Friday the 13th and a full moon, arriving on the same date.
Work was every bit as strange as you would think it would be and more. Worse than you would imagine, and I was stuck in it all day, working with out of whack psychiatric patients who were going through addiction withdrawal. Check your dictionary under the phrase 'Dante'. I finally bailed out about 4:30pm and came home to rest for a few minutes before going down to the Catwalk [http://www.the-catwalk.net/] for the 'Bloodbath'.
Hehehehehe. I gotta share this little story first. A few days ago Al was down coordinating schedules and stuff with the Catwalk staff and the goth crowd that was scheduled to do some performance the same night. Same theme, right? 'Bloodbath'. The goth folks told Al proudly that all the blood they used in their performance would be fake blood. He told them that they could pick up 5 gallons of cow's blood at the butcher shop for $7.50... at which point the spokesgoth told him, "Oh, no, three of my Dark Angels are vegetarians". Hehehehehe.
Anyway, we continued to gather through the evening, a motley crew. Al D [http://www.piercingeducation.com] was directing all the action, with redhairedboy assisting. Panther was there, along with Derek and Viktor and Annika. James from www.nawashibari.com was there handling the rigging - and his lady Gwen had a lady friend of her own who was almost as cute! Kevin was my second and had the video cam, and quite a herd of others were around. Kevin, a former seminarian, was cute in his roman collar with a bright crimson cross on his back. Unfortunately the video camera died, no fault of Kev's, and we'll have to get still photos from the many photographers who were there. I'll try to post some in the future when I get them.
There was a volunteer make-up crew who got just about as creative as possible. I had them give me a topknot braid to keep my long hair out of the piercings, along with a mask over my eyes just like in the Gatewood photo and my beard was even gummed down into a couple of spikes. I had on a beaver-tooth necklace that Al gave me some time ago that is special to me, and a 12" porcupine quill through my nasal septum piercing. Everyone else was just as outlandish - Panther had multicolored glitter eye shadow and a feathered piercing needle stuck down the middle of her forehead. Stephanie was gorgeous, with jeweled beaded tears going down her cheek. Everyone was stripped to the waist or to panties, all wearing black and the ladies by club rule with black liquid latex painted over their nipples.
Al had arrived at 2pm and turned the back room into a clean piercing parlor. He had sterile trays set up with everything necessary for our scenes, all the gloves and cleanser and so forth. An area in front of the stage about 25' square was roped off for our work, and two cages were on 4' pedestals for Annika and another fellow to do their blood dance.
Just before we all presented ourselves, Annika and her dance partner were each placed in their individual cages, one on either side of the roped off area. They were both mummified in roller gauze, and had miniature ophthalmic scalpels, itsy-bitsy little blades, hidden in their hands. They started dancing throughout our displays and gently stroked themselves, the hidden scalpels scratching themselves through the gauze and the blood gently showing through the stark white gauze.
When it came time for our main performance to start we paraded onto the stage, those of us to be pierced and the tray holders. Six of us were to be pierced for the first vignette. Al, myself, Stephanie, redhairedboy, Panther, and R, another professional piercer. We all had 8ga 3" fishhooks set in our backs over the shoulder blade. I roared of course, letting out The Beast... it's my standard when I'm pierced and it feels SO cathartic. There was about an 8' loop of parachute line threaded in the hooks and we took our places. The six of us were in a circle facing out with a 10" steel circle in the middle, out in the roped off area in front of the stage. All of our parachute lines were looped through the steel circle and then a round cushion was placed on it. Redhairboy's girlfriend, the slight young thang who rode the buffalo skulls when Steph dragged them [http://www.janesguide.com/slutdiary/july00/july31-00.html], was carried out and placed on the cushion. Derek, Viktor, and a couple of others were outside our circle to guide us. We carefully walked out until she was lifted up off the ground a foot or so and then we slowly - and ever so carefully - walked clockwise until we had carried her in a full 360. The lateral walk was difficult in itself, scooting cross-step much harder than a straight ahead pull and all direct effort rather than the mechanical advantage of a pulley. It was made more difficult as well by the fact that we were walking in literal puddles of kerosene left by the fire act that had proceeded us.
