30 Stories in 30 Days: Day 24By Darci Ratliff
November 24, 2011
For an explanation of the 30 Stories in 30 Days, start at Day 1.
It’s Thanksgiving. It’s time to express gratitude. It’s time to drink cocktails all day, play poker all night and put gravy on absolutely everything.
And then when everyone has gone home with their dogs and kids and empty casserole dishes and Ziplock bags full of turkey and crescent rolls, it’s time to write a story because you promised you would. So this is that.
Whose House? Rerun’s House.
Barmacy was an East Village bar that had an old-timey pharmacy theme. During Happy Hours you’d get a little medicine cup with every drink you bought which you could later turn in for a free drink. The bar had a pinball machine and a photo booth and a big back room with plenty of seats, which is sometimes hard to find in a New York bar. We used to drink there all the time.
One night my good friend and former roommate, Consuelo, invited me to meet her and some other friends at Barmacy. One of us, I can’t remember who, knew the guy that was DJing there that night and it seemed like as good an excuse as any to meet up for a drink. The music he was playing was old 70s R&B, and even though we generally preferred to settle in and drink, that music made us want to dance.
After a few drinks too many, I wandered onto the dance floor and showed Consuelo how I could do the “Rerun dance”–a wobbly jumparound nonsense dance made popular by Fred Berry, who played the character Rerun on the 70s sitcom, “What’s Happening.” Consuelo joined me in her own version of the Rerun and we kept it up as long as we could until we both started laughing so hard we had to sit down.
But we couldn’t stay down. Every fifteen minutes or so, the music compelled us to get back on the dance floor, and within seconds, we were Rerunning our hearts out. Then more laughter, then sitting, then another round of drinks, then back to the Rerun.
We knew we looked ridiculous. We were making each other laugh, and that’s all that mattered. But then, the DJ put on an extra-long, extra hot R&B jam and stepped out on the dance floor himself. He was a tall, slender, extremely attractive African American guy in his late 20s, maybe. And he danced so fucking smoothly. He was just fluid and cool and hard not to watch. I noticed most everyone had stopped dancing and just sort of stood there watching him move.
And then without warning or fanfare, he looked at Consuelo and me, winked, and did fifteen seconds of the best goddamn Rerun dance I have ever seen. We clapped hands over our mouths and just watched, wide-eyed, until he resumed his regular smooth dance moves. As the song came to an end, he left the floor without a word and resumed his DJ duties.
That Rerun was just for Consuelo and me. And it was the best. Ever.
The bar that used to be Barmacy is now called Otto’s Shrunken Head Tiki Bar and Lounge. I pass by it every night when I walk home from work. If you ever go there, I beg you–I dare you–to go to the back room, put on any song in the jukebox, and Rerun your heart out, no matter who’s watching.