The nostalgia was so sharp and so strong today.
I was walking East on Sunset to meet my friend for lunch at the Rainbow when I passed a group of teenagers asking for spare change. I saw their smiles and tired eyes and then I smelled it. Hangover sweat: sweet and rancid, rotten chemical residue escaping through the pores, releasing poison.
I smelled it and then I felt it, and suddenly I was nineteen standing on the pavement outside of a club in Hollywood wearing a lot of makeup and something kind of sleazy. I felt it, like I used to feel it: confused and thrilled and bored all at the same time. Smoking cigarette after cigarette. Then later I remembered the drugs. Fondly.
I remember being at a club at the Park Plaza Hotel by MacArthur Park (it’s that big beautiful old hotel that was in the first scene of Wild At Heart) with Paige and her boyfriend Tony. We were all on ecstasy and I just wanted to touch, to kiss, to be held tight, and rubbed. I was wearing a short dress and stockings and boots. Tony was sitting on the floor against the wall on the landing. Paige and I were standing, swaying, watching people come up the stairs and everything was in slow motion and stop-action. People vanished into the dance area. It was huge. We didn’t care about anything.
I sat down next to Tony. He saw the top of my stocking and an inch of bare skin and asked what I was wearing. I raised my dress a little to show him and he said “you’re a bad girl, aren’t you?”
Tony motioned for me to sit in front of him Paige was right there. She looked at us, looked up. Dazed. Smiling slightly. I turned to face Tony and he kissed me and it was the most amazing kiss and I was so turned on, all I wanted to do was sit against him with his arms around me and feel his fingers sliding down the inside of my stocking and out again, his nails sharp on my inner thighs.
But Paige was there and she was one of my closest friends. I reached up for her hand and pulled her down so her ear was by my mouth. I asked her if she minded what was happening. I told her nothing more was going to happen. Nothing beyond what could happen on the red carpet of the Park Plaza Hotel with hundreds of people milling around. She smiled at me.
“Nikki, I don’t care,” she said and stood up and walked away. I found out later she was grateful for this reprieve. She wanted to search for her own fresh distraction.
Tony and I played and kissed and touched on that landing against the wall. We were high as hell and all I could see was red carpet and that amazing staircase and a lot of feet walking around and I felt the fucking bass, the hiphop. I was sinking into everything I touched and he was so sexy and he was kissing me like he was starving for it. I remember his mouth hot against mine and his tongue, teeth, lips.
I opened my eyes and looked at him and his pupils were so big I couldn’t see the irises.
All I saw was black.
Nikki Thomas was born and raised in Los Angeles. She was a straight A student who couldn’t follow the rules and spent as much time in the principal’s office as in the library. At university she opted not to join a sorority and instead filled her free time cruising Hollywood bars and parties, hooking up and getting down. Nikki is a bad girl with a heart of gold. These are her stories — consider it our Monday treat for you.