"The tequila is almost gone, and we were already told to be quiet,” Alex said as she mixed margaritas for me and my unofficial photographer/full-time enabler Brett. It was only 10:20 p.m. when we arrived at Alex and Maureen’s place near Ingraham and Pacific Beach Drive, but the two-bedroom house was overflowing with roisterers in sombreros and false mustaches hobnobbing loudly over banda tunes. The girls had moved in six months ago and had just gotten around to throwing a housewarming party, complete with homemade Día de los Muertos decorations and a smorgasbord of carne asada, pollo asada, burritos, and quesadillas made by Maureen’s mom.
Whoops and howls erupted in the crowded living room, where a lively game of pin the tail on the donkey was under way. I was blindfolded, spun in circles, fed tequila, and set loose.
“There!” people yelled. “Right there!”
I took their word for it and ended up missing the beast completely. Maureen’s boyfriend, a graphic designer, told me about the party invitations, which he helped make. The quarter-page cards touted glittery skulls and a reminder: “Para RSVP make text to Alejandra o Maureena.” Alex’s beaming mother showed us where she had pinned her tail — number 14 — “directly on the ass!” It was an impressive move, to be sure, but the truth soon came out. “I cheated!” she laughed. “I could see out of the bottom of the mask!”
Later, a friend of Alex’s who claimed to be her agent took an interrogative tone, asking, “What does Alex get out of this Crasher thing? If you put her to shame, I’ll make sure you never work in Los Angeles again.”
I reassured and thanked her.
Without warning, my fashion insensibilities fell under scrutiny as Alex proclaimed, “This is P.B., not North Park!” I couldn’t grasp it. I popped my collar and unsnapped a few buttons on my good polyester disco-killer long sleeve, wondering how Brett was getting off unscathed wearing pink sunglasses indoors at midnight. The discrepancy lingered until Alex produced a pair of scissors and cut my thermal undershirt from the neck to the navel, effectively turning me into a caricature of Garnet chic.
Alex and Maureen got the house’s attention and told a story about their first fiesta in high school. “We had this wonderful party planned. We had chips and dip, and we were so excited. We invited everybody we knew. And, unfortunately, the party ended up being just us, all by ourselves. So, thank you for making this party not like the first!”
Everyone yipped in concurrence as Alex passed around some Mexican wedding cookies she had baked and Maureen cut her homemade cake. The electric frosting was topped with little letters exclaiming “AI AI AI” (Coincidentally, this is Brett’s telltale utterance when he’s getting boozy.) She described it as a Lisa Frank cake, which was exactly correct. It looked like the goop from the food fight in Hook.
“I tried to powder my mustache with the sugar on the cookies,” a dude in a cowboy hat and cryptic Sinaloa/Escobar cardboard belt buckle explained, “but it just looked like dandruff.”
Later, I chatted with Alex’s boyfriend, Kenny, who had advised her to invite me to the party earlier that day. He thought I might be amused by a hundred people crammed into the modest apartment, and he was right. By then, however, the crowd was running thin. The guacamole was out. The night was coming to an end. We killed our beers and lurched into the rain.
Brett cried, “¡Ai yi yi!” ■
Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Chad Deal.