The Crystal Bubble Something

October 16, 2009 at 9:39 pm (Clairissa, Sweet sticky things) ()

I may have a new favorite Butthole Surfers song. It’s called Something. Okay, it probably won’t qualify as my all-time favorite song, but it will forever remind me of a special night.

Over the last few months, I’ve been teased, flirted up, stood up, promised the moon and given green cheese, etc… Whodathunk I’d have my most romantic, emotionally overwhelming moments of the year with a lesbian at a Butthole Surfers concert?

It wasn’t my plan.

When I stumbled across the concert listing for the Butthole Surfers show October 14 at the Crystal Ballroom, I wasted no time. Internet surfing brought me the presale password in about .000003 seconds. (REESE, for the record.) I purchased tickets number 16 and 17. They were only $30 with fees, which is a bargain for a national act. I wondered if I could find a date? Asking a girl to a concert with a name like that is asking to be slapped, akin to suggesting a porno movie on the first date. I have done both now, and without being slapped.

When I mentioned to Clairissa that I was going, she jumped at the chance to come along. That was almost four months ago. Things have been rough for Clairissa. A venture to California went geographically and metaphorically south, the return to Portland was met with gossip, which she’s been busy attempting to refute. She came home to find out she was a strung-out pregnant heroin addict who fucked a guy under the table at Dante’s and ran off with him to Massachusetts. I’d say you can’t make this stuff up, but obviously someone-plural did. She’s been maintaining low tones, living with her longtime wife/GF/lover in the van and getting by day-to-day.

I received a text message Sunday: “HI! Trying 2 see UR friendly face but life keeps throwing me curveballs. The only thing stable is Im not missing the buttholes!” I knew she hadn’t forgotten.

Tuesday I got a text message: “Friend boged on ride. Will bus if I have to. Stuck in Ashland. I WILL BE THERE!”

Great. Stood up again. As good as Clairissa is about keeping her word with me, traveling toe-to-head upstate to see a show with me seemed like a lot to ask. I wondered if anyone in my circle wanted to go for free. No sense wasting the ticket. I’d wait until the last minute, but I doubted she’d make it. I recalled the time Mizelle flew in from San Francisco to attend a Kid Rock concert with me, and how touched I was. Certainly no woman would jump through hoops like that again.

Wednesday rolled around, the day of the show. I woke up and immediately checked my text messages. Texting and MySpace are Clairissa’s main forms of electronic communication, and she doesn’t have a computer. Lots of thumb-typing this day.

No messages. Hmm… I sent one: “Showtime! Where are you, and when you gettin’ here?”

And then, I proceeded to wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

I started bumming out. Would she really stand me up? It’s happened once or twice recently with different women, and I was starting to develop a complex. We hadn’t seen each other in months, had the sparkle faded? I hoped I wasn’t one of those out-of-sight, out-of-mind guys.

At 3 PM my cell phone buzzed, lighting up. Text message! (I have it set to vibrate, and call it my nipple-ring.) It was from Clairissa’s wife. Oh man… She never calls or writes. This can’t be good…

“HI! C’s GF here. Her phone is trashed, she asked me 2 text U. She used payphone 1st time ever, LOL! She’s in transit from Ashland. Ride fucked her over, she’s on bus. In 2nite about 10 or 11.”

Well… the show starts at 8 PM, Buttholes about 9 PM. This is gonna be close. I checked Greyhound’s schedule; it looked like the bus would be landing at 9 PM.

I texted back: “I’ll leave ticket at my work, she can pick it up and call from store for updates/coordinates.”

And now, to proceed with Mission: Impossible…

I called my boss, (Dr T tonight, yes!) and asked if all that was okay. Since he’s an excellent enabler in my girl-chasing adventures, he informed the night goddess that she should cooperate with my madness. We call her TP, the Tasmanian Pitbull. (She keel you!) She’s very no-nonsense, but she likes me, so that helped.

As the texting continued, Clairissa’s GF kept me posted. She would meet the bus to claim Clairissa’s luggage and hair gear, so Clairissa could go straight to the show after retrieving the ticket from TP. Since TP may be at lunch when all this came down, I called Pan, the lunch person, to let him know what was going on.

“Who’s this girl? Do I know her?”

