Two Parties

Useless, absolutely useless. I thought I could trust you. I thought we were on one wavelength. You said “Wear something glitzy, it’s a Studio 64 party.” Well, thanks. Thanks for pushing my excitement levels so high I had to inhale Ventolin. Thanks for prompting me to spend the next four hours in other peoples’ wardrobes, dashing from look to look, outfit to drawing board, back and fifth. Thanks for inspiring me then to down a couple of vitamin pills with Red Bull, turning my complexion wan. Thanks for picking me up from Tribesco, so kind. It must have been fun to drive down the street shouting “Who wants a lift to Studio 64?” like we were in New York, and the whole city was our film set. You looked pretty fucking stupid yourself. It’s not often you see Hall and Oates together in public, and yet that’s exactly what we were – me, in my pink flamingo jumpsuit, all flanged sleeves and flaring pant-endings, obscurely antique gym shoes, obligatory jewelled bangle on my left wrist, diamond stud in my right. You, looking hot in a knitted singlet, Crystal Cylinder casual pant and Ciak shoes, bandanna curled like a pet snake round both your wrists at once, and also the steering wheel. Thanks for tuning the radio to the only station playing Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” at that very moment. Though I winced, when the seasgulls came in during the instrumental bridge, I could have been Michael J Fox in any of his movies. I began to wonder whether he ever went to Studio 64 in its heyday, and was he the same height then? The vitamins rushed through my pelvis. The Telstar TX5 Ghia hatchback with digital instrumentation roared over pedestrians, dogs and roadhumps, dispatching butterfiles from my stomach to my brain. Kit had the onboard navigation system booted, rammed and reloaded. You took a few calls on a phone welded to the dashboard. “Yeah, see you there!” “Cool!” “Ten minutes away, save some for me!” Etc. Thanks for tricking me into believing I’d be amongst friends. I thought I could trust you. Then again, I thought I could yodel.

You smell like that party we went to a couple of weeks ago. Remember? It was a Saturday night, well, afternoon really. We went down to the reservoir and parked the car so close to the water you could put your feet in without leaving the vehicle. We jacked up the two back tyres for some reason. It looked like the car was frozen in the act of plummetting into the water. The recent rains barely crossed my radar when they fell but that night, out by the reservoir, we watched the ripples slowly advance and fade. Half the picnic area was under water. Signs had been placed near the water’s edge, flood warnings. We laughed at the improbability of it all, cracked a couple of Bacardi Breezers and proceeded to just sit there, as the sun went down, listening to Belinda Carlisle’s Runaway Horses album, the one with “Summer Rain”, “La Luna” and “Runaway Horses” on it. As that song’s soaring Spanish-affected chorus swooned around me, I began to lose consciousness, and could only be roused when you ejected the tape and replaced it with the soundtrack from Footrot Flats. That was all the encouragement I needed. As Dave Dobbyn’s voice began tio warm up the “da-da-da” for “Slice of Heaven”, I leapt from the car, landing in the algae-tinged water and, to my surprise, not minding it one bit. You chucked me another Breezer and we spent the next ten minutes or so sipping quietly. Then a whole bunch of pig-shooters came along in their roo-spotting utes, all high beams and Chisel. The illusion, shattered, decided to come back some other time. We joined the boys for a quiet drink but our Breezers did cause the odd raised eyebrow. As did my gentle demurral when offered a VB. They couldn’t understand what we were doing out there and, truth be told, neither could I. The party had been your idea, remember, though you seem not to care now. I left you there, chatting with the pig-shooters, and drove off into the sad night. All the way home the tape player, whose circuits had somehow jammed, looped “Slice of Heaven” over and over again, only it never got past that a capella introduction: “da da da …”

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