Out walking whiskey drunk through the hood on a stale Indiana night. On the hunt for a tobacco strong enough to see me through until the dawn. Because I know that the sleep just isn’t going to come.
And that makes me nervous.
The air is heavy like an uncomfortable blanket.
Everything feels like it moves in slower motion.
The claustrophobia of humidity covers the darker realms of an ineffectual American Dream. The part where everything is bought on credit and financial viability remains stubbornly dependent on the next payday that’s always too many fucking days away.
Various smells hang suspended–the unhealthy perfume of poverty. Greasy foods cooked for greasy patrons at the corner bar. Unmistakable whiffs of marijuana. The baked funk of another scorching Midwestern summer.
Even the darkness lacks purity.
The soft glow from porches conflict with the harsh flickers of street lights. Reds and blues of passing sirens add color in the hues of someone’s tragedy. And in this part of Wayne’s City, they always seem to run all night.
These streets are intimately familiar. Yet somehow, strangely foreign. Maybe that’s because I’ve never truly belonged to this city. My heart was always elsewhere. Always restless and unsettled. A displaced tourist amongst his own childhood stomping grounds.
I absorb the stares of the armed security guard standing by the Hostess treats. He doesn’t know it, but I’m armed, too. And I bet that I would be quicker on the trigger.
Through bulletproof glass I pantomime my request. And then prepare myself for the inevitable comments about the cost of my sin. But on a night like this, it isn’t wise to go cheap.
A black pack for a black night full of black thoughts. Because in my twisted world view, things should always go with things. And Perique flavored suicide is no exception, despite the financial hit.
APPROVED blinks on a screen and the relief is immediate. Because it’s always embarrassing when it blinks other words. But it’s still not as bad as the clink of an unreasonable number of quarters bouncing off the steel tray.
The guard shifts his focus as I bounce out the door.
A familiar DING announces my hasty retreat back out to the streets.
The air outside is substantially different from the conditioned atmosphere inside. It smacked me in the face; it was hard to catch my breath.
Lighting a cigarette for company seemed the only logical choice. Because it was still a long way back to the shitty blue rental sitting beside a fetid, familiar creek.
I was intentionally careless on the walk back. Playing in traffic. Tempting fate. Daring the world to make its move. Because this stagnation is killing me slowly.
And, I’d much rather it be quick…