Saturday, April 5, 2008


Blues music. Thump thump thump. Someone has a harmonium, droning its sinister insect hum. Heavy with pills from a dusty packet, I teeter only a few degrees above the floor. From down here, pairs of feet betray their owners’ voices, shifting nervously below falsely confident voices. A lonely strobe light—that modern mirrorball—snaps out light, half-speeds us. A blonde does the splits right in front of me then scoops herself up with the insides of her feet. That sort of disregard for gravity gives us all a bad name.

Taking my cue from the microscopic fade-down between songs, I approach the bar. One day, I think. One day I will tell someone about this. I order a drink using a hand-signal I’ve seen successful people use on TV when they’ve reached rock bottom. The barman shrugs, pours me a glass from a bottle he’s already holding. Something burning, cointreau maybe, makes me see in stripes. I tap the bar with two fingers, another cinematic convention leaching from beneath my brain. Three more drinks. No one ever pays for drinks in the movies. I slap down a note on the bar and turn to leave. The thick arm grabs my wrist. It’s a tender moment, only ruined by my wrist bending back until it snaps.

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