authentic

The art gallery spilled out into the street.  The rain had long washed away the paper streamers that had languished along the roof and doorway in the downpour.  Chelsea and Derik stood in the edge of the gallery’s entrance, huddled close, sharing a Virginia Slims cigarette, the last from their pack they had picked up only three hours earlier on their way to the opening.   Derik’s plastic lenses were coated in condensation, and Chelsea’s faux fur shall had gained a mangey appearance under the dampness.

“Let’s go inside,” Derik said, inhaling deeply from the smoke.  “I’m freezing.”

Chelsea nodded, grabbing the cigarette for one last puff before tossing it into the bushes beside the door, the butt still burning slightly.

“I need to pee,” she said as Derik held open the door.

“Again?” He replied.

“Yeah,” she said.

They made their way to the side of the entrance hallway and joined the long line of gallery attendees lined up for the two single use washrooms.  Mostly women ahead of them, in various stages of costumed dress.  One woman’s shirt hung low on her left shoulder.  Another’s draped barely across her chest, bra straps and pads clearly visible as she leaned against the painted black non-functioning radiator running up the wall.  The conversation in front of them was mostly self-indulgent banter.  Someone laughed at a joke.  Someone sneezed into a bandana she had to pull out from her front pocket.  The woman directly in front of them spilled a drop of red house wine on her blouse as she was bumped by the sneezer.  In reaction, she looked down and laughed gleefully.  “I should stain the whole thing with wine!” she said, patting her breast with her sleeve.

“I wonder why Cory didn’t come tonight?” Chelsea said, ignoring the ongoings in the washroom line.

“Probably went to that jazz thing on Main,” Derik said.  “He sent me the facebook invite but I didn’t really look at it that hard.”

“Oh,” said Chelsea.  “Where was that showing?”

“I don’t remember,” Derik answered.

“Do you want to get some food after this?” Chelsea switched topics.  “I am really craving a milkshake.”

“The Templeton is always open,” Derik suggested.

“Yeah, let’s do that.  I’m done with this show anyway,” Chelsea announced.

“Me too,” said Derik.

Another ten minutes went by.  “Papa Don’t Preach” echoed through the hallways of the gallery.  People in line were getting anxious to use the washroom facilities, but started dancing in their spots anyway.

“Ooh, I love this song,” Chelsea sang along.

“Meh, she’s so overdone!”  Derik said.  “Every fucking party! Another Madonna!”

“Whatever, you’re just jealous of her,” Chelsea teased.

“Jealous of her brood of children? Nah, she can keep the diapers, thanks,” Derik laughed.

Finally, the two were at the front of the line.  Chelsea was squeamish.

“I think I need to go too,” Derik said.  “Good thing I waited with you!”

“You’ll have to go after me, I can’t hold it any longer!” Chelsea said.

The two entered the washrooms after what seemed like hours of waiting.  Derik waited afterwards for Chelsea by the door.  The line had mostly slowed down following the pair, a mere pack rather than a queue.  The gallery was slowly clearing out.  The DJ had started to play slower songs and the bar had only a few clingers hanging out.

“Let’s go get that milkshake!” Chelsea said as she scampered down the hall.

“I don’t know if I want one anymore,” Derik sulked.  “But let’s go get a drink or something.”

“Fuck, I want a milkshake though!” Chelsea whined.  “Maybe they serve booze there?”

“Couldn’t you just eat McDonald’s?” Derik questioned.

“They have, like, beef fat in that, Susanna told me,” Cheslea said.  “I can’t eat that.”

“Well no shit, it’s animal fat in a milkshake you retard,” Derik said.

“No, like, real fat! She was serious!” Chelsea defended her statement.

“Okay, fine, like I care.  Let’s get the fuck out of here then,” Derik retorted. “I’m going to call Cory and see how that show went.”

Derik took out his phone – the newest model, a shiny, skinny bar – and called up his friend.  “Cory?  Where you at?  Oh.  I can’t hear you. What? What? I still can’t hear you.  What? OK CORY WE’RE GETTING THE PRINCESS HERE A MILKSHAKE.  Can you hear me?  Call me when you leave!”

“What did he say?” Chelsea asked.

“I couldn’t hear a fucking thing he said.  I think he’s still at the show.  Man, is it cold out here!” Derek shivered.  Neither of the two were wearing anything remotely warm enough for a cool fall evening like this one.

“Let’s get a cab!” Chelsea suggested.  She waved down one on the street and hopped in, pushing the door open behind her for Derik.  “To the Templeton on Granville, please,” she beckoned to the driver.

