Her name was Billie Jean. And the moment she turned and their eyes met, something passed between him and Billie Jean, a feeling beyond words, and Tim’s knees went all Gumby. He tipped his cap and offered his hand. “Glad to meet you, Billie Jean,” he said. Tim asked if he could order Billie Jean a drink. She said yes. Time passed. He kept asking and she kept saying yes. Time passed into no time.

Five hours later when George Miles yelled Last Call at The Paradise Lounge, everybody was drunker than dogs.

“Hey, George,” Tim called. He had to shout above the wailing crowd, their arms stitched across one another’s shoulders, their faces tilted up like howlers, everybody dancing and singing You Shook Me All Night Long with AC/DC—everybody but Tim, who was trying before everything shut down to order a couple of shots for him and the dark beauty beside him. “Hey, G-e-o-r-g-e,” he shouted again. George Miles, the bartender, had done that thing where he flipped his eyelids up, exposing their underside, and was air-humping a path behind the bar, working his arms and hands like an Egyptian, doing his air-humping-Egyptian-fish eye dance.

George smiled and lifted his hand to the tide of happy faces that filled The Paradise Lounge. “That’s something, ain’t it,” George shouted to Tim. Even George was drunk.

Billie Jean, who was doing a John Philip Sousa marching-in-place routine, turned and gripped Tim’s arm with both hands and began milking his muscle.

Behind the bar, George lifted one hand in a limp-wristed sort of way and pumped his pointer at Tim as he stutter stepped toward him, his lips all puckered like Jagger’s, his eyelids peeled back. “Yeah, YOU!” he shouted with the music. His head hammered away like a woodpecker’s.