19 Nisan 2021

Drug of Choice

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I fidgeted like a first-time wheelman during an armed robbery, waiting for my boy to come out of the Pump-N-Pay. Not that my anxiety was anything out of the ordinary. I’ve been on edge for most of the week, cramming for midterms. Hell, I’ve been on edge for most of my life.

My refilled script for Xanax, set in my front pocket pressed against my thigh, each passing second pushing me to indulge, but I was tired of the meds. They made me feel like shit. I just wanted my headaches to go away. I just wanted to be normal.

Halfway through my sophomore year at Georgia State University, classes were getting tougher and I had yet to declare a major. My roommate, David Chang a.k.a. Giggles, was a bonafide computer science geek and was already sorting internship offers. We both aced our college boards, but while the library was becoming my primary residence, he rarely glanced at his books in between classes.

He started to notice how the stress was getting to me and promised to let me in on his little secret. That placed me in the passenger seat of his tricked out Mini Cooper, eleven o’clock on a Saturday night.

I tapped out a staccato drumbeat on the dashboard as I watched him propel through the double doors of the convenience store, arms swinging two bags laden with energy drinks, water, and Blow-Pops. A Slim Jim dangled between his clenched teeth, an abnormally large version of the processed meat snack; he rolled it back and forth like a cigar. I opened the door for him as he chucked the items in the back and jumped in.

“You ready, Brah.” He took a liking to calling me Brah as opposed to Ezekial, my given name.

“Where we headed?” I asked, not recognizing this part of Atlanta. I was raised a military brat in Germany for most of my life and this was my first time hanging out in the city.

“No place you ever been to,” he replied starting the car. “Or I for that matter.” Chuckling, he whipped the car out of the lot and headed away from the bright lights of downtown. The Cooper responded to his touch like a child commandeering a Matchbox car, threading through traffic at a high rate of speed that had me insuring my seatbelt was still firmly locked into place. The Cooper may have been fast and pretty, but it was no match for anything bigger than a sedan.

“Anything good on?” I asked, fiddling with the dials on the radio to keep from looking death in the face as we merged onto the interstate.

Giggles slapped my hand away.

“No messing with an Asian man’s radio,” he joked, sliding in one of his countless burned CDs. Rapid fire beats spit through the six-speaker system accompanied by piercing electronic shrieks and whistles, but no voices to help drown out the one in my held.

“What’s this shit?”

“That’s your problem, Brah. You have to free your mind. That thugged out shit you listen to got you all tense and ready for war.”

I kept my mouth shut and tried to concentrate on the ride. We were definitely from two different worlds. He was an Asian from California, me a Black kid from wherever the government placed my father every four years.

My CD collection was purely hip-hop with an R&B track or two thrown in the mix. He liked groups who never saw the light of day on top twenty play lists.

We exited the freeway and after about fifteen minutes of rights, lefts, and U-turns, pulled up to a deserted parking lot outside of a closed grocery store. Giggles pulled his two-way pager out of the pocket on his goose-down vest and starting reading. After he scrolled around for what he was looking for, he put it away and began flicking his high beams in an irregular pattern at nothing in particular. A few ticks passed when I noticed a scrawny kid in camo shorts and a black tee shirt hustle to my side of the car. He was wearing one of those candy cane striped hats that everyone buys at the state fair then usually throw in the closet.

“Give him five dollars,” said Giggles as he fiddled with the volume dial on his radio.

Oh Shit. My roommate’s a fuckin pothead, albeit a very cheap one. I started to protest, when another car pulled up and began flicking their lights.

“Brah, give him the money, before he bails.”

I fished a ten out of my pocket. The kid snatched it through the crack in the window and passed me a rolled up parchment. It didn’t look like any blunt I ever saw. Before I could get change, the kid was gone and the car was again in motion.

“Giggles, what the fuck?”

“That, my friend, was a way point.” He said nothing of my ten spot as he took the paper from me and began to read it, oblivious to the road.

My hands shook and my nervousness was compounded by the fact that my roommate was all over the road as he tried to decipher the crudely drawn map.

“David, I need fuckin’ answers.” I had too much to lose being on scholarship and wasn’t trying to get caught up in no drug bullshit.

“Relax, Brah,” responded Giggles as he sped up Buckhead highway. After passing numerous massage parlors, strip clubs, and Korean grocery stores, he topkapı escort whipped a right onto an industrial parkway.

