Back to the Cold Country

Back to the Cold Country

I.

Orlando seems to have remained right where I left it. The clubs are all vieing for the same five-dollar industrial cover charge on Sunday nights from the hundred loyal followers of the scene. It appears to be a covert effort to destroy the scene, splintering the fragments across town, dissolving motives in their own fluid. Will the vinyl survive?

Fuck’em. It’s a carcass. Infected…oily larva squirm in decaying meat…some new faces on the scene, but this city is sooo dead to me. I have to suffer through, but the hunger for a new experience churns and spasms.

II.

Bad scene in the house tonight. Nothing unfriendly, just an affection I didn’t want to see. So I escaped downtown, to the grave hedonism of the Sunday night industrial scene. An ocean of cars, there may be a special event I am unaware of to draw this large of a crowd.

I paid a bum three dollars and a cigarette to help me parallel park. He walked with me halfway to the club seemingly concerned that I might not actually make it there. I think I wanted this stench of vulnerability. I was craving experience. I was willing to use myself as bait.

Bought myself a drink, and spotted a girl from the Gainesville scene. Turned out to be the same one that had passed out in her house that night with Fidel and I. She was doing much better now…got herself an MRI for good measure. Says she’s having another party next week…

I think I can feel Richard’s presence in the room and have the urge to seek him out. I attribute this more to the fact that I was in a torn state of conscious reality and Richard is always there. Sure enough I find him, and the night turns a strange notch.

We’re friendly and don’t say much, but he’s doing something to the air. Somehow, he made the antibabe find me.

“Hey you…” and she stood there grabbing my arm as if she’d been looking for me all night. Black vinyl top and pants, I couldn’t really assess her attractiveness as there were three of her and none of them would stand still.

She designs fetish clothing under the Antibabe moniker and has a coven of male and female models that she cares for in some sexual matriarchal capacity. We talked for quite some time, and I was introduced to the children.

“You know, you are a very attractive boy…I could probably hook you up if you wanted me to.”

“…sorry? What do you mean, exactly?”

“Well, do you like boys or girls?”

“What about you?”

We were interrupted by one of her girls giving a drunkenly passionate kiss to the antibabe. I lit a cigarette and she resumed our conversation.

“How old are you, sweetie?”

“Twenty-two…and yourself?”

“Aghhh…so young! I’m turning twenty-six soon.”

“Well, age is kind of insignificant really…if you’re in compatible stations of life and such…”

I wasn’t sure what the score was here. Had she answered me with that kiss denoting her preference for girls? Was she merely saying I was simply too inexperienced?

I could almost sense an implication that as the leader of this group she could not possibly take an outside lover that had not contributed to the cause. Perhaps I would first have to prove my value with one of her girls….

We moved to the back of the club which had no roof and gave access to a streetlit sky. The models were in a constant state of sexual fervor, random affection and exhibition, the antibabe even took off her blouse for a short romp, but kept a discernibly higher level of composure amidst her wards. She came to me before leaving, held both my hands, gave me a kiss on the cheek and expressed her appreciation of our meeting. Told me an e-mail address and said that if it was important enough to me I would remember it.

I found Richard as I was leaving.

“Say, Richard…you ever hang out with the antibabe crowd before?”

“Yeah, sure…they’re…interesting.”

“My god…my god. Definitely interesting. I really appreciated the experience.”

My attempts to further thank Richard for the direction and sensation of protection I experienced from him were cut short as the lights came on in the club and two six-foot girls smothered Richard, one calling out, “Aw, the lights are on Richard. Now you can see what you’re going home with.”

I gave him a pat on the shoulder, “Have a good night, Richard.”

I didn’t see his face, but he was giving me a smile wired straight from some telepathic power surge, knowing I was aware of the level, but also knowing I would never grasp the most basic details of the enigmatic energy that controls the wills of humanity.

III.

Lack of identity…He was attracted by an intellect when I was looking for a female and bitterness…

It’s been about three months now. My apartment is constantly inhabited by some strange boy whom Julie is playing with and it is driving me crazy. I have all the loneliness of isolation, but without any benefit of privacy that being alone generally proffers. I am insanely jealous that there is sex in the house that I am not involved in. So I’ve been letting the outside world have its way with me…especially downtown Orlando.

