Never before have I felt so out of my element. What was supposed to have been a normal civilized business trip to the ‘big apple’ has been anything but. Directed by my colleague Kenny we find ourselves standing among the teeming line of the entrance to studio 54, (possibly the worst location in all of New York to do any sort of business unless your a bloody drug dealer), which neither Kenny nor I (as far as I know) are not. I begin to scan around myself observing the mass of strange and frightening characters that exist and thrive among this nightclub culture. Although my eyes seemingly should move faster than the individuals around me, it seems as if every-time I glance in a new direction a collection of new completely different faces appear. The line has substantially grown since when we first arrived. Males, females, transvestites, punk rockers, pimps, prostitutes all gather. Class, gender or sexual orientation doesn’t seem to matter here. I am beginning to feel very unordinary in my ordinarity. I continue to gaze uncontrollably in order to to feel more relaxed among my surroundings. My sensitive eyes begin to adjust to the intensely contrasted bright city lights reflecting from the studded jackets, designer outfits and low hanging bling outfitted on the eccentric figures making their way to the entrance alongside myself and Kenny… Kenny? Where the fuck is Kenny? Only now I realize among the many faces that had made their way through my eyeballs into my buzzing head, Kenny’s was not one of them. This moment calls for a cigarette as it has all started to become too much. I turn and look with absolute focus. A chubby, badly shaved man in cargo shorts and a pink singlet should not be hard to spot surrounded by such extravagance. I light up a Newport.
Unfortunately in my case, the disappearance of Kenny places me in an even more difficult predicament. His sporadic unpredictable nature that caused our John Doe arses to be standing here is only escalated when he’s high and drunk, which happens to be two states of being Kenny loves to be in oh so much and god knows what he could have sniffed up or dropped in the short time I didn’t have my eye on him. This man is the abominable creation of a psychotic, egotistical South African father and a once beautiful half Spanish, half American mother. I say ‘once beautiful’ as like too many in this drug fueled country she so helplessly fell in love with the worst kind of substance: smack, scag, snowball, chiba, chiva, china white, white lady, brown sugar, black tar, the BIG H! This princess chased the dragon but her beloved Saffer knight could not save her from her fate, because he was too high himself. Manifested from pain, abuse, anger, hate and an extended list of all the shitty things in this world was Kenny Viljoen. We always promised to never touch such things we saw ruining so many lives as young children, I stayed somewhat true to my word but the genes that ran through Kenny’s blood made him itch to live on the edge all to often. Caution on my behalf must be taken to ensure that the love and compassion I have for that bloody fool isn’t making me acquiescent. I should just take this opportunity to leave. But I do not and Like a magic trick the last plumes of smoke escape my cigarette and elegantly reveal Kenny’s plump silhouette glowing, backlit by the city lights behind him as a parting in the crowd occurs.
He does not hear, the mixture of the cigarette and humid air has made my throat congested and yelling is difficult, I clear it somewhat and spit beside me.
This time he turns around hastily. Cherry red lipstick lips are stenciled onto his stubbly round soft cheeks. His large frame perfectly concealed a small woman that had obviously attracted his attention. His eyes seem to be having trouble communicating in unison and drift aimlessly, it takes some time for them to focus.
“Ayyyyye! There you are you little bastard”
He makes his way towards me, if his wonky eyes did not prove his inebriated state then his constant stumble in replacement for walking most definitely has. At a better glance I am frightened at the realization the lady that was graciously caring for Kenny is infact a man (his veiny muscular arms pay no tribute to his disguise). She or he blows a kiss, which Kenny returns. I don’t have the heart to tell him and I do my best to ignore the situation. We finally enter the studio.
‘Wasn’t she some hot stuff”
Blasted with music, light and an abundance of colour my senses feel like they have been shocked to life upon entry. Euphoria from the sheer vibrations running through this place fills me from the outside in and my heartbeat becomes noticeably more intense. Any sort of drug at this point I believe would make this place too enjoyable to ever leave. I laugh at myself as I knowingly fall into the nightclub’s trap. It’s beauty and presence begins to take control of me. I feel internal frustration for my inability to think rationally. When I look across to Kenny the corners of his mouth extend almost the width of his face as he grins uncontrollably, showing off his protruding and asymmetrical teeth as yellow as piss. His mouth seems so big that he could swallow my head.
“What the fuck are you looking at wonky teeth?”
But I know what he’s looking at, he’s looking at me, no shit. Watching as I undergo the loss of my sensibility from the infinite temptations upon me, influenced by the bizarreness encapsulating me. And this is why he smiles… He knows he has succeeded and for every moment longer spent in this place I am hypnotized by its enticing beauty and mesmerized by the perfume aroma creating an irresistible, lustful atmosphere. I feel myself becoming dissolute. Fear for my own ability to control my recklessness and resist against the hegemony of the studio strikes me. A long and wild night still lies ahead.