It wasn’t that she wasn’t cute. The night had progressed weirdly and I needed to be alone with my thoughts. What kind of a girl would do this anyways, a weird guy walking toward the bottom of a bridge at midnight, a foil wrapped sandwich in his pocket. Ask some directions, sure that’s fine. Ask me to get in your car and help you find a place? OK, sure. But the neverending yammer of your jaw and something desperate in the constant laughter ha-ha won’t this be hilarious ha-ha what did i do i picked up a guy rattle that is currently jamming out of her face full force. She wants me to look at her hands, they’re shaking, she says.
Out my window there are the lines and I see one, hair black and straight eyes dazzling and she looks at me and when those eyes bat I _want_ her. I want to tear those buttons off with my teeth and tell her all my problems. I want her to make them better and make me come and thenimbackinthejeep.
She doesn’t smoke, she says, fingering the pack, but four just now in the stress of trying to find her way down. I tried to explain, the streets are in order, like the alphabet. And even if you’re a subnormal you can remember up to G, right? Four drinks, she says, but she’s not drunk, not even a bit, the stress of the drive has sobered her right up as we slide past the lines. They’re turning off their cell phones. Guys do that. When they’re trying to get laid. Right right. Yes it’s spelled like couch but it’s said like cooch. Ha-ha. But then I’m sitting in her checkered seat cover and she’s blasting me just bombarding me with it. It’s in the edge of her eyes that perfect glassy pupil but then something behind it like… broken clockwork. It’s on a loop now and she says she’s so young ha-ha but she just looks young she’s not that young ha-ha and like young but not 18 young. Her hands are shaking and she touches the pack again and I lick my lips thinking about the taste of hay and the red hot receptors currently throbbing in my head just flare. Take one and you won’t even notice it till it’s gone you’ll cough once or twice but no biggie and she says she doesn’t smoke, you’ll probably get the pack. We’ve driven through two parking lots now trying to find a place. There’s nothing on the street, not this late on a Friday. The problem with these lots is, most of them, you see, they just don’t take cards and she doesn’t have any cash and she’s going to pay my cover though at the club oh look at the line we’ll have to wait. I scratch my beard and think about asking her if I look like the sort of person who waits in line at clubs. But then I realize maybe she doesn’t think there’s any other type of person. In her world there are only people who go out on Friday night and wait in line for clubs, and Parents. An uncomfortable silence has dawned since I answered a fourth question in a row with a noncommittal grunt. There are no more line-girls to ogle. It’s not that she isn’t cute, I look at her. She’s fine. Plain. Drunk. I think she is talking about a different club that she was at before. She has totally ruined my buzz. When we park I bail, and she asks after me and I just pretend like I’ve lost much of the english language. We could have a week together, and it would not be enough for me to thoroughly explain why I’m leaving to go walk until I have blisters. It’s complicated, and it starts with age, honey, but that’s really more like chapter three. If you’ll open up the workbook to page one and get out your Mortimer Ichabod Marker. You don’t get that huh. Yeah, see. Again. Chapter three. But you’ve ruined a twenty dollar drunk, and that’s not a good start. She’s got her tiny purse and her daddy’s debit card and the club is this way hey wait I hook a thumb over my shoulder and cannot think of a single thing to say. The walking again, then. A third bridge crossing of the night. Steel, instead of Broadway. I’ve still not walked that one. My phone dies just after letting me know there are no more trains back to the car. But it’s warm enough, and there’s no rain, and I’m thankful.
The socks had to come out two miles from the car, revealing a hum dinger of a blister, which squidges against the cement satisfactorily while I barefoot carefully past the movie theater. Better without the socks, once the sidewalk-to-glass ratio dips unnervingly low, and we’re over the hill now. It’s all downhill from here. Gimme that lemon lime gator, and a black and mild. Single? Of course a fucking single. It’s two AM and you’re a 7-11 clerk at the ass end of Portland do a lot of motherfuckers come in here to stock up? It’s angry now, I’ve processed all the fun out of that booze and now it’s just the pain, throbbing in time with my steps, like when I step on that blister it squeezes red hot pus up into the back of my skull.
I’m back to the car now and it’s something o’clock I forgot to change it with daylight saving. I forget if it’s an hour ahead or behind. It’s almost quarter till something. No need for much precision. Gingerly now on the clutch, use just the big toe, that’s better. Almost home now. To sleep, and dream of an apocalypse, where all my little bullshit problems today seem hilarious and small, and my dream feet throb, as I walk from place to place, searching for signs of civilization.