Monthly Archives: October 2016
I watched Christie climb on the hottest guy I’d seen in my life so far. He was tall, blonde and Peter Murphy skinny.
Christie handed my new dream man 15 bucks and he slid a tiny piece of tinfoil into her back pocket. Everything was five bucks. Five to get into the club, five for a hit of fry.
And then, in perfect Christie fashion, she did a full-on Bill the Cat “ACK-THBPPT “followed by an “Arp!” and hit her arm across her body, (which was her cruel imitation of someone with a developmental disability), then grabbed me and ran us toward the bathroom.
It was so curious how she was always her weirdo self, yet was pretty popular in the Goth crowd. It reminded me of school – I had to study for hours to get an A on a test, while my friends would barely study and ace it. I mean, for fuck’s sake, I practiced my serious face for hours in the mirror only to be dragged around the club by Bill the Cat.
She (fittingly) locked us in the handicapped stall and perched herself on the back of the toilet. I hovered awkwardly as she unfolded the tiny foil origami only to expose three very small pieces of paper, each with a tiny dragon printed on it.
Fry was paper? All this anticipation for paper?
“Stick out your tongue.”
I obeyed. She placed the small piece of paper on my tongue.
“Hunter bought five sheets of windowpane double-dipped Dragon in The Dead parking lot last week. This shit is so pure – you’re going to fry balls!”
I longed for a drug jargon-to-English interpreter; instead I just smiled and nodded.
“Don’t swallow it for 20 minutes. Just let it soak in, then chew it up before you swallow.”
This was meant to be. Little did most know, but I’d been eating paper for years. I was practically built for fry.
When I was a kid, the dog didn’t eat my homework – I did. I also loved books. They were delicious. I ate half of The Velveteen Rabbit.
I loved the taste of paper and the process of eating paper. I eventually graduated to pants and it got ugly, but it was like corduroys were meant for eating those little rows just like corn on the cob.
Someone walked into the bathroom and knocked on the stall.
“Courtney? Are you in there?” Christie’s eyes got huge, but I knew that voice.
I threw open the door and hugged Sandy for days. She was meeting us there, but with all the paper eating I completely forgot.
Christie suddenly burst out of the bathroom, put the foil with the last piece of fry in Sandy’s hand and ran onto the dance floor. She didn’t like attention wandering anywhere beyond her.
We met her on the dance floor but before we could talk, Front 242’s Headhunter came on. Christie freaked the fuck out and hugged both of us. I guess she was no longer mad.
“ONE YOU LOCK THE TARGET!”
And we all started to dance. And didn’t stop. Nitzer Ebb, Tones on Tail, Sisters of Mercy, and Alien Sex Fiend later, I stopped. In the middle of the dance floor.
Goosebumps shot up my arms. The warmth started in my knees and spread throughout my body and I broke into a sweat. I thought I might be thirsty, but I couldn’t tell.
(Press play and listen while finishing this post for maximum impact.)
Bella Lugosi’s Dead came on, as if on cue. The music vibrated through me as if there was no beginning or end of my body and the song. Where did the song stop and I begin? Nowhere. We were one.
The people, pain, music, high school, my father, mom, drugs, this place, this time, the planets, gravity, dimension travel, past lives, the meaning of it all – each piece fit into an intricate puzzle and it was right in front of me. Of all of us everyday really. We just couldn’t SEE it because it was right there.
It was all so simple. If I only had a pen and paper to record the answer to everything, but that would require I get off the dance floor and that was never going to happen.
We danced until the club closed at 2am, piled into David Byrne’s* beat-up 1973 VW Bug and ended up – Sandy, Christie and me – all laying on the floor, chain smoking and watching David Byrne make enormous shadows dance on his cottage cheese ceiling with his very large hands hovering over a single candle – the only source of light in the room.
Bella Lugosi’s Dead came on. It all came back to me – the answer. So I decided to share what was in my brain with my friends and David Byrne, but my voice sounded like a swallowed warbled echo and I wasn’t quite sure about the shape of my words anymore.
David Byrne hovered over me. His face was much more liquid than solid. He smiled wider than the Cheshire Cat.
“Is this your first time riding the LSD train, little girl?”
It didn’t hit me until 36 more plays of Bella Lugosi’s Dead (David Byrne had a cassette tape with nothing on it but that song for this very specific kind of incident), five packs of cigarettes and five hours later (remember, everything’s in fives now) that I realized that I’D TAKEN LSD.
I’d finally crossed the line in the sand. A line I never drew, but a line I was familiar with – that step from minor escape to full-on hard drugs.
I was not scared.
I felt dirty from the inside out.
And I couldn’t wait to do it again.
*I found out later that David Byrne was 20-year-old named Peter Pow and was not actually David Byrne, but he was just as tall and thin and was the front man of a local, very strange band. So I wasn’t too far off.
