Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thornclyffe - Part 5

The fanciful ocean blue door was the only thing that stood out on an otherwise warehouse-looking building; the line of people waiting behind its matching blue velvet rope, the best indication that they had arrived at Safety. There were no markings, no signs. This was a word of mouth location and word had certainly spread as evidenced by the length of the line. A building that had once been nothing more than a warehouse was now living in a revival heyday, housing hot beats and beautiful people instead of cardboard boxes.

Cordelia got out of the cab first and nearly jumped up and down with glee. She was hard-pressed to contain her excitement and why should she? She was happy and there was no reason for her not to be so. The Laztripol was working its magic on her just as before. She was experiencing it in a different place this time though. Her smile faded as she looked at the crowd of people waiting to get inside.

She faced Ryan and Lila as they got out of the cab. Neither of them looked as over-the-moon as Cordelia. Their complacent faces sent her straight to the border of Irritationland, but she wasn't about to let the two of them bring her down.

The cab drove away and Ryan turned toward the door. He rarely used his wealth to bypass lines—it was something better saved for important concerns—but he knew that slipping the bouncer a large bill (say $100) would gain them entry to the club.

It was just as he thought, although more expensive ($100 per person). The bouncer unhooked the velvet rope. They walked beyond its boundary as it hooked behind them blocking those remaining in line from trespass. They then proceeded through the blue door amid yells of "Hey!", "Boo!", and "What the fuck?". Lila was a little embarrassed to be causing a scene; Cordelia turned to the crowd and gave one of her best “jealous much?” smirks.

When the door opened it opened into a magical world. Standing outside it was nearly impossible to hear that anything was happening inside, but when the door opened the thump of bass from the Ke$ha song “Blow” could be heard for half a block. The amount of soundproofing that had gone into that building to guard its secret was unfathomable.

Once inside Cordelia’s body quivered with anticipation. All she wanted to do was dance. They walked down the hall and through an open doorway. The room revealed itself to be sleek and modern, dimly lit. Blue velvet banquettes lined the wall; the ebony marble floor was shined to a high gloss. Sprays of light shot up through the large opening in the floor that was the center of the room. That opening was surrounded by a polished silver railing. Looking over the railing revealed the dance floor below, full of gorgeous people touching and dancing with abandon. On this level, the banquettes provided a resting spot for enjoying a cocktail when one needed a break from the dance floor. Talking was nearly impossible due to the loudness of the music, but if you chose to do so you could yell your most intimate secrets and live without fear that anyone had heard them.

Lila and Ryan weren't feeling anything like Cordelia. Just as every drug can affect people differently, so was the Laztripol affecting them. Lila was essentially feeling nothing. She had tried to really fixate on her body with the Laztripol coursing through it. She felt how she imagined she would feel—apprehensive about the drug, but excited to be out with her friends. Ryan on the other hand was feeling slightly lightheaded —not exactly dizzy, but more cloudy than clear. Cordelia was the only one of the three of them who seemed to be feeling positive side effects from the unproven drug.

"I wanna dance," said Cordelia, unable to contain her excitement.

"Okay, let's find a banquette and put our stuff down," said Lila. "Do you think it'll be okay or should we check our bags at coat check?"

"I'm not paying for someone to watch my bag when they'll probably go through it anyway," protested Cordelia. "I don't have anything in mine that can't be replaced."

"I'm sure they'll be fine, Lila," said Ryan, placing his arm around her." Come on. Let's put them down and go have some fun. I'll get us some drinks while you two find a table."

Ryan headed toward the bar. Cordelia and Lila found a banquette that satisfied Lila's safety issues and they sat down.

"God, Ryan looks so hot tonight," Cordelia said as she looked toward the bar then back at Lila. "Even without being dark and brooding he's got the Tom Ford thing down; crisp white shirt unbuttoned one button more than necessary and his butt in those pants…mmm.”

Lila was stunned and a little unsure how to respond. Cordelia saw it in her face.

"Lila, I'm just talking. I'm not trying to steal him," she smiled at her friend. Lila smiled back. "I'm just complimenting my friend to my other friend. You two just happen to be dating. Don't make it weird, okay."

Lila nodded her head. "Sorry. I didn't mean to be weird." She couldn't believe she was apologizing for acting weird when the words Cordelia had spoken were somewhat inappropriate in reference to her boyfriend.

Ryan returned to the table with three glasses of champagne.

"I thought we should start the night off with a glass of their best champagne."

They each took a glass and made a toast, "To the three of us."

Lila and Ryan took a regular drink while Cordelia finished her glass. The other two watched her, fascinated. She put the glass down on the table.

"What," she said then looked at her empty glass. "I wanna dance not sit here and sip champagne. I can do that back at Brown at Tyler House. Come on you guys. Let's dance." She gave them puppy dog eyes with a hint of silent pleading.

