One thousand, eight hundred miles into a trip that had started with me saying, “We might as well just be driving to Canada, with all these long ass hauls were already doing”, we had arrived at our tour-homebase only to be hurried into a Monte Carlo to be taken to a dance competition where female participants would be battling for the title of best booty shaker and for five hundred colorful Canada dollars ($455 U.S., back then).
My partner in adventure, Sigmon, and I piled into the back seat with a young man whom I assumed to be a wrestler since he immediately extended his hand to give me a required-by-etiquette handshake and introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Cam. ‘Cam!!Kaze’. He said.
“Hey, Cam. I’m Jason.” I replied.
“Yeah, we’re wrestling each other in a couple days.” Said Cam.
“You two can talk over your match later.” Said a voice from the front seat. It belonged to Danny, the promoter. Seated beside Danny, I learned as introductions continued was Danny’s girlfriend, Steph.
As we started off on our way. I looked at at my future opponent, Cam, who was quietly looking out of the window and said, “I see you are wearing your seatbelt. You got something to live for, or something?”
Cam laughed and said, “I guess I must.”
After a few minutes of experiencing Danny’s heavy-footed driving on the snow covered Winter-peg roads, I had started to evaluate the things I had to live for, as well.
We all survived without needing the assistance of a safety belt to protect us from dangers of inertia, and arrived at the crowded parking lot of the “World Famous” Palomino Club.
The five of us stepped out of the car and into the frigid air. Everyone donning attire that showed a healthy respect for the cold, except for Stephanie who was rocking a short dress that seemed to exclaim proudly, “Beauty over comfort, bitches!”
Despite the fact that she was really the first one I had met, I had a faux-knowing little thought arise: “Canadian women, amirite?”
I just remembered that I forgot to mention something: I have never, not-once-ever, really enjoyed dance clubs.
Well, that is: never, not-once-ever...until I get too drunk to remember that I don’t enjoy dance clubs and, by that time, I’m just about to get too drunk to remember any of the things that are about to happen.
As we stepped into the club, my eardrums were immediately assaulted by the war-drums of decade old rap music.
While DMX was barking ripples into my bloodstream, while explaining that he may experience a moment of loss of mental control, a bouncer was barking orders for me to check my coat. I wanted to explain to him that he wasn’t the boss of me, but I didn’t feel like ruining my vocal cords in the process, so I relented and handed over my coat.
As crowded as the parking lot had been, it became obvious that most people there had carpooled as deep as we had, because it was gentiles-to-glutes, unintentional-bump-and-grind packed in there.
Sigmon widened his eyes and screamed over Fifty Cent, who was explaining where we could find him, “Who the f__k booked the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express?!”
“Hanging from the rafters!” I answered risking having grizzled, old vet voice the next morning.
We all followed the bubble of a path created by Danny using his bodybuilder stature to part the sea-of-sex-seekers like some kind of millennial, man-pretty Moses.
We made our way to the bar closest to the stage, where Danny asked, “Can I buy you boys a drink?”
Being the polite gentlemen that we are, Sigmon and I obliged purely out of politeness, I’m sure.
“Whata you want?” Danny asked.
Sigmon answered with some undescended-testies sounding-ass, lite bro-beer. To which Danny approved.
With all the enthusiasm of a look-at-me tourist I yelled over a woman bragging about how she gives out milk shakes to the neighborhood male children, “Something Canadian.” Danny looked at me like I had ordered a vasectomy and yelled, “And a Canadian!” to the bartender who looked as flabbergasted as Danny.
Apparently he hadn’t heard the “something” and had ordered me a Molson Canadian; the cheapest import in America, the Milwaukee's Best of Canada. I understood their ugh-faces, now.
I chugged my Mountie piss quickly to avoid any further embarrassment.
As soon as I snuck the empty bottle onto the bar to be discarded into a recycle bin, along with my pride, a very large man gave me a very gentle handshake and roared over Nelly, who was complaining about the heat, “Hey, I’m Zach. I used to wrestle, too. Can I buy you a beer?”
I allowed my sense of guest etiquette to overcome my boyish-figure-consciousness and nodded my head “Hell yes!”
“What! Do! You! Want?” Zach yelled over Uncle Kracker’s recitation of Doobie Brother’s lyrics.
“Something local!” I exclaimed in a death metal growl that would’ve made Chris Barnes give me a big, cheesy thumbs up without an microgram of irony.
Immediately after getting my bottle of Alexander Keith's, the DJ interrupted Kid Cudi’s lamentations of lonely psychonautics by announcing, “Ladies and gents, we’re about to get started with our hotly contested booty shake competition, but first I would just like to bring our special guest-judges to the stages: we got some American professional wrestlers in the house! Come on up guys!”
It took every theoretical vibrating string of my mind-body matrix not to slap my hand over my face with enough force to send me back into a time when the songs that were lustfully dry-f__king my eardrums were radio hits.
Allow me to explain: probably the worst part about being an independent wrestler is disappointing non-independent-wrestling-fans with your non-famousness.
The crowd gave a semi-excited cheer, but as the weirdo with the braids-and-beard and the plainly dressed guy with muscles-and-glasses sauntered to the stage, there was a fully unexcited hush that could be clearly interpreted as “Um. Okay?”
It was in this shameful quiet, and from the view of the stage that I began to actually examine the people that had crammed inside this ear torture box on a work night...or should I say school night?
I starred as blankly, silently, and confusedly back at them, now, as they did at me.
“Am I getting old, Siggy? Or does it look like a f__king playground in here to you, too?” I said right up against my friend’s ear like we were talking crap at recess.
He started laughing hard.
“They look like toddlers dressed in big kid clothes!” Sigmon managed to laugh into my ear.
I laughed, too; to keep from crying.
Am I really about to appraise some of these young women based on their ability to gyrate their lovely lady lumps to turn of the Century hip hop? What the f__k am I doing with my life? My inner voice asked weakly, but a silent emptiness echoed through the torture chamber of my thought castle that was ever more deafening than every dance club ever.
That’s how I learned that the drinking age in Manitoba is eighteen, and that I had finally begun the process of growing the f__k up.
But I still had a contest to judge, and a lot more growing up to do on this tour...