When Drew got to The Warsaw that evening, he found Steve fussing over some new equipment on the tiny bandstand. “Hey, bro. What’s that?”
“A karaoke machine.”
“Whoa, gettin’ high class here. I didn’t think you had that kind of cash to invest. Or are you renting it?”
“I’m buying it on time. You know how I’ve been wanting one of these for a long time?”
“Yeah. I kinda had a hint when I caught you dressed in sequins, lip syncing Liza Minelli.”
“Well, I never could afford to just buy one, and my credit has been screwed. But today a patron just walked right in and offered to spot me for it, and let me make reasonable payments to him, no interest. He just has to be able to use it whenever he wants.”
“Wow. Pretty good deal.”
“Yeah, it was, after I talked him out of that ‘first born male child’ clause. Anyway, we’re gonna break it in tonight.”
“Cool. You have, I hope, removed all Britany Spears and Celine Dion music from the repertoire?”
“What do you take me for? I burned them.”
Drew clapped him on the back. “Forgive me for doubting you.” He took off his coat, hung it up, and staked out his usual table near the bandstand. He’d started his first beer before Kate showed up. “Hi. Started without you.”
“I hear a lot of men in my life say that. But you could have waited to start drinking.” She got a beer and joined him. “So, what’s new on the Wick-Oswald battlefront?”
“Wick launched an attack on Oswald’s flank today. Defense moved swiftly, and there were minimum casualties. But I believe Wick is gearing up for a full scale frontal assault.”
“Poor Oswald. He must feel like Austria did back in the thirties, with Hitler eyeing it.”
“Yeah, Wick is determined to march right over his border and blitzkrieg the hell out of him.”
Oswald and Lewis entered together, deposited their coats, and came to the table. As they sat, Steve came over and placed two Buzz Beers before them. Lewis nodded solemn approval. Oswald said, “Thanks, Steve. Boy, you’ve got your timing down perfect. Butt hits the chair, beer hits the table.”
“What can I say? Practice makes perfect, and I’ve practiced with you boys more than I ever did with my piano teacher.”
As Steve left, Kate said, “So, Oswald. I hear Wick chased you around his desk today.”
“He chased me OVER his desk. I haven’t been pursued like that since someone started a rumor in high school that I had tickets to a KISS concert.”
“I told you I was sorry about that,” Lewis complained.
“It freaked me out,” Oswald continued. “I mean, the only other time a guy patted me on the ass was back in high school when the football coach did it. And that’s alright, what with it being sports and all.”
Lewis frowned. “Oswald, you played basketball.”
Oswald blinked. “Oh. Yeah. Why do you suppose Coach Bruce...”
“Hey, a kareoke machine!” Kate exclaimed. “Hot dog! Maybe I can do ‘My Heart Will Go On’.” Drew whistled casually, looking up at the ceiling.
Lewis said, “I’ll see if they have anything that speaks of my unique personality.”
Mimi, standing nearby, flipping through a folder of available songs, said, “Here ya go, freak. ‘They’re Comin’ To Take Me Away’.”
“Hah hah. Very funny, Mimi. There should be something for you in there. Check under ‘Whale Song’.”
Oswald had taken the folder, and was scanning the list. Wick entered, and came to stand quietly behind him. His three friends, knowing a possibly amusing situation when they saw it, said nothing. “Hey, here’s that one by Right Said Fred. ‘I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt’. I could do that, and do kinda a little strrrrrrrip-tease. You know...” He started to shimmy in his chair, singing. “Ahm too sexy for mah love, too sexy for mah love, love’s goin’ tah leave meeee.” He started unbuttoning his shirt, teasingly. Wick’s eyes bulged. “And ahm too sexy for mah shirt, too sexy for mah shirt...” He had it all the way open now. Nigel wiped his chin. “So sexy it hurts!” He whipped the shirt open wide.
“HURT ME!” Wick shrieked.
Oswald shrieked, too, jerking his shirt closed again. He clutched it like a maiden holding together a ripped bodice in the presence of a romance novel antihero.
“Oh, please don’t stop!” Wick moaned. “I’ll pay you.”
“Sir, your libido is showing.” Drew admonished. Nigel quickly checked his fly. “What are you doing here?”
“I heard they had a new kareoke machine, and I thought, ‘Why not?’”
Steve passed by, “Hey Wick, thanks for the deal.”
Lewis said darkly, “Aha. The plot thickens.”
Wick smouldered at Oswald. “Along with other, more *interesting* things.” He set a large gold cardboard box in front of Oswald. “Sweets to the sweet.”
"He doesn't want your cheap lures, Wick." Lewis growled.
"CHEAP?" Kate yelped. “Lewis, that’s the two pound Godiva Lifestyles of the Rich and Spoiled Deluxe Gift Box. It costs more than my first car did.”
“Yeah, so? Oswald isn’t interested in...” He trailed off. Oswald had opened the box and was stuffing chocolates into his mouth with both hands.
