Thursday, July 31, 2008

When Something Is Too Good to Keep to Yourself...


I might have suspected something was awry long before I stepped into the Red Lounge. We had, after all, seen the DJ walk out of the metro before we stopped him for the brief chat that led to an invitation and a promise to put our names on the guest list. Entry guaranteed. The DJ was wearing black leather, including thick, heavy boots with severe steel buckles that traveled from his ankles to his calves. A cigarette hung from the corner of his mouth and drooped over his shaggy brown beard; his eyes were red-rimmed and dark. They glared at the world from underneath a greasy mane of brown hair.

"And how do you know this person?" I asked, incredulously.

Said CB: "We work together at the restaurant. Remember the guy I told you about, that if I ever got him as a server, I'd ask to be moved to another section?"

I did remember: the dirty one, who clearly held exception to the use of soap and often showed up to work with days-old food smears encrusted on his clothes and lips. So he was a DJ on the side.

The information was well on its way to the part of my brain where statistical equations and birthdays are stored when CB's next words halted it in its tracks.

"I wanna go check him out."

Ohhhhh God! was my thought, but I'm trying out this new thing called being supportive. So instead I said: "Sure! Sounds good," and mentally checked my bank account to make sure I could afford to get well and truly blasted if necessary. Turns out: wasn't necessary.

The usual bouncer was standing at the door, looking bored. It was only 10:00. We walked up the stairs, where Old Mother Hubbard was waiting to check our names off the list and brand us with a green Sharpie: 'B'. 'B' for Bound, as announced to us by a single printed sheet at the door. I didn't make the connection at the time, too busy asking: why is this sweet little old lady sitting here, collecting money and guest names at this time of night? Has she no cats? Is she not tired? CB and I immediately decided that we were in the presence of freaks. And if we had not decided then, we would certainly have reached that same conclusion when, mere moments later, we noticed "Bob Barker" in Gothic-era clothing (complete with ruffled shirt, top hat and black-and-red cape) sitting at the bar.

Topless shadow dancers were projected onto the far wall, writhing and popping to beats that wasn't present in this club, which was playing electronica. As we sipped on our Absolut and cranberries, CB and I watched them absent-mindedly, keeping one eye on the people who were trickling through the doorway. The middle-aged man with the greasy comb-over whose eyes encased in fatty folds; the tall redhead with a tiny waist and big hair, dressed in a floor-length patent leather jacket, with a cylindrical patent leather backpack that contained a whip; the group who came in with 6 mysterious-looking metal suitcases; the obviously male cross-dresser in a school-marm's black dress and unconvincing wig; the bald stud in tight leather tank top and handcuffs clipped to his belt. No two looked the same. And despite their creative getups, they all looked eerily normal.

As they trooped in through the doorway, we sat closer and closer to the edge of our seats, prepared to make a quick getaway if necessary. CB and I kept making jokes about how we could shine the light from our cellphones on these vampire-esque creatures long enough to flee from what we were certain was going to be some kind of blood-fest.

But for some reason, we stayed. I went to the bar to get another drink: clearly, we were going to be here longer than I suspected. As I waited, Greasy Combover Guy walked up to me.

"Hi there."

I swear to God, if another unattractive - no, ugly - man comes up to me one more time, I'm going to kill myself. My self-esteem can only suffer so many blows.

I gave him a brief, withering glance and grunted. "Hm."

His stomach pushed behind a faded, black T-shirt. His black shoes were scruffy, old. Bless his heart: he was trying to fit in any which way.

"Waiting for somebody?"

Arrrrrgh!!! If he didn't look so grimy, I might have been tempted to slap him for being so presumptive. Is it because I'm black? Fair enough, the only other black person in there was this girl who was obviously working - but seriously, I was still in my work clothes!

I pointed at CB. He muttered something unintelligible and slinked off to the other end of the bar, behind the other black girl, who was working on "Bob" and a man with a long, curly ponytail and a whip.

I later found out that the guy's been coming to Bound for years and has a foot fetish. Ugh.

