Monday, October 19, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate Chicago Coffee

I was in Chicago this weekend and drove by where the old Lounge Ax was located. Anytime The Cowslingers played Lounge Ax, inevitably the Chicago Bulls were playing to clinch an NBA Championship. We must have played Chicago three times in June with almost no one in the club. The shows always ended the same way. The promoter would pay us a paltry amount of money and say, "Man, I don't know what happened. I thought everyone would come out after the game." We would then not have enough money for a hotel, and have to drive home. I would get a monster cup of terrible coffee and power out the drive. The coffee I got in Chicago was almost always awful, and the drive home was worse.

One time we were there and an old college friend of Ken's came to see us play. She came out with her boyfriend, a slender runt of a guy with a freaky goatee. What I remembered chiefly about her was her need for attention, and consistently talking about being "fucked while duct taped to sheet metal". Not what you would call 'the girl next door" type if you know what I mean, but pretty fun nonetheless.

We finished playing to the nearly empty room (Bulls in Game 5 NBA Championship, as usual), and the two of them come over and ask us if we want to go to a club with them. Since there sure wasn't much going on at Lounge Ax, we agreed to go. "We'll be back. I have to go home and get ready.", she said. I thought it was kind of weird that she had to go change, but whatever. We packed up our gear, and about 40 minutes later they were back. The skinny little guy was now wearing leather pants and a mesh black t shirt. She was wearing a trench coat with a leather outfit of some kind underneath. So, ah, what kind of club are we going to?

We climb into our van and follow the couple to a totally industrial area of town. No houses or retail businesses of any kind. Eventually we stop at a loading dock with a single light bulb meekly glowing on a green painted door. We had arrived at "the club". It turns out the club was a private members only bondage/S&M joint. The woman had really embraced the sheet metal thing, and now wanted us to check out her scene. We make the secret knock on the door, and a guy that looked like The Gimp from Pulp Fiction let us in. The couple that brought us fit right in, as they were both dressed in leather, and after taking off her coat, the woman's breasts were left exposed in a complicated looking harness teddy garment.

As you can imagine, we didn't quite fit in. I was wearing a white t shirt, khaki cargo shorts and white Chuck Taylor's. I'll admit I was a little uneasy as we were lead through the small shop past the black curtain into "The Back Room". About 15 people dressed in tough looking leather outfits milled around empty racks, crosses, and suspension rigs while mounted wall televisions played bondage videos. Two things entered my mind. 1) I wanted to play it cool, like I was unfazed by this strange scene. 2) I really hoped these people wouldn't grab me en masse and clamp me down on The Rack while shoving something terrible into an orifice.

Our loose plan was to hang out for a little while and then drive back to Cleveland. I had volunteered to be the wheel man, so I needed to stay somewhat sharp for the 5 hour drive home. The woman we came with had promised a big show, and everyone was interested in what that entailed. We all paced around waiting for something to happen, and tried to look like we belonged. In the back of the room I spotted a small bar manned by a fierce looking guy probably named "Horse" or "Achilles". I tried to look nonchalant walking up to the bar, hoping he might have something with caffeine. I also hoped he wouldn't hurt me.

"Excuse me.... You wouldn't happen to have any coffee back there, would you?"

It was like asking one of the warriors of Sparta for a cup of joe. As nice as can be, he responded, "Oh, I don't have any made right now, but it would be no problem at all for me to make some. Do you want hazelnut or regular?" If you could get past the outfit, it was like you were at the Ritz. The guy couldn't have been more pleasant.

So there I was, waiting for my coffee, making small talk in a bondage club. I think it was right about then when I saw Leo being put on the rack by the woman we came with as a small crowd gathered around to watch. Our topless friend started to whip Leo with a cat of nine tails and we all started laughing. You can instantly tell who had the fetish and who was in the white Chuck Taylor high tops. We're laughing so hard we're crying as Leo yelled out "Ohhh!!!!!" after the whip crack. The fetish crowd would lean in with lips slightly parted and stared intently at the scene oblivious to the admittedly huge distraction we were making.

By the time my coffee was ready (which was excellent by the way), the tables had turned. Leo was tying the woman into restraints. To my left a middle aged woman that looked way too close to my second grade teacher emerged from a changing room in an SS guard outfit complete with riding crop. Other enthusiasts were cordial to her. "Margaret! I didn't think you could make it tonight!"

"Well, I just decided to come on out last minute, even though I have to go to my mother's early tomorrow to help her bake."

(It is weird in that setting to hear a conversation that would have fit in at a PTA meeting. It's really weird to hear a woman in a leather SS outfit have that conversation.)

By now Leo had started to pay back our friend for his whipping with some firm spanking. Meanwhile her little skinny boyfriend looked on proudly with arms crossed as the crowd murmured in appreciation when Leo connected strongly. The bartender and I talked about the White Sox bullpen. The other guys laughed it up on a couch. We left about 20 minutes later. That's probably still the best cup of coffee I ever had in Chicago.


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