The LOUD Night Shakes, Rattles & Rolls (Part IV)

@ Shrewd Bar 

Ask Zen. Or Nico. Gimme the right music, the right lighting (or too little of it), enough space, and I’m out on the groove-platter like a madman. (Apologies to Holden Caulfield.) 

Nico wants me to follow her lead, but I’m doin’ my own thang — ain’t nuthin’ gonna change that. Zen’s tryin’ to match me, but my bod’s doin’ too many different directions at once. Only, what I’m wearin’? It’s no good for movement. Ten (very) odd minutes in, I’m all sweat. Still, it’s been years since I’ve Kenny Loggins cut-loose, footloose like this. (Apologies to Mr. Loggins.) 

For everybody chillin’ around Shrewd Bar’s House-jammin’ groove-platter, I’m giving them their money’s worth. Some dude (yes, unfortunately a dude) even compliments me (‘least I think it was a compliment) on my madman moves. Even Zen hangs back to marvel at freaky me. 

The groove-platter spins us dizzy (that being its purpose*) and we stagger back, behind the DJ, to the tabled and chaired shadows. Hanging there is Lass, Larr, the Bongster, and his bro. 

Lass orders me to Stop Losing Weight. She does this instead of saying Hi. It’s what she does damn near every time our paths cross. If I were the least bit persuasive, I’d order her to Be More Selective. (She knows what I mean.) 

I try to fan myself dry with some music-promoting flyer. If it does any good, I can’t tell. I fan the flyer at Zen, too — but she’s seated too far away for it to have any real effect. 

Shrewd Bar is entirely black-painted everywhere, as far as I can tell, and mostly dim. Everything color, it beam-shines out through the techno-lights dangled above the groove-platter. 

Why I’m calling the dance floor a “groove-platter,” I haven’t figured out. But I like “groove-platter.” It suggests something more than your run-of-the-mill get down. But then I get out, nearly never. 

Aw, but long ago, I handed myself the shovel, took it outside; stabbed it into the cool ground of the graveyard. And I’m not even halfway down dug. Though, from the looks of it, I’m way past six feet under. Me, see, I’m gonna need miles. Naw, man, I don’t got “baggage.” I got semi-trailers. I got FedEx cargo planes. A fleet of them. And for what I haul around with me, it’s so bulging, you might think it’s days before Christmas. Only I’d call it Bleak Friday. So, no, not your run-of-the-mill grave plot. I’m gonna need a landfill, mister. Actually, several. 'Least, that’s the general feel.

But back up here, below Cosmo, upon Shrewd Bar, behind the DJ’s booth, observe the two slow-dancers romancing to the House beat. That’s all wrong, man. It’s okay to grind to the House beat—fuck, it’s called for. But slow dancing? That’s just depression for all the surrounding everyone out of love. When you’re slow-dancing to House, you’ve gotta be head-over-heals deaf to the world’s misery. Fine for you. Just try not to flaunt it, man. The lonely amongst you are watching with either saucer or gimlet eyes. Or maybe one of each. 

Back when I first heard of Shrewd Bar—this was way back when the real world rushed up at me like the ground does for a parachuteless skydiver—I thought it was a hipster salon. You know, a gathering place for blasé intellectuals. I knew a few, or thought I did, who thought they were. But whether bona fide or faux, I never felt shrewd enough to hang with them. 

The Bongster, or maybe his bro, decides he’s had enough of the chic-bleak scene. Next stop: Wayne’s honky-tonk. 

While hunting for Nico, I lock eyes with other pretties. Are they thinking, Mm-hm or Nuh-uh? Either way, I can’t even spit Hi outta my mouth. We find Nico out on the groove-platter again. But, then, isn’t everywhere a groove-platter to Nico? Isn’t she always having a party? Or is she just faking it till she makes it? 

It’s still raining rabid pets outside of Cosmo. Under the marquee, Lass and the Bongster chat it up with the last band’s lead singer. He’s a lot smaller offstage. But that’s most of us. 

2 October 2004

*[05/08/22: It’s been suggested that the entire point of corporeal existence is to exhaust energy. How’s that for bleak?] 

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