Black Rock City, August 2011. It’s just after midnight. The vast expanse of the playa is buzzing with lights and competing bass lines, a cacophonous constellation of a psychedelic cosmos. I’ve just completed my shift as a Guardian — tasked with offering graceful support to those wandering the hallowed halls of this mythic structure, The Temple. The walls are adorned with layers of grief and love.
It is a relatively quiet night. A few Burners wandering the halls, dust-caked and some raucous, until a brief interception and exchanging of words about the sanctity of this place. Most comply and proceed in hushed tones, others depart immediately for a party more to their preference.
I gather my things and step to the edge of the structure. The night chill has descended and the oppressive heat of the day feels like a distant rumour. “Tea, that would be nice,” I think to myself. I feel a light tap on my shoulder. I turn and am greeted by a man and woman, both wearing a set of dapper hats, peddling a cart wrapped in fairy lights.
“Tea?” the man offers, extending a piping hot thermos.
“Why, yes,” I respond. I unscrew the cap from my own bottle and he fills it jauntily. “Thank you,” I say as he finishes. They smile, tip their hats, and continue on their way.
I blow on the steam rising from my bottle. My stomach emits a rumble, and I remember its been hours since my last meal.
“Grilled cheese, sir?” I hear behind me. I turn and there’s a different man dressed like a server in a high-end restaurant, large handlebar mustache framing his face and napkin draped over his foreman, extending a silver platter. A pile of grilled cheese sandwiches drift their scent into my nostrils.
“Why yes, that would be perfect,” I say, retrieving a sandwich from the plate. He replaces the lid on the platter and disappears into the night.
Now, tea in one hand, warm grilled cheese in the other, I hear a loud boom in the distance. I turn and witness an enormous Trojan Horse become engulfed in a mushroom cloud of fire and and ash.
“Wow.” I marvel, and take a bite of the sandwich.