My suspicions that New Year’s Eve could turn into a drug-fest were borne out in spectacular fashion, by which I mean absolutely everyone I knew there except Christian, who appointed himself our babysitter, and Tony, who was already Ziggy’s designated watchdog, ended up on ecstasy or acid or both. Jordan, Sarah, Courtney, Carynne, Ziggy, everyone. Martin, even Martin was there. It’s hard to remember everyone, honestly.
I had about two seconds to worry about Courtney before she informed me she’d done X plenty of times and was way ahead of me on the drug sophistication scale. I refrained from having a big brother freakout; it helped that Chris said it wasn’t addictive and that he’d be keeping an eye on her.
Jordan gave me the pills himself. For some reason I hadn’t been expecting a pill. That’s how oblivious I’d been to how MDMA worked–a drug so new it wasn’t illegal yet and had multiple nicknames (X, E, ecstasy, XTC, and probably some I’ve forgotten–I hear they call it “molly” nowadays). I’d been expecting a powder, I guess? Up until then I’d had no idea whether you were supposed to snort it, smoke it, dissolve it, shoot it, or what. A pill seemed so… civilized. Like taking Advil. Jordan handed them out with instructions that sounded like they came from a pharmacist: “Drink plenty of water.”
There was dancing, oh there was dancing. I was dancing when the drug kicked in. I think it was maybe 45 minutes after I’d taken the pills and I had vaguely begun to wonder if they were duds, but that wouldn’t stop me from having a good time anyway. I was on the big dance floor downstairs, in a knot of total strangers but that didn’t really matter to me at the time, when the physical sensation came over me like someone had hit an on-switch that activated my skin. Every sensory input suddenly became an instant source of sensual pleasure: my sleeves touching my arms, the sweat trickling down my neck, the force of the sound waves in the air hitting my body, the scent of the leather of my jacket.
If on acid you feel good about everything, on ecstasy everything feels good. To put it bluntly, it was like my entire body had become as sensitive as my dick, and the whole world was stroking me.
You know who always has impeccable timing? Go on, guess.
I had finally disengaged myself from the dancing mass to get some water as instructed, and had gone back to the VIP area for that, which meant I probably took an hour to go from one place to another because that’s just how those things go when you’re tripping. Or maybe it was five minutes, I don’t know. And I had just finished drinking what felt like the most delicious, most intense glass of ice water I’d ever had, when someone’s hands slid around my bare stomach, and I knew they were Ziggy’s, and I pressed back against him but that wasn’t enough so I turned around and kissed him like there was no tomorrow.
Basically, when you’re on psychedelic drugs there IS no tomorrow. Ecstasy especially is very much about being in “the now.” This means not only that everything feels good but that you can’t conceive of negative consequences for your actions because the future doesn’t exist. You can’t be afraid of anything because all your fears are really about what could happen, what might happen, what bad thing might come later, and when you’re on X, there is no such thing as later.
I shouldn’t say “you,” I should say “me,” since I can’t really speak for everyone. So there it is. I felt no fear. I felt no worry. I felt like sensation was everything and the sensation of someone I was so in love with touching my skin was even better.
When he forced me to stop kissing him long enough to breathe he asked, somewhat bemused, “Where’s your shirt?”
“No idea,” I answered. Apparently I had taken my shirt off and put my leather jacket back on over my bare skin. I realized I was now somewhat hot and sweaty and I took the jacket off, too. It disappeared from my consciousness.
I’d later find out that Tony took it. At the time I hadn’t even been aware of Tony being nearby. I was barely aware that we were standing in a crowd of people by the small bar in the VIP room. I didn’t care. I kissed him again.
The next thing I knew we were in the men’s room, in the very back stall. You may remember from that time we went to Danceteria and Ziggy was on X that erections are something that doesn’t work while on the drug. So I was like one giant sex nerve and yet I wasn’t hard. Ziggy was, though. He hadn’t dropped yet, or he had and it hadn’t yet taken effect. He fucked my mouth in that bathroom stall and it felt/tasted/smelled/was amazing. Not as amazing as taking him up the ass, though. I don’t think we were doing that for long but it was mind-blowing while it lasted and left me wanting more. Neither of us came and it didn’t matter.
I suppose I should be grateful Ziggy was discreet enough and sober enough at that point to take us into the stall and even close the door. There were people that night who humped or sixty-nined on whatever surface seemed convenient. Not most of them, of course, just some, but no one seemed to much care. I guess it was all part of the scene. I tried to express that in some tiny corner of my brain I knew it was a good idea we hadn’t done it out in the open in front of everyone. What I said was, “That was a good idea.”
And he said, “Yes it was,” and bit me on the ear, and it felt like an orgasm to me. I’m pretty sure looking back on it now that he thought I meant the sex, not the privacy, but maybe he was reading my mind.
I remember a lot more dancing. I remember being thirsty and drinking and I remember at one point Court and Carynne and Sarah all pouring water on me? I think? I didn’t hallucinate on X the way I did on LSD but it’s still really hard to remember exactly what happened other than some vivid moments. I remember dancing with Sarah and convincing her to get on my shoulders and lifting her up and her being surprised that I could carry her like that. I remember singing while dancing. I remember wondering if they had redone the lights for the occasion or if it was just the drugs that made them look that way.
In short, it was epic. I didn’t know it at the time but it was so epic that even for the city party crowd it was considered epic. I should probably mention that there were a lot of people much more famous than we were there, too, many of whom participated in the debauchery. It felt so completely different from the West Coast parties I’d been to, maybe because most people were on X instead of cocaine and maybe because there was this crazy mix of people, a much much younger crowd, packed with drag queens and punks and artsy downtown types. Limelight was always like that, but it was taken to the max on that night.
