Local Wire

Playa's Paradise

Page 2 of 2

The view we have to the back of the joint is sweet; from our stools you can see everything — it's like we're looking into a big basement of some deranged lunatic. There's a ping-pong table . . . That's right, a ping-pong table in a bar (what a stupid idea). There's a foursome playing what looks like beer pong. I'm immediately happy I'm nowhere near the table; I guess the place is big enough to pull it off, but I'm waiting for someone to get pissed off because some loud, drunk, slobbering, neutered hipster keeps reaching under the seats to find a little orange ball. (I'm secretly hoping one of those kids gets slaughtered.)

Next to the ping-pong table is a pay phone and two more pool tables and some video games, including — you guessed it — Big Buck Hunter. Right on! What is most noticeable about this night is the string of kickass tunes that keep belting out of the Internet jukebox. Carla is singing along with every song and I'm barely able to remember the band names, but this is drinking fuel and we're having a great time. I decide to hit the head and I hope Carla is still here when I get back. I've been real dark and negative lately (imagine that) and the locals are in love with her.

I walk through the loud half of the bar to the back of the joint and enter a hallway lined with ugly photo collages from the '80s. I stop to look at a couple old boob shots — turns out stretch marks are always in style. The hallway leads to the men's room and an open back door revealing a hidden rear parking lot where folks are smoking, and where the regulars park to hide from cops and that security chick. I wonder if she ever sleeps?

At any rate, I head to the john, which is missing the door knob with a nice three-inch square hole in its place. I push the thing open and I'm stunned to find a four-foot-long trough rigged up with a narrow window screen on the bottom to cover/protect the urinal cakes from being stolen. In fact, as I'm doing my biz, I look around and everything in this dehumanizing place is bolted down: The soap dispenser (broken) and paper towel dispenser are secured to the walls with metal and screws. I finish up as quickly as I can because the place reeks like someone ate four pounds of asparagus and pissed in every corner. I look up, and there is a small shelf near the ceiling that has seven air fresheners up there. They must all be empty. I snap a phone pic of the rare trough and head back to see if Carla has been kidnapped yet.

I emerge to find Carla laughing with the locals as though I'd never left. I order our last round and eavesdrop. Carla is talking to a guy about Playapods . . . Aliens! Did they slip her a mickey? Apparently, the gentleman to our right is convinced that if you stay at the bar long enough, the Playapods start coming out. Actually, we're surrounded — they're disguised as drunkards, drug dealers, and has-beens, but they are really from outer space. I laugh and make it readily apparent to Carla that it's time to flee before I abduct someone (not including myself, which I will do later).

As I'm settling up, I notice the crowning achievement of this place: the centerpiece above the bar. It's one of those old bulbous Budweiser signs with the trudging Clydesdales, and it's gorgeous. The best thing about it isn't the sign itself, it's how it's affixed to the ceiling. If you take the time to follow the chain up to the ceiling, you'll see an old green and red Christmas tree stand bolted up there to hang the sign from. I've seen a lot of rigged shit — shit with duct tape and other redneck crap — in my life, but I think this takes the cake. I'm not going to rule out the possibility of extraterrestrial life and higher intelligence, but from the looks of how this place is rigged, I'm guessing the only real Playapods are the ones that appear after seven gin and tonics; those I see all the time. In fact, I think one is outside the place sitting behind the wheel of a rotting, souped-up golf cart ready to run my ass down if I so much as swagger. She'd better hit me hard.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
C.M. Redding
Contact: C.M. Redding