Lila laughed before she could stop herself and stood up. She reached out and took Cordelia's hand and then reached for Ryan. Cordelia stood quicker than a child racing downstairs on Christmas morning. Lila laughed again. Ryan joined her as they made their way to the staircase that would take them to the dance floor.

The color of the blue door had been carried into the club. Not only were the banquettes covered in blue velvet, the dance floor was illuminated in blue. A framework of silver squares, polished like the railing, had been fitted with opaque glass cubes. The illumination came from blue lights under the floor. The radiance of the floor changed with the pulse of the beat. The skeletal structure of the building was visible as the exposed steel beams of the warehouse walled the dance floor. From upstairs looking down, they hadn’t noticed the enormous disco ball reflecting its mirrored shimmers on the floor. It seemed that the way the lights shone on it, it was only visible from the dance floor. As for the lights, they swirled and throbbed and pulsed with energy that had no desire to let up, only to keep moving.

The rumors were true: the DJ was amazing. They knew almost every song that was playing, each one current yet remixed or mashed up with hits from the 70’s and 80’s, pounding with non-stop intensity. Hydration was the only reason to stop. The lights under the dance floor seemed to seep into the body and keep it energized, the surrounding pulse of bass like a dose of No Doze.

After the fifth song Lila needed a break. She still wasn't feeling any different from the Laztripol, but she was having the best time she'd had in a while. However, she was parched.

"I need a drink," she yelled to Ryan who, finding himself in the middle of a particularly favorite song, acknowledged her but indicated with a nod and an arm gesture that he was going to stay on the floor. She understood and nodded back.

Lila went upstairs and got herself a dirty gin martini and went to the banquette to check on her and Cordelia's bags. They were still there and everything seemed in order. She picked up the martini glass, thinking briefly that it should be water, but quickly dispelling the thought, and walked over to the railing to watch her friends. She scanned the floor until she spotted them. She smiled as she watched them having such a good time. Her friends were happy, she was happy and the dirtied gin felt so good going down her throat. Then she saw Cordelia grab Ryan's butt.

She dropped the martini glass. It shattered at her feet sending shards of glass and gin into an explosive puddle. She could hear Cordelia's words from earlier, 'Ryan looks so hot tonight.' Ryan laughed as she did it and Cordelia herself threw her own head back in laughter. They continued to dance, Ryan moving a little closer to Cordelia. Lila was furious. She took off toward the staircase and tore down the stairs. She grabbed Cordelia by the arm and whirled her around then slapped her in one fluid motion. Cordelia was stunned; her hand went immediately to the red mark burning on her cheek. Ryan took Lila's arm.

"What are you doing?" He yelled her.

"I saw what Cordelia just did." No one seemed to notice that they were yelling to each other.

"What did she do?" asked Ryan.

"She grabbed your ass," Lila said to Ryan but looked at Cordelia.

"It was all in fun. We're having fun, Lila." Ryan was confused at her overreaction.

"She's having too much fun,” Lila spat out the words at Cordelia. "You need to leave my man alone."

"You need to get over yourself," Cordelia said as she stormed off.

Ryan started after her. Lila yelled at him, "Let her go."

Cordelia ran up the stairs, grabbed her bag from the banquette and left the club.

"I can't just let her leave. We have to take care of each other tonight. She's taken something remember?"

"Yes, I remember. We all took something." Lila responded.

"Then you know I can't let her wander off. What if she doesn't keep her wits about her this time? What if the alcohol changes the effect?" His eyes were pleading. "I have to go, Lila."

She honestly understood. She didn’t want Cordelia wondering the City alone. They were best friends. She needed to apologize. She had overreacted. Maybe she had felt an effect from the Laztripol. Maybe it had made her paranoid.

They grabbed Lila's bag and left Safety in search of Cordelia.

They were in the Meatpacking District. It was stylish and trendy with many restaurants and bars that fell into Cordelia’s tastes and style. They searched inside and out in the neighborhood for almost an hour: Spice Market, Pastis, Fig & Olive, The Living Room at The Standard and Plunge and Carte Blanche at Hotel Gansevoort. They even checked to see if she had registered at one of the hotels before deciding they should go back to the penthouse and hope that she was there.

When they arrived at the penthouse there were no lights on. That either meant Cordelia was already in bed or not yet home. They called out to Cordelia as they checked each room. The door to her bedroom stood open. The evidence showed that she wasn't home. Lila was worried. Ryan's head was beginning to clear of its dizziness. He was more annoyed at Cordelia than angry with her.

"You know what, she's an adult," he said to a worried Lila. He put his hands on her shoulders and kissed her on the cheek. "I know you're worried, so am I, but she'll be okay. She has to be." He embraced his girlfriend. “I know I’m the one that said we should go after her, but she’s not answering her phone. She’s not here. I have to believe that she can take care of herself. I don’t know what else to do.” Lila was trembling slightly. "Lila," he said her name as soothingly as he could.

