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That Night

In NYC nightlife, who's really got your back?

New York City is a city like no other. It can grant you all the opportunities in the world and more if you're open to it, but it can also envelop you into a darkness that few have escaped from and have been able to tell their story to you all. Why am I telling you my sorry then? You don't know me, and I don't know you. In all honesty I'm telling you my story because that's all I have right now, my voice. My name is Michael, and I am still in that darkness looking at myself through such a fog that I don't know what the ending is going to be. But I can tell you what got me here tonight. New York City nightlife has a heartbeat and a pulse. It has lungs and breathes the thick air, same as you and me. It's so much more than 4AM "last calls" at the local bar and parties on New Year's Eve. It's hungry and wants... No, it needs to feed. You probably are wondering what a “concept” would feed on, aren't you? It's simple actually; it feeds on innocence. The innocence that is taken from the young boy who catches the attention of a "professional" in this scene and offers to show him the ropes. The innocence that is taken when that boy finds out he can go out and drink himself into a coma, not spending a dime at the bar so long as he shows a little skin and fucks the right promoters. The innocence that is taken when he learns that when everyone checks their stuff into the coat check, they make sure to hold onto their keys and wallet because no one will question why you're carrying your wallet, and you need a key to scoop a bump of coke from the baggie hidden behind your ID. The innocence that is taken that first time you hop on the bar in a jockstrap at The Cock and figure out your rate to let the patrons rim you backstage.

Well enough of my trip down memory lane, let us swing back around to last night. My night started out like most of my Saturday nights do, waking up at 2PM, shaking off my Fireball whiskey-induced hangover from Friday night and dumping out my bag on the floor to see how well I made out from my gogo gig. It came to $83, one $20, one $10, three $5's, and the rest in crumbled singles, which wasn’t bad for a night at P Lounge. For once, I ended up waking up in my own bed, which was nice; I knew where I was, didn’t have to creep around to find a piece of mail with the address, didn’t have to rub toothpaste on my teeth with my fingers, didn’t have to steal clothes because I couldn’t find my jeans again. You forget how nice it is to just be home sometimes. So I ordered up a bacon cheeseburger and onion rings on GrubHub while I hopped in the shower and washed up while figuring out what tonight’s plan was, lowkey thinking I was staying in so I was going to stuff my face. Lo and behold, as I’m sitting on my bed in a towel eating my burger, my phone lights up with a text from Justin saying “Can you dance tonight? 1230a-3a. $125” and before I could even answer with a polite “not tonight.” I get another text from Darren: “Oh my god, I got booked tonight with Justin! Did you get booked tonight too!” With a heavy sigh, I put my half finished burger down and text Justin back with a generic, “Yeah! For sure, I’d love to dance tonight!” and with the same emptiness sent a text to Darren, “Mhmm I’ll see you there baby!”

It was already 7:30PM by the time I was able to even peel myself off by bed to start getting glam, and I was supposed to meet Darren in the city at 11PM. I know it sounds like a long time, but it really wasn’t between straightening and spraying my hair enough that the sweat wouldn’t fuck it up, putting on enough makeup to make it look like I knew what sleep was and to look like I was barely legal. Because we all knew that if you didn’t have the body of someone who practically lived at the gym, your tips were going to be coming from the old daddies who came to the club thinking if they gave you enough $20s, you’d overlook their wrinkles seeping through the Botox, the bald spots, and the bodies that haven’t seen a gym since the Clinton administration. They weren’t wrong to assume this with a lot of these transplant boys who weren’t from the city, but I knew how to play my part very well. Lead on and on until 3AM, and when they grab you and try to pull you in, you just giggle and put on that baby voice to say, “Hold on, I have to grab my stuff from the dressing room and I’ll be right back,” and then I just leave out the side service entrance. After getting myself together and packing the bag with the essentials of two snapbacks, four pairs of underwear for each set, and a bottle of raspberry Smirnoff vodka. I knew I was going to need to get twisted to make it through the night. Vodka was going to be my savior but let me not shut myself out to other favors.

