Monday Night Meatmarket

Let's see if I can do justice to this mutha: Monday nights at ACME Roadhouse in Tempe are off the hook, the chain, the rope, the string, and just about anything else you can imagine. According to manager Alex Mundy, ACME, about a block south of University on Rural, serves some 800 to 1,000 people every Monday night, and as y'all might imagine, that's some serious potential for the exchange of chromosomes.

Ostensibly, it's an "industry night" for folks in the restaurant or bar biz, with drink specials up until 10 p.m., but it seems like most people get there after 10 p.m., so go figure. And though the bisexual Lindsay Lohan (a.k.a. Jett) and I did conversate with folks in the Valley's service industry at ACME, I'd guestimate that most of the peoples "in da club" were neither drink-slingers nor plate-bringers. Apparently, ACME has the rep for slammin' Monday nights, and it packs 'em in tighter than Lil' Kim's bustier.

When we roll up on the spot 'bout 10:30 p.m., the parking lot's so jammed there's not an inch of space left, and the J-girl and I have to park it at the strip mall next door. Inside, a mixed-race crowd is bumpin' elbows, with almost everyone in their early 20s. There's a big square bar in the center, pool tables in the back, and little VIP-like areas to the back right and front left of the bar. Near the entrance to the large patio is a cage where the girls can get wild, busting their best go-go moves. The patio's large enough for a game of touch football, with another bar, tables and chairs to the sides, and a big milling-about area in the center.

The party's crunk, and we're feelin' it, but it's too damn loud inside for a proper confabulation. So we grab some cocktails and head outside where it's just as crowded, but the hip-hop's thumpin' just a notch or two lower. There we rub up on four hella-fine females -- Kelsey, Ashleigh, Jessie and Brittney, all of whom are bartenderesses at other establishments, in keeping with the theme of the night.

"So what are you gals up to this evening?" asks the Jettster, who, despite her newly het-welcome status, still enjoys kickin' it with lovely ladies.

"Just drinking and hanging out," answers Kelsey, a brunette cutie with a bare midriff. "We come here every Monday. I'm a bartender at R.T. O'Sullivan's in Mesa. It's a sports bar-restaurant."

"But I don't get it, why here instead of some other bar?"

"It's a routine we're all on every week," continues Kelsey. "In Tempe and Scottsdale, there's a bar every night that everyone goes to. Monday night, it's ACME. Tuesday night it's Axis/Radius, and so on."

"As you're all bartenders, what's your favorite drink?"

"Pink pussies!" they all scream at once.

"Mmm, sounds like something I'd like," says Jett. "What's in it?"

"It's a shot," says Ashleigh, a blonde babe who also works at R.T. O'Sullivan's. "It has vodka, Malibu rum, peach sour, and pineapple."

"Are you really a heartbreaker?" Jett inquires of Brittney, who has on a tee shirt saying as much.

"I am," she admits with a sly smile. "I've broken some. I only go for older guys, though."

The others chime in: "Yeah, older, older."

"What is it about older guys?"

"They know what's goin' on, and they know how to treat you right," explains Brittney, who, along with Jessie, is a barkeep at some place called the Fox and Hound.

"Hey, what's the matter with young guys?" I ask, trying to stand up for my fellas.

"They've got nothing going on," she says. "And they're only after one thing."

"Right, like some girls I know," I crack, rolling my eyes at the Jettster. "So you mean to say that none of the guys here tonight have a chance with you ladies?"

"Nope. No way," they all say.

Dang, now that's cold. We bid the ladies adieu, and decide we'd best get the other side of the male-female divide on the record, as is only fair. Fortunately, nearby is a white dude with a light spiky 'do, suckin' on a Coors Light and staring at Jett like he can make her panties fly off with his eyes alone.

"Get a good look so you can remember me when you're pullin' taffy later," says the Ambisexual One.

"Don't mind her, mon, she's still trying to decide if she prefers Ball Park Franks or tacos this evening," I say glibly. "What's your name and where are you from, bub?"

"The name's Brian, and I'm from Ohio originally, but I live here now," he replies. "I sell life and health insurance for a living."

"Right on. So when you're out at ACME, do you like scopin' the ladies?" I query.

"Of course, who doesn't?" he shrugs, taking a hit off his beer.

"Are you gettin' any numbers?"

