A few months ago there was a dance, and I had a ball.
Oh … It wasn’t very fun when the dance was actually in session. I didn’t find much comfort until the music was dead and everyone was lining up for their coats. I suppose I enjoyed being the fool of this dance; one of the few pimples of the crowd, pulsing his arms like a child on a rollercoaster, struggling to raise his hands. Or maybe I didn’t look so foreign. Yeah, maybe I looked like someone who tried new things. Whatever the appearance, I was clearly someone challenged by any movement other than side-step-side-step-side-Clap-NO-claps-just-steps.
Some of my friends would be at this dance. Well, one friend, who had three friends, who could make it look like I had at least four friends. And as I did the ‘friend-math’ in my room, I stood naked in the mirror, calculating the fun/regret ratio. I knew I wasn’t the only one in the vicinity of a half-mile standing naked in their room, wondering what to do next in life. Go to the party? Or stay put (and naked)? I suddenly remembered that I had an elixir of sorts; A red antidote that a couple of drunk girls had left in my wardrobe last Friday.
They came into my room and asked me to find George, because one of them wanted to kiss George – I was not George, nor did I know George. But I told the kisser that she just missed him, and that George had died an hour ago. They stumbled into each other, laughing into my drawers and kneading pairs of my socks like they were grip strengtheners. “Where is the body, sir?” I could have laughed at the whole charade, but I answered them straight: “I dismembered George and provisioned his limbs to six different washing machines.”
My sense of humor was not prized among women, let alone humanitarians. But forces of the universe consoled me for my social hairiness and left a small gift — deep in my underwear drawer, three gulps of Hawaiian Punch with a stingy whiff of backwashed rum.
“Give me strength … Lord!” And I hatched it down, hopped in some skin-tight pants and walked as slow as a monk into the ultra-amplified, electric Hellhole that is ‘Dance.’ I didn’t fit in because, well … I felt like I didn’t fit in. But I put my hands up and lip-synced the words like a Japanese Power Ranger.
“Club gon’ up. Onna Tuesday — anna huuehuuneeh ana get laid.”
I could see familiar faces in the clump of bobbing heads, which were coming loose off their necks like golf balls glued to the ends of a hundred whips. I came close to scuffing sneakers white enough to be sent from China in the last hour. Three boys were bouncing on their knees like John Lennon in concert, except they had a megaphone, screaming into a microphone.
“In looove with the coa-coh co co … Annaana neba don’t know.”
Pelvic thrusts pumped four feet wide. Rumps wiggled like James and the Giant Peach in yoga pants. It was bananas, and I kept to myself and grinned with my face to the floor and my elbows up like I was alone in my room, dancing (and naked). Soon, one of these peaches began to clap like a bat’s sonar, honing in on my waist like a large fruit in heat.
Now, reader, if you have ever used the phrase “it was bananas” then perhaps you also wondered “is it rude not to hump her?” or, on the receiving end, “am I supposed to be humped?”
A red ball-cap behind me, with jeans tighter than goatskin, made an intimidating “tsk tsk,” audible through the digital peaking of our deaf DJ. He pushed me into the fleshy, sweaty, spongy offering that was, to be clear, a woman’s butt.
After the dance, my friend found me in the coat line. She didn’t tease me for my humpage etiquette. No one did. But several proud smiles, usually found in the eyes of parents, applauded me out the door.
I told her “goodbye,” and that “it was a real ball.” And, my dear reader, if you’ve ever used a phrase like ‘real ball’ awkwardly tucked beneath your arm, you probably get someone you fancy, now and again, to laugh.
I didn’t really enjoy any of that. I walked home by myself.
But I put my hands in the air.
by Nighttrain Schickele