This better be worth it. This better be worth it. This better be worth it.
This was all Melanie thought as she stood in line outside the club. It was a chilly October night and while her wool jacket did a decent job of keeping her torso and thighs warm, she was definitely starting to feel the cold in her knees and ankles. She tried hard not to think about how warm she would normally be at this time of night, watching TV in her living room underneath a blanket.
This is definitely not going to be worth it.
Underneath her jacket she was wearing her favourite black mini dress – although she wasn’t sure she could still call it that seeing as how she hadn’t pulled it out of her closet in about eight months. Eight months. That’s how long it had been since she’d gone out like this. Her friends had invited her here weeks ago and after running through several thoroughly researched excuses over the past few weekends, she knew she had reached the end of the line. She finally had to show up. So here she was, in front of the club wearing a black dress and cat ears – the ultimate Halloween cop out costume.
“Welcome to Club Tweet!” a boyish looking bouncer announced as Melanie got to the front of the line.
Behind him was another bouncer, a bigger, older, surlier one. Melanie guessed that the former was the brains of the operation while the latter was the brawn. She began pulling out her driver’s license to hand to him when the younger bouncer laughed and stopped her. A flood of thoughts instantly rushed through Melanie’s mind:
Had it really been that long? Did she no longer need ID? Was she….old?
“You must be new here” he announced a little too loudly. “We don’t need ID here at Club Tweet. Unlike some of our competitors you can really be whoever you want here.”
Melanie wasn’t sure what that actually meant so she did what she always did in this scenario – nod in fake agreement. The younger bouncer handed her a small black marker and a name tag. Clubbing sure seems to have changed. She filled out the name tag with her first name and began pasting it to her jacket when the bouncer stopped her again.
“I’m sorry but you’re actually not going to be able to use that name in here. It’s already been taken.”
“But it’s my name. And I thought you said I could be whoever I wanted.”
“Yeah but it’s just a policy thing. Someone’s already claimed it and everyone in here needs to have a unique name.” The bouncer gave her a look of empathy and handed her a fresh name tag.
Melanie decided to add play it safe this time and wrote down her full name, including her middle name which she really hated. She handed it back to the bouncer who reviewed the name tag and then looked at his clipboard. He then looked at both again before giving Melanie a sheepish grin.
“You’re never going to believe this…”
A few minutes - and name tags - later and Melanie was finally inside Club Tweet. It was loud. Really loud. Melanie couldn’t really understand the garbled auto tuned music that was being blasted throughout the room but everyone else clearly seemed to be enjoying it. The decor was mostly white with some light blue trim thrown about. Whoever designed this was clearly going for a “futuristic” look but it really didn’t work. Ironically, the club actually kind of looked like a leftover film set from the 80s. Think Miami Vice but even cheesier.
The first thing that Melanie noticed as she scoped out the club was that apparently she had filled out her name tag all wrong. Everywhere she looked she saw name tags with cool Halloween related celebrity puns like “Christopher Walken-Dead”, ”Matt Demon” and “Blake Deadly”, while her boring looking name tag simply read “Melanie Beharrie Douglass”. There also seemed to be a lot of people wearing egg costumes which she really didn’t understand. Melanie still couldn’t see her friends in the crowd and was just about to pull out her phone to try to reach them when she suddenly felt someone watching her. She looked up to see…Rick Ross?
Okay, so yeah it was just a costume but the young man wearing it was definitely committed to the part. He had what appeared to be pillows stuffed underneath his shirt, a big fake black beard on his face and a not at all realistic looking bald cap on his head.
“I’m sorry, can I help you?” Melanie said to Rick Ross.
“Do you like music?” he replied.
“Uh, yeah I guess.”
“Great! I made this mixtape that I think you should really check out. If you’re into music I’m sure you will love it. I can even spit you a little preview of what’s on it if you want.” As Rick Ross continued his sales pitch he began reaching into his shirt and fiddling with his “fat”.
Melanie was dumbfounded. Was this guy seriously asking her to buy his mixtape? Here? Now? In the club?
