"Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, and Eternity in an hour." William Blake
| They stood waiting, the four of them, halfway down a line of anxious looking people that stretched a hundred yards from the entrance along the side of the club, and on up into the street. Puck and Richie, both blond and hot as dammit, seemed impatient to hit the meat market. David, dark and a good bit more demure, looked a little bit bored. Carly kept an appraising eye on him, half-listening to their conversation.
"You won't believe this DJ," Puck was saying. "I still can't believe they got him to begin with."
"What's the occasion?"
"He's just passing through. They book smaller clubs if there's an opening between tour dates."
"This guy's on tour?"
"Well, yeah. He's probably the best in the south-east right now. If you can somehow forget the entire state of Florida, that is."
"...they managed just fine in 2000..."
"The willing suspension of disbelief," Carly said. "Ain't it a beauty?"
"It's what makes the world go 'round," Puck said, grinning.
"No, that's ignorance," Richie said. "Don't forget the 'willing' part."
They paid their fifteen bucks, received their twink-tag wristbands at the door, and plunged into the Saturn-like atmosphere of the Club Mix scene. If any music could ever be described as rapacious, it would be house techno. At even half volume, one finds oneself incapable of any rational thought or conversation. Or behavior. The scene at each of the several bars in the club was simple hysteria. One could more successfully serve drinks, front row, at a KISS concert. Bartenders scurried frantically, repeating themselves a dozen times at a shout. For one of the few times in his life, Carly was thankful he was underage. More groping went on in that pack of people tonight than in a four-handed proctologist's entire career.
But for our young friends, the looks had begun. As four well-maintained teenagers in a club such as Mix - the big gay cheese in their wee gay cupboard - they would always get the looks. It was just part of the scene, and the Mix scene was massive. Most off nights were manhandling-room only. Summer Saturday nights like tonight, though, when even the most obsessive-compulsive fire marshal would simply throw his hands up in resignation and start flicking burning matches at trashcans, people seemed to...no, that, pretty much sums it up.
It has always been part strength-in-numbers, part drama-familiarity-and/or-immunity, part old-habits-die-hard, part old-drag-queen-die-hards, part bar-service-and-selection, and part comfortable-seating-availability. The other 99% is the DJ, 'cause Ho-Lee-dammit do we love us a good dance club.
You could throw any major-label DJ, headfirst and with no equipment, into a north Georgia Waffle House bathroom, and before he even hit the ground there'd be a huge pink neon sign saying something like 'Buttered, Smothered 'n' Covered' above the door, a purse-lipped line of impatient homosexuals out into the parking lot, and an obsessive-compulsive fire marshal flicking burning matches at...well, if you're family, you got the picture at 'major-label DJ'.
They had reached a table, finally, in a relatively low-key corner of the club away from the rambling, tumbling lights, the groping, and the looks. The music assaulted them from an impossible number of angles, with the alien atmosphere close about them like mist. Puck rummaged in a pocket, pulling out four little pink pills. He placed one in front of each of his three companions, holding the fourth up between his finger and thumb in a toast. The others followed suit.
“Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand!” he shouted over the music. “And Eternity in an hour!” He swallowed his pill.
“Eternity!” the others cried and did the same.
“Come along, Ambrosius,” Puck said, grabbing Richie’s hand. They were soon lost in a mash of dancing bodies. Carly and David sat for around ten minutes, taking in the scene around them, feeling their heads floating higher and higher off their shoulders. It was madness all around, and it only got better as Eternity crept up behind them. David seemed awe-stricken with the Club Mix atmosphere.
“So, what’s the first impression?” Carly asked.
“It’s actually really cool. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before.”
“Wanna dance? This shit's driving me nuts just sitting here.”
“Think you can keep up?” David asked.
“I’ll try anything once," Carly grinned. "Twice, if it's good 'n' freaky."
"Careful what you wish for."
David looked at him with a wry smile, then pulled his shirt off, tucking it into the back of his jeans.
The dance floor was flooded with people, bodies moving in rhythm to music that wasn’t nearly as overwhelming once dancing. Or maybe it was even more so, you just really wanted it once you hit the floor. Unable to break through far enough to join Puck and Richie, they settled for a not-so-crowded section. David seemed comfortable, even a little cocky.
If he’s as stoned as I am, Carly thought. He'll be just fine.
They moved together, finding that channel where two bodies could communicate. David ended up just grabbing one of Carly's front pockets, pulling him in without breaking rhythm. Carly’s mouth dropped open, surprised by their sudden proximity. David only laughed, and that Oakenfold just kept coming, thudding in from every direction, lights sweeping across the crowd in a dizzying array of colors.
Moving perfectly in synch, the dance floor looked like a sea of grass in a hurricane. At times, though, it sort of looked like a manic Moler match from Hell.
As the floor became more crowded, they were shoved closer and closer together. After a moment, they were dancing more on than with each other. David laughed and pulled Carly completely against him, almost screaming to be heard.
