I’d woken up late that cold, Monday morning. It was already 11, my alarm had forsaken me and left me to fail unmercifully all my day’s tasks. And fail I could not! For on this day I was to be off to a fabulous press junket where I would be able to interview the director of the Miley Cyrus opus So Undercover. Yes, I mean Tom Vaughn. You may remember him from such other films as I have no idea what else he’s done. I assume he lost a bet to direct this one.
My lateness forbade my usual hygiene routine and thus I gave myself a whore’s bath with some wetnaps from a KFC and a healthy slathering of Old Spice deodorant. After brushing my teeth with mint schnapps I was out the door with some breakfast jerky and a handful of cashews I found in a drawer.
I was already grossly behind schedule to meet Mr. Vaughn and the invite said I needed to bring him either a sandwich, a carton of milk or some warm socks. If I had a place to let him sleep for the night we could do that as well but of course my cot only sleeps one and my bosses at Break have made it very clear what they think of my sleepovers.
I raced to the scene of the meeting as I worked on all the exciting questions I would ask Mr. Vaughn, such as “Was this the best you could do?” and “Who cried on set more often, you or Miley?” and finally “Can I have Miley’s phone number? I’ll give you this ham.” Also I stopped for a bribe ham on the way. And don’t worry about why I want Miley’s phone number, it’s not what you think. I want to call her and invite her to a sweet make out session with yours truly. Then I will make it out with her. Tongue style.
As I approached the hotel where our interview would take place, I realized parking was dreadfully limited and of course I can’t use a valet because I’m convinced valets are just car thieves in silly jackets waiting to make off with my 1978 Ford Fairmont and then, if I ever do get it back, there will be honest to goodness human feces in the glove box. No thanks, assholes.
I drove about 10 blocks out of my way and found a lot in a shitty neighborhood that charged me $15. “$15?” I said aloud “For that kind of money there better be a hooker making me mac and cheese in the back when I leave.” I then looked to high five someone but no one was around.
I started on foot towards my destination and then the unthinkable struck about 3 blocks later – a Charlie horse. Yes, years of working on the internet has rendered me almost completely incapable of natural locomotion. I needed a good sit and I needed it now. I would have sat right there on the street but there was clearly bird poo and spit everywhere. The city is trifling.
I stumbled into the nearest door, a clunky, dirty wooden thing and was immediately stricken blind. The room was black as night and smoky like a place that is smoky. I dunno, a smokehouse? Those are things, yeah? Let’s do that.
My eyes adjusted and I realized I was in a bar. Pine shavings, old beer, exotic spices and the slightest hint of something familiar filled my nostrils. Could it be… the sticky icky? Indeed. This place was blazing like Woodstock.
The heavy beat of reggae music filled my ears and I stumbled to the nearest seat, a padded booth under a photo of Bob Marley. It was then I realized I wasn’t alone.
“Comfortable?” a deep voice asked. Across from me sat a man smoking a home rolled cigarette, drinking a glass of dark liquid. Next to me was a woman, maybe 20, with long, braided hair and a sour look on her face now that I had sat down.
“Charlie horse,” I said, rubbing my leg and staring at the man who you surely by now know was reggae dynamo Shaggy. “Hey, are you reggae dynamo Shaggy?” I asked.
“Dynamo?” he said, perplexed.
“Yes. Trust me, it’ll play like gangbusters when I write about this later.”
“Then yes,” he said. I was skeptical. His lady friend next to me was visibly sneering.
“I don’t have to prove anything to you, Charlie,” he said, umamused at my candor. I had to think quickly.
“It wasn’t me,” I sang. Shit, that was quick. He frowned at me. “You know, like the song? Your song? Wasn’t me!”
“No, I get it,” he said. He didn’t, but I didn’t want to correct him.
“No you don’t,” I said, changing my mind. “A-wha!”
For as long as I have been aware of Shaggy I have been fascinated by his repeated se of the sound “a-wha.” It’s not a word, of course, or anything, really. I can’t say if it has meaning but he says it in a lot of songs so it must either be intentional or some kind of Tourette’s tic. Either of those things is fine by me and I was forced to say it to him now because I would likely never get this opportunity again.
“I’m sorry?” he said.
“A-wha!” I exclaimed, making sure to remember to point out it was an exclamation thus necessitating an exclamation mark when I later wrote this article. Go back to the beginning of the sentence and you’ll see it’s there.
We shared a silent look for a moment as he butted out and then he smiled at me, lifting his hand and making a quick gesture.
With nary an “a-wha” to be heard, a fairly burly gentleman escorted me for the building in a fairly expedient and mildly uncomfortable fashion. Outside I felt a lot older than when I had entered, and maybe a little wiser too.
“A-wha,” I said to the door.
“Shut up you asshole!” a homeless man sitting nearby said to me. I laughed and nodded. Shaggy kind of was an asshole, wasn’t he?
I limped back to my car then, knowing that meeting Tom Vaughn would just be a boner killer. I drove home listening to some top 40 hits. Shaggy was not among them. No he wasn’t.