Tuesday is Nightfly's unofficial night off. The best service-industry nights are usually Mondays, while bars and clubs begin their descent into the weekend on Wednesdays. It's unwise to expect anything great out of a Tuesday night — you might scam a few drinks if you're lucky, but that's it.
There are, however, exceptions.
My buddy Ryan and I just spent 15 minutes watching stand-up comedy at Rudyard's, and now we're at the Next Door (2010 Waugh). I've loaded the jukebox with a round of Motörhead, Ministry and Nick Cave. We're settling in to drink, but keeping our options open.
"One of the guys in Peekaboo Theory says he's going to the Gold Cup later," Ryan says. I disregard the idea; there's nothing sadder than a strip club on a Tuesday. We're better off drinking.
Another phone call. Ryan goes outside while I scout the room for interesting conversation. Last week I spent a few minutes listening to a base-jumper talk about a business trip to India. He mostly wanted to talk about stuffed cobras and human sacrifice. Tonight, unfortunately, he's nowhere to be found.
Ryan returns. "All right, listen to this."
The call was from someone at Late Nite Pie (502 Elgin). The story, as I understand it, involves a man in his mid-twenties sitting at the bar there. This guy has had a very bad night. He flew in from Chicago less than four hours ago to surprise his girlfriend and, sparing the lurid details, the whole thing went awry. Now he's drinking beer, passing large bills to the wait staff, tipping the cooks and saying he wants to get a limo and spend the few thousand dollars he had previously reserved for an engagement ring.
"She heard this and thought it sounded like an interesting situation," Ryan says. The gentleman is unopposed to our being his planners for the evening.
"This Tuesday has potential," I tell Ryan.
We head to Late Nite Pie and are introduced to one Giovanni, who tells us to call him Gio. Gio says he's a hip-hop and house producer, and mentions names like Jeezy and Scott Storch, in addition to some relatively obscure — though well-played — house tracks. Gio is ready to party, and the call of adventure quickly supersedes any doubts about the legitimacy of all parties involved.
"I just don't want to end up in a position where I can be taken advantage of," Gio says, pointing at the scar on his face, ostensibly from a kidnapping incident.
Ryan is outside working the phone, trying to procure a limo. Gio leaves for the restroom. The girl who made the introduction sits at the bar and we share an awkward moment. She raises her eyebrows; I shrug.
"This is weird, huh?"
"No doubt," I say.
"I just hope I didn't sentence you guys to death."
"That would make me feel really bad."
"Me too," I say, noting her lack of irony.
Gio returns with Ryan close behind.
"All right," Ryan says. "We got a stretch Hummer coming this way. No liquor, though. Short notice."
"That's too bad," sighs Gio. "I really wanted some liquor."
It's 11 p.m. "We've got an hour left to buy beer and wine," I say. "We can make something happen."
"You guys hang here and wait for the car," Ryan says. "I'm gonna go pick up some people. We can meet at my apartment and leave from there."
Ryan leaves. Gio and I order another round of beer and sit in a booth.
"When did you get started?" I ask.
"Sold my first track when I was still in college. I was around 19, I think."
"Where'd you go to school?"
"Engineering. I don't know why. I can do trig and shit. Music is more fun."
Right before we finish our beer, the stretch rolls up and parks across Elgin. Gio and I kill the remaining brew and stroll toward the car. We're greeted by Nick, our driver. He opens the door. Gio gives Nick a few hundred dollars, and we climb in.
Nick looks at Gio and grins. "You're famous."
"You recognize me?" asks Gio.
"Yeah," says Nick. "You're a star." He closes the door.
"He recognized me," says Gio. "I've only been in one video." We work at getting the music started.
After a quick beer run, Nick parks in front of Ryan's apartment. The charter members of the evening's posse climb in. Everyone is introduced.
Nick eyes us expectantly from the pilot's chair.
Gio nods at Ryan. Ryan looks at me. We both turn to Nick.
A stretch Hummer, $80 worth of beer, a stack of cash, six women, two Houston nightlife enthusiasts, a mysterious stranger and several hours before daybreak. Not too bad for a Tuesday.
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