back up the stairs, thinking that i probably don’t have enough footage, i open one of the bedroom doors. i look at a smoke-y, stale room with brown carpet. there are five, maybe six people, some of them sitting on the floor and a few others on the bed. each of them has a blown-up balloon in their hand. around the lamp there is a smoke cloud and one person is dragging his hand through the smoke cloud. this high-pitched noise as someone twists what looks like a whipped cream charger and this chemical smell as gas fills another balloon. i breathe in, exhale. the following scene as i stare through the camera lens.
‘bro, pass us a balloon.’
‘man, we need a good nang song.’
‘put on air.’
‘put on seekae.’
‘where’s the nangs.’
‘i love nangs.’
‘nang, nang, nang.’
a lot of people say, ‘ready.’
someone puts on ‘sexy boy’ by air.
for thirty seconds i film balloons inflating and then deflating in front of faces, sometimes people gasping, silences and at the same time people lying on their backs holding their hair with their hands. after thirty seconds all the people have stopped inhaling their balloons except one girl who might have put two canisters of gas in her balloon. the girl has her hand out and it is shaking. she is breathing into and out of the balloon very quickly and her face is going red. no-one notices except me because everyone is lying down with their eyes closed, sort of moaning. just when it seems like the girl is going to die, she takes a breath and i film her as she stares into the camera, gasping like she’s just come up for air. the only thing i’m thinking: this is going to look great in slow motion at the end of my video. i close the door not sure if anyone notices. back through all the people, the reams of film, a conversation where someone is saying, ‘jojo and drake are fucking,’ i climb the ladder, still filming as i hold the camera in one hand, and make it to the loft. the guy with the black, skinny jeans and black beanie is still sitting on the bed. he’s staring at his iphone, probably texting someone, and when he looks up I can’t tell if he’s stoned or if he’s been crying. i watch him stare at me, at my camera. the light is softer up here.
‘how are you?’ i say.
he pauses. ‘okay, i think, maybe.’
behind the boy there’s a laptop playing a video made by someone named steve roggenbuck. i sit on the bed and film the laptop except the only thing that comes up on my camera is static lines. as i grab my jacket, start going down the ladder, i hear steve roggenbuck say, “victor emailed me saying, we’re all learning how to ride the waves.’”