APtS: Mystery Bonus

Dancing in a NOLA night club… hypnotic. Love My Readers! Enjoy this special scene.


Music is spilling out from the clubs and restaurants I pass on the way back to my car. Mostly jazz, zydeco, and country. There are even musicians in the street. They are extremely talented. Something about the vibe of the street party makes me forget about being tired and about going to get my car moved. It’s hard to walk through these streets without feeling a desire to shake my booty. Street vendors are telling fortunes and others are selling miscellaneous souvenirs.

My imagination being on overdrive makes me wonder if they are voodoo-related items or perhaps the key ingredients to a spell you could cast on someone. Perhaps they could give me a spell to help me forget the pain and misery my life has been lately. The reality is they are likely selling knock-off tourist items. They probably source them overseas and sell them as “authentic”.

There are hawkers trying to draw people into their clubs. One interesting fellow is dressed in a an old black suit with his face painted like a Dia De Los Muertos skull. He isn’t yelling to get the attention of people walking by. He isn’t flattering ugly women to gain their attentions. No, he is quiet. He is dancing to the music coming from the club. I watch him for what seems like an eternity. He never tires or seems exhausted by his dance. Peeking in the doors of the club I see the sway of the crowd inside. Their movement is curious. Like a single consciousness moving through all of them. The music they are dancing to is hypnotic.

Without a thought or even a decision crossing my mind, I start moving towards the entrance. It’s as if my body has no power to walk away. It pulls at me from the center of my being and I need to be a part of it.

I immediately blend in with the crowd and find myself surrounded with people I’ve never seen. Yet, somehow we are sharing this moment together. We sway and I sometimes spin. Hands grab for me and either support me from spinning out of control or just steady me in the sway. When the song changes, everyone makes their way to the tables and bars lining the edges of the dance floor. I feel cold and abandoned without the others. Swallowing my disappointment that this curious moment is over, I make my way to the bar, order a beer, and settle into a table to watch the crowd. It is sweaty for November, but I suspect that has more to do with the dancing and alcohol than the weather.

The server is a kind, young man. I make quick friends and ask him to keep the beers coming. He nods and does a great job keeping me with a new one as needed. Men and women both smile or nod as they walk by my table to the dance floor. After several beers, I swallow my regret and apprehension and join the new flow of people to the dance floor. The music has slowed and is even more hypnotic than before. I close my eyes and give myself over to the music.

A pair of strong arms slides around my waist from behind and a body begins to sway with me. At first, panic wells up in my throat but I quickly push it down. This is what the fresh start is about. Exploration. We continue dancing, never changing positions. I sink into the body behind me and it is a firm, strong place to rest. I reach up my right arm up and place my hand on the back of a sweaty neck. A mouth comes near to my ear as I pull on my dance partner. “I love the way you move,” he whispers in my ear. He. For a moment it occurs to me that his voice is familiar. Before I focus in on the familiarity too much, I take a huge gulp of my beer and set the bottle on a nearby table.

Turning around, I chance a look at my mystery dance partner and I’m floored. I start blinking rapidly as if something is wrong with my vision. I’m hallucinating. I have had way too much to drink. It can’t be. He can’t be here. Not now. No. I shake my head and back away from him, bumping into tables and knocking over drinks. I push through the crowd to get to the door. I burst onto the street and breathe in a huge rush of cold air. It is so cold I get chills.

“This is NOT happening,” I scream into the night.

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