Wrongdaddy’s by Alex Wennerberg

After walking from another bar at 12:45 AM, Ben, with Sidney, Leela, Emily and Kyle, handed his driver’s license to an employee behind a black counter, then walked inside Wrongdaddy’s. Nearly every surface in the dimly lit bar was black and punctuated by bright, wildly traveling dots of colored light. The dance floor and elevated, smaller dance floor, was on the east side of the room, with a large area of no dancing separating them from the bar. The fast-moving bartenders wore brightly colored clothing that glowed under black lights. “Do you wanna go dance?” asked Emily. “One sec,” said Ben. The room was crowded and Ben had to touch people in order to get from most places to most other places. In the bathroom someone said, “If you remember what you did five minutes ago, you should go back to Dukum” to his friend and Ben gazed at graffiti. He heard muffled rap music bass loudly playing through the walls. He went back to the room and found Emily and two other people dancing in a vague circle on the dance floor. Music pulsed loudly filling the air like a large, invisible heart. He jumped up and down and held the back of his head with his right hand and closed his eyes. After an amount of time, he noticed that Emily wasn’t there anymore and that he didn’t know any of the probably dozens of people within his field of vision. He felt as though he had “lost himself” in the music in a manner that was maybe anxiety inducing or maybe good and felt his body tingle a little. He thought about how music was a physical thing, and he was a physical thing, which made them the same, because of waves, or something. He walked around the bar dancing more to the music and hopping until he saw Leela and Sidney, whom Ben was probably closer with than anyone else at the bar. He asked with open excitement, “How’s it going?” Sidney said, “This place is terrible.” Leela said something and Ben responded automatically. He sat down and looked at the people on the dance floor moving up and down approximately to the beat of the music. He watched a guy approach a girl from behind, grinding his hips on her before she looked from side to side and walked forward, then towards other people. One of Ben’s friends, Kyle, performed this maneuver, more tentatively and slightly arched over, on a few girls. Ben watched long haired people’s hair move anarchically as they danced. Periodically the smoke machine spat out a clumsy blob of smoke which expanded through the room, then disappeared. Ben saw Jennie on the elevated portion of the dance floor and texted her “I see u,” in response to a text she sent twenty minutes ago saying Wrongdaddy’s was lame. A few minutes later he found himself talking to Leela about the high school they both attended. “I was a huge nerd in high school” “Me too” “I didn’t even have my first kiss until I was in college. I just did school,” she said with an emotion Ben understood but couldn’t categorize. Ben said something in agreement while Leela said something else about high school. She talked fast and with a lot of hand movement. Ben looked at the lint on his clothing, which glowed under black light and made him very uncomfortable, or maybe excited. At some point they became separated and Ben found Emily. They went onto the elevated dance floor and said hi to Kyle, who replied in a loud monotone. Music filled the spaces in the conversation. Kyle said something, which Ben ignored. He found Jennie and said hi. She talked close into his right ear, so her cheek was close to his cheek and her hair, if she didn’t brush it back before leaning forward, which she didn’t usually, was in his face, tickling a little. A few people danced in his peripheral vision. Jennie said he should probably unfriend on Facebook her friend Austin, who was “an asshole” according to Leela, Sidney and Emily, and was posting on several of Jennie’s friends’ facebook walls asking about their penis size. Ben said he had already unfriended him earlier. “Good,” said Jennie. They talked a bit more until Ben ran into Emily, who asked if he wanted to do a shot. “Sure,” he said, and they started walking through people and around black tables made of metal grating towards the bar. While walking he thought about how a hundred years in the future or past, everyone in the room would be dead. Emily started getting out her wallet, and Ben said “No. It’s on me.” And handed her a $5 bill, reaching over a stranger, saying that she should buy “whatever she could” with that money. Ben stared at the sentence “I’m not slurring my words, I’m just talking in cursive” written on a mirror behind the bar and heard the music, which played like something falling over. Emily said she knew the bartender so she could get a pretty good deal, and they both drank pink-ish liquid which was very sweet while Ben watched Emily’s banter with the bartender. The walked a few feet towards Sindey and Leela, squeezed together around a crowd of people. While talking, they moved out of the way three or four times for employees trying to get into the bar before moving somewhere else. Ben started dancing and Leela danced very close to Ben, which severely confused him, especially as he stopped and stood still, rubbing and blinking his eyes. His vision was distorted and alien in a way that felt maybe comedic. Ben said hi to Jennie and they talked for a while. He asked Emily where Leela and Sidney went. “I think they went home,” she said. “Are you sure? What if they went to Geno’s” “No they were talking about going home.” They walked to the bar, where Jacey pointed at him and made a sound that communicated that she was going to buy him a $1 shot. He took the shot and failed to approximate with his hands how much he drank this night. “Did Leela and Sidney leave?” Ben asked Emily. “Yeah, I think so.” Music surrounded him like something soft. A few minutes later they left the bar, and Ben took Emily to his house, where she was going to stay in his roommate’s bed, where they talked, before Ben declared that he was going to walk to Sidney’s house to see Leela and them. He locked the front door and walked five blocks to Sidney’s house and entered without knocking. He said hi to Miranda, who was sober, on her laptop in a small chair, Leela, who was lying with her eyes closed on a loveseat-sized couch and Sidney, who was on top of her, with their arms and heads intertwined. Leela mumbled something and Sidney laughed. Sidney said something about how she felt good and pushed marijuana into a glass pipe with her thumb. Ben laid on the ground, his face into a pillow, watching and listening to whatever was on the TV, and his arms and legs spread out in a starfish-like manner. He read Kyle’s tweet about how he was sad that he felt sexually unattractive and hadn’t had sex in six months. Ben woke up two hours later, at 3:30 A.M., to a room empty except for Leela: curled up into a semi-fetal position, lying on the loveseat-chair, in a red cardigan, twenty-three years old and asleep. He stood up, used the bathroom, walked five blocks back to his house, poured himself a glass of water, texted Jennie and went to sleep.

Alex Wennerberg wants you to play on his Minecraft server 24.107.95.93

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