For days, Jane was humming the song “Closing Time” thinking back on how much she liked the last episode of Seinfeld. She was humming it in line for coffee and a skinny blonde guy with multiple tattoos started singing it. They both laughed.
“You like Seinfeld too,” Jane asked him. He looked at her quizzically, dropped eye contact, and fussed with his jacket pocket, pulling out his phone, which was clearly not buzzing. Jane shrugged, smiled, and kept humming until the barista took her order for one large gingerbread latte.
“Don’t have gingerbread any more. Only at Christmas time. For spring we have Berry Bliss.”
“Yuck. Black please, dark roast, small,” Jane continued humming, “...one last call….”
Jane burned her mouth on the coffee as she walked toward the door. She stopped, wiped the lipstick smudge off her cup lid, and turned and look back at the tattoo of a squirrel on the back of the skinny blonde guy’s arm and shrugged. He was kinda squirrelly she thought. That reminded her she was meeting Annie at the Squirrel Cage on Forbes for dinner tonight. She scurried out the door and into the fresh spring air. Singing the lyrics to “Closing Time” at the top of her lungs. Squirrel boy turned and watched her leave, shaking his head.
Sitting in the Squirrel Cage, waiting for her friend, Jane started singing to herself, "...hope you have found a friend...”.
The waitress smiled at her and said “great tune” as she plopped a bunch of napkins and a glass of water on the table in front of her. A drop of water splashed Jane’s hand.
“I think of Seinfeld every time,” Jane said.
The waitress frowned and pulled out her pad. “Huh, what, ah, never mind, do you want to order or wait for your friend?”
“I’ll wait. She’s always running late.”
Jane kept humming and singing to herself as she watched everyone at the bar. More tattoos to look at, a guy with a giant disc in his ear and a colorful dragon running down his arm. He was sitting cozied up to a tiny girl with a mini skirt on that was so short, Jane had to look away for fear of seeing her undies.
Dragon arm wrapped his massive tail, ah, arm, around the girl and the girl giggled and asked the bartender for another shot of After Shock. Dragon boy leaned over and whispered something to her and the tiny girl blushed as red as the After Shock.
Jane blushed too and looked away.
Annie came flying into the bar, with a stack of books from the library in her arms and three huge shopping bags dripping from her shoulders.
“I have an ear worm today,” she said, arranging her belongings on the bench next to her. The guy at the bar with all the tattoos reminds me of it…she started singing, “Tattoos of memories…”
Jane sat puzzled for a second. “What song is that because I have had an ear worm today too? It’s driving me crazy. I can’t get the song that ended the Seinfeld episode out of my mind.”
“That’s my ear worm, don’t you recognize the lyric?” Annie said humming the tune to “Good Riddance” from Green Day.
“But that’s not how it goes….” Jane said humming the lyrics to “Closing Time”.
“That’s Closing Time,” Annie said, pulling out her phone and Googling the lyrics. That was in The Office not Seinfeld.”
“I hated the Office,” Jane said. “The last line about every new beginning coming from an end was perfect for the Seinfeld finale.”
“It may have been perfect, but that wasn’t the song. It was Green Day,” Jane punched at her phone, and brought up a video ,which she shoved over the table. YouTube started playing the Seinfeld finale. “See, it's the one that talks about hoping it was the best day of your life.”
Jane sat puzzled for a minute, sopping up the sweat from her glass with her napkin.
“So, all week I have been humming the wrong song for the show?”
“Don’t know what to tell you, ear worms are strange.”
“It all started because I started watching reruns of Seinfeld because I couldn’t sleep. Just started humming that tune thinking about the end of the show and I would eventually doze off.”
“Whatever works for sleep, but it is definitely not the right song.”
Jane stared at crowd at the bar. The girl with the short skirt had left and the squirrel arm tattoo guy from the coffee shop, earlier, was sitting next to a guy with the dragon tattoo.
“Oh, dear lord, that guy must be nuts to have a squirrel tattoo, Annie whispered as she followed Jane’s glance to the young blond guy. "But he is kinda cute for boy toy.”
They both giggled. “You have socks older than him, Jane.”
“I probably do,” Jane said sighing with a hint of blush on her cheeks. “Looking is still free, right? We were taking about ear worms, right…”
“OMG, ear worms are making me crazy,” Annie said as she wiped something icky off her fork. “All last week I couldn’t get this song out of my head, it’s called 'I Feel Alive.' That is song you need to be humming when you can’t sleep, it talks about being alone and watching shadows on the ceiling.”
“But I haven’t been alone….”
“What?” Annie screeched loudly at her friend and a few of the bar rats, including squirrel arm turned around to look.
Jane blushed and fussed with the water sweat on her glass.
“Not a guy, a dog, geeze, I told you no more guys. Dogs. Dogs don’t break your heart. His name is Kramer, from Seinfeld.” She brought up pictures on her phone and pushed it across the table. Annie picked it up and started swiping.
“OMG, he’s got Kramer’s hair,” she said as she got to the last image.
“He does, doesn’t he! He’s good company.” Jane looked toward the bar and saw that squirrel arm guy was still staring at them over his beer. A plate of wings sat steaming, but untouched in front of him.
“Dude, it wasn’t from Seinfeld, it was from The Office,” Jane shouted over to squirrel arm.
His eyebrows went up and he whipped back to face his wings and started picking at them.
Annie looked over at Jane and mouthed “WTF???” and Jane smiled.
Squirrel boy leaned over to dragon arm and they heard him say “Man, not sure what those chicks are drinking, but they are nuts.”
“It takes one to know one,” Annie shouted back and she and Jane were doubled over in laughter as the waitress plopped their burgers down in front of them.
Wiping her hands on her apron, the waitress frowned and looked back at squirrel arm. She gave him a thumbs up and squirrel arm and dragon arm shook their head in unison and toasted their beers together.
Jane perked her head up when she heard the opening cords of “Freebird on the jukebox.” She and Annie toasted their waters together.
“Guess I will have a new ear worm later,” Jane said, glancing back at the tattoo boys at the bar. “….and this bird you cannot change….”