o. OK. It was my first year in Brooklyn—I was a freshly minted (nearly bucktoothed in a black blazer) adult living on 18th St. and 4th Ave. in Brooklyn with my best friend from boarding school.
(If you can’t remember what it felt like to get your first apartment, rented with your money; to furnish it—horribly and with great joy—with mismatched sofas and chairs plumbed from the basements of parents and blousy aunts and dust-choked thrift shops and gaze around with a wrenching pride and think, this is my goddamn castle! I suggest you revisit these memory shoals because that feeling was some powerfully heady shit.)
What I am trying to say is that I was 24 years old and we’d gotten into what were known then as Danger Parties. A friend of a friend of a friend would throw these giant, definitely dangerous and likely illegal parties in blown-out warehouses in east Brooklyn thrumming with costumed freaks and climbable art and drunken bands and shadowed sex and they were huge—sometimes sprawling across 3 or 4 floors.
They’d email us at 9 PM the night of the party so we knew where to go and what password to use. It was $20 to get in, which at the time, was a small fortune just to enter a building to sweat on one another.
So. It’s Halloween and I’d decided to forgo my previously unwavering commitment to dressing up as “something scary” and I was dressed as a unicorn. (In my defense, which I realize is hard to believe given their ubiquity now, but in 2009 no one gave a shit about this equine mythical beast. It was a moderately interesting costume choice.)
The point is, we’re dressed up to the nines; I’m in 6-inch, gold-glittered platform wedge shoes — very hoof-like—a hot-pink minidress, a long pink tail, and crowned by a giant gold horn fashioned from a sweatband, construction paper and a jar of glitter.
(I was teaching nursery school at the time. I think my best pal was dressed as a come-hither vampire. She’s always been a classy bitch you know?)
So we’re high on swag pot and medium-end vodka purloined from the bodega; we’ve mixed it with cranberry juice and filled up Vitamin Water bottles with this concoction so as to swill in a non-conspicuous nature on the subway. We’re laughing and tumbling on one another, climbing giant spiderwebs and smoking bowls in glowing tents and crawling in the muck of hallways screaming Katie! Katie! back and forth (her name is also Katie) and dancing and drinking and drinking and dancing until we’re so sweaty and exhausted and hot and full of pee and have waited way too long to even consider the line to the bathroom, so we grab hands and say, “let’s go find a shadow!”
Which is code for, “let’s go find a kind of hidden place outside to pee.”
So we burst through the double doors with those big metal hinges that make that huge scraping sound and clip-clop our way through the jittering street-lamps, and tuck ourselves between two cars.
I lower down, bracing myself on the rear-bumper of the car and let loose a torrent of yellow pee that rivulets its way down the street. Katie is done and she’s looking at the horizon, tucking her whipping hair from her flushed face; she’s pursing her lips in satisfaction, in brief repose.
I lift my underwear with a beastly bellow and grasp my tail — a long pink pashmina I’ve pinned to my rear-end — and spin it above my head like a demented cowgirl.
Stores winces and slaps at her face as hot urine, loose gravel, and gutter-grit spray across her again and again as I continue to scream and twirl my tail in abandon — eyes blissfully squinted closed for concentration.
“Tandy!” She screams stumbling backwards, hands raised like I’ve dealt a physical blow—your tail! Your TAIL!”
I laugh and laugh and try and wipe her face with my hands, before offering to let her wack me with my filthy tail. “I think it went in my mouth.” She spits and sighs in mock horror.
She half-heartedly beats me with my tail and it feels like a coronation.
We roll a spliff until we’re shaking from the cold and head back inside, arm in arm, smelling like a pair of old cats.