The Last Estate

Drugs and Health Food – The Last Estate

Drugs and Health Food

Julie invites me to Gegen. The party goes all weekend. Julie was planning to go at 6 am on Saturday to see a particular DJ spin, stay till dinner time, then go home for a while and come back Sunday. I said I’d come around 8 on Saturday. Julie said no street clothes. I asked if I could run potential outfits by her and she said of course. We didn’t talk explicitly about drugs but I can’t imagine a BDSM techno party is very fun without them. I called her and asked, what will you be on? She said MDMA. I said, ok…me too please.

Bought my ticket online. Entered the digital portal that promises entry to the otherworld portal for 25 euros (23 if you set up an account). This is a business. In some ways it’s the business that keeps Berlin pumping. The parties are the head of the business and the tentacles are multiple; fetish clothes; party drugs; fizzy bottles of yerba mate; fanny packs filled with extra socks, ketamine nose spray and protein bars; black shit kicker boots to withstand floors wet with party gravy; Ubers and Bolts to get to the venue, food trucks selling tacos and vegan borscht, security guards, coat check crew, bartenders, and DJs that play 4 hour sets on multiple floors.

Went to bed Friday night around 11, set the alarm for 7:13. Ordered a Bolt because otherwise I would have chickened out. It’s my first party. I’m 42. I am wearing black oxfords, tights, a mall-bought bikini with slits on the side and a cropped red-mesh tank that I found on my street in a give away box thinking only of future halloweens. Over the whole getup, I’ve got on my trusty ochre puffer coat. Knee length and warm, providing cover.

I get in the Bolt and we drive for 30 minutes and 33 euros to Schoeneweide. It feels like I’m headed to the airport instead of a party. Reminds me of the business trips of my past, where I’m in a cab, full makeup, hair blown out, surrounded by the scent of my own perfume and the musk of the cab. The only difference is I didn’t drink any coffee this morning. I thought it might not work well with ecstasy. My stomach is empty.  My ears are filled with Karina Longworth talking about Richard Gere in American Gigolo. I’m on my way to a party because I need release and adventure and to be less like me for a while.

The driver pulls over near a German middle class shopping plaza. This is where they buy their appliances, their foldout couches, their garden furniture. Outside it’s gray and steadily drizzling. I follow some young people to the warehouse around the corner. They let me know I’m in the right place. I’m still fearful that I won’t be let in because of my clothes or the wrong ticket or some as yet undetermined mishap.

There are guards outside chatting, sitting on bar stools. They say “ticket?” and I show them my phone. They  nod and let me through. Inside the first chamber, another guard is leaning her head back against the wall with her eyes closed. I don’t want to wake her. I walk to a check-in desk and show my ticket to another guard. He laughs at his sleeping partner, says “Saskia…Saskia…Saskia” and she finally wakes up. I walk back over to her. She gives me a wrist band, tapes stickers over the camera on my phone, and checks my bag and body for contraband. Her check is thorough. She searches every compartment of my fanny pack. Where do people hide drugs? In their shoes? In their underwear? What happens if they find drugs? It’s a place for drugs but only the drugs you can sneak in.

In the next room there’s a coat check big enough for a symphony hall. Rows and rows carefully marked with numbers. It’s a long dark room that echoes thumping music from beyond. People are disrobing on long benches in front of the coat check. They peel off sweatpants to reveal intricate leather harnesses. Chains circling naked breasts and woven through nipple rings. Net bodysuits with nothing underneath. The way skin oozes through the netted holes reminds me of ham. Ultra fat bodies and ultra thin bodies. Everybody reduced to their most risky, frisky, essential self. It’s touching. I get choked up.

I strip down to my bikini and red mesh top. I leave my tights on and as I’m entering the dance floor, a woman kindly suggests I don’t wear tights. “You don’t have to but it’s so hot in there.” I take off my tights but worry about my bare feet swelling and straining in my shoes.

Julie told me to text her when I was inside. I don’t have to because I find her right away on the dance floor. An auspicious beginning. She introduces me to Nick and Cody. I ask her if she’s been up all night and she says no way. “I got a good night’s sleep and Scott and I did a stretching routine to prepare for today.” Julie is dressed in her Jane Fonda workout best. A silver bodysuit with that 80s silhouette–cut higher than high on the sides. She’s got a printed scarf tied around her head. Its long tail swings when she thrusts.

It’s Saturday at 8:30 in the morning and I just want to forget about time. Completely forget about the world and melt into someplace else. Some place that is built from my body ecstatically responding to sound and motion. But instead I have to poop. I have to poop because this is my poop time. My body, which I have a perfunctory relationship with, at best, is making its needs clear to me. Now I will have to shit in the bathroom at a club that has been going since Friday at midnight.

