It starts out so normal, my inaugural trip to Micky Manor (2544 Federal Boulevard): warm greeting from a group of friends watching the Broncos trail late in the third quarter; pitcher after plastic pitcher of Natural Light, poured steadily into six-ounce glasses and accompanied by complimentary shots of a yellow Kamikaze mixture every time the Broncs score; onion rings, Mexican hamburgers and a slew of greasy firehouse sliders; cheering, booing, laughing, belching. A typical Sunday-afternoon bar experience.
Then the game ends.
We're sitting at a long, wooden table in the middle of the bar's main room. As the post-game interviews begin, we reposition our chairs to face each other instead of the TVs and notice a disheveled, dejected-looking woman in a dirty red windbreaker and torn jeans, apparently passed out in a booth by the front door. She's slumped in three or four directions at once — one leg kicking out into open space, the other tucked under the table; her left arm hanging limp by her side, her right cradling her twisted neck. Every few minutes, someone leaves the bar or another table, walks over to her booth, slams a hand down on the flat surface under her head and asks if she's okay. Startled, she nods, garbles an incoherent sentence or two, then goes back to unconsciousness. So we go back to not noticing her, pegging her for a regular, considering that people seem to know her and she hasn't been tossed yet. Then, out of nowhere:
"Some fuckin' Whites, huh?" It's our incognizant friend, who is now apparently with it enough to notice us, get up and mumble this under her breath as she stumbles by.
"Did she just — " I mutter incredulously before Maggie cuts me off.
"Yes. She did."
About this time, someone in charge switches off the TVs and turns on the jukebox. An AC/DC song comes on, blaring louder than necessary, throwing the whole bar into early-evening drunken pandemonium, and that's when we spot her. The other incapacitated woman, the forty-plus-year-old in the too-tight black tank top and low-riding jeans, the one who'd been sitting on the corner stool. Earlier, when I made a sacrificial run for more pitchers, she saw me standing patiently at the end of the bar and, for reasons unknown to me or anyone else sitting near her, threw her whole upper body back, bared all three or four of her teeth and convulsed with unintelligible laughter and chattering.
Now she's on the move, thrusting her crotch at no one in particular, flailing her arms to the ceiling and floor, smearing her ass all over the jukebox glass. We gape in horror and awe as her primary audience — a table full of middle-aged guys decked out in blue and orange — seamlessly transitions from despondently watching their gridiron heroes to exuberantly ogling this inexplicable peep show. The bartendress comes over to clean off our table, and she stares along with us as the former football fans bend and wiggle in their chairs, stand and whoop the dancer on. When the song ends, they beg for more. "Encore!" they wail between whistles. "One more time!" they howl amid claps.
"No, please. Don't," the bartendress says, loud enough for only us to hear.
A slow Coldplay number comes on next, but the rumpus doesn't subside, so we grab what's left of our beers and head for a pool table at the back of the bar. We're farther from the action, but we still have a clear shot. Over the course of the next thirty minutes, the jukebox grinder's routine demands the attention of everyone in attendance. When a mustachioed man in a white Terrell Davis jersey joins in, they do the hustle and the freak, the boogaloo and the whip; mostly they just give each other lap dances and lie-on-your-back-while-I-jam-my-junk-in-your-face dances. It's inappropriate enough to embarrass a middle-school dance chaperone. It's incredible.
And to think that things started out so normal.
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