"Afficianado. So fashionable. With a confident swagger. International. With a game so tight that the ladies have to go 'And You Don't Stop'" - Beanie Sigel, Don't Stop (with Snoop Dogg)
I'm in a cult.
We meet regularly. We have trouble talking about anything other than the cult when we're together. We're constantly trying to recruit new members. We sweat all over each other a lot.
We have leaders. One great guru guides our way, mostly from afar, but he has many disciples and they push us as hard as they can on our personal quests for...for what? Enlightenment? Strong mind and body? Sexiness?
Each person's journey is their own.
In Studio City, there is a club. It is on the second floor of a strip mall. It has leather booths and a full attractive bar with overpriced drinks but a bartender with a heavy hand. It also has a dance floor.
On Wednesday nights, lately, it has us. And, at least for now, only us.
We members of the cult start rolling in around 10, no longer in our sweaty uniforms. We dress up. Despite the fact that we are only going to see the same people we just
worked out with worshipped with a few hours prior, we put our best feet forward. One of our instructors is spinning records here. He demands our presence so we are here.
We complain that he only plays music we can hear in class. We argue with him that he can't be calling himself a DJ if he is putting his mixes on autoplay while he dances on the dance floor with us. I complain for real. I'm serious. I want to hear something real and new and fresh. They complain in jest. In flirtation. They want him to notice them. To pay just a little more attention. To show them love.
I laugh. It is amusing to me. Besides, I am here with the MVP. We dance hand in hand, eyes locked on each other. Synchronous motion.
Except now we're not. Here he is. He pushes into our space as if I'm not even there. It's alright. It's cool. I'll dance with the other ladies while they shoot daggers at him and her. He does this to taunt his fan club. It's cool. I get it. He goes back to his records. The MVP returns to my side with a hug and a whisper in my ear.
We're all dancing in a circle. He's back on the floor with us. We're all in unison. Two girls not with us have decided to put on a show in the corner. Gyrating and grinding on each other. Grabbing in places best left for the bedroom. I, of course, crack up. While I do so, he swoops in again.
It ain't cool. Nah, it is. It's alright. I go get a drink. I mean, we're here together as friends. Nothing more. He's my friend, too, right? What's the big deal? My manhood is bruised a bit but that's just ego. She comes over and expresses concern. We return to the dance floor hand in hand.
This motherfucker does it again. Apparently, I'm looking dejected now. I've drank too many drinks to continue to wear the mask. Another woman comes up to me. She sees I have murder in my eyes. She asks if I would like to dance. I agree. She asks what's wrong.
"I'm gettin' punked out by a friend and there's nothing I can do about."
"Why not," she asks.
I don't have an answer.
The MVP and I leave. It's cold. I have my arms wrapped around her to keep her warm.
From behind I hear, "She's riding with me."
We turn to face him. She's still in my arms.
I will not be punked again.