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Feature Story September 25, 2007
 
Hell On Wheels: 24 Hours Without Legs In Moscow
How do the disabled live? By Yasha Levine Browse author Email
 
Page 5 of 6 21 more photos
 

"We don’t allow invalids into our club," explained a pudgy okhranik who called himself an administrator. Explained not to me, but only to Rudntisky: non-invalid to non-invalid. We protested and demanded to see his superior, but that guy was even more aggressive and goonish. He wouldn’t explain his reason for denying me entrance, insisting only that it had nothing to do with my invalid status.

We hung around outside with two chicks who also got faced, but I wouldn’t give up. So I followed the senior "administer" as he dealt with a Caucasian patron who had stumbled outside and puked all over a car next to the VIP ticket booth, spoiling the whole elitny atmosphere.

"Why aren’t you letting me in? I want you to tell me the truth to my face, man to man. Is it because I am a cripple?" I asked him.

"I don’t have to tell you anything, especially not the truth. But I will tell you this: you and your friends are acting uncouth."

We finally left for Fabrique, a popular semi-elitny club which usually has an eXile-friendly policy. The club’s interior is an architectural nightmare for the handicapped. Its two levels with sunken dance floors and maze-like rooms connected by tiny spiral staircases become dangerous just after a few drinks. Fabrique was definitely not designed for the disabled-tusovschik.

When we arrived at the door, we decided to cut past the crowded line in front. Rudnitsky aggressively told the bouncers that they should let us cut, and they responded with looks of total confusion.

"We’re not geared for wheelchairs. Come back when you’re feeling better, which I’m sure will be soon enough," the senior bouncer said without hesitation, looking down at me.

"But I’ll never get better," I replied loud enough for the whole crowd to hear. He ignored me, but a few snickers could be heard from the clubbing crowd gathered outside the entrance.

Seeing that we weren't going to get far, we gave up and headed to Vodka Bar at around two o’clock. At first, the guards tried to dissuade us from entering by explaining that it was too crowded to guarantee my safety. But after some pleading, they yielded and wheeled me through the service entrance.

Surprisingly, Vodka Bar turned out to be almost completely wheelchair accessible. For the fist time, I could wheel myself uninhibited around the entire club. And this is where things got really weird. Within no time, I became Vodka Bar’s beeyatch magnet. Girls were on me like mayonnaise on Russian salads.

"You’re so brave! I think it’s great that you’re trying to go clubbing. You’re such a hero that I have this desire to marry you right now!" screamed the first girl I rolled up to, after she wiggled her ass for my benefit.

When she went to the bar, a second dyevushka, a 30-something Kaluga-looking type, demanded that I pose with her for some photos and then give her a ride around the club. Every time I tried to wheel myself away from her, she’d find me and force me to freak with her.

As soon as she turned her back, another girl snapped me right up. She grabbed my hand and dragged me to the bar, hitting about a dozen people with my steel leg braces along the way. Then she did something that has never happened in the annals of Russian dyev bar manners: She bought me a drink. With her own money! After handing me a gin and tonic, she plopped down on my lap and tried to shove her tongue into my throat. Disgusted by her alcohol and cigarette breath, I winced and pulled away. She didn’t know how to take it. A cripple turning her down? How does your self-esteem ever recover from that?


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Levine
Browse author
Yasha Levine is an editor at The eXile. You can contact him at yasha@exile.ru
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