GayCalgary® Magazine [copy]

Cocktail Chatter

“Who’s Barry Esai?”: The Vodka Tonic

Lifestyle by Ed Sikov (From GayCalgary® Magazine, August 2011, page 29)

Kyle, Robbie, Phil Levine and some little wisp of a Thai twink on Phil Levine’s lap were hot in conversation when I arrived on Friday evening. As I walked in I thought I heard Phil Levine say, "...Barry Esai a lot lately. Gets my juices flowin’ know what I mean?"’ "(Something) Barry Esai?" Kyle asked, and Robbie swatted him playfully on the shoulder. "(Something something) at Top of the Harbor... that cute bartender with the nipple ring... Barry Esai!"

"Who’s Barry Esai?" I asked. There was a split second of silence, and then they all burst into humiliating laughter. "Barry Esai!" Phil Levine sang out. "Oh that’s hysterical I’ve got to tell Martin!" He was already speed dialing his cell phone. "It’s me get this Mr. Ed just walked in remember that hunky bartender at Top of the Harbor yeah the one with the pecs and that drink he made me yeah well Ed just asked

‘Who’s Barry Esai?!’" He laughed himself into a coughing jag. "Call me later," he gasped. "I want to try out my new gel dong on you heh heh heh in fact come over now but this time use the Fleet before you leave" and hung up. "Barry Esai!" he boomed and had another coughing fit. The poor Thai kid pouted as he shook violently on Phil Levine’s muscled thighs.

I felt my face get hot. I know I’m hard of hearing and sometimes get things wrong, but this was out of control. "The bartender’s name is Barry Esai? What’s so funny about that?" This produced a whole new round of hilarity.

Kyle came to my rescue. "It’s not the bartender’s name, Ed. It’s an Absolut flavor – Berri Acai." I must have looked as confused as I felt, because Robbie chimed in, "Berri – like in blueberry – and Acai, that rain forest whatever. That whippin’ hot bartender at Top of the Harbor was making something real good out of it a couple weeks ago. I don’t remember what was in it but it was great." Just as I stopped feeling like the world’s stupidest primate, he exclaimed, "Barry Esai! Oh man."

I stomped off to my room. I don’t handle these situations well. Yes, I need hearing aids – yet another step in the demoralizing deterioration of the human body that makes helpless fools of us for most of our lives and ends in the grave. I looked at myself in the mirror and deliberately pulled my T-shirt up so I could wallow in my shame. I stared for at least half a minute and felt my mood sinking further into the quicksand.

"Snap out of it, Belly Boy," I finally said out loud and let my shirt fall back down. "Go back to the harbor and buy some Barry Esai." Halfway there I even started singing: "I feel fatty and ratty and tatty – but I’m going to buy me a big peppermint patty – I’m alive! I’m alive! I’m alive!"

The Vodka Tonic

2 oz Absolut Berri Acai or any flavor you’d like, or plain but premium vodka

Tonic water

Fill a tumbler with ice, add the vodka and pour in tonic to taste. Canada Dry and Schweppes each make good tonics, but there’s a new guy on the block – an upscale brand called Q. Perfectly named, it’s also extraordinarily good. Agave, no sugar; authentic quinine, no artificial flavors. We’re here, drink Queer – get juiced with it.

Repercussions: The Cosmopolitan

Before leaving for the July long weekend, I had to sit through an afternoon luncheon during which a jackass honoree turned a simple thank you into an interminable Castro-like State of the Planet allocution out from which I finally sneaked. I had to race for the train to Sayville, but by the time the ferry docked at the Pines harbor, the tensions of the city had receded. By dusk, when I finished my weekly Killing Fields war against our rampant poison ivy, I was thoroughly relaxed. (I patrol the place with Round-Up and spit "Die, mother****er, die!" with every satisfying spray).

The front gate opened and in strolled Jack Fogg and Sammy and Dan, who had left work early to surprise me. Surprise doesn’t describe the electric-chair jolt I felt. As you may recall – I sure did – I’d plowed Jack Fogg the last time he was out, and I hadn’t seen him since. Now I had a sudden bad-trip rush. So many questions! Did Sammy know? Would Dan find out? Might it happen again? Could Jack Fogg and I talk our partners into a four-way? Did Jack Fogg remember how he moaned?  I held the Round-Up in front of my jeans.

I hadn’t seen the point of telling Dan about my new familiarity with Jack’s ass. What good would it do? It would just make him sad. Moreover, it wouldn’t help me get any more of Jack’s ass. And how was I supposed to phrase it? "Hey Dan? We’re out of mayo, your Amex bill came, and oh – I forgot to tell you – I screwed Jack Fogg"?

Let promiscuous partners lie – that’s my motto. So lie I did. But it simply didn’t register with me that we’d all be spending a sweltering Fourth of July together. Dan and I would be shirtless in our shorts all day while Jack Fogg would be showing off his fine pecs in Madras trunks and Sammy would be displaying his prize-winning beefsteak in Speedos. The sweat! The testosterone!

While prepping dinner, I squeezed past Jack between the kitchen island and the sink as Jack was fixing his first Madras. My front met his backside and greeted it as an old friend. "Did you tell him?" I asked in a low voice. "Of course!" he replied. "That was the whole point!"

I shrank. "You mean you were just getting back at Sammy for his Chicken Vindaloo?" (Jack had caught him in bed with a young Indian delivery boy.) Jack turned around and pressed me against the counter with his hairy stomach. "No, hot stuff," he whispered. "But there’s nothing like a vengeance screw. I always tell Sammy and he always makes me pay for it. Everybody gets something, especially me."

Yeah, everybody but Dan. What would I do about Dan? I spent the weekend worrying and ended up doing nothing but choosing as le cocktail du weekend a little joke only I understood. Sammy with his Vindaloo, WASPy Jack, and two New York Jews, one of whom had a big, hot secret. How terribly cosmopolitan.

The Cosmopolitan

2 parts Absolut Citron

½ part Triple Sec

1 part cranberry Juice

Splash of lime juice

Pour ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake and pour into a cocktail glass. Perch a thin orange slice on the edge of the glass.(GC)

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