“You trying to freak on me?!?” he asked, his eyes two points of mischief less than four inches away. Their bodies were again pressed hard together, and they each went into evasive-facial actions to keep from bashing noses. Whether by accident, sub-conscious urges, or the pragmatism of their proximity, their cheeks touched, brushed, and then stuck. David had begun to move his face against Carly's, pushing against him. Carly, refusing to give such a poignant gesture any second thought, returned it at once.
Time had slowed to where Carly could see the individual motes of airborne dust, caught and set aflame by the sweeping lights above the dance floor. Looking up, he wondered what the hell was wrong with David's eyes. Then he saw his own were being studied, imagined his pupils were just as dilated. Whatever Saturday-night-Puck-fucking they'd gotten their hands on, it was amazing.
David had one hand tucked to the second knuckles in Carly's front pocket while their bodies danced, and their faces brushed together. One moment, it would be their cheekbones. The next would find their foreheads, or the bridges or tips of their noses against each other, their mouths so close they could feel the heat. Occasionally, David would open his mouth to drag his teeth along Carly's skin, just barely brushing it. He could see the heat glowing in David's cheeks, could see the explosion of those sweeping lights in David's blacked-out, stupid-sexy eyes.
David let go of his front pocket, tugging him around. Slow dancing now, at quarter-tempo, Carly spun with the beat. David's hands closed on his hips, and they came together again. Carly finally closed his eyes and leaned his head back, resting it on David's shoulder. David put his cheek against Carly's ear, and he listened to the harmony of their breath. He knew that if he opened his eyes, he would've see that the whole world had fallen away into space, except a four-foot diameter of dance floor around them, and the explosive sweeps of those lights, and the DJ high in his booth, spinning an endless Oakenfold for the two of them.
But whoever was spinning that Eternity in an Hour...
They were spinning that just for him.
“How do you think life started?” David asked, staring out through the glimmering, early summer morning air around the parkway overlook. Carly shrugged but smiled. They were both still a little wonky from the club, having come to their favorite old high-school spot to let it fully fade.
“I'd say it probably involved a little sex,” Carly said, both of them snickering.
“I mean, not us...humans,” David said, catching eyes and gesturing toward the crystalline air outside. “Where did all of this come from, do you think?”
“Water,” Carly said. “Life began in water, didn’t it?”
David wasn't smiling anymore. Carly looked over, concerned.
“That wasn't life, Carly,” he said, looking away. “That was just…existence – cells dividing, converting oxygen. That never had anything to do with living, even if it was alive, whatever it was.”
Silence settled in, leaving them to their thoughts.
“We should’ve done this sooner,” Carly said. “It all would’ve been different, don’t you think?”
“Not really,” David said, after thinking and sighing. “It is as it is, was. Whatever.”
“Why didn’t you say anything, though? Why now? Why wait?”
“Why not?” David returned. “Would it have been better to get your hopes up?”
“Don’t answer questions with questions. It’s illegal.”
“How would you like me to…”
Carly punched him in the shoulder, both of them laughing again.
“Alright, smartass,” Carly said as he took David’s hand upside down in both of his, tracing his heart and lifelines. David would've been an old soul, from the looks of it.
Infinity in the palm of your hand.
“How will it end? Life. Humanity. Whatever.”
David thought for a short second, studying Carly’s face.
“What, like that meteor movie or something?”
“Does it matter? It ends when it ends, right?”
“Don’t answer questions with…” Carly began but stopped as David leaned forward, bunching Carly’s shirt up in a fist.
Several seconds later, after David had let him loose, he remembered to breathe.
“I should’ve told you,” David said, staring again at his palm. “Years ago. I know.”
“A lot of things were – are – out of our control. We either can’t yet or can’t ever. Sometimes you scooch over, but it’s obvious when there isn’t any room.”
“I knew you’d say something like that,” he said. “You always do, and you make it sound so convincing.”
“I listen when I need to and think too much when I don’t.”
“I should’ve said something.”
“You didn’t need to, David. You’re completely transparent and…”
And it’s absolutely fucking beautiful.
Some things you shouldn’t have to say. Or should’ve said a long time ago. Whatever.
“Rich in friends, but poor in time,” he said instead. David pulled him close, and their foreheads came together.
“When all I ever get I’ve wanted more,” David sang to him softly. “You’re still the only thing I’ve ever waited for.”
And you say, hold fast. And these days will last, and last.
David loved that song. Carly couldn’t stand it but never told him.
“What is it with comparing time and money?” he heard himself saying. “There’s never enough, it’s only good when it’s shared, the interest is over-inflated, tomorrow ain’t worth shit and yesterday cornered the market a million years ago…”
“Jesus, Carly,” David said, laughing hard, putting his arms around him as they watched the mist come in from off the river.
“Fuck it,” Carly said, shaking his head.
“Fuck it,” David answered, then he paused, staring out into nothing in particular.
“I love you, Carly,” he said, barely above a whisper, putting his chin on Carly's shoulder as they watched the moon heading toward a silver-tinged horizon.
Carly took a deep breath, gently leaned his cheek against David's, and sighed a quiet smile.
Some things you shouldn’t have to say. Or should’ve said a million years ago.
Time. What a hoot.