I remember Martin lowering himself from a balcony and dropping to the dance floor below like Spiderman, to much applause. And more dancing. Ziggy’s song “Do It” came on and it had never sounded better. I could hear the synth break beats mixed in the background as clear as the words, but Ziggy and I had gotten separated when it came on. I wondered if I’d remember to ask Jordan about it later.
Dance, drink, chill, repeat.
I have no regrets. Well, okay, maybe one : the MDMA hangover is epically painful. Was it worth the tradeoff? Yes–though while I was suffering through worst of the hangover I might not have said so. Chris was a good babysitter. When we were all moaning and groaning the next day he made sure there was plenty of Advil and ginger ale and hot tea to go around.
I should say, in case any of you are thinking about trying it, that the MDMA hangover is by far the worst hangover I’ve ever had. While you’re on X everything feels good. The payback is that the next day, sometimes for two days afterward, everything feels bad. Air is painful. Clothing is painful. Moving is painful. Lying still is painful.
It was bad enough that I swore off ever doing it again. I asked Court how she ever got up the nerve to do it more than once and she just shrugged: talking hurt too much.
But like I said, no regrets. Except one. Which was that at some point I lost track of Ziggy in the revelry and the next day I was too impaired to page him. So I didn’t page him until January 2nd, from Jordan’s. When he called back it was January 3rd and he was on his way to London.
Jordan’s loft was the same as the last time I’d been there, but this time I was crashing on the foldout futon in the windowless corner of the place, where I expected I’d stay for a couple of weeks. Jordan picked up the cordless phone in the kitchen and then came over and handed it to me with a look that made it obvious to me who was calling.
Zig broke the news to me right away. “I’m calling you from JFK.”
“Ah.” I could hear some kind of announcement being made in the background. “Where are you headed?”
“For how long?” I walked to the window and looked down on 10th Street.
“Four days, I think? Just long enough to be getting over jet lag and then I’ll be back,” he said, casually.
“To New York? I’m staying in the city for a while. Jordan needs me for some stuff.”
Ziggy’s voice slid up and down the insinuation: “Oh he does, does he?”
“I am not about to jump into bed with him.”
“Which is why he answered the phone?”
“I’m staying at his place.”
“Uh huh…Are you sure he’s not interested?”
“And what about you? No interest in getting your creative juices pumping?”
“Stop. Ziggy, this is me we’re talking about, not you.”
“You’re not exactly a saint, Daron.”
“I’m not saying I am, but I have no interest in Trav and he has no interest in me.”
Ziggy’s voice was low, almost gruff: “Jordan would suck you off in a heartbeat if it would get the performance he wanted out of you.”
I was highly aware that Jordan was across the fairly large room from me, chopping vegetables with the water running and whistling to himself. Maybe he couldn’t hear me. Maybe he could. I wasn’t about to say the thought that ran through my mind, which was, why are you so sure, Zig? Did he suck you off to get the performance he wanted out of you? Instead I said, “What do you want, Zig? Do you want me to promise to save myself for you?”
There was silence as I think we both suddenly thought about what I had just said. I’d said it without thinking, just venting frustration at Ziggy’s attitude, but I think at that moment we both thought seriously about the words that had come out of my mouth.
Don’t ask me why I was suddenly scared to death. I wondered if Ziggy was, too. He was at least stunned into silence.
I forced myself to speak. “Is…is that what you want?” It felt like I was handing him the sharp little knife that could cut the string the sword over my head was hanging from.
“Is it what you want?” he countered, and it sounded like he was holding his hand over the phone, I guess so he could talk quietly but I could still hear him over the noise of the airline terminal.
I heard the words but unfortunately his meaning still wasn’t clear–I wasn’t sure if he meant whether I wanted to be faithful to him or I wanted him to be faithful to me. Faithful is a terrible word for that, isn’t it? Faith is belief in what’s unseen, what’s unproven. How is not rubbing dicks with someone else believing in what’s unseen? Or does it mean you believe in that unproven thing called a relationship?
“Shit. That’s my flight they’re calling,” he said. “Daron–”
“Have a good trip. I’ll be at Jordan’s when you get back.”
An agonizing second of silence hung in the air. And then it passed. “Don’t do anything stupid.”
Right. “Don’t you, either, then,” I said.
“Deal?” he asked.
“Deal,” I agreed.
And just like that, it no longer felt like a sword was hanging over me after all. See, if there’s no sword, then it didn’t matter that I’d handed him the knife. I mean, it wasn’t like we made a momentous decision or anything. It was more like he put the little knife away for a while. But…okay, that metaphor failed but sometimes there just isn’t a better one in your head, you know?
(Can you believe this was the 600th post of DGC?? To celebrate, we held a video chat on YouTube Live here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C4JIucBz8g. The first hour is a Magic University chat, and the DGC section starts at 56:10, so fast forward to there. I read a bonus scene and answer lots of DGC questions!
A bit more site news: don’t forget the fanworks initiative is running until February 14th — Valentine’s Day! So whether you are writing a fanfic, doing some art, designing an album cover, writing a song, making Daron & Ziggy puppets, memes, vids, playlists, or whatever other creative thing you might do to celebrate being a fan of DGC, you’ve got until Feb 14th to share it with us! If you want to send to me directly I’ll post things here on the site or post somewhere public and send us links to it! -ctan)
(This song is from 1977 but it was too fitting to pass up. -d)