"Shit," he said.
"Turn it up."
"Nah, it's fucked."
"What do you mean fucked?"
"I mean, it's FUCKED. Doneski."
"Aw, hell no," Darren cried, dropping his head back. "I paid two hunnered for that stereo last week."
"S'fucked. No... wait, oh, I got it!"
Caroyln hollered, raised her fist. Darren sighed and then glared at Steve, fiddling with the stereo. Rebecca was sitting on the couch with Dougie and Chris.
"Play that one!" Rebecca shouted from the couch.
"Which one?" Steve shouted back.
"The dance-one! I wanna dance!"
Smoke bounced against the ceiling of the basement, Steve pulled his cigarette from his mouth, exhaled from the side of his mouth and put it back, clinching it tight with his lips as he pulled a black 7" from its sleeve and shimmied it onto on the record player. Everyone leaned in towards the two three foot tall speakers against the corner of the dark basement. Two loud snare hits and then some guitars ripped out of the speakers. The Undertones, "Teenage Kicks."
"Woooo!" Rebecca shouted and she jumped up, grabbing Kris from the other side of Dougie. She and Kris were both wearing skirts and boots and slashed up t-shirts. They both had short died black hair and lots of studs and necklaces. Rebecca was taller though, longer legs. Kris was petite.
Carolyn swaggered up behind Steve and spun him around by his hips. Carolyn wore tight jeans and shaved her head. Steve had on black work pants and Chuck Taylors and a black sleeveless t-shirt. He shaved his head too. He grabbed Carolyn's hips and picked her up and swung her around. He was taller than Rebecca. Dougie sat stoned out of his mind on the couch. He had a huge beard and always wore a thick red and black flannel and one of those black watchmen's caps over his long hair. He was wondering what Chris saw in that tall dyke. If he wasn't so catatonic he would have been wishing that Chris was backing up, flipping her skirt at him as she sat down on his lap and starting grinding out a provocative display instead of shaking her head side to side and sliding around on the concrete dance floor with Rebecca. Darren danced by himself, sort of like Snoopy in those Peanuts cartoons. A lot of foot kicking, and then shaking yer head towards the ceiling, then shaking your head towards the floor while your arms stay still.
"I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight, get teenage kicks right through the night, all right!" the stereo blurted. Carolyn spun her back to Steve and shimmied up against him. Rebecca and Chris twirled each other around, their skinny arms tangling as they twirled themselves around Darren, who continued dancing in his own way in between the two girls' arms.
"I'm gonna call her on the telephone, have her over 'cause I'm all alone."
Steve puffed on his cigarette and the cherry glowed. Dougie's head rolled back and he stared at the bouncing smoke next to the single 40 watt light bulb illuminating just a small cone of the basement.
"I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight, get teenage kicks right through the night, all right!"
The guitars and drums prattled out the ending and everyone hollered. Two and half minutes of dancing, two and a half minutes of power and glory. Two and a half minutes of forgetting work the next morning, forgetting the destructive effects Steve's smoking will have on his lungs, forgetting their shitty apartments and the war over in the Middle East. Two and a half minutes of freedom.
"Put it on again," Chris shouted.
"Nah, it's too short, we'll have to just keep flipping it."
"Well, what else do we have to listen to?"
"Ramones, DEVO, shit, um, not too much good for dancing."
"Hold on," Steve said. "I've got the perfect record."
He flicked his cigarette butt into the ashtray on the coffee table. He stepped and leaned over the turntable, flipped some records, then dropped the needle again. The silent room waited, then two snare hits and the guitars kick in.
"Wooooooooo!" Dougie shouted, rising from the couch. "I love this shit, man!"
Rebecca and Chris shouted and each one grabbed one of Dougie's arms, and even though he was baked, he spun them around as The Undertones jammed "Teenage Kicks" again. Darren still danced his own way in his spot. Carolyn and Steve were doing their own version of the Twist, shaking their knees and twisting their hips, and the smoke from Steve's dead cigarette twisted upward from the ashtray on the coffee table, through the single cone of light in the dark basement, pluming out as it hit the basement ceiling.