It was April in Wisconsin, the meanest month of the year when winter jabs her fat finger in your chest and laughs as she slowly backs out the door. As coincidence would have it, April is also the name of my drinking friend.
She and I can't go anywhere without drawing lots of attention. Maybe because she's what you would call a long tall drink of water. A nice piece of wicker. She's one of those lucky dames who's never had to contend with the usual midwestern roll of fat that can turn on your laptop when you reach for your coffee. Blubber just isn't in her DNA.
Anyway, we mosey into this local hole-in-the-wall, the kind of place that pretends to be a log cabin but it's got lots of TVs and stinks of popcorn. I pull up a stool. April stands. And when the bartender asks for our order, I know we're in for a long night because April wants to know the drink special.
"Two dollar shots of tequila," says the bartender.
"Gimme four," says April.
The man one stool over watches April as the bartender sets up her shots. He leans in and slurs, "Whasser name, honey? You got nice knobs."
April laughs. "My name's April, and for your information, they're ossicones."
April and I exchange a look, the scene all too familiar. "He better mind his p's and q's," I say, taking a swig of my Leinie.
April tosses back the first two shots. She loves to feel the burn. The effect intensifies as it travels downward, "like a Bugatti in Monaco" is how she explained it to me once.
Funny, she doesn't like the burn when it travels the opposite direction. At a pub in Sheboygan last summer, April started retching and if I had to guess, I bet a half-inning of baseball passed before she finally blew her cookies. Makes you realize the drawbacks of such a pretty neck. Just wait till she hits forty and the wrinkles come. No hiding that under a sweater.
This night has the telltale marks of becoming another bender. April keeps flirting with the guy on the neighboring stool. He makes lewd jokes about her tight weave. She gigglesnorts in that unflattering high-pitched way that I hate.
When the bartender is slow to bring her a water, she comments sarcastically about global warming and shrinking habitats and I can see the bartender’s mouth get tight around the edges.
At one point, April leaves me to find the loo. She is gone so long, I figure she's outside, behind the bar, looking for weeds. Next thing you know, a round lady in a Packer's cardigan leads April back to my stool. "Your llama friend here has had too much to drink."
"I resent that," says April.
"I'm just pointing out the obvious," says the lady.
"Obviously you are blind," says April. "Llamas spit. I'm a giraffe. We -- ..."
And April kicks the lady. She lands one square in her midwestern roll of fat.
The guy on the neighboring stool gazes fixedly into his beer. The bartender slams his hand down and points to the door. And suddenly, April remembers that she needs me.
Happy April Fool's! April the Giraffe is just one of the misbehaving animals featured in my shop's new slideshow. Some of them are available for adoption too. Click on the image for shopping information. (Sadly, April the Giraffe is not for sale. Also, April the Giraffe of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is no relation to April the Giraffe of Harpursville, New York. Any resemblance is purely coincidental.)
Photos by Renn Kuhnen.
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