Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Monday, July 23, 2007

Last Stand At The O.K. Corral

Another Sordid Heckle & Jeckle Tale

I was traveling to work the other morning, and I spotted a sad sight... They're tearing down the O.K. Corral, a local nightclub.

I hate to see a bar demolished, especially one I've got a history with.

Let me take you back to Houston, TX in the halcyon days of the early 80's... It was morning in America, the Gipper had the godless Rooskie Commie bastards shitting borscht in their britches, and Houston was a Country & Western town.

This was just after the release of 'Urban Cowboy', and the honky-tonk craze was in full swing. Houston had not one but two FM country radio stations, KILT and KIKK. KIKK was by far the most popular of the two, and you couldn't turn around without seeing one of their bumper stickers plastered on a pickup. There were also at least half a dozen C&W stations on the AM dial, mostly coming in from the surrounding counties.

KIKK was so ubiquitous that in the Houston metro region, anyone who listened to C&W music was referred to as a KIKK-er, or "kicker". Going out two-stepping was commonly referred to as "going out kicker-dancing". Since KIKK went off the air in the 90's, you rarely hear that phrase anymore.

When you did go out honky-tonkin', the place to see and be seen in a big ol' hat & boots was Gilley's, out in Pasadena. There was another popular place up in Conroe called Johnny B. Dalton's, but that catered to the real cowboy crowd, not the urban wannabes.

I can't mention Johnny B's without mentioning their infamous Quarter Pitcher Night, where after paying a $10 cover, you got pitchers of draft beer for two bits. Towards the ass-end of the 80's, me and several co-workers would play the "whoever pisses first loses and buys everyone bourbon shots" game, at least until a guy named Stover got us busted by whizzing in a pitcher under the table. But I digress...

If you didn't want to drive out to Conroe, or drive all the way to the Ass End of Creation That Actually Smells Like Ass, aka Pasadena, you could always head to the NW corner of Long Point & Gessner in Spring Branch.

Now, the years are long, and my memory is tainted by much chemical abuse between then & now. As far as I can recall, the place was called Wild West in the early 80's. It later had the name changed to Midnight Rodeo, and later to OK Corral, when it switched from a redneck clientele to one more suited to norteƱo and conjunto music.

Now, it must be said that in 1982 I was too young to get into bars. Even with the 19 year old drinking age back then, I had a long way to go. Still, that Country & Western saloon holds a near and dear place in my heart for their actions above & beyond the call of duty for a redneck watering hole. Lemme asplain...

I've mentioned Heckle & Jeckle, my juvenile cohorts in crime, before. This was another of our outings, in the summer in between 8th and 9th grade. I was bound for Spring Woods High, Heckle & Jeckle were heading for Stratford High, and that summer was our last hurrah before being split up.

We had bicycled over to the old Dollar movie theater on Long Point one Saturday morning to watch a flick, and ended up staying several more hours just horsing around and bullshitting with the teenage crowd that always seemed to congregate there.

We finally headed back to my house, and as we got closer to the big C&W honky tonk at the opposite end of the shopping center from the theater, we saw a huge crowd gathered outside. This was really odd for a Saturday afternoon, so we biked over that direction to see what was going on.

We pushed our bikes through the edges of the crowd, and gazed with 13 year old eyes at a crowd of scantily clad wimmen standing up on a flatbed trailer.

Yes, friends and neighbors, we had inadvertently stumbled upon a wet T-shirt contest. Wild West was holding some form of Redneck Games that weekend, and we just happened by at the right time.

OK, here's the thing about 13 year old boys. They spend as much time as possible daydreaming about nekkid wimmen, and at least a third of that time playing Yankie The Crankie. The usual source of erotica for a 13 year old in 1982 was usually a purloined Playboy, or a shopworn Penthouse, maybe even a Hustler or a mail-order p()rno catalog lifted from the stash of someone's older brother. 13 year olds, for the most part, are still 2-3 years away from any remote chance of seeing actual live breasts larger than an A-Cup.

Oh, to the moms out there with young teenage boys? Yeah, they're monkey-spanking more often than you can imagine. I just want to make sure you're not in denial over it. I used to work with one woman who had to go on anti-anxiety meds after a co-worker & I informed her that her "perfect" son was probably playing pocket pool at least twice a day and lying to her about it when she questioned him on it. Heh. Like you're going to admit that to your mom...

Anyway, there we are, three freshly adolescent males in broad daylight on a summer afternoon, and there's two dozen all-growed-up & well-endowed wimmens getting ice-cold water poured over paper-thin cotton T-shirts. Now, I haven't seen many wet T-shirt contests, but I can say that there's a common theme among them where the skimpy T-shirts get pulled aside or up or even completely off in response to urging from the crowd.

I'm still not sure how they got away with holding that contest outside. No one said "Boo" to us as we stood there for over an hour in dropped-jaw mute amazement, only shifting position occasionally to rearrange our britches.

Eventually, the contest came to an end, and Heckle & Jeckle & I came to the unspoken agreement that it would be best if we parted ways in order to go home & 'meditate' about the amazing sights we'd seen that day.

You know, I can't recall if I ever actually went inside that bar. Maybe once on a whim in the early 90's. Still, I'm sad to see it go. You never forget your first helping of nekkid bouncing boobies, and we got 48 of 'em that day.

So, adios, Wild West/Midnight Rodeo/OK Corral! This song's for you!
(Not Even Remotely Safe For Work!!)