Mamie is the belle of this Tuesday night ball. We’ve moved to our natural habitat: Doll’s Place in New Brunswick, only Doll’s has moved from its well-worn home on one side of French Street to the other and just beyond a train trestle. We spent many scandalous nights in the old Doll’s. There are Polaroids. The new place is really…new. The dining room ceiling is too high. When Mamie and I arrive, a party of townies like us but in their fifties has pushed together a bunch of tables. They could not be less interested in anyone besides each other.
Eventually, Mamie and I sit across the table from Trout, Lala and Crease; Bob and Nita pull up a two-top. I can’t hear a blessed word my friends – no blushing flowers – are shouting. We resort to referree-like use of giant gestures, which helps less than you might think from one end of the table to the other and of course, Bob’s visually impaired and can’t see us walk like Egyptians. Everyone wants the same low-down.
Crease: So what’d you do? And whom?
Tata: That’s what I like about you: straight to bodily fluids.
Conversation at the other table is so loud this sounds like:
Crease: Aaaa, waaa ooo oo? Nnnn oo?
Tata: Ass wa I liii bou oo: straaaa oo oois.
I express my frustration in a series of unmistakable gestures. Another oppressive peal of laughter from the other table makes me stand to leave. Mamie claps a hand on my shoulder. I sit before she decides to shove me back into my chair. She bats her eyelashes at me.
Mamie: Why don’t you tell them about Wisconsin?
Tata: THE BAD PART ABOUT CAMPING –
I shout so loudly the sound of my voice should ricochet off the ceiling and disrupt any conversation at the other tables. With the increased volume comes license to make stuff up. The trick is to avoid spitting on each other.
Tata: – IS USING THE OUTHOUSE. I HATE OUTHOUSES. THEY’RE DISGUSTING. THE SMELLS ALONE MAKE ME VOMIT.
Crease: I LOVE OUTHOUSES. PEOPLE HAVE USED THEM FOR CENTURIES.
Tata: YOU LOVE PORTAPOTTIES.
Crease: I HAD SEX IN A PORTAPOTTY ONCE. DID I EVER TELL YOU THAT?
Tata: ISN’T THAT HOW WE MET? SO THIS WAS AN EXTREMELY HIGH-TECH OUTHOUSE AND I STILL COULDN’T BRING MYSELF TO PEE IN IT. HOW LONG WAS I THERE? FOUR DAYS? I USED THE OUTHOUSE SIX TIMES.
Crease: DID YOU TAKE A DUMP IN THE OUTHOUSE OR DID YOU HOLD IT THE WHOLE TIME? ARE YOU HORRIBLY CONSTIPATED?
Tata: I CAN’T STOP FARTING. HOW COULD YOU TELL?
Crease: YOU’RE FLOATING LIKE A HOVERCRAFT.
The other party breaks up.
Another Tuesday night at Doll’s. We’re alone with twelve of our closest friends, some of whom we’ve just met. After our mutual friends leave, it’s Mamie, Crease, Lala, Trout, me and two very funny people who’ve never seen us outside of bars and galleries.
Tata: As outhouses go, it was relatively pleasant, but I was sure all along I’d have an XFiles moment there. I just knew. I waited for it. I was sure of it. And then it happened.
Mamie: WHAT are you TALKING about?
Tata: Remember the episode with the flukeman? He lived in the bilge tank on the freighter, then in the sewage treatment facility in Newark and the public outhouse.
Mamie: I don’t remember that episode. Possibly in self-defense.
Tata: So one day I open the outhouse door and I see an unexpected swarm of flies in the high-tech outhouse. I’m standing there, holding the door open long enough that my friend Nick walks up and says, “So…ya goin’ in?” And I say, “Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnooooo. No, I’m not.”
Mamie: Didn’t you have to go?
Tata: Evidently, not so much.