club nemesis. under hot lights, i spin to the groove of an old Sister Sledge, late 70s. the artificial fog of the club is making me short of breath & completely present tense. At times, transcendent or maybe moronic. Kat, the girl who transacts such minimal sex that when one of us is done, the other disappears, performs cross hops as if her legs & hips are made of licorice. We never dance to slow music because of the fear of intimacy & smelling sweaty armpits.
i once told kat that if the world ends tomorrow, i wouldn’t miss a thing, with or without drugs. “Not even me, you crab louse?” she said with rolling eyes and upturned chin over the mustard-spotted sheets. we ate hot dogs in bed to keep our souls stainless. our sole bridge to the outside world–a radio that could only play a.m. stations–nuked itself.
the d.j. is playing techno trance. if i get any drunker, i tell kat, i’ll be shadow dancing. “then you could walk it home, bed it, and f…k yourself,” she says, with her acutely disarming smile. she could be declaring war & i still wouldn’t feel the slash marks. kat disappears in the smoke, perhaps to another floor where the drag queens are putting on a talent show. i feel sick as a sabotage but not quite ready to puke my contents. not under this sky of sparse stars, corrosive moons. tripping toward st. marks, i begin to shed my skins. then, i drop down near the staircase of an old brownstone. i’m done.
somewhere between then & thereafter, kat is waking me up. she says, “do you know you’re naked, again, you silly fuck? why do you keep doing this?”
“because i’m special,” i mumble.
in her arms are the bunched clothes she’s picked up along the trail leading to me. as if they’re freudian clues & i want to be discovered & destroyed by a death wish.
“You know you have to be at work in three hours?” she says.
“So what?” I say, turning over on hard concrete. “The world needs me more than i need it. it’ll wait.”
she throws the crumpled ball of clothes at my head. except for the shoes. she walks away.
i shout, “where’s my shoes!”
“I want you barefooted so you’ll be careful where you’re walking. there’s too much dog shit around here.”
i struggle to dress & trudge behind her, a good distance of three club nemesis dance floors, mist intact. above us, the silent synth of the stars. like they just had sex & refuse to fall.
Kyle Hemmings has been published in Sonic Boom, Right Hand Pointing, Unbroken, and INCH. He loves ’50s sci-fi movies, street photography, and ’60s garage bands.