Thursdays are Grudgematch nights at JA’s place. It can become a tad tense in the back room when poker for pills gets too serious, so we hired us some retired carpenters to build us the Pit. Word spread about the matches, and now you can’t squeeze an extra pimple in here the day after Wednesday.
Wordsmiths work out their differences in the Pit, which is at various times filled either with mud or Jello or both. Right now it’s Sandra’s team, the Potboilers, versus the Romantic Tragedists. Nic Sparks makes it to the semi-finals, but it’s a down and dirty fight until Ann pins Nic face down in lime jello until he cries.
Clean up crew hose off the big chunks in the alleyway, as I watch as the Italian Chick with ADD and her tag team partner, ‘Lyn Like Flynn’, psychologically ream their opponents - from Harlequin - new emotional assholes. Their sparkly spandex outfits are a few sizes too small. Dana confides they found them at a garage sale of two little old ladies, scarred but living and defiant remnants of the roller derby’s craze back in the ‘70s.
A skinny, wide-eyed guy from St. John’s ambulance is standing by in case someone loses an eye. In of the corner of the bar, I think I see Mrs. Gretsky place a bet under the table to JA, but it could just be a trick of the light. Winners buy the losers a drink, and by mutual agreement, what goes on in the Pit, stays in the Pit.
Nic Sparks minces over to the bar and orders a diet cola with a lime twist. I roll my eyes and wink at the bartender. He brings Nic a vodka-based fruity concoction and a coded note signed “Smooches, D. Brown”. Sparks frowns and tries to work it out with a pencil. I grin. The poor bastard’ll spend the rest of the life trying to figure out a dirty limerick written in bad Latin.
The Muddslinging Celebrity Death matches are up. First in the Pit is Jim Frey vs Oprah. Smart money is on Oprah. Within seconds, Oprah pins Jim into the mud and gives him a wedgie without breaking a sweat. It’s kinda pitiful, like watching a kid heartlessly stomp on a bug.
Next up is Amy Tan vs Steve King. I put my money on Tan, pull a fresh bottle of Alex Keith’s from my rucksack, and sit up on the bar to get a better view. Some guy named Spider sits next to me. He’s obviously annoyed at the cost of the drinks and keeps making puns until Bernita tells him to shut the hell up and what sort of parent would name their kid “Spider” anyway.
“Steve’s gonna take her down.” M.G. extracts a cube of jello from her straining bodice and sticks it in Goodman’s martini.
“I dunno.” The smuggled Nova Scotian brew does a happy, frothy dance on my tongue. “Steve’s got much bigger titles but Tan’s are way perkier.” Amy grunts as she throttles King with a bootlace. Steve attempts to make a cameo but he can’t breath. Amy misjudges the depth of the mud, which allows Steve to slither into a corner and put Amy in a headlock. As her eyes bulge, the crowd roars.
One of our lookouts muscles the door open, a look of terror his face. “IT’S A RAID!!” Sirens approach. Drinks hit the floor. Chaos busts like a cheap condom, leaving damp spots and fear in its wake.
In the confusion I manage to elbow my way out the back and make it home relatively unscathed.
God, I love Thursdays.