A Night Out: Purple Heart Part 2

In Columns, Features, My Life As A Voyeur: Living Vicariously by Cole Wilson

Rick and I had been playing wheelchair basketball and it seemed like his mind was elsewhere. If you read part 1, you’ll remember that I suggested he and I forget our troubles by going out with some friends of mine.

When I got home I had made my third phone call before I landed two female friends of mine that were easily convinced to go out that night. Gina suggested we meet at Plaid, on East 13th Street. Her sister was a bartender there and she’d have her get us in. My good friend Barb had told me about that club, so I quickly agreed. But before showering I needed to call Rick.

“Dude, I just wanted to make sure you were still up for tonight,” I said, shrugging off my sweaty shirt and tossing it in the laundry.

“Oh, I dunno, Cole. I’m pretty tired from the basketball.”

“Don’t give me that. Down a coke and take a shower. You’re gonna die when you see these girls.”

“Cute, eh?”

“Cindy works for the New York Mets business office. You get along with her and we might be able to score tickets.”

“Oh yeah? I think I’m perking up.”

“Hah! Thought that would get your attention. Gina, her friend, is a dance instructor at a gym – one of those Curves places I think. I bet she can bend in all sorts of interesting ways.”

“Geez, keep that up and I’ll need a COLD shower.”

“Just be ready when I arrive at 8 to pick you up.”


By the time 8 rolled around I had showered, dressed, and hailed a cab to get to Rick’s building. If you’ve never attempted to get 2 adults with wheelchairs into a New York City taxicab, you haven’t lived. Luckily, mine folds just right to get into the trunk, and we were able to get Rick’s into the front seat. The driver knew where Plaid was, so I didn’t even need to give him the address.

As we poured out of the taxi, setting up our chairs in front of the club, I made a point of smiling frequently at the beautiful people queued up to get in. I didn’t see Cindy or Gina in line, so I figured either they weren’t here yet or they were inside.

We went up to the bouncer, completely bypassing the people in line, and gave him our names. After a quick glance at his clipboard, he let us in. Rick looked at me with astonishment.

“Damn, you must really know someone. I thought we’d be an hour in line,” he said.

“It’s not what you know, it’s not even who you know,” I replied. “It’s who you’ve laid.”

I told the hostess we were expecting friends, so she showed us to a table and pulled two chairs away from it. It wasn’t long before a waitress showed up

and we ordered drinks to nurse while we waited for the girls.

The crowd was mainly young and beautiful. Model types that were scantily clad, both men and women, in every conceivable combination. It was definitely eye candy just to watch the people there as the dance floor pulsated with raw sexuality.

“Wow, even if our dates don’t show I’ll definitely remember this place,” Rick said, eyeing the plethora of fake breasts, anorexic women and meterosexuals.

“Don’t get any ideas. Most of the people on that dance floor are either gay or underage with a fake ID,” I said.

He laughed. “Only the best looking ones.”

We hadn’t even finished our first round when Cindy and Gina showed up.

“Forgive us for not getting up,” I said, and they laughed. Cindy, the tall blonde, sat to my left, and Gina took the seat across from me so she could look at me with those sultry dark eyes.

They ordered something colorful with straws, probably frozen slushy drinks like strawberry maggies or daiquiris, I don’t really remember what. I abhor slushy, flavored drinks, especially when served with paper umbrellas.

“My sister works here,” Gina said. “She’s the one over there behind the bar in the blue shirt with the dark hair.”

I looked toward the bar where Gina was indicating and saw a spunky clone of Gina waving at us. I smiled and waved back.

“She looks so young,” I said.

“She’s 18 months younger than me,” Gina said, sipping something red through a straw. “Don’t get any ideas, Cole. She’s as pure as the driven snow.”

“Snow is only pure till some dirty old truck comes along and drives on it.”

“Just as long as it’s not your truck,” she said.

“Gina, I’m hurt. Rick, see what abuse I get after inviting these lovely ladies out for drinks?”

The three of them just looked at me and laughed at my mock indignation. Rick caught the attention of the waitress and held up two fingers. Like magic, two more drinks appeared before us.

We talked for a while, and soon Gina’s sister came over and gave Gina a hug. Gina made introductions.

“This is my baby sister, Marie.”

“Nice meet you,” she said, shaking our hands. “Is this your first visit to Plaid?”

“Yes, but a friend of mine has been raving about it,” I said.

“And did it live up to your expectations?”

“More so. And the drinks have been perfect.”

“Why thank you,” she said. If it wasn’t so dark in the club, I would have said she was blushing slightly. “You guys should go out on the dance floor. It’s really hot out there tonight.”

I smiled and realized in the darkness she probably hadn’t noticed Rick and I were in chairs.

“The floor seems a little crowded. I wouldn’t want to run over anyone’s toes,” I said, backing up the chair slightly.

“Oh… uh…” she stammered, seeming a little embarrassed. I could tell she wanted to apologize but wasn’t exactly sure what to say. “Well, I need to get back to work. You guys have a nice evening.”

“Nice meeting you, Marie.”

“She’s right, you know,” Cindy said. We looked at her. “We should dance. To hell with the other dancers. Let’s clear the floor. They’ve been out there long enough.”

We laughed and agreed with Cindy. Rick and I downed our drinks for good measure then started dodging around chairs and tables on our way to the floor. Cindy ran blocking for us, asking people to stand up when their chair was in the way. Gina took up the rear, laughing at our little parade to the dance floor.

The lights played off of the chromed parts of our wheelchairs, sparkling hypnotically. Amazingly enough, people gave us plenty of room on the floor. Rick and I danced with Gina and Cindy, and with perfect strangers that had been on the floor for hours. We didn’t run over a single toe – or maybe the dancers were too drunk to notice. We showed off how skilled we were at popping wheelies without falling over, and everyone had a good time.

Gina somehow managed to move our drinks to a table closer to the floor, so we wouldn’t have to disturb as many people getting to our drinks again. We bought rounds for some of the girls we met on the dance floor. People we never even met bought us a few.

At the end of the evening we were outside the club flagging down cabs.

“That was a great evening,” Gina said. Then she bent down and whispered something in my ear that made me smile.

Rick and I may have shared a taxi there, but we took separate cabs home.


Coleman Wilson is a writer and consultant who lives in New York City. He plays basketball and hates shushy umbrella drinks, except when they get him the ladies.

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