“We’re almost there and all will be revealed.” As an afterthought he said, “This ain’t about drugs, unless that’s still your thing.” Nodding to the bulge I subconsciously fingered every few minutes.

I watched the road as we past large manufacturing plants, most of them closed for the night. We soon left the pavement for a well-packed dirt road and more buildings, these more run-down and abandoned long ago. Giggles drove to the last building on the left and pulled in around back. There were more cars parked there as well, but hardly any people.

“Brah,” said Giggles as he pulled in behind a metallic blue H2. “The shit I’m about to show you will change your life, probably for the better, but there are a couple rules I gotta pass on.”

“One. No pointing. Act you you’ve seen it before.”

“Two. Don’t take anything you don’t want to. If you do, find me first. I can’t be responsible for bad trips. Stick to your own pills, but I don’t think you’ll be needing them.”

“Three. If we get separated afterwards, come back to the car. If the car isn’t here, wait for me at the corner. I won’t leave you behind.”

“Four. If caught, you will disavow all knowledge of my existence,” I quipped.

Giggles punched me on the shoulder.

“Now you’re getting into the swing of things.”

I nodded and gulped, wiping my damp hands against my cargo pants.

Giggle reached into the back seat to retrieve the goodies he bought earlier. He handed me a couple of Red Bulls and some suckers.

“Don’t worry. You’re gonna have a good time.”

That said, we climbed out of the car and headed towards the large nondescript brick building. Standing at the metal door was a large brother that looked like he could start on any offensive line in the NFL. Except for the Mickey Mouse shirt stretched to the max over his large frame, he was downright scary.

Giggles took the lead, raising his arms for a pat down. It took a while with all the pockets on his parachute pants and his vest. When it was my turn, I followed suit. The bouncer took my bottle of pills out, looking at me while reading the label. I pulled out my Doctor’s note for his scrutiny, and after reading it, he handed them back to me.

“I catch you selling, you’re out,” he grunted.

I nodded and shoved them back in my pocket. He slid the heavy metal door back and we descended down some steps to another waiting guard, who could have passed for the twin of the one we just left except he was rocking Mighty Mouse across his pecs. He slid back a door identical to the one upstairs and that’s when, as Giggles promised, all was revealed.

The blast of music hit me with as much ferocity as the wave of body heat that encompassed us at the doorway; a sledgehammer shot to the face. It was the same type of music Giggles had on during the drive, but this felt different. Numbing sound with the force of field howitzers, searched out every corner and crevice of the room, enveloping it in a musical madness. The constant pounding of the bass tickled the back of my throat, giving me the urge to swallow every few seconds.

Standing on what could have been a loading dock, I took in a birds eye view of orchestrated madness. I felt like I was standing in the middle of a pissed off rainbow. Hundreds of people pressed together on the floor till they were no longer bodies, but one massive entity of flesh in an orgy of rhythm. Day-Glo colors were splashed against the wall haphazardly, lit up by numerous black lights, turning the basement into something resembling a futuristic tribal cavern. A large stage was at the other end with monolithic speakers on each side, towering almost up to the ceiling. In the center stood one person who could have been the DJ, hunched over turntables, oblivious to all but the spinning disks under his hands.

People came in all shapes and colors. This could have been anything from a Halloween party to a suicidal cult. People were decked out in everything from street clothes and skater wear to one couple in full clown costume, including matching red noses. Everybody seemed to have a glow stick in hand or attached to their body and they were all in constant motion. I felt out of place in my N.Y. Mets cap, Phat Farm long sleeve shirt, and Timberland boots. This was no glamour contest. They didn’t come to style and be seen; they had another purpose here.

As the cool autumn night of Atlanta was quickly replaced by the sticky humidity of the fervent revelers in the musty basement, I felt my underarms catch up to the moistness of my palms. I removed my shirt and tied it around my waist, tugging at my ribbed wife beater, just to get some reprieve. I inhaled the thick energetic aura of the pulsing mob as they thrashed, glided, and spun to the mercurial music that had no beginning or end. I was actually witnessing my first rave.

I turned to Giggles, but he was already gone, swept up in türbanlı escort the euphonious fray.

