“Good morning, Little Aleppo, or is it? Frankie Nickels with you, just like every day, no surprises here. Turn on KHAY–Hey!–and you know the score. I got you. I got you.
“Who’s got me, though? Guess you do. Just us chickens and no one’s coming to help. Not the farmer!
“Farmers and chickens got different agendas. Haaaha.
“You getting out of bed or into it, Little Aleppo? I know there’s a healthy ratio. You starting the day, or are you just getting started? You throwing open those curtains, or nailing bedsheets over the windows? There’s a party I know that’s still going in the loft all the way on the Downside, I heard it on my walk in, it’s been going for a while now. They ain’t listening to me; they got their own DJ. You know where I’m talking about.
“Not tough to find. You’ve probably been.
“Speakers and sweat. That’s what I remember, I used to stop in two or three times a week, but I only left once or twice, understand me? Haaaha. And the walls. Oh, yeah. The walls.
“Me and my girlfriends liked the place, but after a while I got to know some folks in there. Just turn up, you’d find your friends, they were there. Where else would they be?
“Taffy worked the door, big as the building and just as solid. Marti Martini was one of the go-go dancers, yeah, right. Lola and Tony were the back, arguing. They could dress, man. Fantastic Barbara would be there, and she was the first bald lady I knew. Alopecia. That thing where you can’t grow any hair? She had a life, y’know, a job and a life, she put on a wig. But she would come to the party just like God made her.
“She told me once, ‘Frankie Nickels, you can lie or you can dance. Can’t do both.’
“One night, I’ll never forget this, one night, and I’ll take this image to my grave, one night, and I swear this is whole truth, Fantastic Barbara glued little bits of mirror to her head, all the way around when no one was looking. And she had set it up with the deejay, right, I suppose, and the music built up to the big climax and they hit the lights, all of ’em, pitch-black and all the dancers start whooping HALLELUJAH and then they hit her with the spotlights. Four of ’em, one from each corner.
“And Fantastic Barbara spun round just as smooth as your favorite record.
“Lemme get all high-falutin’ on ya, Little Aleppo: the glory was in the ephemerality. Temporary art, you get me? Real temporary: by the time you realized that art had happened, it didn’t exist anymore. Haaaha. I remember always getting mad when someone told me the time. ‘I left that taskmaster outside’ I would tell ’em.
“Marti Martini, the go-go dancer I was telling you about, she had a whole rap about time. Said it was governed by quantum mechanics, not classical. Said it didn’t exist until we paid attention to it. You know what she said to me?
“She said, ‘Frankie Nickels, time is a drama queen.’
“And I will not lie to you when I tell you that it made a hell of a lot of sense at the time.
“Kids, don’t do drugs. Leave ’em for the grown-ups who need ’em. Haaaha. Lot of the people at the party weren’t okay to drive. They could dance, though. You’d get your nose open and the music would crawl in. Careful with too much. Goes straight to your hips. Haaaha. Alexander Pearl. That sonofabitch. What a party. What a sonofabitch.
“It was his party. You remember Alexander, Little Aleppo? You remember Alexander. How could you forget? Alexander. Not Alex, God help you if you called him Alex, Alexander. It was his party. He liked to be thanked.
“The walls, right? I was talking about the walls. Well, Alexander Pearl figured something out, right? Some things, some paint, they glow under blacklights, right? Well, they call ’em blacklights, but they just radiate a little more specifically than your standard bulb is what Alexander figured. He commenced to experimenting.
“What he discovered was that certain color frequencies complement certain light frequencies. They spun together, disco dancing on the floor all alone while everyone watched, and if he shut off all the lights except for this one certain frequency, then one paint would show up, and when he switched lights, another would appear.
“So Alexander Pearl painted those walls, in that big empty box with the lowish ceiling, and he painted that lowish ceiling, too, and when it got good in there, when it got hot and the music had crawled in through your noise, and your own seat was hugging you close, he would jam the lights close BANG and it would be pitch black, the blackest cause there weren’t any windows, and then he’d flick his secret light, that science light he’d whipped up to dance with magic paint on the wall, and then the next light, and then the next and we were all everywhere, all at once.
“Oh, it was a good trick. Alexander knew lots of good tricks.
“Still going on, y’know. That party. Both full bloom and swing. It is a swingin’ party, Little Aleppo. I haven’t been a while. Dunno if I’ll be back. Last time I slid through, I didn’t recognize anyone. I heard Marti Martini married a professor, lives in Ann Arbor now.
“I hope Fantastic Barbara is still there, and hope she’s still beautiful and all the lights are shining on her. I also kinda hope she’s not.
“You need to know when to leave the party.
“Party’s just getting started here on the Frankie Nickels show on KHAY–Hey!–107.7 all the way up top your radio dial, where you know I got you. Time has you. Oh, does time have you. But I got you. We can dance together, if you want.
“We’ll be right back.”