The club was tightly packed with sweaty, gyrating bodies. The air pulsed with ear numbing music, and the air was heavy with a pungent mix of odours. Bright strobe lights flashed across the room, briefly illuminating a few energetic dancers at a time, bathing them in a blinding red or green light. Other than the dancing strobe lights, the rest of the dance floor was dark. It was a wonder how people were moving, dancing so passionately in such conditions. Philip didn’t visit this scene often, but he had nothing else to do with his life. He had just recently realised how short life was. Standing at the door, Philip surveyed the room. He noticed a weak neon glow, towards the back of the room. Must be the bar, he thought. And the only way to the bar, was through the sweaty, energetic dancers. Philip sighed and braced himself as he walked slowly towards the dance floor.
Philip emerged at the other side of the dance floor with a bruises toe and shoulder, his spoils of the war he had just endured. He rubbed his shoulder tentatively, and limped towards the bar. The bartender gave him a puzzled look. Philip grinned and sat on a bar stool. The bartender came towards him, so Philip said his order. He barely heard himself over the music, so he ahouted the order again.
“Sorry, it’s my first time. Can I have a beer?”
The bartender grunted, went off to fetch the bottle. He returned with a brown bottle that had started sweating upon removal from the freezer. The bartender opened the bottle and placed it in front of Philip. Philip nodded in appreciation, and took a swig from the bottle. Looking around, he was trying to understand why people are so excited to go clubbing. It looked confusing and painful, and he had only been in there a few minutes. He coughed, and rubbed his shoulder again. So much pain, he moaned.
Philip swivelled on the bar stool to notice a woman sitting on the bar stool to his right. He couldn’t really see her face, but he briefly caught a glimpse of her dark brown face in the light of the flashing strobe lights.
“Yeah, first time bar clubber” Philip shouted in reply, before taking another gulp of beer. He didn’t really like the taste. Then he spoke again, “I feel like you’re a regular here.”
“I wouldn’t say regular.” Philip could hear the amusement in here voice. “If you don’t frequent clubs then what else do you do on your Friday nights?”
Philip shifted uncomfortably, before shrugging ambiguously. He stared at the beer bottle. There was a small puddle of water where the bottle stood on the table. He shook his head to dispel the gloomy thoughts that were pooling in his head. Then he grinned, and turned to face the woman. He’d been told had a great smile.
“You have a great smile.” She giggled. “Want to dance?”
“I’m not much of a dancer.” He scratched his head. But he followed her out to do the dance floor regardless. And thus followed the most fun he’d had in years. There was something nice about moving so carelessly with people who were bent on having the time of their lives. Perhaps it was the alcohol pumping in his system, but dancing with the woman from the bar was a lot more enjoyable than he expected. But eventually the pain of moving got too unbearable, so he left the dancefloor and went out to his car. He sat on the hood of the car, coughing and rubbing his joints. Perhaps it’s time to move on to the second item of the night, he thought still coughing. The morphine is wearing off. He slid off the hood and was about to enter his car when he saw a lady walking towards him, holding two cans.
“You know it’s supposed to be the other way round.” She called out, as she approached him holding out one can. “The men are supposed to buy the drinks for the women.”
“Stereotype.” He said grinning, as he took the can. “Chivalry is dead.”
“It’s common etiquette not chivalry. And it’s also common etiquette to not leave your dance partners on the dance floor without notice. I was dancing on someone else for ten minutes without even realising.”
“I’m sorry.” Philip paused to take a gulp from the can, before continuing. “I just realised that I hadn’t even asked for your name.”
“Janet. And you are?”
There was a moment of blissful quiet, crickets in the background playing the soft music of the night. Janet walked over to the hood of the car and sat down, staring at the sky.
“Weird how you can never see the stars these days.”
Philip walked over to the bonnet and sat next to her. He looked up at the only black sky and he realised she was right. The sky was dark and empty, albeit a few drifting clouds.
“It makes the moon look lonely you know.” She continued.
Philip laughed. “You talk like a romantic.”
Janet faced Philip and grinned before talking again, her voice quieter than before.
“I have to make it clear that I don’t just go clubbing every week to meet and sleep with random men.” Philip opened his mouth to interject, but she continued. “It’s my first time here even. This isn’t usually my scene.”
Philip could see her face better under the light of a nearby street lamp. Her skin was ebony and looked soft to touch. She had a rather small face and big soulful eyes. Her forehead was littered with dark a spots, her lips were small but full, and her nose was skinny and somewhat bent. She had really small ears, and on her head was an explosion of curly black hair. All in all, Philip found her attractive.
“So what’s the story?” Philip said, still looking at the sky. “If it’s not your scene, why are you here?”
“I should be asking you the same question. But honestly I don’t know. Who knows why we do anything we do.”
Philip laughed again. “Very philosophical.”
“I know.” She grinned at Philip then continued. “I wanted to escape some problems and just see all aspects of life.” She shrugged. “I just want to live life to it’s fullest.”
Philip stared at her. He resonated with her answer so strongly, it made him feel like she was in his head.
“I know I’m pretty, but I’d appreciate if you didn’t stare at me so intently.” She said giggling. “Life is short, so make the most of it. That’s the motto.”
Philip started coughing. When the particularly violent coughing fit had ended, he realised Janet was staring at him. He mumbled an apology and said something about needing to go.
“Oh you’re leaving already?” She said as she slipped off the bonnet. “Can you take me home then?”
“Uhh, umm” Philip stuttered. “Are you really going to trust a stranger?”
“Are you a rapist?”
“Are you a kidnapper?”
“Are you one of those weirdos that will keep me locked up in your basement foreve, just to abuse me?”
“No. Isn’t that the plot of a movie?”
“And do you have a criminal record?”
“Well, I once stole a chocolate bar when I was 12.”
“No you didn’t. You probably paid.”
Philip sighed. “You’re right. I paid.”
“Then I trust you. Now please take me home.”
“Still isn’t that a risk?”
“Well, I said I wanted to enjoy life more didn’t I?” She opened the passenger door and sat down. Philip stared at her, and she stared back.
Philip allowed a small smile, finished his can of beer, and entered the drivers seat. Janet laughed.
“Well I paid for your beer didn’t I? Considering you left the bar without paying. Now before you take me home, take me to the closest supermarket.”
“You’re somewhat mad.” Philip said adjusting the gears. He had a feeling it was going to be a long, painful night.
A few minutes later, Philip pulled up at a twenty-four hour supermarket. He groaned. He could feel the intense pain growing all over his body.
“Uhh, you go in. I’ll be right there.” Philip stammered.
Janet nodded, opened the door and slid out. Philip watched her sashay towards the supermarket. A huge neon sign hung above the entrance, proclaiming ‘Open all day and all night’. Philip waited until she had entered the supermarket, before searching the glove box for his painkillers. Quick as lightening, he swallowed a few pills and groaned as he opened the car door.
END OF PART 1