“It’s my barber. You’ve seen her picture.” I have a juicy pic on my phone that I show off whenever anyone wants to know who does my hair.

“The one with the pierced nipples?”

“Yeah, that one.” They always remember that. He was in the loop; my bases were covered.

I did the pre-concert ritual, stuffed the ‘show shirt’ into my backpack. Searching my field vest with its 33 pockets would take days, so I hide it and my backpack at work, taking only cash and ID. (Oh, and the tickets…) I rolled a pinner joint and hid it in the lining of an unused pocket. I stashed a cheap disposable lighter in a different pocket, for the unavoidable ‘Freebird!’ moment. At least that’s what I will tell security. Ahem.

I went to the store, said hi to the Tasmanian Pitbull, and went into the office. I took pen and paper, wrote Clairissa a note with directions to the venue, doodling caricatures of her and I. (It’s the only time anyone will ever see me in a Speedo.) I sealed it into an envelope and departed for the Crystal Ballroom. I had plenty of time, so I took the roundabout way.

The West End used to be great for getting stoned, before the gutterpunks saturated the area. I discovered where the crackheads had moved; no wonder work has been quiet. I walked past the Mothership and said hi to Elmo. I went a couple blocks further and looked around. The block was clear, I sparked up. Rain began to sprinkle as I sat on the bench in front of the big stone church and puffed away. Foot traffic approached, so I left the roach on the church steps. Forgive me father, for I have grinned.

The Surfers’ bus was parked in front. Security was everywhere, standing around. I waited for the customary cavity search, but the nice young man just nodded at me and said, “Enjoy!” Apparently the Butthole Surfers are more worried about their own behavior than that of the crowd. I carried on.

The opening band was cool, Psychic Ills. They reminded me of Nine Inch Nails doing Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful of Secrets. I took a seat along the wall and watched. Note to self: Find this album, it’s the perfect elevator music from hell.

As the Psychic Ills finished their last song, the nipple-ring went off. It was Pan calling. I answered, “I can barely hear you, it’s pretty fuckin’ loud in here. Just a sec-” A quiet spot in the song. I then heard:

“Hear me?… Here…way.” Click. Dead phone. Thirty seconds later the set was over and I called Pan’s phone. Through Roy Orbison playing I could hear him.

“Yeah, she was just here and got the ticket. She’s on her way.”

“Who? Clairissa or her girlfriend?”

“Clairissa. That was her you just talked to. Dude, are you drinking?”

“Nah, just couldn’t hear anything. It’s Clairissa, and she’s already got the ticket?”

“Yep, she should be there in a few minutes.”

“All righty then!” I’m impressed that Greyhound would be so nice as to hurry up for us.

A few minutes later, my phone rang. It was Clairissa. “Hey baby! Just got my new phone, I’m in line waiting to be felt up, then I’ll be upstairs.” I told her where I was and, for the first time all day, I felt no stress over what was supposed to be a mellow, relaxed evening.

At a Butthole Surfers concert. Yeah, right…

The crowd was mostly pasty-faced white dudes wearing nerd glasses. It reminded me of a Frank Zappa crowd. The girls were the kind you see portrayed in Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen movies. The best kind of buddy to have; they like beer and have squishy boobs. Of course, that described most of the guys as well.

I watched the exit sign, and soon there she was, my leather-clad, bandana-wearing beauty. She marched straight up to me and gave me a big hug and kiss. The crowd milling toward the stage gave us room. I left her saving the spot for a quick potty-break, and hurried back so she could do the same. She returned just as the theme to The Price Is Right started playing. I knew from internet research that this was the cue for the show to start. Come on down!

The lights dimmed, the band played Something, and that’s when it started hitting me.

She jumped up on the bench, using my shoulder for support. As the band played and I bopped to the song, her fingers ran through my hair. She rubbed my shoulder in a most soothing way. It wasn’t a sexual thing, it was kind of like one would pet a dog. (I don’t mind; I’ve always wanted to be her dog.) As the band played, I closed my eyes and drifted.

She’d just spent eighteen hours using many different forms of transportation, busting ass across a whole state to make me happy.
The reality of that knocked me for a loop. If they’d been playing Cough Syrup, or The Shame of Life? I’d be a crying mess.

