Somehow, I feel like I've told this story before, but I don't know where. Anyway, this is the story of the most bizarre and amusing night of my life. It is the kind of story you cannot make up because no one would imagine this.

I used to have two good friends named Martin and Ed. Martin and I were like the dynamic duo, we had known each other since grade school and we were like brothers. Ed had been a friend of my younger brother's who hitched up with us because he felt he had more in common with us than he did with my brother. Ed was very intelligent and had a thing for computers before they became mainstream. He was also one of the most bizarre people I've ever known. When it came to music he was, for lack of a better word, "snooty." Whatever Martin and me were into, he could cite ten reasons why it was crap. Ed only listened to classical music and The Beatles. And Rick Springfield. He insisted Rick Springfield was a musical genius. This is the point at which you realize Ed is not some kind of highbrow finger-pointer. This is the point where you realize he is just insane.

Ed had this strange obsession with strip clubs and with porn in general. Despite being an attractive and physically fit young man, he was extremely nervous around girls, and while he had many girls throwing looks his way, he always found reasons why they weren't "right." The fact was that he was just very, very nervous all the time. So, whenever we got together with Ed, he either wanted to rent porn or go to a strip club. In many ways, he reminds me of Fez from That 70s Show, except he had no balls, he was just very, very nervous all the time (as I have already said, but it bears repeating for the purposes of dramatic foreshadowing).

Ed almost never drank alcohol. There were two exceptions. When we went out to a bar, usually a seedy neighborhood bar with a live band where everyone drank bottles of beer, he would insist on trying to order a frozen dacquiri or something on that level. No matter how many times we asked him not to do this, he did not see the problem. The other time he drank was when he had a party at his own home. At such parties he would freeze a bottle of absolut vodka and then drink the entire bottle straight before passing out on his living room floor. There was no rhyme or reason to his behavior except in his own mind. He would turn down a single screwdriver at someone else's party, but chug down straight vodka in his own home.

"Hello, can you tell me who the featured performer is tonight?"

There are several lines spoken by Ed that remain forever etched into my consciousness. This was one of them. Before going to an area strip club, he would call ahead to ask who the "featured performer" was. I suppose he thought maybe he might know her from his intensive porn movie viewing. And so, one night, after he announced that someone he knew and "appreciated" from porn movies was going to be at the strip club, he insisted we needed to go so he could meet her. This was his dream. A guy so nervous he couldn't talk to girls who were interested in him wanted to meet a porn star. This was his plan. He saw no problems with the plan. This was going to go perfectly. Martin and I just nodded and let him convince us to accompany him to the strip club in question.

Ed would never drink at a strip club. He would not even take a sip of beer. He had this obsession with "remaining focused," although Martin and I were sure we did not want to consider what he meant by this. We found a table and sat down while the "warm up" performers took the stage. Ed was chomping at the bit, waiting for his beloved porn star to take the stage, while we drank beer and did shots of tequila. He was driving and we were just amused, so we were taking it right to the edge. Then came the first moment of absurdity of the night.

The porn star Ed was so intent on meeting was standing directly behind him and she was almost completely naked, talking to two guys at the table behind Ed. Martin and I had a clear view of her and tried to inform Ed of what was going on without being obvious. He did not understand our signals, and even after this porn star's bare breast scraped across Ed's arm, he merely muttered a quick, "Excuse me," without looking, as if he had been bumped into by a man. At that point, Martin and I checked out. This was just too absurd to be happening.

Unable to believe this whole scene, Martin and I did more shots, drank more beer and joked to each other about Ed's general ineptitude. One stripper in particular did not much care for Martin or myself. As she did her thing, she called down to us, but we did not hear her. She wanted us to pay attention to her and to respond to her, but we did not care. Ed was eagerly trying to fulfill her demands, but she was ignoring him as much as we were ignoring her. After a while, the stripper in question became angry and demanded we be thrown out of the bar because we were ignoring her. The bouncer didn't know what to say and he wasn't going to force us to leave, but we were already too drunk to care and had not wanted to be there in the first place, so we agreed to just leave. Ed was disappointed. He wasn't going to get to see his beloved porn star on stage. It took us most of the next half hour to explain to him that her bare breast had been rubbing against his arm periodically for most of the night.

A disappointed Ed drove home, insisting that he would have known if this porn star was really rubbing against him. We laughed at him. We were completely drunk and just wanted to get home. Ed continued to insist we were wrong and that he wanted to go back, but we told him to just drive home. It was over. Well, actually, it wasn't. A few minutes later, flashing blue lights appeared behind us. We were getting pulled over by a cop from the town we were driving through.

"Do you know why I pulled you over, son?"

Martin and myself did some collective lip-biting. If you come from the dirtbag world we come from, being pulled over on your way home from the bar is pretty close to the worst thing that can happen, except that the guy driving was completely sober. This would be over quickly, after the police officer realized Ed was sober and no threat to anyone. Or so we thought.

"I don't know. I wasn't speeding, was I? Did I run through a stop sign? What did I do?"

Ed was stuttering and slurring his words. His initial response went from stupid questions to complete nonsense. Martin and I stopped biting our lips and instead started laughing. This was unreal. The cop was making Ed get out of the car. He was making him recite the alphabet forwards and backwards and making him walk a straight line on the state road we were driving on. Ed was completely, dead sober, but he was completely messing up the alphabet and he fell down twice trying to walk a straight line. You see, he was very, very nervous, all the time.

Drunk and watching this unfold from inside the car, Martin and I could not stop laughing. We were both on the floor of the car struggling to keep our insides from coming out. The cop was giving Ed a lecture on the dangers of drinking and driving, which we could hear through the open window of the car. Ed was apologizing and promising to "never do it again." Finally, at the same time, Martin and I sat up and started yelling, "Give him the breathalyzer!"

"Son, you've made a mistake tonight and your drunken accomplices are trying to make me put you in jail, but I think it would be better if you went home and thought about tonight and realized how much trouble it could be if you were to be arrested for drunk driving or if you got into an accident where you or someone else was hurt."

"I'm sorry, officer, it will never happen again."


I am reminded that I forgot the end of the story...

The reason why Ed did not profess his innocence and tell the police officer he was not drinking was because, he said, "I didn't want to get in trouble for liking strippers."

For Jet-Poop who made me realize this story was too long to explain via /msg. And the "featured performer" in question was "Keisha."