When you experiment with drugs, a time comes when they do not have the same effect they did in the beginning, and that is when people move on to new things: when the provided rush is not enough anymore and the new reality is no longer exciting. That is the motive why Arthur felt like he weighted nothing at all. Having smoked marihuana ever since he started high school, by the end of his senior year acid was also old-fashioned for him.
Designer drugs had always been out of the question, but a year after graduation it was time to try something new, and there was no denial Ecstasy had its magic; its name dragged him in.
Alana approached him and shouted into his ear over the music. “How do you feel?”
Arthur had started shaking his head up and down and the inertia caused him to jump. The music was his only guide, but everything he did seemed to fit perfectly and he never felt self-conscious. “I feel like I could do this for days!” He replied and bounced beside his friend, who cheered when the music sped up. She was going to say something else, but she forgot it when the DJ remixed another 80s hit causing the crowd to go wild.
“I’m gonna get some water,” he told Alana with the biggest grin, causing her lips to copy him. He walked to the bar in a daze, perfectly aware of every person around him yet completely comfortable with the multitude. He danced his way to the bartender and she turned around the moment he arrived.
“What can I get you?” She asked politely while fixing her hair in a high ponytail.
“Just a bottle of water, thanks,” he said and she nodded, “and maybe your phone number?” He added before he could think of what was coming out of his throat. He was full of an enormous sexual energy that he did not dare set free among his friends, yet he was amazed he had just said that considering he was very self-conscious around people he did not know. It did not feel wrong, however, and a low chuckle escaped his lips, letting the woman know he had realized of the unoriginality of his line.
The bartender handed him the bottle before looking for the change. She was smiling only slightly. “It would be flattering if I didn’t get that line every two minutes and three high kids.”
“Full of yourself, aren’t you?” Arthur could not stop grinning, for he was at the peak of his high. “Well, I’m rolling for the first time, so you were right about the high.”
She handed him the money. “You must be thrilled. They usually ask what time my shift ends… so I should give you the benefit of the doubt, considering it’s your first time.”
He was going to walk away but the magic in his blood stopped him in his tracks and he motioned to speak a few times before giving up, for he could not pick up the right words. “It sucks that you can’t dance with me,” he said simply and waved goodbye to get back on the dance floor, quickly forgetting about the woman he had just met.
He found Alana and the rest of his friends dancing frantically, some of them with closed eyes and arms in the air. He gulped the cold, refreshing water and gave it to someone else to resume the jumping, not just to blend into the crowd, but because it was inevitable, for he had never felt the rock and roll slip so deeply into his soul.
Arthur had grown up listening to a wide range of music styles that his mother and friends had introduced him to, and he had learnt to appreciate every art expression, but under the effects of the pills, flashing lights, thumping beat and human energy surrounding him, he thought that was the very first time he was listening to what he had already fallen in love with as a child: music.
Waking up when the sun has just set is presumably worse than waking up when the sun has not rose yet. However, it is pretty good if you were planning to go out again at night.
“Tean?” Arthur called out his best friend’s name. The room was dark and he was disoriented; he had been only turning in bed to get a more comfortable position to try and fall asleep when he opened his eyes and all of a sudden the scenario was different. His mobile clock read 6.53 p.m. so he noticed he had been sleeping for hours. “What the…” he murmured with a sore throat. He had not had so many cigarettes, but he sure had sung all night long. Slowly, he stood up and walked to the kitchen, where Tean was making dinner. “Why didn’t you wake me up?”
The man with the lower lip ring piercing smiled. “You looked like an angel,” he teased whilst frying an egg.
Arthur giggled and opened the fridge. “You’re stoned.”
“Duh, I’m cooking,” he rolled his eyes at the obvious. “You slept well?”
“Apparently,” he said taking a seat at the table. “But it happened in a split second and now it’s seven pm,” he guffawed and fixed his longish hair to the back to be able to see. “What a fucking crazy night, man,”
His roommate nodded. “Alana had never been more accurate.”
“Right now I feel as if it lasted half an hour altogether, but we were in there for like the entire night…”
“It was a hell of a party; I’d say it was the DJ who played thousands of good old hits, but the ecstasy, man… it was pure magic.”
“Did the weed boost it?” He inquired while taking the joint’s butt from the ashtray to light it and have the few last puffs.