The cab dropped them off at the cafe and sped off.  The two found a booth in the back and ordered one large chocolate milkshake and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for Derik.  They danced in their seats as a familiar tune by Johnny Cash played on the jukebox.  The other patrons laughed at their conversations and looked around at each other out of the corners of their eyes.  The waitress swept up a plate of half eaten french fries and dumped it into a bin under the counter.  The place was humming, especially it being  midnight.  Two smokers kept the door open as they finished a cigarette.  Someone yelled for them to shut it, and they complied, with a laugh.

“What should we do after this?” Chelsea asked.

Derik drained back his beer.  “I don’t have any plans,” he answered.

“I thought that show sucked, to be honest,” Chelsea said, after swallowing a big gulp of her chocolate shake.  “It was super super lame.”

“Whatever,” Derik said, not paying much attention.  He looked over at the waitress, wiping up one of the booths recently vacated.  “What do you think of her shirt?”

“I love that plaid look,” Chelsea answered, totally engrossed in the basic conversation.  “I want to get one of those.  I saw them at Urban Outfitters.”

“You can’t be serious,” Derik snarled.  “You have to go vintage or don’t bother.”

“Ew, gross!” Chelsea said, piercing her lips in a sour face.  “Those places stink.”

“The stink makes the clothes more authentic,” Derik said with a smile.

“I don’t really care about authenticity.  I just think it looks nice,” Chelsea answered, sipping again at her shake.  “I also like that belt.”

“Whatever, you could totally make that out of twine from the Homo Depot,” Derik said.

“You’re so crude!” Chelsea laughed.

The two bantered lightly as they finished their drinks.  More young people flooded into the cafe and filled up all the remaining booths.  The sound of the place grew; now the conversations over plates of greasy food and more beer and shakes was loud enough they could barely make out the muffled sound coming from the fairly ancient jukebox.  The old Elvis clock hanging on the wall read 12:35.

“The night’s still young.  What do you wanna do?” Chelsea asked, her shake almost gone.

“I don’t know, I’m feeling kind of tired,” Derik yawned.

His phone rang.  He picked it up and answered.  “Cory!  Where the fuck are you?”

Chelsea sat and waited in anticipation for the conversation’s results.   “Uh huh, uh huh, nah it sucked.  You are there? Why?  Come join us at the Templeton!  Oh. Fine then. You loser! K, let’s talk tomorrow.  Peace,” said Derik.

“What? What did he say?” Chelsea asked, inquisitively.

“He went to the gallery, but now he’s going home with some chick.  The dork,” Derik said.

“You’re jealous!” Chelsea smiled.

“Of Cory?  Not. possible,” Derik said.

“Let’s get out of here, then,” Chelsea said, after a moment’s pause.  They paid their bill to the waitress with the loose plaid shirt and walked outside.  “You wanna take a cab?” she asked.

“I think the bus is still running.  Let’s walk over a couple blocks and see.  I’m broke anyway,” Derik answered.

A cab rushed by the street. The rain runoff, having not drained completely, had created a small lake in the road.  The cab splashed a wave of the water on the two as they made their way down the sidewalk.

“FUCK!” yelled Derik, his legs now soaked from just below the knee all the way down to his retro-looking high tops.  “I just got these!”

Chelsea whimpered.  “I know!  My pumps!  I love these!  And now my feet are going to freeze!”

A guy stumbling down the street from one of the bars a block or so away saw the splash.  He pointed the pair out to his friends, none of which were wearing a sweater or jacket.  In their t-shirts, they laughed.  “Fucking hipsters! haha!” he said.

Derik didn’t say anything.  Neither did Chelsea.  They took a sharp turn left and walked to the bus.

“Get me home, I’m freezing!” Chelsea uttered, her teeth clenched, after they turned off the street.

“Tonight was so not cool,” Derik responded.

“Tomorrow let’s go to that show at the Commodore everyone’s been talking about,” Chelsea said, as the bus pulled near.

“Can we get tickets?” Derik said as he flashed his pass at the driver.

“There’s no way it’s sold out.   It’s supposed to be super obscure,” Chelsea suggested.

“Awesome, I love that shit,” Derik remarked.  The cold and wet pair made their way to the back of the bus and huddled in close, inhaling the warm radiator fumes and waiting out the ride home.  Just before crossing the bridge, the bus splashed a big wave of rainwater onto a bunch of young people spilling out onto the street from one of the bars.

“Ha ha!” Derik laughed.