“It’s only ten dollars”. Rick said, smiling slightly. He pulled a fresh cd from underneath his shirt and was just about to hand it to her when –
“IT’S YOU? AGAIN?! DON’T NOBODY WANT YOUR TRASH ASS CD MAN. YOUR TAPES ARE LIKE CONSTIPATION BRUH KEEP THAT SHIT TO YOURSELF!”
Melanie could recognize that voice anywhere. That was Nia Harris. Melanie’s friends had finally found her. Nia, or “Necrota Fanging” as her name tag read, was one of Melanie’s oldest friends. Nia was always the protester of the group, a rambunctious rebel that wasn’t afraid to say how she felt – a fact that had never really changed.
“AND LET ME GIVE YOUR DUMB ASS A TIP. IF YOU WANNA SELL A RAP MIXTAPE, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T BE DRESSED IN BLACKFACE. THAT’S LIKE REALLY OFFENSIVE. I MEAN I SHOULD PROBABLY JUST SLAP YOU RIGHT NOW!”
Melanie watched Rick Ross’ confidence deflate as he quickly realized this sale was not going to happen. She couldn’t see his eyes behind his large sunglasses but his body language was certainly a lot more timid as he quietly slinked away. Melanie turned to Nia and the rest of her crew:
“Wow, thanks for coming to my rescue ladies. So is this a thing now? People are really just hawking off their mixtapes inside the club?”
Nia pulled Melanie in close and gave her a patronizing smile. The kind your parents might have given you when you asked as about sex as a kid.
“Listen Melanie. I’m sure I’m going to be saying this a lot tonight but this is Club Tweet….Hennything is possible here.”
After spending about half an hour catching up with all of her friends and another half an hour going through the obligatory ex boyfriend
bashing talk, Melanie was finally settled in. And sure, maybe it was because she was a few cocktails in but she was actually starting to enjoy herself. She had even made a new friend, one of Nia’s coworkers named Zola, who told the most amazing and entertaining stories she had ever heard. Melanie had just met Zola and was already pretty confident that her life story was going to be turned into a made-for-TV movie at some point.
It felt really good being around her old friends - almost like they were back in school again. Some big things had changed since then; Nicole had a kid now and had to leave early and both Layla and Tania were now married, but for this one night it was almost like none of that had even happened. If anything, it was the small changes that were most notable, like how some of the girls had picked up this unusual habit of repeating anything funny said in the conversation out loud in the club to no one in particular. Melanie also had to find out the hard way that she wasn’t as cool as she thought because it seemed that modern slang had evolved a lot since she last went clubbing. Apparently “washed” means tired now and “eggplant” means penis? Melanie sat there trying to wrap her head around how this worked - anatomically speaking - when her train of thought was interrupted by Nia.
“OH MY GOD! IS THAT JUSTIN BIEBER?!”
Melanie turned around at the table and sure enough, there he was. His Holy Bieberness. Well it was actually more like Justin Bieber, two bodyguards, a giant entourage and a flock of girls - but you get the point. As Bieber walked through the club to the back of the VIP section, the mob surrounding him got larger and larger. Melanie was enthralled, it was like watching a really strong magnet pickup more and more metal at a junk yard.
“Lets go over there! Maybe we can get a picture.”
Melanie wanted to protest this change of plans and yell out “HE’S JUST A PERSON!” but a quick look around the table made it pretty clear that she would be in the minority. In fact, the only person who seemed as nonchalant about this was Zola who had apparently met Bieber the Great before.
“It was a crazy night! Remind me to tell you all about it sometime. Who knows? Maybe JB even remembers me?!” Zola bragged.
The girls all grabbed their drinks and shuffled over to the edge of the VIP section. Melanie had seen people gawk at celebrities before but nothing quite like this. This was insane. Pretty much everyone within a 50 yard radius of Bieber was either talking at or about him. And while some of the people on the outer fringes of the mob were trying to remain cool about the whole thing, the ladies up front were completely losing their shit. You know those cute videos of teenage girls freaking out over meeting a pop star? It turns out that it’s a lot less cute and a lot more sad when the
girls women are middle aged and being awkwardly consoled by the man that they presumably came to the club with. So far Melanie had overheard countless marriage proposals, several graphic sexual offers and even a couple of open threesome invites thrown JB’s way.
