I am sitting at a large Hollywood restaurant bar with my girlfriend. We had just started drinking our cocktails when, at the entrance far across the large establishment, I spot someone who looks familiar. I am giddy with excitement at the chance and pleasant surprise meeting with a dear old friend. But, is this who I think it is?
He looks different even from a distance. His tall, lanky frame, glasses and wonky stride are playing tricks on my eyes. He is seated against the window, and he is looking around the room as if to see if anyone has noticed him.
We continue sipping our cocktails while I try to stay calm about gawking. Then he gets up and begins to work his way through the crowd and tables toward us. Now I am convinced it’s him, but there is one thing making me wonder if this might just be an incredible doppelganger. My suspicion is based on the afro hairdo he is sporting.
But now he walks directly toward us. He seems to be looking through me rather than at me. I spin back facing the bar. He comes up behind, right between my GF and me, and is trying to get the bartender’s attention. I turn to look him in the eye, now about 8 inches away. He notices I am either ME or MY amazing doppelganger. I can see his mind racing through scenarios.
“Well, hello there hot stuff,” I go right to my best material. He’s still giving me the fuzzy ‘is this who I think it is’ look. “Well yourself,” he replies, “what’s a rich boy like you doing in a dump like this?”
Before he can finish his sentence I have a.) noticed his Afro is formed out of something like a microphone pop-filter, only soft. b.) He is wearing mascara, rouge, and lipstick. All done tastefully and subtlety. c.) YES, it is the person I’ve known for over 40 years as Ken. But his friends sometimes call him “Beaver.”
We each stumble for the right words. Each of us instinctively understands that screaming out anything about cross dressing drag queens may embarrass both of us. So we carry on a normal conversation as if neither of us realizes how bizarre this scene is.
I turn to a confused Christine, “You remember my, uh, friend, uh, KEN.. right?” She’s just excited to see somebody famous and greets him warmly. (He is an Emmy Award winning writer/director and a big deal in Hollywoodland.) Noticeably cranky Ken meanwhile is wanting to have a discussion and/or fist fight with the bartender who is intentionally avoiding all of us. He mutters something about how the barkeep screwed him over on a prior drink order. The girlfriend boldly takes matters into her hands, heads to the end of the bar and grabs the bartender guy by his shirt and gets all up in his face.
When she returns to us she reports on her successful communication tactics, “He said ‘tell your famous friend thanks for nothing.” That did not help calm my now highly agitated friend in a bad Afro wig and makeup named Beaver. (My friend is called “Beaver,” not the make-up.)
But wait… now the woman sitting to my left is getting my attention as she slides a bourbon rocks toward me and says, “I want to buy you a drink.” Pulling myself away from the Beaver vs. Bartender battle, I see that my drink giver is an older, attractive, African American woman. I respond to her gift with a confused, “Why do you want to buy ME a drink?!” which seems to upset her. She gives me “the look” and quickly turns her back as I stutter, “No, I’m sorry, I’ve never had this happen before, and I don’t know the proper protocol, but, THANK YOU very much.”
Sadly, the story ends here as the room comes alive with hub-bub and I hear voices, including my girlfriend’s, excitedly exclaiming, “Oh My God, look who just came in… it’s BILLY BUSH!”
The preceding story is an actual dream as experienced 7/30/2017 by Bobby Rich