Murderous by Nitzer Ebb, Album: That Total Age, 1987, addt’l info
Lyrics (repeat several times)
Where is the youth?
It’s time to live
It’s time to know
Shout golden shouts
Lift up your hearts
Much better now
We’re stronger now
Don’t be lazy
With the pleasure of sin
Where is the youth?
Where is the gold?
Think of the beauty
Think of your pride
Don’t back away
It’s there, it’s there for you
Hear, hear what we say
Said hear, hear what we say
Let passion spend
Let your passion spend
Better now, stronger now
It’s time, it’s time to know
It’s time, it’s time to live
Shout golden shouts
Christie was a parent’s worst nightmare. She put the “wrong” in “wrong crowd.” Of course, my attraction to the wrong crowd was no accident. It was due to a perfect mix of a shitty childhood and horrific bullying.
Saying that I slipped and fell into the bad crowd is like saying Bobby Brown single-handedly destroyed Whitney Houston. Trust me, Whitney was looking for her Bobby, and if it wasn’t that Bobby, there would’ve been another one to flash her the perfect gap-toothed come hither by the glow of a crack pipe.
That being said, I sought out the wrong crowd like a heat-seeking missile. Once I hit Christie, I exploded.
I couldn’t wait for Friday, or shall I say, FRY-day. I’m quite certain I was the only human more excited to do something that she had no idea what it was than anyone ever had been in this particular position.
I went home with Christie after school on Friday, all packed for a sleepover AND a night at the club.
Christie lived in the nice side of town on a small horse ranch. Her mom drove a BMW. But most impressive was the fact that Christie had a Nintendo.
We ate dinner with her mom, dad and younger brother and then played Super Mario Brothers until it was time to get ready for the club. For fry. The butterflies in my stomach flittered up to the top of my esophagus.
I followed Christie into her bedroom. Her walls were a mix of Robert Smith posters and horse riding ribbons. She pressed play on her tape player. And This is What the Devil Does started and she threw me on her bed.
(For a more authentic experience, press play on this song while reading the next section.)
She hopped on me – full Tigger style – and started fake fucking me. This would be a portent of what was to come like nobody’s business.
“I’m going to hug you and squeeze you and call you George!”
I struggled my way out of her attempted rape. I barely trusted her; she was the second most unpredictable human I’d met behind my bio dad.
She heated up a black Wet n’ Wild eyeliner pencil with a lighter – oh high, of course – and started applying thick HOT black eyeliner to my eyelids. I tried not to flinch.
We began comparing notes.
- We both weren’t virgins, but she was a downright whore. I’d done it once with one guy and she’d done it hella tons of times with hella lots of different guys. And one of them was over 40 – awesome!
- We both drank alcohol, but she’d already had her stomach pumped once. I was so jealous.
- We both smoked cigarettes and weed, but she smoked cloves and she didn’t get paranoid when she got high.
- We both went to Premier, but I only went once and she went 8 zillion times and knew everyone.
- We both went to Rocky Horror, but she most certainly didn’t go with her mom. Let alone two moms.
- We both felt Goth, but she was brave enough to wear it on the outside. I was too chicken to look Goth anywhere other than the Premier and I hadn’t even done that yet, so I was really only Goth in my heart and in my super deep poetry.
I was living the song Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better) – in reverse.
She was so many steps ahead of me on the badassedness scale it was like I got to the party after everyone was already drunk so I had to do 12 shots to get on the level STAT.
My competitive nature kicked in and my drive to become Goth was now at the top of my priority list. That, and keep a 3.0 GPA. Oh, and try out for drill team. And stay in French Club, Ski Club and Students Against Drunk Driving. And have everyone like me so I could stay on this planet.
Three hours later, we were dropped off at Club Underground. I don’t think my own mother would’ve recognized me. I looked like Siouxsie Sioux with blonde hair. I was nervous, but I felt almost as if I was on stage. Like I was acting. My outsides were protecting me from any rejection because it wouldn’t be me who they were rejecting. It would be this facade.
I mean, Jesus, I had Christie’s thick leather jacket on. No one was penetrating my wall.
My hands shook as I held up a clove for Christie to light. The fucking hands – they’re the only traitor on my body. They are incapable of being cool.
We walked in the front door smoking and posing, half of Woolworth’s Wet n’ Wild black makeup on our faces. Christie scanned the club for her connection, then jumped up, grabbed my hand and we ran into a crowd of underage club kids who hurt just like me: some were being molested at home, most were addicted to drugs and all had a story.
And a common solution.
Instant Club Hit (You’ll Dance to Anything) by The Dead Milkmen gives a somewhat accurate portrayal of the Goth club kids of the 80’s – by totally ripping us a new asshole. It’s basically the punk perspective of the Goth subculture. It will help you enter the world we’re going to be in for a few years…
. . .
Tune in next week to find out what fry actually is and what it does to walls!