i. find the friends
12 am. Phone rings.
“My room. Now.”
It’s a Wednesday night, after a shift into the night. Mildly worn out, but wanting to get out of this place and escape. And I mean escape. Forget about work, forget about everything else going on in life, just get away without leaving.
A little warm-up in the room (of a drink) and we’re off down the street. Past another bar, which is dead and rather lame anyways. People smoking on the street wanting to talk in their own drunken way. I wonder why people like to talk when they’re drunk, when really their conversations make no sense to themselves, to the people they’re talking to, nor the people listening by chance.
I keep pushing on past the band of skunks (a surfeit, if you can believe that).
Going past the store fronts all lit up, images of night-time shopping on Main St. cross my mind. How wonderful and mystical an experience that could be, streets full of people, going in and out of stores, browsing on the sidewalks. Cuddling up into the Backerai and Zola’s to warm up. Aisles stuffed in Mac’s Fireweed books.
Eyes refocus onto the empty streets littered with cigarette butts and trash.
ii. find the joint
We pass another surfeit and hear a story of violence happening in the city. A girl had her wrist broken by some schlep when she blocked his punch. Three other girls were taken to the hospital. Absolutely disgusting, and yet, not very surprising.
This is the underside of Whitehorse, the world beyond the scenic mountains and “yuppiness” (as one returning tourist called it) of the city. It’s a world I’m both ashamed to live in, yet want to explore.
The darkness intrigues me.
The darkness is also inviting, which is why I stepped into the club. Something strangely familiar about this place, even though I had never been there before. It was empty, dark, and- not silent.
The beats are intoxicating to me, better than alcohol. I hang around the bar, talking to the bouncer and bartender while my comrade takes off for a smoke. The sound is always in the back of the conversation, or rather, at the forefront. I can only concentrate on the visual and aural experiences of the surroundings, but not the content- the lights, the bass, the smell of beer, but talk about life falls aside and quickly bores me.
Trumpets. In a bar? Timpani drums, French horns and trumpets. Mixed over some heavy beats.
Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”
I grab another drink and go to sit down in front of the stage, looking at the DJ in awe. Thoughts in my head flow towards, “I have found it.”
iii. light the joint
Blacklights illuminate the dance floor, an empty floor, and cause a glow to creep out and swallow the walls. A clock lights up reminding us all of how late it is – 1:15am. We should all be sleeping, but we are skunks afterall. We can’t allow the garbage cans and streets to go untouched at night. It is in our nature to dig, to explore, to find out what does exist and what doesn’t.
Philosophical skunks with dance music in the background. Is this what God intended?
The music turns into reggae with some
fat phat beats. One drink turns into two, and I feel a tap on my shoulder. “Last call,” says the bouncer. I glance up at the clock and smile, saying ‘I’m all good.’ I go back to the DJ on the stage. A silent salute to each other in thanks. He thanks me for sticking around; I thank him for the music he shares.
A few more tracks and the music slides downhill to the end. I finish off my drink and sit in the silence, smiling and happy. I am not wanting to move because this environment is so peaceful compared to the working environment I had just come from. I hand off my empties to the bouncer and go behind the stage to thank the DJ for such incredible music.
I hear a voice once I get back there instructing me it’s time to get going, so I return to the main section of the bar and we leave.
I have reached the final step for my night.
I step outside into the crisp night air to be surrounded by my fellow skunks, forming a surfeit. We turn towards the walk back up the street and I stand motionless while the others move in front of me. And I breathe.
I inhale the night deeply and feel the high overcome me.