I don't remember what the prompt was for this piece but it's a true story that cracks me up to this day --edit: this was from the prompt "believe it or not!"
When I was in 4th grade I joined the “just say no” club. I don’t know why. No one I knew was a drug addict and no one had offered me anything harder than Fresca. But I joined and I wore my green t-shirt with the word drugs printed in white surrounded by a circle with a slash through it proudly. I marched in a parade in Washington DC with famous anti-drug celebrities as Punky Brewester and that youngest girl from Rags to Riches. But the holy grail moment of my anti-substance abuse youth came when one Nancy Regan took to the stage and thanked us all for the pledge that we made to treat our bodies like temples and not to give into the evils of temptation and peer pressure.
Well, here I am, 23 years later and I’m still the poster child for clean living. Unless you count the copious amounts of booze I can consume. Or those five times I’ve smoked the weed. Or the thirteen years I smoked American Spirits. But I don’t. In my mind I am still living Nancy’s words loud and proud. I am drug free and my body is a temple and I don’t give into the evils of temptation and peer pressure. And not only that: I’m fucking polite about it. I’m like June Cleaver and Nancy Regan rolled into one clean veined heroine. Case in point:
Julie and I were invited to a haunted house party on Division the weekend before Halloween. The party started at 10 but we didn’t arrive until close to midnight (because we‘re cool and cool kids always know that invitations mean two hours later than stated). We got to the main gate of the house and there were cops checking IDs outside, rummaging through purses and taking our entry fee. What kind of haunted house was this I asked Julie. She shrugged with the same confused look I was sure I had. We passed the first security checkpoint and made our way up the long driveway to the house. It wasn’t a haunted house like I remember them. This one had a stage with a DJ outside and a mass of people dancing with him. We paused only for a moment and finished the walk up to the house.
We walked inside and immediately came across security checkpoint number two. This was a tall menacing looking man telling us that we needed to be patted down. I have to give him credit, I fell for it! Only after his hands cupped my breasts did I think that maybe he wasn’t really a cop and that maybe this was a ploy to feel up all the girls and that maybe we were in over our heads. Because walking into the house I asked Julie whose party this was and how we got invited. She told me that it was a yearly event put on by the girls of Sassy’s. The strip club on 7th and Belmont. I laughed at the security guard and told him that he at least had to buy me a drink for what we just did. He laughed and walked away. I thought “hey, I can handle this. I can roll with the strippers and sex workers of Portland.“ That is until I rounded the corner and let my eyes adjust to the dim lights. I was worried that I was going to stick out because I had no costume, just jeans, a T-shirt, a gray hoodie, and Chuck Taylors. But these girls weren’t just in costume, they were in SLUTTY COSTUMES! There was a slutty nurse, a slutty Alice (from Wonderland), a slutty bumble bee, and a slutty cave woman. She was with us, though. We finally found Julie’s cousin and his girlfriend and she was just barely clothed with fake fur and Uggs. I shook my head and tried to find the bar. Slutty zombies were dancing on poles against the far walls as slutty angels and slutty devils were handing out free vibrators to passer-bys.
I finally got to the bar and ordered a vodka tonic. The bartender had just the same amount of clothes on as I did and I immediately loved her. I asked her what time she had to work until and she said 6. “AM?” I asked. She laughed and said “yes AM.” She then told me to come back to her bar and she’d have a heavier pour for me than any other bartender there. I over tipped her (of course) and moved my way past all the flesh and back to my friends. I told them about the party being scheduled until 6 and we all laughed wondering who in their right minds would stay until 6 AM. This party was decent but it wasn’t epic.