Julie asks me if I want to take my pill. I say yes! with a smile.

We walk through the space together toward the bathrooms. Berlin’s gritty warehouse aesthetic is on display. Less is more. All architectural decay is visible and takes on spiritual significance. Exposed pipes are stained glass windows. Low and lumpy black couches are the pews. The DJ cage is the pulpit. Drugs are the sacrament and the bathrooms are the hell you have to pass through to get them.

I took ecstasy and then I pooped over an unlidded toilet bowl filled with piss and toilet paper. The floors were wet with charcoal soot. Evil is a fetish too.

Dance session 1:

Techno is a physical presence. As stupid as it is smart. Demanding restriction and release, restriction and release, in dizzying sequence. The DJ is a general. The DJ is a structural engineer.  I’m a novice attempting to dance.

What do I want? Beat rises.Where is my body? Beat does a loop-d-loop. I look at other bodies and try to feel my own. I am convinced this is the key to unlocking something in me. I am convinced I need this, and I almost know what this is. The bass falls out. My hands weave like I’m at the Dead. How do you know when you feel ecstasy? Bass comes back and everyone claps, hoots. I used to know. I used to be able to get there. I’m not there now. I should be there now.

The drugs aren’t strong enough. There’s still too much me here.

Break 1:

This break room is dim with a dim bar. Groups of people are gathered on leather benches. The room has the proportions of an airport lounge. When I sit down, I become very aware of the bareness of my ass on something so unhygienic. I remember my big red granny panties are in my fanny pack. I thought maybe I’d be too shy to wear the bikini bottom, so I discreetly packed a full coverage option. And now I put them over my bikini and feel like a pro fanny-packer with my big girl red diaper. Julie, Nick and Cody pull out cigarettes. Sven wants to roll a joint but he only has weed. Nick only has tobacco so it’s a perfect match. “Peanut butter and Jelly,” I say for some reason when I see this exchange. Sven and Nick are German so they don’t get this reference. It’s an American stereotype, but an outdated one. It ages me to mention it, I suppose. I get into it anyway. “It’s got to be berry jam. You can’t mix peanut butter with apricot or orange marmalade.” Sven nods seriously. We pass the joint and I yearn for it. My favorite drug. My old friend. Cody says, “grape is the classic choice though.”

Behind us there are three guys that came together. They look approachable so I approach them. I tell Julie, “I’m gonna tell that guy how beautiful his face is.” There’s a uniform for nudity all around me. This room is a fashion salon. In this room I learn chains can be delicate. Craftsmanship is apparent. Beautiful men and women are easy to spot. This environment doesn’t erase that but it feels less important and can be matched by style, confidence and really owning your body.

They are from Turkey. Two are studying here. One, a master’s in Supply Chain Logistics. The other, a PHD in computer science. The most beautiful, Tolga, lives in Istanbul and is just visiting. Tolga’s an elegant alien in black mesh with a harness underneath. His beauty is one I’ve always been drawn to. Haunted eyes that are heavy and dark. Pale and fine boned, with a strong masculine jaw. I tell him he looks like the football player, Mesut Ozil and that I’ve always had a crush on him. I say this because I know people make fun of Ozil for being strange looking.

It occurs to me as I write this that I was probably peaking at this moment. I used up my serotonin rush on peanut butter talk, people watching, and a pretty face.

Dance session 2:

I take another half a pill. So now I’ve taken a full dose of MDMA. My earplugs are in. I close my eyes. This is not an exercise class. This is a party. How will I ever get back into this thump thump thump? I have to tune into the thump thump thump. I shouldn’t use words like have to. There’s no instruction manual but there is a wardrobe. Breasts jiggle but everything else is taut, restrained. Cody and Nick lock into each other when they dance. They feed off each other. It’s not fake and it’s wild to watch. A long rhythmic game of mirroring. I wake up in my body for a second: my head is hanging over my chest. My arms are slack and I am shaking like an old Boogeyman. I’m not dancing. This doesn’t feel like dancing. My energy is a bummer to me and I’m worried it’s affecting the people around me. Remember Jesus Jones? Remember that song Right Here, Right Now? Well it’s in my head. There is no other place I wanna be. Right Here, Right now. Watching the woorrld wake up from history. I guess things could be  a lot worse but this is not great.

Coat Check break

Julie says Scott is here. Scott is Julie’s boyfriend. They live together. They stretch together. They dance together. They do drugs together. They met in a master’s program for sustainable finance. Scott is very tall and has no ass at all. I’ve met him before but we’ve never talked. He sort of reminds me of Chevy Chase at first sight. Chevy Chase looking like a big lanky baby in his tiny leather shorts and string of pearls.

