We met the guys by the pinball machine. It was a couple of days into the New Year, and we were out at Barracuda in Chelsea, both of us bored and looking for trouble. I’d just gotten back from visiting my family for the holidays and the best way to wash all of that feel-goodness off seemed to dive right into the sluttiest bar on the West Side. For some reason Will and I always seemed to have more luck pulling a boy when we were cruising together, so I called him up and he was glad to join me for the sport. It all started out so innocently, though, that neither of us had imagined the coke-filled orgy that ensued.
“So are you guys together?” Paul asked. I detected the accent immediately.
“Are you Australian?”
“Yeah!” And I could tell he was glad that I hadn’t said English or Irish or whatever he was used to being labeled. His friend, Max, was standard New York hipster obnoxious. He lived in the East Village and said he was an architect. That got Will going, since he’d been working at an architecture firm and was always ready to start spouting his building babble.
Soon we were coupled off: Max with his hands firmly on Will’s ass, as Will kissed him through his light orange beard. Paul and I had snuck off to the toilet twice, where we peed, ogled each other’s dicks and managed to grope for a bit between the door slamming into us. It was enough to make up Paul’s mind.
“Why don’t you guys come with us?” he said.
Will and I had been drinking for a bit, but the night was just beginning, so it seemed like the perfect excuse for a party. We finished our beers, left the bar and the four us started to search for a cab to take us to Max’s apartment on Houston. We all crammed into the backseat, our hands grabbing whichever appendage was handy.
“Wait, we need to make a stop,” Paul said. He leaned forward and told the driver to stop somewhere on Fifth Avenue, near Madison Square Park. He jumped out in the middle of the street. “I’ll be right back.”
“Where are you going?” I called to him. We were parked at the curb now, and Max was being just as mysterious. “He’ll only take a second.”
“What’s up?” I was puzzled, but there was something about Paul that was so thrilling. His upbeat, slightly crazy attitude made everything seem like an adventure, so I was willing to wait and see what happened next.
“He’s getting coke,” Will whispered to me. Oh, we were in the middle of a drug run. Well, sure, whatever the boy needed to get the party going. In a few minutes Paul returned and jumped in the front seat of the cab.
“All right boys. Onward and upward we go,” he said, a big smile plastered across his face. Will and Max remained frisky in the backseat until Paul jumped out of the car again. This time we were stopped at a red light in the East Village, closed in on all sides by trash cans, half-melted mounds of gray snow and boys and girls hurrying between bars, bundled in thick scarves with creative knots. Paul pounced on a dark shape and rushed back to the car.
“Merry Christmas!” he yelled. He yanked open the back of the cab and began stuffing a discarded fir tree in our laps. The needles stung and poked.
“Hey! Hey! Stop it!” the cabbie tried to keep Paul from pushing the tree inside, but he also seemed to be taken with Paul’s enthusiasm and was paralyzed from any real action by the stupid glee in Paul’s eyes. “Boy, you stop! Stop!”
We managed to keep the tree out of our eyes and push it back into the street, where it lay bashed on the pavement, glittering with tinsel. Paul hopped back into the passenger seat.
“Stupid boy. Why you…?” the cab driver didn’t finish, but we could detect a broad smile through his thick whiskers.
In a couple more blocks, we made it to the building and were soon up in Max’s studio apartment. A large bed filled most of the room, and Paul pulled out his baggie and got out his keys.
“Here, have a bump,” he offered me. I’d only had cocaine once before, and it never seemed like a sexy drug, but I wanted to play with Paul, so I snorted what he gave me, followed by the others. Two big leather armchairs faced each at the base of the bed. Will sat on Max’s lap, me on Paul’s, and we began to makeout.
The symmetry of it all felt strange, as if we were two high school girls with their older boyfriends, sneaking out of the house for a quick smooch. Soon the clothes came off, and it was clear that everyone had limp dicks from the drug, but we continued to caress and kiss for the next few hours until someone was able to eventually get it up. But it didn’t matter, it was more about the crazy randomness of it all. An invigorating way to ring in the new year.