Monday, July 17, 2006

Crashing the After After Party

Dedicated to Art Buchwald...

Last weekend I was in New York covering the "Olive Oil Memorial Fashion Diva Heroine Chic" Awards. Following a typically robust evening of high fashion and cutting-edge style, I staggered into a local McDonalds sometime after 2am.

There in line ahead of me was Tommy Hilfiger.

"Whale of a show, eh, Tommy?" I said.

Tommy looked over his shoulder at me and smiled. "Yeah," he said, "some of these new kids have some groovy ideas, love."

Then Tyra Banks sauntered up and grabbed Tommy by the arm, giving me a curious look. "You don't mind if I cut in, do you?" she cooed.

"Whatever," I said. It was 2am, what did I care?

"Tommy," came another voice, "whale of a show, eh love?"

Over at a nearby table, Elton John, Sting, and Al Gore were eating salads and waving. Tommy winked at them and turned to the 16-year-old kid with the zits behind the counter.

"Can I get a scotch on the rocks, young man?"

A rustling behind me caught my attention, and I turned to see a pair of legs sticking out of one of the waste bins. Several paparazzi anxiously shot photos of the stiletto-clad heels from a nearby window. Matt Leinhart looked over at me and shrugged.

"I hate it when Paris embarrases me like this," he said, then stopped. "Wait, am I even dating her anymore?"

Finally it was my turn, and I decided to go for the Happy Meal on the tip that this week's promotion was a new Superman toy--a rubber Superman doll with removable eyeglasses.

"Sorry sir," the kid said, "during the After After Party, the Happy Meals come with Ecstasy pills."

I just decided to go with the value meal.

As I scanned the restaurant, I realized that the place was filled to capacity. Everywhere I looked, A-listers, B-listers, and even Randy Quaid milled about clutching Chicken Selects, Big Macs, and a wide variety of fetching desserts. Over in one corner, Brad and Angelina were making small talk with Oliver Stone about his new World Trade Center movie. At another table, Arnold was debating with Al Franken over a Filet-O-Fish. Ralph Lauren popped up out of the ball bin in the Playland, and outside the door, Lindsey Lohan was getting Mayor McCheese's phone number while Wilmer Valderrama brooded with Jake Gyllenhall by the Men's restroom.

I thought maybe I should just take my food back to my hotel, remembering how the fries survived the months in the air-tight container in that "Super-Size Me" documentary, but finally I spied an empty spot at a table with three middle-aged fellows in three-piece suits, smoking cigars and laughing. With broad grins, they waved me over.

"Have a seat, kid!" yelled the first fellow.

"Want a cigar?" asked the second.

I sat down next to the third and shook my head. "I don't smoke," I replied.

"That's OK," said the third, putting his arm around my shoulder, "cigars is different, son!" He held out a fat Cuban.

"Isn't it illegal to smoke in a McDonalds?" I asked.

The men laughed. "Not at the After After Party!" the first guy cried.

"Besides," said the second, "we own the company!"

"Really?" I asked.

"Well," said the third, finally putting away the cigar, "we're major shareholders. The majority owner is Tim Robbins."

"We were just celebrating our decision to go with this new red-carpet image," said the second man, taking a big puff of his cigar.

"Yeah," said the first, "that 'I'm Lovin' It' campaign sucked."

I nodded. "Conan O'Brien didn't like it either."

"Who's that, son?" asked the third man.

"He spoke for many of us," I said.

"Yeah, well, that's all in the past now," said the second man, "it's all high society from now on, boy. You want connections these days, you come to the golden arches."

"Have you used our movie rental service yet?" asked the first man.

"No," I said, getting to my feet. The cigar smoke was getting to be a bit much.

"You sure there ain't nothing we can do for you, kid?" asked the second man. "Look around...we know people."

I peered around me at the commotion, and noticed Hugh Hefner coming through the doors in a bathrobe followed by Kenny Rogers.

"Well," I said, "do you know anyone that could find me a McPizza? I haven't had one of those in years."