We’re in front of the coat check again. People around us are shedding layers. A hairy italian with a pan-like body does warm up walks in 5 inch heel boots. Others are redressing, adding street clothes over their play clothes. Spent faces, sweaty hair tucked under black hoodies. Some of our gang are sharing protein bars from their fanny packs. We pass water around. Scott is stretching ostentatiously. He looks like a dork, limbering up before the big dance. Sven shares a date hazelnut cocoa protein bar with me. I don’t feel like eating but I assume I should probably eat. Sven says, “I would like to dance in the cage if it wasn’t so tight. I’m always bumping into it and I get blue spots the next days.”

I nod supportively. Support and sharing is a big part of the vibe.

“The cage is too tight but if it wasn’t tight, it wouldn’t be a cage. The edges are sharp. Me, I would like it when the cage is more safe.”

Cody, another squabbling parishioner, says the holes are too small to stick your fingers through. Mimes hanging from a chain.

Dance session 3 on the small floor:

Pleasure seeking missiles. All around me European pleasure seeking missiles, thriving in their environment. Seekers finding what they seek. Finding bulging groins, free flapping tits, tightly harnessed tits. Pupils are dilated. Everything closed is now open. Gaping open, indiscriminately catching whatever rains down, in, and through. The bad and the good. The evil and the ecstatic. The sound and the vibration. I’m so pissed I’m outside looking in. My mind is writing. Drugs and health food. Better living through chemistry. Athletic endurance required. History of drug use required. Understanding of one’s metabolism, mood, required to motivate the body in motion.

Final break:

Julie took something that is like acid but not acid. It lasts a few hours. Julie regrets taking it. She says it’s good for colorful places. Outside summer raves. She says this environment is too dark and minimal and it’s messing with her. Scott is rubbing her thighs. Julie says, He yearns for thighs.

Scott says, I can’t do it as much as my heart desires because of the tendonitis in my thumbs from swiping.

I say, Swiper’s thumb. Makes sense. Repetitive movement causes injury.

We are sharing passion fruit juice and sparkling water.

Scott says, it’s an issue in our relationship.

Julie says, And he likes Bill Maher.

Scott says, Bill Maher is aggressively reasonable on economics.

I say, isn’t aggressively reasonable an oxymoron?

Bill Maher is the one thing I have to put up with, Julie says.

I say, that can’t be true.

The conversation circles around drugs and health food. Physiotherapy talk.

Scott says, I run an AB test and that always works for me. If I do the exercises it feels better. If I don’t do the exercises, it gets worse.

Julie’s head lolls forward and her 80s scarf falls into her crotch.

I talk about my pelvic floor. A disaster area receiving FEMA level aid.

Scott’s Ecco shoes are made by a privately held company in Denmark.

Is that important?

Well I don’t know, everywhere I go–Pakistan, Singapore, the Balkans–someone always asks about my shoes.

Scott says, Guess how much I spent on groceries this month?



I’m waging a private war with inflation. Tomato cans 60 cents up to 1.20 and so many other products are threatening to double.

Scott pulls his hands from Julie’s thighs and pulls his thumbs back in a tight-eyed wincing way.

He says, I’m done Jules…Julie doesn’t respond

Scott says, I’m starting the job hunt.

That’s exciting.

Yeah…I guess…I guess I have to do something.

Scott asks how I’m feeling. I say I wish I was feeling more connected.

Scott wakes Julie to ask her about her stash. He’s trying to help me but she is hazy but miffed. I’ve crossed a line. I apologize.

Scott says, Julie has clear boundaries with her drugs. Rubs her thighs again.

Oh, I apologize. I thought frank talk about drugs was par for the course.

Julie says, I can give you another MDMA?

Scott says, as your physician, I’d advise against it. He explains about serotonin and how much a body can spend. If I take more the comedown will be nasty. I realize this is something I rely on men for. Even though they are so dull, I think I need their help.

The coat check returns my coat with brisk efficiency. I pull my tights back on. Cover up and replace ear plugs with ear buds. Karina Longworth is deep in her 10 episode dissertation on the Erotic 80s. I’m back in the mode of listening. In this story, Paul Schrader is so coked up in a hot-tub he pulls out a pistol. He’s a bad boy. We’re not bad like that anymore. We’re safe.

Sabrina Small

Sabrina Small is a hustler, a peddler, and the Grand Dame of the Berlin Vriter's Guild. If you visit, she will throw a party in your honor. She is the Last Estate's interior decorator.