Drew said, “Oswald, slow down. Save some. You can pawn them when you’re low on cash.”
Lewis slapped the lid back on the box. Oswald said indignantly, “Hey!”
“You’re going to pork up at that rate,” Lewis warned.
“Oh, leave him be. I think he’d be even cuter with a few extra pounds,” Wick purred. He smiled at Oswald and licked his lips. “Chubby little dumpling.” Oswald pushed the box away, white faced.
Steve passed by again. “Wick, if you want to inaugurate the kareoke machine, you should go ahead. I want to get the party started.”
Mimi stalked over, and held out her hand. Wick pressed a bill into it, and she stuffed it into her bra. Drew, Lewis, and Oswald screamed, covering their eyes. Squinting, Drew said, “Don’t panic, men. If we’re lucky, the blindness will only be temporary.”
Mimi followed Wick up onto the dias. He turned on the kareoke machine, and picked up the microphone. “Hello, you sad, desperate people. Time for a little light entertainment. This first song is dedicated to a certain... special... someone.” He stared pointedly at Oswald, who looked pained. Wick pushed a few buttons, and the music started. He sang. “He’s so fine...”
Mime warbled in the background, face grim, “Doo lang, doo lang, doo lang.”
“Wish he were miiiiine...”
“Doo lang, doo lang, doo lang.”
“That handsome boy over there...” Wick pointed. Oswald slumped in his seat.
“Doo lang, doo lang, frickin’ lang.”
“The one with the wavy hair...”
“Doo lang, doo lang, doo lang.” Mimi started filing her nails.
“I don’t know how I’m gonna do it, But I’m gonna make him mine. He’s the envy of all the girls, It’s just a matter of time.”
Mimi popped in with appropriate ‘doo langs’ after each phrase Wick sang. Oswald kept sinking lower in his chair.
“He’s a soft spoken guy. Also seems kinda shy. Makes me wonder if I. Should even give him a try. But then I know he can’t shy. He can’t shy away forever.” Wick shook his finger at Oswald, grinning. Oswald went under the table. “I’m gonna make him mine. If it takes me forever.”
Wick bounced down off the stage and crawled under the table. Oswald quickly crawled out, followed closely by Wick, who began to stalk him around the room.
“He’s so fine.”
Mime snorted. “Oh, yeah?”
“Gotta make him mine.”
“Sooner or later. I hope it’s not later.” Wick checked his watch.
“We gotta get together.”
Drew and Kate had been gradually beginning to sway with the beat of the song. Now they chorused, “Oh, yeah!”
“The sooner the better.”
“Guuuuuuys!” Oswald whined.
“I just can’t wait, I just can’t wait. To be held in his arms.” Nigel had Oswald backed up against the bar. Oswald desperately climbed up on it. Wick stood beneath him, serenading.
“If I were a queen,” He put a hand on his hip, and arched an eyebrow significantly. “And he asked me to give up my throne. I’ll do anything that he asked. Anything to make him my own. For he’s so fine, so fine...” Wick and Mimi repeated the last phrase, over and over, fading away.
When Wick reached out to him, Oswald stooped, threw his arms around Steve’s neck and jumped into his arms. Wick glared at Steve. “Sir, unhand my intended.”
Steve frowned, perplexed. “Intended?”
“You have no IDEA what I intend to do with him.”
Steve dropped Oswald unceremoniously. “You’re on your own.”
Oswald scrambled back to the table, with Wick in close pursuit. Lewis stood up resolutely, and Oswald scooted behind him. “Back off, you British bum chaser.”
Oswald smacked Lewis. “HEY!”
Lewis tossed over his shoulder. “It means ‘ass’, remember?”
“You can’t have him.” Lewis declared. “He’s not interested.”
Wick eyed him slyly. “I’ll give you one million dollars to sleep with your friend.”
Lewis blinked, grabbed Oswald’s arm, and started to push him toward Wick. Then he stopped and said suspiciously. “Show me the money.”
“Will you take a check?”
“HAH!” (Pause) “Personal or travelers?”
“LEWIS!” Oswald wailed.
“I mean, HAH! I spit on your offer.”
“Yeah, that’s right, Lewis,” Drew advised. “Hold out for stock options.”
Wick stamped his foot pettishly. “Oh, I know it’s crass, but I can’t help myself! I’m desperate.”
“Look, Wick, give up.” Oswald peeked from behind Lewis.
“Never!” Wick rubbed his hands together, and crooned, “I’ll have you yet, me proud beauty! MWHAA HA HA HAAAAA!” He slunk out.
Drew shook his head. “Exit, Oilcan Harry, while Pearl Pureheart trembles in modest terror.”
“Drew, what am I gonna do?” Oswald pleaded. Once again Drew got out his notebook and scribbled on it. Tearing off the page, he handed it to Oswald. “Who’s this? Detective? Bodyguard? Police officer?”
“Welder. Tell him I sent you, and he’ll fit you with a chastity belt.”