The LOUD Night @ Cosmo (Part I)

PRELUDE
This night? It’s for the Bongster’s birthday. I don’t know his age. I know his dog’s age, but I don’t know the Bongster’s. Maybe that’s why they call me the Whizz-Bang. And if you don’t know the Bongster, well, he’s a genius. And a bongster. 

At least I’ve sense enough to bring ear plugs. So cut me some slick. I find a spot to leave my Daewoo on Southpaw Ave, near Peeling Park Road. That’s something like a mile from where I want to be, though. And it’s raining. But my Daewoo has umbrellas. It’s got bottled water and protein bars, too. Also: gum, a flashlight, tools, a bottle of windshield fluid, a spare tire, spare change, towels, camping chairs, condoms, maps, and The Club. Mine Daewoo goes everywhere always prepared. 

@ COSMO (Part I) 
I beat everyone to Cosmo. By “everyone” I don’t mean everyone in the world. I mean “everyone” who’s currently anyone, or at least someone, to me: the Bongster, the Bongster’s bro, Zen, Lass, Nico, & Larr.

If you wanna drink at Cosmo, you’re made to wear a plastic neon-yellow bracelet with black circled Cs on it. When you want it off, you’ll have to cut it, that’s the only way. Maybe I’ll leave mine on — for life. Maybe I’ll be buried wearing my Cosmo “Gimme A Beer, Bartender” bracelet. Hundreds of years from now, when I’m just bones, this plastic bracelet would still be ‘round my wrist. And hundreds of years after that, I’ll just be dust ‘round this plastic still neon-yellow bracelet. And future archeologists — if they were to dig my dust up — I’d bet they’d call this bracelet a religious thing. And they’d be wrong. Dead wrong. So, with any luck, this blog post will set them straight. 

Everywhere in here says: Miller. So naturally I order a Bud. Whatever it is, this beer costs five bucks a plastic cup. In the basement — they call it Shrewd Bar — a full bottle costs a dollar less. (Is that why it’s called Shrewd Bar?) 

Back when your great-grandparents were prepubescent, this was some kind of fancy-pants theater. Now, everything fancy’s been ripped out, painted black, or somehow blocked from view. Like your great-great-grandparents, every permanent upholstered seat is ancient history. Instead of an orchestra pit, Cosmo’s got a mosh pit. 

Later, when it’s nothing but LOUD, Zen shouts into my ear her wonder: If the original owners of the place are turning in their graves. “Aw,” I shout back into her ear, it was probably a house of burlesque, anyway.” But I’m wrong. That’s why I’m the Whizz-Bang. Cosmo’s website’ll tell you the whole building was “built in 1923 as a Swedish community center.” So, okay, there might be a bunch of flapper-Swedes turning in their graves. But then maybe flappers were the alt-metalheads of their day. 

I plant myself upstairs — this is the “balcony” — with my beer hanging over the rail, over the heads of grungy head bangers and their dangerous looking girlfriends. Every odd person here lights something up to stick betwixt their lips. It’s so chic to be young and cancerous. 

I take it back. 
Maybe it’s every even person. 
I’m the odd one. 

The first band starts up. Insert earplugs here. The LOUD is muffled. Though not by much. Verizon buzzes my thigh. It’s Zen. It’s amazing we can hear each other. She promises, they’ll be here soon. 

1 October 2004 



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