Monday, April 11, 2005

Stripper and Acid 7: The Cellphone Proves Its Worth

I never learned the name of the truly awful all-ages club at which we landed, but I'd let you take an icepick to my scrotum before I'd go back there.

By the time we hit the spot, I had Shanna pretty well calmed down. I pointed out that there's NO WAY she got enough acid to actually die, if that ever happened, which it doesn't. Speaking softly and frequently also helps to calm folks down, and I had every motivation in the world to keep her calm. The inhabitants of this particular limousine were assholish primates to a man, so I knew they'd drop a dime on me in a second, if it came down to handcuffs or state's evidence. Jim was a close friend, but he was falling down the same hole I was, so he would have been no help at all. And Nadine...ah, who could say? Our love had blossomed improbably over the course of the preceding hour and a half, communicated through stolen glances and surreptitious touches, and a better-than-natural probability of sitting next to each other. But could I count on her? Did she include me with the unibrow wrestling squad, who got her girlfriend all fucked up? Did she see, as I did, that Shanna was a squeaker?

I couldn't say, but as we entered the club I had no time for further ruminations--I had to keep cool.

I'll save a lot of time by avoiding description of the club, and what it feels like to be in the middle of something like this on 15 hits of LSD. Go watch "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." The majority of the movie is Gilliam's best effort to film the subtle (and not so subtle) changes acid makes to your perception. So just go get it, pop it in, and at least watch the lizard lounge scene. Imagine trying to be cool during all this, with absolutely no assistance from anyone at all.

Jim had instantly disappeared into the crowd by the bar, doing his best to beat back Thompson's leech, which was by this time moving pretty steadily up both our spines. The mullet boys had disappeared, or spread out, looking for cheap crank or someone's sister. Shanna and Nadine had found some other boys, who looked me over pretty hard every time I came close. I couldn't tell what was being said, but I tried to find a dark corner and fall into it.

The darkest corner was, in fact, not very dark at all. It was also pretty full of people doing things I couldn't understand, speaking languages that were also incomprehensible. I began to get The Fear.

Then, miracle #1: Jim showed up with a plastic cup full of gin and a can of Miller Genuine Draft, shoved them into my hands and struggled back towards the bar.

Miracle #2, about 2 minutes later: Nadine's face swimming up to me out of the flashing, breathing crowd, asking if I was OK and making sure I wouldn't leave without her. I smiled what I hoped was an encouraging, happy, nonthreatening smile and nodded my head. She was gone before I could unjack my jaw enough to get words out.

"Good Christ," I thought at one point, "this is probably the most fucked up I've ever been in a public place. Can they tell?"

Thankfully, nobody was paying the slightest bit of attention to me. The only way I could tell people even knew I was there was an open space around me, where none seemed to exist around any of the other patrons. For this, I felt grateful.

Then the bottom dropped out:

Anti-miracle #1: Jim grabbed me from behind, shoved his sweaty face into mine and shouted "I'm leaving! I can't handle this, man!"

"What?" I hollered back, "you don't have a car here!"

"Fuck it," he said, and shoved another set of drinks into my hand, "I'll walk!"

And then he was gone. "Screw it," I thought, "I'm staying close to my Nadine, and watching the bubbles in this here gin and tonic."

Which I managed to do for about 1000 years, when I felt the strange hand of Anti-miracle #2 tugging at my elbow.


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