Vote for Fishbowls


On a random Tuesday night, we stopped in at Cactus Café to drink its recently returned fishbowl (mmm … 64 ounces of fruity alcoholic goodness). However, we encountered an awesome surprise amid this bar’s usual meat-markety atmosphere: special guest Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite. Sweet!

Tagging along were Research Assistants Erica, Cece and Bernie. Our night had started with some predrinking at neighboring Buzzard Beach. From our perch on its wooden deck, we observed the Trail of Beers, that Tuesday-night Westport sociological phenomenon in which the Harpo’s quarter-draw crowd stumbles down the alley to “college night” at Cactus. Sure enough, here came the drunko chicks in camisole boob tops and black fuck-me pants. They clutched the arms of guys rocking popped collars as the horde careened down the hill to Cactus. Outside the bar, a cadre of Westport’s finest stood guard.

We followed the lit crowd and the melodic strains of Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’.” After paying the $5 cover, we made a beeline for a fruit-punch fishbowl ($12), which still came in a plastic container emblazoned with the über-outdated Have a Nice Day logo from the building’s previous occupant. Thankfully, the alcohol-to-punch ratio was just right this time. (RA Cece once had to slip the bartender an extra $5 to put more vodka in our fishbowl.) It’s just a ripoff if that much liquor doesn’t induce the usual fishbowl-girl effects — excessive giggling, touchy-feelyness, loud talking and dry-humping on the dance floor.

The crowd was hookup hungry. As the Night Ranger sauntered the scene, she was subjected to an insidious near-crotch hand swipe from a very drunk frat boy. “Was that supposed to be a crotch grab or an ass pat?” the NR sardonically asked. Frat Boy couldn’t answer coherently, but in that special frat-boy way, he still managed to ask her repeatedly to dance.

We then spotted two women who were pole dancing to Usher’s “Yeah.” A couple of guys ogled them as if they were a zoo exhibit. That was understandable — one woman was grinding her ass into her friend’s crotch. We caught up with them during a break in the jiggling. Ashley, 22, and Emily, 21, have been friends since high school at Raytown South. Ashley’s in nursing school, and Emily is studying to be a hairstylist. They told us that their usual hangout was the Drink and extolled its virtues.

“It’s filled with hot, sexy, sophisticated ethnic men,” Emily said. Of course, we perked up when the topic of guys came up, so we asked what type gets them hot. The two white chicks said they’re into Mexicans. “Anything but white,” Ashley added.

“I can speak for 50 percent of KC women. We like a little bit of ghetto,” Emily said. Yay — vote for Emily!

We turned our attention back to finding Pedro. Apparently, Cactus brings in random D-list celebs on Tuesday nights. Normally, the NR would be quick to crack on the likes of other Cactus personalities, such as M.J., that curly-haired tool from The Real World: Philadelphia. But Pedro is excluded from our scorn because Napoleon Dynamite rocks. (Greg Walck, general manager at Cactus, did tell us that, as of press time, the bar’s tour of minor stars is on hiatus. He was also unsure how much Pedro was paid to appear, because his corporate bosses had made the arrangements.)

We circled the bar a couple of times and eventually found Pedro — 22-year-old Efren Ramirez. He was hard to spot, despite the fact that he was probably the only one wearing a black blazer. His hair was curly and long (sort of in a bob), and he was sans the mustache he’d sported in the flick.

He was also as cool as Napoleon’s moon boots, and he handled the barrage of adoration with aplomb. We were kind of intrigued by the way he answered our fluff-ass, People-magazine-like questions. His responses sounded kind of scripted yet highly esoteric, so we couldn’t tell if he was bullshitting us or if he normally sounded all philosophical and highfalutin in regular conversation. He says he came here to escape Los Angeles, and he touted the Midwest as being “real” by comparison. “In Middle America, there is a hunger for truth and societal integration,” he said. Um, OK. Thanks, Gatsby.

We then asked how much ass he was getting from this trip. He laughed and answered by flashing the OK sign. He told us that the weirdest pickup line thrown his way at Cactus was “What is your soul like?” He admitted he didn’t have an answer for that one. He reverted back to thoughtfulness and spouted some wisdom about how one must really search one’s soul to find the hidden truths. A new group of fans was rushing him, so he gave the Night Ranger a long kiss on the cheek. She’ll never wash that cheek again!

But that was apparently nothing. We soon met 21-year-old Nancy, who scored Efren’s phone number. Clad in a tight “Vote for Pedro” shirt and Lycra football pants, she had also scored his autograph. On her shirt, he’d written “Will you go to the prom?” and drawn two boxes for checking yes or no. He also told her to call the next time she was in Los Angeles. She said she would; she’s a choreographer and travels there frequently, she explained.

“I was going to dress as Deb, but I’m black, and that didn’t work out,” Nancy said. She attributed her sporty look to her love of the Chiefs. She’s friends with some of the Chiefs players, she added. According to her, they like the movie (though she declined to say which players).

Forget the fishbowl. Our own brush with what passes for celebrity in KC made us giddy enough.

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