Last night I received some disturbing news.
Frankie is dead.
And by that I mean Frankie's has cancelled Tuesday night karaoke.
We've been frequenting Frankie's for a solid three months now, and excluding the last three weeks, we never missed a Tuesday night. Leah, Sarah and I emailed excitedly all day about our highly anticipated return to glory. We even left a little earlier than usual to be sure to get a good table.
I don't think any of us were prepared for what we would find when we arrived.
Something felt wrong from the moment I opened the door. It was too bright in there...didn't they usually dim the lights? And where was everybody? The place was dead. (I suppose I should have recognized the obvious foreshadowing there.)
That's when I saw Angie (our regular waitress) speaking in a soothing voice to Levi and Leah. Something about the way she had her hand on Leah's shoulder told me that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Sarah and I approached with caution, and that's when they broke the news: it was over. Forever.
It was like showing up for a wedding only to be informed that the bride and groom had split up.
It was like showing up for Grandpa's 90th birthday party only to find that Grandpa had died, but not before he cut you out of his will.
It was like that time you were leaving Easter mass and said to your mom, "There's no such thing as the Easter bunny, is there?" with a feeling of mature enlightenment, only to have her reply, "Yeah, it's kinda like Santa Claus," and then falling into a downward spiral of tears, doubt and despair because you hadn't quite made that particular connection yet. But maybe that was just me.
I know we've all been away a while; we got busy with work or school, we went to Texas, we were tired after returning from Texas...but we always took for granted that Frankie's would be there waiting for us when we were ready to come back. It's so hard to believe he's just...gone.
What are we supposed to do on Tuesday nights now? We can't keep going to Frankie's, because without karaoke, it would just be a bunch of us sitting around drinking on a Tuesday night, which somehow feels far sadder than a bunch of us sitting around drinking and watching strangers make complete fools of themselves on a Tuesday night.
Where else can I get up and rap in front of a full house without facing ridicule and a probable beating? Where is Leah going to take her Cher impersonation act? Where in the name of Pete are we going to get that drink that tastes exactly like Dubble Bubble Bubblegum?!?!?
We didn't even get to say goodbye.
I'd like to take some time to do that now.
Goodbye, Angie. You are the best waitress we've ever had anywhere. You always remembered our drinks and made us feel at home. You were like a mom-away-from-mom for many of us - someone to bring us food and drinks and clean up after us - and we love you for it.
Goodbye, Weird UCCS Theatre Kids. We won't really miss you and your insistence upon singing songs from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. You guys were kinda vulgar and we secretly used to show up early in hopes of getting out of there before you arrived.
Goodbye, Red. Everyone knows that wasn't your real name because your hair is blonde, but if using a fake name gave you the confidence you needed to get up there several times a week and sing terribly, then you go, girl. You. Go.
Goodbye, Dottie. You were the worst singer we've ever heard, and your trashy 70's country song choices were enough to make me want to punch an old lady. Namely, you.
Goodbye, Guy With the Crazy Mustache and All the Hats. We thought you were really awesome when you sang "I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" while wearing that awesome safari hat. It was a real crowd pleaser, and it made us feel included. Unfortunately our opinion of you tanked when you changed the lyrics of "Cocomo" by the Beach Boys into something I'm not willing to repeat. Not even on the internet.
Goodbye, David. You loved you some Journey songs. We always kinda thought you worked there, but were too afraid to ask. Or maybe we just didn't really care.
And finally, goodbye, Jordan. You're the only one on this list who might actually ever read this because we're friends on Facebook, if not in real life. You're the bomb. I don't know if there's anyone else in the world capable of performing Led Zeppelin and Outkast with your level of accuracy and flair. You're the best KJ we've ever known. Also your hair is good.
Rest in peace, Frankie. You ruined our lives.