The ‘white trash’ themed party was in full swing by the time Lola and I arrived. I’d come as a celebrity. It required minimal effort. A pair of dark sunglasses to filter out the flash of paparazzi cameras, turned up collar, Lola’s lipstick smeared artfully on my cheek.
‘Chemical’ Dave met us at the door. He was taking a box of empties out to the garbage bin beside the house.
He was inexplicitly dressed as an elf with a green glow-stick around his neck. The technology was developed with Department of Defense funding. They used fireflies as the biological model.


II Cold Heat

He’d hired a stripper and introduced her as ‘Neon Shirrrrl’. We all knew her as Shirley the Stripper, on account of her day job at the furniture restorer’s. She did Widget’s french polishing like a pro.
Dave turned the party lights off and as part of her ‘after dark feature act’, she cracked, then snipped the ends off some glow sticks.
The kind the kids wear at Halloween and the school disco dance.
Two chemicals mix, and the resulting reaction gives off a cold light. Chemiluminescence.
I felt for a cold beer through the ice slurry in the kitchen sink.


III Fire Flies

Transfixed we watched as the stripper poured the fluorescent liquid on her body. The effect was… ummm… interesting.

I couldn’t help wondering if she might be a bit toxic to touch afterwards.

Later I came across the discarded glow-stick box. The manufacturer says there’s nothing in this soup of alcohol and acids that will hurt you if you get it on your skin. I don’t think they had Neon Shirrrrl in mind.

A quick post-performance sponge bath put her out of danger from glass shards, though I didn’t ask if she had studied organic chemistry.   Sodium hydroxide is potentially dangerous.




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