Primate on the Rocks

In a Wilton Manors bar, the monkeys are cool and the Cocksuckers are creamy

"Well, some maturity in a relationship is never bad," I said. "What song are you going to sing?"

"I think I'm gonna do 'Friends in Low Places' by Garth Brooks," he said, seeming both nervous and quite pleased with his decision.

Karaoke: A short, dark-haired man did a fantastic song in Spanish (after which one of the other patrons remarked, "I didn't know what the hell you were singing, but that was great!"). One of my companions impressively rendered Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back." Shay, a short, young woman with cropped hair, lent a crisp, beautiful voice to "Mary Jane."

Karaoke is supposed to suck. Why the hell were these people here and not on Broadway? To get the scoop, I decided to chat up Olivia, a curvaceous woman with long brown hair who seemed to belong to a trio of incredibly good singers — including Shay and Chef Mikey's beau.

"What brings you out tonight?" I asked her.

"I'm a tax auditor," she said. "This is my stress release."

"How many tax audits do you do?" somebody asked.

"I do five audits a week, plus 12 sets of taxes," she said, looking stressed just thinking about her work. "And I do karaoke three times a week at a few different bars.

"That stressful, huh?"

"My all-time favorite is 'White Rabbit' by Jefferson Airplane. Or maybe some Journey — I'm doing an Ozzy song next," she said. "I'm also the reason Freddy has so much metal in his book. What song are you doing?"

"Ohhh no," I said. Glittery or not, I don't get on stages if I can help it. "I don't sing." I mean, not for people, but in the shower, to my plants, and in the safe confines of my vehicle."Getting up there is an amazing feeling, and everyone will support you," she said. "I can actually sing, but a lot of these people can't." That wasn't reassuring. I had heard her sing, and she didn't just sing; she was practically Celine fucking Dion.

I felt the need to change the subject abruptly.

"What do you think of all this monkey stuff?" I asked.

She pointed at a painted wooden cutout of a brown chimpanzee with a particularly devilish expression on his little face.

"I'm in love with him," she said. "He just looks like he's saying, 'C'mon, let's go fuck with somebody.' I sit by him every time I come in."

The evening was a success. My monkey adventures were better than Jane Goodall's, except, you know, with less science and more beer.

Then the time came for Chef Mikey to make his way to the stage. He began his rendition of "Low Places." He started a little shaky and missed some words and notes occasionally. He let out a few loud sounds most polite primates would never make in public, but he grew increasingly comfortable with the stage — near the end, he even let out an impassioned "Yeehaw!"

When he finished, everyone applauded, and strangers slapped him on the back. Applause and acceptance make me happy too, but neither one can compare with the joy of monkeys.

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