Zio Romolo's Alley Bar
2400 W 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80211
Thursdays: 8:00 PM
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It was there, sitting in the crowded bar trying to make conversation with my group of six, that I first saw them.
They were sitting in the corner, as far away from where we sat as possible in the long room. They weren’t talking, and they weren’t eating- though they each had an empty shot glass and a nearly empty beer in front of them.
They didn’t look alike- and yet they were exactly the same. They were both chalky pale. They both had blood shot eyes, though the younger of the two seemed less so, as if hardness had not yet fully set in. I know now that he was a “newborn” – just beginning his training….as a vegetarian Quizmaster.
As the setting sun snuck through a window blind and struck the leader of the pair, his skin seemed to glitter like diamonds. I was slightly dazzled, and thought fleetingly that stripper glitter really does stick to everything.
I leaned over to ask a passing waitress who they were. She glanced to look who I meant, but I think she already knew by my tone who I spoke of.
“Oh, that’s just a few of Dicker’s clan. They call themselves Geeks who Drink. That one is ‘LaHendro’.”
It sounded so exotic. They were noticeably vocal, and had a know-it-all air.
The waitress continued, “Don’t bother getting involved with them; they are a strange ‘family’. That Dicker has been around for as long as I can remember- yet he never seems to age…he always appears to be just celebrating his 40th birthday”.
As I walked between booths to gather the materials his hypnotic voice urged me to collect, I surreptitiously watched,”LaHendro”. He suddenly went ramrod straight in his seat. He had the strangest expression on his face- hostile, furious. I realized I was humming a Dave Matthews song and stopped abruptly. His brow smoothed and he handed me a pencil. The feel of his hand was like stone, and so cold. Well, he had been firmly gripping that glass of Grand Marnier just a moment before.
He announced round 1. From that moment, I had no choice. I was hooked; I had to be a part of this.
After weeks, months of following, “LaHendro” around- answering his constant questions, recruiting others with any random knowledge that might supplement my own…I finally asked him, “What ARE you? Really?”
“You know what I am. I want to hear you say it.”
About three things I was absolutely positive. First, LaHendro was a Quizmaster. Second, there was a part of him- and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be- that thirsted for the blood of quizzers. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with quizzing.
“You stay out of the sun. In fact, you seem to only come out at night- unless it is particularly cloudy and there is the promise of bottomless bloody marys. You’re cold all the time (and sure I am referencing your snarky disposition but also the fact that you never have a shirt on)….I think you might be…a vegetarian Quizmaster!”
“We’re dangerous! And not all of us suck carrots and radishes dry like Bunnicula; that’s mostly just in Dicker’s inner circle.”
But, he was never going to sway me. One way or another, I was going to be a Quizmaster (though probably not a vegetarian one) - I was going to become one of them…and live forever (in infamy or something, #worsethanicp).