Monday, November 12, 2007

Tuesday with Barry


It was a dark and snorky night. Most nights, at least the ones I've witnessed, are dark. This one promised to be snorky because I was going to meet Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson at a booksigning in Irvine, CA. The place was packed. I weighted for the crowd to thin, butt it kept getting bigger. Too many Krispy Kremes will do that.

Dave and Ridley read from their latest children's book, Peter and the Secret of Rundoon. The bigger secret was how two guys a smidge physically removed from youth could bop all over the country weeks on end reading books, signing books, and somehow maintaining their sanity. And do it well enough to entertain children, the toughest audience ever invented by man. As they read, not a murmur, not a fidget, not even a blink from a single kid. I can't get my two little boys to look at me for ten seconds straight. These two pull off a herd o' third graders stare-athon.

My trusty sidekick, Mad Scientist Weasel, and I waited patiently in the book-signing line, resisting the urge to cut ahead of kids. By definition, youngsters had way more time ahead of them in their little lives that they could afford to spend waiting in line and reading this run-on sentence, but apparently they were not going to move out of our way of their own volition. Snide, snide youth.

When I finally got within earshot of the authors, I whispered in a sultry voice, "I believe there's a brewery around the corner." Dave's pen flickered and stopped. "I hear it's a good one," he replied. Now both Ridley and Dave, as if hearing an angel, paused from their signing. This was risky, since a few taut, well-manicured bookbiddies skulked nearby, alert to my intentions and ready to take me down. Yes, in the shadow of Mouseland, in a children's bookstore, I was plying the authors with amber dreams of ale. And it woulda worked too, if not for the nasty bookbiddies.

But Dave and Ridley did look up, saw our shirts (Dave for President) and brightened for a moment. "Stanley!" Dave yelled, and gave us a hug. Ridley hugged us too, and I set them straight on my name (Dave's been under a bit of stress and suffers occasionally from Tourette's Proper Noun Syndrome). The bookbiddies were about to pounce so I whipped out my signature M&M cookies, which, in times of strife, can double as Ninja throwing stars. The snarling bookstresses backed off long enough for Mad and I to make our escape, but Dave & Ridley tripped over a straggling third-grader and were detained. They had to stay after class and sign huge stacks of books for the Evil Book Queen.

Next door, at the Steelhead Brewery, a solitary booth sat empty, lonely, dry... waiting for someone to laugh, drink, and snork. Evil, evil bookbiddies! May you sleep through the Thanksgiving Sale at Fashion Island and chip a nail on your uber-skankiness.

From our stakeout, it quickly became apparent that our boys were to be taken directly from their bookstore captivity to the airport. Mad Scientist Weasel and I were determined to get them beer. The Brewery wouldn't let us take alcohol outside. Neither would the pizza joint next door. Frustrated, I looked the old Italian pizza maker in the eye, reached deep, and pulled out a wail from within-
"You don't understand - a Pulitzer prize-winning author and his buddy are being held hostage in the bookstore by a bunch of evil fashionistas with perfect nails and matching hair and they're making them sign this huge mountain of books and then they're sending them right to the airport and all they really want is a beeeeeeeeer!!"

It was suddenly quiet in the pizza place. For some reason, people were staring. I knew the next one to blink would lose. Old pizza-dude reached behind him and handed us two Heinekens. He blinked. We left. I think we had him at Pulitzer.

By now Ridley and Dave had completed their bookpile and disappeared. We nervously skittered past the few remaining bookbiddy sentries. Mad and I stood alone with the beer in the dark mall. "Fiddlesticks," I mumbled. "They got away."
In a distant corner, light shimmered off someone's hair, a shiny mop swinging in the light of the mall faux moon. "DAVE," I shrieked daintily, "You er, forgot this." My Heineken was in the air. He stopped, turned, and realized he had left his mace in his other blue shirt.
When I played polo, we had a stellar tradition. Every time a goal was scored, a scorekeeper would raise their hands, like a referee does after a touchdown in football. During one game the scorekeeper was also dogsitting. A goal was scored, and the scorekeeper, not wanting to let go of the dog and possibly lose it, raised the tiny pooch over his head to indicate the goal. Hence was born the classic term, "The chihuahua is in the air!" Chic Hearn, eat your heart out.

Where was I? Oh, yes- Dave and I both looked around for mall security. Not seeing any, he thanked us graciously for our insanity and backed away slowly. Ridley made a note to get his tetanus shot updated and off they went. Until we meet again, sirs.

11 comments:

Mad Scientist said...

snork your telling of the event is almost better than actually being there.

Siouxie said...

YAY for the pictures!! You look FABULOSA!

Annie said...

Mad! I have pictures to send you! Glad to see you survived a very fun night. We are wascals, no?

Annie said...

Thanks, Siouxie. Dave kept making me laugh. He's quite good at that. Should win an award for it.

Siouxie said...

YES! or better yet...write a funny book or something.

Mad, I'm sure it was a wonderful time. LOOKING good gals!

Wyo Cowboy said...

great photos. lookin' forward to one day catchin' up to you all.

Kristina said...

Great blog entry!

el said...

Most excellent narration and great pics!

Kristina said...

These were great bits in this blog entry:

I weighted for the crowd to thin, butt it kept getting bigger. Too many Krispy Kremes will do that.

my signature M&M cookies, which, in times of strife, can double as Ninja throwing stars.

He stopped, turned, and realized he had left his mace in his other blue shirt.

"The chihuahua is in the air!"

Dave and I both looked around for mall security. Not seeing any, he thanked us graciously for our insanity and backed away slowly. Ridley made a note to get his tetanus shot updated and off they went.

There were others, too. This is so funny!

Annie said...

Thanks again, everyone. Kristina, Dave is a real inspiration. Seeing him again is um, inspiring. Did I mention he's an inspiration? I'm inspired to embrace my own quirkiness. In private, of course.

danceswithvowels said...

Annie, Harry Potter (over Ridley's shoulder) looks so jealous! He's too young for the beer. I think he wants the cookie.