The story you are about to hear is a cautionary tale. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent (namely me) and no animals were hurt in the telling of this tale. Professionals did not do the stunts, but don’t try this at home anyway; that would be pure craziness. Remember children: drugs and alcohol don’t mix; use them separately.
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Things were different in the late seventies. People drank. People drugged. People sexed. People danced. These things happened openly and with a great sense of pride and excitement. You could walk into any office and see lines of coke running parallel across the desk of a company’s president with his workers ranged around him, everyone imbibing. People carried pills around like they were Valentine’s Day confections. Disco bounced and gyrated the bodies of silkily dressed girls and tight pantsed, polyester clad boys. Men wore gold chains around their exposed chests and knuckle rings with big stones on manicured fingers. Women went braless in all of their natural low cut bounty. Life partied heartily.
I came from a very middle class background and found it all fascinating. I flitted from one experience to another, marveling at the alien world I saw other people living.
One of the places that always fascinated me was Go-Go bars. We call them Gentlemen’s Clubs now. I got a job running the business side of the bar. I booked the dancers, ordered the alcohol, hired bartenders and kept the books. The owner always tried to get me to dance or tend bar. He thought a buxom blonde would be good for business. I politely declined as both positions required fewer clothes than I wanted to wear.
I got to know the women who danced (and other things) in these bars. I searched for the poor woman who danced to support her child or the one who tried to better her self by making money for college. Somehow these women never materialized. Most of these girls hooked from one drug hit to the next. Glamour didn’t party with any of them; desperation, heartache and addiction sat on barstools and twisted around poles.
Through one of these women, I found a doctor in Philadelphia who specialized in weight loss using “real” diet pills. Pink, white and green pills gave me energy and took away my appetite. I took sixteen of these in various combinations throughout the day. At night, blue pills would calm my body down enough for it to relax but they had the opposite effect on my mind. Under regular circumstances my dreams are peopled with fantastic beasts and heroes of epic proportion. While taking these prescription sleeping pills, monsters that made Godzilla look like a baby bunny chased me and psychopathic killers lusted after my loved ones. I stopped taking the sleeping pills.
I quit eating (but I looked good.) I slept about an hour a day and some people said I talked to myself in long drawn out and involved conversations. I went for a week like this.
The Go-Go bar owner had a party one night. It was the first time he allowed me to socialize with the dancers, bartenders and patrons. The owner bought drinks for everyone. Men showered me with attention, being the new girl in the group. I drank liberally and soaked up the sweet words directed at me. I became giddy with drink, pills, a lack of food, sleep and accolades. One man even sang to me.
When the bar closed at two, the party moved to an all-night club that had live bands. I drove myself and a few other party goers. We danced and drank until the sun came up. We went to a diner for breakfast. Toast and home fries tasted great after not eating for a week.
I drove home as the sun rose. I gave a lift to one of the dancers who went out with us to the late night club. The air chilled us and the dancer needed her rest, so we kept the radio off and the heat on and all of the windows closed. I’m so considerate.
Someone screamed in my sleep. I woke up slowly, wondering where all of the noise came from and who disturbed my peaceful slumber. I was cozy in the warm car and hadn’t felt this good in months. I heard screaming about someone being dead. I peeked out of my eyes.
On the left, out of the driver’s side window, the dancer ran up and down the highway, trying to flag down other drivers. Through the windshield and on the right, I saw trees. One tree even bent over the hood of the car. I went back to sleep.
I heard some tapping which I totally ignored. I was having some sort of sweet dream and I did not want to be disturbed. The tapping was accompanied by someone calling my name. Someone in a uniform leaned over me and opened the driver’s door. Other people in uniforms lifted me onto a stretcher.
I recognized that some of the people were emergency workers and others were policemen. The policemen kept asking me questions about what happened and wanted to know if I had been drinking. I giggled at that questions and answered honestly about partying all night long.
“Do you know what happened here?” asked one of the policemen.
“I fell asleep,” I answered.
“Do you know you hit something?” asked the other officer.
“Yes, I think I do.”
“Do you know what you hit?”
“I ran into the back of a Wonder bread truck.”
First, there was silence then everyone burst into laughter. The policemen, the ambulance workers, the other drivers who had stopped were all laughing at me.
“What’s so funny?” I mumbled in my half dozing state.
“You ran into a bread truck, alright,” said one of the cops, “you hit the back of an armored car.”
~ ~ ~
I suffered a fractured sternum and whiplash. The innocent dancer had a cut on her forehead. The car did not survive. No tickets were issued and no one lost their license. I gave up pills, cut down on my drinking and quit my job at the Go-Go bar.