| It was cold, brisk, a rush, light, dense and starry outside. The cement uneven and cracked undulated with subtle rise and fall of earth. Little parsley weeds sprouted up in those cracks and he would kick them as he passed with the front end of his toe sweeping just under the root and the weed would rise up in one big clump and then drop to back to the cement. Loose and meaningless.|
Two blocks down he became aware of the soft thud on his chest tapping in time with the big flat waffle iron steps he used as a means of compensating for the steep gravitational pull of the hilly streets. He was unable to cope artfully with the hills and his Adam apple buckled with every step. Frustrated, he paused remembering his liquid salvation pulling it from over his heart dramatically raising it to his lips and arching his head back like a sick Pez dispenser. And as he swallowed hard the corners of his mouth furled down sourly and his eyes squinted in pain. WHOOSH! The hot gasoline flushed down his throat, momentarily heating his throat and head. His stomach accepted the fluid tentatively but issued warning with a slight tearing of the eyes and a phlegmy click in his throat. "Loogout" he said, extending the bottle toward his shorter friend. A deferential wave and the bottle was offered to the second friend. He swigged and offeror and recipient smirked inclusively and shook their heads slightly. They were in. They were trying. It made sense. It was New Years. No, his friend was wrong, that was obvious. What were they going to do? Not drink? It seemed silly but Jesus, how could he not drink? Not try? They were gonnai need it. "Well, let's go." He said simply, and the friend who had not drunk said, "Yeah," without making eye contact. Fucker.
The three bounded along window after window, stoplight after stoplight, cold breath after breath and progressively more disjointed step after step. Groups of fools shuffled by nodding and smiling and saying, "Happy New Year." It was strange the way the vibe and various countenances of the passers cultivated various responses from him. The first few exchanges were cordial. Momentary eye contact, lip smile, head nod. "Happy New Year," sometimes. Eventually the exchanges grew tiresome and peppering the walk with whiskey pulls his tongue grew looser and sharper. "Get drunk." He ordered. Coming out mean and ugly. Especially to the women. As the strip grew more and more congested the comfort level around his body lessened and he was forced into a sort of up and down sideways pace raising and lowering his arms as he shouldered through the populace. He felt like a running back. "Get these bastards out of my way." He grumbled lurching his body forward like a pouting child. One particular group of smile sparkling young men forced their way through the herd with confidence. The reverberations of their intrusion rolled him off balance and he capriciously shouted, "I'm surrounded by idiots!" The groupis smiles faded quickly into baleful masks of intensity as they tried to force their way back through the crowd angling their bodies and ordering people to "Lookout." No dice though. Too many people and they were forced back out into the massive sea of bodies that had seemingly transmogrified into one waving mass of weight. And as he watched the angry faces bob away he noticed how young they looked and how ready they were. He looked down at his watch. 10:20. He raised his head and began weaving his way towards the geographical vortex of the city and the night. The Square.