My brother's hangout for 21 years was a restaurant known as Hudson's Grill. They did burgers and wings, bar food and such, and were much beloved. At least once a week since their junior year of high school, unless they were out of town, some combination of Robert and his many wonderful friends have met at Hudson's to play CCGs or miniatures, eat, drink, be merry, and be silly.
The staff have been extraordinarily accomodating and fond. For instance, once, when one of the friends couldn't decide on a drink order, he said "surprise me." And they did. They brought a milkshake mix can (one of those stainless steel Slurpee cup thingies) filled with ice and ketchup.
Hudson's closed this weekend. Last night and today, Robert went and met various friends. We went along for today's meeting, after viewing the reverse-floorplan version of the home we will soon occupy (lovely, spacious, and quiet, sitting right on a big' ol' pile o' Nature-- deer, cougars, birds, wetlands, hooray!) and unpacking our truck (or what was left of it-- Pat had made a heroic sally at the thing yesterday).*
*About unpacking: those of you who packed the truck-- again, thank you. You did beautifully and our household goods have arrived safe, sound, neat, and tidy. Brothers Robert and David, you are awesome-- I cannot believe you volunteered for this, in the rain, without ever getting so much as a come-hither crooked finger of "c'mere" about it. Hallelujah, good friends make the world go round!
When we got there, there was a big "WE'RE CLOSED" sign in messy sharpie on notebook paper on the door. With a couple of sloppily drawn lightning bolts and some surreptitious "True Love Always, True Love Forever" symbols, it could have been cadged from one of my high school notebooks. We were crestfallen. They had jumped the gun and closed early. We met in the parking lot (3 cars from various locations, holding 8 people-- and another came along later) and wondered where to go instead. The die-hards were sad.
On inspiration, Robert went to check the door to see if they were really closed.
They weren't. But their menu was severely limited to "whatever the hell we have left." Which wasn't bad: bacon cheeseburgers and bbq sauce; spicy chicken burgers; mountains of crisp delicious fries; 2 orders of hot wings; chocolate and vanilla shakes; soda and beer; lots of liquor, which we didn't order.
We had fun, sitting and laughing and bullshitting, unwilling to leave (until the news vans pulled up to do a bit on the closing, which was enough to rout us-- even though this bittersweet tomfoolery had a Last Episode of Cheers quality to it, it was geekier than any of us wanted to be to mourn its passing on the local news for all to see.) We told each other funny stories, most of which were well known to all the participants. We played word games. We drank it in and discussed buying furniture, hot wing recipes, and bar games.
We didn't say a eulogy for Hudson's: we tipped immensely and laughed loud instead.
But one of the things we bullshitted about was the mysterious passing of Anna Nicole Smith.
"She didn't have enough drugs in her system, and it didn't know what to do," offered Heather, who had on sparkly, pastel face paint from a juggling-and-stuff show she'd done for children earlier that day.
Dave, my brother by gumption, said, "It's a shame when the young die. Hey, she was 39, but her breasts were only 12."
Quincy, who has been called that since high school even though it has nothing to do with his name, insisted that the money Anna Nicole will leave behind is cursed. "If they offer it to you, don't take it," he says. "It's killed before, and it will kill again."
"The curse of Slut-ankh-amen?" I asked.
That stuck, of course. Pointed words are like pointy things: they stick.
But the fanciful, impy part of my brain got hold of the idea of a mummy curse on the woman ... and now I am imagining a pyramid decorated by Bobby Trendy. There can be no undead apocalypse like the fashion challenged nouveau riche mummy apocalypse ... Michael Jackson taught us that with his "Thriller" video before the things he taught young people became darker and spookier by far. (Well, maybe not, but he hadn't been caught.)
Picture it. A pyramid lavishly lined with alternating squares of pink and white fun-fur, with heart-shaped red satin pillows--fringed, of course-- surrounding the heavily painted sarcawfulgus ... small, mummified dogs in large handbags to accompany the Queen of Poor Taste to her afterlife ... frescoes of lesbians in go-go boots shakin' it at the disco ... cowboy hats and marabou hatbands adorning the heads of the carven soldiers lining the tomb...
One archaeologist, brushing away the purple glitter liberally dusting the bubble-writing on top of a hot pink-and-maroon credenza, blowing away the last vestiges from the heart-dotted i's and bedoodled margins. His assistant: "Was it Amen-ho-bag?"
"No..." he replies, adjusting his glasses to hide the telltale signs of the creeps. "It's Slut-ankh-amen. And it says, "Death shall come on swift wings to him that toucheth the tomb of Pharaoh."
"Oh my Gawd," breathes the assistant, holding his light aloft to view the dazzlingly bright frescoes, which, lit, showed Anna Nicole preening nude in endless profusion courtesy of the huge dressing-room mirrors adorning the facing walls and the ceiling. "We've got to get out of here, before-- before--"
And that's when the zombie apocalypse comes.
I know, I'm heartless. Mean and horrible. And I have a keenly honed sense of the absurd, which insists on my exercising it. So you can see that good eulogies really aren't in my blood. I don't have much against Anna Nicole, really; she never did anything bad to me except keep me riveted with her mean-spirited, poorly enunciated, tackily-dressed antics. I don't mean her any harm, and I hope she went comfortably into the Great Beyond. I also hope that there's enough room in the Great Beyond that we never run into one another there, but hey-- eternity is a long, long, long time and it's always possible we'll meet. Heck, maybe even wearing the same dress. Ugh.
Rest in peace, Hudson's. They'll remember you, and I'll remember you, and sometime, when we're gathered at someplace just as good, but yet not as good, we'll remember you together.