Friday, May 18, 2012

Naked Dignity

I've seen the guy before in functionally similar functions. He stands at six foot eight, walks about with a gait shaped like an 'S', and has a narrow torso that still, somehow, manages to give him shoulders that could be described as broad.

And he's wearing a purple evening dress, with sparkly matching gloves covering hands twisting about themselves in a puppet show of modesty. And it works on him. for him. Dead gods.

He notices me – not sure if because he remembers who I am or just thinks the guy dressed in all white save for a ruddy brown fedora six decades beyond common fashionability just stepped up to the third floor hallway of the building, adjacent to the ball room set up for one such grand ball. The twenty plus other people drifting around the de facto foyer might as well have been absent for how well I blend in. For how well I intended to blend in.

I walk past him, tilt the brim with all the suave I'm attempting to cultivate and say, nice and flatteringly low, “looking lovely this evening.” He responds with an effeminate “thank you,” palms to his cheeks and twist of his body. I give him a thumbs up and walk past phantoms departing as I step inside the great omni-purpose chamber.

The room is lit as if the sun was cast through impure amber, dimmed and turned orange-yellow through a dozens of lamps held aloft. A red material that could be carpet lines the walls, away from which and forming a rectangular core are regiments of chairs sitting at attention, prepared to seat. Other guests, of all shapes and sizes and colors, dressed anywhere from casual to formal-for-the-other-sex, start to congeal into groups near the chairs and by tables set up in the back.

Tables that, upon closer inspection, hold aloft: chicken strips that are more breading than fowl; great brownie sheets speckled with white sugary powder that were divided into squares and further divided into triangles and my plate has ten of them and I am sitting down in the back row and my brownies have vanished, never to be seen again. As brownies.

The people outside had clearly multiplied by means of mitosis, as an order of magnitude more nonpaying patrons step into the sultry amber chamber of wonders and find their crimson seats. There is a din of conversation, all filed away in my mental space as things that do not concern me. I sit back, wait for the lights to dim, and spin the skull-decorated outer band of my two alloy ring.

The front we all face like eventual fate has a line of glittered red weights, each tethering metallic heart balloons. In the left corner of the ballroom are the big black mesh boxes of captive thunder, and on the platform situated amidst the cells stands the control panel of an acoustic organizer: The DJ's domain was present, apparent, and the man himself was attendant.

To the right was a, theme apropos, dark red free standing screen veiling untold, unfathomed mysteries.

The memory of the person who really stepped up to the stage is eclipsed by this: heralded, as if her arcane true name was spoken from the center of a ritual circle decked in phallic and yonic insignia, she walks out from the tall-stood veil, gusto-heeled to the center of the stage, drawn by the heavy bass fanfare.

Her name in this realm of the stage is Bunny Boom Boom, an onomatopoeia of impact on both mind and eye: stout, round, with eyes like scorch marks and wearing the smoke billowing from a tire fire, condensed into a wrap-around something. Her hair is blonde and bulbous and up.

She grabs the microphone, shakes her head back, opens painted red lips and speaks in so high pitched a voice that, between it and the electronic distortion accrued over the microphone and stereo system, becomes all but unintelligible. It's a squawking, a squeaking: defective language that conveys only the tone and energy swelling her.

Everyone else seems to understand her just fine. She twists her hand, beckons hither and squeals a command that elicits three people, each carrying a chair, to the stage.
When the thrumming, leaden bass laden music rolls through the stage, madame Boom Boom gives each of the chair bringers and now sitters a lap-dance. I have to stand up from my seat to see over the crowd and confirm this.

I now realize in totality what I am witnessing: students, with their tuition supplemented by either federally-funded student loans, grants, or public scholarships, being given a clothes-on lap-dance by a bloated transvestite. Federally-funded student loans and grants and scholarships payed for in no small part by the self professed Born Again to Christ, who had infused their cult with American nationalism, and who persist in the tenet of faith concerning the evil and inhumanity of all who are not married to one member of the opposite sex and only employing sexual relation for the purpose of creating one more writhing screaming pink wriggly human larvae.

My idle mental probe into scenario persists and deepens as a Pappy Chulo – a senorita hombre banger in black and beard and bling and whose song and dance picked up where Bunny Boom Boom's ended – kisses and straddles the legs of the unfair non-maidens, all under a synthesized chorus that could only arise out of the Mexico-United States border culture and the nonobservance of law and decency.

