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Ron looked at me and asked, "Were we just not paying enough attention to him or something?" but by then the swishy little fellow in the beret was already halfway back to the stage.

"Stevie Wonder sold out with that song!" I yelled.

Ron looked back at me, astonished at what I'd just yelled, and I said, "What's he going to do? Stop singing? Look how much he loves himself." The booze wasn't just talking through me, it was now hollering at karaoke producers.

Noticing my lack of awareness or social acuity, Ron pulled me out of there. "Let's go. We're a little too drunk to be in here with this going on." Ron pointed to a bull dyke with a pageboy haircut cuing up "Sweet Child o' Mine."

We hit the aisle running, and Ron momentarily forgot our little game and I kanchoed him. "DAMMIT!" he yelled. On the way out, we ran into a group of three girls who were dressed in black sweatshirts, tight blue jeans, and each of them had a skunk stripe of blond down the center of their black hairdos. "Hey! Those must be the hairdressers!" I yelled out, but we were already threading our way through the crowd on our way out the door.

Searching for another bar on a Wednesday in North Park is a crap shoot. We stopped at Shooterz, which was projecting Family Guy against one wall, and the bartender was the only soul to be seen. The Whistle Stop was showing incomprehensible foreign cinema against one wall while the hipsters fluttered and mingled. "Fuck this place," we said, and turned to leave.

"There's Air Conditioned," I said.

"Too expensive," Ron countered.


"Too far."

On the way to Ron's, we settled on Kadan. There were a few more people in Kadan than at Shooterz, but not so many that we didn't each get a big, comfy leather sofa to ourselves. A girl DJ was playing some decent '80s tunes intermingled with mellow electronic, so we stretched out on the couches with a fresh cocktail. The music was soft enough to hear talking, and Ron and I started checking our messages.

My phone displayed an alert: "1 Text Message Received"

I chose the option to read it from the menu. It was from Ron, who was seated next to me. The message read, "KANCHO!"

Damn! He got me through the airwaves. Clever bastard.

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