"You're right. I just wish I hadn't let my emotions get the better of me." Ryan walked into the bathroom. "She just knows how to push my buttons and I know how to let her." Lila sat down on the bed and took off her shoes.

From the bathroom, "I think you're being a little hard on yourself. You saw something that upset you. I didn't even apologize for letting it happen. That just shows you that people perceive things differently." Ryan emerged from the bathroom in his robe. He walked over to her. "I just took it as Cordelia being Cordelia and you took it as a threat. I'm sorry if my reaction to it, and you, was upsetting. I just didn't think anything of it.”

"I know. You're right. You've no need to apologize, but thank you for it just the same." She said, then gave him a kiss.

"I know how we could get our minds off of Cordelia,” he said with a knowing smile.

She smiled back. "Oh you do do you?" She kissed him again. “What could you possibly have in mind?" She gave him her best coy smile.

He turned her around quickly then slowly unzipped her dress. The quick then slow played out to teasing perfection. He opened her dress by placing his hands on her shoulders and pushed it aside exposing her skin to his kisses. He kissed her neck as he let his hands embrace her and find their way to her breasts. He inhaled the scent of her as she moved her body into his grasp. He turned her back around to face him and the dress fell to the floor. She stood before him, her naked body exposed. She felt no embarrassment. She had made love to Ryan before and she trusted him. She was safe in his company, in his arms.

She was not one to just be taken; she reached down and opened his robe. He had dressed with this moment in mind when he'd left the bathroom. He was wearing nothing under his robe. His excitement was already standing. She put all lady-like manners aside and reached out and took it into her hand. His breath caught in his throat. He moaned slightly and placed his mouth on hers. The kiss was wet and deep, gentle at first then more passionate.

Turnabout was fair play. If she could reach out and touch his manhood, he could no longer stop his hands from touching her. He felt the moist flesh between her legs and she too moaned at the touch. He pushed her onto the bed and threw his robe off. Her breath quickened at the sight of him. She reached down and touched herself. That made him throb.

He knew he should use a condom, but they were in the moment.

"I need to get a condom," he said, already breathless.

"No," she responded writhing on the bed as his hand joined hers in the touching.

He pulled her to the edge of the bed. He was less gentle than usual upon entering her. She moved her hips to meet his body. He leaned down to kiss her. He placed his hands on either side of her to hold his weight so he could watch her during their lovemaking.

"Ryan, you feel so good," she said before placing her mouth back on his. He kissed her so hard she thought her lips might be bruised the next day. Oh well, no need for lip stain tomorrow, right? She couldn't believe that thought actually ran through her mind as he was thrusting himself in and out of her. Their moans matching the quickening that had become their breathing. 

"I love you, Lila," he said before moaning his climactic release. He continued to thrust and she was meeting him thrust for thrust. She didn’t take her eyes off of him as she grabbed him around the neck and held on. She came so quickly. She shuddered hard against him. The intensity of her orgasm was enough to make Ryan orgasm again.

He fell onto the bed and rolled onto his back. They both lay there, breathing hard, recovering. Lila rolled onto her side and gave him a kiss.

"I love you, too," she said, kissing him on the cheek. "I'm going to take a shower."

"Mind if I join you," asked Ryan.

"Under the guise of conserving water of course?” she said demurely. 

"Of course," he smiled.

She ran into the bathroom laughing and he jumped from the bed following her, shutting the door behind him.

When she heard the shower start, Cordelia opened the closet door and stepped out into their bedroom, her legs shaky from her own orgasm. The smell of sex was thick in the air. She quietly walked to her own room and quietly shut the door. She kept the image of her two friends in her mind as she lied down on her bed and touched herself to arousal one more time.

The sounds and feelings of the previous night seemed to evaporate away when Lila opened the door of the bedroom she shared with Ryan the next morning. The living room brimmed with the smell of freshly brewed coffee while the sound of instrumental jazz filled the air and sunlight infused the room through the open curtains. The best part of it all though was the sight of Cordelia. She was sitting crossed-legged on the sofa with a steaming mug of coffee in her hand and a magazine in her lap.

She looked up as she saw Lila enter room. 

“Coffee’s ready,” she said as she held up her mug in gesture.

“I know, Lila. I’m sorry too,” Cordelia spoke the words that were on both of their minds.

Lila sat down next to her friend and they hugged.

“I overreacted,” Lila said as she looked at Cordelia apologetically.

“And I shouldn’t have grabbed Ryan’s butt,” Cordelia said as she placed a wisp of hair behind Lila’s ear.

They both laughed and hugged again. Lila then proceeded to the kitchen to get herself a cup of coffee. 

When she returned she sat down next to Cordelia. “Where did you go last night? We looked for you for at least an hour.” She took a sip of her coffee.

“I just wondered around trying to clear my head,” Cordelia responded. She had already given thought to the answer to that question. (Thank you Google Maps) “I ended up completely turned around on Bleecker Street and found myself in an area called Sheridan Square. I hailed a cab and came home. It sounded like the shower was running when I got here so I just slipped into my room and went to bed.”

