It was the night we needed during a time we didn’t.
New Year’s Eve 2021. Pandemic raging. Care factor zero. It was time to lash out, rage, and take it back. Take it all back.
My lady looks at me. Her deep brown eyes, her dark flowing hair, her full lips that mouth the words, “I love you,” then presses her body against mine, and we lock together like magnets, in a steel embrace, never parting, until we do.
“Let’s do this,” I whisper gently into her ear. In the mirror, I can see her smile, chin on my shoulder. A dangerous smile. She is ready.
We dress. She wears tight, black leather pants, dancing shoes, a flash top that clings to her enticing curves, and hair pulled back tightly, creating a perfect line. I too wear black, the devil’s shade. My belt brandishes a skull. My shirt is long sleeved, epic. My hair is wild. My silver-buckled boots are heavy. It’s time.
The boy sits at his computer, on the after-hours exchanges, trading. He is focused. Gorillaz play in the background. He gives me a nod. I nod back. The understanding is there.
The girl is away tonight, with a friend, creating her own adventure.
We strap on jackets, helmets, gloves, then mount the matching Ducatis and ignite them. The bikes yearn to go, and go fast. We scream away from the house, in parallel, rip past the feeble stop sign and race down the street, lean steeply into the exit, and are on the highway, accelerating wildly, smiles hidden behind our helmet visors. We are like bullets, but defying gravity, moving ahead, charging ever faster, weaving around vehicles, owning the road, owning the night.
Ozzie’s Oyster House is where we stop. It is in the city. Though the hot bikes despise it, we power them down, lock our helmets to the hot frame, then walk in the entrance together, as if staged. As we step inside, we are noticed, eyes attracted to us, then diverted quickly. The hostess shows us to a table, but we take the bar. I have a gin and tonic, she has a wine, no explanatory toast is required – we know we drink to us.
The oysters arrive, magnificent on the shining plate, moist, sensual, promising. We tap shells, then slide them back. The taste is exquisite and I hold the mollusk briefly on my tongue, letting the salty water trickle down my throat, feeling the ocean, honouring the creature. My lady’s eyes are closed as she consumes the oyster, embracing the moment, existing in another place. A sea place. Together we travel wordlessly in our shared mind’s eye.
Surrounding us are people. Some laughing, some talking, some silent. Nobody approaches us, but they sneak curious glances. They can feel our energy and they want it. But it is not theirs to have.
Shells are emptied, drinks are drunk. We hold hands and face each other, smiling.
“Ready?” she says.
We are back on the road, twisting through city streets, passing trees, passing buildings, passing people, as if at random, but we know this city. It is winter, but the surfaces are dry and the temperature is mild. I see the reflection from the arrogant moon on my gas tank. It is a nice night for a ride.
It is 11 o’clock when we enter the club. The entrance is concealed and unseen. Nobody is supposed to be here, but many are, looking to fill their voids, reclaim their lives. She holds my arm, and the attention of onlookers. My lady is the most beautiful woman here, as I knew she would be. It can be no other way. We see our friends, in the far corner, at a table, being beautiful, but in no hurry to do so.
“T-dog,” I say.
“We meet again,” he says, giving me a knowing handshake and a wink. When he releases his grip, two white pills are revealed in my palm, each imprinted with the image of a throwing star. Ecstasy. I place one on the tongue of my lady, and one on my own, and there they dissolve, releasing the mind-altering chemicals rapidly, catching up to our friends
“Queenie, so nice to see you again,” I say as I kiss her on the cheek and put my hand on her shoulder. My lady exchanges embraces with each of them, then we sit together for a round of drinks, then another. As the E’s fully penetrate our minds, stillness is no longer an option - it becomes imperative to dance. The four of us push to the dance floor, unstoppable, full of love, and we submit to the music, who is an unflinching and joyful master.
Sweat. Bodies. And the beats. We writhe, sway, and gyrate together, caged in by the throbbing crowd, driven by the all-consuming bass, and the flashes of light in the darkness, the glimpses of blissful faces, the energy of the charged moment, the magic of the drugs, and the relentless desire for motion. My lady is with me, face to face, body to body, with my hands on her, and hers in the air, welcoming my advances, offering herself to me. We move together as one as the chemicals flood our brains, and we become pure love.
Then, a gunshot. Was that the music? Another shot. The adrenaline surges through my body, obliterating the other substances in my system, bringing focus, clarity, purpose. Our hands clasp and we move rapidly through the crowd towards the entrance, scanning the scene. Another shot, and I see the lightning from the muzzle of the gun. A young punk. Two young punks, shooting at each other, hiding behind partygoers. Without speaking, we release hands, and do what we need o do. I advance on one of them, my lady targets the other. In an instant I am in front of the fool, and with an open hand I strike his nose, upwards, shattering cartilage, maybe puncturing his brain. He is on the ground, motionless. I seek out my lady in the crowd. She stands above a crumpled body, fist clenched, eyes ablaze. We exchange a look, she points to the door, then we move to the exit and leave. This part of the night is over. T-dog and Queenie are already outside, safe.
“Never a dull moment,” Queenie says.
We smile and nod, then mount our bikes as they disappear, together, into the city.
Highway lines are a blur as we accelerate, fueled by the adrenaline, far more powerful than any synthetic. I smile beneath my helmet, then laugh out loud. Our bikes are moving in unison, and I reach out to her. Our gloved hands, fighting against the wind, touch and briefly lock. I know she too is smiling.
The engines scream in ecstasy as we wind them up – 150, 170, 200, 240 and there is yet room in the throttle. There is little traffic, but the cars we pass scarcely perceive us; maybe a peripheral flash, a momentary whine, dark rockets, then nothing. What was that?
We return home, exhilaration still fresh, ghosts of club music in our ears, the chill of the night clinging to our jackets. The boy lays on the carpet, surrounded by glasses and an empty vodka bottle. Doing shots with the hamster again. L’il Lenny is on his wheel running, off balance and tipsy, but nonetheless, the victor.
“You okay buddy?” I ask him as I prod his side with a toe.
His eyes open slightly, and he smiles. “I made a hundred grand tonight, so we celebrated. Those hamsters sure can hold their booze.” He collapses back into sleep.
My lady and I exchange a smile. Crazy kids.
I shut the ordinary bedroom door behind us. Clothing is rapidly peeled away, discarded on the bluish-green carpet. The pace is frantic, urgent, burning. We submit to the flesh. We own each other. We love each other. We’ve taken back what is ours.
It is 2022.