From: (Laurence Doering)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: FTSD: what's on my refrigerator
Organization: Kraft durch Spargelkohl
Lines: 219
Message-ID: <742hg6$>
Date: 1 Dec 1998 23:59:50 -0500
X-Trace: 912574870 (Wed, 02 Dec 1998 00:01:10 EDT)
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 02 Dec 1998 00:01:10 EDT

We were sitting around the living room, waiting for Ratt to get
home.  Lemming and I were watching "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers"
for the umpteenth time, and Suicide was in the corner, staring
at his 1998 Weather Guide calendar counting the days disasterous
tornados had struck in November, and sulking because we wouldn't
let him watch the Weather Channel.

Ratt burst in the door, grinning maniacally and waving a handful
of tickets.  "OK kids,  Let's go.  Move it out.  Saddle up.  We're
going to see a show!"

I pocketed my Red Guards ex-Soviet hip flask (full of "Volganaya"
Estonian vodka) and, after persuading Suicide he had to leave his
calendar at home, we were on our way.

Lemming steered south onto the Jones Falls Expressway, tires
screeching over the bass note of exhaust blatting from the rusted
holes in the tailpipe.  "All right, sunshine," she said.  "Where

Ratt said primly, "The Meyerhoff.  Make it snappy, James."

I looked around.  Suicide was staring bugeyed at her.  "The...
the... Meyerhoff?  The Meyerhoff Symphony Hall?  H-h-home of
the B-Baltimore Symphony Orchestra?  B-b-but..."  he stammered.

"Yeah, yeah, I know," Ratt snapped.  "You haven't been there
since The Accident.  Well, we're going there tonight, so suck
it up and stop whining.  You couldn't have saved those elementary
school kids anyway, so get over it, OK?"

We took the North Avenue exit.  Passing the Mount Royal Tavern,
Lemming came out with the question we'd all been afraid to ask.
"Um, Ratt?  Who are we going to see?"

"Tom Jones."

Lemming stomped on the brake, and we shuddered to a stop.  Two
cars behind swerved wildly, missing us by inches.  The faint
cry of "ASSHOLE!" drifted back from one as they sped away.

Lemming shook her head in disbelief.  "Tom Jones?  We're 
going to see the guy who wears white bucks and made Negro
music safe for American youth in the early Sixties?"

Ratt punched her shoulder.  "That's Pat Boone, you goober.
Think Welsh.  Think `What's New, Pussycat'.  `Why, why,
WHY, DeLIIIEEELah'!  That guy.  I had a crush on him when
I was eight and my parents let me watch his variety show on TV.  
I love him.  Drive, goddamnit!"

She drove.  We parked near the Meyerhoff and walked towards
the lobby in stunned silence.  I sneaked a shot from my
flask, shaken by Ratt's unexpected revelation.

We gave our tickets at the door, and the nightmare began.
Up in an elevator (full of older couples, dressed to the
nines) and out.  Oops, we're on the mezzanine level.  Up
some stairs, down a hall, down stairs.  Oh, no, not the
mezzanine again!  Ratt squinted at her ticket stub.  
We approached an usher.  Lemming reached out, ready to
strangle the truth out of him, but froze at a look from
Ratt, who asked nicely.  "Upper Terrace?" he said.  "Over
there."  Oh, of course, the *other* stairway.

We found our seats and settled in.  Lemming looked doubtful.
"Ratt?  This looks like the balcony.  Don't the tickets say
Upper Terrace?"  

Ratt gave her a disgusted look.  "This is the *Meyerhoff*,
you moron.  What, you think symphony patrons want tickets
that say 'You're in the nosebleed seats.  Enjoy!'  I'm just
trying to save y'all some dough."

I felt a tap on my shoulder, and turned.  A blue-haired matron
behind me leaned over and whispered, "Excuse me.  Your friend,
is she one of those 'punk rockers'?"

Ratt heard her, and I cringed inwardly at the mayhem I knew
would follow.  "Yes, I am, ma'am," she replied pleasantly.
I stifled a snort of disbelief.  Ratt continued, "I realize
my hairstyle and attire might strike you as bizarre, but think
of it as a deliberate gesture, a gauntlet flung in the teeth,
if you will, of fashion.  And yes, I realize the irony inherent
in a fashion trend that claims to be anti-fashion.  I..."

She was silenced by a chorus of "SHHHHHH!" from our neighbors
as the lights dimmed.

A band took the stage and eased into the intro number.  I 
glanced over at Lemming, who looked slightly pale.  "You
OK?"  I whispered.  She swallowed.  "I dunno.  I was just
expecting, you know, drumsticks TIK TIK TIK TIK then, like,
a hailstorm on the toms, wailing feedback into a wall of
guitar noise, but... it's all right.  I can deal with it."

I patted her hand and looked down at the stage as he appeared.
Dressed all in black, he strode forward, lit by a single 
followspot.  He swung a cordless mike up to his lips and
began to sing.

