Saturday night I was downtown with some people for a charity party a friend of ours was hosting, so afterwards we decided to hit up one of our old favorites, The Quaff, which we’ve lovingly call “The Queef” or “The Queef Queef” from the very start of our adventures there for one reason alone - plain and simple immaturity...or badassed-ness. Take your pick.
I remember the commercials they used to have for that place on the radio in the early ‘90s. Some douchebaggy announcer guy would come on and blast through a background of bad techno music and people talking and partying and yell, “THE QUAAAFF!” in a deep, mysterious voice overly modified electronically so it sounded a bit robot-like. My 6 or 7-year-old self couldn’t wait to visit what I thought would be such an amazing wonderland of lights, glow sticks and half naked people dancing in cages hanging from the ceiling just feeling the *Nsss, Nsss* beat of the music.
Then 15 years later I walked in for the first time and was like, what the fuck?! This place is a duuuuump.
It’s not like ghetto-lipliner-sans-lipstick white trash or honky-tonk-confederate-flag white trash, just plain old regular white trash. The minute you walk in, you long for a shower and a dose of penicillin and I can’t tell if its because of the stench of fried food that’s so strong you’re pretty certain that each breath of air you inhale is about 12 calories, along with the thick layer of cigarette smoke smell that must be seeping out of the walls since Kansas City has had a smoking ban in bars for several months now, or if its because of the people you have the pleasure of hanging with while visiting this fine establishment.
The waitresses don’t have a dress code per se, but most choose teeny tiny shorts of various colors and materials to dress up their cellulity thighs in what is clearly an attempt to gain larger tips which I’m fairly certain is having the opposite effect. Many a time, one of them has plopped down next us at our table and proceeded to spill her entire life story full of baby daddies and dumb bitches who used to be best friends all while twirling a lock of perm and bleach fried hair around an airbrushed, acrylic nailed finger.
I’ve always wondered what this place was like in its glory days. Or maybe it was always like this and they just had extremely misleading marketing. Either way it would have sucked, but for some reason we keep coming back. Its appeal? Low expectations and the epitome of unpretentiousness I guess.
So here we were Saturday night, drinking some beers and shooting some pool
when we notice a couple of guys watching us. Well, pretty much just scoping out the boy while he kicked ass at pool because when you grow up in New Orleans’ 9th Ward where the bowling alley/pool hall is the safe haven, you apparently get really good a both. As soon as Sam and Jim finished up their third game, one of the spying guys seized his chance to challenge Jim by bumping Kate out of the way, tossing his red pool cue bag on the table along with some quarters and adjusting the black silken pool glove he had on his left hand. As this apparent professional pool player began screwing the two pieces of his personal pool cue, complete with a flame design, together, I thought:
‘oh shit, this is going to be a full on, drag out fucking duel between the amateur hometown pool hall boy and the famous pool shark, “Flaming Cue Magee.” There may be fists thrown and blood splattered on the green felt, then some Roadhouse looking bouncer will grab us all up by the napes of our necks, hurl us out onto Broadway for causing such a ruckus and leave us there bleeding and broken on the streets until the cops come and scrape us off the pavement. This could be really cool, but probably not since I’m not a big fan of violence of any kind. Oh shit.’
The boy was responsible for breaking and knocked in probably three balls before missing, allowing FCM to show us what he was made of. The solid 6 ball was perfectly lined up with the far right corner pocket – an easy shot especially for a player of his caliber. He sunk low to the table and dramatically slid his pool cue back and forth between his gloved fingers for an unnecessarily long period of time while demonstrating incorrect form. Even I knew this since my Uncle Pete had taught me how to properly handle a pool cue while we were having dinner with the fam in a bar a million years ago. He finally went for it and missed. OK, maybe it was just performance jitters. He’d show us the money the next time.
The boy commanded the table effortlessly again for several minutes before he missed and it was FCM’s turn again – another perfectly lined up, easy shot, another dramatic show, more bad form and another missed shot. This guy fucking sucked ass at pool. It was like he dressed up as a professional pool shark for Halloween, became obsessed with the persona and just never took the costume off. Even I could have made those shots and I’m more or less horrendous at the game although I’m much better or just luckier after a few drinks. Shit, I could have made them after more than a few drinks, while holding onto the side of the pool table for stability and squinting to try to make the blurry vision of the three balls I was shooting form back into the actual single ball.
Jim quickly finished up and won the game allowing FCM to shoot a grand total of twice. The bar was closing up and kicking us out right around the same time and the boy went over to say “good game” to FCM who responded with little more than an embarrassed mumble.
I think skanky waitresses, bathroom doors with broken locks, grime so think that it’s actually eating away at the woodwork and a poser pool player are far better than techno, glow sticks and hanging dancing cages full of beautiful people, don’t you?
Oh The Queef Queef, I wait anxiously to see what you have in store for us next time.