I dug through the crap in my pockets, trying my best to avoid the Xanax, until I found the sweaty can of Red Bull. Swallowing the fizzy sugar concoction in one gulp, I quickly chased it with a watermelon-flavored sucker. Rolling the hard candy between my teeth, I tried not to be nervous, but couldn’t stop from shivering. The constant clash of bodies unnerved me; personal space was checked at the front with coats.

Carefully picking my way down the dock steps, I stumbled on a castaway minibottle and before I could prepare, was immediately absorbed into the grooving conglomerate. While others effortlessly moved through the room at free will, I was at the mercy of the crowd; shuttled along counter-clockwise till I was spit out into a not so crowded corner. My T-shirt was immediately drenched with sweat, a soggy blend of my shadowing anxiety and the outward vivacity of the dancers. Out the corner of my eye, I saw a room that wasn’t throbbing with lasers, spotlights, or canned smoke and headed there as quickly as I could. Pulling out another Red Bull, I entered into what passed for a rest room. It was the old factory type with fountain-like sinks for mass workers, a large shower area, and an area for lockers that have since been removed. I began to drink the second can, wondering how long it would take me to walk home. I didn’t belong here and everyone knew it, including me.

Feeling the sudden urge to dehydrate, I stepped up to the large trough on the far wall. Just as the initial blast hit the aluminum wall, I felt a presence.

I craned my head to the right and saw a petite blond girl, her bangs matted on her forehead from perspiration. She hastily pulled her shorts down and squatted on the edge of the urinal. Her eye shadow long since run down her face, smudging her cheeks with a faded blue. She wore a pair of angel wings that have seen better days. A couple of the feathers floated in a downward spiral, taking a ride down the urine made river.

She hummed with delight as splashes of pee hit the bottom of the canal. She was sitting with her eyes closed, smiling, and clearly oblivious to my presence.

I tried to will my bladder to empty as quickly as I could, but I still had more to go. Damn those Red Bulls. Another girl entered the area and made her way over to us. She was sporting demon wings complete with tiny horns on top of her head, a little heftier than her counterpart, but dressed almost the same. She approached the dirty angel, planting a prolonged kiss on her, urination be damned. They kept kissing, rubbing each other’s arms and backs, I could here their groans of delight over the music.

That just freaked me out even more. Here I was in the wrong bathroom, watching two lesbians go at it on the pisser, but this was no Penthouse forum. I finished up and quickly stepped to the sink to wash my hands. I pulled my bottle of Xanax out and commenced battle with the childproof top when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I jumped like a scalded dog, causing the bottle to pop from my hands; a week’s worth of pills spilling into the rusty sink.

“Brah, I was looking for you.” Giggles looked over my shoulder at the waste and clucked his teeth.

“Didn’t mean for that to happen.” I tried to take a deep breath and center myself, but it wasn’t working too well.

“You gonna be all right?” asked Giggles as the dirty angel and demon pair sauntered pass.

“Oh man,” exclaimed the angel as she looked into the sink. “Is that E?” Before I could reply, she scooped up a couple and put them in her pocket. Dragging the demon by the hand, they ran back out onto the dance floor.

“That’s Xanax.” I halfheartedly called out to them, but the room swallowed them up already.

“I know,” replied Giggles. She’s gonna be on a downer, silly wench.” He turned on the spigot and let the rust-colored water run over the remaining pills.

“C’mon, I got a place for you to chill out.” Giggles said, steering me back out into the crowd.

With his guiding hand on my shoulder, I was taken into another room what passed for an urban ashram. My nostrils filled with the overwhelming aroma of Frankincense. The music was muted here, giving people room for conversation. Large candles scattered the area, increasing the temperature by at least ten degrees, casting ghostly shadows on the walls. Large area rugs covered the floor and were joined by numerous beanbags. In the middle of the room was a low table filled to the brim with Evian bottles and fruit. A couple of people were laid about, chatting, nodding, some massaging the person closest to them. Giggles led me to a corner to where a couple of people were hanging out.

“Hey, This is Brah” Giggles announced to the group.Before I could correct him, everybody responded with “Hey” and “Hellos.””He’s new to this, don’t hold it against him.” This brought a titter from the group and they went back to their conversations.I sat down on an empty beanbag tüyap escort and was handed bottled water by somebody that could have been a male or female, I couldn’t tell behind the green wig and face paint and the high heeled motorcycle boots didn’t help either.