Melanie could feel herself being pushed into the crowd as more and more people joined the mob behind them. She looked across the club and could see that the dance floor was basically empty. In fact, that whole side of the club was pretty sparsely populated. And yet here everyone was, packed in tighter than the joint that Yung Bieber was currently rolling. It reminded Melanie of when she used to keep score at her younger sister’s soccer league. The kids hadn’t really figured out the concept of spacing yet so they all pretty much crowded around the ball no matter where it went. Melanie had just about had enough when Zola leaned in:
“Let’s try to get in closer.”
Zola grabbed her hand and began pulling them deeper into the crowd. Melanie watched in awe as she contorted the both of them around dozens of people. Zola wasn’t a big girl by any means, but she certainly knew how to throw her weight around. A few nudges and calculated pushes later and suddenly both of them were right there at the front of the mob. Justin Bieber was at most 10 feet away from them.
“HEY JUSTIN! IT’S ZOLA! DO YOU REMEMBER ME!!” Zola shrieked, nearly bursting Melanie’s eardrum.
Justin did not flinch. He kept his head buried in his phone. Melanie was kind of impressed in a weird way. It takes a special kind of sociopath to be able to ignore a crowd of people screaming your name and attempting to take long distance selfies with you. One man standing next to Melanie even appeared to be giving “play-by-play” of the whole situation to someone else over the phone.
“NO, IT’S NOT BLUE. IT’S DEFINITELY MORE OF A DARK PURPLE,” he yelled over the crowd.
“OH THE PANTS? YEAH THOSE ARE BLUE. THEY’RE JUST JEANS. I THOUGHT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT HIS SHIRT,” he clarified moments later.
Melanie could feel a little bit of claustrophobia kicking in as the crowd pushed her into the man. Is this what society has come to?
“HE SEEMS TO REALLY LIKE THIS SONG. I THINK IT’S THE NEW 2 CHAINZ,” the man continued.
She could feel the nausea getting worse and immediately began fighting her way back out of the crowd.
Melanie took a deep drag of her cigarette as she stood outside the club. She turned up the collar on her coat which, once again, did nothing to help her exposed legs from the cold fall air. Melanie’s New Year’s resolution for the past three years had been to quit smoking but yet here she was. She was seriously considering just cutting her losses and moving on to another New Year’s resolution at this point. It’s too late she thought. I am what I am, and what I am is a smoker.
She watched as a black sedan parked across the street from her. Moments later the driver emerged, he was a skinny young latino man and boy did he seem furious. Melanie was sure he had a bluetooth earpiece on and was yelling at someone over the phone, but from her perspective it really did look like he was just kind of crazily arguing with himself. After a few minutes of bickering in Spanish, the young man abruptly hung up the phone. He then crossed the street and approached Melanie:
“I’m the Uber. Are you Jessica?”
“Nope, sorry. I’m Melanie. It’s the other extremely basic white name. I can see how you would get confused.”
“Well that’s unfortunate. To be honest, I would say you’re more of an Ashley but who am I to judge your parents right?”
The man turned and began retreating back across the street.
“And why exactly is it unfortunate?” Melanie cheekily yelled out after him.
The young man turned around. ”It’s just rare that I get a passenger at this time of night on weekend that isn’t a drunk mess. And one that isn’t drunk and as beautiful as you – that’s like winning the lottery type odds.”
Melanie blushed and watched as he got back into his car and slowly did a U turn. His car stopped right in front of Melanie and the young man rolled down his window.
“Hey Melanie, here’s my card. If you ever want to hang out or anything, give me a call okay?”
The young man handed Melanie his card and quickly drove off. Melanie looked down at the card:
(555) 434 6854
I GIVE RIDES ALL DAY & ALL NITE
Melanie flipped the card over to reveal its exquisite finishing touch – a high-definition photo of his sweaty, veiny penis.
As the absurdity of what had just happened washed over her, she felt a tap on her shoulder. An older gentleman and a short woman, both wearing bright pink shirts, stood behind her. They had seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
“Hi, we noticed you mentioned Uber! Well we just thought you should know that Lyft is having a Halloween special tonight. If you give this coupon to your driver, they’ll be able to give you a 20% discount on your trip. You can even use it multiple times!”