And sing.  Oh, how he sang, vamping in the spotlight, bumping
and grinding.  I could sense hundreds of middle-aged women
melting into lubricious pools of desire all around us.  Time
became elastic, stretching seconds into minutes and compressing
minutes into instants.  At one point, I found myself bellowing
"Why, why, WHY, DelLLIIIIIEEEEEELah!" almost without volition.

The spell broke for a moment, and I saw Ratt rearing back,
something in her hand.  I blinked.  A scrap of silky cloth,
wrapped around... a brick?  She threw, and I watched it arc
out over the orchestra seats to thump onto the stage.

"Nice shot," I said.  "Too bad about... no, wait.  Hey,
that bassist is a trouper - wow, he's shaking it off."
Ratt gave me a rueful look.  I glanced back to see a 
veritable blizzard of women's panties flying on stage
from the expensive seats.  She must have broken the ice.

Tom Jones paused between songs, and swept something up 
from the stage to wipe the sweat off his face.  Could it
be?  Ratt sank into her seat, rolling her eyes back in
ecstacy.  He kicked the brick off into the wings.  "Ahhh,"
Tom Jones' voice boomed through the speakers as he inhaled
deeply.  "I know this woman.  I can't remember names, faces
are a blur, but *this*... I reMEMber."

He tore into the next song, and the spell returned.  Too
soon, the lights came up and it was time for intermission.

Waiting in line for the men's room, I overheard two old men
talking.  "You know," one said, "I'd rather see this on TV.
You can see him up close, and it's nowhere near as LOUD."
I snickered quietly.  Loud?  Hah.  I don't THINK so.
"Yeah," the other guy said.  "But I bet your *wife* doesn't
want to see him on *TV*!"  He elbowed his friend in the ribs.
Heh heh heh.

Back in the Upper Terrace, Suicide was nowhere to be seen.
The lights went down again, and the band ripped into a growling
bass guitar line.  Without thinking, I found myself singing
along wordlessly - what *was* it?  Visions of martinis shaken,
not stirred danced through my head.  Bond.  James Bond!

Tom Jones took the stage again, and sang the theme from
"Thunderball."  I realized that, oddly enough, I was 
enjoying myself immensely.  But where was Suicide?

Two songs later, he appeared.  "C'mon down!" he said.  
"Plenty of seats down front.  Let's go, guys!"  We filed 
up the aisle, through the labyrinth of halls, and down to
the floor level.  Ratt pulled the length of motorcycle chain
from around her waist, a feral look in her eye as she stared
at the usher guarding the door to the orchestra.

Suicide grabbed her arm.  "Cut it out!" he hissed.  "They
don't care.  You can go sit down front after intermission
if you want!"  Ratt looked disappointed, but put the chain

From near the stage, we could see him much better.  Ratt
elbowed me and whispered, "See that?  Do you think it's...
you know... real?"  I looked at the immense bulge in the
front of Tom Jones' pants and shrugged.  How the hell
would I know?

Off to my right, Suicide was Bo Diddleying in his seat,
eyes closed.  Weird.  How did he get those scratches 
across his face, and what was with that black eye?

Another timeless moment passed, and the show was over,
after two encores and an incident when the security guards
had to dissuade a woman from jumping up on stage, wildly
brandishing a bunch of roses.

Later, back at the Mount Royal Tavern, we were slowly
coming down over beers.  Suicide was uncharacteristically
ebullient.  "That guy fuckin' ROCKS!" he shouted.  "Man,
he rules!  Whoooooo!"

Ratt nodded knowingly.  "See?"  she said.  "I knew you'd
like it."

I was still wondering, though.  "Suicide?"  I asked.  
"What happened during intermission?  You didn't, like,
happen to get into a rumble with any of the Baseball Furies
or the Del Marvas or like that down in the lobby, did you?"

He touched a gouge on his cheek, and his hand came away
bloody.  "Aw, no," he said.  "Nothing like that.  It's
kind of silly, actually."

We waited.  After a minute or two, we couldn't stand it
any more.  Ratt shook his shoulders.  "C'mon.  Spill it,"
she gritted.

"Well," said Suicide, "I was at the souvenir stand in the
lobby during intermission, and I got up to the counter,
and all of a sudden, this bunch of old ladies behind me
were all over me, scratching and biting, all trying to
be the first to get hold of the Tom Jones Beanie Baby.
I couldn't hit back or nuthin'.  Old ladies, you know?
Anyway, they finally went away, and I got it.  Man, I
was hurting.  I had to go to the men's room and
down a bunch of abandoned drinks I found sitting on
the toilet tank to kill the pain, but I got it."

"Got *what*?" I demanded.

He pulled a Tom Jones refrigerator magnet from his pocket.

"THIS!"  he said.

And that's what's on my refrigerator.


Baltimore, Maryland  9:46-11:55 pm, 12/01/98