"Nah, you don't get numbers," he says, grinning. "You get her number the next day, afterward."

"Spoken like a true playa. So you've scored at ACME, I take it?"

"Not yet tonight," he says. "I'm still on the prowl."

We move on, and let Brian keep prowlin'. The party here is jumpin' off like a Friday night, with wenches up on the bar gettin' low, people doin' shots. Everyone's ripped. We return to the bar for another round, squeezin' through the mass of bodies as best we can.

"Them bitches earlier were right, Kreme," laments the Jettster after our conversation with Brian.

"You fellas only want one thing: that funk, that sweet, that nasty, that gushy stuff," she says, quoting some Jay-Z.

"Oh my Lord," I exclaim. "I can't believe my elephantine ears! You're the biggest horndog in the county. Don't tell me now that you've tried the stick, you actually want a (gulp) relationship?"

"And what's wrong with that?" she asks defensively. "I wouldn't mind a little love connection sometime."

"Next thing, you'll be telling me you've converted to Mormonism," I cheeze. "Reckon I'll have to get you one of them bicycles and a black tie."

"Oh, shut up, fool. Let's go talk to those gals over there."

True enough, nearby is a trio of femmebots, dancing and drinking, partying like Tuesday'll never come. The first is a sizzling-hot mamacita with long, luxurious brown hair down to her waist by the name of Jessica. Next to her is her home-girl Francesca, who's cute and has a short brunette bob. And finally, there's Melissa, a gal with curly blond hair and a figure that could stop a Humvee in its tracks. They're each in the financial industry in one form or another, and they tell us they're here with a much larger pack of 20 chicklettes dispersed throughout the throng.

"We come here like every week," relates Francesca. "They've got a lot of people here, a fun atmosphere, and good music."

"You gals are as fine as white wine in the summertime," observes Jett. "I'll bet all these rough riders out here are hittin' on you."

"Yeah, guys are jerks," says Francesca.

"We hate 'em all," spits Melissa.

"She's our role model," Francesca says of Jessica, who's been laughing as the other two talk. "She's married. We're trying to find a guy like her husband."

"Your hubby's a lucky guy," says Jett, enviously. "How long have you been together?"

"Three years. I met him at the pawnshop! I should've known then he was bad news," she chuckles. "I was driving by one when I saw him."

"What did he do to attract your attention?" I wonder.

"Just smiled," Jessica says. "He's a very good salesman. He really knows how to sell himself. He's a good guy. You wanna meet him?"

We reply in the affirmative, and they call out for Marco Gallindo, a dude with his head shaven military style who's wearing a white sweatshirt. When Marco steps up, we ask him about meeting his honey, and inquire as to what exactly he was going into that pawnshop to sell.

"No, no, no, I wasn't selling nothing," he swears. "My friend runs the place. [Jessica] saw me, did a U-turn and came back. Who knew that day I was looking at my wife, that we'd be married three years and she'd have my kid?"

"Get out," I exclaim. "Congrats on the ankle-biter."

"Thanks. We have one daughter. She's two and a half years old. Her name's Johni. She's gonna be my little clothes designer one day. About 20 years from now, you'll be looking at a shirt saying, 'Hey, that's a nice shirt, what is it?' And they'll be like, 'It's a Johni.'"

Jett looks Jessica over: "You really don't look like you've had a kid," she compliments her.

"Yeah, I keep her real busy, if you know what I mean," grins Marco.

"So what did you say to win her over that day, Marco? Come on, share some game with us," I urge.

"I said, 'Think I could come kidnap you?'" he laughs. "Write that one down. It worked for me."

"So why do you two still come out to the club, after three years and a baby?"

"We're actually out on a date right now," says Marco. "We got to have some fun once in a while and keep the relationship alive."

Now that's truly a beautiful thing. By this time, even ACME's patio is too crammed and intense for us to do much more than try to communicate in sign language to people. So Jett and I ease back inside, get our groove on a bit on the dance floor and exit stage right.

"See, true love is still possible," I say to Jett, as we amble back to the Impala after our Monday night of revelry. "In fact, if you play your cards right, I might treat you to a night of romance myself."

"That's okay, Friar Needs-a-Tummy-Tuck," sighs the sultry switch-hitter. "If I ever get that desperate, screw becoming a Mormon, I might as well get myself a penguin outfit, a chastity belt, and sign up for the frickin' convent!"


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