Its a warm Saturday summer evening in San Francisco. Theres jasmine in the air, the End-Up is packed, my friends and I are waiting in line to get in, and my luck is about to change.
My friend Scott motions toward a bunch of butch Asian guys huddled in a small group and bouncing up and down to the bass pumping out from the club. Theyre all decked out in muscle shirts and leather pants. One of them catches me checking him out and waves me over to talk to him.
This guy is exceptionally hot, so I try to act smooth.
Well, not much, I guess. Im still standing out here, right?
He gets to the point. Yeah, hey, listen. I think youre really cute. I see you working out at Golds Gym all the time. You were there today.
I try to remember who the hell this guy could be. You know, I cant say that Ive seen you there. Whats your name?
While he answers, it dawns on me: I dont belong to Golds Gym. I work out at World Gym. Should I say something? Hell, no. All those years of watching Threes Company is finally going to pay off.
Oh, wait, now I remember you. You always wear those . . . I motion across my pants as if Im wearing shorts. (Its a safe bet that someone whos built as well as this guy wears as little as possible while at the gym.)
Red shorts! he answers. Weve made the connection. Now if only I can remember what he said his name was.
So, Kurt, do you party? he whispers to me.
Note: Do you party? is drugspeak for Would you like a bump of crystal? And in this case, Sure is the code word for Lets get really tweaked and fuck each other until the sun goes back down tomorrow. He pulls out a little plastic baggie full of dope. There are little green geckos printed on the outside. Cute. Were hunched against the wall. His friends are laughing and rolling their eyes. I get the impression that this happens every Saturday. He takes out a little straw that hes made from a bigger one. Im struck by how cleverly its fashioned. Hes cut a slant on one end to give it a sort of scoop. He digs into the baggie, pulls out a hefty lump of powder and gives it to me.
Is this going to be enough?
Wow, Im thinking. I must be skinnier than I thought. He thinks Im a pro.
Oh, thats fine, I say.
I fumble with it, trying to figure out the best way to stick it in my nose and snort. He gently takes it out of my hands, steps closer and holds the scooped end up to my nostril. I can smell it. It smells like roses. Like some kind of rose-scented talcum powder.
Its Rose Bud, he tells me. Its speed mixed with rose-scented body powder. Hes got his face up against mine and tells me to go ahead. I reach to hold my left nostril closed so I can take the drugs in the right one. Seeing that Im being way too obvious and clumsy about it, he stops me, puts my hand down and, in one motion, has the straw stuck under one nostril while covering my nose.
Im impressed. All with one hand! I do it.
The burning is my favorite part. Everyone says its the worst, but I love it. I guess it makes me feel less guilty for doing drugs. I can get high and be punished.
Once the burning subsides, I stand and wait for the rush. One of the guys hes with yells, Hey, David! Tell that guy his friends are going inside. I turn around, and my group screams at me to get up to the door. I grab Davids hand and in we go.
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Its packed and hotter than hell. David excuses himself and goes off to the bathroom. My friends tease me about the drugs, calling me a rice queen, and tell me to meet them in the patio out back.
Im smiling. Everything starts to make sense: the beat of the music coinciding with the pulse of the lights, HTML, the bartender counting back someones change, alien conspiracies. A pure, unrestricted flow of information saturating my neural pathways. All barriers dissolve, and I become the focused, insightful expert on everything we all turn into while tweaked. Oh yeah Im horny and wanna dance. Scott is back with his clan by the DJ booth, and Davids coming out of the bathroom and walking toward me.
How do you feel?