Lila smiled. “I’m glad you got home safe. I just wish none of it had happened. About that shower, let me tell you.” Lila took another sip of her coffee. “I had really great sex with Ryan last night.”

Cordelia reacted with a cocked eyebrow’s worth of interest.

“Is it okay for me to talk about this with you?” Lila asked, gauging her friend’s reaction.

“Yes, you can talk about it with me,” Cordelia responded. “But thanks for asking.”

Again Lila smiled. “Well, it was fast and intense. And by fast and intense I mean the orgasm. It didn’t take long for either of us to have one.”

Cordelia nodded then took a sip of coffee.

“It didn’t occur to me until this morning, but do you think that had anything to do with the Laztripol?”

Cordelia shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never had sex after I’ve taken it.”

“It’s weird. I mean I didn’t feel like it did anything to me, but I’ve had good sex with Ryan before and it was nothing like that.”

“Well, it did say in Dad’s paperwork that there were no sexual side effects. Maybe it enhanced your sexual experience like it enhances my mood.” Cordelia took another sip of coffee and placed the magazine on the coffee table then turned to face Lila. “Did Ryan say if he felt like was different, enhanced, more intense?”

“We didn’t talk about it. We took a shower when we were done and then went to bed. That’s the shower you heard when you got home. I was exhausted and so was Ryan. I think we both fell right to sleep.” Lila looked at Cordelia as if she was waiting for her to comment. “Oh, Ryan did cum twice. I mean, in a row. That’s never happened.”

Cordelia perked up. “Hmm. That’s interesting. I bet it was the Laztripol.” She smiled at Lila. “I’m glad you guys got something out of it.” She held her coffee mug out to Lila. Lila responded in kind and they clinked their mugs. “Here’s to intense orgasms.” They laughed and drank. “I’m also glad we’re okay.”

“Me too,” Lila said as she leaned forward and hugged Cordelia again. “I’m glad we can talk frankly like this.”

“Lila,” Ryan called from the bedroom.

“I better go see what he wants.”

Unbeknownst to Lila, Cordelia watched her exit the room; images through the slats of the louvered closet door playing like a porno in her mind.


“Lila,” said a voice from across the room. She was still walking to the bedroom in her memory to see what Ryan wanted. She almost thought it was him calling her name.

“Lila, honey,” said a voice that was unmistakably female and distinctly familiar.

Lila looked straight at the sound, blinked and could finally see. It was her mother’s voice she’d heard. She burst into tears as her mother sat down in the chair next to her, taking her into an embrace that only a mother can give.

“I got here as quickly as I could, honey,” Mrs. Hayward said to her daughter. “It’s just me. I told Dad to stay at home.”

Lila nodded her head. Her mother wiped away the tears from her daughter’s worn face.

“I brought you a change of clothes. I thought you might like to get out of that dress and put on a pair a jeans.”

Lila had been so lost in her thoughts and the prognosis of her friends that she’d forgotten that she was wearing a formal dress. As she looked at the jeans and t-shirt her mother was presenting her, she was thankful that no one had made her seem out of place wearing a glamorous, black 1940’s-style gown while sitting in the ICU waiting room.

©Michael Rohrer 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thornclyffe - Part 4


Depressed is how she felt. She wasn’t clinically depressed; never had been. Moody, yes, but not depressed. Come to think of it, how could she know what depressed felt like. She was just down, sad. Her life had changed so much since Lila and Ryan had started dating. She was still their friend and she loved hanging out with them individually, but life was different now. The possibility that she might end up with Ryan had been snatched away from her; removed from play, if you will. Sure there were times when she thought about going into bitch mode and doing whatever she could to steal him away from Lila, or to at least break them up, but when it came right down do it she didn’t have it in her. She loved them both and was trying to find her own happiness in the world so as to not be so negatively affected by their happiness. And why would she waste the time trying to convince Ryan to love her when he clearly didn’t? It was such a waste of energy.

She knew she was a bitch. She played the game “How Much Of A Bitch Can I Be Before Lila Gets Mad At Me?” all the time. If this were her parents’ favorite game show, $25,000 Pyramid, and they were in the Winner’s Circle, she would always be giving while Lila sat on the receiving end. She always pushed it to its limits, but ultimately she would do anything for Lila and it would kill her if their friendship ended.

It was summertime. She should be happy. She had just completed her junior year at Brown. She was home for the summer, living a life of leisure, yet she was moping around the house. Then she saw her dad’s briefcase. It peaked her interest immediately. She hadn’t seen her dad or her mom around, but that didn’t mean they weren’t home. Why would her dad’s briefcase be at home if he weren’t?

“Dad?” she called out then listened.

No reply. No sound.

“Dad?” She paused. “Mom?” Again there was no answer and no sound.

