Pulse

friends-on-the-dance-floor-boys-bar-mitzvah-parties
Credit: Tyler Boye Photography

Bodies crash into each other, bumping and grinding. Music blares through speakers set up around the dance floor, while somewhere a strobe flashes. Multi-colored lights add to the cacophony of sound and color, spinning this way and that, painting the world in rainbow. There’s the faint odor of sweat coming from the dance floor, mixed with the smell of expensive booze. It permeates the air of the party like a spreading cancer.

Further away from the music, the tinkling, clashing sound of champagne and wine glasses mingles with the sound of mixed cocktails at the bar. People laugh humorlessly, most of them buzzed or completely drunk. Girls walk around in too tight dresses, covered in too much glitter and sequins. There are a few who are daring, dresses with cutouts or dresses that leave nothing to the imagination. Most of these girls are models or up-and-coming. They swear by those fad celebrity diets, the workouts, the whole package. But for all their good looks, they totter on sky-high heels, waddling like human penguins.

Back on the dance floor a few of the couples leave, panting and headed for the nearest private, dark corner; the bedroom if they can make it that far. Good thing there are no shortage of either. New couples take their place. The music keeps up its pounding tempo, rattling my brain inside its skull. I can feel a headache coming on, my head keeping time to the beat of the music and my eyes dying with every flash of light. These lights would kill any epileptic within a block. There should be a warning sign. This whole world is disorienting, crashing and screeching to a terrible end.

I turn my attention away from the pulsing room to another. In this room, girls vie for attention, on the prowl for an eligible piece of meat. They claim their share as soon as they lay eyes on him, dragging him to the dance floor, where they rub their bodies all over him, mark him as theirs. I watch and count myself lucky. The girls ignore me as I sit here and watch the world go by in a noisy blur of color and booze and sex. They take their succubi feast elsewhere.

The lights, the music, and the booze all try to seduce me. They assault my senses, shove their way in. I’m no match for them. With every passing second, I grow nauseous. There’s a taste of stale alcohol on my tongue, though I’ve had none all night. The music continues its pounding. A second heartbeat. I take a deep breath to steady myself.

Somewhere more alcohol is poured, accompanied by more fake laughter. This world is nothing but a terrible imitation of life. The music is the heartbeat and alcohol, the blood. If the heart stops beating and the blood stops flowing, everything dies.

There is nothing substantial, where models are left to rot as soon as they gain five pounds and the nights are nothing but a continuous blur of hook-ups and parties. It is full of socialites who try to drown out the deafening silence with booming music. As I watch them fight for attention, pity wells up inside of me.

I get up, taking care to straighten my suit. I gently push through the crowd, closing the door behind me as I leave. I take the elevator down. Stepping outside the building, I take a deep breath in. The cool air caresses my face as I make my way down the street as if greeting an old friend. Behind me, the music pounds on.


Based on the writing prompt “Write a character into a setting they don’t want to be in.”

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