When we last left our heroes they were standing on the sand, arm in arm before a glorious sunset.
This will be the last out of towner for the year, a year that’s been filled with strange and wondrous jaunts.
Later in the evening, yes, at wacky tacky Benihanas, we make toast upon toast to these travels:
The long weekends spent in the Arizona ghettos or amidst the siren call of the Clark street bars, Chicago
Huddled around the Hard Rock blackjack table with the Shattered Faith crew post-gig, willing each other to blow their nightly pay on sketchy double down bets.
Was it really just days ago we stood on a rainy Portland street corner eating pork belly, the new coin of the realm, upon toasted pupusa?
Another round of blue drinks is crowded upon the Teppan cooktop , jostling for room against towers of giant Sapporo and steaming flasks of sake.
When a man might live forever….
Like X-Men, we have developed unique superpowers at this stage of our lives.
Unfortunately, that gift is the ability to rouse from deep slumber and pee twice a night.
I roll off the squeaky twin and stumble for the bathroom, locked of course.
Alf is already up, shaving god knows what part of his body.
It’s a clenched elevator ride down to the lobby bathroom and if the front desk are shocked by my houndstooth pj bottoms and Cheap Trick Tshirt, they don’t respond beyond a smile and offer of a bottled water.
Back at the room the fellas are rousing, each of us sitting up in our wee beds set in a row.
But it’s just a few steps down the hall to the crysatlline pool, and we dunk our throbbing heads beneath waterfall and feel grand in no time!
Text are sent back and forth, chirping cell phones are hushed with a swipe of thumb and we are all set.
The kind promoter checks in to see if we are settled, can send a van over early if we wish to soundcheck.
Soundcheck? What is this strange thing you speak of?
We briefly weigh the sparkling ocean just a block away against spending a precious hour listening to Alf hitting a snare drum in an empty club.
Let’s hit the beach, shall we?
Lunch and then a quick tour of the indoor bars suggested by the locals.
We are pleased to see advertisements for the gig scattered here and there, and if we are embarrassed by the term Legends printed there in our reference, we only have to remind ourselves that Bigfoot remains a legend as well.
And like him, we are hairy mythical beasts that survive on stolen laundry and spam musubi.
After a refreshing nap back in our orphanage, we hit the nighttime streets of Honolulu and make our way to Anna O’Briens.
It turns out to be a proper night club, with a stage and electric lights and everything!
I don’t know what we expecting, maybe a palm thatched stage lit by torch.
Where do we get these goddamned ideas?
Another treat added to a weekend filled with them, we have a grip of old friends here to meet us.
Some have moved here, some just happen to be visiting at the time, and it is a blast to catch up so far away from our grubby roots.
And then we get up there and do the thing we came to do.
I mean, besides eating drinking and wallowing about the sand, silly!
And then like every other gig, it is over all too soon.
We don’t want it to end, not any of it.
Not the night, or the weekend or this fucking year.
We have time to chat up a few more friends before the houselights are flashed on, and though the rude jolt of reality is always illuminated by those harsh last-call floods, we simply remind ourselves:
we just played a set in goddamn Hawaii!
And we smile.
A late ride back to hotel, and maybe time for one more MocoLoco and one last view from the balcony:
A glowing moon, its yellow paint bled onto calm seas.
It’s not 8 hours later we are back through the Security checkpoint, a hundred dropped at airport bar and sealed back in the aluminum tube that hurtles toward home.
The plane clears the island below and banks East, wings dipping low enough for us to get a last glimpse of that blue Pacific.
An ocean shared, yet, home, translated to a far less melodic language.