Alcohol was being served, but I had to go down into a small room several floors below where the festivities were taking place. There was a woman at a desk near the door who asked for my name and address. She asked what kind of car I was driving, and if I had a cocktail, how I planned to get home. I told her that I was staying less than a block away, and that I hadn't taken a car, I had walked and planned to get home the same way. I was given a martini, but I had to drink it there in the room where I was then lectured on the evils of drink.
After the ceremony, everyone just lay down on the ground and fell asleep. We woke up the next morning when a grandfatherly-looking man came along in a little trolley and handed out food to all of the children who had attended the wedding. I decided to take a drive with my sister-in-law to go visit my best friend The Third.
Magenta and I were in a car going to see The Third, but we were in a horrible inner-city neighborhood - the kind where everyplace is strewn with garbage and all the doorways have big iron grates across them. We parked several blocks from where The Third lives, and Magenta said "Oh, let's go into this building right here. I have a friend that lives here and he can go with us." So we pushed open the broken security door and found ourselves in a long, dimly-lit hallway with no doors. The walls were not perfectly straight, but broken up by ornamental columns protruding from the wall, and little niches with nothing in them. The whole place was done in a very Moroccan plaster-and-tile sort of way and while nothing was in disrepair, the whole thing was absolutely filthy. We walked down the hallway a little ways and Magenta pushed at one of the niches which turned out to be a hidden door. We went down a dark, narrow hallway into a small plaster-and-tile room with no furniture in it. Two young, bearded men stood as though they were expecting us and led us into another room with a little battered furniture in it.
There were a few other people in the room, including a friend of mine from work, Djibouti. Everyone was going to come out to dinner with us, and it's been decided that we're going to a Moroccan restaurant down the street. "But first," Djibouti says, and he whips out a few filled syringes. Everyone crowds around him and he starts injecting them all. I am feeling vaguely put off and don't want to participate. Djibouti lifts his shirt and then brandishes a knife. He inserts the knife at least a half an inch, parallel to the surface of his skin. He pulls the wound open and then sprinkles cocaine into it. "Are you sure you don't want any?" he says, laughing. I am now officially horrified.
I look up and now the room is full of children ranging in ages from a tiny infant who's in a backpack slung over a chair to a seven- or eight-year-old. They are all staring at the grownups with wary eyes. I ask them their names, but none of them speaks. I ask them where their parents are, and they point to the people who are going to the Moroccan restaurant, who are all filing out the door, unconcerned. "Have you eaten?" I ask the children, who all shake their heads.
I tell them that I'm going to stay and make them something to eat, and they all crowd around me, suddenly excited and chattering. I start opening doors, looking for a kitchen, but all I find is a family living in one of the rooms who looks as damaged and wary as the children. I invite them to join me, and they were coming out of the room as I woke up.
I have to stop watching scary science fiction and reading up on poisons before I go to bed. It's just not a good combination.