Out the house I ran, down the boulevard to catch my train to Hell's Kitchen to meet up with Darren and the other boys to pregame before we went on the bar. When I got to the apartment he was staying at this month—it belonged to the Nick, a bar manager of this other place I’ve been to a couple of times and honestly all I could remember is that the bar manager looked like he could crack me in half and I was all about it—but he wasn’t home when I got there, and I was already tired, and getting off would’ve just knocked me out. Besides, dancing with no venom in the snake fucks up my tips. I walked right into the kitchen to grab some ice and a Red Bull and whipped out my vodka to get this night started. Apparently I wasn’t the only one still shaking off last night, 'cause Darren grabbed me and brought me into the bedroom, clicked that lock and pulled out his keys to scoop out a bump of coke from one of many vials, most empty. Up his nose the bump flew, and he scooped one up for me. Not being my first time at the rodeo I snorted it and used my lips to scoop the excess off the tip of the key and rubbed in on my gums to hit the bloodstream quicker. We walked out of the room and hardly interrupted the flow of the ongoing party; no one batted an eye even though they all knew what we just did. They all knew half the bathroom trips in that apartment were for the same ski trip. That bump was just what I needed, but that’s the fucked thing with coke. I was going to need a bag to keep me going, but lets be real, it wasn’t going to be hard to find more tonight; after all, it was a Saturday night in Hell's Kitchen. Blow was still the drug of choice out here and every dealer was loaded.

We had to wrap up the kiki and head on over to the gig; the boys were buzzed, the bottles were dry, and the Ubers were downstairs. Ignoring the fact that any energy I had was thanks to a narcotic, Saturday night was prime time. We would walk in through the side entrance, which cut across the main dance floor. I felt like a rock star. I knew they were only staring because they knew we were the dancers and with that the fantasy of railing the gogo boy, which I was totally living for. Strutting across that dance floor, floors caped over with fog, blue and purple strobe lights seizing with the bass drops, the musk of zombie eyed hunks filled the air, everyone a slave to the DJ and molly drops. This is the world I knew, this was the scene I felt I could be myself, this was the tightrope I walked across to feel like a celebrity while trying not to fall into destruction. Up to the gogo room we went to be greeted by the usual ice bin full of sugar-free Red bulls and Gatorades and before you could even hear the gas being released from the Red bull can, boys were stripping off their street clothes and getting ready for the night. Sheer jockstraps, patterned thongs, snapbacks with matching high top Adidas kicks which were perfect to hold our cell phones, high tube socks with the stripes which were perfect to hide big billed tips but also appealed to the semi-pedophile older guys. Finishing touches, hairspray the hat down, deodorant on the inner thighs to keep it dry cause that where we get grabbed all night, and of course, cock rings to help keep the front pouches nice and plump, since the coke wasn’t helping. It takes a long time to make dancing naked on a bar look effortless.

When 12:30AM hit and we were up, like a football team running out on the field at kick off, we all came out of the side door running and cheering towards our fist spots for the night. What can I say, it’s a job and we all knew our roles. Better performers and headlining porn actors were on the bar with the captain, and the others support on the boxes in the middle of the dance floor. That was the “heirerarcy” the promoters expected us to follow to kick off the night and we did what we were told. But what the boxes were used for actually were boys who were good to start their night but needed a pick me up, and that was me tonight. So I started my night on the DJ box and it wasn’t long before my pick-me-up showed up. Matt was always a bitch that would come through for your boy and knew the routine. I nodded at him when he saw me, he went to the bathroom to pop a molly in his mouth, I slipped a $20 in my sneakers for him to grab, and he came out to give a kiss hello and slipped the pill into my mouth from his and grabbed my ankle to get what’s his. Security would never question one of us kissing a patron on the mouth because well, they were straight and didn’t really notice much of anything we did; never underestimate just how uncomfortable they were around all this. I checked my phone to read “1:02AM” and knew that in 15 short minuets, all the energy of the night was going to be running through my body. The rest of the gig was a blur, to be honest; familiar faces came and went; drink tickets and Marlboros vanished; my coke flew up my nose and that hot bartender who I played “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” with. I felt my body moving still, but my mind wasn’t in control, hips keeping up with the beat, sweat cascading down my chest and stomach, eyes closed but still able to see the lights flashing across the dance floor, my ears deafened by the speakers. This was my real drug, this moment right here when nothing in the world mattered and I just give my body up to the night.

