Chemistry 7
Dedicated to
Rich Tanya Scott Smiley Mark Dante and Alx
by Christopher Bradley
4/14/00 12:28:48 AM

December twenty third nineteen ninety two
The end of my first year home from Chicago
First go at the Biz for myself
I had only an inkling of what I was in for.

Scott and I drove up to Tanya's early in the day
She lived a few streets down behind Yonge and Bay
In a large Red Brick apartment
With narrow staircases.
Scott and I met some of her roomates
And then went for a walk to get Pizza and Change.
It was a long walk across to Yonge on foot.
And we encountered some interesting places along the way.

Somehow weeks later I would find a highly liberal magazine
Dedicated to Angry Dykes
In the trunk of the Shadow
I think we had thought it was amusing during our walk.
We found a small Italian Restaurant
Had a slice or two and a soda
And then resumed until we found the Arcade.
It was almost straight ahead when we got to Yonge.

The vendor sold us neatly wrapped Loonies
and a bundle of red twos.
We walked back
Barely aware of our own conversation.
I was still in amazement at my luck
Sean had gone to Europe
and I was stuck with an exclusive party.
It was as if the world had fallen into my lap.

We snagged Tanya and had her walk us to the subway
and we met Rich the skater
David's friend
Soon to be the only sober one among us.

We packed Tanya's boyfriend into the car with all of us
and stopped at a Mini-Mart to buy all of their Ice.
The bags melted slowly all around my backseat passengers.
And then we were on our way East to the hidden warehouse.

The structure was longer than I had imagined
but had a low ceiling.
We walked along a Handicapped access ramp at about 9:20.
And dragged the water and Ice behind us.

I dropped my bags in the entranceway when I saw it
It was more than just a test image
It was the Lawnmower Man
He was twisting hexagonal cubes attempting to escape cyber confinement.
The projectors were replicating him on every available wall
Tiny camera looking things
Attached to girders in the ceiling
The speakers were vibrating the room without any music playing.

I saw Alx and asked where we were to go
He showed us to a small room
Where I thought we would never be seen
There was a blacklight bulb in the ceiling.
We grabbed a board with a Jack O Lantern painted on it
And made a makeshift table with a rough metal frame
and Drew Posters on Neon Red and Green Poster Board
And hung them on the sweaty thin grey wooden walls.

I organized the change in the cashbox
Opened the powders
Mixed some test drinks
And then it was time to find a fix.
We found our paper and shared it
One hit of the Dreamscape was enough
And we were sizzling when the first bass beat rolled.
Rich would help us keep our heads together and we barely knew him.

Tanya was going to get what she wanted
I promised her a trip home to Detroit
I was thinking about shopping for Records and stopping off at Karl's
We could never predict that she'd be riding home with a broken nose.
Tanya was the candy girl
I sent her into the masses with Smarties at midnight
To hand them out with paper flyers
Printed out on my 520 and photocopied at OfficeMax.

Mental Jackhammer was having its first run
with customers winding their way into our little party room
Following the flashes of the Strobe Light against the wall
And lining up for Fast Blast and Brain Boost.
Scott was a confused Mixer
While Rich sorted the Cups
And I counted the change.
Everything was going smoothly.
We were addressed by the Master's of Ceremony
And motioned into acts of dancing
Working the table
to the selections of Dr. No Mark Oliver and Alx.

I didn't know the title at the time
But it was the first time I would hear
The Future Sound of London's Papua New Guinea
Wailing through the warm air
Washing chills through the crowd.
I walked among them
Seeing women in silver sequined suits
Smiling and laughing as if in orbit
Feeling like my black canvas converse
were the soft cushions of moon boots.

There was a game to play
I looked on at the fried teens
with their heads in round helmets
standing on magnetic plates
trying to kill the virtual pterodactyl
that swooped down from its perch
to lift them into the air
and drop their cartoon bodies
to the perfectly flat pavement
where they shattered and began again.
I was told it was driven by a high end Amiga.

In the catacombic rooms at the back
bodies writhed against the cold floor
Some of them cross legged
Waving their heads entranced
To the gentle electronic buzzings
Infiltrating their minds.

A Jester in a Riot sock looped through the crowd
Knowing that a good part of this madness
was his doing.

Coming around and through the back
I encountered Smiley and his Italian friend.
They had bought drinks
And they wanted to let me know that they loved us.
I told them that I loved them too
And walked them around to the bar
Stealing two cups from Scott
and sharing them with Smiley and his friend.
Smiley offered me some Vicks to put under my nose
and I accepted
The vapors stirred the paisley spirals
Out of my tricking Axons
and They vanished
and the line became convulsive.

There were hands reaching for the bar
And before I knew it
We had run out of twos.
I told Tanya to get in front of the door
And let no one enter.

That was a sight
I wrangled in my mind for a solution to the problem of the twos
And looked to Scott for help
But he was lost in the cups with the Braun Blender
And I noticed that people were frantically trying to push past Tanya
Her petite body was being pushed back
And her arms were stretched from the door.

As they washed in and she rushed back to the bar
I noticed the Loonies
And Scott and Rich laughed
as the Ice melted in the colored plastic goblets.
We had the means to make change
for the moment at least.

At 3:30 the celebrities came calling
Mark Oliver and his Zebra clad girl
Dropped twenty for two drinks
And gave us some African Gum
That minted our mouths
Until almost the end.

Rich talked Tanya into filling cups with Ice
Even when there were twenty full
And she ran to get a big bucket
from the water bar
When ours was finally liquid in bags
In the dust on the concrete.

And then Dante was there
With a bald head and a centaur's Goatee
Looking like an incarnation of the devil himself
And he handed me a business card
And another twenty
And said we should all come to New York
And work at one of his parties.

It seemed so far away
But his face was domestic at least
A reminder that we were Americans
Toiling on foreign soil.

At some point in there
Tanya's boyfriend danced carelessly
And his fist cracked cartilage
Her nose was bleeding
The best we could do
Is give her some ice.

Dante's friend came to visit us later
He bought drinks too
He was a black man
With short Jamaican dreads
With a muscular build
Sporting bright yellow overalls
He was the last of the out of towners
that we saw that night.

Scott had gotten himself up there somewhere
To a place I dared not voyage
Because some tall kid had given him
Something special for free.

The sun was starting to shine through the windows
And the inside of my eyelids kept flashing
Even after we turned off the strobe
And I watched the dancers continue to lock their joints on the floor
Even after the music receded.

It was time to count up the various colored bills
Give Alx two hundred for our wonderful space
Gather up the powders and lights
And meet back at Tanyas.

That morning in her living room
I thought I saw the floating letters
For the name of a new Rave promotions team
In a painting of a red Mars Scape on the wall behind her.

I couldn't help thinking that her nose was partly my responsibility
But I can't choose the friends of strangers
And I couldn't do anything but drive them home again
And sit and watch her swelling nostrils.

My eyes twisted the letters into the word Phoicos.
And I made the pronouncement
That one day we would have a party
And one day not so far off into the future

We did.

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