Last Call at Maple Leaf Gardens Part 2
The quest for the fun guy
First of all, let me apologize for the title.
All of what I’ve written so far makes this story seem like it’s going to fall down the stairs with press on nails embedded in its face.
Unfortunately, I may not be able to coax an extreme from the events that unfolded.
Ideally, you’ll get a sense of the
I was nervous.
Fifteen hundred dollars. All at once. In my hand.
JORDO! paid me in twenties
JORDO! always paid in twenties.
He counted them out in front of me.
Fifteen hundred dollars. That was a lot of twenties.
Like, at least six.
Perhaps there were more, but I can confirm that there were at least six. After six, I just stared ant the very slowly decreasing stack of green he was counting from. My stomach sank. How the hell am I going to do this. I’ve never hired anyone before, I thought to myself.
There were times when it was as though the Medic could read my mind. Don’t worry about a thing bud. Put up an ad on the audition call board. Call some friends. You know people. We’ll fill it up. It’ll be no problem.
But it was a problem
I put the audition notice up, offering $75 per person for the night, looking for ten people to get dressed as clowns and hand out flyers at the close of Maple Leaf Gardens.
After a week I had no replies. I called around and asked friends, friends of friends and other performers I knew. No one wanted to join.
Damn. Figuring I was being cheap, I upped the pay to $100 then eventually 125 per person (with fewer clowns, but still).
No one wanted the gig. I was stuck and starting to really worry. Not fretting suburban mom level of worry but I was getting close. Something had to be done.
That’s when the Medic had an idea.
It wasn’t a JORDO! idea.
It was an idea typical of the Medic.
He picked up his phone book and asked me for a roll of quarters.
We always had a roll of quarters in our place.
The laundry mat, transit and the payphone across the street all relied on quarters.
I tossed him the quarters while following him down the stairs and across the street to the payphone.
The Medic went to work. Though I wasn’t clear on exactly what he was saying - noise from traffic made him difficult to hear, I slowly put together what he was saying: Party, Maple Leaf Gardens. Party. Last night. Going to be epic. Don’t miss it. Mushrooms. Clown make up.
My first professional promotional gig was being turned into a epic do not miss party of mushrooms and clown make up?
My stomach sunk even lower.
This was all new to me. It caused daemons of terror to claw their way through my intestines and bowels. I started farting. Almost instantly.
Fun fact. I can fart on command. It’s even easier if I’m nervous. Though at those times, some readers may remember that certainty can be somewhat ‘problematic’, as the certain like to say.
Big city life was unfamiliar territory for me. Sure, I had spent time in cities, but I’m from a large town that thinks it’s a city and could be accused of trying way too hard and taking it’s own importance far too seriously.
The Medic, was a like me, a small town boy in the city lights. But this small town boy had spent the prior several years bouncing between New York and L.A. He knew a thing or two about how to get things done.
Alright, I’m off, breezed the Medic. It’s done. I’ve got a dozen people coming over. This will be great. Got any more quarters? Need some for the street car, then more to call Frenchie. Has his pager changed recently? Also, I need five hundred dollars for supplies.
My stomach had fallen out of my asshole, bounced past my shoes and was heading for the airport to catch the first flight to somewhere sane. I didn’t blame it in the least. I was living in crazytown.
Supplies from Frenchie?
Yeah. Supplies from Frenchie. Are we doing this or what?
Ok. I gulped. Frenchie was our drug dealer.
Now before you go all gaspy ‘you had a drug dealer’ on me, let me tell you a bit about Frenchie.
Frenchie was doing his Phd in mycology at the local university. He loved mushrooms. During the day, he did valid, important research into mycelium. And at night he grew and sold magic mushrooms and was doing a booming business with people in the local rave community.
And yeah. His name was Frenchie.
And no. There was nothing French about him. Other than his nickname.
I counted out the twenties.
There were twenty five in total.
(which was defiantly more than six and my mind took a snap shot of each and every one)
Then, I pulled out the quarters.
There were exactly enough for the streetcar and two phone calls.
The Medic went to conduct the business of the day.
I went back to the room to get ready to go to work at SPORTZMAX!
The last night at Maple Leaf Gardens was a week away. I could go tell JORDO! things were set and ready to go. My only fear was that he would come and check on us. I was powerless. The project that was entrusted to me was going sideways in the most absurd way possible.
What was I to do?
Though I acknowledge the fundamental illegality of psychedelic mushrooms, I’ve never been a fundamentalist when it comes to the law.
As for the Medic, it wan’t even a consideration.
A bunch of his friends.
In a crowd.
At a once in a lifetime event.
Wearing clown make up.
While on magic mushrooms.
This was the kind of chaos he delighted in, and I, his novice, was terrified of.
Tune in tomorrow when you’ll hear the Medic say:
What do you mean no thank you, what does she have that I don’t have?