I left West Palm around noon, picked up Annakes in Jacksonville, and scampered to Atlanta, getting there around 12-ish. Shortly (like about 30 seconds) after getting past the door, I realized that my old haunt, the Masquerade
was not the same as I recalled. True, they were playing 80's music, but not the "club-owners-didn't-want-to-use-the-word-g
oth" kinda 80's. No, this was the "Run DMC (shaken, not mixed)/ little jits in pink halters and poofy hair/ bartender doesn't know how to make a red death/ freakiest people within 12 city blocks are the staff/ and the DJ looked at me with mingled surprise and sympathy when I requested "Down in the park, the original by Peter Murphy, please" eighties night. When I heard the opening strains of "It's tricky", it was time to leave. So Kires & Co. piled into the RV of doom, and, with tails firmly between legs, fled across town to the Chamber.
The chamber was about half an hour from closing, and damn near empty. To most people, this would seem a bad thing. But to me it means that I get the dance floor to myself, and my requests get played. with only time for 2 drinks and Sturmwalze (I love that song entirely too much, I think). A good time was had really fast, and then it back to the RV of doom, and shortly thereafter, the interstate once more.
We got to Norfolk, and Annakes was deposited at the home of a friend, where there was lunch and showers had by all. She was eager to meet up with some old friends not seen in some time, so she remained whilst I high-tailed it north, bound for Alchemy. As usual, I missed the exit off of 395, and ended up in NW DC. Drat.
I made my way through the city (in the RV of Doom) until, using only an address, my instincts, and liberal amounts of obscenities and cries to the gods. (I have no doubt that once the construction is finished the streets will be quite passable ... grrrr) I finally arrived in the vicinity of Nations! I parked the RV of doom, after politely refusing the kind offer of a homeless fellow to direct me into an alley, and headed out for the evening. Luckily, I had found parking for the RV of Doom only 3 or 4 blocks away, 'cause it was cold, and I'd forgotten my coat in the haste of my departure. But then again, I was in a somewhat altered state from being awake since Wendsday evening. (God bless Dexidrine)
Gaining entrance to Alchemy was an adventure in and of itself.---Disclaimer---
The following is an honest account, but should be taken with a grain of salt, because at the time I had been awake and active for well over 48 hours. Although no aspect of it has been intentionally altered, it is presented solely for comedic/"cool story" value. I understand what it takes to properly maintain security at a large club because I was a bouncer myself at the above mentioned Masquerade for no short time. I do not have any ill will or resentment toward anyone mentioned or not mentioned. This is "my version" of the events, not an objective statement of those events. In other words: I'm saying this is what I saw. I'm not saying this is what happened. Get it? Good. Besides, I actually thought the whole thing was pretty funny, like "Mel Brooks goes goth" or something.---/Disclaimer---
First attempt: Sevenn gives me a bracelet after verifying my age, and I proceed to the search. My meds raise suspicion, so I am sent back to the RV of Doom for the regular, labeled bottle with my name and all the official stuff on it, to verify that the contents are all legal and cool. No Problem, I can see reasons for the caution, especially in light of the whole drug thing a few months ago.
Second Attempt: I return with the bigger (labeled) bottle, and since I've had my id verified already and got the bracelet, I start to walk around Sevenn and the patrons he's id'ing. Sevenn takes umbrage at this, and tells me to wait my turn. Ok, "my bad". I apologize and wait. Sevenn finishes with the patrons and reaches for my ID. Then he looks irritated when he sees the bracelet on my wrist, and waves me past. He looks like I've offended him, but since I can't think of a way to apologize that wouldn't sound sarcastic, I just do as he indicates. I present my pill bottle to the search guy, and he verifies it's validity, and that all the pills are the same size, shape and color. Once that is out of the way, Sevenn comes over, likely summoned by the unusual delay of the search process, and tells me that I can't bring it in at all, although he will permit me to leave and return free of charge when the time to take my meds rolls by. So I go back to the RV of doom to deposit the bottles. (Just for the record, none of this bothered me in the least. I've been a bouncer before, and I completely understand that it's much better to err on the side of caution in areas like this.)
