Saturday, September 25, 2010

Urban Nightfall

Ricky is a looming giant, a skyscraper of a human being, as he passes through the crimson curtain into a dimly lit gathering of strangers.  The scarcity of light reveals an emotionless visage, chiseled with mysterious darkened voids under poised, purposeful eyes.  He is a bronze statue, seemingly unmovable.  According to Dave, Ricky is a serious motherfucker.  He’s a dealer, and he’s been around long enough to know exactly what’s happening - everything that's happening.  He’s been busting his ass since thirteen and deserves some respect.  He is tough as nails, and a master of the street market.  Don’t fuck with him.
Dave met Olivia and I at Eli's Pub around midnight.  Scarlet and Greg arrived about twenty minutes later.  What an intricate and scandalous history this group of individuals has had with one another!  Greg and Scarlet are “together” now.  Scarlet is my ex.  Greg is my ex Lisa's ex.  Olivia is one of my ex Lisa’s best friends.  One could invent a system to label one’s relation to another based on past romances.  It would be ancestry for the college hipster-in-denial/ twenty-something aimless city slicker demographic.  Greg would then be closely related to me since he has likely made love to at least two of the same women I have been with.  However, I had both of them first, a fact that would give my title more prestige.  Had I engaged in sexual congress with Olivia last night, Scarlet would have become distantly related to her, in a new and improved system of genealogy for a generation that is reluctant to procreate. 
Eli's was surprisingly busy, for a Monday.  It turned out they were serving $5 pitchers of some ostensibly high quality lager, and each member of my crew quickly devoured two pints.  As usual, the alcohol effectively neutralized the discomfort caused by the stimulants.  Later, as I began loosening up a bit, a middle-aged white man entered the bar and sat next to Dave.  His alleged date, a black female, sat to the left of him, in the stool next to the wall, as though taking refuge.  After mere seconds of observation, Dave and I realized the man was unreasonably intoxicated.  This seemed agreeable, even comical, until his violent rhetoric began.  While conducting an obnoxious discourse with an unspecified audience, the man casually mentioned his desire to “kill someone” shortly before he said, “I’ve got a .45 on me…” 
I wasn’t prepared for something like this, and I hate to admit it, but I was nervous.  The kind of nervous that allows one to imagine another Columbine coming out of the woodwork.  The kind of nervous that makes you freeze because you realize that no matter which neighborhood you live in, you could be next.  The kind of nervous that empowers the infamous mainstream news media's policy - “If it bleeds, it leads”.  You could be next – the next victim briefly discussed on the nightly news - then forgotten, a mere statistic, buried in mundane paperwork for eternity.  The thought is enough to drive a semi-inebriated mind toward paranoia.  The bartender had overheard a bit of the man’s ramblings, and shot a concerned look in my direction.  I walked over to him and confirmed his suspicions.  I then slyly exited the building to call the police.  I planned to give them a “heads-up”, and tell them that an intoxicated and unstable man with long blonde hair was possibly packing heat at the local pub, and that they should stake the place out, and be ready for action.  As this thought was about to be implemented, the aspiring psychopath in question stumbled out of Eli’s Pub, and continued down the desolate sidewalk.  We were safe – for now.
The next person to exit was my Olivia, the princess of the wind.  She put a spell on me long ago.
"Let's go home."
How could I refuse?
The next morning my alarm went off at 8:51.  Liv had class at 9:00.  She sat up for a moment, emitting that delightfully displeased purr that signifies a sour attitude.  She curled back up with me, squeezing me tight, making the other sound – that satisfied one, the one she sometimes makes in the middle of a dream. 
“You’re so much better than school,” she murmured, about 70% asleep. 
I set the alarm for 10:30 so she would have ample time to get to her second class.  At 10:29 I reached over her, over those childish moans, and turned off the alarm right before it was scheduled to commence its piercing racket.  I know how much she hates it. 
“It’s time to wake up,” I said, in a soft, comforting tone.
“You’re so much better than an alarm clock.”
And alarm clocks are so much better than babies.

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