I don’t know if it was because I was running on empty or because I thought it was a good idea with drink, snort three-quarters of a bag, and pop a molly, but I was exhausted while still having the full body numb and racing heart. I knew I wasn’t making it back to Queens tonight; it was already 4AM and my body had been feeling the fantasy for too long. One more cigarette outside with the last men standing and I heard the familiar “Oh my God, hey baby, what’re you still doing here? Come on, come to after hours.” Before I could even process what he said, my cigarette slipped from my fingers as I was being dragged into a cab to head back over to his apartment again. Have you ever been someplace that you’ve been to before, but have the air feel completely different? I don’t know if it was because I was still feeling the fantasy from my narcotic cocktail, but walking into his apartment again made my stomach knot. Everyone’s smiles felt like they were hiding demons, eyes widened and black but lifeless. Everyone was on something, but pot calling the kettle black I guess. I dropped my bag and sneakers in Nick’s bedroom and just sat on the couch next to Darren and one of the roommates and lit another cigarette. The door flung open with a zealous “Time to get lit fellas!” from none other than the bar manager Nick and a gaggle of boys. His roommate jumped up and scurried to his bedroom to come back with a small silver tray with a small mountain of white powder while breathing out of his grin, “I heard it’s party time.”

You see some white powder on a silver tray with a rolled up bill next to it and you assume cliché movie set up for cocaine, and I wasn’t mad about it. Nick plopped down next to me and pulled me on top of his lap while his roommate and Darren set up lines of the powder. “Boss man goes first,” they said as the tray was put in front of Nick, and in an odd controlling way, he wouldn’t let me get off his lap. He wrapped his left arm around me to keep me in place while lifting the rolled bill with this right hand and bent down to snort the fattest line of powder on the tray. A very relaxed exhale followed his actions and you could tell this wasn’t his first line of the night, but something to top him off. He very generously held the faux straw at the tip of the next line, thinking he was going down for another, but told me to “get down there.” I knew it wasn’t the best idea to keep this party going for me but I was fucked up, and if this story should've highlighted anything: you make some fucked decisions when you’re already in the hole. So I whipped that line up and laid back into his chest. A few minutes passed and I didn’t get the numbing feeling in my mouth I usually got but my hands and feel started to go numb. I leaned over to Darren to ask who they got the coke from and he just chuckled and blankly smiled to tell me, “Oh no, baby, that wasn’t coke. It was K.”

Ketamine wasn’t something I fucked with. If Party Monster taught me anything is that K was some shit that people would binge on and lose everything over. I just kept telling myself “Shit, you fucked up. You can’t feel your hands and feet and you aren’t home.” I slowly peeled myself and up and limped to the kitchen to get some water to try to start flushing myself out. Nick was I there and asked me if I needed anything. “Yeah can I get something to drink?” to which he asked, “You want like water or some really awesome orange juice I got”? I just said “whatever” to speed things up and he brought me over some of that “special orange juice.” I don’t know if it was everything else hitting me in that moment or if the “special” part of that orange juice was something else that did me in, but I was down. I slid off the chair onto the kitchen floor and couldn’t move my body. Sounds were getting muffled and I couldn’t understand anyone, light faded away and I felt my eyes closing, I couldn’t fight it. I couldn’t fight anything anymore.

I woke up the next day on the couch, alone. I scurried to find my phone just to have some idea of what was up. I found it on the coffee table, my clothes on the floor next to it and I looked down, I was just in an oversized tank top and nothing else. “2:17PM” illuminated my screen. I was out for 8 hours or so. I had to get out of there. I pushed open Nick's door slowly to not wake him or Darren up, bent down, grabbed my shit and pulled it through the crack in the door. I got myself together, phone, keys, wallet, bag, and go. I crept out of the apartment and ran down the block as fast as I could until I was out of breath heading towards 9th avenue. I sat down on a bench in front of Chase and put in my headphones, trying to drown out the sound of my heart racing. I open my phone to go to Spotify, and started any playlist that popped up first. I sat back for a minute, lit a cigarette, and tried to relax for just a minute. As my heart began to slow and I was getting myself together, my phone lights up with a text from an unsaved number. I opened my phone to read “Last night was fun, let me know if you want to chill soon. We can make another video ;)” I just froze for a second staring at my screen and didn’t come to until the cherry of my cigarette fell and burned my thigh and woke me up. A tear fell from my cheek, and I exhaled “Fuck, not again.”

Read next: Stairs
Antonio Falciglia
Antonio Falciglia

Sometimes I write about sex and drugs, sometimes I write about beauty products, sometime I write about hot button issues.

But I will never get my subway sandwiches toasted.

26 year old native New Yorker, LGBTQ+, drag artist, pug daddy, writer

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That Night
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