We shouted comments into each other’s ears. About halfway through the show, she shouted, “Want to go down to Lola’s Room? It’s quieter there, and we can talk. That way I won’t have to keep spitting in your ear!”

I shouted back, “But I LIKE IT when you spit in my ear!”

Instead of replying, she licked my ear several times, followed with a bite.

My knees almost buckled. “Okay, we can go…”

As much as I wanted to stay, I could still see most of the show from the video feed. She came a long way today; I didn’t mind indulging her. The bar was empty, although we did see a sloppy-drunk idiot bounced along the way. Buh-bye!

I bought her a vodka-tonic and we claimed a small table, catching up. After a quick vodka infusion, she suggested we head back upstairs. She wanted to see them play Pepper. I hated to tell her that it hadn’t been on any playlists I’d seen on this tour, but who knows? I took her by the hand and we made a fast-paced stomp through the crowd. I think my agility surprised her. A few seconds of ducking and dodging and we were halfway to the front. I put her in front of me and held her there while the band played. For a few moments, we were in a bubble.

And while we were in the bubble, I thought about how much she meant to me. I certainly wouldn’t cuddle at a concert with Freewheelin’, but then he’s not a hot girl. Dr T later said, “You’re the only person I know who would be able to pull off cuddling at a Butthole Surfers concert.” Cuddling may be a strong word. I rested my chin on her shoulder, and we swayed to the music. It’s about as close to dancing as I get.

I was more than amazed. She’d left Ashland at 3:30 AM, got on a Greyhound and made it as far as Eugene. She was in contact with her wife, who made calls and texted friends along the Interstate. A girl in Eugene agreed to meet the bus, pick Clairissa up and give her a ride to Portland. They even passed the Greyhound along the way, with Clairissa waving at the driver. Her girlfriend met her to retrieve the luggage. At least four of my co-workers had facilitated getting her into the show. A lot of people went out of their way to make sure I had a good time.

Clairissa leaned back and hollered into my ear, “I’m starting to fade, honey. Can we go soon, or do you mind if I go?”

There were only one or two more songs, if my internet info was correct. I took her by the hand and we headed for the elevator.

Once to the sidewalk, we went back into the bubble. She took my hand, and then I switched sides with her, so I was in the “man” position.

She laughed, “How sweet, protecting me from traffic! It’s funny when two lesbians walk down the street and both want to be the daddy.”

I said, “I’m not protecting you from traffic. I’m feeding you to the crackheads.”

We protected each other back to the store, where my stuff was. It was too soon to end the night, so I suggested buying her a drink at the bar next door. After being carded, (!!) we took a window booth, where I could watch the street and tell her stories about the locals.

It was obvious that we needed more than an hour to catch up. She started giving me crap for buying a second beer. “I can get a whole six-pack for five bucks!”

“Yeah, but this beer is German, and you are saving me a small fortune. It’s much cheaper for me to watch you drink than to do it myself. I think I like the ritual more than the effect these days.”

“Yeah, but if I buy a girl more than a lollipop, I expect to get some pussy out of the deal.”

“You can cut my hair for free next time. How about that?”

“Honey, I should have quit charging you a long time ago. But you know it always went to rent or gas. I didn’t just piss it away…”

“That’s why I don’t mind paying you. You can trim me for free when times are better.”

“Hey, got a cigarette?” A bum interrupted us.

“NO!” I snapped in a most dismissive fashion.

Clairissa opened her pack and gave him one. “Tell me a joke for it.”

Taken aback, he muttered something about a monkey’s tail and went away.

“He broke our bubble,” she said, and squeezed my hand.

“Didn’t break it, just made it swell up funny,” I said.

As much as I wanted the night to go on forever, she needed to get back to the van and get some sleep. I left her on the MAX platform and ran for my bus, making it with 18 seconds to spare.


The ride home was quiet. I went into my room, shut the door and sat quietly in the dark. I didn’t want food, I just wanted to curl up in bed. I had not felt such an enormous amount of love in a long, long time. It felt heavy, but heavy in a good way.

She’s the bestest concert date ever.

It wasn’t Something she said that night, it was Something she did for me…


1 Comment

  1. let me wink said,


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