My short-lived career as a singer

Me, Locke, and Kel kicked off the night by discovering that when you take a lighter and light the tip of a bottle of 190 proof (95%) grain liquor, the entire inside of the bottle lights up, shooting fire and heat out the nozzle like a jet engine.

We are already setting shit on fire. One of us is going to jail.

Went to a restaurant (inside of a hotel that I used to live in, incidentally) called Big Texas Barbecue to meet up with some of Locke’s friends. Locke and the rest of the group started talking about politics, which is a topic that I am obsessed with while sober, but could not possibly give less of a shit about while drunk.

So Kel and I talked about girls. The waiter who was serving us was pretty cute, so I offered to play wingman to help his chances with her.

But then I had a funnier idea. Well, funny to me. And isn’t that what’s truly important in life?

She comes over to the table.

Waiter “Alright, what can I get you gentleman tonight?”

Me “My friend Kel wants to hit on you.”

She immediately left the table.

Kel “What the fuck? What are you doing?”

I couldn’t answer him because I was laughing so hard.

We continued to drink, and ordered a few vodka-red-bulls. I’ve decided to put “vodka and Red Bull” in the same category as tequila as being fundamentally dangerous to the continuity of the human species.

This bar has singers and musicians every once in a while. Vicky and Ricky were a really good act while I was staying there; I’d usually provide a link, but googling them only gives me results for some shitty English reality show.

Tonight there was a pianist/singer. Kinda older white guy, maybe in his 50s. Our table pretty much agreed that he wasn’t very good, to say the least. Some of us dared each other to mess with him by heckling him or suggesting ridiculous songs.

I said, “What if I went up on stage with him?” They didn’t quite believe me, so I did. No idea what I was going to do once I got up there, but it didn’t really matter.

Got up out of my seat and walked toward the stage. It’s amazing how places really never expect that someone will do something ridiculous or against the rules. None of the workers were watching to make sure nobody did what I did, because the general assumption is that most people are not insane.

I walked right up on the stage and loudly asked him in a genuinely curious tone, like you just saw a friend in the hallway, “Hey! What are you doing?”

I’ll call him ‘pianist’ because it’s a word that sounds like penis, and I think that’s hilarious.

He announces his answer into the microphone.

Pianist “I’m playing.”

Me “Oh cool!”

He was playing on the lower end of the keyboard (whatever it’s called) I start pressing some of the keys in the high octaves.

He turns away from the microphone and speaks directly to me.

Pianist “What the fuck are you doing?”

Me “Just trying to help out!”

He kept singing and playing, while I asked him, while still on the stage standing right next to him, “So what song are you playing?” without any care whatsoever about what his answer was going to be.

One of the bar/restaurant staff approached the stage, but didn’t get up on the stage. Just stood by one of the tables and motioned with his hand for me to get off the stage. Said something like, “You can’t be up there.”

Me “Oh! Okay, sorry. I didn’t know.”

Walked back to my seat a hero, the whole crowd cheering for me. Actually that didn’t happen; I walked back to my chair, and my friends just shook their heads in mild annoyance/amusement. They’ve seen this movie before. A couple of them pretended not to know me.

We didn’t see the plot twist coming, though. When the pianist finished with his song, he started doing that between-song-talking thing and none of us were really paying attention. Took us a bit to realize he was trying to get someone’s attention in the audience.

Oh! It’s actually me. He’s trying to get my attention.

Across the bar, I shout back.

Me “Wait, what?”

Pianist “You wanna sing?”

I laughed, realizing this guy is calling me out.

Me “Nah, that’s really not necessary.”

Pianist “How about you come up on stage?”

Me “I… we were just trying to mess with you, man.”

Pianist “You seem like you want to play, so get up here and do it!”

The whole bar is looking at me, and my friends are giving that confused/worried look as if to say “if you do this, I am leaving the city.”

After a long pause, I finally respond.

Me “Alright… fuck it.”

A couple people in the packed bar clapped, but most people either weren’t paying attention or knew this was going to be a delicious trainwreck to watch, regardless of who you want to win.

I am 8 Mile. Mom’s spaghetti. Ain’t no such things as halfway crooks.

On stage, I took a look at my “audience.” I remembered that this is Bahrain, and not anywhere else in the world. People here aren’t really excited to watch some catastrophe take place on stage like I would be. Several of my friends have already disappeared, went to the bathroom, or left the bar, afraid to be seen at the table that I came from.

Pianist “So what do you wanna sing? You clearly wanted to, so pick something!”

Shit.

Me “Uhh… do you know any Skynyrd?”

Pianist “Yeah, sure. Which song?”

…..?

Me “…Simple Man?”

It’s a song I’ve heard so many times I’m sick of it, so that should work, right?

He hunts around for the right key to start on, and starts playing. I go all in.

I give my best breathy voice I can muster, pretty much pretending I’m singing at home, alone, in the shower. Being drunk helps a lot as well.

We got through the first verse and the chorus, and then I realized I don’t actually know the rest of the song. I sung the first sentence of the verse we already did, and then stopped. While the music was still playing.

Me [loudly speaking into the microphone] “I don’t actually know the rest of the song.”

The pianist keeps going, hesitantly.

Me, loudly “Everyone give it up for this man on the piano, playing here tonight for us! Round of applause!”

Half of the crowd semi-reluctantly clapped.

As I walked back to my seat, I noticed over half of my table was not there anymore.

About 10-20 minutes later, when I saw Locke come back to the table, I said, “Hey! Did you hear me sing Simple Man?”

Locke “Yeah, it was terrible.”