Everyone sat around the small bar and didn't look at each other. They sang strange, obscure songs in warbly, coked-up voices and no one performed for anyone else. No one smiled or laughed or hit a wrong note to be funny. It was like prison in that everyone seemed to know each other but not by choice. The No Exit Karaoke Bar. A begrudging acknowledgment that there were other people there but they would get no attention, this was a night to be endured, like every night to be endured. Twenty people in a karaoke bar, the same people every single night they had probably sung every song in that catalog. There was no joy. When our number, Total Eclipse of the Heart, finally came up, after about one billion years of solitude in a crowded bar, Derick and I got the two mikes and belted. We caterwauled. There were two extra verses that don't exist in the real song. It was like "Turn around, bright eyes, Every now and then there's an adorable little boy and now he's grown up to be a man. Turn around...." What? We sang it anyway. We went for drama. As much as we could in a room full of stoics. I'd forgotten Derick is a real rock and roll singer, rock and roll star, so he could actually harmonize but I was wailing so hoarsely that his sophisticated stylings were mostly lost. The crowd didn't love us. The crowd was possibly secretly handcuffed to its stools with its jaws wired shut.
Earlier, we ate hamburgers at the Sunburnt Pig that had beets, eggs, pineapple and bacon on them. That's where we first heard the Bonnie Tyler classic on the sound system and decided it was important that we go sing (sing) karaoke. They also played "Oh Sherrie" by Steve Perry which damn I still love, that's a love song, it's so damn earnest I love it . I had a big crush on SP in that video, singing to Sherrie on the steps of like a courthouse (?), so deeply yearning and passionate and then flinging himself around a stairwell, squinting a lot with pain, the exquisite pain of ardor and Sherry and the world too much with him. I also looked a little like Steve Perry when I was a child so I think there was something there--long stringy black hair, middle part...I felt like we were kind of meant for each other. I think I need to find that video.