A HAUNTED SPACE. ONE THAT IS NO LONGER SAFE.

The day the Koru Lounge went dry

Last year, we published the anonymous account of a Koru Club member who was denied their mandated birthright entry into the Koru Club. This Koru Club member returns to give us their harrowing, haunting account of the day the Koru Lounge went dry.

“Bye, bye miss American Pie. Drove the Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.” – Madonna, 2000.

Who knew that Madonna could predict an event nearly two decades into the future? No, not the day that music died. That was the day that I was declined entry from year 10 music for having an “alarming lack of tone that required immediate attention” and “an aggression unbecoming of a 14-year-old’.

No, Madonna prophesied the day that the Koru Lounge went dry.

It’s taken me a little over a year to feel safe again after being rudely declined from one of the true safe havens I have in my life, along with my daughter Methandiol. After all, is there any space safer than one where one can calculate the exact amount of alcohol one can consume before those fateful words – Gate Closing, Final Call – come up on the screen?

Yesterday, another gate closed. A metaphorical one, you see. I wandered from the pick-up zone, dragging my offspawn Methandiol Artanis behind me with my carry-on luggage clattering across the uneven concrete. I rolled my eyelash extensions at the people drinking in the bar before customs. How uncouth! To pay for your alcohol by card, rather than a subscription that comes directly out of your account because your flat-spouse forgot to cancel it after he didn’t get the promotion this year?

How common! ‘Tis not for I. ‘Tis not for a person who doesn’t need to ask for what she wants from a concerned service worker. ‘Tis not for a person who hasn’t heard the words “You’ve had enough” in many a moon.

I wandered through customs, unzipping my handbag to display my three laptops and placing them upon the grey plastic tray. Clatter, clatter, clatter. The security officer did his usual flirt: “Any laptops?” Oh, you cur! You know full well I have three, and my offspawn Methyltricloride Ingwe has her little Nintendo Swish. And yet we play our games regardless. We dance our tête-à-tête.

I digress. This is not about me and the security officer. That is a battle, a story, for another day.

We wandered through customs, Triazolom Aqualonde and I, to our safe space. The safe space that directs me to go where I please, but with a wink. Yes, the gate is open, but one can still gorge upon the milk curds and salt-cards that lay out before me. One can still gain succour from the French grape-milk that rests, warm and limp, in the plastic cup before me. Unrecycled, of course. If I can’t go to the beach and strangle a turtle personally, how else am I supposed to get my happiness?

But yesterday? ‘Twas not a safe space.

I wandered across to the altar of succour only to find… orange-water. Coca-cooler. Coloured drinks with bubbles of air in them, taking valuable space away from the precious liquid. Where was my Gordonne’s? My Henysse? My royale Chivas? My juice-below-forty-two? Montana, have thou forsaken me? There were no Oysters on this Bay! Wither Hills? More like withered gills.

Yes, reader. The Koru Lounge had… gone dry. Adriamycin Beleriand took some of her air-water and was content. Such a simple mind. Such a simple palate. ‘Tis hard to know disappointment when the bar is set so low one could roll over it when you’re forty-two below.

I should’ve seen it coming once they put those special caps upon the lip of my elixirs. The happiness-stoppers, I call them. Even if you turn a bottle full of Hennysee upside down above a glass holding a single ice cube, the happiness-stopper will stop you.

But surely this was a mistake, not an operational choice. I understand the happiness-stoppers. What would we expect in heaven if we were allowed unlimited happiness on earth? I understand, Koru Overlords, I understand.

I opened one of my laptops, thinking back fondly to the security officer – would we ever consummate – but no! I had to know. Was this a daily mistake? One can’t forgive that, but one can grow to understand. Was this to be permanent? I could neither forgive nor understand that.

A spokeswoman’s statement lit up my stream. Spokeswoman? More like spokes in my heart, woman.

“Liquor licence expired.” “Processing delay.” “We hope to have this sorted soon.” “We apologise for the inconvenience caused.” All wounds to the black space where my soul, and a few Gordonnes and toniques, used to reside.

And then a gasp. A gasp so sharp that it raised even Doxorubicin Tar-Aldarion from her Nintendo Swish-Swish, from her Pokemons. “What’s wrong, mummy?”

I couldn’t repeat it. I will keep the black script to myself, close to my heart. I will take this wound, this weight into my soul.

For this is what the spokesharpy said:

“In the meantime, customers are welcome to visit our Auckland regional lounge or enjoy our non-alcoholic options available.”

My words fail me. Farewell, readers. Farewell, Koru. Farewell love, farewell light. I’ve driven the Chevy to the levee, and the levee is parched.

I return to our warrior-poet Madonna for wisdom, for guidance, for a rock to cling to in this sober storm.

“And good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye. This will be the day that I die.

This will be the day that I die.”

As told to, and absolutely not written by, Sam Brooks.



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