‌Tiny magnetized chromium oxide particles had been shuffled, twisted and pushed around into a big mess. They needed to get back on a smooth track to pass their rates of vibration onto the magnetic tape head, and release the sounds recorded by some stranger to be a token of his -- or her?-- esteem.

Cassettes were the first, pre-internet music sharing technology.

They could be used to bootleg any LP, and could be spread from person to person.

Barbie Army had recorded two cassettes of our own songs with Lee Pope at the Jay’s Garage studio. We made our own tapes and advertised them in Maximum Rock and Roll. We sold about three tapes a month for $3 each via the U.S. mail. The new tape was called Barbies Don’t Bleed.

Once the buzzer rang and a guy named Martin from Switzerland was at the door. He had ridden his scooter all the way from downtown to 57th Street on the El to buy a tape from us.

“I’m staying at a bitch hotel downtown,” he told us.

"You’re at the bitch hotel right now," our roommate Paul muttered.

I was busy with the cassette surgery when Mary appeared in the kitchen, wearing her performing togs: a gold sequined tank top, a black short skirt and some weird boots previously unrevealed onstage. She wore tampons tied in a headdress in her hair.

“We gotta get ready for that boat,” she said.

My own outfit for the evening was much less thought out. Tights with holes and somebody’s 30-year-old black crushed velvet dress with bald patches and a rip along the zipper.