Giggles plopped down, starting chatting with a pretty redhead with mounds of body glitter covering the exposed parts of her body. I began to relax, the surrounding atmosphere helping a little. I was nursing my third bottle of water, when the dull roar of the room was interrupted with scattered applause and hoots.

They were for a newcomer to the group and I sat up to take notice. She stood about 5’8″, but the platform sneakers she wore exaggerated that. She was a beautiful shade of golden hue, killer body with traces of auburn streaked on a black background of hair that fell loose about her face.

“Great set, Trix.”

“That was nice.”

“Thanks,” she replied to the group, but her eyes were set on me.

Giggles stopped macking with some blond broad long enough for introductions.

“Trix, this is my roommate, Brah.” I no longer tried to correct him.

“Brah, this is my cousin, DJ Trix C.”

I shook her hand. “Nice to meet you.”

She let me take her hand and sat right down next to me, before letting go. I offered her what was left of my water, which she gladly accepted. I watched her as she drank in the chilled liquid with relish, cheeks drawn in, throat expanding, taking all in giant gulps. A slight trickle sliding out of the corner of her lips. All I could think about was being that drop. I watched it run it course, down her chin, merging with the throat for the expressway down south. She casually caught it with her finger and reunited it with the rest of the water between her lips causing me to inwardly groan.

That stirred something inside me, my dormant dick slowly expanding down my thigh. I found her very attractive and the way she held onto my hand told me she might have felt the same.

“Did you like the set?”

I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t even understand the music. It was loud and boisterous like your drunken uncle at family reunion, but I had had no feeling to it. It went on and on, one continual song. I didn’t even realize that there was more than one DJ.

“Still new to this?” she asked, reading the confusion in my eyes.

“Yea, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, We were all like you at one time.”

“Giggles likes to call me Brah, but most people called me Zeke.”

“Well then, Zeke.” Trix replied. “I answer to Trix or Carol.”

I leaned back a little. “You can call me whatever you like. Except A-hole.” This brought a smile to her as she pinched my cheek.

We continued to make small talk but were really scoping each other out. She wore a plaid mini skirt with fishnet stockings and a sleeveless Lycra top, strategically ripped down the middle to her belly button, giving me an excellent view of cleavage. I painstakingly watched the rise and fall of each breath she took, her breasts jutting straight out within c-cup range.

She fingered the grooves of my tank top, concentrating on tracing my right nipple with her index finger. I flinched at first, not use to this type of human contact, making her draw her hand away.

“Sorry bout that,” she sheepishly remarked. “I just dig nice builds.”

I smiled at the compliment, reaching forward and placing my hand on hers.

“You wanna get in the crowd?”

I wasn’t sure how to answer. If this were a hip-hop club, I wouldn’t have a problem. I knew all the latest steps from New York and Chicago, and even knew the old moves. But this music was new, and even though the beat was there, no one seemed to follow it.

She must’ve read my mind because she took my hand and pulled me up.

“This isn’t about competition, it’s about feeling.”

I let myself be led into the dance room, where the crowd swelled double since I first came in. My chest tightened and I started to feel antsy again, but felt a reassuring squeeze on my hand from Trix as she pulled me into the middle of the room.

It was too loud for normal conversation, so she pulled me close and shouted, “Just hold me, I’ll guide you.”

I gladly wrapped my arms around her, hands at the small of her back. She held onto my arms and started to rotate her hips in a semi circular movement. I looked at the people around me to see what they were doing. There were more styles than a Saturday afternoon Kung-Fu flick. I tried to move but couldn’t catch up with the pulsing beats. I felt like I was back an eight-grade dance, dancing with the last girl left on the bleachers.

“Close you eyes; free your mind.” She shouted through the din. “Trust me.”

I did as she said, thought about George Clinton of all people. When he said, “Free your mind and your ass will follow” he wasn’t kidding.

With my eyes closed, I slowly began to feel the music. It started to knock onto my soul and I gladly let it in. The trance scratched on my walls of my brains, releasing the trapped endorphins, causing my leg to shake like a placated dog. My heart started to race again, but my body kept up with it. I wanted to run, skip and shout but not move at the same time. I was glad I got a second opinion from Dr. Giggles. Trance music; this was my new drug.

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