I’m going to tell you a story, and I hope that I can relate to you at least a fraction of the humor it involved. I’m going to tell you right now that there are going to be certain facts changed. Names, for one thing. Small details, for another. The names for pretty obvious reasons. The details because I can’t remember them all as clearly as I would like. Rest assured that the essential story is the same, and the only reason I mention these changes at all is because I’d feel like I was lying if I didn’t mention them.
I had this friend one time. We’ll call him Grady, because that’s the first name that popped into my head. He had two daughters and somewhat of an ex-wife. I say “somewhat” because although they had been separated forever, the divorce was one of those nightmare things that goes on forever.
It’s only relevant because the daughters lived with her, in a town that was almost, but not quite, two hours away.
So this friend of mine, this guy Grady, he’s talking to me one day: “My daughter’s play is this week. You want to go with me?”
“Absolutely I do.” I think we all know that I despise most children—the exception being my three nephews. So you might be wondering whether or not I’m lying about my enthusiasm about going to see this school play. I am not. Grady’s kids were incredibly intelligent and pretty cool, if you don’t mind being weirded out occasionally by freakishly smart children. Plus the oldest daughter—the one in the play—was into comic books.
I know it’s probably twisted, but having an in-depth discussion with a nine-year-old girl about the Green Lantern Corp melts my heart like ice cream in a microwave. Not in a dirty way, either.
Point being, I was more than willing to go to this play and show my support for this little girl.
In fact, I even drummed up a little more business. Rik was living in the same town, so I called her and asked if she wanted to meet us there. She did, and she brought her nephew BJ.
I’d try to hide BJ’s identity, but there’s really no point. If you don’t know BJ, you’d never believe that a guy like that can exist. If you do know him, no amount of name-substitution will hide the fact that this story involves BJ.
Here’s the best way I can think to describe BJ:
Watch that movie Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. Take out the drugs but leave in the booze. Turn up the volume. Turn it into a musical. Add more booze, and some of the drugs, if you need to. I’m not saying that BJ’s full of drugs and booze—I’m saying that you’ll think you are after about ten seconds of talking to him.
The worst thing about BJ is that he always thinks I’m insulting him, when I’m usually paying him a compliment. But even this is kind of cool because it causes the unexpected rage that bursts from him at random intervals.
Anyway, Rik brought him to the play. In case you fell asleep during my overly-long explanations up to this point, a quick sum up: 4th grade play. Grady invited me, I invited Rik, Rik invited a guy who would be a perfect character in a movie about Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-fueled adventure in Las Vegas.
“So is Grady’s bitch of a wife here?” BJ asks as he sits down.
The chick in front of us turns around and glares at BJ. She does this because she is Grady’s bitch of a wife. This play, it’s apparently a hit, because the place is standing room only. We were lucky enough to get seats. We were unlucky enough to get seats directly behind Grady’s baby momma.
I’ll be honest with you here: I don’t really remember much of the play. It was like six years ago, and as much as I liked Grady’s kids, it’s rare for a children’s play to draw me in enough so that I’ll remember the plot six years later. Especially since, within those years, I’ve moved to New York City and killed most of my remaining brain cells.
There was something about ninjas, though, I promise. It really sticks out in my mind, and not just because of ninja involvement.
Because at one point, one of the characters is distributing something or another (seems like a magical ring of some sort, but I’m probably mistaken about that), and she goes, “One for the ninjas.”
I make one of the few gang signs I know, and in my best rap voice—which is pretty terrible—I whisper to BJ, “One for the ninjas!”
And then, without any remnant of a whisper, BJ cries out, “One for the ho’s!”
Being the focus of a children’s play isn’t so bad when you’re eight years old and on the stage. In fact, it’s pretty awesome, as long as you don’t do anything too stupid to make yourself look like an ass. You hit that twenty-year mark, though, it isn’t as cool.
The look of shocked puzzlement on Grady’s face at that instant was like something you’d see in a movie. It was something that actors could study for use in anything from a murder mystery to a romantic comedy. It was perfect.
Unfortunately, the majority of the audience was wearing a similar look. And all those looks, they were pointed at us. There may have been some people in the front rows who didn’t hear BJ’s proclamation, but I wouldn’t put money on it.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Grady whispered.
“Ray said it first!” BJ whispered back.
“That’s not true!” I whispered into the mix. By this time, people were starting to turn around and pay attention to the children on stage again.
“Yes you did. You were like, ‘One for the bitches!’” BJ has a volume control, but it doesn’t work like that of a normal human being. Like, he can whisper, but it doesn’t ever get as quiet as when someone else does it.
I mention this now because when he whispered the part about “One for the bitches,” we drew several new looks.
“I said, ‘One for the ninjas!’ I was repeating the line from the play! Ninjas!”
“Well how was I supposed to know?”
“Because you don’t shout ‘One for the bitches’ at a children’s play!”
Meanwhile, Rik’s laughing her ass off, Grady’s about to die from humiliation, and everyone in the immediate vicinity—including Grady’s ex—is wishing we would shut the hell up.
Eventually, BJ and I ended up giving up our chairs, resigned to standing against the back wall, where we wouldn’t cause any more trouble.
Thinking back on it, I’m a little surprised we didn’t get thrown out. Ah, well—maybe when I have kids of my own.