“Maybe a little bit… but nowhere near to what you felt like during Crazy Train.”
Arthur stood up, suddenly. “Oh, man, I can’t believe they played that song! I had never danced so much: I was holding the bottle of water and waving my arms up and down, completely unaware that I was soaking everyone, looking like a fag.”
“It was so fucking hot I’m sure nobody cared.”
They started eating and soon enough it was all gone. Like a newly married couple, they did the dishes together chatting about the night before and all the craziness it involved. Once everything was clean, Arthur left to take a shower and do the exact opposite at a bar: get wasted. That is, after playing a set with their music band.
The van had been loaded with the gear but it was full given the fact that they were driving Alana and Silver to the pub for moral support. Arthur was reluctant to take the bus downtown and leave his drum kit on the hands of the rest but he really had no choice, and Tean was a little anxious as well because he had recently bought a Gibson Les Paul Studio and he was not a fan of showing it off in the dangerous streets at night.
“It’s not my fault you’ve got such a fancy case,” Arthur hissed annoyed while he looked out the window. Tean would not shut up and he was truly edgy. “It’s raining,” he noted, making Tean frown, not because he did not appreciate the refreshing release of the summer heat, but because it was an outdoors bar where they were heading at. “We could’ve taken a cab but last night’s partying was damn expensive.”
Luckily the rain had stopped by the time they arrived, only to see part of the bar had a ceiling so they would have been able to play anyway. It was true that less people would have attended the show if the sky had not cleared, though.
“Are you sold out?” Alana asked optimistically, but the look in Arthur’s green eyes when he glared down at her was one of complete annoyance.
“The tickets are sold at the entrance,” he replied. “So we don’t know how many people are going to come.”
“What’s up with that mood, Art?” She complained. “Smile, you motherfucker; why are you not happy?”
He shrugged as he toyed with the drumsticks and sat down. “I woke up really late and it was raining on my way here and… I have no idea, I’m just a little stressed out.”
“You’re nervous, aren’t you?” She noticed. Although her voice was serious, she had a smile on her lips that he saw when he eventually looked up. “You’re going to do great, Art, don’t be so self-conscious.”
“You got any happy pills to help with that tonight?” He finally teased.
“What? E?” She frowned and smirked when he nodded. “You were pretty excited last night, huh? Told you it was amazing.”
“I can’t wait to do it again,” he said and started to toy with the hi-hat.
The show started eventually and they did an hour set that was visibly enjoyed by the customers. These were mostly young people hanging out at the theme bar that was also known for its environment: acclimated as a surfing bar, its warm ambience contrasted with the party atmosphere and lively, overly energetic clients that usually stayed up late until the owners had to kick them out because day light was about to strike.
The boys’ was a hard rock band, yet it had the classic rock and roll sound to it, and it awakened the audience’s urge to bang their heads and stomp their feet against the wooden floors, since it would have been weird to slam dance while sitting on small tables.
They thanked the spectators and took care of the gear before being able to relax, but once everything had been re-loaded in the van, leaving the ride home as a riddle set to be resolved later, the group walked up to the bar that looked like a hut to order some drinks.
Arthur was taken by surprise when he faced the bartender. “Wow,” he said.
“What can I get you?” She asked nonchalantly.
“That’s cliché,” he giggled. “Don’t you know who I am?”
The woman guffawed, unable to believe the man’s arrogance. “You didn’t call,” she tried not to sound too needy or resented.
Arthur was speechless for a moment. He finger combed his dirty hair to the back before speaking carefully and shyly. “I don’t have your number…”
“Sure,” she responded as if she knew better. “So, what are you drinking tonight?”
“Not water,” He said with squinted eyes. “What do you mean?”
“Huh?” She played dumb.
“You said ‘sure’ like it meant something else.” She was about to speak but he cut her off. “And before you play dumb again I’ll order a beer.”
“I wrote my number on the change; I said I’d give you the benefit of the doubt,” she told him and opened a beer for him. Arthur grabbed his wallet from the back pocket of his jeans and started searching through the bills until he found a fifty.
He held it at the height of his shoulders and shook his head when he saw some numbers written in black ink. “I didn’t see it.”
“It’s okay, we ran into each other anyway.”
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