Are We Having Fun Yet?

by Justin Mulwee (2005)

I enter the room. The dark is thick with smoke, a cocktail of various cigarette brands and illegal herbs. Each breath is hot and oppressive. Already, my only thought is getting the stench out of my clothes. Loud ambient music thwarts hope of any intelligent conversation. The room's full of white kids from suburbia, come down to my town because they've got nothing better to do, and because the police here are too busy to shut down a party for a little noise and under-aged drinking.

A growing zombie mob stands near the speakers, under a set of brightly colored lights. Others gather in tight gossip circles, and I wonder how they can recognize the silhouettes around them.

The few faces I can make out are blank. A high school boy sways back and forth with a bottle of wine in hand, entranced by the music. A girl crushes a hot cigarette beneath a red leather boot, and smears the ashes in detached boredom.

Against the back wall is a blond with a white dress. She barely moves. In the darkness I can't tell how high she is, or on what. Pale skin, fair hair, white dress—one solid color. In the dim blue lighting she looks unreal – like some kind of bleached-out doll. Party Corpse Barbie.

There's another girl. A cute little 15-year-old. Five foot nothing, with glasses and braces, taking in a lungful of cigarette smoke. She says “fuck” a lot. Her small hand, adorned with red nail-polish, pulls the cigarette away from her lips in an extravagant ladylike gesture. But I only see a child.

I wonder what draws them here. I wonder what could be in a person’s head that would make him want to empty it so completely. I wonder why, despite how much fun everyone claims to be having, I can’t help feeling like everyone is just hiding in a dark room.

Someone notices my solemn countenance. “You’re not having fun? Why not?” I guess I’m not very fun.