Amber: Want to go see The Thunder from Down Under Tonight?
Me: How much is it?
Danika:35 to 40 bucks or something.
Spending twenty-five percent of my food stipend seemed a bit silly but hey, when in Rome…
I meet Amber and Danika in their room. Danika is tipsy and takes a swig from a nearly empty wine bottle. I think it is a Merlot. Both of them look pretty, wearing the same hair and makeup from the show before. I am wearing a hooded sweatshirt with “Get Fresh” silk screened on the left side and irremovable coffee stains on the right. I bought it from a boy I worked with at Robek’s Juice back in high school. He was a young entrepreneur. I can’t remember his name. He had brown hair and braces.
Amber, Danika and I make our way through the smoke laden depravity of the Hilton casino to meet four other girls. The other part of our party has decided to get a little more dolled up for the occasion. Mini dresses, legs, and dangling earrings.
One mini-stretch limo ride later, our group is loudly traveling through the Excalibur Hotel and Casino. I’m holding up the back, watching the girls in front make their way. One of the girls makes some retort back at a group of boys carrying hurricane cups. “You girls are fat!” one dude yells. For obvious reasons I find this extraordinarily humorous and laugh the remaining forty feet to the ticket counter.
Forty-seven dollars and forty-five cents apiece buys us stage left seats in two black vinyl booths. The view is shit. The gaggle of girls wearing silver palette dresses, birthday tiaras, and various bachelorette paraphernalia is blocking an already weak view of where the action’s inevitably going to take place. There’s an intro song that plays 39 seconds too long, it’s name I have erased from the Readily Useful Memory Bank. The boys come out together, dancing in what should technically be a synchronized, semi-nude, Britney Spears backup dancer dance. Instead, I have paid for three boys dancing in sync, one who obviously thinks he is above The Thunder From Down Under, another who routinely spins in the opposite of his comrades, and two with long hair who have passionately integrated the “Hair Flip” into their routine.
Our first solo routine is Chris “The Wild One” giving us his naked interpretation of Captain Sparrow. His nipple clips glitter like pirates’ booty under the stage lighting, gels switching from red to blue to red to yellow to blue. A fog machine goes off. Girls squeal. Boredom overtakes the room. An ass swerve revives hollering.
The rest of the show continues with the aforementioned pattern for another hour and fifteen minutes. Each “dancer” gets his own time to turn our childhood heroes into sexual desirables. A racecar driver, a greasy mechanic, a fireman, a vaguely romantic fellow in silk satin pajamas that for some reason doesn’t really resonate with the ladies. I feel exploited. The finale brings the team back together, all wearing denim chaps and white hats. I can’t see Amber, but I hear her screaming all of the lyrics from “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” at the top of her lungs. This could be heaven, but I doubt it.