"Do y'all want anything to eat?" Timmy's mom asked as she opened the French door to the den.
There I sat, one sock from naked, on a hand-painted foot stool, holding two two's, two three's, and an Ace; and praying she wouldn't venture around to my side of the table.
"No Mama, leave us alone! Wait, can you pour me some Pepsi?" he asked.
"Yeah. David, Kevin, y'all want Pepsi, Kool-Aid, milk, or...?"
"Pepsi's fine," I interrupted, attempting to keep her as close to the door as possible. David ordered Pepsi, and we resumed our game.
As the door closed, I asked Timmy, "Are you crazy? Now, she's definitely going to see me."
"Don't blame me 'cause you suck at poker," he replied.
In what seemed like fewer than ninety seconds, she was back with three red solo cups of Pepsi, and a brand new can of Planters peanuts. "Can't play cards without peanuts," she informed us. "Kevin, do you need one of Timmy's T-Shirts to sleep in?"
"No Ma'am, I have one. I'm just trying to cool off," I reassured her.
"OK. Y'all don't stay up too late," she warned, and headed off to bed.
Of course we were staying up late. It was December 9, 1983, and the network television premiere of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video would be shown on NBC's Friday Night Videos, to the majority of Americans who were not fortunate enough to have seen its debut a week earlier on MTV.
"It's only 11:00. What are we going to do for an hour and a half?" I asked my mostly-dressed, twelve-year-old compadres.
"Let's play Make Me Laugh," Timmy suggested. I was delighted. Timmy suggesting Make Me Laugh was like John McEnroe saying to Jimmy Connors, "I don't know, wanna play tennis?" We were both seasoned professionals.
"We should play Strip Make Me Laugh," I joked, "I guarantee y'all there is absolutely no way I'm losing at that game!"
As the game got underway, Timmy and I sat straight-faced on the couch as David wrapped a thin, red blanket tightly over his face, and began howling at some pretend moon, somewhere. I really hadn't noticed how beak-like David's nose was until then, and its prominence became undeniable. Then, I yawned.
"Time's up," Timmy said, "my turn."
David took Timmy's place on the couch, and neither of us had any idea that we were about to witness history in the making.
As the intro to Late Nite with David Letterman played on the TV in the corner, Timmy opened with a series of close-up, rhyming, nonsense words, strung together and delivered with maestro-like timing, "Lay, Tay, May, Say, Fay, Jay, Vay, Tay, Day, Pay, Jay, PAY-DAY, KAY!"
David snickered, but managed to not break a smile. I remained stone-faced, and quite frankly, unimpressed. Although I had never heard that bit from such proximity before, it had certainly lost its edge since originating in my backyard months earlier.
"You're going to have to do better than that," I thought to myself.
As if reading my mind, Timmy grabbed the black, knit tie he had worn to the middle school band, holiday performance hours earlier, and tied it around his head. He then yanked off his sweat pants, and launched into his best Olivia Newton-John impression. "Let's get phys-i-cal, phys-i-cal. I wanna get phys-i-cal, Let's get into physical." and as he gave David what we would years later refer to as a "lap dance", he continued, "Let me hear your body talk, your body talk. Let me hear your body ta-halk."
David burst into laughter as he forcefully, launched Timmy backwards, onto the floor beyond. Unfazed and quite aware that he had approximately one minute and fifteen seconds to make me laugh, he sprang back to his feet, and was in my face once again. This time he was yelling at me like a drill sergeant with just the right amount of spit turning into drool between commands, "Laugh Loser! When I say laugh, I mean laugh! You better wipe that smug look off your face and laugh!"
Admittedly, by then, the sight of an inch and a half stream of drool that intentionally clung to his chin, juxtaposed with the thought of a lispy drill sergeant wearing tightey-whities, black socks, and a headband was almost too much to bear.
And then it happened. With twenty-seven seconds left on the calculator watch timer, Timmy casually walked over to the poker table. Then, while standing directly in front of me, he pulled the yellow, plastic top off the Planters peanut can. He then ripped off the foil seal, opened up the front of his underwear, and emptied the entire can of peanuts into his fruit-of-the-looms. Then, placing both hands behind his head, and with Chippendale precision, he began a brutal barrage of pelvic thrusts. I glanced down at the timer. Each thrust seemed miraculously synchronized with the countdown of the remaining seconds, and I knew, as peanuts bounced across the hardwood floor in all directions, that the end was near. As one stray peanut somehow hit me in the forehead, I burst into some well-deserved laughter. I had just witnessed the most hilarious thing I would ever see.