I awoke to the sound of silence – amazing how a sudden absence of noise can be more alarming than a thunderclap. The crickets are silent, and so are the cats, as if the world was waiting, holding it’s breath for
That was Joe. His timing is impeccably bad. The cats hiss at us, wondering what we are doing asleep in their… alley? Seriously? What… how… there were girls… and tequila. Of course. The magic elixir that grants new power as it takes away the old ones… wait, no, that’s not it. It just takes. Your judgement. Your inhibitions. The sure and concrete knowledge that you cannot dance. All gone.
But how did we get here? Ohhh, there it is… a light breeze carries that unmistakable odor of a brick wall conscripted as a latrine. A bit of adrenaline flows as I pat myself down – no wet spots. Whew. So I didn’t land in any of it. Bonus.
Shadows lengthen further down the alley – visitors. I recognize the newspaper-stuffed uniform of indigence, the wearers staggering along. So, we’re all sauced. Great.
A window opens above the alley, venting music into the night. Can’t make out the words, but the rhythms say all I need to know about what’s happening up there. Lucky bastard. The newcomers start to laugh as they realize what is happening above, and they start to move in the most improbable ways… they are dancing! But… I recognize this dance! Learned it in college, the silent victory dance performed outside the door of someone who… scored? Got lucky? Whatever you call it, this was the universal celebration dance, a dance without rhythm or repetition or skill, just pure exuberance.
Joe was still pretty much out, so I got up and did the dance with them. Me and two homeless guys reveling in the sweaty tango twenty feet above our heads. Faaaaaaaaaantastic. After a few minutes of the most fun I’d had in months, we all collapsed to the ground silently laughing at our intuitive connection brought on by mutual imagination. Maybe also from the tequila, so hard to tell how much progress the liver has made while you were out.
They looked at me quizzically, apparently they were regulars between these particular buildings. I shrugged, pointed my hitching thumb at Joe, and shook my head. They grinned at each other and pulled out a paper bag in the shape of a bottle and passed it over, the familiar stench of gin wafting up, and I took a swig. After a few round trips the bottle became harder to follow, but that was fine since it kept coming back to me. Oh man, was I flyin’. Tired though.
I blinked. They were gone. So was my wallet. I looked over at Joe, who apparently had woken some time ago, and found he was eating breakfast. He had another bag which he tossed over to me. Suddenly ravenous, I tore open the bag and dicovered a bacon egg and cheese sandwich with pepper and ketchup… my favorite. I also found my wallet in the bag, apparently I offered to buy breakfast for all four of us but was unable to do more than throw my wallet across the alley. The two homeless fellows had been kind enough to go purchase the food and return with not only breakfast, but change and a receipt as well. Laughing at myself I tore into the sandwich, and it was the best thing I had ever tasted.