him I’ll make sure he gets home in one piece. His hotel and mine are only a block apart. We leave Coyote Ugly behind and begin to make our way home. It is nearly 2am in the morning and there are a minimal number of people in the street. Remember, we are walking in the French Quarter, so we are passing any number of drinking establishments along the way home.

About three blocks into our journey home, I realize that one second Andy is next to me and the next, he is not. I stop and turn to see where he has gone. I see he has ducked into this narrow doorway of this nondescript building. I have no idea what type of place it is, except it’s probably a bar. I follow him inside where the two bouncers at the door give me no grief. The place is dark except for some coloured spotlights. I see a small bar, a few tables, and… a stage. And on this stage is a half-naked woman. Andy has brought us to a strip joint.

I look again and Andy has found himself a table. He already has some company. A stripper is sitting with him. I can tell she’s a stripper because most women don’t go to bars wearing just a bra and panties.

“Andy, what are you doing here?”

“Erwin! I’m just going to have a little fun, maybe a drink or two! Sit down, let me buy you a drink!”

Andy motions towards the barkeep. This place is so small, the bartender at the bar is no more than five feet from us. I mouth the word water at him. Though I am still very drunk at this point, I realize I need to be ready by noon for the trip out to the swamp.

Andy’s drink arrives and so does my water. I take another look at this place we’re in. It’s the oddest strip joint I’ve seen in my entire life, though I haven’t been to too many in the first place. No seriously, I haven’t. The place is small, maybe room for like five tables and this really small sliver of a stage. It’s empty for the most part. Andy and I seem to be the only patrons. The woman dancing seems rather plain for a stripper. Once her top comes off, she gets off the stage and puts her top back on. A few minutes later, she comes and sits down next to me. She says hello to me. I say hi back.

I ask her when her shift is over. She tells me 6am. I tell her that is a shame. She then offers me a proposition.

“Would you like to buy a bottle of champagne? We can go to the back room and I can give you a private dance. All for $150.”

I tell her that I just used up my last $150 buying lottery tickets, but that if I won, the first thing I’d do would be to come back and take her up on her offer.

She was ok with that and we entered into some small talk before she gave me another offer. She informed that for $200, she was willing to come back to my hotel room and give me a “hand” with anything I needed.

I politely declined, though I did tell her that I was more of a do-it-yourself type of guy, and that any job that you do yourself is much more satisfying than leaving someone else to do it.

By now, it was pushing 3am and I needed to go back home and drink two litres of water before I went to bed. By the way that Andy was chatting up his stripper, he didn’t seem like he was leaving anytime soon. I got his attention.

“Andy, I gotta go. Are you cool here? Are you going to be alright?”

“Yeah, I’ll be cool. I’m ok. You’re not leaving now buddy? Come on!”

“No, I have to get up tomorrow for that swamp tour. Thanks for all the drinks tonight. Here, let me give you my e-mail address.”

I turn to my stripper and I ask if they have a pen and some paper here. She tells me she’s not allowed to have a pen and some paper because it can cause problems with solitcitation. I’m like, ummmm… ok. I go up to the bartender to get a pen and some paper. He hands me a slip of paper and a pen. I’m amazed at how drunk I still am because I can barely scrawl out my e-mail address. It’s nearly illegible.

I give it to Andy and thank him once more for everything. I shake his hand. I realize I probably won’t ever see him again for the rest of my life. I say goodbye and I take my leave.

I easily make my way back to my hotel. As I pass by the front desk, I try not to look drunk, but I think the concierge could tell. Oh well.

It’s about 3am and I’m tired, but there’s no way I can go to bed without some water. I have about a litre of bottled water in the room, so I start on that. I change into my PJs, turn on the TV, and get into bed. I’m watching HBO. The Last Castle is on. I watch in rapt attention. As I drink my water, I consume a bag of party mix that I got from the plane.

I set my alarm for 10:30am. That’s about six and a half hours away. I finish my water and brush my teeth. I get back into bed and turn out the lights. Sleep arrives very soon after.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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