Happy Deathday, Kid

Nothing will ruin a little girl's birthday party faster than the presence of a dead man.

A little girl's birthday party was ruined a few Sundays ago by an ambulance treating a drowning man at John U. Lloyd State Park in Hollywood.

Tailpipe had just emerged from the roiling riptides at the park, his rusty hide covered in sea lice bites, when he heard sirens and watched an ambulance skid into the park's picnic area. Sun-dazed families looked up from their barbecues to see paramedics leap out and race across the beach toward 36-year-old Vance Sainvil, who had been pulled from the waves moments before. Frantic family members said he had just disappeared under the water, only feet from them.

The 'Pipe gawked as the medics hoisted Sainvil onto a stretcher and raced him back toward the ambulance across the sand; then he joined the knot of screaming family members around the ambulance, listening to them wail in Creole as EMT personnel vainly tried to resuscitate Sainvil.

Into this grief-wracked scene strode an irate, apparently Hispanic, young woman with long hair. Her face writhed with emotion. She screamed and waved her arms, pushing her way through a clot of distraught Haitians toward Park Ranger Robert Barker, who was trying to move back a crowd of curious onlookers.

"I don't need a dead person's ambulance hanging around!" she yelled at Barker, her face working with outrage. "It's my 3-year-old daughter's birthday. I don't need this for my future mental health. I don't need her to remember an ambulance here on her birthday."

Chihuahua! She was right. The ambulance had been parked in the picnic area for about 20 minutes, casting the pall of death across the beautiful sunny day. But, then, what's too long when a man is dying?

Ranger Barker replied with a stony look. "We don't need this right now," he said.

The woman took her grievance to the source of the problem: Sainvil's family members. "I don't need this right now," Tailpipe heard her telling a tearful woman, who didn't even respond but turned her back and continued wailing.

Tailpipe, hypnotized by the display, followed the mother as she retreated from the gruesome scene. "If he dies here or he dies at the hospital, it doesn't matter," he overheard her telling a man in an orange vest holding a broom and a dustbin.

"Yes," the man returned. "It's really hard."

The woman disappeared into a changing hut.

News stories the next day noted that Sainvil, a Pompano Beach resident, had been pronounced dead upon his arrival at Memorial Regional Hospital. They made no mention of a spoiled birthday party as a Haitian man, apparently much loved by his family, was giving up the ghost.

Complimentary Shaft

Boca Raton comedy club manager Norm Jeanis reluctantly called off the Playgirl cover model competition the other day. After only two contestants had shown up for his planned American Idol-style competition at New York Comedy Club, Jeanis declared the Playgirl cover model competition "in abeyance."

"You can't force people to compete," Jeanis shrugged after nobody at all showed up for what was to have been the second round of an eight-week run.

He has also spiked the Craigslist.com and MySpace.com announcements, promising a $100 prize for each night of competition and a "chance" to become a Playgirl cover model.

In truth, the "chance" meant that International Entertainers, a Florida male strip revue that is said to have a Playgirl connection but never answers phones, must approve of the winner, whom they would then present to the magazine. The punch line: No guarantees. Was this Jeanis' own quirky comedy routine or, Tailpipe wanted to know, a rip-off?

The 'Pipe has had little intimate contact with the stripping profession, but he long ago discovered that the truth about promotional scams travels faster than air from a punctured balloon.

The week before it all came crashing down, the stout, red-nosed club manager actually recruited a pair of contestants — Christopherand Timothy — from Boardwalk, a gay Fort Lauderdale strip club.

Christopher, 20, an agile, good-looking stud with a hawk cut and multiple piercings and tattoos, had recently blown in from Baltimore, hoping to find a pot of gold in South Florida, the mecca for male strippers. Timothy, a green-eyed 24-year-old, recently fled Minneapolis, he said, after his younger brother was stabbed to death by gang members.

The Monday-night crowd at the comedy club, which is tucked behind a Burger King in the back of Piccadilly Square shopping center, was almost as sparse as whiskers on a cue ball. But the two gave it what-for. Highlights included Timothy's saucy ass-shake and a racy glimpse or two of the package in Christopher's jockstrap. Christopher was clearly the more experienced stripper, but the more rough-hewn Timothy got the nod.

Then it was "Thanks, guys" from Jeanis, but no prize money tonight from the club that often packs audiences in for B-list comedians like Artie Fletcher and Al Romero.

"They knew the rules," Jeanis told the surprised 'Pipe, without making eye contact. He pointed to the sign-up sheet, which clearly indicated that, unless at least four dancers showed up, there would be no $100 prize. The dancers were also required to bring four guests each, though Jeanis said he'd have been willing to waive that rule. Timothy had noticed the stipulations but didn't much care. Christopher hadn't looked before he signed.

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