John Nampion Vs. Begunga Mike's Dating Guide for Neanderthals, Part 2
We arrived at the first stop in our photo-taking tour: the Beckiyama Sashimi Playhouse in Scottsdale. It was really more of a singles bar than a dining establishment and didn't appear fertile ground for our snapshot extravaganza. Beckiyama was nice enough, featuring polished Oriental wood, industrial granite, and sleek black marble in equal quantities -- but it was almost totally empty.
"I told you we shouldn't have come here at 2:30 in the afternoon, Mike," I complained, frustrated with the discomfort of playing dress-up for absolutely no reason. (God, give me shorts, a t-shirt, and some hiking shoes, please, that's all I desire!) Here was where Mike's staging met my stubbornness head-on. I would never be comfortable with a woman who liked to dress up all the time and go to clubs, or the theatre, or charity events. In fact, I like sweatpants more than anything when the temperature drops below 70, as it does all the time in the winter down here.
"Nonsense," Mike replied. "Let's sit at the bar and check out the lay of the land."
As we approached the bar -- which featured a surly Mexican bartender, and his sidekick, an obese and even surlier Japanese sushi chef -- I felt a sense of foreboding.
"Whach you wahnt," said the bartender. We were obviously not being welcomed with a red carpet here.
"Two Sake bombers," said Mike, oblivious to the tone of the greeting. The barkeep harrumphed and turned towards his friend with a look on the order of "get a load of these two d**kheads, would ya?"
The sushi chef drank his beer from a tall, narrow glass and eyed us cooly. He had a toothpick jutting from the right corner of his maw (which didn't impede his swallowing) and a menacing brown mole on his right cheekbone. He was probably killing time away from his work station until customers arrived and didn't care one whit what the rules were about drinking on the job.
Begunga Mike eyed him back and asked where all the hot ladies were.
The huge chef sounded exactly like a soldier in the Gotti crime family. Total Noo Yawk accent and attitude:
Geez, I dunno...where would all the ladies be in the middle of a Friday afternoon? Working? Shopping? On the stairmaster? Taking a nap? I mean, I know they should be here now just waiting for you guys, but...it must have something to do with the eclipse.
Mike just laughed. "When they do show up," he said, "maybe you or your buddy can snap a few photos of us hangin' with them. We'll flip you some cash." He pointed at me: "My friend over here has some pretty deep pockets."
The two of them didn't respond verbally, but the tension vanished immediately. We hunkered down for a good ol' fashioned afternoon drinking session, downing first one, then two, then a whole bunch of the most delicious and magical concoctions -- too many to count. I remember laughing until I was sore at Mike's stories of conquest and valor, and I know I threw quite a few twenties at the bartender...the afternoon slipped into evening, and I began to feel like an extra in a shaky and frenetic indie flick: People moving at double shutter speed, quick bursts of activity followed by lulls, the actors stepping in and out of camera range, the noise crescendoing then receding. Many women stopped by and talked to Mike, but none of them even looked at me. At some point (fairly early on) the sushi chef disappeared, and the rest is truthfully a haze....
Someone jostled my shoulder. Where was I? Mike was saying something to me... the bartender was looking at me and laughing harshly...there was some discussion about a bill, even though I had flung gobs of cash at our host. Mike was telling me we needed to pay up. The bill was like $157 or something. I turned toward my friend -- he told me he had paid most of the bill with cash -- no, truthfully, he had. I stared at him.
Just give him your debit card, man. Make sure you tip him 20%.
I tried to speak, but the words weren't working. Mike said he would get a couple of cabs. He went out to talk to the valet.
I didn't remember meeting even one foxy lady. Not a single picture was taken. I had been fleeced by the bartender and probably Mike too, but I didn't have the intellectual resources to discuss what had just happened to me. After I paid the bill, I stumbled into the night. Someone shoveled me into a cab. I was sick for the rest of the weekend.
For more of of John Nampion's future real life adventures visit (where else?) Nampion.com.
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