the crowd at the Quad for Flux Pavillion

The Quad. Atlanta, Georgia. 06.10.11.

The Quad. Atlanta, Georgia. 06.10.11.

This show may or may not have inspired this flash fiction story.

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“I’m too sober for this.” Polina sighed.

“I’ve got an extra hit if you want it.” Vanessa presented a tiny ziplog bag with a powder-filled pill.

“I’m not taking molly that you bought from some rando ginger kid in the parking lot!” Polina scoffed and sipped her water.

“I wasn’t gonna buy it from that dude with meth teeth!” Vanessa chugged the rest of her water bottle.

The Quad was packed. Strobe lights flashed in unison with each song, frenetically changing colors when the bass dropped. A cloud of sweat hovered over the dancing crowd. Flux Pavillion manned his turntables. He pumped his arms to direct the sea of people — jump higher.

“Gonna run to the bathroom.” Polina squinted suspiciously at her best friend.

“I’ll stay here!” Vanessa smiled innocently.

“Damn it, V.”

Vanessa was crowd surfing. She laughed and waved to Polina. A guy in a Gumby costume and a girl dressed in a wolf headdress with a furry bikini pulled her onstage. Polina stuffed her hands into her pockets, nodding and swaying with the music.

“What the hell?!”

Polina pulled a tiny ziploc bag out of her pocket. Vanessa must’ve dropped it into her pocket before she went to the bathroom. She glanced around, popped it, and drained the rest of her water bottle.

***

“V — the universe is giving me a hug!”

“Isn’t it beautiful, Pol?”

“Colors are even brighter. Everything is in focus.”

“I can feel my skin breathing…”

“Is it weird?”

“It’s peaceful.”

“I never wanna eat.”

“If we had water gallon jugs, I could easily drink one right now.”

“Me too! Heat waves are rolling down my spine.”

“See? And you thought that ginger kid was sketchy.”

“I take back what I said. How did you know his shit was legit?”

“He lives with his grandma.”

“She finds high quality drugs for him…?”

“No, he said that she always tells him to do his best in everything he does, so he would never sell anything subpar.”

“God bless ginger kid’s grandma.”

“Amen.”

“This is the first time I’ve heard of twerking.”

“Miley’s dad must be real proud of her.” Mike laughed as he walked into his office, the one opposite mine.

“Mike, you watched the VMAs last night?!”

Mike is another one of my older white coworkers. Unlike Old Jim, he’s not clueless — he was a hippie during the Woodstock era and asks me about musicians featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered. We share stories about the best shows we’ve seen; his was Pink Floyd at Berkeley, but I haven’t been to enough to pick a favorite yet. The last thing he would ever watch is MTV, much less the VMAs.

“Nah, CNN was showing a clip on the TV when I grabbed coffee at the café.”

“Ugh, Miley is a train wreck!”

“I was wondering what kinda sick porno they were showing — I just about fell down the stairs!”

“She always says she’s twerking, but that’s not what her dancing is.”

“This is the first time I’ve heard of twerking. Is it a dance style like the Harlem Shake?”

“Yeah, the styles aren’t similar, but it is a dance style like the real Harlem Shake.”

“I take it those costumed weirdos randomly flailing in the YouTube videos weren’t doing the real one.”

“Exactly.” I paused. “If you want to see real twerking, then we should watch one of Big Freedia’s videos.”

Mike gestured to his computer. I found Big Freedia’s video for “Y’all Get Back Now” on YouTube and hit play. Mike watched curiously.

“Big Freedia is a rather big woman — buff, I mean.”

“She’s a drag queen. Her show at Terminal West was epic.”

“These folks dancing behind her –”

“Her twerk team.”

“Women and men — their moves are amazing!”

“Whatever Miley was doing doesn’t resemble this at all.”

“Why does a skinny white girl make a fool of herself trying to imitate the twerk team members?!”

“I ask myself that every time I read stories about Juicy J or other rappers putting her onstage.”

“She’s gotta know they’re laughing at her, not with her.” Mike chuckled, “Thanks for the education, Sam. We should show Big Freedia’s video to Old Jim after lunch. He’d appreciate this, for sure.”

“I don’t know what good it’ll do. He still thinks dubstep is a dance, not a genre of music.”