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The New Palace
By Claire LeDoyen
The New Montgomery Palace. Wooden floors on the first. Go-go cage on the second. Barbecue place, waitstaff cute girls in jean shorts and tank tops too smart and too good for you.
The food was too good for us. Two plates for thirty. “Who do they think we are—the Rockefellers?” So we rewound out.
Back in the car. Where to eat? Our flasks empty, we needed food. So—the King. In our heels, legs stretched like spiders, we went down the streets & sidewalk in black and dancing shoes. Spangling eyelids batting at burgers. The two Whoppers; we whopped back.
The New Montgomery Palace, drunker than before. Wooden floors on the first, black lights and lips on the second. Hot place. Young girls in high heels and free Coke at the bar. No, Coca-Cola. I got a free Coca-Cola at the bar on the second floor that night. About an hour and a half after we got in.
The doorman believed I was on the list. He asked and I said yes. We were wearing our glitter and mirrors well, neon accents refracting off of our clothing. There was a door on the floor to the second that closed out the light from the first. Our names were on the list anyhow. Tiffany and Nala. We walked up more stairs looking prettier by the second. Music? Above us. Not normal, electronic and foreboding. The steps led to a blue light glowing through the cracks in the door; we opened and the floor exploded to a globe of strobe lights and characters, the aftermath of a glitter-bomb. No, a baby of the Big Bang of raves. The music pounded in waves through the ocean floor. Striped thigh-highs and fierce girls, twenty-somethings dancing arms up. Men intimidated leaned against the bar, against the hot sauce cabinet, sipping glasses glowing blue in the light.
I saw Chris’ legs before I saw him. Jet black stripper heels ejected from skinny legs wrapped up tight in fishnets. A black mini-skirt flounced in pink above his hips. He was facing the stage, untangling microphone and keyboard cords. Chris is in a band called Pristina Tsetse. They are four synthesizers and an electric drumkit. Everyone else in the band wears suits.
There was a woman in white, writhing above us all. Tiffany was gone, probably into the sea. A man—a woman? A man in a dress sidled up next to me.
“I love your style,” he gushed. “My name’s Amber.” And before I could tell her that I was Nala who liked his dress, I saw Chris climb atop a speaker. The black lights pulsed.
“We’re Pristina Tsetse,” he snarled. The synths hit a gloomy note loud and the crowd screamed. The beat was dark, harsh and insistent. Chris pulled another pair of bright pink fishnets over his head, robbery style. “We’ve come to steal your fucking souls!”
Amber led me to the floor, where we twisted and ground, eyes closed, feet stomping. On stage a girl hula-hooped in a skintight bodysuit, glittering brilliantly with each rotation. It reflected in dizzying patterns on the black walls. Logan pulled me closer to his, her hips. He smelled like cologne and perfume—perfect. Like seaweed in a waterspout we danced.
The set ended, I got my free soda. In the smoking area I asked for a cigarette and got a whole pack. Chris and his entourage flooded out of the doors, lots of colored hair and grimaces and eye makeup. Flames out—men’s arms reaching to light girls’ cigarettes and a new sea arose outside of smoke. Through the cloud Amber’s lipstick looked divine. He batted his eyelashes, I raised my eyebrows. And his man’s arm reached to grab my woman hips and my girl arm snaked around his girl hips and before I knew it his chin was in the crook of my neck, his mouth close to my ear.
“The other bands suck. Let’s go to Chris’.”
And so I climbed into his passenger’s seat playing with the hem of his purple dress. Picked up booze, stealing kisses, a vibration from Tiffany where r u?
A texted address and a hope that she’d get there. We were too dizzy to care, me and Amber, helping each other stumble the steps to Chris’ apartment. There was already a party going on, a roommate’s birthday? So I took a shot and climbed on Amber’s lap. The room was smoky and lit with a string of colored Christmas lights. I got up and stretched my spider legs, Amber looked them up and down. Good. We needed a room. I asked Chris. His bedroom was quiet and dark, blue and blacks, an animal skull on the wall. Waterbed. The cops came as we started kissing. We didn’t stop.