Ya Baby!

Finding something fun to do outside of work was sometimes difficult to do. After school, rent, car expenses, and food there wasn’t much left to a minimum wage paycheck. There were regular events that we always knew about, weekend clubs and parties were the few things we could afford. Movies were expensive and the few times I would go I made sure to flash my expired student ID for the discount. Any club that had a cover charge wasn’t on our list of places to go. Anything on campus was off limits because it was obvious, we didn’t belong there.
There was a club at the end of our street called Cheek to Cheek, while the name can sound sweet, I can tell you the DJ had a wall of polaroid pictures of girls bending over showing their asses most of the time wearing thongs and sometimes not. I will leave it up to you to decide where the name came from. There were few nights were poor guys from the wrong side of the tracks could get in through the door and for free. A costume party was announced with prizes offered for the best costume and the cover charge waved if you were in costume.
For years Open House Party had been a live show on the local pop channel broadcast from Cheek to Cheek drawing in people from all the small towns littered around Kalamazoo. It was Friday night; I had an afternoon shift at Olga’s on Saturday and was tired of not going out. For a week I tried to convince Nate and Rob of going to the club. They had gone on several occasions and for some reason they had no interest in going for Halloween.
I had purchased an Austin Powers costume a year or two before and only wore it once. The latest movie had come out with the Spy Who Shagged Me and Powers was back in the public spotlight. I had a full head of hair back then and didn’t need to wear fake chest hair to look like Mike Meyers. I walked in, by myself and let Austin take over on the dance floor. Most women had fun with it and I don’t remember how many times random people spanked me on the rear. I ordered one drink, a rum and coke which cost the same as an hour of work at my job.
Midnight was approaching and the costume contest was underway. You had to enter by climbing up to the stage and letting the crowd judge you by cheers. For a few people the floor was silent and they had to leave in shame. The group was narrowed down and before I knew it the other Austin Powers was disqualified and I was the lone survivor of the ax with two other contestants. A demon and his bitch stood on stage, the man wearing a large mask with horns extending out several feet on either side. I wondered how he was able to get inside the building with that head gear. The bitch was wearing a skimpy outfit with a collar, leash, and leather costume that didn’t cover much. Tough competition in a club. The other contender was a giant paper mache penis that walked around with long strands of pubic hair dragging on the floor. Once in a while shaving crème would shoot out of the top but security had issues with that portion of the costume.
The DJ called us forward one at a time reading the decibel level on a machine. The giant penis pranced around on the floor and people were less receptive to a big dick. I was next and I had to make it good. I stepped out on stage ripping my blue jacket open, the necklace I wore flew off into the crowd below and I grabbed my nipples yelling “Ya Baby!” the girls freaked out and I started to climb a pole on the stage sticking my but out pretending it was hot to the touch. Security came out telling me to stay off the pole and that was the end of my performance. Last was the demon and his bitch and there was no contest. The crowd flipped out and the duo had won leaving me alone on stage with the giant dick.
Prizes weren’t bad. The demon chose some light up wrist watch and I took the CD player boom box to use at work. I think the giant penis was left with some sad deflated shaving crème and an empty hand of memories.
Afterwards I left. Not because I wasn’t having fun but because the buttons on my jacket had been torn off and security said I had to either cover up or leave. There was no respect for second place. I stopped at Nate’s place and told him about winning second. He saw the boombox, called it shit, and said I should have taken the watch. I left and found Rob at the apartment. He sided with the demon and his bitch and who was I to argue. I was happy with the prize and the story. For a minute, women were actually paying attention to me and sure it was fake and fleeting but it did show that there was potential for something in the future.
Cheek to Cheek is closed now and had been for a while. Its difficult for places like that to stay open with Tinder apps and people no longer meeting at clubs. To walk up to a stranger and say ‘hi’ is now considered weird and creepy but that’s how things have worked for thousands of years. The place was the usual night club with over priced drinks, cover charges, dress codes that only applied to men, bad music, and lots of cocaine. Smoking of all kinds was kept outside and the bouncers were the biggest dicks in the place. If they competed against the paper mache penis the bouncers would have won. I can’t recall any of the other times I had gone to this club. I might have been there twice before the doors closed for good. With few options in town at the time for fun it was no surprise Cheek to Cheek would be the place to go and the radio broadcast helped out with the bored teenage youth that were hungry for something to do.
Saturday, I went to work and set the Boombox on the shelf to begin the shift. I put a CD in and within minutes the machine was skipping and wouldn’t finish a song before starting over. What a piece of shit. All the effort, fighting to make it to the top, and in the end leaving with some Chinese made junk that wouldn’t play a whole song. I should have known better. I kept my story to myself. The boombox was stashed into the back of my closet until I could find a place to take it and forget it. The Austin Powers costume was stashed away. That evening was forgotten and for some reason I was filled with shame that I had even tried.