An Excerpt from my Novel The Clubber – The Mittenator

An excerpt from my novel, The Clubber: A Tale of the Eighties, available now on

   There was quite a large crowd outside the Alphonse J. Building. It was almost as large as a Saturday night Das Prahlend crowd. But this crowd was different. There were almost no underage throcking idiots, and there weren’t any wandering gutter punks or second-class poseurs darting and mixing in and around the club.
   Almost the entire crowd was dressed in black. Black overcoats, black leather jackets, black pants, black skirts, black dresses, black vinyl boots, black leather shoes, black vinyl pants, black robes, black capes, and an endless sea of black, black hair. There was the random flight jacket and pair of black sneakers floating around, but most of the crowd was above that sort of dress. Throughout the sea of swirling black a few spots of bright blue, green, or red could be seen, wandering plankton-like through the dark fashion mass.
   Andre took note of these few exceptions to the rule. One woman had bright blue hair and wore a white vinyl mini dress. She looked absolutely glowing amidst all of the dark clothing. There was also a large, flamboyant man in a dark green Datanian hat and a brightly-colored paisley cape who guided himself through the throng with a carefully orchestrated cigarette holder.
   The ultimate exception was hard to miss. He was a tall and robust looking young man who wore a bright red cap, a shocking blue blouse, a bright wide-brimmed red hat, glowing fluorescent purple pants, bright yellow Doc shoes, and a ton of gaudy, multicolored makeup. Andre recognized him through his bright red blush and shocking blue eyeshadow. He was a fairly well-known musician, who had obviously prepared himself as the ultimate contrast to the rest of the crowd.
   When Andre’s party saw the multicolored man, they had to stop and stare for a moment.
   “Well, now I feel like a poseur,” said Serge with a smirk.
   “What makes you say that?” asked Andre.
   “Well, look at him.”
   “Look at everybody else.”
   Serge looked at him quizzically. ”Don’t you see it?”
   “But what he’s doing is so obvious. It’s almost like performance art. He’s just making a really obvious statement.”
   “So? I think that’s cool.”
   “Yeah, but I don’t think this is the time or the place for something like that.”
   “What d’ya mean?”
   “It’s just kind of inappropriate, especially for tonight.”
   “I don’t get you.”
   “Well, I mean it’s just such an obvious cry for attention,” said Andre, sounding uncertain.
   “You know, it’s so contrived.”
   “And we’re not?”
   “No. We aren’t. Not at all.”
   Serge turned his head and looked over the gathering crowd. He glanced back at Andre and then looked away again. He seemed content to quietly drop the subject for the moment, and that was okay with Andre.
   Crossing the street, they made their way towards the Alphonse J. Building. Most of the clubbers were taking their time getting to the entrance, having slow down to chat and schmooze. Andre tried to slow his pace, but Serge and Edrea seemed anxious to get into line, walking too quickly for Andre’s tastes.
   A mass of decked-out clubgoers were already crammed into a packed queue that snaked against the story tall-windows of the Alphonse J. Building. Through the tall, dark glass, Andre could hear the pulsating thumps of hyperactive dance music. Squinting at the windows, he could see faint outlines in the multi-tiered facility. A few people were already inside.
   He tried to contain himself, even though goose pimples were rising on his skin. 
   “Ooh, ooh, ooh!” moaned Edrea.
   “This is gonna kick ass,” said Serge.
   “Fuck yeah, it will,” said Vivian.
   Andre could barely hear them. He was still taking it all in. 
   A couple of throckers were whooping it up near the entrance. They were waving their arms around and dancing in place as they bellowed crude salutations in loud, lisping voices.
   He always felt ridiculous whenever he was forced to stand in line. He squinted through the smoky glass at the shadowy figures inside the dark, noisy club. He could feel how anxious everyone was to get inside. The air was filled with giddy energy. The diffused images inside the club were dancing and posing and leaning on the rails of the higher tiers, looking out and strutting around as if they were privileged peacocks. They were the lucky ones, the truly exclusive ones who got inside very early. It was a mark of distinction that they would be able to carry with them throughout the evening, for this was one event where it was definitely not cool to be fashionably late.
   Andre continued to feel uncomfortable and absurd, standing in a line of packed people, being made to wait. No matter where he looked, the faint indoor silhouettes burned through the corners of his eyes.
   Vivian and Edrea were talking and giggling. Vivian usually maintained the same kind of reserved mood as Andre, but now, for some reason, she was acting like a young school girl. She was grinning and tittering along with Serge and Edrea as if they had all conspired to enact a saccharine sabotage of his evening.
   The line didn’t seem to be moving at all. It was as if it had stopped for no good reason. Carefully looking toward the entrance, Andre noticed a very tall, lanky, and slicked-back doorman standing in attendance by the front door, apparently carefully scrutinizing the people who went in.
   Feeling anxious and incredulous at the same time, he considered the remote possibility that the doorman might decide not to let him in. It would be a scandal that he would never be able to live down.  
   Noticing the doorman only increased his uneasiness. Why did the line never seem to move?
   “Moo.” He turned around. It was Serge.
   “Moo,” muttered Serge again in a low and drawn-out tone.
   “Moo,” said someone else from another part of the line.
   Low-toned moos started emanating from different parts of the line.
   Vivian and Edrea started to moo as well. People were laughing.
   It was just getting worse and worse. The entire night was not going anything like he had hoped. The one most important club event of the year was turning into a nightmarish parody.
   Why was everyone acting so ridiculous?

Author: termberkden

I am a writer, a software engineer, and a refugee from the punk/metal/new wave/my-God-what-did-we-do-last-night daze of 1980's and early 90's San Francisco scene. I write, I run, I actually stop and smell the roses, I meow back at cats, and I pet strange yet friendly dogs.

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