Attempt the third: I get back to the door, Sevenn waves me past, and the search proceeds again. I empty my pockets onto the table, get frisked for a third time, and almost make it through when a sharp-eyed lady perched nearby happens to spy a bottle of visine among my accoutrements. ... Ok, the pills I can understand. They are, after all a class 3 controlled substance, and Sevenn was kind enough to promise that I would be able to re-enter for free when it came time to take them again. But Visine? What evil could I possibly purpose to commit with a bottle of Visine? But it's not my opinion that maters here, and I am a relative stranger here, unsure of the local customs, so I keep my fool mouth shut and prepare for the upcoming trek. It occurred to me to ask what objection there was to Visine, but right after that, I realized that since there was some objection, little would be gained by an inquiry, and moreover, Sevenn was already making me plenty uncomfortable, since he'd been friendly the last time we met, and I had no clue what had changed his attitude so profoundly. Besides, I'm kinda loopy from sleep depravation at this point, so I know I'm probably misunderstanding something, and this all makes more sense than it seems to, and I really should take my opinion with a bigger grain of salt. At any rate, I head back across the frozen wastes to the RV of Doom, therein to get some hot cocoa, 'cause it's chilly, and apply the visine liberally because I won't be getting any more for a few hours, and one's eyes get kinda itchy after being open for 3 days.
Attempt IV: Free of the Visine, my meds, and the majority of my body heat, I return once more to the hallowed halls of Alchemy to entreat entry. Sevenn waves me through, and I'm back at the now-familiar search table. The fellow doing the searching asks me why I keep going in and out...
OK, ok, I know I'm of questionable mental capacity right now, but fucking-huh? Franticly, I search my head for alternative meanings, trying not to look too dumbfounded at what sounds like it should be a simple question... but, ::sigh:: "no luck".
So I just ... kinda ... pause, and knit my brows in a impromptu impression of 3rd from the left in that "evolution of man" poster. At least it wasn't embarrassing ... yeah. So I try not to drool like some high-function downs-syndrome case being mugged by a 6 foot bunny rabbit, and force out some appropriately apologetic sounding words. I think I said, "sorry, I had too many things in my pocket." or something like that. Then I remember the question and add that I haven't actually made it into the club yet. This passes the torch of confusion to the searcher-guy, but only for a moment. At this point Sevenn comes over, having apparently by now labled me as a troublemaker, due to the disruption I've been causing, and asks what the problem is. (In that "I will feed you your f--king hands if you answer wrong" voice only he can do) Maybe I was misunderstanding the "vibe", but he seemed pretty damned hostile by now. The fellow doing the searching explains that I seem to be coming and going a lot. Sevenn shrugs this off, and starts to go back to the door, but stops to umm ... inform me that if any weapons are found on me, I'll have a "real unhappy night". Now this could easily have been misconstrued, but I know Sevenn wasn't threatening me out of left field. He was merely advising/ pointing out to me the policies of the club regarding the bearing of concealed weapons, to be certain there was no doubt on that point.
Yeah ... Riiiight.
Although I was (and am) curious as to what had brought about Sevenn's change in attitude from the last time we'd hung out, I had enough brain still on duty at that point to realize that this was not an issue to pursue. Unless, of course, I should grow weary of the arrangement of my limbs and desire a more ... "imaginative" distribution of my joints, as Sevenn is quite a bit bigger and meaner than I am, and I have no doubt he could fold me into an origami swan or crane or rowboat or something if the desire should come upon him. Happliy, no such desire spoke to his heart, and I bought a ticket, traded it for a stamp, and came at last into Alchemy proper.
Therein did I meet people I'd been emailing for a while. The staff of The City Morgue was mostly there, and had I been in my right mind, I'd have had breakfast one of my favorite writers, the right Rev. Heathen. As it was, I was addlebrained, and declined to tag along, opting instead for the chance to flop around on the dance floor like a wounded giraffe. Although the music was excellent and mixed with great skill, I think my time would have been better spent hanging out with the new people I had been wanting to meet in person for all this time. A mistake not that shall not be repeated, to be sure.
After Alchemy turned back into a pumpkin, I boarded the RV of Doom, and began the journey to Norfolk. I think one of the DJ's passed me on the interstate, en route to her cozy digs in Richmond, but I can't be sure. Several hours later, I was back in Norfolk, again in the driveway of Annakes' friend's house, eager for breakfast and a shower. Both were had in short order, then it was back to the road, because we were going to be late for Wolfsheim's CD release party at the Chamber.
Going through Durham, We heard "Hurt" By Johnny Cash. I don't care who wrote it and performed it first. Hurt, performed by the man in black cannot be called a remake. Johnny Cash so completely OWNED Hurt that it became a new thing in this world, no more a remake of Trent's Hurt than I am a remake of my great uncle.
