22 January 2013

Monday, May 29, 1995 5:26 a.m.

Anyone who saw us right now would think we had completely lost our minds.

It's the wee morning, just before sunrise. F_____ and I are in the empty mall parking lot, both front doors of my car open wide, the stereo booming out repetitive techno while we dance wildly. We don't even contemplate what might happen if mall security were to drive by or if a police officer spotted us from her cruiser on the Interstate. This not the first time we've been tripping and ended up dancing in a parking lot. It's, in fact, the second time we've done so in this particular lot, but the truth is various parking lots and garages have been some of our favorite clubs. Not once have we entertained the very real possibility that someone might see us, might catch us and ask us to explain ourselves. Our whole relationship has been one long, invisible, inexplicable, mad dance in the abandoned parking lot of life.

How'd we get here?

I was back in Louisville midweek, a compulsory pupil in traffic school as the result of a speeding ticket I received in January. Traffic school is a relatively small price to pay for abbreviating the long, sobering drive home from Louisiana after a crazy, drunken Christmas and New Year's holiday there with F____. I'm still a little stunned by the fact that there are drive-thru daiquiri stands in New Orleans. It's like they want us to drink and drive. Thankfully, I was not drinking when I received the ticket, but was instead nursing a hellish hangover from being very nearly perpetually drunk for two weeks straight.

By Saturday, I'm back home from traffic school and there's no one at the apartment to entertain me, so I head to the Warehouse. I'm there now so often that it seems like my job, and I just come home mornings to eat and sleep before my next shift. Like dull workdays, my nights at the club all blend together and it's rare that something disturbs the routine so that it stands out in my memory. This evening at the Warehouse is distinctive, though, because when I wander into the back bar, I hear my name being yelled over the pounding industrial music.

I look up to see Tammy C_____ and her girlfriend, Ariadne, from Louisville in all black vinyl, smiling down at me, and grinding together on a platform overlooking the dance floor.  Tammy pulls me up to join them and makes me the filling of a sexy, lesbian dance sandwich. That lasts about a song before the lesbian bread slices are again only interested in one another, and this unwanted meat slides out from between the slick vinyl outfits and off the platform. It's great to see them, but I'm not crazy about the music and I don't feel like drinking, so I don't stay long. Besides, I'm coming back tomorrow night for a scheduled rave, Electrified.

F_____ has come up for this party, with party favors: two hits of acid. We drop at around 11:30. Roy F_____ is also up from Louisville, visiting, so he and the Steves have joined us. We don't tell the guys we're doing acid tonight because they are all pretty straight. The secret is really easy to keep because I don't feel anything. In fact, I'm starting to think we swallowed a tiny shred of regular old construction paper. The music is just normal Warehouse fare and so is the crowd, so the atmosphere isn't helping our trip along either. The DJ's, who were flying in from Chicago, never showed, leaving the usual weekend DJ to man the decks. I am resigned to my second lackluster night in a row here.

After an hour or so, the guys head out, bored out of their minds I'm sure, leaving F_____ and I to our own L.S.D.evices. For a couple of hours, we waste our nominal buzz on drunken frat boys, goth poseurs, and corny dance music. I have got to get some water in me, but the line at the back bar is frustratingly long. So, I head for the front bar, where I find fifty raver kids flailing to some pretty fantastic music; the party is happening in spite of the original DJ's having stiffed us. Lovely folks keep crowding in, dancing, and worshiping the buzzing speakers. Even the normally staid bartender can't keep her body still.

Forgetting my need for water, I plow back through the crowd to the back bar and drag F_____ up front. The house gets deeper, the kids roll harder, and the two of us finally start feeling the effects of the acid—just in time for the bar to close at 4, leaving F_____ and I yet to reach the peak of our delayed trip.

We're desperate to make the most of what's left of our evening.  A rumored after-party near the university that is supposed to move outdoors to Eden Park at 7 a.m. turns out to be a bust. So we wander downtown for a bit. Still no party. We head for the airport, which sounds like it might be a fun place to trip. It isn't. We must have already started sliding down the backside of our buzz. Or so we think until I hit just the right track on the CD player and the music is so intense that the beats stir up our brain chemistry and pull us out of the lull. Our bodies have to move and the car does not afford enough space for them to do so, thus the mall parking lot.

We dance. We laugh uncontrollably. We move inside the parked car. We jitter and convulse. By dawn, we're coming down, physically exhausted and yet sleep eludes us. I check myself out in the rear-view mirror, something I know better than to do under these circumstances. Pallid, blotchy skin. Dark, hollow rings under red eyes. Cracked lips. Sweaty hair matted to forehead. This is not the look of someone who has just spent an entire night having the time of his life, but instead the look of someone who has spent an entire night one dance-step ahead of a raving reaper.

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