Crazy Friend, ii :: Rock You Like a Hurricane
It was like nothing I’d experienced before.
No. The few times I had smoked weed, it had been smoother. Warmer. Its earthy scent had enveloped my body and calmed the rough edges of my ragged silhouette.
But a cigarette? Why? Why, oh, why, would anyone enjoy this, I thought. It tasted like the ass of a python.
We decided to take a photo of my virgin act. We positioned ourselves in front my self-timing camera — a going away present from my father — and posed like goth sisters ready for a rave. My eyes look so bugged out, one could almost think I were stoned. But no, it was merely the nicotine desperate to escape my body and fling itself against the hoarfrost windowpane.
“We should go out,” my new roommate announced. “See if there’s a club or something. I need a beer.” She had a doleful way of speaking, as if the heel of a steel-toed boot tamped down every word.
A beer? Not a bad idea. We were, after all in Germany, and there wasn’t a drinking age. We were both twenty.
It was midnight. We’d been awake for over twenty-four hours. We had no idea where we were, much less where to go. Google maps didn’t exist. Hell, Google didn’t exist. And Siri? She was nothing more than a Hershey bar in her father’s back pocket.
“Shit!” she said as we heard the door to the Gasthaus lock behind us. She clawed inside her coat pockets.
“I’ve got a few Deutsch marks on me, if you left yours in the room,” I offered.
“No. I’ve got cash. I forgot my fucking cigarettes.”
I handed her the room key attached to a piece of plastic so large that it could have lost us before we’d lost it, and waited for her under trees coated with a two-inch layer of ice.
She reentered the frigid air and released a long, slow stream of smoke. “It’s this way,” she said, as if she’d lived on the block all her life.
We walked and walked, no words exchanged. From time to time, she offered me a drag from her cigarette. I declined.
After a time, we turned a corner and found a crowd of people standing under a citrus yellow street lamp. They looked a lot like us — black hair, platinum hair, black clothing, thick black boots, and blood-red lipstick. Their faces, pasty white. A neon sign, “Amerika Hier,” flickered above the door to the establishment.
“This looks good,” she said. “Let’s try it out.”
She pushed her way through the crowd of smoking, drinking, cajoling Germans and held the door open for me to enter first.
My eyes had to adjust to the atmosphere — darker than it was outside — and yet the whole room was white. White with smoke. I could barely make out the bar, and in the center of the room was a sunken dance floor with a DJ. I recognized the song from high school: Ratt‘s “You’re in Love.”
Great, I thought. I’ve traveled half way around the world to watch Germans headbang to five-year-old heavy metal.
My roommate — I’ll call her Lindsay — jabbed me in my side and offered me a beer the color of urine.
“Are you sure you want to stay?” I yelled over the stadium-theatre sound system.
“Yeah,” she replied. “Go request a song from the DJ. I’ll hold our spot.”
I thought she was mad. Crazier than a Minnesota loon. She nodded toward the DJ booth where there was a line of nubile girls waiting to put in their song request.
I couldn’t hear another song by Ratt or Def Leppard or Poison. But, I could hear something from the Scorpions — the heavy metal band of the 80s that had inspired more than one passionate rollick in the back of a Chevy Blazer. And, better yet, they were German!
The DJ looked at me, thinking I was the same as the others requesting a heavy metal love ballad in hopes of coaxing their German boyfriends into more than a knife fight after hours.
In my thick, Wisconsin/German accent, I asked, “Haben Sie Scorpions?”
A smile broke across his face, revealing a set of iceberg shaped teeth.
“Ich will “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” I said in not so proper German. And not so polite German. “Bitte,” I added, hoping to erase my inept rudeness.
“Ok, Ami. Rock You, for you.”
I returned to Lindsay, my underarms wet with nervous perspiration and slugged down the piss-warm beer. The first bars of my song request began to play.
Far, far away from my small American village, populated with more bovines than humans, I suddenly felt, for the first time in my life, at home.
“Can I have a cigarette?” I asked.
Lindsay handed me her whole pack, and Ratt’s “You’re in Love” began to drown out my favorite Scorpions’ song.
© 2013 Lisa Rainwater