Julie and I stayed together the whole night while her cousin and slutty cave woman girlfriend wandered around trying to make new friends. Julie was a chain smoker back then and we spent a lot of time on the second floor porch watching the dance floor on the front lawn from where we stood. We had hit the bar where my girl really did have a heavy pour a few times and I was getting my drunk confidence where I can talk to anyone about anything and not worry about coming across like a dork. I befriended a guy dressed as Slash and the three of us hung out on the porch for an hour or so watching the crowds and wondering how these girls weren‘t cold as we were all fully dressed and shivering. He told me that he was 22 and I laughed at him, calling him a baby and pointing out that he was 2 when Appetite for Destruction came out. He asked me how old I was and his reaction to me answering 32 was “you’re pretty cool for being so old, wanna make out”. I couldn’t help myself, I lost it. I laughed in this 22 year old wanna-be rock star’s face. “No,” I finally managed after I stopped laughing, “no thank you.”
Julie and I headed back inside and while she was hitting the bar for us again I was braving the bathroom on my own for the first time. There was a hot boy walking down the same hallway but in the opposite direction. He wasn’t in costume either and I could see all of his dark skin and full lips without obstruction. My confidence was up after Slash told me that I was old but cool and I decided to I to give him my best flirty smile and was surprised when he started coming toward me. It worked! It worked! I was in a sea of long uncovered legs, exposed tits and bare bellies but he didn’t care! He loved the overly dressed awkward girl instead. He walked right up to me, lowered his head and whispered in my ear “do you need some coke?’ Of course all he wanted was a sale. Look at me! I was no match for these stripper girls. What does Slash know? He‘s wasted. And was TWO when Appetite for Destruction came out. “No thank you” I said and finished walking to the bathroom.
When I came back to Julie, she had scored a huge oversized armchair between the bar and the inside dance floor. She was sitting on the cushion and I grabbed a seat on the arm. I was laughing and telling her about the hot coke dealer right as he walked by. I pointed my finger at him and he looked at me quizzically, shook his head and joined friends (clients?) outside. The slutty costumed girls were slowly becoming the slutty half naked girls as they were getting drunker and danced with their new found loves in front of us. Drugs were becoming more apparent as bowls were being smoked and vials of white substances were being passed around. As I was watching the crowd with utter fascination, Julie tugged my arm and said “your coke dealer is watching you again”. I looked up and he was headed towards me. “What? Are you narc?” he asked when he finally got close. “No!” I exclaimed, “I was just telling my friend about the hot guy who asked if I wanted to buy coke. I swear, that was it.” I felt defensive and had no idea why I had just said that. But it must have worked because he said “you think I’m hot?”. I nodded, suddenly shy, and he said “let’s go get a drink.” I was nervous about being alone with this coke dealer but Julie practically shoved me off the chair and I went with him to get another vodka tonic from my girl.
We got our drinks and he asked if I wanted to go outside where it was quieter. We wound up on the front lawn stage where the DJ and dance party were earlier. His name was Chris and he was DJ who played a lot of gigs downtown. He wanted to go back to school for music engineering but didn’t have the money. “I have to be honest,” he leaned in, “I saw you hours ago talking to the rocker guy. I wanted to approach you but I thought you were with him.” “Slash?” I laughed. “Nope. He just told me I was cool and old.” Chris waited until I was done laughing before his lips were on mine. This was so not me. Making out with someone I had just met drunk on a stage on the front lawn of a stripper haunted house Halloween party! But I was and I liked it. Until after a solid amount of time of making out he pulled away and said in his low voice “let me do a bump off your tit”. I didn’t think that he was serious or that I hadn’t heard him correctly. He repeated himself, “let me do a bump off your tit”. I shook my head and said “No. Thank you but no”. I stood up, hugged my hoodie tightly around me and went back to Julie who was still sitting on the chair watching more and more couples grind together on the floor.
My temple was tired and I wanted nothing more to sleep off the drunk. A non-stripper, non-sex worker, non-coke fiend like me should have been in bed hours ago. We decided to cab it back home. We high-fived the fact that we made it out to 6 AM and pinkie swore that we wouldn’t do it again. Until next Halloween.