You’re with a gaggle of girlfriends and you’re dressed to the nines for a night on the town. You’ve had a couple of drinks so you’re feeling confident. The cold air in the parking garage makes you shiver, or is it the anticipation of the potential of the evening yet to come? You all clip clop into the elevator in your fashion shoes and one perfect red fingernail presses the up button.
Midway to your destination, the elevator, with the flip flop, up down motion only an elevator can make, stops and the door slides open. He makes a quick sweeping glance of all of you and his eyes stop on yours, “hi!” “Hello,” you say back.
“And where are you lovely ladies heading to this evening all dressed up?”
You assess the situation. He seems ordinary enough. 5’ 10”ish, brown hair, brown eyes, dimple in his left cheek. His outfit is classic Banana Republic or J. Crew: cotton fabrics, neutral tones, modern cut. He probably works at a bank or in insurance and takes his Labrador on a hike every weekend.
“To the roof,” you say, “you should come.”
Under normal circumstances you might shy away from the direct invitation, but the wine, the pinch of your shoes, the cold air/anticipation makes you giddy and slightly more aggressive. You smile the smile that accentuates the dimple in your left cheek. It’s a half smile, slightly suggestive.
He raises his eyebrow, “Maybe I will.”
One of your girlfriends pinches you on the lower back. She’s warning you, don’t be so cocky! You laugh it off. Life is filled with opportunities for the aggressive.
You get a table in the corner, booth seating on two sides. You’d forgotten what a sleazy place this is. The light is low and blue, the floor sticky. The clientele is young, drunk and trashy. You feel like you’re the only one not wearing a cheap flimsy dress from Forever 21. He brings you a drink, apparently they only serve sugary hard alcohol concoctions in glowing fluorescent colors. You sip politely but find it sweetly medicinal with overtones of chemical astringency. He has his, and another and another.
The club is pulsating with sweaty bodies drenched in cologne and the band propped up in the corner is so loud you can’t even make out what kind of music they’re playing. Is it ska? Heavy metal? Hip hop? Justin, you finally get his name after he repeatedly yells it into your ear, is caressing your knee and trying to make conversation by screaming and mouthing words in an exaggerated fashion. He has another drink. You decide you’d better have another, too.
This place is a trough of humanity. How did you get talked into this? The sticky liquor, dirt, sweat slime on the floor is gumming up the bottom of your shoes as you return from the restroom. There was a girl crying in a stall (isn’t there always at these places?), her friends dabbing at her heavily mascara’d eyes with bits of toilet paper and running their fingers through her blond extensions. “It’s going to be alright,” you want to tell her, “sooner or later you’ll get knocked up by your binge drinking boyfriend and you won’t have to come here anymore.”
You run into one of your girlfriends and express loudly, “LEAVE SOON.” She nods.
You return to your booth to collect your things. Justin is there, with yet another drink. He smiles at you and then vomits into his glass.