And so we rushed to ARO.space, arriving backstage just in time to see the performers put the final touches on their costumes. Everyone looked so good, I wanted to get sweaty and naked with them all, but I'm shy, so I just chain-smoked and soaked up the glamour.
The stage show, starring Veruca Vain in her last Seattle performance, went off flawlessly: the kind of hardcore post-camp that makes me smile. ARO.space was on, too, like a real club, not the typical weak Seattle imitation of a club. After 2:00 a.m., Josh Wink played, infesting the club with a Freak Night exodus of candy ravers, but we had already left for a house party.
It seemed fine at first. DJ Mia was spinning in the kitchen, where I ran into a couple of old girlfriends looking real good together as a couple. The only thing ruining the vibe was a couple of toxically drunk guys who were pushing and shoving through the crowd, hitting people with elbows, kicking bottles, being loud. A friend and I had gone out to the lawn to talk when someone said, "He has a gun."
One of the drunk guys did indeed have a gun. He was waving and pointing it, causing a rush of people trying to avoid stray bullets. Word of the gun spread like a virus, and the jungle record scratched to a halt. Everyone started leaving, but my friend Mykeel, a 19-year-old rave promoter and notorious networker, had to make the rounds and say goodbyes. By the time he was done the house was empty except for me, Mykeel, his partner Nika, and two ARO.space performers. We made our way to the car.
Standing there on the lawn were the drunk guys, whom I tried to walk past as fast as possible with no eye contact, but I heard "faggot" from behind, and felt hands slamming me against our car. There was a moment of shock, and then Nika instantly jumped to my defense, advancing toward the guy and shouting, "What the fuck was that?" while I hid behind the car. The violence in the air got louder and the drunk got more obscene and volatile, until he backhand-slapped Nika. It all felt like a movie.
So the drunk's girlfriend got in his way and said, "You do not hit a girl!" and tried to settle him down. It was a very Jerry Springer moment. "That's not a girl, that's a witch," he shouted, pushing past her, but she had bought us enough time to get into the car. In the back seat of the car with the ARO.space boys I felt slightly safer, until the drunk's fist connected with Nika's car window, and shattered the glass.
Nika got out of the car to sweep the glass from her seat, and the drunk and his friends surrounded her. Mykeel got out and started hysterically yelling threats, screaming "I know people!" until the gun was turned on him -- at which point everyone ducked down in the car as we drove away, breathless.
I huddled, shivering under my skirt while Mykeel freaked out, incessantly repeating how we should give the police the address, while the ARO.space boys tried to talk him down, saying that's a "major party foul." We went back to an apartment to chill for a bit. I felt the urgent need to de-fag and change back into male clothing. I've never been gaybashed before, just had the odd empty can of Bud Light thrown at me from joy-riding pickup trucks on Broadway.
After half an hour though, Mykeel said, "I still need to go out," so we taxied downtown to Superhighway, a new 18-and-over techno club. Thanks to Washington state's antiquated liquor laws, Superhighway can't make any money from selling drinks, so they have to charge a gruesome cover of $20. They charge $20 at New York clubs like Twilo or the Tunnel, but I'm sorry Superhighway, you're no Twilo.
If I were naive, and the only club I'd ever been to was DV8, Superhighway might seem all right to me, but I found it to be a brutally hot death-by-dehydration waiting to happen. I didn't feel like dancing, not even to the legendary Donald Glaude, so I left. The bus ride home was uneventful.