Do you ever have those days when you start out trying to do something fun and spontaneous, yet so innocent that it never crosses your mind that you would be in any danger… and then end up nearly being the victim in a real-life scary movie? Well, this was one of those days.
My lovely sister was in town visiting me and we were going though this book of coupons (which I got from one of those extra-hyper-because-he/she-drank-too-much-Starbucks people passing out coupons by the fountain on campus) for some ideas of what to do for the evening, when I discovered a grand opportunity. You see, my sister is older than me and therefore has more experience and is way cooler than me in almost every way, so I usually expect to seek her advice on cool things to do. What I found out was that my sister had never been to a hookah lounge before and – though I can’t say I frequent hookah lounges or am a VIP or anything – I had. I was so excited that there was something out there that is kind of cool to which I could introduce her, I decided that Sis, Breezy, and I would use the coupon and go to a hookah lounge.
So this is where the scary movie begins.
You know how when you watch a scary movie and there are parts like when the girl is in the shower and she hears a noise but she doesn’t get out of the shower and see where the noise came from and you’re yelling (mouth full of popcorn) at the movie screen telling her to get out, grab a towel, and RUN? Well, I have discovered that being the victim means that you can’t see the signs that the audience gets to see (like the girl’s kitchen window being open a crack and the bad guy slipping in and accidentally knocking over her empty bottle of cheap wine), so you don’t know that you’re a victim until you’re running away from the guy who’s trying to kill you and you die naked because you didn’t have time to grab a towel.
So, in retrospect, there were some signs that this was a bad idea, we just didn’t see them. Like the fact that the coupon was SUPER cheap, which we took to mean “awesome”, but really meant “dangerous”. Or that when we pulled up to the place there was a huge empty parking lot and a guy who had to have been the manager (because he was wearing ¾ of a tuxedo) had his face glued to the window and was waving us in… yes, waving us in and we hadn’t even parked yet.
Or the fact that it wasn’t even a hookah lounge, but some trying-to-be-fancy restaurant. It even looked sketchy from the car. We thought about not going in, but the poor guy was literally begging for our patronage.
We walked up to the building and the manager greeted us. Then he called for some coked-out looking blonde girl with dark circles under her eyes to take us to our table. We had to walk through the restaurant area to get to the patio and I have to say that I felt like I was in the dining room on the fucking Titanic right before it sank – you know, when it’s empty but all of the tables are set and then the ship tilts and all the plates go shattering across the room. This place had creepy carpeting, old fashioned chairs, and each table was already set, complete with cloth napkins folded like tents. A cold shiver went down my spine.
The restaurant was empty, just like the one on the fucking Titanic.
We sat at our creaky metal table in our creaky metal chairs in the make-shift patio, which was a dramatic contrast to the fancy 100 year old dining room from which we came. We looked around, took in the dark and empty parking lot around us, the creepy-as-hell atmosphere, and gave each other nervous glances. We started to discuss leaving when -
– from out of nowhere, and I mean nowhere because it was a vast and empty parking lot, some guy who looked like he could have been the Tales From the Crypt guy’s brother popped up and asked us if we wanted hookah. We did, but we weren’t sure if we wanted hookah there. The flavors weren’t even on the menu. When Sis asked him what the flavors were, he pointed to his forehead and said "Zey are all up here.” She had to ask him to share, because apparently he thought we could read his mind.
We ordered the only flavor that we could understand from his thick accent just to get him to go away, and I was beginning to think that the hookah part wasn’t real and what was really in his mind was this:
I expressed my concerns for not wanting to be eaten by a handful of lost-in-time vampires or cannibals or whatever the hell those “people” were, and we realized that we all had the same concern. We immediately ran from our table – opting to just hop the gate and take the five steps to our car, rather than risk going back through the creepy restaurant – screaming and telling Breezy to start up the car and get the hell out of there.
We escaped, but barely. As we were backing away we saw the shadowy figures of the beasts in the windows and screamed again as Breezy put the car in drive and stepped on the gas.
It was an uneasy ride across the vast parking lot, since Breezy decided to express his concern that the sneaky guy who had come from out of nowhere moments before might also have the power to show up in our car.
No worries! We were not eaten. We eventually found a place (which was legitimately a hookah lounge) with big comfy couches and a plethora of eclectic decorations for us to gaze upon. We lounged around and watched music videos and my sister finally got to try some hookah. It turned out to be an amazing night… even though some skanky girl came in wearing a dress (probably meant to be a shirt) so short that when she bent over her asshole winked at us from across the room – but that’s an entirely different adventure!