Tuesday, February 6, 2007

In Which our Hero Examines the Consequences of Cocaine Abuse in a Futuristic Club where A Reggae Band is Playing at 4:30 in the Morning

"Fuck," she said, wide eyed and bloodshot, whipping her head back with her finger pressed to her nostril. She snorted two more times to suck up the remaining residue, then switched nostrils, and snorted again.

David looked on at the group of them huddled over to one side of the C shaped booth from the other side. Suddenly, his Heineken seemed un-exotic. His weekly four dollar splurge on German (is it German?) beer didn't measure up to $1,000 of white powder dusting around the air like a blizzard. Marcia cut another line with a razor blade, and Jimmy rolled up another Benjamin Franklin into a nose straw while Suzie and Herbert stared on with glassy, excited eyes. They were all wearing see-thru, neon colored polyurethane suits, 'cause, um, this was a future club. And some of those Max Headroom sunglasses.

David felt lonely in his wool and polyester black suit with white oxford shirt and skinny black tie and normal black sunglasses. Actually, he felt like he played trombone in a ska band - the look he was really going for was "mobster," but he failed at that too.

The club was dark and smoky, a combination of marijuana, cigarette, cigar, and smoke machine clogging up all the air filters. Through a shadowy mass of white people writhing in the bare illumination of a flashing strobe light, David saw the only other black guys in the club - the band on stage, even though he could only see their top-halfs because of all the silhouetted heads of rich, fancy club goers. The stage was lit up like a Hydrogen bomb - searing white light shining down on the ten to twelve black guys wearing ragged layers of scarves, dreadlocks, sunglasses (is everyone wearing sunglasses in this stupid story?) army jackets and soccer shoes and khaki slacks. There were two drummers, two bass players; a saxophone, trombone and trumpet; some keys and guitars and guys on soundboards and microphones. The tiny stage was awash with band members. The crew wanted to come because they heard a reggae band was playing, but David knew this wasn't just "reggae." This was some heavy dub music - dark repetitive pounding bass rhythms with heavy low drum beats and guys mixing the soundboards to make it all sound like one horrific nightmarish wall of upstroke sound.

"This shit sucks," Marcia said as Jimmy leaned over and snorted the line on the mirror in front of him.

"I dunno, I kinda like it," David said.

"You WOULD," Suzie cracked, her head wagging and tilting. She started leaning to the right, and then she capsized like the Titanic, falling straight out of the step-up booth onto her coked out little head.

"Whoa, shit," Jimmy said, twisting his neck to the left with a satisfying crack. Herbert tried to lean out of the booth to help Suzie up, but she was waggling in a semi-seizure with blood dripping out of her nose.

The song ended, and the entire crowd thew up a big cheer. One of the guys went up to the microphone, the one with the huge beard and military looking cap and spouted off some echoed Jamaican accented words that no one understood, and then a new song started up.

David took the last sip from his beer and set the green glass back down on the table. He stood up from the table but no one noticed and stepped over bleeding Suzie to push his way through the flashing crowd up to the front of the stage. The PA was blaring was booming and the lights were Atomically bright, but everyone was wearing sunglasses anyway. The heavy dub rhythms vibrated David down to the core, and then the bearded guy took a break from shouting something about Zion and revolution and held his arms out like a messiah. David nodded his head, and when a guy with a clean shaved face stepped forward the guy with the beard stepped back and looked down at David and pointed at him with his left, dragging the microphone cord on the ground with his right. David nodded, and the bearded guy smiled.

Then back at the table Jimmy threw up on Herbert's lap. Marcia's eyes rolled back into her head, and when she fell forward onto the table, her arm knocked over the tiny candle and the little flame spilled out over the melted wax and started a corner of the paper "Reserved" sign on fire.