Banged-Up Abroad Ecstasy Club Scene

From my memoir, Party Timethat Raving Arizona is based on.

On Saturday night, Matt parks in Phoenix’s run-down warehouse district.  
“Got any change?” asks a hobo.
“Here’s a dollar,” I say. “Don’t spend it all on drugs.”
We walk past the Madison Street jail, a bleak tall tower with tiny windows. The music leaking from the Silver Dollar Club tingles my forearm skin, bringing something inside of me alive. We pay and enter a large dark room packed with people dancing. When the stompy house music slows down, hundreds of arms shoot into the air.
I laugh at a large face projected onto a wall: a camp old man in goth makeup. He peeps at me, grins and stares ahead as if nothing happened.
“Did you see that?” I say, hoping the face peeps again.
“What?” Matt asks.
“That face just looked at me, and smiled.”
“Did you take drugs already and not tell me?”
“I wish. Let’s get some Ecstasy shall we?” I say.
“I’ll ask around.”
“I like it. It’s like an English club, only much smaller. Maybe there’s hope for raves in Phoenix after all. I’ll be right back. I’ve got to take a piss.” I leave Matt at the bar. In the stall I try to enter, two muscle boys in wife beaters are having sex.
“Sorry,” I say.
“Join us or get out. Either way, close the goddam door!” one says.
The next stall is empty. All done, I find Matt chatting to a bull of a Mexican American with a steel ring through the nose.
“This is Moo,” Matt says.
“Hello, Moo,” I say.
“Hi,” Moo says in a high-pitched whisper.
“Moo’s got X,” Matt says.
“How much for?” I ask, excited.
“Twenty-five,” Matt says.
“I’ll take one,” I say.
“Two,” Matt says.
“Fifty dollars first,” Moo says in the voice of a little girl. Moo does the deal and leaves. Familiar with the taste of Ecstasy, I chew the pill.
“Why’re you chewing it?” Matt asks.
“So I know if it’s bunk or not,” I say.
“It’s gotta taste gross! If they’re bunk, I’ll beat that Moo’s ass.”
“No, it’s good. It tastes right. We’ll be off our heads here soon. Me before you, because it hits you faster when you chew it.”
“Now you tell me! Gee, thanks!”
We hover around the bar, waiting for our highs to arrive. It takes thirty minutes for my knees to buckle. I lean against Matt.
“Y’all right?” Matt asks.
“Never felt better.” The sides of my head tingle, warmth inches in. It sweeps my face, the nape of my neck and creeps down my spine. My diaphragm and chest move in harmony as my breathing slows down. Each exhale releases more tension. I grow hot but relaxed. “It’s great… that we met,” I say, my eyeballs flickering upwards. “I would never have had the balls to steal those Kruger accounts without you.”
“At the rate we’re opening new accounts, we’ll be millionaires in a few years.”
“Isn’t it great?” I say.
“Fucking A!”
We high-five.
“Five years from now we’ll be at Merrill Lynch, living in mansions in Paradise Valley.”
“Driving BMWs and badass Japanese sports cars,” Matt says.
“Taking holidays all over the world.”
We laugh.
“You know what else I’m going to do when I have the money?” I ask.
“Move to Utah, convert to Mormonism, and have ten wives,” Matt says.
“No, silly. I’m going to throw proper raves in Arizona, so people can experience how I felt when I started raving.”
“It’s all country and western and metal and rap out here. There’s not enough interest.”
“By the time we’re rich, it’ll be more popular. I’ll figure it out. Raves for thousands of people, not a few hundred like this.”
“Raves would be awesome out in the desert.”
“I’m getting… like… a rush of energy,” I say. “Ready to dance?”
“Hell, yeah!”
The dancers on a raised area pull us up. Inhibitions gone, I move effortlessly to the music. I close my eyes and let the music move me. I seem to float. Rush after rush sweeps my body like electricity.  
Are you ready? goes the song. Jump everybody jump everybody jump
We leap from platform to platform. When DJ Sandra Collins plays Prodigy’s “Charly,” I close my eyes, and imagine I’m at an English rave. We dance our way to the front of the main stage, dripping sweat, hands in the air, eyeballs rolling towards heaven, hugging the strangers around us, grinning at the throng of freaks below. I feel right at home.


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