By this time, I had to pee. On my way to the bathroom, I discovered what all those metal suitcases were for. All along the walls of the back room, the felt-lined suitcases had been lined up and opened - they contained a vast assortment of tools and devices: scissors, steel rods, needle-like protrusions, wands, handcuffs, leather belts and other restraints, various-sized light bulbs, a crystal ball, whips, cotton balls, tissue, and an enormous black thing that was apparently supposed to fit into some kind of bodily crevice (which one could be large enough to take it, I don't know) - it had an electrical plug attached to it. Itching to get back and relay the news to CB, I rushed to the bathroom...and came face to face with a man in front of a urinal. Apparently, shutting the door at Bound is not allowed.

With freshly-emptied bladder and back in the safe haven of CB's presence, I told him about the suitcases. After a lengthy inspection, he came back to me and we decided we were definitely in for the long haul. This meant we needed to adopt persona that would enable us to fit in. CB decided he was Morpheus and put on his sunglasses. I looked up at my afro and down at my khakis and decided that I could only realistically be me. On the right day, that's enough to get me anywhere. At that moment, a short man wearing nothing but leather underpants walked past us, carrying a cocktail in one hand and one end of a chain in the other. The other end was attached to a leather collar, which in turn was attached to the neck of a very tall girl in a tiny plaid skirt.

After about an hour, during which I was pulled into a long and boring conversation with some guy just because I wanted to use his Glo-sticks, I was kinda over the whole experience. Yes, the short man had taken the leash off his bitch and put it on himself, then spent 15 minutes kneeling on the floor while she fed him his cocktail through a straw, but really, where was the action? So what if the tall lady in the pleather coat was now high on X and dancing madly on the floor all by herself? When were people going to start whipping each other and bleeding all around me? I had had it - I was going home. But first, I needed to pee.

I never quite made it to the bathroom. Apparently, while I was waiting for action to happen by the bar, I had forgotten that there was a back room. And there was a naked lady strapped to a wooden X in the back room, being shocked with electric wands by a man in a leather waistcoat. I pushed through the crowd to get a better view.

Her nipples were hidden from view by two tiny x's created from electrician's tape. I absently wondered how many yards of electrician's tape it would take to tuck my nipples out of sight. Ironically, this woman was the the only other person who had come in wearing street clothes. Based on the environment, I had suspected she might be the wackiest one, since she hadn't felt the need to advertise her sexual preferences like the others. Still, I hadn't expected her to strip first. The man was stroking her with a thin light-blue wand; she was writhing sensuously. I, for one, was intrigued. Could it really feel that good? I was about to ask him to test on my arm, when he stopped and switched to a fuchsia wand. She jumped when this one touched her stomach. I recoiled; I'd wait and see what happened first.

She whispered to him; he tightened the leather straps around her wrists, picked up the blue wand again and, alternating them, stroked her body, nipples, thighs and vagina. First blue. Then fuchsia. Fuchsia, then blue. Her eyes were closed as she swayed back and forth; she looked dreamy. But I wasn't still wasn't convinced. After about five minutes, he switched out the blue wand for some other vibrating machine that he held in a fist and that had some sort of brush attached to it. That, he used to massage her clit, while his other hand delivered electric jolts through her skin with the fuchsia wand.

Other members of the audience were getting a little frisky at this point; CB came looking for me because last he heard, I was going to the bathroom. He settled in behind me; I leaned against him. The technician, as I dubbed him, switched to a purple wand. This one was different. The smoothness of its shaft was disrupted by bulbous shapes, through which one could see the electricity being generated. When he touched it to her skin, numerous minute streaks of lighting jumped out and penetrated her; she tensed uncontrollably and sank with a movement akin to relief every time he drew the wand away. I was definitely no longer entranced; that shit looked painful as hell. Somewhere behind me, CB was getting an education on the pains and pleasures of this procedure from some bald guy in a red Chinese robe sewn in an ancient style and his wigged girlfriend, who wore a lace-front hat.

"You ready to go?" I asked.


We said good night, and descended down the stairs, squeezing past an extremely narrow-waisted man in fishnet stockings and a damask girdle who was just coming in from a cigarette break. Once out on the sidewalk, it was harder to recall the world we had just emerged from. Somehow, it no longer seemed real.

I wanted to stand and discuss, but CB hustled me away from the door because he didn't want to run into anybody he knew right then. So we went to the late-night pizza spot that blares Congolese music loudly all night, every night, and shared a cheese slice. Then we went home, where he built me a makeshift curtain shield so I could pretend I was a shadow dancer with small, pointy boobs and muscular thighs.

* I'm not blogging. I'm just tryna tell you a story ;-).