She looked around the room just to make sure that her dad wasn’t asleep on the sofa or in the chair. No one was there. She went straight to the briefcase and opened it. She was hoping to find something inside that might help her take the edge off of her mood and lift it just a bit at the same time. At this below sea level elevation in Downerville she was ready to chew a couple of Pamprin just for the mood elevators. The contents of her dad’s briefcase did not disappoint.

There amongst the paper work was a black pouch. Out of curiosity Cordelia opened the pouch and saw five vials of clear liquid inside. She wondered what they contained. She put the pouch down and looked through the paperwork, searching for the answer.

Cordelia’s father worked in the research and development lab at Wynstat Pharmaceutical, located just outside of Thornclyffe. He didn’t often talk with her about what was in development at Wynstat, but she had ways of finding out. She had heard him mention the word “Lazarus” to her mom in conversation once. She had gleaned another word from that same conversation— antidepressant—and filed it away in the back of her mind.

She searched the paperwork for any information on what the clear contents of the vials might be. There were notes and FDA papers containing information that she didn’t understand—or if she was honest, didn’t want to read—and then she saw it—Laztripol, nickname Lazarus. This was it, the antidepressant her dad had been developing.

Scanning the papers quickly she saw that it did not have FDA approval yet…blah, blah, blah…there was a list of the same side effects that accompanied other antidepressants: nausea, insomnia – but there seemed to be no sexual side effects (That’s a plus Cordelia thought to herself)…blah, blah, blah…she continued scanning down the page. Another thing that leapt off the page was the unknown side effects the drug might have on a person who actually doesn’t suffer from severe depression. All of the test patients had been those diagnosed with severe depression and had been suffering from it for at least a year. 

Cordelia had no fear when it came to untested side effects; she loved a good drug. Any effect, adverse or otherwise, was good for her. If the side effect was negative she knew not to take that one again. She removed one of the vials from the black pouch and took it upstairs to her bathroom. She furiously searched her medicine cabinet for something she could transfer the contents into. She found an aspirin bottle with a screw top. She didn’t even know companies still made aspirin bottles with a screw top. She didn’t even know that aspirin bottle was in her medicine cabinet, let alone how long it had been there. She wondered what else was in that cabinet as she stared at the bottle.

She dumped the aspirin into the toilet and flushed them. She then washed the bottle clean of the aspirin dust, shaking as much water as she could from it. A little water never hurt anything she thought to herself. She opened the vial and smelled it. No odor. She then poured the liquid contents of the vial into the aspirin bottle and tightened the cap. She took the repurposed aspirin bottle into her bedroom and promptly put it into her purse.

She then took the vial back into the bathroom, filled it with water and replaced the cap. She took it downstairs and placed it back inside the black pouch in her dad’s briefcase. She knew he would find out quickly enough that one vial was not filled with Laztripol. So using her sneaky, conniving brain she made sure to not completely tighten the cap before putting it back in the pouch. She tried to replace the pouch as she’d found it. The water was already starting to leak out of the vial before she closed the briefcase. She smiled a purely cunning, diabolical smile at the thought of her deception. As the Laztripol had no odor, her father would be none the wiser as to the fact that it was merely water, not the Laztripol that caused his papers to wrinkle as it dried. He would be pissed at himself, or an assistant, for not placing the cap on tight enough. She didn’t care about that.

She ran back upstairs with the vague memory of a former ear infection flicking in snap shots through her mind. The medicine was administered in her ear via dropper. She remembered her mom buying a set of droppers but they had used only one of them. She thought she must still have the other one somewhere.  

She got down on her knees and began to search through the contents in the cabinet under her sink. There was toilet paper, tampons, half-empty lotion bottles, mouthwash, air deodorizer, cleaning products, a bottle of vodka in the back (I forgot all about this) and a small zip travel bag containing extraneous make up utensils and an unused dropper. She smiled and bit her bottom lip as she looked at. She all but threw everything back into the cabinet and shut the door. 

She ran to her bed, grabbed her bag and pulled the aspirin bottle out of it. She unscrewed the cap and inserted the dropper. She squeezed the rubber tip and watch as the Laztripol was sucked up into the plastic tube. She opened her mouth and lifted up her tongue. She let one-drop fall under it then closed her mouth. Her father had always told her that any drug in liquid form, or tablet form that is chewed, enters the blood stream faster. All that was left was to wait and see what would happen, if anything.

No more than 20 minutes later, maybe even 15, she began to feel the tingle. It was like a slow blush creeping from her head downward—the thrill of inhaling Poppers while having a major orgasm at the same time. Even without having done so herself, she’d heard enough stories to know this was different, longer lasting; this was building with intensity. Her heart rate began to increase, but not excessively. Heat coursed through her body creating a euphoric sensation. Definitely different than what she’d heard about poppers.

