The music is loud, tribal, nonstop. Impossible not to dance. Mercifully, a single sofa has been provided to allow a bit of rest. Cruelly, it’s one foot away from a loudspeaker. No sitting unless you really have to. After all, this week’s theme is “A Trip to Mars”, and you can’t get to Mars by sitting on your ass. Unless there’s a rocketship under it.
Exhausted, I plop onto the couch and watch the other guests. I know each of them intimately, but only here. Special friends in a special world, not to be sullied by the light of day. Outside of this house, I have different friends, a different life altogether. Two worlds that never meet. While I’m in one, the other ceases to exist.
Well, except for Eric. An unwelcome intrusion from my everyday world, I eye him from my perch, wondering who the hell invited him. Through a quirk of genetics, our worlds collided a year earlier, and we are united in our mutual dislike. That we are opposite in every way makes our physical resemblance to each other as intolerable as it is strong. We could be twins, but we’re not even distantly related. I suppose it wouldn’t have been so bad if he wasn’t such an insufferable, egotistical prick. But he is, and now he’s here.
He catches me looking at him and nods. Time for a drink.
“Hey, John!” someone screams during a fast bass drum riff. Glancing over, I spot Monica in the corner looking up from the woman she’s been kissing. She points meaningfully at the bar. I chuckle and fix her a drink, too.
“Damn there’s some hot chicks here,” Eric’s voice helpfully informs me, “Poon-tang tonight for sure!”
“If you say so.” I’m trying to hide my annoyance, but I’m not entirely sure I’m succeeding.
“Ha! Not getting any, huh? Figures. Chicks don’t fuck geeks. Just watch me, boy, I’ll show you how it’s done. You’ll learn something.”
“Whatever you say. But maybe you should consider that these women might be different from what you’re used to.” I can’t wipe the smile from my face. He’s already a dead man. He has an hour, maybe two, before one of these fine ladies kindly beats the crap out of him. It’s as inevitable as sunrise.
I ferry Monica’s drink to her. She’s collected a couple more women in her corner and seems rather busy, so I put the drink on the table nearby, tug at her ear, and point to it.
Turning around, I nearly trip over Eric. “You’re drooling.”
“What, are you a faggot? ‘Cause you should be drooling, too.”
“Who brought you here, anyway?”
“Nobody. I heard about it from Shannon and came by.”
Great. I’m the only person he knows here. “Well, don’t follow me around all night, OK? You don’t want any of these babes to think <i>you’re</i> gay now, do you?”
Mary taps me on the shoulder.
“John, is that guy your brother or something?”
Crap. “Not remotely.”
“Good. Then you don’t mind me saying what a gaping asshole he is. If he grabs me again, I’m going to tear his fucking nutsack off.”
“Just let me watch,” I laugh and check the time. Yup, one hour. The show’s about to begin.
I’m having a great time despite Eric. Or even because of him. It’s been filling me with an evil sense of glee to watch him piss off each woman in the room in turn. His lack of success is finally penetrating the drunken haze he’s wrapped himself in, and watching him squirm to find a reason for it has been wonderfully satisfying. I warned him. Hotties these ladies may be, but they’re not his usual set of slutty cheerleaders.
“Are all these chicks dykes or something?” Eric asks. Is that a hint of fear in his voice? Oh joy, it is!
“Not at all, but quite a few are bi. Look over there, Joe found a playmate. And over there, Mark’s enjoying himself” I put on my naive voice. “Why, having problems?”
“Fuck this shit.” he mumbles. At least that’s what it sounded like.
I laugh and walk away, past Monica and friends. It’s hard to tell how many people are in the corner now, since it’s become a vague mass of arms, legs, breasts, butts, and skin. I stop to watch a little, trying not to drool, not to in any way deepen my resemblance to Eric.
Mary’s head pops out of the mass, followed by an arm. Hers, I assume. “Come on in,” she giggles, “the water’s never been better!” The hand grabs my arm and pulls me down.
Now you see, I don’t do drugs. I don’t smoke. I barely drink. I do this, and although it will be a few years before I am able to make the comparison, this is better than any drug I’m destined to try. It isn’t sex in any sense except the technical. My partners are not lovers, although I love each of them unquestionably.
Partners is the right word, mutually helping to bring this state of mind into being. This is the purpose of the parties. To attain, if only for a few precious moments, transcendence. My body falls away and I burst into space, surrounded by living energy. I dissolve, and ride with the waves. I can no longer tell where I end and the others begin. Such divisions hold no meaning. We become one. Then, we become none.
I can feel a presence. Not a friendly one. I become aware of a shout — did someone just yell “Bonzai”? — followed quickly by a crushing weight covering my now very present body.
I look up to see Mary bolting from the pile. Wow, I’ve never seen her so angry before. She’s one scary woman. Probably even scarier to Eric, whose balls she’s using as a convenient handle to drag him away from the rest of us.
She shouts over Eric’s anguished cries, twisting hard with each word. “Get… the… fuck… out… of… here… jackass!” He falls to his knees whimpering, and the entire room erupts with laughter.
I thought he had left, but Eric stops me on the way to the bathroom, looking like a beaten puppy.
“Can I ask you something?”
“How do you do it?”
I’m taken by surprise. I want to say “do what?” but I know what he means, and I have too much pity for him now to tease. He must not understand what’s happening here, or he would realize that the question makes no sense. What, does he think I’m some kind of ladies’ man now? That these are my girlfriends or something? That I have some kind of irresistible power over women? No, he doesn’t get it at all. He thinks this is just some random drunken orgy.
I can’t explain it to him, either, so I have to make something up. It should be something “deep.” Maybe something that will make him a bit less obnoxious with women.
“I don’t try.”