(Note this is a reader-contributed story. Yes, we actually read what you guys send to us, and are more than likely to post it here. So if you have a great story to tell about the good ole days, then send your submissions in.)
The South Jersey Expo Center is 102,000 square feet of arena wasted primarily on sports and the like. But on the weekend of Friday, May 28. there was a much different event taking place Whistle 2, one of the biggest electronic music events ever. Break-beat, the paradigm for techno music, would probably account for at least half the performances. The remaining sets would include everything from speed garage to ambient, from trip-hop to house. All forms of electronica, but all so different through a trained ear. All these different styles under one roof, and to be so close to home; well that just couldn’t be a coincidence, and we were going to take full advantage of it.
Booya is probably the one dude that has been by me all of my high school career. He’s a rotund Asian-Indian kid with a large, Indian-looking hoop in each ear and a large silver barbell through the tip of his tongue (which he naively flaunts by sucking on it out loud and obnoxiously banging it up against the back of his teeth). I was avoiding class one day and he came barreling down the hallway, hoops and appendages flying all over the place, waving a piece of paper in the air.
“This is it, dude man! We need to be at the South Jersey Expo Center at ten o’clock this Saturday.”
“Why, man?” I replied, in a frightened and curious voice.
“I told Trav about it already. There’s a huge rave man, five domes. That’s a lot of domes man.”
I got pretty stoked. I had been a little distressed lately, so I was badly in need of a party like this. A party with five big-ass rooms, each of which had around an eight DJ lineup. That’s a lot of DJ’s. And big-named DJ’s, too not just the usual run-of-the-mill table men.
From prior occasions, big groups had proven to be unenjoyable. We decided it would be booya, Travis, Billy Pod, and me that were deserving of such a festival. This would be kept on the down-low because a certain couple of kids had tendencies to follow us to things like this. But it was these same kids that had driven us to those events. I was the only one of us that had a car; however, the DMV of New Jersey had gracefully dubbed me an unfit driver for the second time, so my driving was out of the question. But I figured, “Hell, one of ya’ll can drive my whip, man!” So that was it, Trav was hit with the driving privileges. He was a fit driver.
Travis is on the skinny side, the really skinny side, but he’s as hard-core as they come. He’s been a self-proclaimed DJ for about a year or two, but doesn’t rub it in though. He’s real modest about stuff like that. His defining characteristics would have to be the little metal ball right under his lower lip and his strange ability to dance like no other. And he’s lactose intolerant, which does affect his daily life.
Now, in the area of our supplies we had to acquire certain necessities one would need in order to attend such a fiesta. Six hits of ecstasy and an assortment of powders and plants was our goal. This was a reasonable recipe for keeping four guys on their toes for a good seven hours. Now these things aren’t vital to the “fun-factor” of a good dance party, nor does the rave scene revolve around them, but they do keep you dancing. We also needed water, lots and lots of water; you tend to get a little dehydrated after dry-humping random people on the dance floor for such extended periods of time.
The day came and my mother decided to take my car keys and disappear for the evening. “Dammit!” I said as Trav pleaded with his father for permission to use his really old Volvo, a 78 Volvo to be exact. Permission was granted and it came time to pick up Billy Pod, so we did that. Billy Pod was probably the biggest raver of our crew; he had all the connections one would need to be baptized into the club culture. He’s the quiet type, the guy that does’t say anything until you get to know him, and then you realize he’s the funniest person you’ve ever met. And to add to the bias one might already have of him, he had his nipples pierced also.
Anyway, we pick him and his many liters of water up and find ourselves at some girl’s apartment. We spent like two hours chilling there waiting for someone to find her damn ferret, which ate up a substantial part of our night. Travis freaked out and made use of a half-pint of vodka, intoxicating himself all over the place. Billy followed the example for no real reason at all; he’s just funny like that. So now I was supposed to drive. Cool.