One of the first low points I can remember of this time began at a place known as “Skinny’s”. Typical, young bar/dance floor, reminded me of Gainesville in that there was slightly more variety in the crowd…and people seemed sociable.

Some kid from Rollins recognizes me and I’m instantly sucked into drunken discourse…but this was welcome. Human interaction can be a good distraction.

“Ya see that girl over there. No, no…the petite one that’s dancing.”

“Oh yeah…she’s nice.”

“Yeah, well she’s also all coked up to hell…I’ve been watchin’ her all night and I can just tell…Say, you like valume?”

“Who doesn’t.”

“Yeah, right…got any on ya?”

“No, no…sorry man. I haven’t even seen any around lately.”

“Yeah, I’ve got some at home…I just didn’t bring any with tonight…I bet that chick’s got some coke on her…”

So he disappears for awhile, comes back and gives the smile. Says he got a dime bump…says I can get one too if I ask her. I’m a little low on cash, so I get us a round of drinks instead.

“Yeah, I bet she’s got more on her…I’d like to get some more. We should see if her and her friend wanna come back to my place and party…”

“Not a bad idea…she’s kinda cute…”

“Well here’s what you do: tell her that I’ve got valiums and downers at my place, so if they want to come down easy tonight and skip the shakes, they should come over.”

I don’t know about that particular plan of attack, but it’s nice to know he’s pulling for me, even if it was a kinda sadistic corporate support…

Drunk…drunk enough to dance…one of a mere few in the establishment that’s got the urge, but cocaine girl happens to be another. She comes right up to me–and I try not to notice–but she is totally dancing with me. It’s an easy avenue…I mean, my dancing’s nothing special, but she’s given me the opportunity to move it to conversation where I am closer to my element…The moment’s coming any second now; when she suddenly looks directly behind me and walks off the dance floor with her tail tucked between her legs.

A woman grabs my arm by the elbow and escorts me off the dance floor to a stool at the back of the bar. I went willingly, of course…she was older…late thirties perhaps…her face had a roughness to it, no doubt the result of hard miles…

“Thank god I found you…what’s your name, honey?”

“Jack.”

Shaking my hand, “Hi, Jack; I’m Eddie.”

And this is where the evening starts getting strange.

Eddie was an intensely one-sided conversationalist, which was not a bad thing by any means…I appreciated the fortuitous attention. Her talkative nature, however, was not without its drawbacks. For starters, Eddie was a pathological liar; this aspect of her personality was then compounded by the fact that she was also an extreme alcoholic, which prevented her from remembering one story to the next, and which facts she had contradicted from previous accountings (in some cases, for the third or fourth time in a row).

“Oh Jack, you don’t know what kind of a night I’ve had. You don’t recognize me, do you? That’s good, it means I’m probably still safe hiding out here. Oh God, what a night…You see my husband is Mike…you know, of Mike and the Mechanics?…well, someone tried to kill him tonight…I know, I know…it sounds crazy…they were playing at the Sapphire Supper Club tonight and somebody went for his eyes…Lime chunks, Jack, lime chunks soaked in kerosene and they got’im right in the eyes…I wanted to go to the hospital with him…I was hanging onto the stretcher as they were puttin’ him in the ambulance, but the fucking papparazzi…the fucking press was all over us…I mean for God sakes, Mike could be dying in my arms and the papparazzi are attacking the ambulance…so he says, ‘Eddie, I’ll be fine…just take off for the night…find me tomorrow…’ We’ve got a place in Orlando, but I know I can’t go there because the fucking press will be all over it, so I came in here to hide out and figure out what I’m gonna do. I saw you and you reminded me of my son…I was thinking I needed someone to take care of me tonight, and I knew you could do it… Will you, Jack, will you take care of me tonight?”
Lime chunks? Kerosene? Mike and the Mechanics? This was far too ridiculous to let simply pass to the wayside. “Well, I’m not much of a care taker, but I’ll try…”

“Oh, good…let’s go back to your place tonight…”

“Actually, that’s probably not a good idea…you see, there’s a lot of people at my place right now, and it might be hard for us to get a place to sleep…isn’t there another place you’d rather go?”

