Sunday, October 4, 2009

best night ever

I flew to Mars on a sugar-coated sunbeam. Literally.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

wherever you go, there you are

After a big night out on the Upper West Side, I decided to walk home along the Hudson as the sun came up. I ended up at the Frying Pan, which is a bar on an old boat docked on a pier in Chelsea. Turns out the Frying Pan was hiring. The owner offered me $4 an hour to work as a deckhand, scrubbing the decks and generally keeping the place clean. If I did a good job, she said, I could be promoted to bartender when they pulled up anchor and went south for the winter. Despite already having a job with more responsibility and somewhat higher pay, I took the position.

I ended up spending a lot of time alone in the boat, which is as old and creepy as old creepy boats can be. Sometimes I heard voices, and would roam from room to room chasing after them, only to find myself alone in the captain's quarters, scared shitless. So I started inviting my friends to hang out there during the off-hours. One day, everyone I know in New York was chilling out on the lower deck, eating peanutbutter-filled pretzels, when suddenly we were somewhere else and other people entirely.

We called ourselves the Earthlings, and we were a group of twenty-somethings who had been stranded on an island on a far away planet ever since our plane crashed there when we were eight. We were the only survivors. We killed some of the local alien animals and made ourselves some pretty kickass costumes. Mine had a monkey head for a hood that made me look like that wise old monkey dude in the Lion King. All day we would roam through the jungle, looking for food and playing at being jungle animals. At night, we built a huge campfire and told stories about our home planet. There was one guy who was quieter than the rest of us and ostensibly the leader, and he would usually spend the evenings alone out on the beach, staring at the stars. He was the only one of us who had never given up hope of being rescued. He was also kind of hot.

One night the rest of us were lazing around the fire, picking anteater bones out of our teeth, when the hot leader guy came running up all excited. With his big grizzly bear headdress and his face lit up by the flames, he was pretty impressive. "Come quick!" he shouted, and we all chased him down to the beach, where millions of stars were racing across the sky and plunking themselves down in the water. "It's a sign!" he told us, and jumped into the alien sea. We had spent the last fifteen odd years being terrified of that water, and it had kept us from swimming across to another island only a few yards away. But if this guy was going, I was going, too. We all jumped in and paddled over to the other coast.

Turns out it was New Hampshire, and we ended up in some WASPy coastal town where everyone had a North Face fleece and a spaniel. The locals gave us some funny looks, but they were too polite to say anything, so we ended up in some bookstore cafe drinking coffee and looking at all the dogs and their big floppy ears, trying to figure out what we were going to do next.