Mustang Sally, Papa Hemingway, and a case of Key West karaoke gone wrong

These two drunk girls and one well-dressed guy come into this bar…

Karaoke ... always an adventure

Karaoke … always an adventure

photo credit: Stig Nygaard via photopin cc
Could have been a great joke, but it turned out to be one of the two most memorable karaoke events I’ve ever had the (mis)fortune of seeing.

I was in Key West for the Hemingway festival and I will admit I am smitten with the place and the festival and Hemingway, even though he is the polar opposite of my beloved Faulkner (see, I’m never too far away from Faulkner – it’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, only with a dead, Southern Gothic writer).

It was taking me a bit of time to adjust to seeing Hemingway on every corner, walking down the street, singing “Sweet Home Alabama” in the karaoke bar, but that was nothing compared to what happened next.

A return to the two drunk girls and the one well-dressed man …

So, these two girls stumble in from the side street, walk to the stage, and stand waiting for this guy to join them. He comes strolling to the stage, and honestly, the way they were carrying themselves, I thought “Wow! This is going to be absolutely amazing. They are totally fixing to shoot the lights out … here we go!”

And then the first few notes of Mustang Sally start, and man, I get even more fired up. I love this song.

The two girls are kind of gyrating around and the guy is tapping his foot on the stage, and they aren’t really in rhythm with the song, but I still think this is going to be good. I mean, you can still rock it out with no rhythm, right? No? Hmmm…

I look around, and all the Papa Hemingways are nodding their heads.

The girls throw their arms in the air and start snapping their fingers and the guy unbuttons the top button of his shirt, rolls up his sleeves, and grabs the microphone.

“Mustang Sally, guess you better slow your mustang down…”

The girls get a little more energy and start singing “oooooh”

“Guess I have to put your flat feet on the ground…”

The girls stomp their feet.

“All you want to do is ride around …”

The girls start yelling, “RIDE SALLY RIDE” fingers snapping, hands clapping, feet stomping.

The guy isn’t really singing. It’s more of a grunt, spoken word beat poetry version of the song. But the girls, they are belting it out with everything they’ve got – and, my friend, they have a lot.

Then, my favorite part – the girls start spinning around and around in circles, throwing their arms in and out (I think maybe channeling Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary”?) and the guy, in his final part of the performance, turns one, very slow, very methodical circle in between these two girls, stops, grabs each one by the hand, spins them around one more time and they walk off the stage, out of the bar and into the Key West night.

How could the Hemingways compete with that?

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About melindamcguirewrites

The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. ------ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech, Stockholm, 1950
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8 Responses to Mustang Sally, Papa Hemingway, and a case of Key West karaoke gone wrong

  1. Juli Hoffman says:

    OMG! That’s hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Wow! What a performance! LOL

  3. Kat Kennedy says:

    Melinda, This made me laugh out loud. I love Key West. I remember going to all the Hemingway places and telling my husband,”This is street Hemingway walked to the bar. This is where he sat and drank and talked.” How are the cats? I heard they are trying to move them.
    Very funny blog, glad you had a good time.

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