I'm in a parking lot, a block off the strip. A street lamp casts an orange glow over the facade of the building. Employees are milling around. It's 2am and I've arrived early, restless, smoking and pacing, in neurochemical purgatory, caught between dimensions, searching for the portal.
Lost souls inhabit the late night. Ethereal beings materialize around me. A lovely girl with brown ringlets. A man in a tuxedo. A midget. I make eye contact with the girl, who stares numbly. Are these shape-shifters? Her face distorts slightly, like a bad television signal. I blink my eyes, look away. When I look back, she is gone. It's windy tonight. It was the wind that blew me here. The door seems open. Lord knows what is on the other side.
It's like passing through a membrane. There is a long hallway. I hear music; super-minimalist techno. It fills the room like a crystal clear pool. Electric blue wavelets lap around my ankles. Heh! How do they do that?
The room is all done in black and maroon. It is three stories high. Two balconies look down from above. There are all kinds of people here; beautiful people, regular people. Odd people. Something seems persistently off kilter. Guy next to me at the bar is shaking his head in amazement. "Midgets fighting in the bathroom," he says. About then a bouncer walks by, carrying a small person. He's steaming; red in the face, cursing. "They were like, 'What are you looking at?' 'Yeah? What are YOU looking at?' Next thing you know, they are wailing on each other." An extremely large black woman starts booty dancing with me. She's a mountain of a woman. "Techno baby, YEAH!"
Techno. Yeah. The DJ engineers the music, throwing in builds and breaks here and there. His timing is impeccable. There are people dancing. There are people shaking booty at the bar. There are people lounging around, their eyes rolling around in their heads. I get the feeling I will never see these people in the day. Or, if I do, they won't look like.... this....
I danced. I dressed all in silk that night. It was fun to spin around, and feel the silk move. Me and the clothes dancing. Symbiosis.
By and by, I noticed that the spirit people had gone. Solid, grim humans had taken their place. Red eyes, unshaven cheeks. I wondered if the DJ was pissed. The builds became ill-timed and dissonant, to the point where the electronic effects were screeching, painful. It was like an experiment in human aggression. Fights broke out in two different places at once. I left.
Outside, it is daytime. A garbage truck makes a huge racket down the street. I see the ringlet girl sitting on a curb. Her eyes are red and her dark eye makeup is smudged slightly. She stares off into the distance. "Bedtime," I say. "I hope not," she says. "But I may have to." She seems genuinely disappointed. She looks at me with a guilty look on her face. I caught her running.
We have only learned to pull it off for a few hours at a time, this shape-shifting thing. I wonder sometimes if there is a way of perfecting the thing; but moreover I think it's more practical to appreciate the rhythm of things. You travel and then you come home.
Me, I love this time of day. The sun is just up, and the breeze is cool, and everything is just so. I seldom long for anything right about now. Doesn't matter if I'm knee deep in a trout stream or walking home from some lovely club; this time of day, everything is in its place. I'm glad I learned that emotion.
Empire. For when you REALLY want to see where the rabbit hole goes.
"We shall find peace. We shall hear angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds."