4-0 Bieber advantage. John Waters pretended to smooth out the front of his cardigan but in actuality was attempting to dry his sweaty palms. His palms were too sweaty! It was hard to grip the watchamacallit, the paddle? The thing. The air hockey thing was slipping in his sweaty hand. It didn’t help that this Bieber person was listening to his Zune while they played, and John Waters could just hear the faintest, tiny overflow from his earbud headphones. It seemed rude. In his day, no one would have listened to headphones while they played air hockey. Sure, he had once filmed a man wearing a dress eating dog shit off of the sidewalk at the end of a movie that featured the line “I want to fuck you in your beautiful cunt eyes,” but he was also a gentleman from an age of gentlemen. The puck skimmed across the table. It was as if the puck WANTED to go into John Waters goal. Was that possible? He was old enough not to really care about winning a game of air hockey anymore, and yet there was something about just being trounced by this lesbian that wasn’t sitting right with him. Bieber removed one of his earbuds and called over to one of his massive security guards. “Yo, Tigger, take over for me.” And just like that, John Waters found himself playing air hockey against a 6’5″, 380 pound black man in a t-shirt that said “Tap Out” on it. What was Tap Out? John Waters didn’t want to know. He imagined himself sitting on a wrap-around porch on Cape Cod wearing his favorite leather pants and sipping an extra dry martini. Why didn’t he just walk away from the table? John Waters was not sure, actually.
Justin Bieber sat on a couch and began fiddling with his phone. “Sorry man,” Justin Bieber said to John Waters without looking at him or looking up from his phone at all. “Got to send an email to my Twitter manager. Got a couple ideas for Tweets. Oh, and Ursher called.” Who was Ursher?
The bodyguard made short work of John Waters, pulling in the winning point quickly, although Justin Bieber had obviously gotten the puck rolling. Bieber was still on the couch, engrossed in the phone and eating candy out of the pocket of a skinny-fit leather jacket. A leather jacket on a child! John Waters liked that. A woman, a grown woman, was on her hands and knees cleaning Justin Bieber’s sneakers. John Waters kind of liked that too, actually. He might have adjusted the woman’s outfit. Made it less “Professional” and more “Subservient Fetish.” The bodyguard walked around the table and shook John Waters hand. His hand was so massive but not the biggest hand John Waters had ever seen, obviously. The largest hand John Waters had ever seen was actually in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest hand in human existence. He’d been around a lot of characters in his life. He kind of collected them.
A pang. He visited her grave once a year, but sometimes when he least expected it, John Waters missed Edith Massey.
No one said anything to John Waters as he left the room. The bodyguard and walked over to Justin Bieber, who had given him a fist bump without looking up and then used the same hand to brush his admittedly impressive hair across his forehead and then asked someone to get him “a fucking juice box.” He laughed, but it sounded dead and exhausted. Someone handed him a bottle of champagne. The first time John Waters had ever been drunk, he was 10 years old, in a dominatrix’s kitchen. Before the night was over, her house would burn to the ground, and for years he would think there was a correlation–not entirely incorrect–between drinking and things being ruined, killed, and destroyed, not that it stopped him from drinking. As he closed the door behind him, he heard someone ask, “Who was that, and why was Justin Bieber playing air hockey with him?” The answering silence suggested a slightly mystified shrug.
John Waters went home and fed his dog. He trimmed his mustache and ironed his pajamas. And if anyone ever asked about his experience with Justin Bieber, all he would say is “I think she is wonderful.”