Lazarus the person, rose from the dead, hence the nickname. Laztripol was to help people get back to living; people who heretofore had been walking through life almost zombie-like due to debilitating depression so severe that it was painful. If all the drug did for depressed people was help their neurotransmitter’s function better so they could actually function then they would never know what they were missing. Cordelia’s brainwaves were feeling anything but down. She was experiencing the smoothest high she had ever experienced. She felt like she was gliding every time she took a step. She was also very aware of her body. Her faculties were completely in tact; hence she didn’t think she could fly. She had all the euphoric feelings of being high, without feeling out of control—every nerve ending felt alive. She knew exactly what was happening. It was amazing. She was high and aware at the same time. Her thoughts were clear. At that moment she couldn’t imagine there being another drug that would be any better than this one. The problem: how to keep a supply? She couldn’t worry about that. She just wanted to enjoy what she was feeling. 

Her mood had lifted. She was better than ever. She wondered how long it was going to last. She wanted to call Lila and tell her about it, but thought better of it. All it would take was one of Lila’s less-than-happy judgmental looks and it would kill her buzz. Even over the phone she would hear that look. She wasn’t about to let Lila infringe upon her enjoyment. She would find a way to slip the experience into a conversation, but at the moment all she wanted was to go outside in her parents backyard and lie in the grass and feel the warmth of the sun on her face. She didn’t need anything else: food, water, music, or companionship. She was perfectly content with her own thoughts fusing with the feel of the grass and the warmth of the sun on her skin.

After what felt like an hour of feathers and fingers running up and down her body, she sat up and spied the pool. She threw caution to the wind and undressed completely; jumped in nude. She didn’t care that it was the middle of the day. No one was home that she could tell, and no one could see her over the fence. She didn’t think it would matter to her even if they could. Her body was hot and she knew it. If someone could see her and wanted to look, so be it. The guttural sound that exploded from her mouth as she emerged to the surface of the water was almost inhuman. The cold water had never felt so good. She had tried other drugs before, but none of them had excited her body quite like Laztripol. 

What luck to have stumbled upon her dad’s briefcase and to actually have found something in it worth finding. It was like the drug gods had planted it there for her and laid the path for her to find it, unobstructed.


Laztripol. Lila remembered the first time she’d experienced it. Nothing had happened to her. Cordelia was so excited about it. It was her latest discovery, this drug in liquid form; like finding an unknown designer with the perfect one-shouldered dress.

Lila was not one for drugs. Ryan wasn’t either. That’s what had surprised her so much when he said yes. He had smoked marijuana before and the two of them together had once tried ecstasy, but for the most part they didn’t partake in illegal substances. Lila was too freaked out about affecting her brain and Ryan just didn’t like the way they made him feel. Cordelia was the one; she enjoyed the mellow high of smoking marijuana and the neon-rave rolling sensitivity of being high on ecstasy. She was never afraid to try something new. Her mother’s medicine cabinet was a treasure trove of light blue topaz-colored Valium and Percocet, carnation pink sapphire-colored Xanax and opal-colored Vicodin and Ativan. Her father was always bringing some new drug home. The minute it was FDA approved and he thought his wife might benefit from it, he would bring home a sample; usually a bottle’s worth.

Ryan was an art history major at Brown. He wanted to open an auction house like Christie’s. The opportunity arose for him to actually tour Christie’s in New York City. It wasn’t so much that an opportunity arose as his father made a considerable donation to the auction house’s educational arm – Christie’s Education. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Brown, Ryan hoped to complete a Master’s Degree at the New York branch of Christie’s Education. He wanted to eventually work for Christie’s so that he could take his education and first-hand knowledge and open a venture of his own. 

He invited Lila and Cordelia to go to New York City with him when he went to tour the facility. It would be a chance for the three of them to spend some time together away from Thornclyffe and from campus life at Brown. He thought they could all use some time away. He hoped that they could reconnect as friends.

His family owned a penthouse on New York’s Upper East Side at 1212 Fifth Avenue. Actually they owned half of the 15th floor, in a 15 floor pre-war building. It had beautiful views of Central Park at 102nd Street and while the renovations had kept all of the charm of the pre-war structure, it was modern in every other way. With his mom and dad not using the penthouse, there would be no need for them to stay in a hotel. There would be no need for them to worry about anything. Ryan’s father had paid for the entire trip for the three of them.

It was the summer before their senior year at Brown. Their last summer before life in the real world. This was only a weekend trip to New York City, but with all expenses paid, they wanted to have a good time…within reason.

Aside from the 2 hours it took Ryan to tour Christie’s and meet with members of the educational department, the weekend was theirs. They shopped on Madison Avenue spending most of their time in Crafton’s-on-Madison, an upscale boutique department store bringing together designer merchandise both current and vintage; they took in a Broadway matinee of the hit show Pine Valley, The All My Children Musical; they ate at fabulous restaurants like SpinCycle and Sakiloo. It felt like the old days again. They were laughing and having fun together. Cordelia and Lila were actually walking arm-in-arm. Lila remembered feeling a sense of happiness that she hadn’t felt in a long time. All cares in the world seemed to be nonexistent; all hurt feelings forgiven or at least pushed aside.