The load lowered to the ground, we were all cut free and we departed the stage. Backstage everybody heaved a sigh of relief at finally having started. Flesh had been pierced, blood was flowing, and the first load lifted, all went well. Everyone survived intact. Many hugs and kisses and high fives, and the mood was high. Endorphins had a tad bit to do with that, I would suppose.
It had really worked for me at one point to look out into the dark crowd standing around us when we were step-stepping clockwise and I saw - curiously highlighted by a random light in the bleak smoky club - a friend, KSlave, gazing at us hungrily and shuddering in apparent orgasm. It looked like it worked even better for her than it did for us, and a higher compliment could not be offered.
Some folks need to read their invitations a bit better. I don't think there was any doubt what sort of evening this was to be, and anyone fighting their way through the crowd - all much more outlandishly dressed than we - should figure it out by the time we got to the stage. At any rate the club manager came to us a bit apologetic and said that some folks were complaining that "that lady in the cage has blood too close to us". Our first response was, "Well, step back away, fool!". They'd actually been out there long enough, though, and we brought them on back and started staunching their hemorrhages.
About 20 minutes later Al, R, and Stephanie went back out on stage. Al & R set Steph's large hooks in her back - these things are damn near the diameter of your pinky finger and about 15" long. Al had his cheeks skewered by a pair of 6" 16ga shish-ka-thingamabobs on stage [several folks already had theirs pierced backstage, just for decorations]. Al, R, redhairboy and myself were then hooked up to the rigging for Steph's hooks. Her hooks were attached directly to a yoke, which was roped up through a pulley and down to a couple of carabiners, where the lines from the hooks in our backs were looped. In unison we held hands and the four of us advanced as far towards the crowd as we could, about 20', then down to kneeling position, pulling Steph up into mid-air where she slowly spun. I didn't look back, but the noise of the crowd was appreciative and they must have had her doing an entire flying kata or something, we held the position so darn long.
We eased Steph on back down to the ground, disengaged our lines, and we all proceeded off stage one last time to a nice round of applause from the onlookers.
Backstage many careful hugs and kisses were exchanged again, and we all began getting dehooked and bandaged. Some of us bled and some not. I had even taken an extra aspirin in the morning just to help the blood flow and yet next to nada, but we were holding pressure and applying pressure dressings to Annika for close to an hour. Luckily there were about 30% of our little group with medical training, background, or experience. Each of us more or less got a chance to practice our favorite bandaging technique on someone.
There was a calming down period, greeting well wishers and getting dressed and watching KSlave continue to shudder. I wrapped my hooks up for my altar [actually, I hang my hooks from the large framed photos of each event on the wall over my altar], put away that darn porcupine quill that had been poking everyone that I hugged or kissed, and I schmoozed my way out to the door and the street and Kev brought this weary pagan on home for the night.
Someone asked the other day how the full moon and Friday the 13th would affect plans for the night. I think it was as appropriate as could be.
Finishing this account up the next morning, I just have to say that it was the professionalism of so many folks who made this happen so safely and so well. Al, his fine apprentice redhairboy, R, James, our doctor, nurse, and paramedic friends, and all the many other friends and lovers who all came together. We were able to share something normally only done for and within family to the masses. Yes, it was a 'performance' in a dark, and dreary cavern for a crowd who may or may not appreciate it. Yes, it was showy and shocking and dramatic, but speaking for myself and many of those involved with whom I've spoken, it was still a deep personal and spiritual experience for each of us. Each in our own ways, for our own purposes, it was an important growth and learning and bonding experience. We drew strength from each other, we fed each other, we supported each other, and it was a Good Thing. I'm looking forward to what life brings next.
And life is good.
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