Title: Bloody Mary
Type: Short Story
Notes From 60th
Tonight is about being with my friends. Don’t think about Levi, Ronnie, don’t do it. He’s with that girl right now. I wish she would evaporate like the rain on this fucking sidewalk. Don’t love him, Ronnie. I love him. He says all those things though. NO! He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t want to be with only you. He’ll never want to be with only you–
Dane, Matt, Ace and Ronnie walked up to the double oak doors at the main entrance of the Hudson Hotel. Above the doors a flame was ablaze in a square holder. Ronnie couldn’t help feeling this was some sort of beacon, calling forth knowing partiers. The air on the wide avenue block was wet with the rain that had just ceased to fall. The sidewalk was damp, and each intersection was laden with puddles, overflowing with scraps from the Times, cigarette butts, and brown, murky city water. The sewer rats were in for a lovely treat that evening. “Finish that, Ron. Let’s get inside before it starts raining again. This is Italian leather.” Ronnie threw her Marlboro Red, and quizzical thoughts to the wet sidewalk, and went past Matt, who was holding one of the swinging doors back for her.
The lobby was gleaming with soft evening light. The glow bouncing off of the white marble floors gave the illusion of a crystal pond, with islands of Persian rugs playing host to elegantly placed, striking and terribly uncomfortable furniture. Behind the concierge’s desk stood a tall, thin girl in her mid twenties. Her features were severe and somewhat sinister, drunk off of the tiny amount of power allotted her. She eyed the four suspiciously from her white marble throne, the telephone receiver strangled between her right ear and beautifully manicured hand.
They had chosen to come because of the conveniently close distance. The Hudson Hotel was a mere three blocks from their school, making this an easy commute. The second, less pressing reason, was Dina’s insistence on their going. She had been attending these underground parties once a month, every month. The promises of free alcohol and free drugs were too enticing. Their curiosity had brought them hence, but now, what were they doing there?
They looked out of place in this delicate, artificial conundrum of meticulously crafted splendor. Among a rift of suits and Chanel they seemed unkempt in club attire. “Are you sure this is right?” Dane looked like a disheveled beanstalk in his loafers and button-up. He reeked of the east coast, namely Connecticut. His face looked like it had been clumsily molded out of clay, it wasn’t beautiful, but one could see the artist’s intention for beauty. It was as if it were some sort of rough draft, a David never finished. “I texted Dina that we were here a few minutes ago.” Ronnie shifted her weight from one foot to the other, temporarily reliving the ball of her left foot from pressure, “Maybe she can’t here her phone?” As Ace said this a hidden, wooden panel, seemingly a part of the wall, swung open, revealing a door. Dina’s 1960’s bangs popped out followed by her birdlike nose and the rest of her round face, “Oh hey! Ready? Come on bitches, I thought you’d be here twenty minutes ago. No time to waste, let’s go.” She stepped back, and held the secret door as each descended the very long, very narrow staircase.
It was pitch black and damn near impossible to see where they were putting their feet. They had to first feel, with their shoe, the edge of each step and then gingerly step down. Twice Dance stepped on Ace, and Ronnie nearly fell down the entire flight, “Okay, here we are. Ready to Rage?”
Dina pulled back a densely beaded purple and pink curtain, and a swirl of glitter fluttered over them like falling snow, “This,” she said, “Is Bloody Mary.” Momentarily, the glitter shower blocked out the neon lights that poured upon them. Music blared ferociously through the curtain as if Dina had lifted some mystical party floodgate. The base boomed, the tones intertwined. They walked through the proverbial looking glass into a Wonderland of music, drugs and dancing, “Oh Jesus, yes! This is a tranny party!” Ronnie was exploding with excitement as she saw the works of art that were the cross dressers filling the room. It was all so delightfully absurd. It was a harmonic coral reef of brightly colored wigs, and sea anemones resting on faces in the form of fake, outrageous eyelashes. This sea of trannies was doused in the life source of glitter, their metaphorical plankton. On the far side of the room was a five-foot platform, where upon three Cher impersonators shimmied and shook.
Dina yelled over music, and beckoned with her hand, “Come over here guys. Meet my friends!” They pushed and shoved through the jumbled mass of bejeweled, sweaty bodies, rhythmically swaying to the music in an all-encompassing drug haze. (Trannies are very well known for their club drug fanaticism). The crowd seemed to have its own life force. It was like one, scantily dressed, pouty lipped, organism in the basement of a five star hotel.
They made their way to the far left corner of the room to a round glass table stifled by bottle of champagne, flutes, and several buckets of ice. The smoke was thick around the table, making the air thick and heavy, “can we smoke in here?” Ronnie’s question was met with a shoulder shrug. “This is Aphrodite.” Dina placed her hand on the back of a six-foot man wearing a mesh shirt made entirely of crystals. He wore a bright red wig and his eyelashes were a mess of pink feathers and snow-white glitter, “How ya doing, baby?” His voice was an obviously affected male’s, high-pitched with a hint of husky masculinity. His arms and chest were rippling with muscles, “Do you want a line, honey bee?” Aphrodite gestured to a series of lines across the glass tabletop. They looked like rows of wheat, ready to be harvested. Ronnie recalled her night at Butter, her mental derailment, her anxiety, “No, I’m straight, but thank you.” Aphrodite poured her a glass of champagne, the bubbles danced to the top with a light airiness, “Some bubbly, then?” He smiled at her with an enormous mouth and teeth, “Now you’re talking!” She took the glass and downed it in a successful attempt to reinvigorate the wine buzz she had gotten going before they left home. She fumbled through her black leather purse and retrieved two cigarettes and a blue lighter. She lit hers and offered the other to Aphrodite, who took it with the same wide smile after refilling Ronnie’s glass, “Thanks sweetie. Aren’t you just the sweetest! Dina!” He snatched Dina away from the gigantic, blue-haired confection that she was talking with, “I just love your little friend here!” Dina sipped her champagne, happy and wide-eyed having devoured three lines of nose-candy, “I know. I totally love her.” Dina and Ronnie shared a loving embrace, alcohol and drugs making them feel overly affectionate as they infected their blood streams and nibbled at their brains, “Let’s go dance!” Ronnie pulled Matt and Dina onto the dance floor, leaving Ace and Dane in serious intellectual conversation. They wiggled to the middle of the room, next to the stripper pole where a burly Eve was inverting with impressive thigh strength. They moved with the rhythm of the transvestite organism, caught up in the dizzy atmosphere of swirling colors.
Ronnie looked up at the ceiling, which was a mosaic of glass. It looked like they were inside of a disco ball. Glitter rained from the ceiling, showering the gigantic dancing animal. Ronnie sipped her champagne and resisted an urge to check her phone. This one was of the rare nights where she didn’t have to worry about Levi, or about drunkenly messing up her life. She was drunk, and dancing at an underground tranny rave, and she was with her best friends. Suddenly, all of her problems seemed very far away, and incredibly out of reach, like a distant echo in an alternate reality. They were floating around outside somewhere near the snooty girl at the concierge’s desk. For right now, Ronnie Noxon was a part of an organism infused with alcohol, wigs, drugs and music. For right now, her problems were deflected by the beaded curtain at the bottom of the secret staircase, and she was protected by a shimmering, incandescent suit of armor made of silver glitter.