“I can’t believe he didn’t recognize me!” Zola protested.
Melanie struggled to stifle a laugh as she sipped her drink. All of the girls had finally reunited back at the bar and were trading stories about the craziness that had split them all up. Apparently Prince Bieber and his crew left the club just a few minutes after Melanie went out for her cigarette. By this point, the club had returned to its normal state and it was almost as if none of that had just happened. Zola, in particular, still couldn’t seem to comprehend that Bieber did not recognize her and as she went into her story about why he should have recognized her, Melanie completely zoned out.
She stared at the various flyers posted on a pinboard behind the bar. There were flyers for all sorts of events, a contemporary art and dance show called “TumbleArt”, a poetry show called “Snapp Fridays”, and even a weekly warehouse rave called “Cloud of Sound”. Melanie found it odd that Club Tweet would promote competing events and this apparently registered on her face because the bartender immediately came over.
“What’s up? Are you enjoying yourself?” the bartender asked. He looked about 30 something with slick brown hair and a full but well groomed beard.
“Yeah I’m okay. Sorry, I was just checking out those flyers, I didn’t mean to call you over – although faster customer service is definitely one of the few pros of my chronic resting bitch face.”
The bartender laughed.”I really wasn’t sure whether you were deep in thought or deeply pissed off. I just thought I’d play it safe.”
“Yeah, I was just thinking that it’s kind of weird that you guys promote other people’s events that compete with yours.”
“I guess it’s just part of the philosophy here at Club Tweet. We want to be the hub where people hang out and find out about cool new things. Even if that means that they go off and do those cool new things for a while. Ideally, they will remember that they found out about it here and will continue to come back and hang out.”
Melanie was impressed. ”Wow, you seem to know quite a bit about this place. Have you worked here long?”
“Yeah I guess you could say that. In a way I’ve kind of been here since day one. My name’s Jack.”
Jack offered a handshake and Melanie introduced herself.
“So is this your first time here Melanie?”
“Yup. I don’t really go out much anymore but my friends insisted I had to come check this place out.”
“And? Did it live up to the hype? Will you be back?”
“Yeah it definitely surpassed the hype in a lot of ways. I mean this place is kind of crazy. Although I’m still not sure if it’s crazy in a good way or crazy in a bad way. I’m used to going to Club Face which is a little more…tame. Hey, how come you guys don’t have any flyers for Club Face events? I mean aren’t they the biggest club in the city?”
Jack looked offended, maybe even hurt. ”We don’t just put anything on the board. It has to be something we support. And we certainly do not support Club Face. They have horrible generic music, overpriced drinks and the worst most uncool clientele in the business – what is there to support? Fuck Club Face. In fact one of our biggest goals as a club is to avoid ending up like Club Face no matter how big we get.”
Melanie could see that Jack felt pretty strongly about this so she decided to change topics.”So do you like being a bartender?”
Luckily for Melanie, someone immediately called Jack over to the other side of the bar, relieving what seemed like a thousand pounds worth of awkward tension. She turned back to her friends and could see that Zola was still telling her story. Although her stories normally felt as vivid as a movie, this one seemed to be as long as an actual film. Melanie cracked a smile as she realized the irony – normally she would be at home at around this time falling asleep to a movie anyway. She pulled out her phone to set up an Uber to take her home. The closest driver was 15 minutes away. She triple checked to make sure his name wasn’t Jesus and then booked him. As she sat there reflecting on the night a short slightly frumpy looking man sat next to Melanie at the bar.
“Hey Ashley! Or was it Jessica? Sorry it was Melanie right?”
Melanie didn’t get it. He seemed to be talking to her. Was he trying to hit on her? Be funny? Because either way he was failing.
“It’s a call back,” he explained, “you know, like back there when you were talking about super basic white girl names?”
Melanie suddenly realized what was happening. ”Have you been following me around the club? Are you stalking me?”
“Nah, I just happened to be coming in while you were away on your smoke break. Don’t flatter yourself bitch. You’re not that hot.”
Melanie turned and pretended to be really intrigued by Zola’s story.