I wonder who among those ladies are indeed fair maidens. I wonder if the girl who had her cheek pressed upon by lips orbited by xeno-hormonal stubble had sat through dinner-table sermons and casual proclamations of damnation. I ponder if, out of all the born ladies here, it was the girl that had her leg decorated with F-T-M ganger that had her tuition paid for by a reverend or preacher of one of the uncountable free-market temples that outnumber fast-food restaurants.

Is the price of many ones salvations funding this brazen demonstration of sin most high, yet harmless?

Chulo's show slows then goes, and Bunny Boom Boom returns once more to talk without being heard. At least, not be heard by me. And not seen either – I had just realized that there was roughly ten rows of bodies standing between me and the stage, and not a decent seat accessible amidst them.

I very well can't abide by this most mundane of outrages. I get up, crouch low, and walk down the isle to the front of said isle. There I sit down, kick my feet out, and enjoy a front-row view.

And not a single soul beside or behind cares. Their attention is firmly pulled towards

Bunny Boom Boom wraps up her pattern-setting bout of audience interaction, now wrapped in a pink leotard and a teal sash around the waist. Replacing her presence are a skirted trio with parasols and monochromatic dress. They march to evenly spaced stops in front of the crowd and wait for digital-turned-analog notes and rhythm.

It starts slow. The music reverberates and builds in volume as their patterned umbrellas start to revolve and rotate about them. Left to right: one green, one red, one yellow; and all are synchronized. The central red fabric panel breaks harmony and goes up and down when the others go side to side, and maneuvers horizontally when the others go vertical. Every few beats kick the angles of motion to new degrees.

The dancers themselves orbit erratically, guided by some huckster's invisible hand. It's forgone where the balls are – this is now a game of tricky motion for its own sake, set to the rhythm poured into the floor.

The pattern-breaker with the red parasol and checkerboard tights walks right up to me and I now know precisely how a quantum physicist feels: my very act of observation now modifies the behavior of the so observed subject. She sweeps fabric blossom in front of me, pulls it back up and gyrates into where it once was. I give a salute with my ringed index finger, copper skulls winking light.

This skit remains classified as a thing amongst all, and thus ends. Madame Boom Boom solidifies the pattern: she walks about the stage, screeches at audience members in what I am assuming is dialog, then surrenders the floor to the next performer on the list. I think I made something out about pets that time. I definitely hear “are we ready for this?” as she abandons his feminine vocal facade if only for that single line.

The next dancer chases the lyrics, chanting with chorus to 'turn me loose'. The black dress permits her right leg to obey the command ahead of the performance itself. Her movements carry a sort of alloy ecstasy and solidified confidence that rumbles through the floor and bounces off the walls. She walks right up to me. I feel my skin burn, eyes sting in that as of yet unnamed brilliance as I notice the song change: “Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” Despite the palpable levels of queer in the room, it's played straight. There is neither snicker nor heckle. Just a damp idea rising from the crevices of my mind, not yet rising to conscious thought.

She walks back behind the veil, and the song trails along until Bunny Boom Boom picks it up with his man voice. “Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hung like me? Fat like me?” That requires, of course, that I have a girlfriend.


Sexual and relational frustration aside, this intermission is shorter than the rest, and almost directly segues into the next song and dance.

By the star-forged obsidian crypts of Dead Gods, Bruce Willis has stepped onto the stage in yellow tights and with hair colored and shaped like a candle's flame. The song is “Like thunder, lightning,” or something, and the crash and boom strikes in tune with that Die Hard protagonist's hells on the floor. Force is pressed into and quakes out of each step, each rolling impact of drum and cymbal, recorded and synthesized. Actual simulated thunder hits every surface, and vibration presses into the marrow and that lurking concept splashes up into my frontal, conscious lobe.

I see what this is.

I see all the revulsion and protest cracked and broken on the floor. Every step breaks more pieces into finer and finer bits of repulsive dust. Expectation lies on the floor and rusts, and every motion skips over those ferric chains.

I see dignity emerging from indecency. I see pride stabbing prejudice in the back.

I see Bunny Boom Boom in her black bisected by teal gown staring at me, under dim amber lights with crowds on all but one side and red carpet walls beyond them. I hear her ask me, in her voice, under her scrutiny, “You goin' on a safari motherfucker?”

“Damn straight,” I say.

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