We got bored of waiting around for some stoned ferret to come out of a hole in the wall, so we made other arrangements; picked up Vid, who soon after, decided he should also follow this precedent of leaving Jay to be the designated-driver-with-no-license. We got more water, which was superfluous at this point considering the amounts that Billy Pod had brought along, and got on the road. It was on the road that I realized that this antique of a car was lacking in some vital areas. There was no radio to be found, but that problem was easily solved by convincing my companions to sing, though I’ll admit I too did my fair share of singing,too.
As it got dark I noticed the panel lights weren’t on. “Trav, how do I turn on the lights for the console?”
“Oh, they only work every once in a while,” he replied as nonchalantly as a person could.
“What? That’s the most retardedest thing I’ve ever heard man.”
“My bad yo. You think we should walk?”
Billy, deciding to be helpful, said, “I got some glowsticks man.”
“Sure that’ll do the trick… shutup!”
“I got a flashlight-type of thing too,” he added.
Well that was something we could use, and in fact we used it good, real good. Whoever was up front had the duty of holding the soft-blue fluorescent bulb where I could see how many miles Travis father had driven since 1978 and more importantly how fast I was going. That was turning out to be the least of our real concerns though. The car was starting to smell rubbery, like that smell when you know you’re pushing your car to its very limit. I couldn’t get the needle any further down than fifty-five. We were behind schedule too.
Out of nowhere, I-95 decided to be a dead end and after crossing the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border for the third time, I figured we were lost. I started to believe that the guy that put these directions on the internet either had something seriously wrong with him or he was a really smart asshole.
“I think the guy that made these directions had a drug problem,” I said waiting for some response. I didn’t get a response, just silence. Actually, I got one of those really long, embarrassing silences cut-off by something totally random and that are only painful because you thought you were saying something incredibly funny.
“Yo, Vid’s asleep man,” I heard someone whisper to those of us that were still awake and thinking about how embarrassed we were.
“Well then do something funny man,” the other voice replied, “stick something in his ear or something man.”
“AAAAAHH! What the fuck man! Spread out!”
The car had a laugh and then it got quiet again except for Billy who still insisted on singing. I was getting overwhelmed with all this driving and still no ruckus. We had no clue where we were, and we all knew it until Vid spotted a couple of kids that didn’t look too threatening. So we decided to stop.
“Hey man, how do we get to Route 7?” Vid asked.
“Can we get a ride?”
“Sure, why not,” I blurted, assuming that they were no threat and knowing we could easily take them if they got out of hand. And with that they climbed in and took up what little room we had to spare.
“Yeah man, we’re just walking back to my car. The cops man, they just arrested us yo. Can you believe that?”
“Took my glass too,” the other hoodlum added. “So where are you guys going?”
booya continued the conversation. “We gotta get to the South Jersey Expo Center Man, and I think we only-”
“You guys are going to Whistle 2? I got a couple of buddies that are there man,” said the one guy that had his bowl taken.
“We’re tryin man, but we don’t know where we are.”
“Guys,” he said in a voice that warned us our night was about to get worse, “they’re sold out, man.”
There was a communal groan, and we dropped these hoodies off at their ride. What an awful happening. booya was chastised for not telling us we could’ve bought tickets ahead of time. We started to head home.
So we knew how to get there, but the doors had closed by now and we would’ve needed tickets anyway. “Whatever man, I still had fun,” I said as I realized we still needed to get home. I decided not to bring this up in fear of receiving the same castigation booya got.
As exhausted as I was, I kept driving, in the general direction of north. The posse had quieted down and I think I was the only one awake when we reached the bourough of Princeton. I really had no clue of what to do with everyone, and cared even less. I remembered that a friend of ours had his house to himself for the weekend. When they woke up I’m sure they were surprised to find themselves still in the car parked outside of our friend Eric’s house. Whatever their feelings when they woke up, I was just happy that it was all over. I decided that was the last rave I’d be going to, or trying to go to, for quite a while.