We did make it to Atlanta, and we were late. Annakes was tired, having had a more ... ahem! "active" (insert bad jazz music here) night than I had, and she opted to stay in the RV of Doom, whilst I staggered forth to my old stomping grounds, The Chamber. In case you give a damn, this was the very same Chamber that I worked at when the Drive-by Flogging was visited upon that poor bastard. Hopes were dashed in seconds, as I found that none of my friends were there, having all moved on as I had. Their names were remembered by one of the DJ's and 2 of the bouncers, and I was surprised to find that mine was, too. The DJ had been a patron back then, and I think he was lying when he said he thought I looked familiar. It was nice of him, though.
I had a fabulous time. Now on day 4 of consciousness, I was feeling pretty Zenned out, one with the universe and all that. Either that, or my brain was approaching melt-down. (It occurred to me that I had better uptime than most Windows servers, tee-hee.) Either way, I had a blast. Then I saw this girl,
She was amazing! Not tall and pretty narrow, she reminded me of little Jamie. Except Jamie couldn't move like that! She had complete mastery of her body, enticing it to shapes and rhythms new and beautiful (to me, anyway). Lithe. That's the word. Not enough, but the best my mind can summon. I was awed, and told her as much. She thanked me, and said it was probably from practice. I agreed, and went back to my perch, to finish my drink and blur my head, to let my thoughts fade away, until their weight lifted, and I was freed to fall into the music, giving up my mind and will to the gentle demons in the rhythms and tones surrounding me. I crave those moments, when I am moved by the thunder in my bones, by the flame in my belly, and even by the words that rain through my hands like spun glass, shattering and melting as they fall against me.
Mind you, I know that logic can only conclude that these moments were mere delusion, a flight of fancy brought on by lack of sleep and alcohol, and I'll not try to defend my visions that night against such. Indeed, why should I? Logic has no treasures to give that could equal what I saw in that woman, what I felt in that music, and what, for perhaps a few moments, perhaps I became. I do not clearly recall, but that is as it should be, some beauty can only be seen or felt, but not remembered. Perhaps that is the purest of beauty, that which remains sovereign and whole in a moment or a night, not spread out and drawn thin across time by the filth of our minds to be molested by lecherous reverie, groping and grasping at the moment, offering nothing to the objectified focus of it's feeble libido.
But I digress ... heh.
When the lights came back up, the weight of my mind settled, and my flesh slowed and cooled. I made my way unsteadily to the bar, where I paid my tab. As I was putting my card back in my wallet, She came up to the bar, likely to pay her own tab. She smiled at me, and found my self asking her name. She told me, I told her mine, and so the introductions were made. We chatted for minute or 2, I have no idea about what. My god, she was beautiful. And the way she moved! Someday, I may develop some small skill at description. Perhaps a measure of eloquence may someday be mine. But even should I ever learn to set my feelings truly to the page, I do not think now that I shall ever have the skill to convey what I saw in the way she moved for those minutes before I fell away. ... So I won't try. (But it was _really_ cool.)
We were talking, I was entranced, and time was growing short. I asked her if she had an email address. She said that she did, I told her that I lived in Florida, but I really liked her, would like to get to know her better, and could I email her? She said, "no". I grinned at my embarrassment and said "ok, then. bye-bye." And that was that. I laughed at the fool I must have looked all the way back to the RV of Doom, and when I told Annakes all that had been and not been, she laughed too. I was kinda sad that I got shot down like that by the most amazing dancer I've ever seen, but I'd be even sadder if I'd been unable to ask. Yes, it is better by far to regret things you have done, than it is to regret things you have not.
Annakes was quite hungry, having politely ignored the fact that food had simply not occurred to me, so the RV of Doom went in search of food. We found this scary looking Mexican food place that was open at 4:30, and dinner was got. Then, once more to the road, and onward to Jacksonville and the home of the Annakes. We came to rest at long last in her driveway, and climbed out into the cruel sun. Like children dashing through a afternoon shower, we made for the door, and the sacred cool darkness therein. Thankfully, we made it before being burned to a crisp, and the darkness of her bedroom was welcome indeed to my eyes. I had now been up for 4 days, and it was time for bed, without a doubt. I woke up on my birthday, and there was cake and her family singing at me, and I pretended to like it, and actually I was quite happy. Then I went back to sleep until Wendsday. All in all, a fine way to spend a birthday, I think.
music: VNV Nation - beloved (grey dawn version by