The night started with a whole lot of indecision. On the television was some sports show that I had long since forgotten about. To the right sat my iphone. To the left there was the unfinished cup of coffee. In the middle I slumped into the couch. It seemed to be pulling me into its old cushions. On my lap a notebook laid open. A poem finished darkened its pages.
Words and inspiration hit fast and faded faster. When the phone called out I hesitated. I looked over at it and waited. Perhaps it would just tell me the text message. Maybe I wouldn’t have to move. Its robot voice would just calmly state:
“So and So said blah, blah and blah.” I waited.
It would hopefully throw in a bleep bloop bloop too. It did none of these. I slowly reached over breaking the moment. It wasn’t laziness that argued I leave the text to itself. Not exactly. It was the drained despair of creation that would be disturbed. At that moment it was just me, the words on the page (and my head) and the couch’s embrace. But the poem was written, what would be the harm? I reached over just as it honked angrily again.
“Fuck you Iggy.” That was the name of my phone.
I closed the notebook confining the infant words to darkness. I knew who it was. It was Williams. There had been plans semi made. That was before the words. Before the despair and before the winds of creation had knocked me back a few steps.
Eventually we made our way down to the Coventry Winking Lizard. The inside bulged with people. The doorway was an obstacle course of jacketed guys and girls. We snaked around them a few nods and acknowledgements tossed about like business cards. The blonde asked us all the pertinent questions. As she waited for our I.D.s she wiggled her nose just a bit. It was a cute little nothing.
“Ah HA! I’m on to you with your witchy ways! I’ve seen the show!” I could yell. For just a split second it seemed a doable thing to yell. It would (could?) end in a rousing rendition of “Witchy Woman” sung by the three of us. Satisfied she walked us to our table. As she left I felt a sadness fill her void.
The Christmas Ale came in pitcher form. It was cold and warming at the same time. The talk swung toward writing. It was fast and furious. The brakes were ripped out and a hill loomed. Projects were—
“Yes! Nice shot.” I interrupted on more than one occasion.
“How are the Cavs doing?” I’m not sure he cared all that much, but I was interrupting enough.
“Down by one now. It’s a game again.” My glass was filled again. And again. And again. The evening passed quicker. Soon there were plans with other people, other writers.
We found ourselves at the Old Angle Tavern. Or actually we found ourselves walking in the chilly Cleveland air on W. 25th. The warmth the Christmas Ale provided felt good. We looked. We went in the wrong direction. When found our co-conspirators they sat at a filled table. They weren’t co or even conspirators at this point. They weren’t later in the evening either. They were just people, writers, and students. Drinkers. Revelers if revelers reveled in a respectful way. Could they really? Names were had and mostly forgotten.
There was the girl who appeared out of nowhere and pulled up a chair. She was of the touchy feely kind, putting her arm over shoulders as she spoke to you. Closeness was not a problem for her. She was drunk when she arrived. As the night wore on (and the drinks piled up) the weirdness did too. Francine (as I soon named her in my head) began to pick up our empty bottles. After stealing the miniscule drop from the very bottom she’d hold onto the bottle. It was her drink. It was an empty but it was her drink. She’d bring it to her mouth every now and then. She’d part her lips and drink the nothing. It was an oddly sexual thing, but did not seem directed toward anyone.
As quickly as she appeared she disappeared. Out the door she fled. The whole table dwindled but not before Iggy spoke up again. A text.
47*-06**: What’s going on down there. Anything worth driving down there for? R*** from 4square.
Me: I’m here so you know it’s always popping.
Well first it was, Me: What the hell? Who the hell is R**** from 4square and why are they texting me? And then drunkenly I responded with the always popping bit.
R****: Cool I’m gonna stop in.
“Hey Williams I think I just got myself murdered. You can’t let that happen. My wife will kill you if I get killed.” I drank some more. He promised to not let me get killed. After some more time and a “Old Angle Jameson High Ball” we headed into the chill. The moon winked at us. We said our goodbyes and marched to our car.
As we rounded the corner of the Garage bar another pair of dudes made their way to the parking lot. They came from the side opposite of us. We ended up at the very same spot. Their car pointed in at us.
“Hey” Guy one called as they reached their car.
Williams was still moving. I don’t know if he said anything. I imagine he didn’t.
“You know what? I got something for you. This. Here this is for you.” He reached into his car.
“Run. Go! Get to the choppa” it was what I was going to warn Williams with. Then the black jacket guy brought out a pink stuffed animal.
“Sure!” He handed it to me and disappeared into his car.
I got in the car. I looked at the pink pig or hippo or whatever the hell it was. “That was weird, right?”
“Weird things happen to you a lot don’t they?” He started the car.
I guess that is one way to put it.
His name is Bobo: