The club is pitch black. Shapes and forms move around anonymously, highlighted only by a thin, inconsequential haze. Todd finds a person he knows, some skinny gay kid who works as a promoter. Names are exchanged. I shake this lithe thing’s hand. I can’t hear or see him.
“What’s his name?” I shout into Todd’s ear.
“Wilhelm,” he says. “WILL-HELM.”
I’m pretty sure this kid’s name is just Will, and he is probably from Idaho, where everyone he’s known since diapers refers to him as “Billy.” Just another twenty-something who moved to New York City to be fashionable and fabulous and knew what bait would make people buy in. You have to make the people here articulate you, the essence of you – the way you dress, the way you do your hair, your name. You must be memorable, like some character from Party Monster, lest you fade into an incurable anonymity. It’s not Will. No, not pedestrian Will. It’s Wilhelm. The annoying correction makes it memorable in a place where you forget 99% of everyone you meet.
Next to Wilhelm is a shorter, jumpy little kid who looks like one of the backup dancers in Madonna’s Truth or Dare documentary. He’s got holes in his shirt and a sweater wrapped around his waist, sort of like how Brantley looked when I first met him, only less wholesome. The drug dealer, not the drug doer. He aims his chin north and whispers something into Todd’s ear. I catch enough to know that it pertains to drugs.
I trail behind the hulking mass that is Todd Jenner, snaking through the crowd under a black ceiling and a shining disco ball. I sit down and hold court on the top of a vinyl booth, tucking myself away from the swoozy, boozy masses. And for the next two hours, I’ll stay mostly here. This is the type of place where you get your wallet yanked out of your purse and you walk home in the freezing cold with no jacket because someone stole that, too.
Everyone here tonight is some caricature, a sitcom version of what Manhattan is supposed to be like. I’m sitting next to some balding models-and-bottles guy who looks like an investment banker even though he probably isn’t, given the fact that it’s New Year’s Eve and this place didn’t charge a cover. All the real investment bankers are either on yachts in St. Barts or standing in the middle of the Boom Boom Room wearing suits and ties, wishing they were in St. Barts. The children and the cheapos are here tonight, ringing in 2013 in a veritable ghost town.
“You got any coke?” David asks — quiet, meek little David, with his awe-shucks grin and his apple cheeks, those tufts of toe-head blonde. No one in this city has been spared the need to go go go, to talk too much, go out too much, see and be seen until seven in the morning.
“No,” I say, but to indicate that I’m not judgmental, I offer up would-be alternatives: “I don’t think Todd has any either.” And then David disappears for an extended period of time, maybe an hour.
Carrie Who Hates Me is standing in the center of the dance floor, coming in and out of the light as it switches from pitch black to dusty azure. Her hair hangs into her eyes like a well-groomed sheepdog, grazing her eyelashes nearly to the point of voluntary, fashionable blindness. Pretty soon she will need someone to guide her around, pull on her skin-tight designer jeans, thread her little arms through the sleeves of a leather jacket. Carrie taps away on her iPhone, its glowing screen lighting her up from below, while the floor of bodies moves around her.
Todd dances near the DJ booth – if you can call the person clicking the mouse on his MacBook Pro a DJ.
David eventually returns. He leans over in front of me while the boy in the ripped shirt from earlier tells him he has “really, really amazing coke tonight,” as though coke is some kind of fine delicacy that the chef changes on a whim, which I guess isn’t far from the truth. For me, though, this is not a selling point. For me, this brings to mind the people who are actually making the coke, cutting the coke. I imagine how it gets here on boats, smuggled in bags, skated through security to land here, of all places, on some black dance floor in New York City to assist the tired masses – the masochists who live in this place and feel the need to milk it dry, ring that towel until there’s nothing left, get out every last drop of it.
David leaves with the drugs and the Fairy Drug Dealer sits next to me counting money in a plastic sandwich bag procured from Drug Deal No. 2, an exchange that happened with models-and-bottles guy and a girl with bleached blonde hair who looked like some extra from that first scene in Blade, where those ‘90s vampires danced around to rave music in a basement, waited for the blood to start spraying from the fire sprinklers overhead.
“Do you know what time it is?” the Fairy Drug Dealer asks.
“1:44,” I say.
“I’ve got to go to work,” he tells me, though I don’t know to what end.
“Where are you working?” I ask. Obviously simply selling blow isn’t paying all of the bills. Maybe it’s more of a recreational thing, a hobby of sorts.
“We’re doing an after-party.”
“Oh, really? Where?” This is merely a routine line of questioning, a common courtesy in continuing a conversation, not an eager plea for an invitation.
“Oh, just, like, the Lower East Side.”
“Yeah? Where at?” My journalistic tendencies for probing often mislead people into thinking I give a shit.
“I really can’t say. I mean, if you’re with Wilhelm or Blaze or Frankie you’re good. But otherwise… I can’t really tell you.”
AWWWWW, SHIT. JUST GOT BURNED BY A TWO-YEAR-OLD.
“I was just asking,” I lobby back. “I don’t really care.”
“You really shouldn’t,” Fairy Drug Dealer says, putting emphasis on the “really” in a way that is patronizing and condescending, as in you “reeeeaaallllllyyy should because this is the coolest party ever and I’m the coolest person ever but don’t go home and slit your wrists over it, Party Girl. One day you’ll be as cool as us. Don’t worry.” And then he leaps off of the banquet and flits away, disappearing into the dark. This is why old people stop going to clubs – little shitheads like this that still live for after parties and boring conversations with half-developed retards with fake names and iPhones.