I lock my bike to a tree, and my plus one parks her moped. The whole scene reminds me of a poor European city. A strobe light blinks from a basement window. The muffled sounds of a band playing and people cheering whomp out of sync with the flashing light. We walk through the front door and are greeted by a warm domestic scene of framed photos and a circle of friends talking.

One of our hosts hands us a few cold beers from the fridge. It's the brand with the rock-paper-scissors game under the cap. I lose.

Downstairs, the band is no longer playing. Folks are singing karaoke, but everything quickly turns into a ritualistic screaming of "Bohemian Rhapsody" that climaxes with one partygoer being baptized and/or knighted by a plastic boot spilling over with booze.

There is a smoking room upstairs filled with young people carefully rolling cigarettes. Conversation ranges from Seattle politics to the future of business in America to whether or not "BILF" is an adequately hilarious T-shirt slogan. The aforementioned knight and/or new follower of Christ is pushed backward through the smoking-room door to the floor with the boot of booze in his hand. He spills nothing and quickly rises to his feet. I do not know whether it was knightly dexterity or divine intervention that saved his drink.

As my plus one and I prepare to leave, I look back at the house we are departing and then look up the street that leads away and silently wonder if I can pedal my bicycle faster than a 1970s moped can putter. recommended

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