Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Karaoke Chronicles: "Whatever Lola Wants"

(Prologue: My friends and I have had some fun times thanks to the addictive, interactive art of karaoke. Here's one 'em.)

Eric and I had become quasi-regulars at Angels’ Tuesday night karaoke contests, and I had even won fifth place singing the Barenaked Ladies’ One Week earlier that month, so I wasn’t surprised when an older lady recognized me and asked if I would join her if a duet.

“What song do you want to sing?” I asked excitedly.

“Have you ever heard the song Whatever Lola Wants?” she asked back.

“I don’t know it,” I replied sadly.

“Don’t worry,” she assured me wryly. “You won’t have to sing anything. Just stand there, and when I give you the signal, hold this up.” She handed me a small black lighter, and when I turned it over in my hand, I showed Eric its Playboy bunny logo. We shook our heads, wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into this time. Before long, I found myself standing in the middle of the crowd as this older lady seemingly began to serenade me.

I should preface what happens next; Eric and I had talked to this woman before, and we knew that she was in the business of hosting lingerie parties. At the time, I didn’t know what a lingerie party was, so in addition to introducing me to Whatever Lola Wants, this woman was the first to put the image of a roomful of women trying on underwear for each other into my head. I really owe her a great deal.

When the snake charmy sounds of What Lola Wants filled the bar, the crowd collectively, knowingly smirked, and Eric shrugged his shoulders sheepishly as my muse danced around me suggestively.

Whatever Lola wants . . . Lola gets . . . And little man, little Lola wants you . . . Make up your mind to have no regrets . . . Recline yourself, resign yourself, you're through . . . I always get what I aim for . . . And your heart'n soul is what I came for . . .

Suddenly, the woman reached into her blouse, which, I hadn’t much noticed, was an easily accessible, cleavage-baring low cut. She promptly extracted a pair of handcuffs, and while the prop elicited gasps from the crowd, they incited panic in me. Perhaps my inner submissive took over, but I extended my wrists, only to find the handcuffs in my hands rather than on them; either “Lola” didn’t have the time to cuff me, or she didn’t think I was ready for the commitment. Either way, I still trust her judgment.

Whatever Lola wants . . . Lola gets . . . Take off your coat . . . Don't you know you can't win? You're no exception to the rule, I'm irresistible . . . You fool, give in! . . . Give in! . . . Give in!

I really cannot explain what happened next. Actually, what happened was clear; I just can’t explain how it happened. Reaching into her bosom again, my singing partner pulled out a red, lacy bra, apparently hers as evidenced by the size, but whether or not she had heretofore been wearing it, I don’t know. I certainly didn’t see her unlatch it, but I might have missed the move, since my eyes had been embarrassingly darting around the room. Perhaps, as a lingerie specialist, she’s well-trained in such maneuvers. Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, as she draped the brazier around my head and neck, leaving it dangling across my right shoulder. The song seemed to be winding down, so I was wondering what Lola’s grand finale would be.

“How much stuff can she store in there?” I thought, eyeing her cleavage suspiciously. Then, her fingers wrapped around the wrist of my hand holding her lighter and raised it gently. I interpreted her nod at me as a signal to light a flame; a simple gesture for an encore, I assumed.

“Why not?” I mused silently, despite my usual advocacy for karaoke fairness. “She’s a great entertainer, and –”

Suddenly, this lady’s hand hovered over the flame for an instant, and a fireball suddenly erupted from her palm! The crowd let loose with an understandable “whoa,” but I undoubtedly squealed like a frightened child on the Fourth of July. Later, Eric told me that the woman had pulled a piece of greasy tissue paper from her pocket, a small flammable prop available at any magic store. Lola was incredibly prepared. She definitely knew what she wanted.

I breathed a sigh of relief and assumed that the show was over. The woman kept singing, but a freaking fireball seemed like an adequate grand finale to me. “Just finish the song,” I thought, “and let me think of a song to charm you with.”

She danced away from me a bit, back toward her table. I wondered if she’d leave me in the midst of the crowd, used and humiliated, like some sort of performance art punch line. I would’ve accepted the role gladly, but when she reached into her purse, I knew I wasn’t getting off that easy. With her fist closed around another prop, she danced back toward me and draped the object around my neck. I removed it slowly, not wanting to ruin its effect, but the audience’s uproarious laughter told me that I couldn’t do anything to cheapen its impact. With the handcuffs hanging from my fingers, I found one hand holding a simple looking remote control, the other holding what looked like a plastic Easter egg, both connected by a thin, beige wire.

Yes, I was twenty-one years old, but I didn’t know what it was. Until my finger flipped the remote’s on switch.

If its extension really looked like an Easter egg, somewhere baby Jesus is blushing at the affiliation.

I always get what I aim for . . . And you heart and soul is what I came for . . . Lola wants . . . Lola gets . . . You'll never win . . . I'm irresistible, you fool . . . Give in! Give in! Give in!

Finally, Lola’s song ended, and I was stripped of her now numerous accessories. I extended the lighter, but she held up her hand in refusal.

“Keep it,” she said, like I needed a souvenir of the most unique karaoke performance in which I’d ever been a part.

Later that week, I learned just how unique. Eric, other friends, and I went to another karaoke bar, where I almost got my first bar pummeling at the hands of a drunkard that insisted I was Drew Carey’s nephew, but that’s another story. No, the important part of this epilogue is our running into another Angel’s regular, one that also frequented Lola’s lingerie parties.

“That little toy she gave me at the end sure looked weird!” I exclaimed to her as we recollected the performance.

“Oh, yeah, well . . .,” our fellow patron smirked, “we call that one ‘the Silver Bullet.’ It’s more of a back door item.”

I stood up slowly and looked at Eric to see if he had heard. His ear-to-ear grin told me that he had. In that moment, despite the song’s title, I decided that I didn’t care to know what Lola wants. I’m not sure I’d want to give it in to her.

No comments: