I'm situated at the bar at TT Roadhouse, a pint of Harp before me in a frosty glass, awaiting the Pink of P-town to show her pretty lipsticker kisser.
Suddenly, the Jettster slaps my back, a vodka-rocks in one paw and a pint of her own in the other. Apparently, she'd slipped into the watering hole while I was engrossed in beverage after beverage.
"Hey, playboy," she says, smiling. "What's shakin'?"
"All three chins and a whole lot of belly. Ready to work?"
"Does Melissa Etheridge love muff?" she asks. "I see an old bud of mine from Catholic school over by the pool table; let's mosey."
TT Roadhouse is a better-lighted, wood-paneled Emerald Lounge, decorated with motorcycle racing flags, skeletons and skulls. There's a killer bar with nine or 10 brews on tap; a snug lounge area with a wood-burning stove, decorated with drawings of motorcycles; a cozy billiards room with one pool table; and a jukebox filled with punk classics, Johnny Cash, and assorted barroom faves.
Come to find, TT stands for "Tourist Trophy," a world-famous motorcycle race held every year on the Isle of Man, off the coast of England. But despite the name and all the cycling paraphernalia (a two-wheeler actually sits above folks' heads in the lounge), there's only one bike outside tonight. Mostly, TTR is a hip, neighborhood hang. Physically, it's in Scottsdale. Metaphysically, it's in some dark, funky corner of London.
Leaning against a wall and sipping on a rum-and-Coke is Jett's pal from way back Melissa DeShong, 23, a blue-eyed, pale-skinned looker, who's got brown hair with blond highlights. DeShong's rocking a red negligee with spaghetti straps that shows off a dragon tattoo on her left arm.
"Check out her feet, Kreme," says Jett. She's in flip-flops, and sports a rose tattoo on each tootsie. "Nice, huh?"
"Lovely," I remark, as DeShong puts them doggies on parade. "Did getting those tats on your feet hurt?"
"It was ex-cruciating," she admits. "But worth every minute. Roses are symbols of travel. It's a pagan/religious kind of thing. They help guide you in your path. And I love to travel."
"So tell me what Jett was like in high school -- Xavier, right?"
"She was a bitch," says DeShong, grinning at the Jettster. "But I think that's because she hated being there. She was always in trouble with the nuns."
Someone blasts the Pogues on the box, and this cute, boyish lass with short brown hair covered by a Miller Lite hat slams into us, putting her arms around both Jett and me.
"Hey, are you those guys Jett and whasshisname -- the fat dude? I read your column all the time!"
"Nice to know someone loves us." I extend a hand. "The name's Kreme, as in Krispy. What's yours?"
"Irene Garnett. I went to school out here, but I've been living in New York."
"Whatchoo been doing in the Big Apple?" queries the J-grrl.
"Working as an assistant in an office that handles entertainment law for rock stars," says the Garnett, in her 20s. "They handle Jay-Z, OutKast, Beyoncé, all those people. Jay-Z's really nice. Very gentlemanly."
"How d'ya like TT?" I ask.
"TT's the coolest! People aren't lame here, like in other parts of Scottsdale."
Suddenly, there seems to be a commotion at the bar, so I send Jett to investigate. While she's gone, I'm nearly gored by this tall dude with long blond hair, a black Thrasher tee shirt, and a trucker hat who's making a shot at the pool table. Tells me his mama named him Sam Dunne.
"I just drop by here to play pool from time to time, but I wouldn't call myself a pool player," he says, laconically. Sam seems a little effed up.
"Are you playing for money?" I query.
"Oh, I never gamble with money," he says, Yogi Berra-ish.
"What are you drinking?"
"I dunno," he says. "Someone just handed it to me."
"Dude, there could be poison in there!"
"Aw, a little poison never hurt anybody," replies Sam.
"Apparently, you've never listened to their records," I josh. "Anyone ever tell you that you look like you're in a band?"
"I do play electric guitar. Mostly at home alone with my cat with the amp turned way up. I'm sure my neighbors hate me. I've been learning that song -- what'sitcalled? 'Johnny B. Goode.' Maybe I'll start a band tomorrow -- and call it DrugSlut."
"DrugSlut. It, er, has a ring to it. So what's your cat's name?"
"Infinity. She's the sunshine of my life. I found her in an alley."
"Some of the best pussies hang out in alleys."
Jett's tugging on my shirt.
"Kreme, you've gotta check this out," she says, leading me back to the bar where some British dude's holding court, making chickens out of napkins for the gals, and various other bar tricks. Middle aged, he's wearing a black motorcycle jacket.
"What's your name?" asks Jett.
"Dwinminmacfarrrarer, oo ee've 'ereinstateshence '85," he replies.
I poke Jett in the ribs. "I think he says he's been here since 1985. Keep talking to him. Ask him why he's in Arizona."
This she does, to which our limey pal replies, glancing at Jett's funbags, "Aaaar, lesey am ooovinerefrrmnework, anyearsagoo. My, oovegotasmashin'seto'bagpipes!"
"Hay-sus Christie, this is like an original Star Trek episode when Scotty gets morphed into some alien life form," I whisper to Jett. "Like they say: America and Britain, two countries divided by a language."
The Englishman moves on to some of the other lovelies present, uh, chatting them up. We ease up to the bar to talk with bartender John Marinick, who's been with TT's for the last couple of years, but has been coming to the bar since it opened nine and a half years ago. Marinick, thirtysomething in a cap and sporting a beard, tells us all about TT's ghost.
"It was a few years ago, and we were all sitting around here one Saturday afternoon," Marinick explains. "About eight of us watching Mad Max with the sound turned down. All of a sudden, the volume lowers on the jukebox for no reason, and out of the TV this voice starts yelling at us, 'Hey, you cocksuckers! You motherfucking cocksuckers! Do you know? Do you fucking knooow?' It was frightening. We evacuated the bar, and then the sound came back up on the jukebox and went down on the TV. We looked at the wiring of the TV, everything. But we couldn't figure it out."
"Ooooh, creepy," mutters Jett.
"But that's not all," continues Marinick, gravely. "Shortly after that, there were other small events, and the owner Brad Henrich found a glass of stale beer up there behind those bottles on the shelf above the bar. He eventually discovered that one of the former patrons had left the glass on the bar when he went out, and was hit and killed by a car. The previous owner put it up there in honor of him. So we refilled the glass and stuck it back up there. We haven't had any problems since."
"Forget Star Trek," I say. "This is more like Scooby-Doo."
Sobered by Marinick's tale, we wander outside, where we see a couple of gals talking, one of whom could pass for a young Ava Gardner. But Ava waves us off, as she's shy. So we talk to her friend, a hot, zaftig honey named Janet, whose family owns a couple of restaurants in town. After a prolonged discussion of Janet's expertise in fellatio (she has had some lucky boyfriends, or so it sounds), she tells us a joke to help us get over our ghost jitters.
"So, this tourist's walking through St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York," says Janet. "And he sees a head pop out of the confessional, and this priest says, 'Hey, you, come here.' So the tourist walks over to the priest, who says, 'I need to take a dump, can you take over the confessional for me?' The tourist says, 'Take over the confessional? I'm not even Catholic!' The priest says, 'Don't worry. I've got this little book with all the sins and their assigned penance. All you have to do when someone gets in the confessional is ask them their sin, and tell them their penance.' So the tourist says okay, and the priest goes off to take a dump.
"Not long after that, someone comes into the confessional, sits on the other side of the screen, and says, 'Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned . . . I have committed the sin of anal sex!' The guy looks all through the book, but he can't find anal sex anywhere. So he sticks his head out of the booth, sees an altar boy, and waves him over. 'Hey, kid,' says the tourist. 'Tell me, what do you get for anal sex?'
"The boy looks up at him, doe-eyed, and replies quizzically, 'Two Snickers and a Coke?'"