It was Saturday night. They had just eaten dinner at the new, hard-to-get-a-reservation French restaurant, Beurre Blanc, and had returned home for a disco nap and change of clothes before heading back out again to the gay club, Safety. Although none of them were gay, Safety was rumored to have the best dance club DJ in New York City. They wanted to blow off some steam. Their junior year had been grueling with classes focusing on their declared majors getting more intense. They weren’t going to have another trip to NYC like this until after they graduated, so they planned to have a good time.

This was the perfect opportunity for Cordelia to enlighten her two friends on the joys of Laztripol. She pulled out the vial and Lila was immediately skeptical.

“What is that?” she asked Cordelia, afraid of the answer.

“It’s called Laztripol. My father helped develop it.”

“So it’s a drug?” asked Lila with that look Cordelia hated so much.

“Yes, it’s a drug,” responded Cordelia.

“Does your father know you have it?” Lila couldn’t just go with the flow.

“No, Lila, he doesn’t know I have it,” answered Cordelia, trying not to let the questions get under her skin, but close to failing. “It’s for depression.”

“If it’s for depression, why do you have it?” Lila was confused, understandably so.

“Well, because if you’re not depressed it works differently in your brain,” Cordelia responded with a smile. “They nicknamed it, Lazarus. You know the saying “high on life”? The other two nodded. “It’s like that in liquid form. It makes all of your nerve endings tingle and it makes you love everything, but it doesn’t make you lose your wits. That’s the coolest thing. You’re completely in control. You don’t want to jump out the window because it doesn’t make you think you can fly. And you don’t want to chill on the sofa because it doesn’t mellow you out to the point of sleep. It also doesn’t affect you negatively in the sexual area.” Cordelia bit her bottom lip. It was a habit she’d picked up when she learned how to flirt.

Lila continued to look skeptical.

“It’s the smoothest high I’ve ever felt and I didn’t feel any strange side effects after. I woke up the next day after I took it the first time and felt like myself. There was no headache, no nausea, nothing. I wanted water, but that’s typical of me in the morning. If that was a side effect it’s no different that ecstasy.” Cordelia was working on the up sale. “I haven’t even felt like I needed it again. That’s not to say that I haven’t wanted it, but I haven’t needed it like an addict. I just wanted to feel the tingle again.”

“Isn’t wanting it just as bad as needing it?” asked Lila. “Aren’t you just substituting words?”

“God, Lila you can be such a bore sometimes. Do you have a hard time finding the granny panties you wear?” Cordelia responded, her fight to stay calm lost. “Try it. Don’t try it. I don’t care.” She was exasperated. “I’m going to use it before we go dancing. I think it’ll be amazing.”
Ryan had been complacent to the point that they’d forgotten he was in the room.

“I’ll try it, Cordelia,” said Ryan.

“Ryan,” said Lila as she turned towards him, her face a mystification of shock, betrayal, and hurt.

“Lila, we’re here in the City tonight. We can take a cab home from the club. I don’t ever do anything like this. I want to give it a try. I’m with my two closest friends. When could there be a better time?” He smiled at her. He would never pressure her to try it, but he hoped that she would.

Lila took a deep breath, exhaled. “Okay.” She took another breath, “Damn it,” and said, “Okay,” as she exhaled. “I’ll try it with you.”

Cordelia’s face erupted into a smile that couldn’t be contained. She actually clapped her hands as she ran for her purse. “Okay, so I only did one drop when I took it the first time. It took about 15-20 minutes for me to feel anything.” She produced the aspirin bottle and dropper. She opened the bottle and inserted the dropper. She was talking very fast, excitement taking over. “I put the drop under my tongue because…I don’t know why, I just did. So lets do it that way again. Are you guys ready?”

Lila looked at Ryan. He gave her his 100-watt reassuring smile and she turned back to Cordelia and both of them nodded their heads. Cordelia placed one drop of Laztripol under each of their tongues.

“Now all we have to do is wait.” She smiled as she gave herself a drop.

©2011 Michael Rohrer

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Drift Away

June 12, 2011

"The Island smiled on us all week and then turned cold and started raining as if to say GET OUT." Words from Neal as we waited to board our ferry back to the mainland and the reality of our lives.

The rain started the night before and continued throughout the night and into the morning of our departure. I slept like a baby, unaware of anything until I heard the rain on the roof and skylights as I began to drift toward consciousness from my dreams.

Instead of getting out of my comfortable bed immediately, I chose to lie there, covered to the chin, drifting in and out of shallow sleep, listening to the rain.

Rainy days can be sad and melancholy. End of vacation can be sad and melancholy. I must admit that as the house became decluttered of our belongings and the bags, previously stowed away in a closet or under a bed for the week, began to fill up again, I was a little sad. It's natural. I was also happy to be returning to my life with memories that I would keep forever.

