And now, two parts vodka, a shot of Jameson’s, a splash of tonic water, and a crushed Oreo equals:
“This reminds me of San Diego.” Ashley said, looking down at her shirt. We were walking down the ever-thickening sidewalk toward the parade route on Washington, still not blocked off, as it was only 8:30. We all had the same t-shirts on, except for the recent additions to our posse – JD and Big Rob, who were mostly wearing their last drinks on their shirts. Big Rob was wearing someone else’s. I looked down at my shirt, as did most of us now.
“The shirt?” I asked Ashley. “It reminds you of San Diego?”
“Yeah,” she answered, and oddly enough, her sister Cherish nodded in agreement.
“San Diego?” Sarah asked. “Like ‘Go fuck yourself, San Diego!‘ San Diego?”
“The font,” Ashley told her.
“San Diego has its own font?” I asked. I had never been to San Diego, a streak which continues to this day.
“No, the show. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” she explained. “Doesn’t it?”
“That was kinda after my time,” I told her, and all the kids laughed at my broken down old self. It reminded me of the time in the schoolhouse when I spilled my ink well.
“She wasn’t actually from San Diego, was she?” Sarah asked. “Carmen Sandiego, I mean.”
“I don’t know.” Cherish and Ashley looked back at their shirts, as though the evidence of Carmen Sandiego’s origin might be on there somewhere.
“She’s dead now, that woman from the show,” I chimed in, impressed with myself for even knowing such a thing.
“Really? Linda Ellerbee?” Sarah asked.
“What? No, not Linda Ellerbee. She wasn’t on that show.”
“Yeah, she was,” Sarah insisted.
“That was Nick News,” Doddy told her.
“She was on Carmen Sandiego, too.”
“I meant the chief,” I said, trying to steer it back to the point. “Lynne Thigpen. Shes dead.”
“So is Linda Ellerbee. Dead.” Sarah nodded, but I could tell she was questioning this statement as soon as she said it.
“No she’s not,” I felt fairly confident in saying.
“This looks just like that font,” Ashley added.
Big Rob was ringing out his sweater, and Zeenat had hung back away from the Dead or Alive conversation, text messaging her boyfriend Gene, who was supposed to meet up with us later. It occurred to me that I’d now have to update my sister as to where we were, or else she would end up in the vortex that was Brixx’s. As I didn’t know where we were going yet I sent her a text message that only said “Not at Brixx’s. Stay tuned.”
We got to Linden Street, the heart of the parade route, where the grandstand had been in years past. It was on Washington now, maybe to disassociate it from the multitude of bars populating Linden. There were lines at Farley’s on the corner with Adams Street, and at Tink’s, squatting in the middle of the block like some sort of row house nightclub. Neither looked terribly appealing, but we thought maybe Tink’s would be novel, as it was rumored this was the last year that the messy, three story vomitorium would be open.
The mammoth Electric City sign sat on the same side of the street as Tink’s, on top of a different building in the row, and had only recently been relit after years and years of sitting dead. Later on, the sign would serve as a beacon for some of the more inebriated members of our party to meet up, as you can see its orange and yellow lights pretty much anywhere in town, but right now, it was just a green metal outline against the clear blue sky.
In the gutter, in front of this building, lay a St. Patty’s bedecked sot, face up, eyes barely open and fixed. He looked dead, but people kept walking by without a second look. I thought it was worth a shot, so I went over to the guy as the group went to the line at Tink’s.
“Hey,” I called down to him, as though shouting down a well. I figured this might have a chance of reaching him at his no doubt cavernous depth.
The man’s eyes took a second adjusting, and he raised a hand to shield himself from the sun. “Hrrrmmm?” he asked, sort of.
“Are you Tom Pagano?” I asked.
“Wha?” He coughed and his head lolled back and forth a second, as though his neck was broken.
“Are you Tom Pagano?” I repeated, losing hope.
“No! No I’m not, for the love of God.”
“Do you know who he is?” I asked. “Where can I find him?”
“I don’t know him! Stop asking! Leave me alone! I’m nobody, nobody!”
It was weird all right. “Fair enough,” I told him, and joined everyone else in line.
It’s 8:30 already? Time is just galloping swiftly into oblivion over here! What does San Diego’s font look like? Where is Tom Pagano? And really, how can you confuse Lynne Thigpen and Linda Ellerbee?! Questions will continue to rise and disappear like Whigs in the next account of Scranton and Parade Day, likely entitled To Sleep Perchance to Drink!