“Well, we certainly can’t go to my place…the papparazzi and all…I guess we could rent a hotel room.”

But we can’t leave until she finishes her drink of course; never lets her valuable commodities go to waste.

So neither of us really know where a hotel is nearby, except for this sex motel I stayed at with a girlfriend once for novelty’s sake. It was in the Orlando ghetto central…the kinda place prostitutes are taken for the night and returned three blocks away in the morning. They rented rooms by the hour, and one of them was rumored to have a hot tub…

I explained all this to her as we walked to my car and she didn’t seemed bothered in the least. She told me she’d buy alcohol and food if I paid for the room.

The Melody Motel was more degenerate than I had remembered. A stale pink paint coated the outside walls…the front office had steel bars to separate all transactions between the establishment and her clients…you prayed to Venus that she might spare her syphilitic touch on the sheets in which you would be sleeping…

The attempt to obtain alcohol failed miserably as it was well past last call…so we settled for cheap food, soda, and even less valuable conversation. The television only played hardcore pornography and the news…at her request, I turned it off. In the slovenly drunkenness of the next couple of hours she was naked and I was close…there were actually only brushings of sexuality between us…she seemed quite ambivalent to the whole process…we discussed the scar that ran from her upper thigh to her lower abdomen…it was an inch wide and looked deep…she’d been hit by a car a few years back and spent six months in the hospital…she was expecting a forcible advance on my part…about to pass out, she whispered in my ear, “…just do it…”

At that, I left the bed to wash my face in the bathroom. The scene had affected me more than I would’ve thought. She’d been expecting the rape episode all night…so much so, she offered it to me. I watched the water drip off my face and tried to get a grip on myself. Her life was such that she had to be on the take…I understood that…she even expected brutal consequences for these risky endeavors…what would she remember tomorrow? In her mind she’d probably have been taken advantage of, like so many times before, and nothing could be done but shrug it off and face another shitty day…take what she could get and cage this experience in an overcrowded subconscious.

I hate the way people are. No one just looks for a good time. All agendas go to some ethereal profit margin…people have forgotten how to enjoy time.

I wanted to leave…but the room was in my name, and I would be billed for any abuses to it in my absence. I went back to bed and found a few hours of sleep.

She woke me about eight in the morning, “…c’mon get up, we have to go to the store…”

I watched her dress, and lazily began to do the same. The bitter morning air hit our faces like the back of a hand…I followed her for about a block, “Where’d you say we were going?”

“To the corner store.”

“What do we need?”

“Beer.”

She bought a cheap case of beer and we headed back to the room. I tried to ask her where she wanted to be taken and she gave me the look of, ‘Why would I want to be taken anywhere? Everything I need is right here.’ She started making phone calls at a dollar a piece…hotel policy.

I drank a beer and listened to the morning news in one ear and her phone conversations in the other. Apparently she lived in a trailer with some guy who was on “vacation” and letting some of his other friends stay there who were not only trashing the place, but possibly abusing Eddie as well. The phone calls weren’t really in an effort to solve the problems though. She was basically calling everyone she knew to bitch about the latest episode of debauched behavior in the trailer…repeating a different version of the story to six people. This was all fine and good, except I had to be at a meeting in an hour and she showed no signs of wanting to leave this temporary sanctuary.

Ten minutes passed…my suggestions to drop her off at home ignored…twenty minutes passed…no, come on, we really have to get going…finally, at a half hour to go, I get her to leave.

She can’t decide where she wants to be dropped off…we drive by three locations before she finds one suitable. She won’t tell me where we are going before we get there…and she corrects my driving every seven seconds. Stuffing the rest of the beer in her purse, we exchange a shallow farewell, and I’m finally out of her noose.

The whole experience left me feeling wounded…I could not go to any of my real life appointments…all I could do is lie down in the fetal position, hoping this terrible feeling would eventually run its course…

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