It’s a warm Saturday summer evening in San Francisco. There’s 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. They’re 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. I’m still standing out here, right?”
He gets to the point. “Yeah, hey, listen. I think you’re really cute. I see you working out at Gold’s Gym all the time. You were there today.”
I try to remember who the hell this guy could be. “You know, I can’t say that I’ve seen you there. What’s your name?”
While he answers, it dawns on me: I don’t belong to Gold’s Gym. I work out at World Gym. Should I say something? Hell, no. All those years of watching Three’s Company is finally going to pay off.
“Oh, wait, now I remember you. You always wear those . . .” I motion across my pants as if I’m wearing shorts. (It’s a safe bet that someone who’s built as well as this guy wears as little as possible while at the gym.)
“Red shorts!” he answers. We’ve 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 “Let’s 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. We’re 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 he’s made from a bigger one. I’m struck by how cleverly it’s fashioned. He’s 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,” I’m thinking. “I must be skinnier than I thought. He thinks I’m a pro.”
“Oh, that’s 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.
“It’s Rose Bud,” he tells me. “It’s speed mixed with rose-scented body powder.” He’s 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 I’m 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.
I’m impressed. All with one hand! I do it.
The burning is my favorite part. Everyone says it’s 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 he’s 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 David’s hand and in we go.
It’s 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.
I’m smiling. Everything starts to make sense: the beat of the music coinciding with the pulse of the lights, HTML, the bartender counting back someone’s 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 — I’m horny and wanna dance. Scott is back with his clan by the DJ booth, and David’s coming out of the bathroom and walking toward me.
“How do you feel?”