Best Friend and I did what we are famous for: doing an activity on the spur-of-the-moment. I had recently discovered a community theater, and the musical they were putting on was in its last days.
Why not? We had a day free from appointments and obligations, so Best Friend went ahead and bought the tickets online. Best Friend is so modern—
The day arrived, and we got together for lunch at a downtown eatery. We had been there before, until one incarnation, then a reincarnation, now in its fourth (?) incarnation. Being that this joint is in an old turn of the century building, we delighted in the bare brick walls inside and tin ceiling. The long bar was still intact, hundreds of bottles of liquor lining the mirrored wall. Tables were placed in a long row against booths, and each table had a LED candle burning atop it.
We ordered our usual, iced water and iced tea, and picked up the menus the hostess left for us.
“Hmmmm—” mused Best Friend. “This place is trying to be something it’s not.”
“I see that,” was my answered. “I think I’m just going with the hamburger with Swiss cheese and mushrooms, although I can do without the cheese.”
The waitress came to take out orders, and we were eating within fifteen minutes. Best Friend said that the bacon on the hamburger was good; I commented that arugula and spinach was strange on mine. Then we paid the bill and were on our merry way.
We then headed to the community theater, which was about eight blocks away. When the doors opened, and we were seated in our front row, I – we – were ready for some entertainment, namely, it was “Chess, the Musical.”
Basically, it is a story of an American chess player and a Soviet one, a woman who falls for the American first, then the Soviet. Enter the Soviet’s wife, add each player’s coach for intrigue, and you have an odd story that just doesn’t cut it. Then add on some really poor music compositions by Abba (Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus) and Tim Rice.
But the oddest, strangest character in this play was The Arbitrator, whom I renamed “The Domimatrix.”
She was a cross between Grace Jones and Ayanna Pressley and built like a tank. She had high leather boots, skin-tight tights, a bustier, and an attitude that would make a man quake in answering, “How high?” when she’d demand him to “Jump!” She had all the attitude of the angry black woman you can imagine. “I’m a git you, sucka!”
Truthfully, the actor playing the Soviet chess player was the best in his craft that afternoon, but this Arbiter/Domimatrix actress is the only one I can remember clearly.
She was scary.
©2022 Colcannon Metropolis, excerpt from “Painting the Town Red”