We scribble our answers, and Aimee comes by to collect them. Then she reads the correct answers and announces the winning teams. There are six tables, and they all have bizarre names, some of them graphically sexual. Just as I think we're slipping unnoticed into the background, Aimee realizes we don't have a team name and christens us "The Observer Porno Stars." Great.
Next, the Binghams play portions of songs, mostly by 1980s hair bands, and we have to identify the artists and titles. It looks as if we might actually be winning until it's time for the interactive competitions, and yes, I'm talking about Twister. Several mats are taped together and loaded up with contestants. A girl with a teeny Princess Leia bun on either side of her head stands up and does comic, mock gymnastic warm-ups. She does pretty well in the game too. More trivia follow, and then a good old-fashioned staring contest. One finalist keeps a pretty impressive deadeye stare on his opponent while maintaining his metered intake of cigarette smoke and beer.
As we pack up to leave, Aimee is still reading off questions, challenging entire tables of students unwilling to give up. I'm not exactly eager to head out into the cold either, but it is getting late, and we aging literary porno stars need our beauty rest.
[Originally published in February, 2004.]