On Monday afternoon, I was editing a film review when I received a few text messages from Baby Fighterfly about Dumptruck's impending arrival at Logan airport. Each of her texts were ideas about possible activities all of us could attend...in Providence. I was unsure if I wanted to leave the house. Should I accept the invitation, I'd have to drive to Salem, pick up Dumptruck, and then make the trek to Providence. The full travel time would be four hours. A sensible man, one who hadn't grown up in a rural community, would have scoffed. Still, my life has been built around road trips like this. What to do? It took a call from an unknown phone number to assist me in my decision.
Dumptruck on the phone is a shiatsu massage for your eardrums. Within moments, I had committed to come pick him up and made my way to Salem, MA. In the City of the Witch, I met the ladies and gentlemen with whom he works on music festivals, had a pint, and watched him eat the worst cod sandwich Salem pubs have to offer.
The initial plan was to meet Baby at the infamous Club Hell. Club Hell is a bar whose clientele ranges from amazing drag queens to homophobic metalheads, depending on the night. A call to Reverend Al Mighty made us change our plans to meet up at the Hot Club for karaoke. This was a welcome change as I didn't want to pay thirteen dollars to shout over a band which sounds like Gary Busey screaming over feedback.
We arrived at the club to the cheers of our friends. The population of the venue was friendly. So friendly that I had wondered if MDMA had been dropped in everyone's glasses. Then I realized something: when you get three announcers into a situation where gregariousness and a lack of embarrassment is necessary to get on the mike and perform, we'll easily take over.
Reverend Al's "Georgia" was the most surprising song of the night. The gentleman can sing. However, my joy was only heightened by capturing footage of the exception to the rule that rapping at karaoke is a painful thing to witness:
"Work it out." (his asides in the video make it worth it...wear headphones)
By the end of the night, we were on the first name basis with the DJ, the regulars, and the bar staff. When it came time to go home, Dumptruck and I made our way back to Massachusetts. Our Odyssey home hit a snag when noticed there were no open bathrooms to be found on the way North. Gritting my teeth, I made the decision to stop at my house first for a pit stop before bringing Dumpy back to Salem.
It's here where having Dreadnought for a wife is an advantage. Everyone keeps a ledger of their partner's deeds. Mericfully, my wife pays more attention to the "win" column over the stupid things I've done. We entered the house quietly, only to have Goblin wake up and instantly want to play with the raspy-voiced Sasquatch I brought home. While he was waiting his turn for the bathroom, Dumptruck heard Dread saying the loving words "I will kill you all." Deciding to show his appreciation for her strained hospitality, he chatted with her sparingly in the dark of our bedroom.
|Photoshop recreation of Dread's view of the evening. In truth, he was wearing glasses and a coat.|
Once back in the car, Dumptruck fielded texts from my amused, but annoyed missus, and negotiated my sentence for such a trespass into driving her to work that morning. Under normal circumstances, the average man coming home late at night with his very buzzed friend could be grounds for weeks of sleeping on a couch. However, thanks to Dumptruck (roller derby's own Cat in the Hat) I was instead asked for stories from the previous evening. Like me, Dread loves this ridiculous man with a passion we reserve for our closest relations. Next time he comes to town, however, we're crashing in the city we land in, even if we have to spoon on a love seat. Lightning does not strike twice and Dread's way too strong to tempt fate.
At karaoke, Dumptruck said on the microphone that only roller derby would make it possible to be in Denver in the morning, Salem in the evening, and drinking in Providence that night. But it's also roller derby that allows us to meet people for whom we would drop anything just to spend time with one another.