I looked at the calendar today. I’m fast approaching the 5th anniversary I left Costco Travel, thus leaving the one and only Bayne there. One of the many memories popped into my head …
I remember it was late September 2012. I was still reeling from being dumped by my what-I-thought was my girl. A business trip opportunity to Hawaii arose so in order to heal my broken heart, I accepted. One door closes, another opens, right?
On the first night, and after dinner, our trip leader released us until 8am the next day. So all I heard was I don’t have to be anywhere until much later.
Apparently, word around the company playground was that yours truly is a helluva party animal after hours. I would neither confirm or deny those allegations, but I did admit to having a good time wherever I roam.
Imagine, if you can, it’s a group dinner on the roof deck area of the hotel you’re staying at on a cloudless, beautiful Hawaiian evening. Your group leader asks everyone what their post-dinner plans are.
Jodi then looks at me, “I already know that you’ll be out. Just remember my rules.”
An impish smile creeps across my face. “Oh, I remember alright. Don’t you worry, I’ll be there, in the lobby, bright eyed and bushy tail before 8 am.”
I thought, #challengeaccepted!
My new buddy, Bryan, asked to join me as his roommate was posting up in the room, he didn’t want to disturb the roommate, and Bryan also didn’t want crash out just yet.
I scoffed, “Aiight if you wanna lose some sleep tonight, then let’s get started!”
He fired back, “Don’t threaten me with a good time.”
I was determined to karaoke so I could sing my heart out to rid myself of the venom I had inside me. I asked the concierge where the nearest karaoke joint was, and luckily it was nearby and within walking distance.
We strolled to the recommended place which ended up being the Japanese style of karaoke. You rent a booth, and you can select songs, etc.
I furrowed my eyebrows. This is not right; two dudes, getting drunk with each other, singing songs to each other essentially.
I mentally stomped the ground, “NO! I’m in Hawaii, on business. A girl broke my heart, I need a drink, sing badly, and torture those around me at a bar.”
I asked at the recommended karaoke place where we should post up for that kinda action.
He said the Karaoke Hut – on the other side of the city but they don’t take kindly to Haole. Then he gave us the once over. He shrugged his shoulders, with the words, “You’re close enough. At least you’re not white.”
Bryan and I exchanged worried looks.
I suggested we flagged down a taxi because I don’t wanna waste our precious time walking and/or trying to locate this place which cuts into our drinking and singing fun.
We roll to a busy intersection. In the opposing left hand turn lane is a taxi, so Bryan tosses his hand up to signal the taxi driver we want a ride.
The vehicle waits for the signal, completes it’s left turn and pulls up to the sidewalk where we are waiting. We pile in right quick. It’s a light brown Chevy Caprice driven by a man of Asian descent. Then a crappy blue minivan pulls up and blocks him in.
The driver rolls down his window, as the other driver from the minivan approaches the window. They start yelling at each other!
Bryan immediately grabs the door handle to exit, but I shoot him a stern look of Not-Yet-But-Be-Ready. The other driver finally leaves with the words from our driver, “Go to the zoo, that’s where I’ll kill you.”
The driver turns to us with his arm draped on the seat, and asks in the most lucid, no-accent whatsoever, “Gentlemen, where to this evening?”
I chuckle, “The Karaoke Hut, please.”
Then another vehicle draws even to our car. The driver of that car rolls down the passenger window. He looks similar to our driver. They exchange looks, our driver points to the mini-van that pulled away, and with the other hand gives the “kill” gesture.
Next our driver mutters to himself, “Honk at me, no reason!”
Bryan and I try to stifle our laughter because the Asian accent finally was revealed!
I ask him, “Hey man, have you heard of the Karaoke Hut?”
He nods, as he looks in the rearview mirror. “Oh, yay. I know it. Been there many times.”
I continue, “Do you karaoke as well?”
He shakes his head, “No, no. Just drink.”
I smile, “Awesome. Hey man, you should join us.”
“I’m banned from there,” he replies with shame.
“Oh,” I slump.
The voice inside my head wins out as I fought the urge as to why. We arrive in short order. I know how taxi services like this operate, and apparently from the altercation that competition is fierce.
After he parks the Caprice, and I pay, I quip, “Hey bud. What’s your name?”
“Billy,” he smiles. And he hands over his business card. It’s a simple white background, blue lettering with a blue taxi car on it.
“As in Billy the Kid? Got your guns ready?” I joke.
He continues to smile, “I have guns.”
Bryan gives me a disapproving face for encouraging this situation. “Aiight, Billy the Kid. We’ll call you when we’re done. Here’s more money for the tip.”
The Karaoke Hut is a classic dive bar for the locals. Just like we thought, only a few patrons were around, and they didn’t pay us any attention after the initial once-over. We don’t look like tourists, talk like them with entitled demands, and act like we’re locals.
The format for singing was odd to me. You paid $1 per song, and the bartender or bar back would press a few buttons for your song to play.
Drinks here were strong and cheap, so I treated Bryan to them. My heart hurt, and wanted to have some fun.
Hours later, many drinks killed, and all of our songs were sang, including a Kryptonite duo by us, we were done.
I suggested to lessen our taxi ride that we walk a grip towards our hotel yet on a main street to make it easier to find a taxi. We’re not convinced Billy will be available.
We did stumble up to a WALK-UP WINDOW at Taco Bell which was glorious?! I called up Billy from my mobile phone. We noshed on our food of shame until Billy came roaring up. He approached from side streets so he surprised us as he stopped. The back doors open up.
It was then I noticed the angry Tweety-Bird rubber floor mats. How apropos.
We gleefully yell out, “BILLY!”
“Hey fellas. Wanna meet some nice girls now?” he suggests.
“No, Billy. We’re here for business,” I retort sternly. “We’re gonna go back the hotel, early start, yo.”
He frowns, “There are Japanese girls, and Filipinas there for you.”
Bryan finally pipes up, “No, man. We’ve gotta bounce.”
Once we arrived at the hotel, he tells us, “You call anytime. Billy will be here. I can even bring girls to you.”
Billy the Kid would be our driver anywhere we needed to be in the Waikiki area outside of the group. And no requests for any girls whatsoever.
But anytime Bryan and I want(ed) to share a laugh for our inside joke, we’d point at each other and yell …
“Honk at me, no reason!”~ Asian Billy the Kid, Taxi Driver