We arrived in the dust. It blew. The wind howled, and the trucks kicked up more dust than I could with an army of men. I was excited, nervous, and ready to experience whatever the hell was about to happen. I had no information, and little did I know that this would be the best week of the year.
Gate took at least six hours. We moved from station to station, becoming two lines out of six. Mom and Colin played cards, whilst Dad and I looked outside and played Briscola, an Italian card game. Sometimes Dad had to pause the card games and get up to drive forward. And when the dust blew by we all had to jump up and close the open windows. (We usually kept one side of our bus open in order to let air in, but the dust out.)
After gate, Dad drove the bus down to Kidsville, which was on the corner of 5:30 and E. We parked our bus a little bit off the street but not perfectly. We talked to our friends and asked them where we should camp. Soon another group arrived and asked us to move our bus over so they could fit in their camping spot. We agreed, and dad got back inside to shift our position. This new group consisted of a family from Colorado and their friends. I helped set up their camp as well as ours. That night I got out my mixer and mixed some sweet tunes.
During my week at Black Rock City I had a wonderful time. I danced, walked, and biked my way around the streets and blocks of the city. I made friends and we walked together, which was nice. Unfortunately, as all good things must, the week came to a close.
On the last night that everyone was in the city the man burned. We spent the whole day freezing as the wind blew, kicking up dust. It really was cold. The wind bit, and the dust floated from one end of the city to the other. We, my group of friends, walked down to the center of the city where we sat on blankets. Waiting with baited breath the entire population of Black Rock City sat and watched as the man, standing motionless, watched over the city. The wood was golden brown and he shot 50 meters out of the desert. With a sudden movement the arms of the man swung up and touched the sky. There was a collective gasp.
SHHHHHHH, BOOOM! Fireworks! Cheering and clapping, the playa burst into sound, voices cried over the thumping music of the art-cars, no one voice could be pulled out of the din.
With a flash, the fire was lit. And, boy, did it burn. It started small, but as the fire got bigger it started to melt the wire supports holding the arms suspended above the man. With no warning they snapped and the arms fell, one at a time, more screaming and cheering ensued. It burned for quite a spell before the all the outer wood had fallen and just the frame remained. It stood tall and proud before it fell. The man creaked and shuddered. Then, it fell. There was a large smash as it impacted the ground, ash flew up into the air, the giant columns of smoke and spark grew in size as the trapped air and fire was suddenly released.
“Heads up!” This was the occasional cry from the audience as large pieces of flaming wood fell from the sky, into the crowd. Cheering and dancing the crowd started to disperse past the perimeter of art-cars and fire throwers, the pile of wood and fire that once stood proud over The City smoldered in the background.