There’s only so many dank places you can hide out in before someone comes looking for you, and when they do, it’s often bad news. But I had managed to go on a bit of a tear recently, and was avoiding a short detox because I wasn’t ready to think about what was really going on. When you try to make a list of everything that’s been happening recently, all too quickly it gets out of hand. Sometimes, the drink in front of you is much easier to sort out.
Or, for that matter, the night life that goes on in any given town. This is, after all, America, or at least what’s left of it, and as long as there is a song to be heard, I remain powerful, and ready to take on the world. Having already undertaken this quixotic life thus far, it made little sense for me to try and ignore these kinds of opportunities when they arose. The booze was one thing, for sure. But you got booze in these night clubs, with music and girls and dancing and magic. If you drive around long enough with the windows rolled down you can feel the bass intermix with the smell of the moon and smoke on the horizon.
The bass begins to become more distinct as I turn the wheel of my car. The other instruments begin to come into the mix as I use my turn signals, my head spinning as I try to pinpoint the location. Like an sudden rendezvous, the tension builds almost suddenly as I realize I’m getting incredibly close, but then one final turn of the wheel and the song kicks into high gear, the neon and the leather and the hair and the smoke and the glasses filled with high powered alcohol and a band on stage kicking out the jams. I could feel both my libido and my mana pulsing, as energy crackled along my arms.
I rolled a cigarette and infused it with some of the bridge of the song, and thumbed my phone for a second until I was able to sort out where I was and what was going on. The Fixin’ To bar. Stiff drinks, deep fried and down home menu, with a thick layer of hipsters and aging rockers who show up for the Patio Shows, where a band and thirty friends can enjoy an evening. Swarming around the joint were every manner of woman, dolled up and beautiful. Rock music was best used to fuel glamour magic, and I cast a few change of outfit spells before I decided to keep my usual square coat and hat. My usual ruffled bow ties and earnest middle-agedness often made me stick out like a sore thumb, but it never stopped me from enjoying a nice string of evenings where I could chat up pretty girls, get bombed on bourbon, and watch some local band kick out the jams before everyone crawled home.
It certainly beat the hell out of dealing with what had happened.
I knew enough people that it was inevitable I could keep the party going all night, and I had enough folding money to ignore things for as long as my body could take. I drove recklessly, using magic to “sober me up,” chasing the next party, the next DJ, the next show, skipping the all-ages crap in search of some bar where I can hunker down and try to wet both of my whistles. But I never managed more than a few indiscreet rendezvous that were more sloppy than satisfying, and in my state, it was probably for the best that most of my texts and calls were ignored. I had thrown myself at the mercy of rock and roll, and it was a convenient way to ignore pretty much every, health and hygiene included.
After nearly a week of this kind of behavior I was in pretty deep, running a number of spells to act as outboard memory as I invented new ways of reaching alcoholic bliss, I found myself at some experimental dance night at Plew’s, when the girl I was offering to split a joint with was in fact Suzanne, someone I’d been intentionally avoiding so much so that I had inadvertently convinced myself she was someone else, and masked her magically when she first walked in. I’d rather not repeat our short but blunt conversation out of respect for whatever dignity I might have been able to hold onto after I performed a light-show outburst of spells and weirdness that was so powered by the one-man-band’s electronic music that the entire place was in awe. No amount of fighting with Suzanne could dissuade the owner from trying to work out a deal for future shows with me, nor did it stop Suzanne from convincing everyone that they needed to load me into her car so she could drive me back to the Record Store.
I applaud her for these efforts, because I intentionally don’t deal with myself when I that drunk, and Suzanne was not only brave enough to get me into the office, and up to my bedroom, but also finally took me up on the joint just so she could calm me down enough to stop having magical outbursts, and start thinking about things rationally. After I made the worst pass at a woman I have ever made, she put me to bed, cleaned my room, hid all the alcohol and pot, and turned on some sleepy drone music that had me out like a light in minutes.
I had wholly inappropriate dreams about every woman I knew and woke up twice in the middle of the night to relieve myself from them. The next few days were spent eating Thai food, binge watching TV, and feeling incredibly guilty. The text-message fallout – not just from Suzanne, but from the other men and women that I’d run into in the last week – was enough of a deterrent to avoid asking where Suzanne had hidden everything, so much so that I didn’t even look. Instead, an OG Dr. Who marathon coupled with the Pok Pok recipe book keep me busy as I reflected on what I had done.
After a few days of that, I decided to take a shower, put real clothes on, and get back to work.