Our next essay contest winner comes from writer/ artist/ musician Julien Camp of Northern California. Here Mr. Camp recalls his heady days in the '80s where a little chemical help and some flashing lights created a night to remember.
The Ecstasy kicked-in just as the beat dropped down into my hips. Undulating and letting my butt cheeks wrap around the corner of the squared-off mirrored pillar behind me, I glanced across the sea of blue, red, white and yellow-lit heads of big hair swaying to the music and locked my gaze with that of my compatriot on the pedestal closest to me. My fellow dancer kept her kinky-curly hair cropped short and bleached platinum blond for maximum effect next to her sultry, café-au-lait complexion. We cast a knowing smirk at each other, which told me the tab of E was dissolving rapidly into her bloodstream as well.
With a few scratch backs on an LP, the DJ slipped into The Smith’s How Soon is Now, a favorite of the whole dance troop. I shot a look to the other side of the dance floor where three more members of our traveling grind-for-hire company did their thing elevated over the multitude. In addition to our fee of $500, we also kept whatever was shoved into our pants as a motivating factor for keeping the moves sexy.
It was 1988, and this song with Morrissey’s bad-schoolboy wail was already considered retro, but the thump of the How Soon groove was clearly a crowd pleaser. It was also the opportunity for the troop to slip into some rehearsed synchronized undulations we’d invented just for this tune and for such a moment, high upon our perches. As we all turned, faced and grabbed our respective mirrored columns, I watched my reflection, laughing inside at my spiked hair that defied gravity and rose, divided into three parts, forming the five-inch/eight-inch/five-inch Mohawk-triptych slicing backward from my forehead. As I ground my pelvis to the delight of several old men in their thirties that had gathered around my podium, I worked my slim frame feeling ready to explode from a way-too-tight black mesh tank top and pair of crotch-hugging tan leather pants tucked into knee-high black biker boots. If Mad Max had been queer, he would have worn this.
The outrageous effects of the drug mixed further into my senses, bending the bizarre club lighting into colors yet to be invented. Without missing the cue, I turned in time with my comrades away from the mirror and slid down to join in the series of writhing and humping moves on our backs and bellies that in this youthful delirium we somehow believed passed as choreography.
The men around my small platform each began stuffing money inside my waistband while every so often stealing a small feel of the goods with an errant fingertip or two. The resultant feelings of pleasure that rocketed across my skin from these copped feels were enticing. However, I knew better: the effects of the Ecstasy, the money, this moment in time and the patron’s interest in the fantasy of me would be gone soon after the ugly closing lights escorted us all once again into our improbable futures.