I’m obsessed with this place, Mamie said.
I mean, I’d never seen her this happy. Her big, blue eyes were all glittery and psychotic, and her body was perched on the very tippy edge of the white, plastic, and therefore Swedish chair. She was shaking from the high-voltage combo of old school hip-hop and sparkling. In the background, a thirty-seven year old woman was dancing with herself. We both know her and, not so long ago, this woman was rude to me.
Mamie spots her, crooks a finger at me. I lean in for her to whisper, I will fuck her up. I know it sounds redneck, but. Fuck. Her. Up. If she so much as looks at you the wrong way.
Clearly, this is what I need in a relationship, because my wayward heart swelled to bursting.
It was the pinnacle of our night since, before then, we’d gone everywhere else and hated it in a way that had us walking in and out without sitting. We were completely happy, and then we saw him coming. That’s the problem with being stationary, this guy will inevitably walk up to you. He looked fairly normal, even though he sat down beside us and said in one breath: Nice boots, look at those boots, did y’all plan on wearing those boots together.
It only got worse.
He told us he was there by himself and had premeditated the boots comment in order to come over and talk to us: Sometimes, you got to go out solo, and then you need a line you know. When you’re on your own. Without your friends. Sometimes, you and your friends need a little space.
Jesus, I thought. Poor bastard.
It came out, by which I mean it was completely unsolicited, that he lived in Snead’s Ferry-(God, said Mamie later, it sounds like a place where evil wizards live)—and also worked as a volunteer firefighter.
What else do you do, I asked.
In addition to being a volunteer firefighter.
And it’s beyond me how this came up, but suddenly he was talking about South Africa. I’ve been there, I piped up annoyingly. But you’d think it would have thrown him off from this track.
One rand is about seven dollars, you know.
(See, this is not even remotely true.)
So when I was there, I was buying beers for, like, two dollars! And then I’d tip. And they all thought I was like some rockstar.
Like a rockstar, I repeated like a moron.
Yeah. Just like, everyone was looking to see who I was. This bigshot American dude. I mean, some of them, they probably hadn’t ever seen an American before. The chicks were all looking at me.
(Americans in Capetown? Unlikely.)
Then he left as all we were capable of doing was grinning at each other. Mamie's little shoulders were doing that incessant and adorable hiphop lift thing. It was weird, Mamie said later, like he couldn’t decide which one of us he was hitting on. To simplify everything, he drifted up to a girl momentarily alone, poor thing. That guy, I told Mame, was almost as bad as the guys who started to chant Obama at the bar because you had an Obama sticker on your clutch.
Then we went to Slice and everything was predictable. Mame fell asleep in her pizza and I thought I lost my wallet. Cue me trying to get into Odessa after close, while Mamie slept in the car, where my wallet was sitting on the front floorboard.