The beautiful blue and green water from Monday's arrival had been replaced by murky gray water for our departure. Out the fogged window by which we sat I could see the choppy waves of an angry ocean. Okay, that's dramatic; let's call it agitated. We watched as Martha's Vineyard slowly became smaller, fading away from our distance. I couldn't help but smile. No one could take the experience away from me. Everything has to end, we just have to live in it fully while it's happening and know that we were present in every moment. Side note: we saw Beth’s parent’s house from the water as we passed. We could actually pick it out even at our distance from land. That was cool.

The ride was smoother than I had anticipated it being. From the Oak Bluffs ferry dock we watched our ferry bobbing in the water. When we boarded, we could feel the sway of the boat. Out in the Atlantic it didn't feel much different than our initial passage.

There we were, comrades in cars, all of us waiting to debark the ferry. Smiles and nods one to another. Some of us had been on the Vineyard for a week, some of us for just the weekend.

We had started listening to Grey Gardens The Musical the previous evening on the way to Vineyard Haven to see Super 8. We continued where we had left off as we drove to the ferry. It seemed only natural to finish the show now that we were off the ferry. It was the day of the 65th annual Tony Awards. Why not indulge in a good musical score?

We stopped at Duncan Donuts to pick me up a coffee now that we were back on the mainland. I’m a little unclear whether we were still in Woods Hole or had made it Falmouth. Really does it matter that much? I mean a Duncan is a Duncan. It’s been my experience every time I go to one that the coffee is too light and too sweet. This time didn’t disappoint. Well, it disappointed in that I don’t like it that light or sweet, but I did need/want the coffee so I’m going to shut up about it.

The drive to Boston was roughly an hour and half. Without giving Neal a choice, I pushed play on the cast album for the 1992 Tony winning Best Musical Crazy For You. Neal and I have a history with that show. We were doing summer stock together the year that it won the Tony and were completely obsessed with the Tony telecast performance that entire summer. We both saw the show in New York at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway, albeit separately. We’ve both performed in productions of the show (again separately) and had the time of our lives. It seemed like a no-brainer. We talked about our experiences with our respective productions and how brilliant we thought Susan Stroman’s choreography was for the original Broadway production. It was the second show I had ever seen on Broadway. It was the show that allowed me entrance to the Shubert Theatre where A Chorus Line had played for 15 years. I have a lot of great memories wrapped up in that show.

It song-and-danced us all the way to Boston

Back at Neal’s we unloaded the car and then went to Burger King for a little lunch. I remarked to Neal that fatty (talking about myself) was going to have to start walking to work across the Queensboro Bridge in order to rid my body of the crap that I allowed myself to consume during the week. Vacation is not an excuse to eat whatever you want. I just let myself believe that for about 7 days. Oh where was the person who chose the apple over the M&M’s at the beginning?

When all that day’s errands were completed (groceries, car rental return) Neal started doing laundry. He threw mine in with his. He was watching So You Think You Can Dance when not emptying the washer, starting the dryer or folding the clean clothes. I was hard at work writing about the amazing experience I had just lived for a week.

Then it was Tony Awards time. That time of the year when those of us who love theatre watch as the Broadway season’s best are honored for excellence. Well, sometimes it’s the best that are honored. Sometimes it’s the politically correct choice or the easy choice. Anyway, it was Tony time. I was excited, as I always am on this very special of nights. Living in NYC has made many of these telecasts all the more special as I’ve had the opportunity to see the shows, hear the gossip, etc.

This season I was particularly interested as the company I work for, Stage Entertainment USA, was represented with a Best Musical nomination for the “divine musical comedy” that is Sister Act The Musical. Most of us didn’t think it had a chance in hell against the blockbuster, runaway hit that is The Book of Mormon, but one could always hope.

When all was said and done, it was really a no-brainer, no major surprise kind of evening. The Book of Mormon took home 9 wins out their 14 nominations and Sutton Foster took home her second Tony Award for her performance in Anything Goes. All the predications came true. Anything Goes took Best Revival of a Musical and Kathleen Marshall took home the Tony Award for her choreography for Anything Goes. When things are too predictable it can be boring. Two other predicted wins also happened but were anything but boring. The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s play about the AIDS crisis at its beginning in the 80’s took home Best Play Revival and Ellen Barkin, making her Broadway debut in said play, took home the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Those two moments were predicted, but amazing. Then there was the surprise factor. Nikki M. James was so surprised to win the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for The Book of Mormon that her speech made me cry. Tears fell down my cheeks and dripped off my face. It was such a beautiful moment to watch a truly thankful, humbled actor accept an award for something she loves to do. The shocker of the evening for me came when Norbert Leo Butz won Best Actor in a Musical for his role in Catch Me If You Can. I didn’t see that one coming. One shocker in a night full of The Book of Mormon, The Book of Mormon, The Book of Mormon, Anything Goes, The Book of Mormon.

Ah well. I bet Sister Act still had one kickin’ party.