After receiving a chaotic 2 a.m. phone call from Jon Slay, I decide for his safety and others to rescue him from a busted night in Buckhead. Upon arrival, he somehow convinces me, disheveled and shirt half-buttoned, hed be on his best behavior if Id let him ride in the back of the pickup truck. I immediately regret the decision when I look back while doing 65 mph to see him bracing himself as he stands and urinates off the back of my Chevrolet. Although, I know we're doing 65 on the downtown connector, I dont think Slay's doing 65 on the downtown connector. Jon Slay is in a far off place
Theres no dress code there. No shoes, shirt, wallet, cell phone or keys. Technically, nothing is required. But a helmet is highly recommended.
Youve been there, you just dont know it. Weve all been there, but our memory plays tricks on us. Its blurred and fuzzy, and hid in a far off corner. Maybe weve met up there, late night most likely. Bumped into each other, shared a laugh, maybe rejoiced in a song or dance, but it all seems just out of reach.
Charter member Scott Laney gives light to its mysterious origins: After several hours of heavy drinking in Midtown, Jon Slay and I decide that the Highlands isnt worthy of a cab ride and decide its a great idea to walk it. Then Slay decides that the front yard of an abandoned house on Piedmont Avenue is the best place to stop and take a quick nap. The crackhead owner of this abandoned house comes out and kindly asks us to get the fuck out his lawn.
So I move Slay to the sidewalk and then stumble off for a quick piss. I get back and hes literally lying in the gutter of Piedmont Ave. And apparently hes been calling people because his phone is out. So for some reason or another, I decide to lay down with him for a quick breather. Just then a car comes to a screeching stop right beside us. Its our friend Starecki, his hooker girlfriend and Slays girlfriend, Anne Marie. In the backseat I can see that Anne Marie is crying and visibly shaken. She throws the door open and Slay jumps to his feet and begins running around the car laughing and screaming nonsense. Annie begins to cry harder and chase him around Piedmont Ave.
We finally get him in the car and settle down. After Annie tells me we are never hanging out together again, she turns to Slay and asks him where hes been. Jon Slays reply: I was at Le Shrayke.
And thus, Le Shrayke was officially open for business.
You see, its not really an actual, physical place, more a place of physical damage. Simply put, its where your mind goes when you are completely and utterly fucked up. Its where you check in when you black out. No reservations required.
Slays thoughts: Well, Le Shrayke is near and dear to my heart to say the least. Its an artistic stroke unfit for overly intense examination. Like a lightning bolt terrifying, yet thrilling.
As Panther Dan explains, there are many ways to get there. Le Shrayke is not a place found on any worldly map," he says. "Its another dimension found by simply consuming enough alcohol, or just eating pills you found on the floor.
And you know youre on your way, adds Slay, when the cabbie pulls over in the middle of the highway and tells you to get the fuck out.
Its a rare occurrence for one to realize they are at Le Shrayke while they are actually there. Thats when the story has to be sorted together from text messages, friends accounts, mysterious bruises, ATM receipts, eye witnesses and police reports. But you know youve been there when the cops drive you home after pulling you off the ground behind your local produce shop.
A personal reflection from Laney on knowing when hes been to this ubiquitous place: Waking up on the couch, TV blaring, a combo meal from McDonalds untouched and you have no idea where your car is. Someone calls your roommate to tell them they found your wallet and cell phone, most likely someplace between Le Shrayke and the last place you were. Theres a substantial amount of flesh missing from your inner thigh, and a shirtless Gay Chuck Jones is sleeping in your bed. And theres a girl on your couch who proceeds to follow you to a party the next day and fucks one of your friends.
Ive been to Le Shrayke on many occasions. Ive awakened from an afternoon there with a champion's blood-scabbed trophy a tattoo on my right bicep of a dolphin. With wayfarers. A Flying V guitar. On a surfboard. With a margarita. Ive never been surfing, but apparently theres something about Le Shrayke that makes you wish you were.
Yes, these are all tell-tale signs of an enigmatic adventure. Clandestine and unapologetic, its these romantic narratives that build character in young men character, along with battle scars, misdemeanors, ex-girlfriends and court appearances.
Day or night, rain or shine, its always open. Many a night has been wasted there, and many a sunrise seen. Next time youre out getting tilted, tell that barkeep to lean on it just a little bit because youve got somewhere to be. Get on that warpath, untuck that shirt, and meet me and the boys at Le Shrayke. It makes for a helluva story. You just wont remember it.
Feel free to indulge us with your own NYE Le Shrayke stories in comments...
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