Kevin Gates is a short man with broad shoulders. Shoulders that carried a chip which had haunted him since his growing spurt came up short ten years past. He walked down main street in Tuscaloosa hoping to relieve some pent up physical and mental energy – a bit backed up. Acquaintances considered him a decent fellow over all, but he thwarted every impulse to develop close friends. Friends are lights that drip like water into the soul. Light-water that pushes against obelisks — tacit yet functional. Obelisks keep light on the surface. He walked by a sign, “The Strip;” an appendage of Tuscaloosa, a place where a man could disappear without social oversight. There was something enticing about abandoning the rules of society, dancing in the darkness, rubbing sweaty bodies in crowded rooms, and liberating the mind from watery light with a thumping bass. There, a man can merge into society and violate the everyday functions of the corporate body. Thick smoke, dim lights, loud music releases the soul and resuscitates the inner man. A rat-hole, the faded grey door of Egan’s, pushed against the crowded line forcing their way into darkness. A resistance that Mofo Brown facilitated as he sat policing the participants and taking tens from the hands of thirsty strangers. Gates, keeping the ten still crumpled in his hand, slipped behind two tall boisterous women and entered the establishment. Inside, he ordered a long Island and leaned against the greasy bar feeling the flow of the incoming crowd brush against his anxious skin. He breaths. He could feel his sex rushing to the surface in the dark. Lines of bodies pushed and rolled against him in rhythm with the bass and drum bringing his thrill to the edge of climax. After a few sips of liquor, he closes his eyes and listens as sound merges into a lightless obsidian sea. Waves of pleasure rolled down from his neck to the back of his thighs. A muscled arm reaches through the crowd and hands him a vial — a popper. Hugging it to his nose he breaths deeply and allows the rush to push against the wall that resists orgasm. By this time the crowd has swollen, flesh against flesh jumping and thrashing shadows against colorful and chaotic lights. A thin membrane of self control bulges with the pressure of the gyrating crowd. He signals for another drink. A member of the crowd slips out, pushes between Gates and another patron, and waves for alcohol. He drinks it and lubricates his dry throat. The crowd continues touching Kevin. The waver reunites with the crowd. Kevin’s heart races with the drums. His skin, excited by the resonance of audio filters that sweep bliss over the frenzied congregation, tingles.
‘Shit. Stupid fucking shit,” Kevin’s revelry is disrupted. He needs to pee. He waltzes through the throng of sticky bodies toward the urinals. He barely makes it. His pee comes out in spurts. When he is done he shakes his penis a few times liberating drops from the head into the ceramic throat of the toilet. Gates places his penis in his pants and zips up. He returns to his spot relishing the heat of the crowd. He fills his eyes with oneness. He felt elevated, powerful. He was in the middle, separate. The rotating ribbon of flesh moved in circuitous footpaths pushing against his upright body lying in the darkness. His spot was smaller now. Crowded by a set of big burly shoulders and a thin neck draping a sheer dress. These extensions of the growing mass unknowingly welcomed him into their writhing passions. Kevin signaled for one more drink and downed it. On cue, a feminine arm reached out from the body of dancers and offered another popper. Kevin accepted and drank deep of its bottled vapors. His vanishing high returned with a sudden gasp. The grappling couple that rubbed against his side inadvertanly pushed him out toward the undulating mob. His drink splashed against a body passing by who, in anger, knocked the drink from Kevin’s hand, fisted him, and swung him around toward the center of the dance floor. The lights shifted from green to orange to red to blue to… Gates fell down. His body tingled from the fist against his flesh. The jumping and throbbing of the crowd continued to pummel his body in that prone position. Kevin could feel their violence rubbing against, and at times, stepping on him. There was blood trickling from his head – just enough to wet his eye. Sensations from the crowd heightened his yearning. He grasped whoever he could and pulled himself up to his feet. Again a popper came out from the crowd. Gates took a deep breath and let himself go. The warm release of his orgasm left him breathless. In the dark, he couldn’t see anyone, and no one could see him — only flashes of flesh and colors collapsing on one another left traces against his memory. There was no need to hold any one. The mob on the dance floor enwombed him in their totality. This was love.