Thursday, March 27, 2008

My beer with Mike Huckabee

The following story is completely false. There is absolutely nothing remotely true, nor is their any attempt to convey anything closely resembling truth. In fact, the very intention of the following story is to create a fabrication about a public persona, something that I believe our media does every day.

I eagerly marched into the candle-lit bar exactly on time, but my friend - who I'd never met yet had grown to love - was already seated at a stool, cocking his head with raised, bushy eyebrows when I walked through the door. Turning his body towards me and resting his elbow on the bar, he flashed a warm, toothy smile my way.

This was it. I was finally going to have a beer with Mike Huckabee.

He placed a firm hand on my back, and I bashfully looked down at the bar, too overwhelmed by emotion to meet his compassionate gaze. "So, how are you man?"

Two hours before our meeting I was curled in the fetal position on a filthy bath mat while an assortment of stimulants and depressants fought to stave off a nasty episode of self-loathing. But when Mike Huckabee puts his hand on your back, the fact that he's asking - hell, that he even cares - how you're doing engenders only one kind of response.

"Great, man." I looked up with a delicate smile and wounded eyes. "I'm doing great."

He smiled and closed his eyes, pausing briefly. I imagined him digesting my pain, breaking it down into its basic components and reducing it to soft, warm light that danced in his stomach. But neither of us could, or had any desire, to continue so sentimentally, and I was grateful when he lowered his head, interlocked his fingers, and asked:

"So - what are you drinking?"

It didn't matter, of course, but I took a quick look at the tap. "Uhhh, a pale ale would be kinda nice..."

"I was thinking exactly the same thing. Bartender!" he ordered with a firmness that betrayed no arrogance. "Two of the Boddington's!"

The glowing amber nearly spilled over the rim of our glasses, and we raised them slowly. For an instant, our pinched eyes met. "Cheers." Huckabee pulled the glass close to his nose and rapturously smelled with closed eyes, the tiny pool of beer rippling slightly while his shoulders rose with the inflating of his chest. He kissed the glass softly, sipping at first, his mouth widening as he took increasingly larger and louder gulps. I was so fixated that I hadn't even realized that my own glass was nearly half-finished. He swallowed and lowered his pint.


Wasting no time, he picked up his glass again and looked at me slyly. "God's work here on earth." He proceeded to drink his pint of ale as if there was nobody else in the room, or anything more relevant in the entire world. Watching the glass slowly tip further upward and seeing his Adam's apple rise and drop, I came to a revelation: I didn't just want to have a beer with Mike Huckabee. I wanted to get completely fucking shitfaced with Mike Huckabee, to the point where something violent, shameful, and regrettable could be appropriately forgiven.

"Bartender! Two double's of Maker's Mark. And another round of Boddington's!"

"You sure this is where you want to go?" Huckabee asked coyly, unable to hide his gratitude.

I was so full of anticipation and doubts about my own self-worth that I had no response except for an eager smile.

After downing the whiskey, the night quickly devolved, and my recollection of this part is hazy at best. A few strangers bought us drinks, and I had a passionate discussion about education in Arkansas. More drinks. Mike's arms raised, screaming "I'M MIKE FUCKIN' HUCKABEE!!!" We're at another bar (or maybe just the basement?) I think his shirt came off - the circular pattern of hair on his chest and stomach strikes one exactly as you would imagine it. I throw a stool against a window, but it doesn't break. I'm bawling my eyes out and apologizing while Mike is pleading with the bouncer to let me stay. Then we're both outside in the cold, and he hails me a cab.

"We'll do it again, sometime, I promise." I knew it was a lie, but accepted it immediately, knowing that despite some minor regrets, I'd fondly remember that night for the rest of my life.

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