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Me and Heroux Do San Diego



My coonass cousin Heroux (rhymes with "Nehru" and the "H" is silent) was a genuine, natural born country boy, as innocent and as unsophisticated as a plate of grits. He wasn't a dumb kid at all, in fact he was pretty sharp. He once repaired the tailgate latch on his old International pickup with two pieces of baling wire, some tin shears and an empty Jax beer can. So he was a reasonably intelligent fellow (smart enough that the Navy took him, anyhow) but just country innocent and naive.

Now, when he first joined the Navy they sent him up north for some training, but when that was done he was shipping out for some place in the Pacific, and he asked me to come out to San Diego for a couple of days while he was waiting to leave the country. I just had a part-time summer job between semesters so I had a little money saved up and was able to convince my boss to let me take off to see my cousin, "...who's gettin' shipped off to Viet Nam and I'd like to see him one more time before he goes 'cause who knows if he'll ever come home again."

So I head out to San Diego and find a cheap enough motel to stay in and I give Cousin Heroux a call. Well, he was sure enough glad to have family to visit amongst all those strangers on base, and since he had some leave coming we right away started checking out the sights of greater metropolitan San Diego. Oh, we saw museums and parks and a baseball game and just generally looked the part of a pair of yokel tourists, but we were having a good time and didn't really care all that much what the locals thought of us.

We had only a couple of days so on the second night we thought we'd do it up big and go to one of those places he'd heard about from the other sailors, where they had good food and entertainment and a couple of guys could find a little excitement. I don't remember exactly where the place was, but I do remember the name, it was called the Pair-ee Lounge. Well, it sounded French and Heroux was a Cajun so we figured at least he'd be able to read off the menu.

We got there sort of early in the evening, I suppose, because there weren't too many other folks there. I mean, it wasn't empty but there just wasn't a whole houseful there. The lady at that little podium in the front of the place was dressed up all pretty in one of those outfits that was almighty low at the top and uncommonly high at the bottom with barely enough in between to keep her decent.

She took us to a booth and we sat down and started reading the menu, with me studying the prices and wondering if I'd have enough money left to get back home after this fancy supper. After a few minutes the lady who was our waitress came sashaying up the the booth and said something like, "Hi! My name is Mimi and I'm your server tonight. Can a get you boys something from the bar?"

Well I'll tell you, it was right then that two things jumped right out at me: One, this was one of those topless places I'd heard about back in Texas, and two, Mimi must have been the inspiration for the name of this place.

Now, I will admit I'd seen cleavage before, so even though I was surprised I wasn't altogether dumbfounded. But Cousin Heroux, like I said, was still that innocent, naive Louisiana country boy, in spite of that sailor suit he was wearing. When he looked up from the menu at Mimi his eyes got big as half-dollars and his bottom jaw just sort of dropped for a few seconds while his brain tried to process everything. He stuttered and sputtered trying to get words out of his mouth and finally he did.

"Oh, no, Ma'm, we're not in that big of a hurry, you go ahead and finish feedin' your babies!"

That was my first and only adventure in a topless joint.

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