I'm back in typing shape today, so in honor of this most spooky of holidays, I thought I'd share something scary that happened to me a few years back. This is not for the faint of heart, so quit reading now if you're not in the mood to be seriously spooked. Don't say I didn't warn you...
One fateful night in the fall of 2002, when I was still but a newbie NY'er, I made my first trip to CBGB, New York's historical home of all things punk rock. I was almost inordinately excited...this was the home of The Ramones, the Talking Heads...and finally, after years of dreaming about it, there I was. I was ecstatic. A friend's band took the stage, I had a few beers, everyone was having the best time...
And then...it happened.
I had to use the bathroom.
The stairs down into the ancient, dank basement creaked beneath me as I descended toward the ladies' room. The temperature dropped noticeably, and I shivered. I took comfort in the band stickers pasted all around me, and the graffiti scrawled and carved on the walls. So many faithful rock fans had passed here before me...surely I was safe. Nothing could happen to me here...could it? So why this feeling of dread in my belly? Some visceral part of my being sensed danger here, where there should be none.
I reached the bathroom door, pushed it open slowly, cautiously...peering in, I realized I had been holding my breath. I took a couple of tentative steps inside, when the door suddenly SLAMMED behind me. The noise made me jump, and draw in my breath with surprise. And then...the horror ensued.
I was met with a stench profane enough to knock a pig off a shit truck at 500 yards. My gorge rose, and I staggered back as if punched, nearly losing my balance altogether. I heard splashing as I stumbled, and my terrified gaze was drawn down to the floor. I was standing in an inch plus of yellowish muck...my sneakers were partially immersed, and I could already feel the warmish liquid soaking into my socks. I opened my mouth to scream, but there was no sound.
I stood, frozen in terror, mouth agape, eyes bulging. It was a cold, dark night...I was alone, far from home...and I was standing ankle-deep in a giant puddle of punk-rocker piss, and god knows what else.
I couldn't run, or even move, for fear that the watery goop covering the floor would splash up and cover me with its oozing foulness. You know those nightmares where you're trying to escape from something that's chasing you, but your legs feel like cement and you can't get away? It was just...like...that.
Just then, the stall door at the far end of the bathroom banged open. I caught but a glimpse of the monster that emerged...easily six and a half feet tall, with bright blue hair and a preponderance of facial jewelry, it seemed to be adjusting something in its genital region. It looked up and met my eyes for the briefest of moments, and then rushed straight toward me.
Finally, the enormous scream stuck in my chest emerged, long and piercing. The monster was momentarily caught off guard and stopped in its tracks. My survival instinct kicked into full gear. I turned and ran, not even noticing the huge splashes of fetid glop stirred by my pounding footfalls. I threw open the door, bounded up the stairs, through the crowd, and straight out the door onto the street. After that, I remember very little. My friends, following my wet, smelly footprints, tell me that they found me some thirty minutes later, shivering in a doorway down the block. Evidently I was still wide-eyed and babbling, semi-coherent...All they could understand clearly was, "it's okay I can hold it...I can hold it...don't make me go in there..."
So if you ever have occasion to visit New York City, and you're inclined to come to CB's for a show...mark my words:
PEE BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE.
What did you expect, some scary encounter with my dead grandfather or something? Come on now...
Happy Halloween, chitlins!