It began, like many of my adventures from that decade, with a call from Anna. “Come meet me in Belltown for dinner with the band!” She said with more excitement than I felt dinner with a Smith’s cover-band warranted. But as a dutiful friend, I came when she called.
The night was typical for late February in Seattle, cold with a fine, gray mist hanging in the air, giving the orange street lamps a diaphanous glow. Traffic lights stretched across rain-swept streets downtown. I pulled my striped black and gray scarf tightly around my neck and did my best to blend in with the other hipsters stumbling drunkenly from bar to bar.
The night before Anna had gone to the Showbox to see the band perform. They were an L.A. based Smith’s cover band cleverly named The Sweet and Tender Hooligans. Figuring this was as close as she’d ever get to seeing the Smiths due to Morrissey and Johnny Marr’s ongoing mutual contempt for one another, she dived into the show with complete abandon. She’d been wearing her black, Smith’s t-shirt, bobbing along to the music on the front row, singing the words to every song when the lead singer spotted her. He pulled her up on stage with the band, and while she didn’t dance like Courtney Cox had for Bruce Springsteen, she made enough of an impression to be invited out for dinner and drinks the following night, and told to “bring a friend.”
When we got to the restaurant, I could see right away that I wasn’t the kind of friend he’d had in mind, specifically that I was lacking breasts and sporting a penis, but he was a good sport about it. We had dinner with the band following their second show at a swank restaurant in Belltown. We made awkward smalltalk with crew. One of the roadie’s girlfriends told us she did Cher’s hair. For reasons now lost to time, Anna had me pretend to be her cousin visiting from the East coast. I slipped in and out of a bad, Boston accent, and told everyone I was a grad student at Harvard, majoring in linguistics.
After they sprang for dinner, the rest of the band dispersed and Anna and I were left alone with Faux-Morrissey. He suggested we meet up with him at Whiskey Bar for drinks. Sitting at a table in the dimly lit, red and black night-spot, Anna mapped out her plan to make out with him to fulfill a dream since childhood. I sipped gingerly on my gin and tonic and was quietly supportive. She was still getting over her imaginary boyfriend back then, and I thought that a make-out session with a celebrity impersonator could probably do her good.
While waiting, a handsome, young gentleman who’d been watching us from the bar came up to the two of us and suggested that we have a threesome with him. We sent him away to nurse his rejection alone while we waited for Morrissey. But the idea of Anna, naked, had been planted in my brain and couldn’t not be banished with gin.
Faux-Morrissey arrived shortly thereafter in a black shirt with the crazy eyebrows and pompadour of his celebrity look alike. His darker, Hispanic skin was the only thing that detracted from the illusion. He was Morrissey who’d spent too long in the tanning bed.
He ordered us another round of drinks, which was probably a bad idea considering what light weights Anna and I both were. Faux-Morrissey, aside from fronting the cover band, was also a lifeguard in L.A. We listened as he told us how he’d met the real Morrissey, who, we were unsurprised to discover, is a total asshole. Morrissey had asked him why Mexicans liked him so much.
By the time I started my third gin and tonic, I’d given up the Boston accent completely. Faux Morrissey kept asking hypothetical questions like, “If you could be anything at all, what would you be?”
I answered, “A proctologist.”
He seemed sleazy, and I was tired of playing along, and wondering why I was there in the first place. Noticing the glint of gold as he held his drink, I asked him about the ring on his left hand. He looked uncomfortable and assured us that he and his wife were having problems and were separated. I was doubtful, but Anna, intent on fulfilling her teenage dream was willing to ignore it. When Faux-Morrissey excused himself to use the restroom, Anna turned to me and told me I could go home now.
I hugged her goodbye and stumbled home, drunkenly through fog. I wondered what celebrity look alike I’d make out with, and couldn’t think of any in particular, but couldn’t dismiss the likelihood of such an event if the opportunity were to arise. Back in our apartment I put on my headphones and listened to “There is a Light that Never Goes Out,” and waited for Anna to call and tell me how it all had played out.