Disco 76

Beginning of the Heartbreak/Don’t Don’t — Love of Life Orchestra, Peter Gordon

“Now this is disco, baby!”

Dancers strut their stuff on the dance floor. Spotlights burn through the smoky haze, hit the disco ball and shatter off into a thousand directions. Crunchy bass, fluorescent synths, machine gun percussion blast from the speakers. Everybody is loving life. Everybody is on cocaine.

A tall black man at the bar is dressed in black bell-bottom jeans, black turtle neck and has a large, black afro. He’s leaning on the counter and has crossed his legs revealing mustard yellow socks coming out of his tall brown leather boots. He’s sipping a White Russian and eyeing the dancefloor. He’s searching for a woman to talk to, one with a generous bust and a big mouth to go with it. He was raised by his mother and her sisters and has always been held by the allure of a strong female figure, never quite connecting the oedipal dots.

His drink runs dry. The barman, young, white, keen to impress, catches his eye and raised hand – he signals back with his index finger, the old fashioned he is making for his current customer is not quite finished. The glass has been prepped, fat cubes of ice are waiting for the splash of bourbon atop a paste of sugar and bitters, and the rim has been rubbed with the rind of an orange. He takes a breath and gently pours the bourbon. It flows in like cherry cola. The customer watches and licks his lips, a crisp twenty dollar bill in his hand, which is thrust in the direction of the bartender as he places the cocktail in front of its recipient.

The customer tells him to keep the change, a generous tip that’s sure to see him served quickly for the rest of the night, he thinks, and throws in a wink for good measure. The bartender hurries to his next order of the night. Before taking a sip of his drink the man holds the glass to the light, just above eye level, analyzing its contents. The disco ball still spins and the lights blink on and off through the clear brown liquid. A smile breaks across his lips and he brings the glass down to mouth level. His moustache hairs are tickled by the scent of the orange. Confident in its quality, the man takes a large gulp; pauses; pauses; swallows, a large glug as he gulps it down; the click of his tongue leaving the roof of his mouth makes a clucking noise, he softly exhales as if for dramatic effect. His companion for the night watches his belly rise as he swallows, wondering at the weight of his gut with concern for her petite frame; she’ll have to go on top tonight.

She averts her gaze as his eyes return to the floor. He’s been feasting on her all night, she imagines herself to be a roast chicken in his eyes, dripping in butter with oozing juices and clad in a frail lace dress, he’d wipe his lips afterwards on a napkin made of similar material. It’s a distressing thought and one she pushes to the back of her mind, instead returning her companion’s leer with a bored stare and a slight pout. He puts his drink down and hands her a champagne flute, golden bubbles float to the surface where they burst and die. She wants to cry.

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