I emerged from an alley onto the outskirts of a screaming match. Horse cops surrounded someone else sitting on the sidewalk. They seemed drunk or in distress. Thirty feet further people flung taunts. Two warring groups. The pigs either didn’t notice or care.
I watched this fight spin up and unravel. Bravado unthrottled in the minds of young men. One threw wasted-brain barbs at a little pack of people. Someone broke off to chase him. Friends ran after. In a minute they came back without their pal. But I’d tracked his hunt. He hadn’t caught the taunting target.
I hung back as this all happened. Planted on a light post to play the part of voyeur. Sucked the last of my swiped drink in discrete fashion. A slurring drunk shuffled up saying the fighters were dumb. I agreed and we talked about how stupid it was to brawl with some stranger in the street over nothing.
The dude was faded. Kept rambling. Told me not to get in a fight but if I do to “beat the [racial slur’s] asses.” I told him I’m cool. That I’d keep to myself. He shook my hand several times, forgetting he’d already done it.
A passed out young man lay beside the entry of a bar. No puddles of puke or moans. Cops poked and prodded. He opened his eyes for a moment then zonked again. The pigs didn’t sweat it too much. Four or five killed time ’til EMTs arrived. They carted him off, the kid as still as a corpse.
2 a.m. came and went. Bars released their patrons. Drunks past their apex. Thousands spilled to trash-strewn streets. Noise and madness. I scoped a man leaning against a post, thin strings of puke drooling out his mouth. The downcast light made vomit glisten. Half a block later a lady pushed her man then slapped him so loud we all looked.
I hung by a trash can. Found a woman’s chipped ID set at its edge. I looked her up on Facebook to shoot a message but pinged no hits. Some girl buzzing by dropped a slice of pizza into my bin. I eyed it in lust. Circled in hopes to nab with no notice.
I walked back to my car by tracing the route along the river. Licked pizza grease off fingers numbed by trash-sourced booze. A morbidly obese middle-aged woman slept upright on a bench beneath a blanket. I’d seen her many times in this same position. Seated in such a precarious way. Her cover cheap and thin. Head rested on hand and shoulder.
I made it to the trunk of my car. Slipped into sleep. Brain buzzing from thoughts of that night’s action. But the intoxicant seeped to ether. These sights a repeat. Stumble-drunk sojourns all clones of each other. A cut and paste life typed into infinity. The only new content a forgotten can of Bud Light Lime-A-Rita.
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